Interactive Brokers Review

Interactive Brokers Review

8 min read
In this Interactive Brokers Review – Trader Workstation, we will cover IB’s platform (TWS for short) and explain how it has been a simple yet powerful ally to the active trader and investor. Right off the bat, they are a good broker, and their order executions and short locates are solid. However, their charting platform is old-fashioned and needs updating, and their customer service is decent.

Chart by TradingView

Interactive Brokers is well known for two key elements; their international trading platform and low fees and commissions. As a newbie to the trading world, everything can seem overwhelming. But that doesn’t have to be the case. With Interactive Brokers, everything a beginner needs is at their fingertips.

Here’s a sample of what you get if you choose to go with them as your broker:

  • Simulator: They offer a great simulated trading platform to practice trading
  • Choice: You can trade stocks, options, futures
  • Customization: A customizable mosaic trading platform
  • Trader Work Station (TWS):  Advanced algos and trading tools
  • IBKR WebTrader (PRO): Web-based trading platform.
  • IBKR Mobile:  Trade on the go from IOS and Android devices
  • IBot: find the info you need without special syntax or financial jargon
  • Freedom: Choice to trade internationally in over 100 markets in over 24 countries.

We started using IB’s TWS as a secondary broker in early 2016, as it came highly recommended by another experienced trader in our stock market community.

Looking back, that seems like a typical way people learn about IB. It is very popular globally among the “hardcore” trading community, but it is all well suited to the casual investor. It has spread rapidly through word of mouth and has a great reputation for being a reliable and versatile brokerage firm.

Interactive Brokers Order Entry

1. Mosaic Layout

From day one, we were impressed with its simple yet alien-looking layout. However, while we continue to use and enjoy TD Ameritrade’s Thinkorswim platform, there are some stark differences between the platforms.

Also, free to take our free Interactive Brokers Platform setup course if you want help getting started with them.

First, when you download and install TWS, you will be greeted with their “Mosaic Layout.” This differs from the tab-based layout you may be used to with TOS.

You will want to arrange your Mosaic to your preference and liking. However, you also may notice that you cannot fit all the windows and charts into a single mosaic layout.

This is why it pays to have larger or multiple monitors when trading! First, check out our day trading computer setup post to get a handle on the right gear to power your platform. Next, on the top right, you’ll see “Layout Locked” Click this, and you can re-arrange as you see fit.

Interactive Brokers TWS

In this Interactive Brokers review, we have customized the TWS Mosaic. Top left, we have Order Entry. Top Right, you see Time and Sales – these are all the trades being filled in real time, often referred to as “reading the tape. Bottom right, you have Level 2 market data, mid left, you can see the daily chart of $X; and finally, bottom left, you see your activity window, where all your active and completed orders will show.

2. Trader Workstation

One of the best features of the Interactive Brokers Traders Work Station (TWS) platform is its shorting ability. Compared to other brokers I’ve researched, IB has the most substantial stocks available to short.

Additionally, we like using a minimum of TWO screens for TWS. Though you may find that is not necessary. However, for day trading, this is needed. We typically will use the setup above and group the remaining windows we need in a separate window. More on that later. Next, we want to talk about the strengths of Interactive Brokers. 

3. Fast Trade Executions: 

IB has lightening fast trade executions. Interactive brokers have created a “Smart Routing” system to provide traders with lightening fast execution speeds. This means IB searches for the best fill on your option or stock, depending on the time of your order, to execute it immediately.

IB boasts that this adds up to real money in your account. In addition, we enjoy that there is very little lag, and we have not found a faster trade execution with any of the other brokers we have tried.

Interactive Brokers Fees and Commissions? (Pricing Review)

Interactive Brokers is known for having some of the lowest fees and commissions in the industry with a fixed and tiered fee structure. And, like most brokers, prices differ depending on the markets traded. In North America, IB is only .005 cents per share. For example, 100 shares worth a 25-dollar stock would only cost you $1.00 in commission. Compare this to the $5-7 that most brokerages charge, which adds up quickly. Options are also very inexpensive to trade on IB.

Option contract commissions are calculated by the premium and the number of contracts. Contracts will cost you as little as .25 cents! (pricing subject to change)

IB Tool

IB is jam-packed with tools. Whether you are an advanced trader, investor, or beginner, there is something for everyone. Every type of scanner imaginable is at your disposal: fundamental, Options, Volatility, News, Bonds, Complex Order, and Trades scanner. 

We like the free analyst research reports and event calendar, and it even has an “Alexa Style” voice-activated information window called Ibot.

Ask it questions about a stock symbol, and it will retrieve the information you are after; IB has thought of everything when it comes to tools, and you could honestly take a year exploring all the various tools at your disposal. You can even stream Bloomberg TV within the platform!

Access Granted!

Access to the global markets, Futures, and FX. There are no limitations when it comes to global markets. Margin is great at IB and has the lowest rates of any broker, according to Barons. Please note there is NO margin available on FX unless your account is 1 million.

Interactive Brokers Options Strategy Lab

The Interactive Brokers review picture above is a screenshot of the option volatility lab. We like this tool because it shows a list of options plays you might want to take, along with probability, and ROI, all calculated depending on what you “expect” for a percentage price move (based on your charting skills!) 

Can You Short on Interactive Brokers? 

Yes, you can be short on Interactive Brokers. They have one of the best shortlist platforms on the market while being one of the most economical brokers. You can also set up a scanner using their “Advanced Market Scanner” and scan specifically for stocks with short shares available.

Interactive Brokers has had the best “short share” availability we have ever seen. That was a big draw for us when trading stocks. They have some very interesting features when it comes to shorting.

We like to sort the list by the least amount of shares available. This way, we can find stocks that are most likely already being shorted and have a limited surplus left to borrow from. 

Green Dot

Another big thing that we like is IB has a little green dot that is either dimmed or illuminated depending on if it has shares available for borrow or not, right on the order entry screen.

This is fantastic because as your scanner picks up a stock, and you wish to check it out in IB, you’ll know immediately if shares are available to short at a glance.

You can expand additional information by hovering over the dot and opening the SLB tool’s stock symbol. This tool will show you the shares available, and you can see shares being covered or borrowed in real time! This is incredibly useful information.

Interactive Brokers Stock Price and Symbol: Are They Publicly Traded?

Interactive Brokers is a publicly traded company on the Nasdaq Exchange (NASDAQ: IBKR).

Interactive Brokers Review Final Thoughts

  • Newbies should know that there are some minimums charges that IB has. In addition, unless you have $100,000 or more and or spend at least $30 in commission fees each month, you will be subject to some maintenance charges. These inactivity charges can go up to $20 per month. We are active traders and investors, so the fees are not a big deal, but worth noting.
  • Great for investing in foreign markets
  • IB has a bit longer wait time to reach a person for support, usually 3-5 minutes on average. The same was also true of using their chat function. This is slightly longer than most brokers. However, their customer service personnel are very helpful.
  • IB does have ok charting, but it is not as good as other platforms we have tested and used. And it still has a VWAP problem where the VWAP indicator is inaccurate. This is something we wish they would fix! Other than that, no major complaints with their platform and charting setup.

Related Articles

Generic Trade Review

Generic Trade Review

Generic Trade Broker Review: Generic Trade offers three platforms. All three are user-friendly and easy to use. You get everything you need to do basic

Read More »
FTMO Review

FTMO Review

FTMO Review: Do you think you have what it takes to be a FOREX trader? What about a trader who gets paid to trade? Sounds too

Read More »
Firstrade Review

Firstrade Review

Are you reading the Firstrade review because you’ve heard that this broker is now matching Robinhood’s commissions? Wait! What? Oh! Haven’t you heard? Table of

Read More »
TastyWorks Review

TastyWorks Review

TastyWorks Review: TastyWorks is one of the premier brokers for options trading. The founder is Tom Sosnoff, who created TD Ameritrade’s ThinkorSwim platform. So, he

Read More »


If you’ve looked for trading education elsewhere then you’ll notice that it can be very costly.

We are opposed to charging ridiculous amounts to access experience and quality information. 

That being said, our website is a great resource for traders or investors of all levels to learn about day trading stocks, futures, and options. Swing trading too! 

On our site, you will find thousands of dollars worth of free online trading courses, tutorials, and reviews.

We put all of the tools available to traders to the test and give you first-hand experience in stock trading you won’t find elsewhere.

Our content is packed with the essential knowledge that’s needed to help you to become a successful trader.

It’s important to treat day trading stocks, options, futures, and swing trading like you would with getting a professional degree, a new trade, or starting any new career.

Invest the proper time into your Trading Education and don’t try to run before you learn to crawl. Trading stocks is not a get-rich-quick scheme. It’s not gambling either, though there are people who treat it this way. Don’t be that person! 


The Bullish Bears team focuses on keeping things as simple as possible in our online trading courses and chat rooms. We provide our members with courses of all different trading levels and topics.

If you’re a beginner, intermediate level, or looking for expert trading knowledge…we’ve got you covered. 

We have a basic stock trading course, swing trading course, 2 day trading courses, 2 options courses, 2 candlesticks courses, and broker courses to help you get started. Free.

Just choose the course level that you’re most interested in and get started on the right path now. Become a leader, not a follower. When you’re ready you can join our chat rooms and access our Next Level training library. No rush. We’re here to help.

Click Here to take our free courses.