The Bottom Line
- Extremely low commissions.
- Able to trade more than 60 global markets.
- Interactive Brokers provides an abundance of education and research.
- As you might expect with the lowest commission rates, their customer service is not the best.
- Their trading platform is not the most advanced and charting capabilities could use an upgrade.
- Interactive Brokers may have the lowest commissions among online futures brokers.
- Excellent research to learn about the commodity markets and trading and they offer many regular webinars.
- Many futures brokers specialize in the U.S. markets. IB is very appealing for those who want to trade international markets.
Guide Review - Interactive Brokers Review and Profile
Trading Platform / SoftwareInteractive Brokers’ trading platform is the Trader Workstation. You have the option of using the browser-based version or you can download their software and run from your PC. You are able to place virtually every type of order through their software and their system is excellent at tracking trades in your portfolio. The main feature of the Trader Workstation is speed. The whole platform was designed for quick placement of trades with programmable “hot keys” and one-click order entries. You are also able to trade stocks, futures and options from the same platform.
CommissionsCommission rates are always a hot button with commodity traders. You can look all you want, but I am afraid you will have a hard time beating their commission rates. For example, they charge less than $5.00 per round-turn on most of the electronic markets like the e-mini, which includes the exchange and regulatory fees. Pit-traded order average about $8, which includes fees. Those fees are so low, they are below the cost of what many brokerage firms pay to have their trades executed.
Opening an AccountDo not expect a lot of hand holding here. Online support is encouraged, since they obviously need to keep their costs down. IB specializes in low rates and quick trade executions. More active futures traders who are comfortable trading on their own may be better suited for this online futures broker than a new trader. You can fill-out their online application to open an account, which is a very thorough application. The initial deposit to trade futures and futures options is $5,000. It is highly recommended that you read the online manual to learn how to work their trading platform before you begin trading.
Website: Interactive Brokers