Interactive Brokers vs. TD Ameritrade

Read our Advertiser Disclosure.
Contributor, Benzinga
April 23, 2021

Trying to choose between two advanced trading solutions with cutting-edge trading platforms? It’s no surprise that Interactive Brokers and TD Ameritrade might immediately spring to mind. There are dozens of similarities between these two providers, yet each is unique in its trading services and in how it exposes you to the financial markets.

Interactive Brokers vs. TD Ameritrade: Overview

Who’s Interactive Brokers for?

Interactive Brokers is a trading solution for experienced day traders. Since Interactive Brokers gives you access to a variety of tradable assets, it’s suitable for all types of traders including forex traders. If you like advanced charting tools, a surplus of trading windows and comprehensive indicators, Interactive Brokers could be your best fit.

Who’s TD Ameritrade for?

TD Ameritrade works well for both beginners and advanced traders. One of the great features of TD Ameritrade is that it offers high-quality portfolio-building advice and portfolio management services. Although TD Ameritrade has an advanced trading platform, its overall platform and website are suitable if you’re looking for a friendly user interface.

Interactive Brokers vs. TD Ameritrade: Platform and Tools

What Interactive Brokers Offers

Interactive Brokers supports trading platforms for any device.

Mobile trading platform

Interactive Brokers’ mobile trading solution is more basic and supports only the main functions a trader would need. The platform also includes charting tools and a news feed. The International Brokers’ mobile trading app also sends you notifications in real time.

Web-based trading platform

If you want to trade from your browser without downloading any software, you can do this via Interactive Brokers’ web-based platform, WebTrader. This platform is more basic, is easy to use and is a good start for beginners.

Desktop trading platform

Interactive Brokers’ strength lies in its desktop platform, Trader Workstation, or TWS.


This platform contains some of the most sophisticated trading features a platform can have, and includes module-based charting elements, rich historical data, screeners, advanced risk management tools, market watch tools, various alerts and more. If you are a senior trader with rich trading experience, you’ll likely be amazed by the platform but might still need some time to get used to it. Beginners will most likely be lost upon first click with TWS.

What TD Ameritrade Offers

TD Ameritrade also supports web, mobile and desktop trading, but includes smartwatch features as well.


Smartwatch trading platform

The smartwatch trading solution of TD is very basic and limited but offers some small features for market monitoring and trade management.

Mobile trading platform

TD Ameritrade’s mobile app is also basic, but it still contains more features than the smartwatch solution. In general, bigger screens can allow for higher functionality. Some features you’ll find with the mobile trading app include alerts, commentary and some basic research tools.

Web trading platform

TD Ameritrade's web-based trading platform is famous for its friendly front end. The platform is fully customizable and you can align its interface the way you want. The web platform is light and is a good solution for beginners and some intermediate traders. The platform is friendly to fundamental traders too. Some of its features include trading alerts and a variation of screeners.

Desktop trading platform

TD Ameritrade’s desktop platform is the widely celebrated Thinkorswim. This platform is relatively advanced compared to other platforms in the sector yet has a friendly interface and is easy to learn.


Thinkorswim offers a rich set of advanced trading tools like comprehensive charting features, economic indicators, economic data tools and calendars, alerts, social sentiment on different securities and a built-in chat feature. Thinkorswim also works on any type of mobile device.

Trade Architect

TD Ameritrade’s Trade Architect is a special research platform that’s offered to any TD client, free of charge. Some Trade Architect features include live data, video streams, advanced research, trade ideas and more. This piece of software is also available for mobile devices so you can bring the whole financial world to your pocket.

Bottom Line

TWS works well only for very experienced trading professionals. If you are an absolute beginner, you can still use Interactive Brokers. TD, on the other hand, is a good solution for all types of traders (who prefer a casual trading style).

What Interactive Brokers Offers

You might find Interactive Brokers lacks diverse research offerings. Compared to other brokers, Interactive Brokers looks basic. Its research strength comes in if you decide to use some of its third-party integrations.

Some of these are free, and others are not. Benzinga is also a third-party integration for Interactive Brokers. You can access some of its features for free and can also grab market insights from Thomson Reuters and Dow Jones.

What TD Ameritrade Offers

TD Ameritrade is way more comprehensive in its market research. It includes a lot of advanced informational tools from high-quality sources. Some of these resources include advanced screeners, analyst insights, social sentiments and signals.

Furthermore, Trade Architect software has a separate research section which includes a big set of these tools.

Bottom Line

TD Ameritrade has a more comprehensive research section than Interactive Brokers, though Interactive Brokers still has your back with certain research features that are essential for every trader.

Interactive Brokers vs. TD Ameritrade: Commission and Fees

Interactive Brokers’ Fees

ETFs, Warrants, and Stocks
Fixed commission$0.005 per share (minimum $1)
TieredCommission per share
Shares volume a monthWarrants, Stocks, ETPs, ETFsOrder minOrder max
300,000 or less$0.0035$0.351% * trade
300,001 to 3,000,000$0.002$0.351% * trade
3,000,001 to 20,000,000$0.0015$0.351% * trade
20,000,001 to 100,000,000$0.001$0.351% * trade
More than 100,000,000$0.0005$0.351% * trade
Mutual funds
Fee typePrice
Commission-free ETFs$0
Interactive Brokers fee for a transactionLesser of 3% multiplied by trade value / $14.95 per transaction
Commission (fixed)From $0.15 / contract
Contracts amountTiered commission / contract
Smaller or equal to 1,000$0.85
1,001 to 10,000$0.65
10,001 to 20,000$0.45
Higher than 20,000$0.25
Volume on a monthly basisCommission (multiplied by trade value)Order min
Smaller or equal to $1,000,000,0000.2 base point$2
$1,000,000,001 to 2,000,000,0000.15 base point$1.50
$2,000,000,0001 to 5,000,000,0000.1 base point$1.25
Higher than $5,000,000,0000.08 base point$1
Margin rates - based on balance
100,000 and lower3.9% - base rate + 1.5%
100,000.01 to 1,000,0003.4% base rate + 1%
1,000,000.01 to 3,000,0002.9% base rate + 0.5%
3,000,000.01 to 200,000,0002.7% base rate + 0.3%
200,000,000.01 or higher2.7% base rate + 0.3%*

*A surcharge of 1% based on spread might occur if financing is not arranged preliminary.

TD Ameritrade' Fees

Internet trades$6.95 per trade
Interactive Voice Response Phone System (IVR)$34.99 per trade
Broker-assisted trades$44.99 per trade
Internet trades$6.95 + $0.75 fee per contract
Options assignments and exercises$19.99 per contract
Interactive Voice Response phone system (IVR)$34.99 + $0.75 fee per contract
Broker-assisted trades$44.99 + $0.75 fee per contract
Non-commission planCharges based on the spread coming from the liquidity provider
Commission-based$0.10 for every 1,000 units (max $1)
No-commission ETFs$0 per trade
Internet trades$6.95 per trade
Interactive Voice Response phone system (IVR)$34.99 per trade
Broker-assisted trades$44.99 per trade
Mutual funds
No-transaction-fee funds (NTF)$0 on contract
No-load funds$49.99 on contract
Load funds$0 on contract
Auction treasuriesCommission-free base
CMOs and other bondsBased on a net yield
Futures$2.25 per contract + regulatory and exchange fees
Margin rates - based on balance
$999,999 or more8%
$250,000 - $999,999.998.75%
$100,000 - $249,9999%
$50,000 - $99,9999.25%
$25,000 - $49,99910.25%
$10,000 - $24,99910.5%
Under $10,00010.75%

Bottom Line

Interactive Brokers offers more flexibility because it offers you a flat rate per share or a tiered system. Interactive Brokers also has very low margin rates compared to most other brokers, including compared to TD Ameritrade.

Interactive Brokers vs. TD Ameritrade: Security

The U.S. has one of the tightest financial regulations for trading and investing, so if a U.S. brokerage exists in the United States (and Interactive Brokers and TD Ameritrade do) they’re fully compliant with domestic law.

What Interactive Brokers Offers

Interactive Brokers is a U.S. company which is listed and publicly traded on the Investor Exchange under the symbol IBKR.

Interactive Brokers is a member of SIPC and FINRA. In case of its insolvency, the company protects its clients up to $250,000. Interactive Brokers also offers special insurance so clients can protect funds up to $2.5 million.

What TD Ameritrade Offers

TD Ameritrade is also subject to American regulations for trading and investing. The company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol TD and is publicly traded. TD Ameritrade is a member of FINRA and SIPC. Under SIPC, TD Ameritrade gives its clients insurance up to $500,000 in case of insolvency. TD Ameritrade also offers more insurance through the FDIC, up to $500,000.

Bottom Line

Both companies are secure and use its resources to protect clients funds. Both companies have a different type of insurance to secure deposits up to a certain amount. In addition, Interactive Brokers and TD Ameritrade use the latest security measurements for data protection.

Interactive Brokers vs. TD Ameritrade: Customer Support

What Interactive Brokers Offers

Interactive Brokers offers customer support via email, phone and live chat. Phone and live chat support are available 24 hours a day, five days a week. Email support is available around the clock. Interactive Brokers doesn’t have any physical offices.

What TD Ameritrade Offers

TD Ameritrade also covers email, phone and live chat as customer support channels and phone support is available 24/5. Live chat and email support are available 24/7. TD Ameritrade also has brick-and-mortar locations in more than 500 physical buildings all over the United States so clients can sit down face-to-face with an advisor.

Bottom Line

TD Ameritrade’s customer support is more in-depth, with 24/7 live chat for instant help compared to its email support, which involves waiting up to 24 hours. You can also visit TD Ameritrade in person, which is a huge advantage over Interactive Brokers.

Interactive Brokers vs. TD Ameritrade: Tradable Asset Classes

What Interactive Brokers Offers

Interactive Brokers gives you exposure to a wide variety of tradable assets for well-diversified portfolio options. Interactive Brokers lets you trade:

  • Forex
  • Cryptocurrency
  • Options contracts
  • Mutual funds
  • ETFs
  • Stocks
  • Metals
  • Bonds
  • Futures contracts

What TD Ameritrade Offers

TD Ameritrade allows you to trade a wide variety of financial securities. These include:

  • Forex
  • Cryptocurrency
  • Options
  • Mutual funds
  • ETFs
  • Stocks
  • Metals
  • Bonds
  • Futures

Bottom Line

As you probably noticed, TD Ameritrade and Interactive Brokers offer nearly the same product base.

Interactive Brokers vs. TD Ameritrade: Ease of Use

What Interactive Brokers Offers

Interactive Brokers’ TWS trading platform is very advanced and is likely to give traders who aren’t highly-qualified professionals a tough time. At the same time, Interactive Brokers’ other trading solutions might appear insufficient and limited, which creates a gap between the entry and the expert level of traders.

Check our Interactive Brokers review for more details.

What TD Ameritrade Offers

TD Ameritrade, on the other hand, is a friendlier trading solution. Its advanced platform, Thinkorswim, requires a certain level of expertise but isn’t rocket science. You’ll most likely adapt to it after you conduct a certain amount of trades. Its web-based platform is very easy to use and will satisfy traders who look for exposure to the financial markets.

You can find a detailed description of all TD Ameritrade features and perks in our TD Ameritrade review.

Bottom Line

TD Ameritrade is definitely an easier solution. Its friendly platform interface and coverage to fit every type of trader TD Ameritrade fits it neatly into the “one of the best online brokerages around the world” category.

Final Thoughts

The pricing plans for each company is different. TD Ameritrade is flat per trade on stocks, while Interactive Brokers charges per share. If you consider one of the two trading solutions, the pricing plans might help you decide.

But one thing is for sure: If you are a beginner or an intermediate trader, TD might be the better choice for you. If you’re advanced, prefer financial sophistication and a highly professional interface, Interactive Brokers will fit the bill.

Frequently Asked Questions


What brokerage firm is better for beginners?


TD Ameritrade is the best one for novices. It offers educational resources, paper trading and customer support.


Which firm has the most investment options?


Interactive Brokers offers access to more asset classes to include fractional shares, stocks, mutual funds, ETFs, international markets and futures.