Review score: B-
Interactive Brokers Canada is the Canadian version of a very popular American discount brokerage. The author has used Interactive Brokers since 2007 and has been quite happy with them, but as we will explain in this review – we feel they are the best choice for some Canadians and definitely not others. It depends on how much you have to invest and your investment strategy. Also, IB Canada was good back in 2007 and they’ve done a lot to become even better in recent years.
The sign up process is much more annoying than some other Canadian brokers, but if Interactive Brokers meets your unique investment needs, it will be well worth it. Generally, even if Interactive Brokers works for you, you will also need to have another broker for certain trades unless you don’t mind paying enormous fees.
Interactive Brokers trading commission structure is strange and somewhat more complicated than other brokers. But it can be the lowest commission of all brokers by far for certain people. Allow us to explain:
Many trades with Interactive brokers have a commission of only $1 USD. Which is far lower than any other broker in Canada. If you are buying or selling up to 200 shares of any stock or ETF, you pay just $1 per trade. This is staggering low cost. However, every share above 200 traded is priced at 0.5 cents per share with a maximum commission of 0.5% of the trade. So, if you are trading in very large volume with very low priced shares, you might pay considerably more than brokers with a flat-rate commission. So, imagine you’re buying 200,000 shares priced at $1 USD. Your commission would be a whopping $1000 USD! This fee structure is baffling at times, but it can be worth it for many traders.
$10 monthly fee for accounts with less than $100,000 USD. This also includes $10 in free montly trades, so this fee is nonexistent if you frequently trade
Features, Support and Tools
- Offers market data for virtually any market or currency for a price. If you’re looking to trade shares on some strange foreign exchange, IB is a great broker
- RRSPs have been recently added, but with a $50 per year fee
- TFSAs have also been recently added
- USD balances are allowed. You can carry balances in virtually any currency
- Mutual funds are not offered
- DRIP is not offered
- Income reports are offered
The trading platform is great and has many many features. It is a bit complex and hard to learn, but very full featured. Their website leaves much to be desired. It can be confusing and very frustrating to use.
Bottom Line B-
Interactive Brokers is a great broker for certain trades and for day traders who trade shares with a high price. It’s terrible, due to the fee structure, for trading penny stocks. Everything else is quite good except their website. For some people the review should be A+ and for others it would be a D. It really depends on your situation