Interactive Brokers vs ActivTrades: which broker is better?

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In this Interactive Brokers vs ActivTrades article, we will discuss various aspects, such as regulation, history, commissions, security, and other important factors to help you determine which one is the best broker for your needs.

Additionally, this comparative analysis wouldn't be complete without examining the types of accounts, products, and investor profiles that each broker aims to serve. While financial decisions often involve shades of grey, selecting the best broker for your objectives and investment strategies can lead to advantages and cost savings.

So, let's dive into the comparison of Interactive Brokers and ActivTrades to better understand them and their operations.

Interactive Brokers vs ActivTrades: what are they and how do they work?

It's essential to familiarise ourselves with a broker's history before investing, as it allows us to assess its reputation, financial stability, and legal background. These factors can impact the security of our investments and our ability to withdraw funds in the future. It also provides insights into how the broker has managed previous situations, including economic crises, and its commitment to safeguarding its clients' interests.

Interactive Brokers: what is it and how does it work?

Interactive Brokers is an American online brokerage firm that is publicly traded on the stock exchange. It is subject to regulation by multiple authorities, including reputable ones like the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) and the SEC (U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission).

Interactive Brokers is recommended for traders seeking broad market access and a professional trading environment. It was founded in 1978 by Thomas Peterffy.

Initially, Interactive Brokers focused on options trading on the New York Stock Exchange before expanding to other markets and financial products. Over the years, the company has embraced cutting-edge technology and diversified its offerings to include stocks, bonds, futures, forex, and cryptocurrencies.

In recent years, Interactive Brokers has gained recognition for its commitment to transparency and reducing commissions for its clients. Today, it operates as a global entity with more than 1 million active clients worldwide.

Since Interactive Brokers is a publicly-traded company, its financial information is publicly available. This transparency enhances the security associated with trading through this broker. Its stock has been listed on NASDAQ since 2007.

ActivTrades: What is it and how does it work?

ActivTrades is a British forex broker regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), making its services available to customers worldwide. It is an ideal choice for currency traders seeking low costs and favourable deposit/withdrawal conditions.

Founded in 2001 in London, ActivTrades initially focused on currency trading and later diversified into other financial markets and products. The company has gained a reputation for innovation in the industry, offering advanced technological solutions like automated trading and a mobile trading platform.

Over the years, ActivTrades has expanded its reach internationally, establishing a presence in several countries and attracting a broad customer base. Today, it is recognised for its dedication to educating and training traders, as well as its commitment to customer satisfaction and transparent business practices.

Main features of Interactive Brokers vs ActivTrades

FeaturesInteractive BrokersActivTrades
RegulationSEC (US), FCA (UK)FCA (UK), CSSF (Luxembourg)
Access to markets (countries)+150Over 150
Financial assetsStocks, ETFs, commodities, currencies, derivatives, bondsSpread betting and CFDs on forex, indices, bonds, stocks, commodities, funds
Minimum deposit£0£0
Account types4 (cash, margin, portfolio and demo)3 (individual, professional and demo)
Commissions0.05% of the value for UK stocks (minimum
£3)
£0
SpreadsFrom 0.20 pips for forex (for less than $1,000,000 traded per month)From 0.50 pips for EUR/USD
PlatformTrader WorkStationProprietary, MT4, and MT5
Demo accountYesYes
Customer servicePhone, live chat, emailPhone, live chat, email
More informationInteractive Brokers reviewOfficial websiteActivTrades review

Which broker is more reliable: Interactive Brokers or ActivTrades?

It is difficult to determine which of these two brokers is “more reliable”, as it depends on many personal factors, such as individual investment needs, risk profile and platform preferences. Both Interactive Brokers (IB) and ActivTrades have a well-established presence in the industry and a solid reputation.

IB has received accolades thanks to its advanced technology and wide range of investment products and services, while ActivTrades has been praised for its focus on training and educating traders. Both are heavily regulated and comply with the security measures required by financial regulators.

Regulation of Interactive Brokers

Interactive Brokers is regulated by the SEC in the US, the FCA in the UK, as well as many other agencies depending on the jurisdiction in which it operates. Notably, it operates as a publicly traded company, making its financial accounts publicly accessible and subject to rigorous scrutiny.

Guarantees of Interactive Brokers | Is my money safe?

Interactive Brokers is a regulated broker based in the UK, so it is subject in the first instance to the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority).

Customer funds are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), up to £85,000 per investor in case of the broker's insolvency. Interactive Brokers also offers negative balance protection when trading with leverage, enhancing both customer and broker security.

Regulation of ActivTrades

ActivTrades Plc is authorised and regulated in the UK by the Financial Conduct Authority. Furthermore, ActivTrades is a member of the “Financial Services Compensation Scheme” (FSCS), but it goes beyond the recommendation of £85,000 and actually offers insurance of up to £1,000,000. The policy does not incur any cost for customers.

Guarantees of Activtrades | Is my money safe?

ActivTrades is a regulated broker subject to the regulations of the FCA in the UK. This means that clients' money is protected by compensation schemes (FSCS and additional insurance) and, in the event of the broker's bankruptcy, the clients' funds are protected up to £1,000,000.

Products and markets offered by Interactive Brokers and ActivTrades

Both Interactive Brokers and ActivTrades offer a wide range of products and markets to their customers. Let's take a look at some of the most popular products and markets they offer.

Products offered by Interactive Brokers

  • Stocks
  • Bonds
  • Futures
  • Forex
  • Options
  • ETFs and investment funds
  • Fractional shares

Markets offered by Interactive Brokers

  • International markets, including stock exchanges in America, Europe and Asia
  • Futures and options on global markets, including the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Intercontinental Exchange
  • Forex on over 130 currency pairs

Products offered by ActivTrades

  • Stocks
  • Forex
  • Indices
  • Commodities

Markets offered by ActivTrades

  • Global forex markets, including major and exotic currency pairs
  • World stock indices, such as the DAX and the FTSE
  • Commodities, including gold and oil

Types of accounts: ActivTrades vs Interactive Brokers

In this section, we will see what types of different accounts each broker offers. Depending on profile and investment strategy, choosing one account or another will be key. Both brokers offer several types of accounts to adapt to different profiles, as discussed next.

ActivTrades account types

ActivTrades offers its clients four types of accounts, an individual account, a professional account, a demo account and an Islamic account. The professional account is not available to retail traders or investors. Also, you need to contact ActiveTrades directly if you want to open an Islamic account (with no swaps/interest rates).

Key features of individual account

  • Markets: Currencies, commodities, indices, stocks, ETFs (over 500 assets in total).
  • Fees: No commissions; spreads from 0.50 pips for EUR/USD.
  • Platforms: Proprietary, MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5.
  • Size of operations: From 1 microlot.
  • Leverage: Up to 30:1
  • Special features: Insurance coverage of up to £1,000,000, exclusive tools to improve trading experience.

In addition, ActivTrades offers an unlimited demo account that allows interested users to test all the features before depositing real cash.

Types of Interactive Brokers accounts

The account structure that Interactive Brókers has is quite complex. For European customers it has different types adapted to different investment profiles and needs. Among the individual accounts we find:

  • Cash account (no minimum deposit)
  • Reg T account (minimum $2,000)
  • Portfolio margin account (minimum $100,000)
  • Demo account

Interactive Brokers also has a very complex offer for professional traders or investors (such as companies).

Interactive Brokers cash account

The cash account is the most limited but also the one with the least requirements. Its main feature is that it does not allow leverage or to go short on any type of asset or product. There is no minimum deposit to open it and there are no maintenance or inactivity costs.

Interactive Brokers Reg T account

The margin account offers more possibilities than the cash one, but it comes with some extra requirements, such as a minimum deposit of $2,000 and being over 21 years old. This account allows leverage and short-selling. There is also no maintenance or inactivity fee.

Interactive Brokers vs ActivTrades: cost structure

Reducing costs is very important for investors, especially those who invest frequently or have a significant investment portfolio. Costs can add up and have a significant impact on long-term investment returns. Therefore, looking for a broker that offers low or competitive fees can be a way to maximise returns and minimise total costs.

Interactive Brokers cost structure

Interactive Brokers is known for its commitment to offering low costs for retail investors. It has also reduced other fees, such as account maintenance charges, to compete with the new generation of low-cost brokers that have entered the market.

Below, you'll find some of the most popular assets and their trading costs.

Commissions for stocks:

MarketCostMinimum per order
UK0.05% of traded value£3
US$0.005 per share$1

Commissions for other products:

AssetCost
Options£1.70/contract
Futures£1.70/contract
ForexFrom 0.08 to 0.20 pips (depending on amount traded)

Interactive Brokers does not charge any maintenance or inactivity fees.

ActivTrades cost structure

ActivTrades is mainly a CFD broker. It does not charge any commissions, but the spreads are slightly higher than Interactive Brokers. Keep in mind that the spreads below are the target ones (hence the current spread when actually trading may be higher).

Forex spreads

PairTarget Spread
EUR/USD0.50 PIPS
EUR/GBP0.80 PIPS
EUR/CHF1.10 PIPS
EUR/JPY1.00 PIPS
EURCAD1.90 PIPS

In addition, ActivTrades charges an inactivity fee of £10 if the account is not used for more than 1 year and there is available balance. The fact that ActivTrades charges an inactivity fee makes it less ideal for a buy and hold strategy.

ActivTrades also charges a currency conversion fee of 0.3% for all transactions with instruments denominated in a currency other than the currency of your account.

Deposits and withdrawals: Interactive Brokers vs ActivTrades

Another key aspect to consider when choosing a good broker is the ease of depositing and withdrawing funds, as well as the possible costs you need to cover. Let's look at the differences between the brokers in this regard.

Deposits with Interactive Brokers

There is no minimum deposit required to open an account with Interactive Brokers. Anyone can open a cash account – however, there are requirements for other types of accounts. This helps to protect beginners from high-risk practices, such as leverage or short-selling.

There are no fees for depositing money in your Interactive Brokers account. These are the main payment methods:

  • Bank transfer (bank wire, 1 day or less)
  • Deposit via ACH (you can trade after four days)
  • Wise (trade within hours)

Cash withdrawal from Interactive Brokers

Withdrawal methods are the same as deposit methods listed above. Although there are multiple base currencies to work with, the withdrawal currency and the currency of the destination bank account must match.

One cash withdrawal per month is free but subsequent withdrawals are charged with £10.

Deposits with ActivTrades

The broker offers various methods of deposit and withdrawal of funds:

  • Bank transfer
  • Credit and debit card
  • Paypal
  • Skrill
  • Sofort

There are four base currencies (including GBP) and there is no fee for depositing dunds.

Withdrawals from ActivTrades

All withdrawals with ActivTrades are free of charge, regardless of the chosen payment method. However, you need to withdraw money via the same depositing method.

Trading platform: ActivTrades vs Interactive Brokers

The trading platform is an important factor when choosing a broker, as it directly affects the investment experience. A quality trading platform should be easy to use, intuitive, and offer a wide variety of tools and features to help investors make informed decisions.

In addition, the trading platform must be stable and secure, and must provide fast and reliable access to markets and market data. A slow or unreliable trading platform can result in losses or missed opportunities for investors.

ActivTrades platform

ActivTrades offers three different trading platforms: ActivTrader, created by ActivTrades, is a very intuitive platform where all ActivTrades products can be traded. MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5, the most recognised platforms worldwide, are also available with this broker.

ActivTrades offers the latest technology to trade in the markets, with the three trading platforms mentioned and exclusive tools for technical analysis, competitive spreads, and customer service available 24 hours a day from Monday to Friday.

In addition, ActivTrades offers various tools for technical analysis that complement the MetaTrader platforms:

  • SmartForecast
  • SmartOrder
  • SmartTemplate
  • SmartPattern
  • SmartLines
  • Smart Calculator
  • Pivot Points Indicator

ActivTrader is an intuitive, customisable platform and offers multiple functions to streamline trading. It is suitable for all trader profiles as it is easy to handle but at the same time offers advanced functions and charting capabilities. You can trade all the products available in ActivTrades.

Some of the key features of ActivTrader are:

  • Progressive trailing stop order: This feature helps protect profits by automatically adjusting the stop loss order.
  • Pullback entry: This feature enables entering the market at a more favorable price than traditional limit orders by opening a position only when the market moves in your favour.
  • Market sentiment: This feature displays the percentage of investors in buy or sell positions for a given instrument.
  • Automatic calculation of the margin required to open a position, pip value and monetary value of Stop Loss/Take Profit.
  • Buy/sell again: To quickly duplicate open positions while respecting the preset values in the original position.

ActivTrader is available in web version, without the need to download software, and is available for iOS and Android mobile devices.

Interactive Brokers platform

Interactive Brokers stands out not only for its competitive costs and extensive asset access but also for its diverse range of trading platforms tailored to specific needs. Currently, Interactive Brokers offers different platform versions to cater to traders of all skill levels and strategies:

  • Trader Workstation (TWS): It is an advanced trading platform with technical analysis tools, chart customisation, and trading automation functions. TWS is a popular platform among professional and active traders.
  • IBKR Mobile: It is a mobile platform that allows customers to trade and monitor their portfolios from their mobile devices.
  • IBKR WebTrader: It is a web-based platform that allows customers to trade and monitor their portfolios from any computer with an internet connection.
  • Client Portal: The simplified version allows to access financial information and other personal data.
  • IB Impact Platform: This platform, focused on sustainable investment, simplifies the process of searching for and selecting ESG investments.

Interactive Brokers vs ActivTrades: customer service

Customer service is important when choosing a broker. Good customer service can help you solve any problem or concern quickly and efficiently, which can be essential for an investor who needs help with their account or trading platform.

In addition, accessible and efficient customer service can be an indicator of the overall quality of a broker and its commitment to its customers.

ActivTrades customer service

The customer service team is available 24 hours, 5 days a week via chat, email, and phone calls. You can email the team at englishdesk@activtrades.com or call +44 (0) 207 6500 500.

The average email response time is less than 30 minutes, with a satisfaction rate exceeding 95% based on internal statistics.

Interactive Brokers customer service

Interactive Brokers provides 24-hour phone-based customer service at 00800-42-27653. You can also use the live chat or email to contact the customer service team.

Interactive Brokers vs ActivTrades: user reviews

Opinions about Interactive Brokers vary, largely due to the extensive options the broker offers, which can be challenging, especially for novice investors. On Trustpilot.com, a popular platform for customer reviews, Interactive Brokers has received over 2,000 ratings. More than 40% of these reviews give the broker a 5-star rating, but it's important to note that over 20% of users have given it only one star.

In comparison, ActivTrades has received a smaller number of ratings, around 800, with nearly 80% giving it a 5-star rating. Negative ratings are relatively low.

Summary: Interactive Brokers vs ActivTrades, which broker is better?

ActivTrades provides a slightly smoother account opening process and offers ease of deposit and withdrawal compared to Interactive Brokers. Additionally, the quality of customer service at ActivTrades appears slightly better.

Both ActivTrades and Interactive Brokers are comprehensive brokerage platforms, offering a wide range of products and services to their clients. ActivTrades excels in its user-friendly approach and focus on forex trading, while Interactive Brokers stands out for its extensive offerings suitable for investors of all types, making it one of the world's best brokers.

Pros and cons Interactive Brokers

PROSCONS
Low costsSomewhat complex for beginners
Wide selection of productsCannot deposit funds using e-wallets
Professional trading platform

Pros and cons ActivTrades

PROSCONS
No commissionsLimited products and markets
Easy account openingMore basic analysis tools
Free deposits and withdrawalsInactivity fee

Check out other Interactive Brokers comparisons

FAQs

Can I trade on mobile devices with both Interactive Brokers and ActivTrades?

Yes, Interactive Brokers provides IBKR Mobile for mobile trading and ActivTrades offers mobile trading through their ActivTrader mobile app.

Which broker offers a better variety of trading platforms – Interactive Brokers or ActivTrades?

Interactive Brokers offers an extensive range of six trading platforms, including Trader Workstation and IBKR Mobile. ActivTrades provides three main platforms: ActivTrades, MetaTrader 4 (MT4), and MetaTrader 5 (MT5).

Which broker is cheaper, ActivTrades or Interactive Brokers?

The cost structure and how advantageous it is for you depends on your trading strategy, knowledge, starting capital, and other variable factors. To find out which broker is best in your specific case, you could open a demo account with both brokers and compare the costs.

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