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Interactive Brokers vs. Vanguard – A Detailed Comparison

Discover our detailed comparison of Interactive Brokers and Vanguard to help determine which is best for you. Whether you’re a seasoned trader or just starting out, choosing the right platform can significantly impact your trading experience. 

To make your research easier, we manually found key data for Interactive Brokers and Vanguard across the internet and compiled it all in this article. 

Overview of Interactive Brokers

Interactive Brokers (IBKR) is a well-established brokerage firm founded in 1978, known for providing advanced trading and investing services to a diverse clientele, including individual investors, institutions, and professional traders. IBKR offers competitive pricing for options and futures, but lacks when it comes to charting and ease of use.

Overview of Vanguard

Vanguard was founded by the legendary investor John Bogle. Bogle is also credited with creating the first retail index fund, providing retail investors with a low-cost vehicle to invest in the broader stock market. Vanguard is known for offering low-cost mutual funds and ETFs with trillions of AUM.

Key Characteristics of Interactive Brokers and Vanguard

FeatureInteractive BrokersVanguard
Platform TypeBrokerage PlatformBrokerage Platform
Tradeable AssetsStocks, ETFs, Mutual Funds, Options, Futures, Futures Options, Crypto, BondsStocks, ETFs, Mutual Funds, Options, Bonds
Charting FeaturesDownloadable desktop platforms, web platform, mobile appPrice history for Vanguard funds
DataMust buy real-time dataReal-time data with funded account
Premium PricingNo premium featuresNo premium features

Who is Interactive Brokers Best For?

Interactive Brokers is best for advanced traders who prefer to automate their trading strategies. IBKR is far from beginner-friendly, as the platforms are advanced and require some technical knowledge to utilize effectively. If you are looking for a modern, easy-to-use investing platform, IBKR is not your best option.

Who is Vanguard Best For?

Vanguard is best for long-term investors who want a low-cost set-it-and-forget-it investing approach. It is not great for active traders due to its lack of charting and trading tools. While Vanguard is an excellent and well-established brokerage, it is somewhat dated and not suitable for those who want a lot of control over their investments.

Trading Features and Tools

FeatureInteractive BrokersVanguard
DRIPYes, but with feesYes, no fees
Margin TradingYesYes
InsuranceSIPC InsuredSIPC Insured
Mobile AppYesYes

Trading Costs and Commissions Compared

Fee TypeInteractive BrokersVanguard
Equity CommissionFreeFree
Option Commission$0.65 per contract$0 + $1-per-contract fee
Futures Commission$0.85 per contract, $0.25 microNo futures
Futures Options Commission$0.85 per contract, $0.25 microNo futures options
Option Exercise FeeNoneNone

Interactive Brokers vs Vanguard – Bottom Line

Choosing between Interactive Brokers and Vanguard depends on your specific trading needs, preferred trading tools, and the type of assets you’re interested in. 

Both platforms offer distinct advantages, but by considering the detailed comparison above, you can select the one that aligns best with your trading strategy and goals.

For more detailed reviews and comparisons, continue exploring our other articles on brokerage platform comparisons.

What is the Overall Best Charting Software?

I have reviewed and used nearly every trading platform available, and I believe that TradingView is the best overall charting software available. Here are some reasons why:

  • All of TradingView’s key features are free to use
  • TradingView provides real-time data for free whenever possible
  • You are not tied to a single broker and can use whichever you want while charting on TradingView
  • You can track all markets on a single platform, including stocks, ETFs, crypto, forex, and futures.
  • TradingView has an excellent economic calendar and various screeners

If you sign up for a TradingView account using my affiliate link, you can get a 30-day free trial of its premium features plus a $15 credit toward your subscription. However, signing up for a free trial is not required, and you can use nearly all of its features with a basic free account. You can read my full review of TradingView to learn more. 

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