As a Junior member of ET, I cannot yet rate the Direct Broker vendors, and just wanted to share my first year of experience with IB. I had formerly used Amertrade, and now use them as my backup broker only, due to many dissatisfactions that I had with them. I am really amazed at some of the poor ratings that IB has received from some of its raters. I felt that I needed to defend IB, since I truly think they are a great service. Overall, I think IB is an exceptionally great service, for the following reasons: - Great execution. - Direct Access via SMART order routing technology. - Great rates. The commission schedule is extremely competitive, given the level of service. - Commission rate includes SEC fees (keeps bookkeeping simple). - Flexible interface, with audible indicators. - Great user interface, that is intuitive and simple to use. - Great customer support. The few times I called, I spoke with someone who was both knowledgeable and courteous. I've only gotten "blown off" once, and that was during the east coast blackout (understandable.....). Keep in mind that I don't call often - they are not a hand-holding company - but when you have a legitimate problem/issue, they are always there to help. - Prompt technical responses posted to their message board. - Totally open system, that allows me to augment (appealing since I am a technical guy). - Immediate update of account info after a trade is consummated. - I am totally impressed with the detail and organization of their website. Well thought out and put together. Very easy to navigate. - On-line application was extremely well organized and informative. - Wiring of money to my account was flawless and executed in a timely fashion. - Well-capitalized company. - Offers its customers notes paying in excess of 8 %. - Prompt releases to bugs that are pointed out. I just wish I had heard of them sooner. Their advertising is minimal. Anyone find anyone better out there than IB ??????????????