Thinkorswim vs. Interactive Brokers

Discussion in 'Retail Brokers' started by zxd, Apr 21, 2010.

  1. zxd


    So right now I'm using both TD Ameritrade and ThinkOrSwim. I actually had two separate accounts and was going to transfer all to ToS but then TDA bought ToS so anyways I'm using TDA/ToS and trading on margin. The thing is, most of my assets are on TDA account and I'm an Apex member so I have certain advantages like free wires, free stock certificates (if I wanna wallpaper my house with some worthless stock certificates), and other little advantages like very very good customer service.

    Two problems with TDA/ToS at the moment. I can't trade futures (most of my assets are on the TDA side so I can't trade futures from that, even using the ToS platform). And the other thing is, they're charging me margin of 9%. My margin balance varies between 10k-60k. The thing is IB charges a margin close to the Federal Funds Rate, 0.2%!! And on IB I could trade futures, but I would lose out on other things like good customer service and free wires, etc.

    What are some of your insights on ToS/TDA vs IB? Would it be worth it to switch for lower margin rates? Should I try to talk to TDA and get them to give me a lower margin rate? I mean seriously at IB's margin rates, the money is almost practically free, I would just withdraw the maximum cash from it with a good buffer for stock fluctuations and pay off my car and student loan.

    And in case you don't know, the ToS trading platform is usable on TD Ameritrade, that's why I refer to it as ToS/TDA.
  2. Please reread the information at the IB website. IB's benchmark for margin is 0.2%, the rate for under $100K is BM + 1.5% = 1.7%. Still way better than 9%.

    IB gives you your first wire or ACH/ETF withdrawal of the month for free, after that it is $10.00 for a wire and $1.00 for ACH/ETF.
  3. Catoosa



    Your above reasoning has only touched the surface of the advantages of an Interactive Brokers with a universal account when compared to TDA/ToS accounts. Keep your TDA/Tos accounts for now and open an account with IB. After using IB for a week, you will know if you should go ahead and close the TDA/Tos accounts or keep them just to spread your money around for SIPC insurance reasons.
  4. oraclewizard77

    oraclewizard77 Moderator

    If you want to trade futures like a professional, then deposit some money in a futures brokerage. The advantages are the following:

    1) You don't risk your entire portfolio if you don't know how to trade futures correctly.

    2) You can use a better default charting package.

    3) You get better margin when trading during the day.

    4) You get better commissions especially if you also start to increase contract size and frequency of trades.
  5. I beg to differ on #1. You don't think FCMs ever go after debit accounts?