Interactive Brokers Singapore Review (2024): How Does It Fare Against Saxo Markets and Tiger Brokers?

Interactive Brokers Singapore Review (2024): How Does It Fare Against Saxo Markets and Tiger Brokers?

Whenever someone comes up with a list of the top 10 online brokers, you’re probably going to find Interactive Brokers (IBKR) up there at the top 3—and for good reason.

Even in 2024, with endless options for brokerages, IBKR manages to stand out with their professional, user-friendly platform and competitive prices.

In this review, we explore IBKR’s capabilities and see how it matches up against other popular brokerages like Saxo Markets and Tiger Brokers. 

Contents:

  1. What is Interactive Brokers?
  2. What are the Interactive Brokers Singapore fees, products, and platforms?
  3. What are the Interactive Brokers Singapore commission fees?
  4. What happened to the Interactive Brokers inactivity fee?
  5. Interactive Brokers vs Saxo—which is better?
  6. Interactive Brokers vs Tiger Brokers—which is better?
  7. A final overview—IBKR vs Saxo vs Tiger Brokers
  8. How do I start trading on Interactive Brokers?
  9. Which is better—IBKR Lite or IBKR Pro?

What is Interactive Brokers?

Interactive Brokers is an American brokerage firm that also operates in Singapore. It is currently one of the US’s biggest trading platforms and also has a strong presence in Asia.

The company is listed on NASDAQ, so if you want to be really meta, you can even trade IBKR shares on your Interactive Brokers platform.

Interactive Brokers’ platform lets you invest in stocks, options, futures, currencies, bonds and funds in over 150 markets worldwide, including our good old Singapore Exchange.

More importantly, it’s also one of the cheapest ways to trade US and Singapore stocks at the moment.

Interactive Brokers logo
Online Promo
Newest desktop trading platform on IBKR Desktop
Min. Commission Fee US Stocks
US$1
Min. Commission Fee SG Stocks
$2.50
Min. Funding
$0

What are the Interactive Brokers Singapore fees, products, and platforms?

Here’s an overview of Interactive Brokers’ fees, trading products, platforms, and more.

Trading products Stocks, ETFs, bonds, options, futures, FX, mutual funds, metals, cryptocurrencies
Minimum commission fee (SG stocks) 0.02% – 0.08% SGD (0.9 – 2.50 SGD minimum) under Tiered pricing; 0.08% (2.50 SGD minimum) under Fixed pricing
Minimum commission fee (US stocks) 0.0005 – 0.0035 USD per share (0.35 USD minimum) under Tiered pricing; 0.005 USD per share (1 USD minimum) under Fixed pricing
Minimum funding amount None
Stock Holding Type Custodian
Trading platforms Trader Workstation, Client Portal, IBKR Mobile and IBKR APIs, GlobalTrader, and IBKR IMPACT
Payment method Bank transfer and Wise
Inactivity fee None

 

What are the Interactive Brokers commission fees?

Pro tip: When you sign up for an IBKR account, you’ll be automatically put under the Fixed account tier. Go to your account settings to switch it to Tiered—you may get cheaper rates!

For Singapore shares, Interactive Brokers charges a fixed commission fee of 0.08%, with a minimum commission of 2.50 SGD under the Fixed account tier. If you switch to a Tiered account, you’ll still pay the same rate as the Fixed account tier, but once you trade more than 2,500,000 SGD in monthly trade value, you’ll enter the next tier and pay a minimum commission of 1.60 SGD per order instead.

This means, even if you aren’t trading such a large volume, the Tiered account gives you the exact same 0.08%, 2.50 SGD minimum rate for trades below 2,500,000 SGD, and lower rates for everything else, including on the US stock market. So it’s always a good idea to make the switch.

For smaller trades on SGX, IBKR’s minimum commissions are one of the lowest in the market, with bank brokers like DBS Vickers or OCBC Securities charging as much as S$25 per trade. Interactive Brokers is certainly cheaper than Saxo Markets, which charges a S$5 minimum commission under their Bronze plan.

However, if you’re trading a small volume on the SGX, you can enjoy a lower minimum commission fee at moomoo and Tiger Brokers. Compare the cheapest brokerages for Singapore stocks here.

For US stocks, Interactive Brokers charges between 0.0005 to 0.0035 USD per share depending on the share volume, with a minimum of 0.35 USD under their Tiered account tier. Under their Fixed account tier, the charge is 0.005 USD per share, subject to a minimum of 1 USD, for any trade volume. For most people, the Tiered pricing is going to be much cheaper, so go ahead and switch your account to Tiered in your account settings if you’re keen on US stocks.

With one of the lowest minimum commissions for US stocks, IBKR is only behind a few brokers like Moomoo, Webull, and Saxo Markets.

With IBKR’s low minimum commissions, you can go right ahead and make itty bitty trades without worrying about losing money to hefty commission fees.

 

What happened to the Interactive Brokers inactivity fee?

In the past, Interactive Brokers was known for having one huge drawback: inactivity fees unless you fulfilled certain criteria.

Basically, you had to generate at least 10 to 20 USD worth of commissions in a calendar month in order to avoid inactivity fees every month.

But as of 9 July 2021, IBKR has finally gotten rid of the inactivity fee. Now we need not worry about being forced to trade in order to avoid the fee. Hurray!

 

Interactive Brokers vs Saxo Markets—which is better?

Saxo Markets is another established online brokerage brand that is popular in Singapore and is known for its affordable trading fees.

Saxo logo
MoneySmart Exclusive
Min. Commission Fee US Stocks
US$1
Min. Commission Fee SG Stocks
S$3
Min. Funding
S$0
MoneySmart Exclusive:

[MoneySmart Exclusive]
Get S$250 via PayNow when you open, fund a min. of S$3,000 within 1 deposit and execute 3 trades within 14 days of account opening with Saxo. T&Cs apply.

Valid until 24 Jul 2024

Let’s compare Interactive Brokers and Saxo.

Interactive Brokers Saxo
Trading products Stocks, ETFs, bonds, options, futures, FX, mutual funds, commodities, CFDs, cryptocurrencies Stocks, ETFs, bonds, options, futures, FX, mutual funds, commodities, CFDs, cryptocurrencies
Minimum commission fee (SG stocks) 0.02% – 0.08% SGD (0.9 – 2.50 SGD minimum) 0.03%-0.08%(1-5 SGD minimum)
Minimum commission fee (US stocks) 0.0005 – 0.0035 USD per share (0.35 USD minimum) 0.02%-0.06%(0.25-2 USD minimum)
Minimum funding amount None None (Bronze account plan)
Stock Holding Type Custodian Custodian
Trading platforms Trader Workstation, Client Portal, IBKR Mobile/Desktop, IBKR API, GlobalTrader, and IBKR IMPACT SaxoInvestor, SaxoTraderGO, SaxoTraderPRO
Payment method Bank transfer and Wise FAST, PayNow, MEPS, internet bank transfer or credit/debit card
Inactivity fee None None
Custody fee None None (if you opt into Securities Lending)

If you’re primarily trading SG stocks, Interactive Brokers is generally cheaper than Saxo Markets, especially if you’re trading a low volume. Their minimum commission fee is just 2.50 SGD, while Saxo Markets charges a minimum of 5.00 SGD on their free account.

For US stocks, Saxo’s minimum commission fees (0.25 USD) beats Interactive Brokers (0.35 USD). However, you’ve got to remember to opt into Securities Lending to avoid the commission fee. When you enable Securities Lending, you allow Saxo to borrow and lend out securities in your portfolio. Don’t worry, as it makes no difference to your trading experience—you can still sell your securities whenever you want—and it gives you the chance to earn some extra revenue.

Both Interactive Brokers and Saxo Markets have clean, professional, easy-to-use trading platforms.

 

Interactive Brokers vs Tiger Brokers—which is better?

Anyone remotely interested in trading or investing has probably heard of Tiger Brokers. You simply can’t get away from their ads.

Tiger Brokers logo
MoneySmart Exclusive
Low Commission Fees
Min. Commission Fee US Stocks
US$1*
Min. Commission Fee SG Stocks
0.03% of Trade Value*
Min. Funding
$0
MoneySmart Exclusive:

[MoneySmart Exclusive]
Get S$100 via PayNow when you open, fund a min. of USD1,000 within one deposit with Tiger Brokers. T&Cs apply.
 
[Tiger Brokers Promotion]
New to Tiger Brokers? Enjoy up to USD3,600 worth of rewards when you fulfill the requirements*. T&Cs apply.

Valid until 24 Jul 2024

Tiger Brokers is known for dangling some very attractive welcome offers, such as free shares, up to 365 days of commission-free trades, and rewards in the form of Tiger coins.

Let’s compare the fees and charges for Interactive Brokers and Tiger Brokers.

Interactive Brokers Tiger Brokers
Trading products Stocks, ETFs, bonds, options, futures, FX, mutual funds, commodities, CFDs, cryptocurrencies Stocks, options, futures, ETFs, bonds, REITs, funds, indices, metals
Minimum commission fee (SG stocks) 0.02% – 0.08% SGD (0.9 – 2.50 SGD minimum) 0.03% (0.99 SGD minimum)
Platform fee (SG stocks) None 0.03% (1 SGD minimum)
Minimum commission fee (US stocks) 0.0005 – 0.0035 USD per share (0.35 USD minimum) 0.005 USD per share (0.99 USD minimum)
Minimum funding amount None None
Stock Holding Type Custodian CDP
Trading platforms Trader Workstation, Client Portal, IBKR Mobile/Desktop, IBKR API, GlobalTrader, and IBKR IMPACT Tiger Brokers desktop app and mobile app
Payment method Bank transfer and Wise FAST, PayNow, Internet Bank Transfer or Credit/ Debit Card, MEPS, Wise
Inactivity fee None None
Custody fee None 2 SGD / Quarter (Charged by SGX)

Tiger Brokers charges a lower commission fee than IBKR for SG stock trading. Like IBKR, they also don’t impose any minimum funding amount or inactivity fee, but there will be a S$2 custody fee per quarter charged by SGX.  For US stock trading, IBKR is cheaper.

Having used both the IBKR and Tiger Brokers trading platforms, I prefer IBKR. Although Tiger Brokers has a light-hearted, colourful, gamified platform where you earn Tiger Coins and other rewards, I find it somewhat distracting. I need focus and fast reactions when I place trades, so the clean and professional IBKR platform is more my cup of tea.

Also, bear in mind that there was an incident in 2022 where one Singaporean who traded on Tiger Brokers was charged about $22,000 in settlement fees, which was 3 times the price of the stocks he sold. At that time, Tiger Brokers increased their transaction fees and did not instate a fee cap. Tiger Brokers responded that only 700 customers were affected and that they refunded those impacted as a form of goodwill. But we can all move on from this incident, as Tiger Brokers has since implemented a fee cap.

A final overview—IBKR vs Saxo vs Tiger Brokers

Interactive Brokers Saxo Tiger Brokers
Trading products Stocks, ETFs, bonds, options, futures, FX, mutual funds, commodities, CFDs, cryptocurrencies Stocks, ETFs, bonds, options, futures, FX, mutual funds, commodities, CFDs, cryptocurrencies Stocks, options, futures, ETFs, bonds, REITs, funds, indices, metals
Minimum commission fee (SG stocks) 0.02% – 0.08% SGD (0.9 – 2.50 SGD minimum) 0.03%-0.08%(1-5 SGD minimum) 0.03% (0.99 SGD minimum)
Platform fee (SG stocks) None None 0.03% (1 SGD minimum)
Minimum commission fee (US stocks) 0.0005 – 0.0035 USD per share (0.35 USD minimum) 0.02%-0.06%(0.25-2 USD minimum) 0.005 USD per share (0.99 USD minimum)
Minimum funding amount None None (Bronze account plan) None
Stock Holding Type Custodian Custodian CDP
Trading platforms Trader Workstation, Client Portal, IBKR Mobile/Desktop, IBKR API, GlobalTrader, and IBKR IMPACT SaxoInvestor, SaxoTraderGO, SaxoTraderPRO Tiger Brokers desktop app and mobile app
Payment method Bank transfer and Wise FAST, PayNow, MEPS, internet bank transfer or credit/debit card FAST, PayNow, Internet Bank Transfer or Credit/ Debit Card, MEPS, Wise
Inactivity fee None None None
Custody fee None None (if you opt into Securities Lending) 2 SGD / Quarter (Charged by SGX)

How do I start trading on Interactive Brokers?

You can apply for an Interactive Brokers account through MoneySmart.

Interactive Brokers logo
Online Promo
Newest desktop trading platform on IBKR Desktop
Min. Commission Fee US Stocks
US$1
Min. Commission Fee SG Stocks
$2.50
Min. Funding
$0

You will need to divulge information about your income, which can be done quite easily if you log into MyInfo using your SingPass.

Once your account has been approved, you can simply transfer money via internet banking and start trading right away.

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