Compare ZacksTrade and Interactive Brokers: IRA, commissions, investing fees, trading tools, account differences, pros and cons. Which online broker is better?

Overview of Interactive Brokers and Zacks Trade

Zacks Trade and Interactive Brokers provide different types of investing services. Although they use some of the same software, it’s important to consider the different services they provide so you can pick the right broker for your financial needs.

Broker Cost

Broker Fees Stock/ETF
Mutual Fund
Annual IRA
IB $0 $14.95 $0.25+ per contract $0-$240** $30
ZacksTrade $1+ $27.50 $0.75 per contract $0 $0


Broker Review Cost Investment Products Trading Tools Customer Service Research Overall Rating


IB: Get up to $1,000 in IBKR stock with this referral link!

ZacksTrade: Get the lowest margin rates.

Range of Tradable Investments

Zacks Trade offers ETF’s, option contracts, equities (including many foreign ones), mutual funds, and fixed-income securities. Interactive Brokers offers all of these plus futures (including options on futures and cryptocurrency futures), warrants, precious metals, forex, and contracts for difference.

IB wins the first category.

Desktop Programs

Both companies use the same desktop platform. The software offers very good charting with lots of technical studies and drawing tools. It’s possible to save a chart as a template or place a trade with the right click of the mouse.

Zacks Trade vs IB

Many other advanced features abound, including a very sophisticated order ticket with direct-access routing and many order options.

This category is obviously a tie.


The Zacks Trade website hosts a FAQ with lots of information on trading with the brokerage firm. We also found an online chat function, which makes contacting a rep online very convenient. There is a portal and a browser platform. The portal is the simpler of the two. It is best used for account management, while the browser platform offers a more advanced order ticket.

Interactive Brokers has the same platform and portal. Its website hosts a greater amount of information than the Zacks Trade site provides. For example, there is information on advisor accounts, global markets, securities financing, and more. It’s also possible to switch languages on the IB site.

IB is the victor here.

Mobile Apps

Both brokerage firms in our survey use the same mobile platform. It includes an artificial intelligence named iBot that can answer some verbal questions. Charting comes with technical indicators and horizontal viewing. Although it doesn’t offer mobile check deposit, we did find the ability to trade option contracts. Other highlights include multiple order types, market commentary, and some on-demand videos.


Another draw.

Extended Hours

Zacks Trade clients can buy and sell securities starting at 4:00 am, EST. With the broker’s after-hours session, they have until 8:00 pm. Interactive Brokers starts its pre-market session an hour and a half after Zacks; its late-night period ends at the same time.

Zacks Trade has the edge here.

Level II Data

Both brokerage firms offer Level II quotes on the desktop platform discussed earlier.

Another tie.

Margin Policies

Margin borrowing is available at either brokerage house. Both IB and Zacks Trade customers use Reg T guidelines, which stipulate 50% as initial margin and 25% as maintenance. For short positions, both companies require a higher 30% for maintenance, and the stock must be priced above $16.67.

Zacks provides 6:1 leverage for accounts that can maintain a minimum balance of $110,000. Although IB doesn’t have this policy, it does charge a very low 6.08% for debits under $25,000. At Zacks Trade, the same loan currently costs 7.33%.

Overall, it’s pretty even here.

Option Trading

Options can be traded on the mobile platform, browser system, or desktop software. As we already noted, these tools are the same at both brokers. The browser software offers several multi-leg strategies, including iron condor, synthetic call, calendar, and butterflies. One really nice feature of this platform is the ability to route a derivative order to a specific exchange. The desktop system has many option search tools.

Another tie.

Security Education and Research

Both brokerage firms in our survey offer learning materials on their websites. These resources include both videos and articles. During our research, we found more on IB’s site. The desktop platform offers a powerful stock screener that is able to scan global equity markets.

Interactive Brokers wins this category.

Other Services

Zacks Trade and IB both offer dividend reinvesting, but a Zacks Trade account cannot hold partial shares. Both brokerage firms require an entire account to be enrolled or unenrolled.

Both companies offer IRA’s. Neither IB nor Zacks Trade offers automatic investing for mutual funds.

Interactive Brokers has a slight advantage here.

Our Recommendations

For beginners, we recommend Interactive Brokers over Zacks Trade for the sheer fact that the company’s website has more learning materials.

For long-term investors and retirement accounts, both companies are pretty even.

For ETF and stock trading, we can suggest either broker-dealer. Active traders will find a better value with IB’s commission schedule.

For mutual fund investors, both brokerage firms are fairly equal.

For customer service, we suggest Zacks Trade for its online chat tool.


IB: Get up to $1,000 in IBKR stock with this referral link!

ZacksTrade: Get the lowest margin rates.

ZacksTrade vs Interactive Brokers Summary

Interactive Brokers and Zacks Trade are very close in many categories. The primary difference lies in their commission schedules and range of products.

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