If you are looking to up your investment and online stock trading game, it’s time to upgrade your trading platform. Several online companies offer accounts, and it’s vital to pick one that aligns with your goals and objectives.
So which one is better – Interactive Brokers or Lightspeed? Here’s what you need to know.
At a Glance
Interactive Brokers and Lightspeed are both online stock brokering companies. They have extensive online platforms made for intermediate to advanced online trading. Lightspeed is known for its higher fees, but offers steeper discounts for large volume trading and Interactive Brokers has an all-encompassing single platform for market trading.
Interactive Brokers was founded in 1977 and has been assisting customers with stock trading since then. Lightspeed is a relatively new company but has been successful and growing since its inception in 2008. Both companies offer high-tech online platforms and downloadable software.
Both companies have excellent trading platforms (although Lightspeed’s are split up among several plans) and quick trading execution. They have a large selection of offerings and assets and various routing options. Interactive Brokers and Lightspeed both have a lot to offer the online trading world.
How Are They Similar?
Lightspeed and Interactive Brokers have several similarities, not just because they are both online brokering companies that offer fast trading options and various levels of plans.
Here are some of the most significant similarities between the two companies:
- Both have several different programs for varying levels of trading
- Both offer excellent execution and quick trades
- Both have a large availability of assets
- Both provide high-quality mobile apps
- Both companies are for more advanced trading
- Both offer a fee-free trading platform for beginning traders
How Are They Different?
However, there are several key differences between the two companies. There are not necessarily pros or cons – each company is excellent for a specific subset of traders and has different features.
Here are some key differences:
- Lightspeed has a greater variety of platforms
- Lightspeed has higher commission fees and monthly fees
- Lightspeed has excellent discounts for high volume trading
- Interactive Brokers has no account minimum
- Interactive Brokers has access to international offerings
- Interactive Brokers has more advanced security options
Interactive Brokers or Lightspeed?
Now that you’ve seen the two companies at a glance, it’s time to dive in. Interactive Brokers and Lightspeed offer similar packages, but the fees, offerings, and software all have significant differences. The execution speed is relatively similar (depending on what you’re looking for), and the online support and customer service are comparable.
These are the categories that we’ve looked at extensively and compared the two companies. Read on, and decide for yourself which company to register your stocks with. Trading speed and availability of assets are vital to online trading, but you can’t ignore aspects like software capabilities and customer service.
Costs and Fees
Interactive Brokers is a company that offers online trading with very few fees. They have a $30 annual subscription cost and charge $15 for mutual fund commissions. Their options commissions are only 70 cents each, and they lead the market in not charging commissions for regular stock commissions.
On the other hand, Lightspeed charges $25 a month in addition to a $25 maintenance fee if you don’t have the minimum of assets invested. They also charge a regular stock and ETF commission of almost five dollars per trade and 60 cents per option commission. However, Lightspeed does offer pretty significant volume discounts for frequent traders.
Interactive Brokers also has no minimum deposit amount but does charge a fee for account inactivity. To sign up for a Lightspeed account, you need a minimum of $15,000, or you will have to pay the monthly payments. This price, on top of the hefty commission fees, makes Lightspeed a much more pricey option.
Software and Platform
The trading platform that Interactive Brokers offers is a single, all-encompassing trading platform. It’s one of the most advanced trading platforms on the market today. You can operate in several different markets at once, access international markets directly, and trade quickly.
Lightspeed doesn’t have a comprehensive platform – it splits up the markets and plans into five separate trading platforms. The biggest complaint about the software is that it’s often a little glitchy on Apple computers, but the platforms are highly flexible otherwise. Only one of Lightspeed’s platforms is free, but they offer a free mobile app for investing on the go.
If you are looking for a more intensive program to help with multiple types of assets and need direct market access, Interactive Brokers will be a better platform for you. However, if trading equities or futures are your focus, one of Lightspeed’s platform options would be a great choice.
The customer support from Interactive Brokers is robust and includes live online chat, computer-answered frequently asked questions, and phone service. There is also email support and fax if you need it and a host of online learning opportunities and blogs for common issues.
Lightspeed, on the other hand, only offers a toll-free number and email options for customer support. There’s much less of a guarantee for quick, high-quality service through these options. It’s limited to the very basics of customer support and has been reported to be slow by several users.
Customer support is an underrated yet highly valuable part of any trading platform. If you have issues, you want to contact a real person quickly or find an answer through an online chat. However, Lightspeed doesn’t offer as many options for customer support as Interactive Brokers.
Interactive Brokers offers a wide variety of assets, in addition to their direct and international market access. Here are some of the types of assets that Interactive Brokers has access for:
- Single Stock Futures
- Futures Options
- Mutual Funds
- Precious Metals
- Structured Products
Lightspeed doesn’t have the same amount of options because of its limited market capabilities. They only offer a few kinds of tradable assets. Through Lightspeed, you can only access forex trading with currency futures. Here are the investments available through Lightspeed:
Lightspeed doesn’t have the same offerings as Interactive Brokers. If you only need a few options for asset trading, Lightspeed will be a perfectly fine platform for you. However, if you need anything more complicated or want to trade with forex or other funds, you will need a more robust platform such as Interactive Brokers.
Interactive Brokers is known for their versatility of markets and swift execution. Their advanced platform encompasses all of the aspects of trading that the program offers instead of splitting them up over several platforms. Routing and hotkey access are a little more complicated with Interactive Brokers, but they provide more options for stock trading.
Lightspeed’s strength lies in the simplicity of its platform options. You can choose which to use. Their day trading platform is consistent and quick, and they offer fast execution on all of their platforms. Lightspeed also offers more customization to their routing options, including direct access routing.
While the Interactive Brokers platform is more complicated, it offers a greater variety of assets and quicker execution. Day trading might be easier for Lightspeed, and hotkey functionality is comparable between the two companies. When you’re trading, it’s vital to know which aspects are more important to you and your needs.
Interactive Brokers offers a second-factor login system for extra security. Lightspeed also has a dual authentication login, but both steps are completed on the same device. Otherwise, the security options for the two platforms are relatively similar.
Interactive Brokers vs. Lightspeed: The Winner
Interactive Brokers is the better stock exchange program overall. They offer a more significant amount of assets, excellent execution, and much lower fees. There is more access to markets and a great mobile app that keeps the integrity of the entire online platform.
Neither of these products is ideal for beginners, and both are good for high-volume, multiple market investors and stock traders. However, with better customer service, more trading options, and a more complex marketing platform, Interactive Brokers is our choice for a better investing experience.
Who Should Use Lightspeed?
Lightspeed’s primary asset is the massive discounts they give to high-volume traders. If you are only looking for a few types of assets and want those prices, you might want to consider Lightspeed. It’s great for professionals who need large amounts at a lower price and don’t mind investing a more significant share initially.
Who Should Use Interactive Brokers?
If you are a heavy investor and want to continue to trade multiple assets, you would benefit from an Interactive Brokers account. It’s been one of the top account holders for several decades now and offers a massive variety of assets with some of the lowest fees on the market. Unless you’re an absolute beginner at online trading, Interactive Brokers is the best option.
How to Sign Up
To sign up for Interactive Brokers, follow this link and fill out the forms. With an Interactive Brokers account, you’ll be able to invest directly into the market, into international markets, and enjoy excellent execution with low rates and commission fees.
This online platform offers everything you need for stock exchange and market access.