Interactive Brokers and Tastyworks are two firms that offer advanced online trading solutions with low commissions.
For price-sensitive traders, Interactive Brokers and Tastyworks present a close matchup. While penny stock traders will love Interactive, active options traders will find the no-commission policy by Tastyworks on closing trades hard to beat.
Both trading platforms suit frequent traders in need of fast order executions and cutting-edge tools. However, the similarities end with the total trading cost and the security varieties available to trade.
So, when it comes to the Interactive Brokers vs. Tastyworks debate, which platform is ideal for you?
Comparison of Tastyworks vs. Interactive Brokers
To decide which is the better platform of the two to trade in, Interactive Brokers and Tastyworks will be assessed in terms of the following:
Software and User Interface
In my research, I found out that they both have desktop and browser platforms. Let’s take a look at each of them.
For Interactive Brokers, their main platform Trader Workstation is one of the most sophisticated software in the brokerage industry. This elaborate platform includes professional trading tools, including direct-access routing, charting tools, screeners, and integrated research.
While the Trader Workstation is by far the most extensive option out there, it is definitely also one of the most complicated. If you are just starting out, this may be an ambitious choice. However, Interactive Brokers does offer a web-based platform for beginner and intermediate traders called the WebTrader.
The WebTrader has most of the trading tools available on the Trader Workstation, but the user interface is more simplistic. You can display a graph that’s the width of your desktop’s monitor, with access to numerous charting tools and right-clicking trading.
To access Tastyworks’ complete trading toolkit, you’ll need to download the desktop program. Along with the basic trading tools and approximately a hundred technical studies, the highlight of this platform is its customizability. It supports more than one account and has four different graph styles, and an almost endless number of colors. You can also display your deals in a layout that works for you.
With similar watchlists, rudimentary charting, and updated list of trades by the broker’s customers, Tastyworks’ browser platform is about the same as its desktop counterpart minus order execution.
There are no complex order types on the trade ticket. Direct-access routing is something you’ll have to forget about with this platform. The ticket provides you with a market, limit, and stop orders. No other choices are available. Time-in-force options offered are included until a certain date and GTC.
Although it’s possible to expand the chart, its enlarged version lacks drawing tools, comparisons, and technical studies.
The Interactive Brokers platform integrates more duration choices and order types than the Tastyworks platform. However, Interactive Brokers’ Trader Workstation may be too overwhelming for the general trader.
If you want to use a desktop platform, Tastyworks may be a better choice overall. That being said, if web-browser platforms work fine for you, the Interactive Brokers’ WebTrader will offer more extensive trading tools and research with an easier-to-navigate interface.
Another important thing to take into consideration is if the broker offers mobile trading.
The Interactive Brokers app offers far better charting. You’ll find multiple display styles, technical studies, and a graph that’s displayable horizontally.
Also, vital features such as iBot and watchlists are available. Unlike in the Tastyworks platform, Interactive Brokers’s app order ticket contains several advanced order types.
Tastyworks clients can use the broker’s user-friendly mobile app to buy and sell securities. During my testing, I found the order ticket process quite pleasant. It provided large buttons, thus making the user experience straightforward and intuitive.
However, sadly, charting has been completely ignored. News articles and mobile check deposits are unavailable too.
That said, Tastyworks has included a Touch ID that has simplified logging in with an Apple device.
While both platforms seem easy to trade on, the Tastyworks’ platform was simplified to better fit a mobile interface. In the process, it lost some of its essential features available on its desktop platform.
If you are looking to use the mobile app for quick trades, Tastyworks would be a great option to go with. However, if you trade exclusively on mobile, Interactive Brokers will be the better bet.
A trader’s access to the market outside the regular trading hours is essential. It’s during this period you can take great advantage of notable price movements.
With Interactive Brokers, the pre-market period runs from 4:00 am EST to the time the opening bell rings. On the other hand, the after-hours session kicks off at the closing bell and lasts six hours.
For Tastyworks, the pre-market session starts at 7:00 am EST to the time the opening bell rings, and the after-hours session lasts for two hours immediately after the closing bell.
Both Interactive Brokers and Tastyworks offer clients both after-hours and pre-market trading sessions. However, it is clear that Interactive Brokers offer a longer extension of time, hence is my pick for winner in this category.
Investments Available on the Platform
Something else you should take into account is what other investments are available in the platform.
Interactive Brokers offers a basketful of investments. Besides options and stocks, you can buy and sell forex bonds, mutual funds, warrants, ETF’s, and futures. What’s more, Interactive Brokers has a global investment focus, and you can access over 120 international markets through their platform.
Tastyworks offers cryptocurrencies, stocks, futures, options, as well as ETFs.
The clear winner for this category is Interactive Brokers with its wide array of tradable assets. It’s especially suitable for those who are looking to diversify their portfolio. Tastyworks specializes in options trading, so if you’re not familiar with options, the platform doesn’t offer much else.
With an advanced trading platform, you’d want to take advantage of the research material that comes with it. Information like level II quotes offer additional insight, including price action and market depth. Knowing how other traders are bidding can be extremely useful in your own investment.
Interactive Brokers offers the basic information from Dow Jones and Thomson Reuters. The platform also allows for integrations with other financial websites when you pay subscription premiums. You can get level II quotes on their desktop platform with an added fee.
Tastyworks offers the basic research on options trading. They have a live video feed that broadcasts options trading insights.
While both brokers offer the basic information to support your decisions, Interactive Brokers offers the option to level up the research with an added fee. If you are a day trader, you may want to invest in the upgrade for level II quotes.
Advantages of Interactive Brokers
Below are the advantages of Interactive Brokers:
- Interactive Brokers has a deep discount brokerage, making it ideal for a customer base of very active traders and hedge funds.
- It has a meager commission on futures and options trades.
- The firm offers among the best-published margin interest rates in the industry.
- Interactive Brokers provides one of the most powerful and sophisticated professional trading platforms in the industry.
- The firm makes a wide variety of trading products available.
- The platform offers access to over 120 markets worldwide.
Advantages of Tastyworks
Below are the benefits of Tastyworks:
- The platform offers low trading fees.
- Tastyworks provides access to numerous supportive educational materials.
- It has good research tools.
- The platform is one of the best in the industry for analyzing and placing derivative trades.
Where Do Both Platforms Fall Short?
As great as both Tastyworks and Interactive Brokers might be, they have their respective shortcomings. Neither of them has a particular trading platform that’s intuitive. With so many features under the hood, navigation is never easy for a beginner trader. For this reason, newbies may get frustrated while attempting to navigate the platforms.
Interactive Brokers used to have a high minimum of $10,000, which is notably a barrier to entry for new traders. Furthermore, Interactive Brokers charges subscription fees to allow access to both market data as well as inactivity fees.
Meanwhile, Tastyworks isn’t perfect either. Not only does it provide limited essential research capabilities, but it also has a limited product range.
Which Brokerage Firm Is the Better Pick?
Now that everything has been covered in this Tastyworks vs. Interactive Brokers review, it’s time for the verdict. If you’re looking for a professional-level platform, then Interactive Brokers is the ideal firm for you. It’s clear from the features discussed above that its software is superior to Tastyworks.
It contains more tools and integrates with more duration choices and order types. The software is the most advanced in the brokerage industry, making it the best option for technical traders and chartists.
From the Interactive Brokers’ commission schedule, high-volume traders can reap numerous benefits. Global traders and traders with interest in bonds, forex, and mutual funds should consider trading in Interactive Brokers as they have various investments.
If you’re interested in options trading, you may want to go with Tastyworks for its specialty in that area. You’ll be able to take advantage of the options trading insights from experts in that field.
Though Tastyworks attempts to offer a new, unique, and exciting brokerage style, it can’t match the lion’s share of trading services that Interactive Brokers bring to the table. If you’re an options trader, consider starting with Tastyworks. It will prove highly valuable to you. Meanwhile, serious traders in need of the industry’s best software and advanced services are better off with Interactive Brokers.
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