Online Brokerage Comparison: IBKR vs Tiger Brokers vs TD Ameritrade

Ching Sue Mae

Ching Sue Mae

Last updated 08 March, 2022

Choices are never easy. That’s why, we do the math, so you don’t have to. Compare This, a SingSaver series, is here to help make decisions a little easier for you.

The battle of the hottest brokerages in town. Here’s a comparison of the three brokerages known for their US market access and low commission fees.


If you’re on the hunt to open a brokerage account, chances are, you would have come across one of the three brokerage accounts in this article. We pit these platforms against one another for specific factors of consideration to see which best suits your investment style. 

Here’s what we’ll look at to help you make a better decision:

  Key Benefits
Interactive Brokers Low trading cost that is hard to beat

Access to 135 markets in 34 countries
Tiger Brokers Competitive commission fees 

Attractive sign-up perks and rewards for trading
TD Ameritrade Commission-free trades for US exchange-listed stocks, ETFs and option trades

What these online brokerages have in common

#1 No minimum deposit amount required

All three brokerages do not require a minimum deposit amount or minimum balance, making them great brokerage account options for new investors and traders that plan to start small. 

#2 Access to US markets

With the US being the largest financial market in the world, the modern day trader or investor would look to their shores to find the leading companies to invest in. All three brokerages in question allow their users to access securities listed on the US markets. 

Comparison #1: Commission fee 

First up is the commission fee — arguably the most important factor of comparison — which is the cost you incur for each trade you make on the platform. 

  Interactive Brokers (IBKR) Tiger Brokers TD Ameritrade
Singapore Stocks 0.08% of trade value, min. $2.50 per order  0.08%, min. $2.88 per order is currently waived  N.A. 
US Stocks USD$0.005 per share, min. USD$1 per order  USD$0.01, min. USD$1.99 per trade $0 
  • For Singapore stocks: Tiger Brokers 

Tiger Brokers’ commission fee rates are the most attractive amongst the three, with no minimum commission fee per order. 0.08% is also the benchmark for low commission fees when it comes to Singapore stocks. While IBKR also offers 0.08%, there is a minimum $2.50 commission fee which could be relatively costly for those that are purchasing small lot sizes.  

Unfortunately, TD Ameritrade’s $0 commission fee only applies to US exchange-listed stocks, ETFs and options — effectively ruling them out as the brokerage account of choice if you plan to buy Singapore stocks. 

  • For US stocks: TD Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade offers an unbeatable $0 commission (read: free trades) for US exchange-listed stocks, ETFs, and options trades. Those trading options should note that a USD$0.70 per contract fee applies, with no exercise or assignment fees. 

IBKR makes a better choice than Tiger Brokers when it comes to US stocks trading, offering half the commission fee. 

However, it’s worthwhile to note that Tiger Brokers’ commission fees remain very affordable, especially when compared to other brokerages that might charge a minimum commission fee of $10 to $25 with 0.18% trading commissions. 

  • For multiple markets: IBKR or Tiger Brokers

If you’re looking to buy securities in both the US and Singapore market, or other markets for that matter, IBKR or Tiger Brokers would be the platforms to use. They provide access to multiple markets across the world, along with competitive fees. 

Comparison #2: Maintenance fees

Interactive Brokers (IBKR) Tiger Brokers TD Ameritrade
Up to USD$10 per month (less commission paid that month) None None

Not a common fee charged by brokerage houses, the only one of the three that charges a maintenance fee is IBKR. This fee is up to USD$10 per month, less commissions paid that month. 

While it sounds like an ‘additional’ fee to fork out, this isn’t the case especially if you make multiple trades each month or if you make a large trade. If your commission fee each month hits USD$10, this maintenance fee is equivalent to $0. 

Here are examples of two scenarios that allow you to reach USD$10 commission in a month: 

  • Make 10 orders that cost the minimum of USD$1 per order for US stocks 
  • Buying 15 Apple shares (assuming they’re trading at USD$140) will cost USD$2,100 — equivalent to USD$10.50 in commissions 

On this note, do not be fooled by zero-commission free trades that might convince users that trading is absolutely free. Do beware of other fees like a per-share settlement fee that some brokerage accounts charge, especially those without a cap. This could potentially put you in a deficit if the price of each share is low. A recent article by The Business Times highlighted a trader who sold his shares for a total of US$5,000, only to realise that he found himself in an US$11,000 deficit because of the high settlement fee that he was charged.

Comparison #3: Market access

The Singapore market has been known to pale in comparison to markets such as the US when it comes to growth. Naturally, traders and investors might prefer to put their money in overseas markets for greater opportunities to grow their wealth. 

Interactive Brokers (IBKR) Tiger Brokers TD Ameritrade
Countries: Present in 135 markets, 34 countries and in 27 currencies

Products: Stocks, bonds, funds, options, futures, and currencies
Countries: US, Hong Kong, Singapore, China, Australia stocks

Products: Stocks, options, ETFs, futures, warrants/CBBCs
Countries: US market only 

Products: Stocks, ETFs, options, futures

IBKR offers the widest range of products, markets and currencies for you to trade. If you’re looking to trade in lesser-known markets, or if you simply prefer having access to many different markets, IBKR is your go-to platform. 

Tiger Brokers offers access to the popular stock markets, including Singapore, US, Hong Kong, China and Australia. 

TD Ameritrade is the most limiting, allowing you to trade US-exchange listed equity shares, ETFs and all listed index and equity options. You can also apply to trade futures with TD Ameritrade after you've opened your margin account. Unfortunately, non-US market products are not available. 

Comparison #4: Sign-up promotions

If you’re indifferent towards either of the three brokerage options, you can consider signing up for an account with the one that offers the most attractive promotions.

Interactive Brokers (IBKR) Tiger Brokers TD Ameritrade
None at the moment 5 commission-free trades, stock vouchers and free market data for US stocks. None at the moment

Tiger Brokers is the standout winner in this comparison. By simply signing up for a Tiger Brokers account, you can make trades for free for your first five trades. You also get additional support of their Level 2 market data to help you make better trade decisions. Lastly, get more rewards when your friends use your referral code to sign up. 

It’s also worth noting that Tiger Brokers offers instant deposit of funds with their Direct Debit Authorization (DDA) feature, eliminating the waiting time required before you can purchase securities with your brokerage account. 

Which one is best for you? 

Firstly, geography plays a part. For example, you will not be able to buy Singapore stocks on TD Ameritrade.

Experienced traders or investors that plan to purchase stocks across multiple markets could find it more convenient to use platforms that allow you to trade at low cost in many different markets, like IBKR or Tiger Brokers.

If you don't see yourself executing numerous trades a month, your trading volume or size may not be large enough to justify IBKR ’s USD$10 minimum maintenance fee (less commissions paid). Tiger Brokers offers greater flexibility. You can also consider the newest brokerage to enter Singapore — moomoo by Futu SG.

Last but not least, picking any one of the three is a better choice than not picking at all. Rather than wasting time and opportunity cost making this single decision, you could be better off using this time to pick and choose your fighters in the stock market. 

Read these next:
Interactive Brokers (IBKR) Review: Pros, Cons and Why They’re So Popular
Tiger Brokers Review: New Kid On The Block With Low Commissions
moomoo Review: Low Cost Trades And A Free AAPL Share
Best US Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) To Invest In (2021)
Best Brokerage Accounts To Start Your Investment Journey In Singapore


A flat white, an adventure-filled travel and a good workout is her fuel. Sue Mae enjoys sharing knowledge on personal finance while chasing the dream of financial independence.


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