How to Setup Interactive Brokers account (Fractional Shares enabled)

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Looking for an online brokerage service that serves markets from all around the world?

Interactive Brokers (IBKR) will definitely come to mind.

Founded in 1978 in New York City, IBKR is a global company that is currently more than 40 years old. Users signing up with IBKR can invest globally in stocks, options, futures, currencies, bonds & funds from 135 markets across 33 countries. In addition, IBKR offers one of the lowest upfront costs and quality execution regarding trading.

This article will guide you through all the eleven (11) steps required to register and open your new Interactive Brokers account.

How to set up and open an Interactive Brokers account?

Creating an IBKR account usually takes 5-10 minutes, depending on your country of residence.

For each Interactive Brokers account holder, you will need to provide:

  • Personal and contact information.
  • Income and tax residency information.
  • Information on trading experience and objectives.
  • Bank account information.

Follow the eleven (11) steps below.

Step 1. Go to your legal IBKR entity account.

IBKR has several top-level domains (TLDs) such as; .com.au, .com.uk, .com.sg and .com.hk. You do not need to guess and choose the most suitable TLD when signing up.

The easiest way is to simply visit their generic Interactive Brokers homepage, and you will then be automatically assigned to your Interactive Brokers legal entity website. This is based on your IP address and the place of your legal residence (when you fill up this field later on).

Step 2. Start Registering for an account

On the top-right hand of the Interactive Brokers homepage, click <Open Account> and click <Start Application>.

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Interactive Brokers homepage showing how to open an account.

You will now begin the registration process.

Step 3. Provide Login Credentials

Here you will need to provide the following details;

FieldsComments
1Email addressSo that you can be contactable for security, announcements and troubleshooting purposes
2UsernameOnly you can see your own username
3PasswordBetween 8- 40 characters, contain at least 1 letter and 1 number.
4CountryThe country where you are physically residing.

Click <Create Account> to continue.

A confirmation email will be sent to your email address (the one you stated above). Then, click the <Verify Account> button inside that email you received.

interactive-brokers-email-confirmation-verify-account-link
A confirmation email from Interactive Brokers asking for account verification.

Step 4. Complete a Started Application

You will be asked to re-login into your Interactive Brokers account. It will say “Complete a Started Application”.

Enter your username and password. Click <Login>.

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Step 5. Select an Account Type

For most first-timers, you should select <Individual> for your account type if you are using IBKR for yourself.

If you are a current resident of Singapore holding a FIN or NRIC identity card number, please indicate <Yes>, and you can use the government’s MyInfo database to auto-populate your information to IBKR and verify your real identity as well.

For others, fill up your personal information details as instructed. This section varies from country to country.

Step 6. Configure Your Trading Account

The required fields are as follows;

S/noFieldsComments
1Account Type (Cash or Margin)Choose <Cash> for most users. You can always change this later on.
2Income and Worth
Annual Net Income in SGD
NET Worth in SGD
Liquid NET Worth in SGD
Make sure your NET Worth is more than your Liquid NET Worth, or else you will encounter an error when you click continue.
3Investment Objectives and Intended Purpose of TradingChoose “Growth” for now to deal with stocks and ETFs. You can always add more later on.
4Trading Experience and PermissionsFor the <Stocks> section, try NOT to choose <No knowledge> as there might be restrictions later on. Instead, go for <Good knowledge>. You can always add more options later on.
5Regulatory InformationChoose <No>.
6Account Add-Ons
Stock Yield Enhancement Program
Untick for now. You can always enrol later on.
7How Did You Hear About Us?Self-explanatory. Select one from the dropdown list that applies.

For the <Income and Worth> section, if your stated fields amount is too high, e.g. more than $150,000, IBKR may request your proof of income.

Step 7. Confirm Your Tax Residence

For residents of Singapore who had previously used the MyInfo database, your particulars will be auto-populated here.

The necessary fields are;

S/noFieldsComments
1Treaty Benefits QualificationsIf your country is not on the list of dropdowns, choose “I do not qualify for US tax treaty benefits.”
2Declaration of Tax ResidencySelect your Country of Tax Residency and write down your Identification Number
3SignatureWrite your full name and tick the checkbox below to complete your consent.

Step 8. Review & Sign Agreements

The entire completed form will be displayed to you for your confirmation. Check and scroll down to the bottom of the page and type in your full name in the signature box. Click <Continue>.

Step 9. Processing your documents

You will be asked to wait for a few moments, typically within a minute on the page. After which, it will display the message “Your account is ready to go“. Click <Go to login>.

If not, you may be asked to provide more documents such as;

  • Submitting a photo ID to verify your identity,
  • Submitting a document to verify your residential address,
  • Confirm your mobile number.

Provide these required proofs and move on to the next step.

Step 10. Login and Activate IB Key Security

Once you are successful in logging in to your IBKR account at this point, your account is now successfully created. However you need to tighten your account’s security by activating the IB Key Security.

To do this, you will see a link on your homepage that says “Activate IB Key”. Click on it, and you will be shown a QR code that requires connecting with the IBKR mobile app. Complete the process as instructed. Once done, your account is now protected with IB Key Security via IBKR Mobile.

Step 11. Request for Trading Permissions

One of the essential things to do when setting up your new IBKR account is to request trading permissions. They are;

a) Fractional Shares Trading

b) Financial Markets

Activate IBKR Fractional Shares Trading

You will be able to buy and own shares that are less than one (1) share. This is because you are buying stocks as a fraction, for example, buying 0.2 of an Apple stock, and you only pay 20% of the full price of one single Apple stock.

Type “FRACTIONS” in the search box and select <Trade in Fractions>.

You will come to the page that says “Request & Configure Trading Permissions”. Click <Continue>.

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It may take up to 24 hours for the changes to take effect. Typically it will be enabled within a few hours. Be sure to log in to check periodically.

Financial Market

You will add markets and products here in this step.

Type in “PERMISSION” and select the <Request Trading Permissions>.

Under the <Stocks> section, you can click <Add> to add more countries if you want to buy stocks from more countries.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to deposit funds into Interactive Brokers account

On your main account page, click <Deposit Funds> and select <Make a Deposit>. Select the currency you want to deposit, and IBKR will recommend the type of deposit available for your country. Wire transfer is the most common and convenient way.

Depending on your country and bank, the funding process can take as fast as an hour to one (1) business day.

How do Interactive Brokers handle my personal information?

As stated on their website, they do not sell your information to third parties, nor will they call you and suggest investments for you.

Where do I sign up for a new Interactive Brokers account in my Country?

Go to the official IBKR homepage, and you will be guided to your local entity of Interactive Brokers.


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