How to buy an ETF from IBKR Mobile

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How to buy an ETF from IBKR Mobile

Interactive Brokers is my favorite broker. I believe it is the cheapest broker and it offers a very large array of investing instruments. It is really great!

However, there is something that is not so great with Interactive Brokers. It is simply not really user-friendly. It is really getting better, however. The main issue comes from the fact that there are four user interfaces in Interactive Brokers. That means you can buy and sell shares in four different ways!

And another problem is that the simplest interfaces are also the least advertised. If you look around on the internet, most people would advise the Trading Workstation (TWS) interface. However, this is the most complex interface. You need to know that you do not have to use this interface!

Interactive Brokers has two simple interfaces: Account Management and IBKR Mobile, their mobile application. I have already covered how to buy an ETF from Account Management. Now, I want to cover the mobile application. I know a lot of people like to trade from their phones more than from their computer.

Let’s see how we can buy an ETF from the IBKR Mobile application. We are going to see how to deposit funds, how to convert currencies and finally how to buy an ETF or any other share for that matter. Let’s get into it. I chose the VT ETF since it is a large part of my portfolio. But these steps are the same for any ETF.

IBRK Mobile

Interactive Brokers
Interactive Brokers

You can do a lot of things from the IBRK Mobile application:

  • Visualize your portfolio
  • Track your performance
  • Buy and sell shares with the most common order types
  • Get news about the market
  • Easily convert currencies

These are the main features. But there are tons of other features on the mobile application. It is very complete.

There are only a few missing features that you cannot do easily from the mobile application:

  1. Request a withdrawal
  2. Easily deposit funds
  3. Generate reports

For these features, you will need to use Account Management. In fact, you can announce the deposit of funds from the mobile application. However, this starts a browser inside the application with the Account Management interface inside. I really think this is not really well done, so I do not use it.

Access the application

First of all, you will need to have an Interactive Brokers account before you can use IBKR Mobile. If you do not have one already, create an Interactive Brokers account in a few simple steps.

If you have not done so, you will also need to install the application on your phone. You can find it for Apple and Android devices. Just go to your favorite app store and search for IBKR Mobile. Make sure it comes from Interactive Brokers.

Then start the application. You will have to enter your username and password. And then, you will have to enter your second-factor authentication passcode.

IBRK Mobile Login
IBRK Mobile Login
IBKR Mobile Second Factor Login
IBKR Mobile Second Factor Login

Deposit Money into your account

If you do not have cash on your account, the first thing you will have to do is to transfer some cash to your account. If you already have cash, you can directly go to the next section.

Now, as I said before, it is possible to transfer cash directly from the IBKR mobile application. But it is not as convenient as from Account Management. If you have a computer available, I would advise you to do your money transfers from there.

To transfer money to your account from IBKR Mobile:

  1. Open the Left Menu
  2. Click on “Account Management”
  3. Click on “Fund Transfers”
  4. Select the Deposit Method you want to use
  5. Enter the amount you want to transfer
  6. Click on Continue
  7. Order the transfer from your current bank

All the information for the bank transfer are provided on the interface on you are done selecting the deposit method and entering the amount. Be careful to use the correct information. If Interactive Brokers is not able to identify a transfer from you, it will return the money to your bank account directly.

If you have not yet created a Deposit Method, you can also create one from here:

  1. Open the Left Menu
  2. Click on “Account Management”
  3. Click on “Fund Transfers”
  4. Choose the currency of the method
  5. Click on “How To Wire Funds”
  6. Fill all the fields
  7. Enter the amount you want to transfer
  8. Click on Continue
  9. Initiate the transfer from your current bank

Next time, you will not have to enter your bank information.

Deposit funds from IBKR Mobile
Deposit funds from IBKR Mobile
Declare a new deposit method from IBKR Mobile
Declare a new deposit method from IBKR Mobile

Now, you have to wait for the transfer to come from your bank to Interactive Brokers. If you transfer CHF, you just need to make sure to use the CHF IBAN! Otherwise, you will have to pay fees on the transfer.

The money may take a few days to reach IB. But generally, it is quite fast. I generally get the money on the next working day after I transferred it.

Convert currency from IBKR Mobile

Now, if you plan to buy an ETF in a currency which you do not have, you will have to convert the currency first. For instance, if you want to buy the VT ETF in USD and you only have CHF, you will have to buy some USD with your CHF.

From the IBKR Mobile application, there are two ways to convert currencies:

  1. Use the integrated feature “Convert Currency”. This is a fairly new feature. It is really simple but you have less control.
  2. Use the trading system to buy as a share. You have more control but it takes some time getting used to it.

We are going to see how to do it both ways.

1. Convert currency the easy way

In IBRK Mobile, there is an integrated feature to convert money very easily. You can find the Convert Currency option in the left menu.

To convert currency with this feature is really simple:

  1. Open the Convert Currency feature
  2. Choose the base currency (CHF on my example)
  3. Choose the target currency (USD on my example)
  4. Enter the amount you want to convert
  5. Just slide to initiate the conversion.
  6. It be will be executed as soon as possible

Your order will be made on the best exchange possible, depending on the amount you are converting. And you will do the exchange at the market price.

I really like this way of converting currency, it is more intuitive. The only limitation is that you cannot choose another stock market order type, such as a Limit order for instance. If you want more control, you can use the second technique.

Left Menu on IBKR Mobile
Left Menu on IBKR Mobile
A Buy Order for Currency on IBKR Mobile
A Buy Order for Currency on IBKR Mobile

2. Convert currency the trading way

The second technique is the same we can use for trading any share on the stock market. This is also the same way we used on the account management interface.

To convert currency with this feature is also straightforward:

  1. Open the search
  2. Search for the currency pair you need (USD.CHF in our case)
  3. Choose Forex option for the currency pair
  4. Click Buy on the below part of the screen
  5. Choose the number of currency you want to buy (this is the target currency)
  6. Choose the market order you want. You should use either Limit or Market here.
  7. Choose the order duration. Day duration should always be fine for Forex conversion.
  8. Once you are ready, slide to submit the buy order
  9. It will be executed as soon as possible

You may receive a warning if you convert less than 25’000 USD. This simply tells that it will not use IDEALPRO but another foreign exchange routing system. You can safely ignore this warning!

Once the order is executed, you will be able to buy an ETF with this money. Normally this is almost instant unless you convert an enormous amount of money.

Search for USD.CHF on IBKR Mobile
Search for USD.CHF on IBKR Mobile
USD.CHF Forex on IBKR Mobile
USD.CHF Forex on IBKR Mobile
A Buy Order for Currency on IBKR Mobile
A Buy Order for Currency on IBKR Mobile

Buy an ETF from IBKR Mobile

Now that you have money in the correct currency, you can finally buy your ETF. Buying an ETF is extremely similar to the second option for buying currency.

To buy an ETF on IBKR Mobile is really simple:

  1. Open the search
  2. Search for the ETF you want (VT in our example)
  3. Choose Stock for the ETF
  4. Click Buy on the below part of the screen
  5. Choose the number of shares you want to buy
  6. Choose the market order type you want to use. If you do not know what to use, you can use Limit order. If the ETF is very popular, you can use a Market order without too much surprise.
  7. Choose the duration of the order.
  8. Once you are ready, slide to submit the buy order
  9. It will be executed as soon as possible

Depending on the order you choose and the duration you choose, it may take a while for the order to be fulfilled.

Personally, I always use a Limit and a duration of a day. I do not want to do some market timing. I just want to buy at the current price. The reason for not using a market order is to avoid surprises if the spread is too large.

You may also see a warning when you execute this order. If you do not have real-time prices for the ETF you are planning to buy you will see a warning from IB. This just means that the prices you are seeing are delayed by 15 minutes. If you use a Limit Order, you can safely ignore this warning.

Search for VT on IBKR Mobile
Search for VT on IBKR Mobile
The VT ETF Stock on IBKR Mobile
The VT ETF Stock on IBKR Mobile
A buy order for the VT ETF on IBKR Mobile
A buy order for the VT ETF on IBKR Mobile

Conclusion

Now, you know everything there is to know about trading from IBKR Mobile. As you can see, you can do pretty much everything from this simple interface. With the Account Management interface, these are the two best interfaces of Interactive Brokers.

If you followed all these steps, you will have transferred money into your account, converted some money into another currency and finally bought some shares of your favorite ETF.

For almost everything, this interface is really convenient. I just wish they added a better way of transferring money from the mobile application. But this is something I only do once a month. So I guess, it is not that bad.

If you like mobile application better than web application, you can use IBKR Mobile to do everything. If you invest only a few times per month and only use a few ETFs in your portfolio, there is really nothing else you need than this application.

To learn more about Interactive Brokers, you can learn how to use the Account Management interface.

What do you think about IBKR Mobile? Which of the IBRK User Interfaces do you prefer?

About the author

Mr. The Poor Swiss

Mr. The Poor Swiss is the main author behind thepoorswiss.com. In 2017, he realized that he was spending more and more every year, falling into the trap of lifestyle inflation. He decided to cut on his expenses and increase his income. This blog is relating his story and findings. In 2018, he saved more than 40% of his income. He made it a goal to reach Financial Independence. You can send Mr. The Poor Swiss a message here.

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