Chapter 4 — How to fund your Interactive Brokers account

Last updated:: May 14, 2023

Logo Interactive Brokers

We’re finally going to talk about something motivating!
If you’re like me, you may find that funding your Interactive Brokers account is exciting but also scary. Because it means you’re really going to invest your hard-earned cash…

But don’t worry, this feeling doesn’t last long because once you have made your first bank wire to your Interactive Brokers account, the next ones will be easy.

Step 1: Inform Interactive Brokers of your incoming wire transfer

In order to fund your investment account, you must first inform IB that you will make a bank wire to them.

There is another method of funding called “Transfer Securities” (from another financial institution), but we will keep it simple for now.

So once you have secured your account and logged back into Interactive Brokers, you must click on the “Fund your account” link:

Click on "Fund your account"

Then, you must choose the currency of the money you want to transfer to your Interactive Brokers account (“CHF” in our case) as well as the deposit method (“Bank wire” in our case):

Choice of transfer currency and deposit method

Here are the information you must provide in the following form:

Once you have completed everything, you can click on “Create deposit”.

Creating a deposit announcement via bank wire transfer at Interactive Brokers (1/2)

Creating a deposit announcement via bank wire transfer at Interactive Brokers (2/2)

Step 2: Take note of the Interactive Brokers bank wire transfer information

Once you have made your deposit announcement, you will be taken to a page that lists all the necessary information you need to enter for the wire transfer:

  1. The exact amount you need to transfer
  2. The recipient of the transfer
  3. The SWIFT/BIC code in case your bank requires it
  4. The IBAN (use the one starting with CH and not the one starting with GB, so the bank transfer is free)
  5. The reference message to the beneficiary so that IB knows that this transfer is to be assigned to your IB account (because everyone sends the money to the same IBAN)

Bank transfer instructions to your Interactive Brokers account

Once all the information has been noted down (you can take a screenshot to help the first time), you can click on “Finish”.

Step 3: Make the wire transfer from your bank

Now that you have told Interactive Brokers that you are going to wire money to your investment account, you have 60 days to make this transfer from your bank.

On my side, I use the mobile online bank Zak in the screenshots below but it’s very similar no matter which bank you use:

"Transfers" screen on Zak mobile app

Entering Interactive Brokers bank transfer information into the Zak mobile app

Entering Interactive Brokers bank transfer information into the Zak mobile app (suite)

Entering the amount to be transferred to Interactive Brokers: CHF 1'000 as indicated to IB

Wire summary for Interactive Brokers from the Zak mobile app

Confirmation of the wire transfer for Interactive Brokers via mTAN SMS code

Successful wire to Interactive Brokers!

Depending on your bank, the wire transfer may take from a few hours to a few days to be available at Interactive Brokers.

Also, if your e-banking asks you to choose “Fees to be paid by the issuer” (i.e. you) or “Fees to be paid by the receiver” (i.e. IB), choose the receiver version because IB does not charge anything.

Once your money arrives, you can log in to your Interactive Brokers and you will see your transfer on your start page:

Deposit of CHF 1'000 I received on my Interactive Brokers account

In case you don’t have the same start page, you can always find your Interactive Brokers transaction history as follows:

Menu link to your Interactive Brokers transaction history

History of your Interactive Brokers transactions

Step 4: Why can’t I use my funds yet? (for trading or withdrawal)

When you send cash to Interactive Brokers, they apply a settlement period between the deposit date and the date you can start using your cash.

From experience:

The advantage is that you can access this information transparently by clicking on the detailed view of your transaction from the history screen we saw above:

Dates of availability of the cash you have deposited (for trading and withdrawal)

You also have the same kind of settlement period when you sell securities to buy others — i.e. you have to wait a certain amount of time before you can use your cash.

How do I make a deposit to my Interactive Brokers account once it is opened?

Once your Interactive Brokers account is opened and operational, the modus operandi for transferring money to it is as follows:

Main menu > "Transfer & Pay" > "Transfer Funds"

Choice of your fund deposit method: for example, in my case via my (old) BCV account

As you can see on the screenshot above, you can transfer funds in any currency. It’s quite convenient if you have an account with euros. Then, once you have received the cash, you can either buy securities in euros, or convert your cash into CHF to buy securities in CHF.

Then you must announce how much you want to transfer and click on "Create deposit" at the bottom right of the screen

Once you have made your deposit announcement, you can resume from step 2 above as it is the same process afterwards.

An important note about Interactive Brokers’ Compliance department

One day I received an email from Interactive Brokers’ Compliance department telling me to contact one of their employees for a check. I was wondering what it was about…

In fact, our Interactive Brokers account is only in one of our two names. As I once transferred money from one of our other accounts, which is under only one of our two names, Interactive Brokers wanted to verify where the funds came from because there was a difference in identity between the two accounts.

Lesson learnt: if you don’t want to have to call Interactive Brokers every quarter, make sure that the account from which you are transferring funds belongs to the same person as the Interactive Brokers account one.

In the end, I explained our situation (the fact that we were married) and it was settled. I just had to send a scan of a letter certifying that the funds belonged to the Interactive Brokers account holder.

Congratulations, you managed to fund your Interactive Brokers account! All you have to do now is buy your first shares to finally see your savings grow in a decent way :) (don’t hesitate to use this link of the blog if you are about to open an IB account, it allows you to support it financially and it doesn’t change anything for you).

But before that, we will review in the next chapter the different software that allow you to connect and use your Interactive Brokers account (because yes there are several ways…).

As usual, I only write and review things that I use in my personal daily life, or that I trust.

Thank you for reading!