Tips for selecting your security questions and answers

The security questions represent just one component of the security framework which IB has put into place to protect your account. We offer the following simple tips for selecting your security questions and answers in order to make the most effective use of this security measure:

1. Choose questions having answers that you can remember in the future and answer consistently.

2. Use one-word answers whenever possible.

3. Be careful with spaces. If you use "San Diego" as an answer to one of your security questions, the system will reject "SanDiego."

4. Avoid using quirky or nonsensical answers as they'll likely to be difficult to remember later.

5. Select a question which cannot be easily guessed or researched, has many possible answers and where the probability of guessing the correct answer is low.

6. Select a question for which the answer is unlikely to be known by others such as a family member, close friend, relative, ex-spouse, or significant other.

7. Choose a question having an answer which is stable and not likely to change over time.

What is the purpose of the security questions?

IB requires applicants to select and provide answers to three security questions each selected from a separate pool of questions having varying degrees of complexity. In the event we receive a telephone inquiry involving sensitive information, prior to acknowledging or discussing any account specific information with the caller we will first look to verify that caller's identity. This is accomplished through a multi-tier security process, one tier which requires that the caller answer a randomly selected security question.  The caller must provide an answer to the security question which exactly matches the answer we have on file. Otherwise, the request for information will be denied and a potential lock-down placed upon the account.

Am I required to fund my account prior to application approval?

While applicants are required to provide IB with notification as to the amount they intend to fund their account with and the manner in which they fund the account in order to have the application considered for approval, there is no requirement that the funding actually take place prior to approval.   

Applicants may nevertheless elect to remit funds via wire, check or electronic funds transfer (e.g., ACH, EFT) prior to receiving confirmation of account approval in an effort to accelerate commencement of any credit hold period. It should be noted, however, that deposits received prior to account approval are held in suspense and are not credited to the account nor eligible to accrue interest until the application has been approved.  In the case where the applicant has authorized IB to fund the account via asset transfer (e.g., ACATS, ATON) from another broker, IB will not initiate the transfer until the application has been approved.

Overview of Secure Login System

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The security of your assets and personal information is of utmost concern to us and we are committed to taking the steps necessary to ensure you are protected from the moment you open your account.  

To provide you with the highest level of security, Interactive Brokers has implemented a Secure Login System (SLS) through which access to your account is subject to Two-Factor Authentication.
Two-Factor Authentication serves to confirm your identity at the point of login using two security elements: 1) Something you know (your username and password combination); and 2) Something you have (an IBKR issued security device which generates a random, single-use security code). As both knowledge of your username/password and physical possession of the security device are required to login to your account, participation in the Secure Login System virtually eliminates the possibility of anyone other than you accessing your account.

Benefits of Enrollment

The principal benefit of SLS enrollment is to protect your account from unauthorized access. There is no fee associated with enrollment and participants have the added benefits of:
  1. Higher withdrawals thresholds over both single and five day rolling periods.
  2. Ability to change your banking instructions and email address without contact from a member of our Security Team.
  3. Ability to effect ACH & EFT funding transactions beyond an initial USD 20,000 account funding transaction.
  4. The ability to share a single device among multiple usernames registered to the same individual.

How to Enroll

Enrollment is easy. If you are a new applicant, you will be asked to confirm your mobile phone number to continue. This will enable two-factor security through SMS mobile phone messaging. IBKR will send you a one-time passcode upon login.
The SMS mobile two-factor authentication is temporary and will be removed once you activate the IBKR Mobile Authentication (IB Key), as explained in IB Knowledge Base article KB2260.
If you are a new or existing Client with equity above $500,000 you may request a Digital Secure Card+ (DSC+) as a complementary device to your IBKR Mobile Authentication, as explained here. Once you have received your DSC+ device, log in to Client Portal and follow the instructions here to activate it.
Once your security device or digital security app is activated, each time you log in to Client Portal, TWS or IBKR Mobile, you will be required to enter two authentication factors – your username and password combination and the security code generated by your device. When you successfully log in, your account will be secured with full perimeter coverage, protecting both your cash and positions from unauthorized access."



Lost, Damaged or Temporarily Unavailable Device

In the case of a lost, damaged or temporarily unavailable security device, you will need to contact your regional Client Service Center via telephone to arrange for a replacement and/or to provide for interim access. Once your identity has been verified you will be provided a temporary passcode (i.e., a static alpha-numeric code which replaces the random code supplied by your security device) that will allow you to log into Client Portal and print the on-line security card. The on-line card will provide interim access for up to 21 days, sufficient time for a replacement device to be shipped or, should your device be temporarily unavailable, time to regain possession of it. See KB1943 for instructions on requesting a replacement device.
Alternatively, if your mobile phone number has already been verified with IBKR, you can activate the IBKR Mobile app and its IB Key authentication to provide your account with an immediate two-factor protection.

Types of Devices

IBKR provides a range of security devices, each tailored to meet the portability and security needs of your particular account. 
  1. SMS - A quick and easy way to complete the Two-Factor Authentication through text messages (SMS) sent to your mobile phone number.
  2. IBKR Mobile (IB Key) – An all-in-one mobile app offering a convenient digital solution for your Two-Factor Authentication needs.  The IB Key protocol found within the app supports both fingerprint/facial recognition and PIN configuration1 and is available for download on both Android phones and iPhones.
  3. Digital Security Card+ - For accounts with an equity of 500K USD or equivalent. It has the same size and shape of a credit card and it is electronic, requiring the user to enter a PIN code as an additional layer of protection.
For iPhone users you must have either Touch ID, Face ID, or Passcode enabled (refer to: Set up Touch ID or Set up Face ID for directions). Touch ID or Face ID is the recommended choice.  PIN/Passcode supports up to 12 hours of trading access while fingerprint/facial recognition allows for 30+ hours as long as you authenticate at least once during this time period. Please see further details mentioned in our User's guide for Extended Trading Access.


Withdrawal Limits

Clients who participate in the Secure Login System enjoy enhanced withdrawal capabilities, while clients who do not participate are subject to daily and weekly withdrawal restrictions. The amount that a participating client may withdraw or transfer over a given one- or five-day period increases commensurate with the protective value of the device and is outlined in the table below.

Security Device Maximum Withdrawal per Day Maximum Withdrawal in 5 Business Days
None 50K USD 100K USD
IB Key 200K USD 600K USD
Security Code Card* 200K USD 600K USD
Digital Security Card* 1M USD 1.5M USD
Digital Security Card+ Unlimited Unlimited
Platinum*/Gold* Unlimited Unlimited
Note: * Represents a legacy device no longer being issued.

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Additional Information 

See KB2636 for information and procedures related to Security Devices.
See KB2277 for complete details on IBKR Mobile Authentication (IB Key) for Android.
See KB2278 for complete details on IBKR Mobile Authentication (IB Key) for iOS.


Why am I required to provide a W-8 if I am not a US citizen or resident?

As IB LLC is a carrying broker domiciled in the U.S., it is required to report information and, in certain instances, make payment of withholding taxes to the U.S. tax authority, the Internal Revenue Service for all account holders. To certify oneself as a non-U.S. person, a Form W-8 is requested at the time of application and is required to be re-certified every three years thereafter. If IB does not receive the W-8 or the account holder fails to re-certify the W-8 in a timely manner, then the account holder is presumed to be a US person and, absent a W-9, may then be subject to back-up withholding taxes on interest, dividends and substitute payments in lieu, as well as gross proceeds.

By certifying yourself as a non-U.S. person through a properly completed W-8, your U.S. withholding is limited to dividends issued by US corporations. Note that virtually all countries apply withholding taxes when local companies seek to distribute dividends to externally based shareholders (whether those shareholders are corporate or not). The rate at which IB is obligated to withhold for a given payment depends largely upon whether there is a tax treaty in place between the country where the dividend paying country is based and the country of residence of the dividend recipient.

Application Assistance - Registration Confirmation Number

The Registration Confirmation Number is a random numeric code sent to the applicant's email address which serves to register the email address as valid once the number has been retrieved and entered into the application. Failure to receive the email containing this number can generally be attributed to one of two causes:

1. Service Provider Delay - Most email messages are delivered within a few minutes, although messages can sometimes be delayed as they move from point to point to their ultimate destination, the recipient’s email client. Once the email containing the Registration Confirmation Number is sent from the IB mail server it is tracked to ensure it reaches the mail server of the recipient’s service provider, however, IB is unable to track status beyond that point. Most cases of delayed email are due to slow or overloaded mail servers and in rare instances delays can last for several hours or more.
2. False Spam Detection – most service providers have spam filters and other checks they run on incoming emails and oftentimes legitimate messages can inadvertently be flagged as spam. The techniques used to block email traffic that is judged extremely likely to be spam vary by provider and as a general rule are not disclosed..
If, after a reasonable time, you fail to receive this email, the first step should be to review and ensure that the email address you’ve provided has been entered correctly. This address is displayed on the application page where token entry is required and if incorrect, simply re-enter the correct address on that page. If that address is correct you may wish to request that another Registration Confirmation Number be sent by clicking on the Request Confirmation # button.
If the problem persists, check the Junk or Spam folder in your email account. Most service providers also allow users to create a White List of contacts that the user deems as acceptable for delivery of messages to the In box. This can typically be accomplished by adding the following IB address to your Contacts List: and then requesting another Registration Confirmation Number.
Should that step all fail, you may wish to contact your service provider and inquire as to the status of their mail server and whether they have a block in place on the IB mail address. If your ISP cannot provide a satisfactory answer to your inquiry, we recommend that you use an alternate email account to resend the email. You may then subsequently change your email address at a later date.


Which Tax Form Should I Select?


3 simple questions can help you choose a tax certification form.   Read the questions and select the form.  For more detailed help, see Tax Information & Reporting.

Question # 1:      Are you a U.S. Person or a U.S. Entity?

• U.S. Citizen • U.S. Business or Organization
• U.S. Green Card Holder • U.S. Domestic Trust
                                       • U.S. Legal Resident

If the answer is YES, complete Form W-9

If the answer is NO, go to # 2.

Question # 2:      Do you have a U.S. Visa?


• H-1B Visa Holder • TN Visa Holder         
                                         • O-1 Visa Holder

If the answer is YES, find your status by the "substantial presence test." See More U.S. Legal Resident Info 

If the answer is NO, go to # 3.

Question # 3:      Are you a Legal Resident or Entity of another country?

                                      *Question does Not apply to U.S. Citizens/Entities or Green Card Holders

• Permanent Home Outside of U.S • Entity Formed Outside of U.S.
                                      •Business or Organization formed outside of U.S.

If the answer is YES, complete Form W-8  (U.S. Citizens, Green Card Holders, and Entities still complete the W-9.)

NOT SURE because you work, live, or study in the U.S. then, see More U.S. Legal Resident Info 


Disclaimer:  IB does not provide tax advice. These statements are provided for information purposes only, are not intended to constitute tax advice which may be relied upon to avoid penalties under any international, federal, state, local or other tax statutes or regulations, and do not resolve any tax issues in your favor. We recommend that you consult a qualified tax adviser or refer to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.

Certify Your Tax Status


Filling out a tax certification form is required to open an IB account.  The forms confirm your tax status in relation to the United States.  Information provided by you may lower or exempt the U.S. tax withholding on your account.


This article will help you to:

►Choose the correct certification form                            ►Find your tax treaty benefits

►Fill out and submit your form online                              ►Answer tax certification questions





Which Form Do You Pick?

Tax Treaty Benefits

Management of account activity differs for each account type.  IB is a U.S. broker and must follow U.S. guidelines.  3 simple questions help you choose the right form

Some countries have a tax treaty with the U.S.  Find out if you benefit from a lower tax-withholding rate. Tax Treaty Benefit Info

Filling Out The Form

Tax Certification – FAQ’s

The certification form is direct.  Supply basic account information on the true owner of the assets or entity.  Select  W-9 Instructions or W-8 Instructions for help. Seek professional advice for tax questions.  These common questions and answers may help you make an informed decision.  Tax Certification - Frequently Asked Questions




Disclaimer:  IB does not provide tax advice. These statements are provided for information purposes only, are not intended to constitute tax advice which may be relied upon to avoid penalties under any international, federal, state, local or other tax statutes or regulations, and do not resolve any tax issues in your favor. We recommend that you consult a qualified tax advisor or refer to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.



How and When to Use a Direct Rollover


This information is for general educational purposes only.  Individuals should consult with their financial adviser or legal counsel to determine how rollover regulations affect their unique situations.

Generally, an investor changing jobs or leaving the workforce may utilize either a Direct Rollover election to continue their retirement savings outside of their employer-sponsored retirement plan.   Assets distributed directly to your IRA from the retirement plan may qualify as a Direct Rollover.

What is a Direct Rollover?

The Direct Rollover is a tax-free distribution to you of cash or other assets from one retirement plan that you contribute to another retirement plan, including an IRA.  The contribution to the IRA is called a rollover contribution.  The Direct Rollover method transfers the assets directly from the retirement plan (and not to the IRA owner) into the investor's IRA, avoiding the 20% mandatory IRS withholding.  This option to transfer retirement assets has no age limitations.

Eligible retirement plans include:

  • Employer's qualified pension, profit -sharing, or stock bonus plan
  • Annuity plan
  • Tax sheltered annuity plan (section 403(b) plan)
  • Governmental deferred compensation plan (section 457 plan)

Who do you contact first? 

Contact your retirement plan administrator or the human resources office for eligibility and requirements.  The plan administrator is required to provide a reasonable direct method of asset transfer.   Completion of an IRA Rollover Form provided by the administrator may be required, in some cases.  In other cases, the plan accepts an IRA Rollover Form supplied by your IRA's broker.  Therefore, it is important to check with the plan administrator.

Initiating your Direct Rollover through IB 

For those transfers that require a broker-supplied IRA Rollover Form, Interactive Brokers provides a convenient IRA Rollover Form.  Interactive Brokers will forward the request to the plan administrator or broker for processing.  Funds may be transferred by either wire transfer or check directly to Interactive Brokers.

Before accepting an IRA rollover transaction into an IRA, we require that you review your eligibility for the rollover and certify your understanding of the rollover rules and conditions.  The IRA Rollover Form includes the Rollover Form and an IRA Rollover Certification Form.

The Fund Transfers page within the Account Management lets you notify IB of an IRA Rollover deposit of funds into your account.  Select the Funding tab in the header link and choose Deposit Funds in the Transaction list.   In the Method list, select Direct Rollover.  Complete, sign, and return both forms to the Interactive Brokers address on the form.

Contact Customer Service with any additional questions.



In compliance with Treasury Department Circular 230, unless stated to the contrary, any information contained in this article was not intended or written to be used and cannot be used for the purpose of avoiding tax penalties that may be imposed on any taxpayer.

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