Funding your account with Interactive Brokers

Not sure how to fund your newly created Interactive Brokers account? In this article, I will show you how easy it is to fund your Interactive Brokers account with both SGD and USD deposits.

More posts in this series:

Part I: For Singapore Dollar transfers

Set up a deposit notification

The first step to fund your account is to set up a deposit notification – this allows Interactive Brokers (IB) to efficiently locate your incoming funds and route the deposit to your account in the correct currency.

Head over to the Transfer Funds page in Account Management under the Transfer & Pay section.

At the bottom of the page, you should see a section called Choose a New Deposit method.

If you don’t already have a deposit method set up, click on the How to Wire Funds button to proceed.

This will bring you to a page where you can create a bank wire deposit and elect to save that information so you don’t have to repeat these steps.

Deposit transaction information

Under the Deposit Transaction Information page, fill in the information for your deposit.

In the Sending Institution field, you can just name your bank DBS BANK LTD, or UNITED OVERSEAS BANK etc.

Under the Account Number field, enter your sending account number without hyphens.

Under Nickname, you can give this bank account a nickname or leave it as the default value.

Under Amount, enter the amount you are going to transfer. Please ensure that you transfer the exact amount for it to match correctly and quickly.

Under Would you like to make this a recurring transaction, elect Yes if you want to create a standing instruction in your bank account, or No if you want to do a one-time transfer.

If you are thinking of making a recurring transaction, especially if you want to dollar cost average into the market every month, then you can give this recurring deposit a name (e.g. monthly deposit) and set the start date and frequency (monthly, quarterly, annually).

Finally, hit Create Deposit on the bottom to proceed.

Note the deposit reference

The following page will provide the bank wire instructions for you to complete your transfer.

Head over to your bank’s Internet Banking page, and set up a payee with the following information.

A few things to note:

  • The receiving bank is Citibank N.A. Singapore Branch
  • The receiving bank account number denoted by (A) is a unique account that routes to you so please enter it correctly
  • Enter the reference code denoted by (B) in the comments or reference section of the transfer every time you make a deposit

For (B):

  • It is given in the format UXXXXX / Name
  • If your bank doesn’t allow you to add a slash ‘/’ in the comments or reference box, you can just exclude the name part and enter the UXXXXX information, which is your account number

Send the funds using your bank account

The last step is to make a FAST transfer to the local Citibank account given earlier which accepts SGD.

Because you’ve already set up a payee, this part is quick – just send the exact amount as you’ve set up the deposit notification, under comments enter your reference number (B) above and click send.

Let your bank do their job and you should see your funds appear in your Interactive Brokers account under Transactions within a few hours.

It should say Available once the funds are credited into your account.

Part II: For US Dollar transfers

I usually use SGD transfers and exchange currencies at IB because of their very competitive spreads and low commissions. You can read more about it in my article on Foreign Exchange on Interactive Brokers.

However, there are times when you don’t want to exchange too much at one go, and the minimum FX commissions (S$3) might put you off.

You can consider doing a USD transfer directly and receive your funds in USD.

Set up a deposit notification

To do this, head over to the Transfer Funds page again and at the bottom, under Choose a New Deposit Method, select United States Dollar to bring up the transfer options for USD.

You will want to select Bank Wire and click How to Wire Funds in blue.

You should see a page that’s similar to above, except with some small differences. The currency is now USD instead of SGD.

Fill in the information as required and described above, and you should be set to go. Note that the amount to be received is the actual amount in USD (this part is important if you want it to match your transfers properly).

Make an overseas transfer

I will illustrate this using DBS Overseas Remit which allows free same-day overseas remittance to selected countries.

The first step is to head over to Transfer > DBS Transfer and Overseas Remittance page and Add a New Recipient

You’d want to enter your full name in the Recipient Name textbox, select United States as the Country, and USD in the Recipient Gets field.

In the bottom section, you will see fields to enter for recipient details. Enter what you see under bank account details and address in the deposit reference above.

Select Citibank US as the Recipient Bank.

Enter your unique account number in (A) above under the Recipient’s Account Number field.

Leave Clearing Code empty.

Agree to the terms and click Next to confirm your transfer details.

Done!

You could also replicate this with other banks online banking portal such as Stanchart’s SCRemit. Do note that the fees that the bank charge on foreign exchange spreads are terrible even though they promote overseas transfers as $0 transfers – my last transaction was 0.7% to 0.8% higher than XE.com’s rate.

DBS USD/SGD rate was 1 USD to 1.395
While the concurrent rate at XE.com was 1 USD to 1.385

In the above screenshots, you can see that XE’s rate (mid-market rate) is 0.7% cheaper than DBS.

For small transfers, this might not be an issue, but for larger transfers, you could be potentially paying a lot more in fees.

0.7% on a $100 transfer is $0.70 more expensive. But 0.7% on a $1000 transfer is $7 more expensive.

That’s it! Funding your account is as simple as that.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How long does it take for the transfer to arrive?

It takes between 2 hours to 2 business days for your funds to arrive, depending on when the sending bank processes your outbound transfer, which determines when the funds move. It also depends on IBKR’s processing to credit your inbound funds to your account. For first-time transfers, new bank account origin, it will take slightly longer because of added checks.

Should I panic if I don’t see my funds?

I usually don’t have a problem with my fund arrivals (sometimes it is a bit delayed) but if you are not seeing your funds arriving after more than 2 days, you can hit them up via Chat to check the status of your fund transfers.

Be sure to provide your transaction reference, origin and bank account number to help them locate your funds.

Can I withdraw my funds after depositing?

New funds deposited into your IBKR accounts are subjected to a withdrawal hold of 3 business days, so they cannot be moved internally or transferred out. Once that withdrawal hold is over, you can withdraw them for free once a month and they should arrive within 3 business days.

The Withdrawal hold period begins on the entry date and ends after the close of business of the relevant day.

What if I missed out on the reference number when transferring funds?

Your funds are not lost, don’t worry. If they have been sent to the correct unique account given to you, then they can still map and credit the funds correctly. If you don’t see them after 2 business days, hit them up and they should be able to help you with the funds.

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23 comments
  1. hi Derrick,
    have you tried funding your IB with SCB Remit (in USD)?
    is that possible?
    i am currently also using DBS Remit, which is good. but exploring other alt.

    1. I haven’t tried SC Remit but I believe SC Remit is similar to DBS Remit and there shouldn’t be any differences other than the rates you get.

      1. reason i asked is because on their SCB remit, it seems your outgoing funds has to be SGD.
        ie. cannot remit in USD.

          1. just tried.
            your source of funds needs to be from an “SGD account”
            i have a USD account with SCB, and when i select “You Send” to USD. the field becomes greyed out. but if you change it to SGD, then it works.
            so basically, from USD to USD transfer is not possible with SCB.

  2. I tried transferring $1 from dbs to local citibank NA. But, when it gets to my account, it is only $0.71. Is that expected? Was there a small fees incurred by dbs or ibkr?

  3. Hi. for withdrawal. If my base currency is USD, do I have to convert to sgd first to withdraw to sg bank account? or is it auto conversion?

    1. Hi, you gotta convert first if you want to withdraw in SGD. If you want to withdraw in USD then you don’t – but most banks charge for incoming USD deposits.

  4. Hi Derek! So it is Mandatory to convert SGD to USD once bank wired, in order to buy a share? I tried buying 1 w/o converting and when prices skyrocketed IBKR mentioned “your order will not be placed” as to follow 9.30 US/eastern standard time.

    Secondly, if daily limit has been set but prices surge at 9.30 US/est, the order with be voided and cancelled?

    1. No need to convert if you’re on margin, but you will have negative balances on USD which you’ll need to pay interest for.

      If you place limit order the order will only execute if it’s at your price or better.

  5. Now that IBKR SG has launched, is it the no-brainer default choice if we wish to open an IBKR account ? or are there advantages to creating thru the IBKR US platform like what you did ?
    Is there a lack of SIPC protection for SG investors who onbaord via IBKR SG instead of IBKR USA?

    1. I don’t think there is much information at the moment, and also based on the announcement although it seems that IBKR SG is launching, but haven’t officially launched trading services yet. If you’re planning to create one on the IBKR US entity now, they might move you into the SG legal entity in the coming months.

  6. Hi Derek, are there charges to funding the IB acc? And if I made multiple fund transfers into the IB within a month, will IB start charging? Thanks!

  7. Hi Derek,

    Just curious on IB. I currently own a SAXO account. Understand that IB is more cost efficient for larger amounts like 100,000 AUM. If it’s less than that, then there’s a minimum charge to the account and SAXO would be better. Any thoughts / advise on this?

    1. Hey Amit, I haven’t used SAXO because in the past they had really huge FX spreads and they charge annual holding/custody fees (I think it was 0.12%) and IB doesn’t. It doesn’t make sense to be charged for holding stocks/ETFs in your account. If you make monthly trades, your transaction costs should cover IBKR monthly minimums.

  8. Hi Derrick

    I am interesting in funding my account at IB with Singapore Dollars. You’re right. IB has attractive exchange rates for buying US dollars using SGD and vice versa. I have already set up Deposit Notification to deposit my IB trading account with SGD.
    But I am a bit unclear about the next steps which I hope you could confirm whether I’ve understood right:

    1) Make a free (i.e. no fees) FAST transfer from my Singapore bank (e.g. UOB, HSBC) to the Virtual Account Number which IB has assigned me (provided in the Instructions provided when I set up a Deposit Notification to IB)?

    2) Provide my IB account number under the Comments or NOTES Reference box in the FAST transfer?

    3) Allow Citibank Singapore to send a Telegraphic transfer of my SGD to the Citibank Intermediary in the US?

    I rang Citibank Singapore to ask what charges they will require for the Telegraphic transfer.
    But the Call Centre staff instead urged me to contact my local Singapore bank, who in turn don’t have an idea of the arrangement which IB has made with Citibank Singapore and Citibank US.

    Appreciate your illumination…

    1. Hi!

      Yes, you’re almost correct. You just need to do 1 and 2. IB will automatically route your funds to your account, there’s no need for step 3. Try it with $1 first.

  9. Hi Derrick, I am a Malaysian. I understand that if I were to direct transfer in MYR into my IB account, I would be charged 15usd transaction fee by the intermediary bank (JP Morgan). However, I have a Multi Currency HSBC local bank account where my money is held in USD. If I fund my Interactive Brokers account with this bank account of mine, since there is no conversion required as well. Will I still be charged with 15usd by the intermediary bank ?

    1. Hi Aaron, I am not sure sorry – might need to check with your bank, some banks charge for outgoing USD transfers.

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