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While working with Interactive Brokers’ APIs, most* securities require a Level 1, top of book, market data subscription to receive market data. This is required for all users at Interactive Brokers retrieving market data through the API.

*Forex and Cryptocurrencies do not require any additional market data subscriptions to receive market data.

Market Data Requirements

In order to receive market data through the API, there are a few minimum requirements before data can be received.

  1. Opened IB Account (Demo accounts cannot subscribe to data).
  2. Must use an IBKR PRO account type
  3. Clients should have $500 USD in their account in addition to the cost of all market data subscriptions.
  4. Please be sure to subscribe to the market data through the Client Portal before requesting market data through the API.

Market Data Subscription Minimum Equity Balance Requirements

Category The following minimums are required to subscribe and maintain market data and research subscriptions. This does not include the cost of the service.
Individual Accounts (unless listed below) USD 500.00 (or non-USD equivalent)
Financial Advisor Client Accounts USD 500.00 (or non-USD equivalent)
Institutional and/or Organizational Accounts USD 500.00 (or non-USD equivalent)
Financial Advisor USD 500.00 (or non-USD equivalent)
Non-Professional Advisor USD 200.00 (or non-USD equivalent)
Introducing Broker Clients USD 200.00 (or non-USD equivalent)
Indian residents 1 trading with an IB India account USD 100.00 (or non-USD equivalent)


  • The minimum requirements plus the cost of the subscription are required to have the data activated.
  • Indian resident is an individual who resides in India for more than 182 days per year.
  • Market Data services will be terminated once clients receive Market Data Violator notice provided the equity falls below USD 50.00 (or non-USD equivalent)

Professional vs Non-Professional

Most exchanges and data vendors classify clients as either non-professional or professional. By default, organizations such as corporations, limited liability companies, partnerships and any account where the data is used for more than personal investment purposes is deemed to be professional. In addition, private persons may be considered professional if they are registered as a security or investment advisor, or act in a similar capacity. A trader who is employed by a financial services business may also be considered a professional. Click here for more information about non-professional qualifications.

Market Data Provisioning

Market data is provisioned on a per-user basis. This means that even though you may have a market data subscription on one user in an account, a second user on the same account does not gain those permissions.

Market data may also be shared between a live and paper username so that both can retrieve data using the same market data subscription. Please see our Market Data Considerations page for additional insight into the behavior of shared market data.

TWS Data vs API Data

IBKR allows for free on-platform data; however, data on the API is considered off-platform. Exchanges maintain different licensing requirements and agreements for off-platform market data viewing.

While you may receive live pricing through the Trader Workstation for some securities like US Stocks in your Trader Workstation, this may not be the same through your API. This is because this data is often provided for free to our customers under our existing market data agreements.

Market Data Costs and Fees

  • Market data subscriptions are paid once, every calendar month.
  • Market data subscriptions are not pro-rated.
  • After subscribing to market data, no additional usage fees or other costs will be incurred.

Market Data Lines

All users at Interactive Brokers are given a set amount of market data lines. Market data lines dictate how much market data can be retrieved simultaneously from a given user. This Includes all data pulled through Trader Workstation watchlist and the API. After going over the market data line cap, any future requests would return an error message that additional market data lines are required. 

For example:

The username is provisioned for 100 market data lines. If the TWS Watchlist is displaying 50 symbols in their watchlist, and one API connection is retrieving 25 market data lines, that means a second API connection could retrieve a maximum of 25 additional market data lines before reaching the 100 market data line limit.

How Market Data is Allocated

In order to receive real-time market data, customers must be a subscriber to market data. All clients initially receive 100 concurrent lines of real-time market data (which can be displayed in TWS or via the API) and always have a minimum of 100 lines of data. After the first month of trading, the quantity of market data is allocated using the greater value of:

  • USD monthly commissions divided by 8
  • USD equity multiplied by 100 divided by $1,000,000
    (rounded down to the nearest integer)
  • 100

Example 1:

In month two, your account shows the following values: USD Monthly Commissions: $16, USD Equity: $950,000
Using the calculations above, you would still receive the minimum 100 lines of data, since: $16/8 = 2
$950,000 x 100 / $1,000,000 = 95

Example 2:

In month three, your account shows the following values: USD Monthly Commissions: $500, USD Equity: $1,245,000
Using the calculations above, you would receive 124 lines of data, since: $500/8 = 62.5
$1,245,000 x 100 / $1,000,000 = 124.5, rounded down to 124.

Understanding Market Data Subscriptions

While market data might seem overwhelming at first, it can be broken down and made more digestible from covering a few important points.

  1. Level 1 market data subscriptions provide: live watchlist data, tick-by-tick data, historical bar data, historical tick data.
  2. Level 2 market data subscriptions only are needed for market depth.
  3. The OPRA market data subscription will provide options data for all options in the United States.
    • Options Greeks data is based on  the underlying symbols. As such, a market data subscription for both the underlying and derivative are necessary for options greeks data.
  4. Indices sometimes require a separate market data subscriptions from the derivatives, and may require a direct market data subscription.

NASDAQ Level 2 Market Data Subscription

Typically for market depth, Interactive Brokers will only require a Level 1 market data subscription followed by a Level 2 market depth subscription. However, NASDAQ/ISLAND requires an additional market data subscription in order for clients to retrieve market depth off-platform in the form of the API or third party platforms.

Clients must subscribe to the following:

  1. The “NASDAQ (Network C/UTP)” or “US Equity and Options Add-On Streaming Bundle” is required to receive level 1 data for all platforms.
  2. The “NASDAQ TotalView-OpenView” is required to receive level 2 data is required for all platforms.
    • While this is necessary for market depth, this alone will not provide market depth for off-platform subscriptions
  3. The “NASDAQ TotalView-OpenView EDS” market data subscription is required for off-platform market data subscriptions.

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