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Trading On The Cheap: Low Commission, No Minimum Online Brokers For Beginners

Trading On The Cheap: Low Commission, No Minimum Online Brokers For Beginners
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Trading is fraught with inherent risks, and to help investors circumvent these risks, there exists a faciliatory institution called online brokerage. Online brokers are handlers of customer orders to buy and sell securities.

In this customer-centric era, several online brokerages, vying with each other, are out with attractive, irresistible offering that are tough to beat. The choice of brokers can be a taxing exercise for a novice, given the technicalities, hyped claims and complexities involved.

To help the uninitiated get a hang of the options available before them to assist them in trading, here is a compilation of some online brokers operating with a flourish in the arena.

TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. (NASDAQ: AMTD)

  • Commission: Flat $9.99 per online trade; options trade costing $9.99, plus $0.75 per contract, mutual fund trade fee is $49.99, broker-assisted trades fee is $44.99.
  • Minimum Account: None
  • Promotions: Trade commission free for 60 days and get up to $600 for deposit of $250,000 or more, 24/7 customer support, advanced trade platforms, research, real-time streaming quotes.

Despite the higher commissions, superior user experience and quality service is a definite plus for this firm.

Related Link: What "Game Of Thrones" Taught Us About Online Payments (Spoiler Alerts Ahead)

Charles Schwab Corp (NYSE: SCHW)

  • Commission: Flat $8.95 per online trade for stocks, $8.95, plus $0.75 per contract for options, $75 per buy and $0 per sell for mutual funds.
  • Minimum Account: $1,000
  • Promotions: 50 commission-free trades on opening an account, all trades on one platform.

OptionsXpress, Unit Of Charles Schwab

Charles Schwab bought this company in 2011 to beef up its options trading business.

  • Commission: Flat $8.95 per online trade for stocks, $14.95 flat free for options, with no base for 1 to 10 contracts, and more than $1.50 per contract for more than 11 contracts, $9.95 per trade for mutual funds.
  • Minimum Account: None
  • Promotions: 50 commission-free trades on opening an account, all trades on one platform.

Capital One Financial Corp. (NYSE: COF)

  • Commission: $6.95 per online trade; $3.95 per investment in a stockbuilder plan, $18.95 for entire portfolio, $6.95 + $0.75 per contract for options trading, $19.95 per trade for phone trades.
  • Minimum Account: None
  • Promotions: $600 dollar bonus for funding a new account with deposit, transfer and/or rollover of $200,000+.


  • Commission: $4.95 for stock and ETF trades with no account minimum, $4.95, plus 65 cents per contract for option trades.
  • Minimum Account: None, although for margin and options privileges, $2,000 deposit is needed.
  • Promotions: Touts itself as number one in customer service, with short hold times, fast e-mail responses and instant online broker chats, purportedly offers suite of research and trading tools, facilitates trader networking, allowing interaction with fellow stock and option traders for sharing experiences, ideas and strategies for trading stock online.


  • Commission: Flat $4.95 per online stock trade, $1.50 for futures trading, $4.95 base and 50 cents per contract for options trading.
  • Minimum Account: None; minimum funding level of $2,000 for a margin account.
  • Promotions: 60 days of commission-free Internet reading for up to 100 trades, award winning technology, ongoing value from low commissions and margin rates, full suite of investment products for active traders.

Merrill Lynch

  • Commission: $6.95 per online trade for stocks and $6.95 per trade + $0.75 per contract for options, $29.95 per trade for representative-assisted trades.
  • Minimum Account: None
  • Promotions: Special offer from Intuit of up to $15 off TurboTax software, up to $600 in the account on enrollment, opening and funding a new Merrill Edg Investment Account or IRA.

Outside of these brokers discussed, there are others who require minimum balances for accounts. Some brokers called discount brokers may not serve as one-stop-shops, offering full range of services, such as research and advice, retirement planning, tax tips etc. Commissions charged by discount brokers may be less relative to their full-service counterparts.

Discount brokers usually do not charge an account fee, but a flat rate per trade.

For zeroing in on a discount broker, take into account:

    1. The brokerage plan
    2. Cost of transaction
    3. Customer support
    4. Call and trade facility

Some of the discount brokers are:

  • Robinhood
  • Acorns

So, the choice between a full-service brokerage and discount brokerage hinges on ones' investment needs and preferences and costs. Wisely weigh the options and go about the business. Happy Investing!

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