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Featured Broker Promotion

Reduce your trading costs by up to 15% with cash rebates, Forex.com is the #1 Forex Broker in the US. Signing up for an account now will get you waived bank fees on all wires, as well as one-on-one support from an experienced Market Strategist.

Investment Style
Tradable Securities
What's most important?
Broker Best For Commissions Account Minimum Choose your platform
  • Passive investors
  • Lower fees
  • Beginning investors
  • Investors who don't want to manage money on their own
0.25% annual fee $500
Get started securely through Wealthfront's website
1 Minute Review

Wealthfront offers automated investment services, customized according to the risk tolerance and investment goals of every investor. For assessing clients basic financial health, Wealthfront has designed a financial planning solution called Path. If you link all your accounts, Path can analyze your financial habits and help you determine where are your habits going to lead you in the future. Investors who wish to invest their savings can use an automatic investing feature called PassivePlus at low cost. It offers the following strategies: Tax-Loss Harvesting, Stock-level Tax-Loss Harvesting, Smart Beta and Risk Parity.

Pros
  • Relatively small fess
  • Goals and risk tolerance based strategies
  • Time-tested and academically proven investment strategies
  • Tax optimization
  • Financial planning and results tracking
  • Referrals program
Cons
  • No partial shares allowed
  • Doesn't invest entire deposit
Current Promotion

None at this time

  • Commission-free trading
  • Bank of America customers
  • High-balance customers
  • Investors who value customer service
  • Penny stock traders.
$6.95. Customers who maintain combined balances of $25,000 or more in Bank of America deposit accounts or combined balances of $25,000 or more in Merrill Edge self-directed accounts can qualify for up to 30 commission-free trades per month. $0
Get started securely through Merrill Edge's website
1 Minute Review

Merrill Edge is a great option for a casual trader and Bank of America customer. The customer is able to log in the their Bank of America account and view their invesments in one seamless step. Merrill Edge has one of the best customer support systems with 24/7 phone, live chat, e-mail support as weel as over 2,000 Bank of America locations.

Pros
  • Seamless integration with Bank of America
  • Self Directed investing options
  • No surcharges for stocks that trade under $1
Cons
  • Lacks no-fee ETFs
  • Dated and Sluggish user interface
Current Promotion

Cash bonuses ranging from $100 for deposits of $20,000 to $49,999, to $600 for deposits of $200,000 or more

  • Day traders
  • Penny stock traders
  • Forex traders
$0.005 per share minimum $1 and maximum 0.5% of trade value; volume discount available $0 for cash account, or a margin account with $2,000
Get started securely through Interactive Brokers's website
1 Minute Review

If you consider yourself a sure-footed professional trader, Interactive Brokers might a major possibility for you, particularly if you’re adept at navigating tricky trading platforms (can you say 124 option indicators?) or have done more than just dipped your toe a “coupla times” into the complex world of international markets.

Pros
  • Interactive Brokers offers the lowest margin rates in the industry
  • Low pay-per-share commissions on stock trades (up to 1,000 shares) and on options trades (up to 20 contracts)
  • Vast order types options for professional traders
Cons
  • Account fee charges (including annual, transfer, closing and inactivity fees)
  • Complex trading platform, which can be difficult for beginners
Current Promotion

Lower minimum activity requirements ($3/month) and opening account minimum requirement ($3,000) for clients 25 and younger.

  • Active traders
  • Experienced, knowledgeable traders
  • International traders
$3.00 broker assited orders an additional $6 $500
Get started securely through eOption's website
1 Minute Review

eOption is best known as a no-frills broker that prioritizes low costs over advanced tools. The platform has all the functionality an experienced trader would need at a discounted price, but investors should look elsewhere for research and educational information.

Pros
  • Low stock and option commissions
  • Low margins
  • Automated trading
Cons
  • Commissions on ETFs & mutual funds
  • Limited research and educational tools
  • Bare-bones platform
Current Promotion

None at this time

  • Low cost stock trading
  • Beginners looking to start trading
  • Investors on the go
Free $0
Get started securely through Robinhood's website
1 Minute Review

Robinhood is a free stock trading mobile app that serves both iOS and Android devices. They offer an easy to use interface and have excellent integrations to easily deposit money and begin investing.

Pros
  • Free trading for all stocks
  • Multiple integrations for banking deposits
  • No transfer out fees
Cons
  • Lacks research reports
  • Some features require premium paid upgrades
Current Promotion

Invite a friend and get a free stock

  • Retirement planning
  • Investment tracking
  • Bill tracking and management
0.49% - 0.89% Fees range based on deposit amount and services used $25,000
Get started securely through Personal Capital's website
1 Minute Review

Personal Capital differentiates itself from other robo-advisors by not using a traditional broker model, and ensuring that all of their advisors are RIAs (Registered Investment Advisor).

Pros
  • Personal Capital advisors are RIAs
  • Excellent Financial Tools
  • More than investing services
  • Free Financial Dashboard
Cons
  • Higher fees than other robo-advisors
  • Not as focused as other brokers
Current Promotion

None at this time

  • Hands-off investors
  • Investors having less investable funds
  • Environment-conscious & socially responsible investors
0.75% of your investment funds $50
Get started securely through Swell Investing's website
1 Minute Review

Swells is a startup venture backed by a 150-year old insurance company called Pacific Life based in Los Angeles. The firm was floated with the objective of providing a better investment option for people, who care about where their money goes and what it supports. And how it does this is, by identifying high-potential, high-impact themes, focused on a positive future, from healthcare innovation to clean tech. Dividends over $1 are automatically routed to the investment pool, thereby swelling the investable funds.

Pros
  • Being a robo-advisor, objectivity is maintained in stock picking
  • Serves the dual-purpose of multiplying money and at the same time, contributing in a small way to socially responsible ventures
  • Since Swell invests in individual stocks and not ETFs, no expense ratio is involved
Cons
  • Extremely volatile portfolios, given the small market cap of most stocks forming Swell’s portfolio
  • Lack of diversification in portfolio
Current Promotion

None

  • Advanced traders
  • Options and futures traders
  • Active stock traders
Flat-fee pricing: $5 per trade, Per-share pricing: $0.006-$0.01 per share ($1 minimum per trade) based on trading volume, Unbundled pricing: $0.002-$0.01 per share ($0.50-$1 minimum) based on trading volume $5,000 for individual retirement accounts (IRAs)
Get started securely through TradeStation's website
1 Minute Review

Founded in 1982 and headquartered in Plantation, Florida, Trade Station is apt for sophisticated traders. The firm offers free premium tools and real time data, charging no fees for software. ‘Amazing infrastructure’ and ‘innovative technology’ are the firm’s two selling points, which promise exceptional speed and reliability - a sine-qua-non for active and advanced traders. The firm also offers customized trading solutions for both international and domestic institutions.

Pros
  • Advanced trading platform
  • Vast amount of historical data that allows back-testing of trading ideas
  • Availability of many third-party add-ons
Cons
  • Less active traders are disadvantaged
  • No commission-free ETFs
Current Promotion

Open an account and save 20% on commissions.

  • Microinvestors
  • Beginners, which it calls the up-and-coming
  • College Students
$1 Per month accounts < $5000 balance 0.25% Annual fee accounts > $5000 $5
Get started securely through Acorns's website
1 Minute Review

This Fintech startup advocates small value investment, making it affordable for even a Tom, Dick or Harry, take a plunge into the world of investing. It simplifies the whole process of investing and is available for U.S. residents, and the Australians through its Acorns Australia unit. This smartphone app makes investing a cakewalk even for that most inexperienced traders and opens up the world of investment to micro-investors, who can invest the spare change from their routine spending.

Pros
  • Automated approach makes investing an automatic choice
  • Cheaper than traditional mutual funds and DIY ETFs
  • Cash back from your spending with Acorns’ partners through Found Money program
Cons
  • Expensive relative to many other automated investment tools such as Weathfront and Betterment
  • Limited asset classes, with just six available for investing
  • Only individual taxable accounts are on offer, whereas an IRA or 401(k) account is advantageous from the tax perspective.
Current Promotion

None at this time

  • Diversified Portfolios
  • Automatically Rebalanced
  • Tax Efficient
0% $5,000
Get started securely through Charles Schwab's website
1 Minute Review

Schwab Intelligent Portfolios™ - an automated investment advisory service with no advisory fees, no account service fees, and no commissions charged.

Pros
  • 0 Account fees for transfer and close
  • Automatic Rebalancing
  • 24/7 Customer Support
  • Great device support
Cons
  • Must have $5,000 minimum balance
  • Tax strategy is only free for accounts > 50K
Current Promotion

Pay $0 advisory fees, account service fees or commissions—and you can get started with as little as $5,000

If you’ve never traded stocks before, you might imagine trading to be like the old cliché: dozens of brokers in suits yelling at clients over the phone. It may be difficult to picture yourself in the chaos, especially if you’re a beginner.

Online stock trading removes you from the scene. You don’t have to deal with phone calls, broken promises, and mayhem. Instead, you can trade from the comfort of your own home or on-the-go. Like many other industries, brokerages anticipated the need for great online experiences and delivered. Firms created desktop platforms and mobile experiences with built-in trading tools, education, and analytics at your fingertips.

What is Online Stock Trading?

With online stock trading, you’re able to buy and sell securities over an online platform. It takes the place of the traditional method of making phone calls.

There are three types of brokerages. The first is a full-service brokerage, which provides comprehensive services, tips, and education. A beginner may want to choose this. The second is a discount brokerage. They provide their services for a lower fee but do not provide advice or research. The last is robo advisors. Robo advisors collect client information and make trades based on algorithms. They’re usually inexpensive, but will lack the personalized service of other brokers.

These brokerages provide services on the web and mobile applications.

Why Should I Trade Stocks Online?

Whether you’re just starting to trade or thinking of making the switch to an online brokerage, there are a few things you should know.

  • They normally have lower fees than brick-and-mortar brokerages. This is because online platforms save the brokerage both time and money. This savings is passed to onto the trader through low or no fees of commissions.
  • Access to the latest trading news and trends. So, you won’t have to pay for another news subscription service. Education can come in the form of live news alerts, weekly news roundups, and more intensive trading guides. Brokerage firms also integrate this information into their platforms, providing a seamless trading experience.
  • Because all of the trades happen online, they happen instantly instead of taking minutes. Over time, instant trades can make a huge impact on your portfolio, especially when trading volatile stocks.

But, if you have a great relationship with your current brokerage or are new to trading and want a more personal relationship with your broker, it may not be worth it to make the switch.

Who Trades Stocks Online?

Anyone from beginning traders to seasoned investors trades stocks online. With the recent improvements in online brokerage technology and lower fees, making the switch to online trading is easy. It can save money and time.

But online stock trading might not be right for everyone. While it’s true that you can make money trading online, you have to be willing to put in the work. It isn’t a get rich quick scheme; you have complete control of your success. If you’re not willing to put in the research, time, and money, you won’t see a return on your investments.

How to Start Trading Stocks Online

First, you’ll have to choose a brokerage. You’ll have to consider the following:

  • If you want your account self-managed or managed by an advisor. If you’re confident in trading, a self-managed account is worth the savings. If not, you’ll want an advisor. You will pay more in fees, but it may pay off if you have a great advisor.
  • What types of securities you’ll be trading. You can pick from stocks, mutual funds, options, forex, bonds, ETFs, and futures. If you’re new to stock trading, know the risks and rewards associated with each type of security before you commit.
  • Commissions and fees. How much are you willing to pay? Many online platforms will have low fees, but you’ll need to do the math before you start trading, especially if you can’t commit a lot of money to stock trading. Consider annual fees, discounts for balances, and fees per share.
  • Think about account minimums. Some brokerages offer $0 minimums. Others may have higher account minimums, but more perks. If the brokerage does have account minimums, make sure to look into any penalties.
  • How much market data will you need? Certain brokerages will offer platforms with market data fully integrated into their user experience. Whether you’re a beginner or advanced trader, this may be crucial to your success.
  • What platform you see yourself trading on. At the minimum, brokerages offer access to a desktop platform. Most offer a mobile application. Some platforms are designed better than others, though. Watch out for reviews of clunky, slow, and hard-to-use platforms.
  • Customer support. 24/7 live customer support is the gold standard. Look out for supports via email and live chat as well.

Once you choose a brokerage, you can usually sign up for an account online. You’ll need to collect a few things first.

  • Social Security Number or Individual
  • Taxpayer Identification Number
  • Foreign tax id, passport or visa number if you aren’t a US citizen or permanent resident
  • Proof of identity
  • W-9
  • Your employer’s information
  • Method of funding your account

Now, you’re ready to go. You should be able to sign up through the brokerage’s online portal. Depending on the brokerage, you may even be able to start trading on the same day.

Final Thoughts on Trading Stocks Online

Online stock trading makes investing accessible to the masses. Brokerages provide low-to-no fees, user-friendly platforms, and educational content to make trading simple – even for the beginning investor. But you still have to work hard, do your research, spend money, and be willing to put in the time to see a return on your investments.