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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
  • Hands-off investors, who require advice and assistance
  • Beginners
  • Investors who want to invest in specific industry groups/sectors
$1 Per month accounts < $5000 balance 0.25% Annual fee accounts > $5000 $5
Get started securely through Stash's website
1 Minute Review

Stash operates under the mantra "investing should be simple and accessible." Stash, which promises an easy start-up procedure, requires only two minutes, $5 and a phone.

Pros
  • Simplified investment procedure
  • Choice of easy-to-understand investments (ETFs)
  • Easy-to-read snapshots of all accounts
  • Very low required minimum balance
Cons
  • Income made through Stash, be it capital gains, dividends and income interest, are taxable just like any other investment.
  • It works out costly for smaller accounts
Current Promotion

  • Binary options trading
  • Advanced trading and charting tools
  • Low fee structure
$1 per contract side with a $50 per order cap on entry fees $250
Get started securely through Nadex's website
1 Minute Review

NADEX, or the North American Derivative Exchange, offers retail trading of binary options and spreads on commodities, forex, stock indices and economic events from a single account and single trading platform. The firm is owned by the U.K.-based IG Group, a FTSE 250 global financial services firm.

Pros
  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Availability of great educational resources to educate investors
  • Access to advanced technical analysis, tools and charts
  • Option to exit a trade before expiry to preserve profits on the "in-the-money" or cut losses when "out-of-the-money"
Cons
  • Free to deposit; only fees are for wire transfers for withdrawals
  • Limited choice of asset classes, with stock trading not allowed through the exchange
Current Promotion

  • Traders with little capital who would be under the $25,000 pattern day trader rule
  • Traders who are experienced and seeking trading leverage
  • Those with a hunger for advanced charting capabilities
  • International investors
$4.95 min per trade $500
Get started securely through SureTrader's website
1 Minute Review

SureTrader is a Bahamas-based broker/dealer regulated by the Securities Commission of the Bahamas.The draw for traders is the ability to sidestep the United States SEC pattern day trader (PDT) rules. Because of this, SureTrader continues to rake in traders who are below the $25,000 PDT level, so those with small amounts can trade as much as they want. While SureTrader seems to have troubles with customer service and several platform glitches, it still seems to depend on each individual trader as to whether these “bugs” are actually bothersome or not.

Pros
  • No pattern day trading rules.
  • Low brokerage account minimum deposit of $500
  • Powerful trading tools: allows Instant access to multiple charting features and real-time market data
  • Up to $50 in free trades for new accounts
Cons
  • Inactivity fee of $50 for accounts with less than 15 trades per quarter
  • $25 per day margin or equity call fee
Current Promotion

$100K Pro Free Demo

  • Brand-new investors
  • If you're hungry to save money on fees
  • Those who are comfortable managing their finances online
Get started securely through Wealthsimple's website
1 Minute Review

There are lots of robo advisors on the market. You might ask, “What stands out about Wealthsimple? Why choose this particular robo advisor?” There are quite a few reasons to do so. A diversified portfolio with a unique blend of ETFs and lower costs are all automatically part of the package. There are a few unique and very specific opportunities that Wealthsimple can offer you, too: Wealthsimple can develop a Halal investing portfolio to comply with Islamic principles (which means no investments in companies that profit from gambling, firearms, tobacco, etc.) Socially responsible investing is a major focus, including a portfolio makeup of companies that offer low carbon emissions, gender diversity, and affordable housing.

Pros
  • Free tax-loss harvesting available (upon request by Basic customers)
  • $0 account minimum and no extra fees
  • Automatic rebalancing happens as the market changes
Cons
  • Advisory fees are a bit pricier when compared with other robo-advisors
Current Promotion

  • Self-directed small investors
  • Those comfortable with trading online
  • If you want free trades without using a robo advisor
$0 when you trade stocks, ETFs, options, and mutual funds online $0
Get started securely through Firstrade's website
1 Minute Review

If you pivot from the “household name” traditional discount brokers and check out Firstrade, you’ll notice right off the bat that the company’s offerings are competitively priced.

Pros
  • No minimum initial account deposit
  • Free trades for most offerings
  • Excellent for international investors
Cons
  • No managed portfolio option (with an advisor)
  • Firstrade Navigator platform is fairly simple; could use some updates
Current Promotion

  • Beginners
  • Advanced traders
  • Traders looking for a well-diversified portfolio
$100
Get started securely through AvaTrade's website
1 Minute Review

A fully regulated broker with a presence in Europe, South Africa, the Middle East, British Virgin Islands, Australia and Japan, Avatrade deals with mainly forex and CFDs on stocks, commodities, indexes, forex, cryptocurrencies, etc. This brokerage is headquartered in Dublin, Ireland and began offering its services in 2006. It offers multiple trading platforms and earns mainly through spreads.

Pros
  • Controlled by regulatory agencies of multiple countries
  • Choice offered in terms of trading platforms
  • Support available in 14 languages and trading platforms in 20 languages
  • Practice/demo account available for trying out
  • Breadth of trading assets
Cons
  • Does not accept customers from the U.S. as it isn’t regulated in the U.S.
  • Transferring funds to the account may take up to five days; withdrawals could take up to 10 days
Current Promotion

  • Brand-new investors
  • Those who are comfortable managing their finances solely online
  • Great technology
Free. Some instances you may be required to pay transfer fees of fund fees $0
Get started securely through WiseBanyan's website
1 Minute Review

WiseBanyan’s site methodically eases you in using a goal-oriented approach. The company offers a truly relatable, tangible way to save for your future and present goals. For example, you can designate your savings goals as “Vacation to Fiji” or “Retirement” (whatever you’d like!) which cleanly categorizes your goals into manageable chunks. Risk aversion, time horizon, and money you’ve already saved are carefully considered for each individual goal and invested appropriately. It’s a slick way to manage money and is a solid way to end up with a fully-diversified portfolio while mitigating fees and tax consequences.

Pros
  • No account management fees
  • Automatic rebalancing is free on all accounts
  • No account minimums required
Cons
  • Only offers individual taxable accounts, traditional or Roth IRAs or SEP IRAs
  • Tax-loss harvesting is not included for free (which many robo-advisors offer automatically)
Current Promotion

None at this time

  • Set-it-and-forget it investors
  • Saving on taxes
  • Complex financial planning for retirement
0.30% annual fee $50,000
Get started securely through Vanguard's website
1 Minute Review

Vanguard Personal Advisor Services combines the best of high-touch, high-tech, and low-cost funds to help you with your real-life investing needs.

Pros
  • Low-cost investing available for Vanguard funds
  • It’s a great company for DIY investors
  • Vanguard still has many options for investors who would like to speak with an advisor
Cons
  • No active trading platform or tools
  • Other funds are more expensive to invest in; your best bet is to invest in Vanguard’s own funds
  • No advanced platform available
Current Promotion

None

  • Active traders
  • Cost-conscious clients
  • ETF traders
Starting at 1 cent per share $0 to open, $1,000 to start investing
Get started securely through Questrade's website
1 Minute Review

Questrade, a low-cost Canadian online broker born in 1999, has grown up to become the largest independent fintech in Canada. It provides self-directed and managed investing and trading in diverse asset classes such as equities, bonds, forex, commodities, options, and ETFs. Competitive pricing, ease of use and the availability of multiple trading platforms is a definite boon for those in the land of rad hockey skills, icebergs, and Lake Louise.

Pros
  • Cheap commissions, especially ETF purchases
  • Active trades are entitled to rebates
  • No annual maintenance fee
  • Broad range of asset classes
  • Well-regulated
  • Practice accounts are available
Cons
  • Available only to Canadian residents
  • An inactivity fee of CA$24.95 per quarter kicks in if a trade hasn’t been placed in a quarter or the account balance falls below CA$5,000.
  • Checking account funding takes longer to process
  • Doesn’t offer banking services
Current Promotion

  • Retirement planning
  • Hands-off investors
  • Long-term investors
Get started securely through Blooom's website
1 Minute Review

Robo advisors peel more customers away from active managers every day. Blooom, laser-focused on employer-sponsored retirement plans, has found a really creative way to carve a niche among robo advisors.

Pros
  • Portfolios over $100,000 get the cheapest robo advisor rates
  • Combines computer-driven approach with human touch
  • Automatic rebalancing
Cons
  • Limited to only employer-sponsored plans - no IRAs
  • Expensive for small accounts
  • No research tools
Current Promotion

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.