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Best Online Brokers for ETF Investing

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The more popular ETFs have become, the more they’ve popped up. Here’s a look at the best online brokerages for ETF investors. Investors who want to get exposure to the high returns of the stock market without risking the potential downside of individual stocks are increasingly choosing to invest in exchange-traded funds or ETFs. 

Best Online Brokerages for ETF Investing:

Commissions
$0
Account Minimum
$0
Best For
  • Investors using Chase banking products
  • Mobile traders
  • Retirement savers

You Invest by J.P. Morgan

If you’re already a customer with Chase Bank, Chase You Invest by J.P. Morgan is a no-brainer. You can easily research, trade and manage your investments from your mobile device. You Invest provides online tools to search for investments, track companies and rollover your assets.

Only U.S. clients are able to open a You Invest account but it takes, on average, just a day to open and you’re able to apply fully online. Equipped with portfolio reports and pie charts, the mobile app is simple and user-friendly. The app is available for both iOS and Android devices.

With Chase You Invest you’ll have access to roughly 5,000 stock exchanges. There are plenty of research and educational tools provided on the app. Overall, we recommend the Chase You Invest platform for stock trading because it’s easy to open and fund an account. It’s also reliable thanks to its strong parent company, J.P. Morgan. 

TD Ameritrade

Commissions
$0 $6.95 for OTC Stocks
Account Minimum
$0
Best For
  • Novice investors
  • Retirement savers
  • Day traders

TD Ameritrade currently offers over 300 commission-free ETFs. Like E-Trade, TD Ameritrade’s ETFs are coupled with Morningstar research so investors can make most informed decisions.

You’ll find today’s price change, last price, gross expense ratio, net expense ratio and ratings on one easy-to-understand page. iShares, Wisdom Tree, and First Trust are among some of the popular ETFs that TD Ameritrade offers.

TD Ameritrade is one of Benzinga’s favorite online brokerages. It’s known for its great trading platform, technology, and excellent customer support. Read

Benzinga’s full TD Ameritrade Review  

TradeStation

TradeStation offers over 2,000 commission-free ETFs making it a valuable option for anyone interested in trading ETFs.

TradeStation’s platform leverages cutting edge trading technology for both active and passive individual traders in the U.S. TradeStation has fully customizable market monitoring, charting and analysis tools that allow you to identify and act upon opportunities.

TradeStation also boasts a spectacular mobile platform which investors on the go can access on their iOS or Android device. Your mobile account automatically synchronizes with your online accounts in real time.

See our TradeStation Review

E-Trade

Commissions
$0
Account Minimum
$0
Best For
  • Active traders
  • Derivatives traders
  • Retirement savers

Like its competitors, E-Trade offers over 250 commission-free ETFs, including some of the most popular ETFs among traders. E-Trade makes doing ETF research easy, too. Their comprehensive list of ETFs tracks historical data from ETFs in a variety of asset classes in one easy-to-use webpage.

Quotes are only delayed by about 15 minutes, too, making the data truly actionable.

If you’re looking to trade outside the of the commission-free ETFs, E-Trade charges $6.95 per ETF trade. This rate is a few dollars higher than their competitors, so if you’re looking to trade outside of the free ETFs, keep this in mind.

Read Benzinga’s full E-Trade Review  

Wealthfront

Best For
  • Passive investors
  • Lower fees
  • Beginning investors
  • Investors who don't want to manage money on their own

For investors who are looking to leverage the full power of diversification and technology, letting the Wealthfront robo-advisor manage your portfolio of ETFs could be the best option. Wealthfront offers ETFs from 11 different asset classes, including emerging market stocks, real estate, commodities, and government bonds.

Wealthfront’s trading algorithm automatically rebalances the portfolio when assets generate uneven returns. It also reinvests dividends, adjusts to changing market conditions and automatically takes advantage of tax-loss harvesting opportunities. Aside from fees, mismanaging taxes is one of the most common reasons long-term investors miss their targets. The average expense ratio of Wealthfront ETFs is only 0.12 percent. In addition, Wealthfront manages the first $10,000 of customer assets completely free of charge.

For investors looking for a set-it-and-forget-it portfolio, Wealthfront is the place to be. Just open up an account, set your personal preferences, and let the algorithm do all the heavy lifting. Wealthfront also topped Benzinga’s Best Robo-Advisors list for 2019.

Read Benzinga’s full Wealthfront Review

Commissions
$0 for stocks and ETFs broker assited orders an additional $6
Account Minimum
$500 to open an account
Best For
  • Options traders looking for low-cost options contracts
  • Beginner and advanced traders looking for options education
  • Advanced traders who don’t need a lot of platform guidance

eOption

eOptions has become known for more than options trading. Their notorious low costs of $3 per trade, even on ETFs, alleviate the high fees of active trading.

They’re a great option for traders that know what ETFs they’re looking to invest in, as their resource center and educational tools are not the most extensive.

To make your trades, eOption does have an easy-to-use and intuitive trading platform.

You can access your watchlist, news, charts, research, account information and more from their desktop platform or mobile trading app.

Read Benzinga’s full eOption Review

Charles Schwab

Commissions
$0
Account Minimum
$0
Best For
  • 3 trading platforms perfectly in sync makes matching your platform to your skill level a snap
  • Excellent futures trading education for new traders
  • $0 account minimum means anyone can start trading

No matter how many ways you look at it, 245 commission-free ETFs is tough to beat. But if you add low expense ratios, Schwab’s ETF Portfolio Builder tool, its quarterly list of prescreened ETFs and its world-class customer service team, Schwab becomes the top online destination for ETF investors. Investors can customize a portfolio of ETFs based on their personal risk tolerance and financial goals. They can also browse through the categorized prescreened ETF lists and make sure their portfolio covers all the bases.

Schwab is still actively adding offerings to its commission-free ETF OneSource program, and investors never have to worry about early redemption fees. Outside of the program, commissions are free, expense ratios are low, and face-to-face feedback is as easy as going down to the local branch. Schwab has everything an ETF investor could ever want and offers a great starting point for retirement investors.

Read Benzinga’s full Charles Schwab Review

Commissions
$0
Account Minimum
$0
Best For
  • Traders who already bank with Ally and want to streamline between accounts
  • Beginners looking for easy-to-follow educational tools
  • Stock investors looking for affordable access to low-value securities

Ally Invest

Ally Invest, one of Benzinga’s favorite online brokerages, started offering over 100 commission-free ETFs on its online trading platform. Ally Invest‘s commission-free ETFs include the WisdomTree Smart Beta ETFs, iSHARES, and most of their popular ETFs. In order to trade free, you’ll have to hold the ETF for at least 90 days.

If you sell before the 90 day period is up, you’ll be charged a $9.90, which is basically equivalent to their standard pricing for a buy and sell. Outside of the commission-free ETFs, the standard pricing with no minimum balance is $4.95 per ETF trade. The select pricing, if you have a minimum balance of $100,000, is $3.95 per ETF trade. On top of commission-free ETFs, Ally Invest currently holds promotions for sign-on bonuses, has great customer service, and mobile experience.

Read Benzinga’s full Ally Invest Review

What is an ETF?

While mutual funds are priced just once a day based on their net asset value, ETFs trade on public exchanges just like stocks, making them extremely liquid and tradable. But instead of a single stock, ETFs are funds that invest in dozens or hundreds of stocks, commodities and/or other securities all at once, allowing investors to achieve major diversity all in one swoop.  There are two types of ETFs: index-based ETFs and actively managed funds. 

Why Buy ETFs?

For some, ETFs are the right choice. Here’s why you may want to invest in them: 

  • Limit risk: Investing in a basket of stocks versus an individual stocks spreads risk around.
  • Save time: You don’t have to do the research on each individual company’s stock.
  • Have lower fees: For the most part, ETFs have low fees, but pay attention to the expense ratio.
  • Bought and sold during market hours: Unlike mutual funds, you don’t have to wait until the market closes to trade ETFs.

Here’s what you’ll have to watch out for. You can check the ETF’s prospectus via a Google search or the SEC’s EDGAR for this information:

  • Objective: What is the fund trying to achieve.
  • Historical performance: Not all ETFs are created equal. Check out the ETFs performance over time before you invest.
  • Investment strategy: How will the funds be managed and achieve its objective.
  • Risks involved: Specific risks should be outlined in the prospectus.

What to Look for in an ETF Brokerage

If you decide that you want to invest in ETFs, you’ll have to open a brokerage account. Both the big and small name brokerages offer ETF investing and the number of options can be a little overwhelming. Here’s what to look for before you open an account to invest in ETFs:

  • Low commissions: Most ETF brokers offer some form of free trading or commissions for new clients. If the brokerage does charge commission, it usually hovers around $5 per trade.
  • Selection of ETFs: The bigger the selection, the better. Some brokerages offer over 200 ETFs to choose from.
  • Research: The brokerages should make it easy to look up data about the ETFs they offer. This includes the origin, objective, strategy, and historical performance.

Now that you understand a bit more about ETF investing and brokerages, take a look at our picks.

JP Morgan Chase
Commissions
$0
Account Min
$0
Get started securely through JP Morgan Chase’s website
Commissions
$0
Account Min
$0
1 Minute Review

Chase You Invest is the retail brokerage arm of JP Morgan Chase, the largest bank in the United States. While most of the firm’s products are targeted toward wealthy clientele, You Invest gives novice investors a chance to learn about markets, select the best securities and plan for future goals like retirement. No futures, forex, or margin trading is available, so the only way for traders to find leverage is through options. 

Not all investors will appreciate the basic setup and simplistic trading suggestions, but plenty more want to learn about markets but just don’t know where to get started. Chase You Invest provides that starting point, even if most clients eventually grow out of it.

Best For
  • Investors using Chase banking products
  • Mobile traders
  • Retirement savers
Pros
  • Easy to navigate
  • Functional mobile app
  • Cash promotion for new accounts
Cons
  • No forex or futures trading
  • Limited account types
  • No margin offered
TradeStation
Commissions
$0
Account Min
$0
Get started securely through TradeStation’s website
Commissions
$0
Account Min
$0
1 Minute Review

TradeStation is for advanced traders who need a comprehensive platform. The brokerage offers an impressive range of investable assets as frequent and professional traders appreciate its wide range of analysis tools. TradeStation’s app is also equally effective, offering full platform capabilities.

Best For
  • Advanced traders
  • Options and futures traders
  • Active stock traders
Pros
  • Comprehensive trading platform and professional-grade tools
  • Wide range of tradable securities
  • Fully-operational mobile app
Cons
  • Confusing pricing structure to leave new traders with a weak understanding of what they pay
  • Cluttered layout to make navigating TradeStation’s platform more difficult than it should be
TD Ameritrade
Commissions
$0 $6.95 for OTC Stocks
Account Min
$0
Get started securely through TD Ameritrade’s website
Commissions
$0 $6.95 for OTC Stocks
Account Min
$0
1 Minute Review

This publicly listed discount broker, which is in existence for over four decades, is service-intensive, offering intuitive and powerful investment tools. Especially, with equity investing, a flat fee is charged, with the firm claiming that it charges no trade minimum, no data fees, and no platform fees. Though it is pricier than many other discount brokers, what tilts the scales in its favor is its well-rounded service offerings and the quality and value it offers its clients.

Best For
  • Novice investors
  • Retirement savers
  • Day traders
Pros
  • World-class trading platforms
  • Detailed research reports and Education Center
  • Assets ranging from stocks and ETFs to derivatives like futures and options
Cons
  • Thinkorswim can be overwhelming to inexperienced traders
  • Derivatives trading more costly than some competitors
  • Expensive margin rates
Commissions
$0
Account Min
$0
Compare Brokers securely through eTrade’s website
Commissions
$0
Account Min
$0
1 Minute Review

E*TRADE is an online discount trading house that offers brokerage and banking services to individuals and businesses. One of the first brokers to embrace online trading, E*TRADE not only survived both the dot-com bubble and Recession — it thrived. You can choose from two different platforms (one basic, one advanced). E*TRADE is a suitable broker for traders of most skill levels, whether you want to buy mutual funds and hold them for decades or dabble in options swing trading. E*TRADE offers a library of research and education materials to help you out.

Best For
  • Active traders
  • Derivatives traders
  • Retirement savers
Pros
  • Sophisticated trading platforms
  • Wide range of tradable assets
  • Exceptional customer service
Cons
  • Limited currency trading
  • Higher margin rates than competitors
  • No paper trading on its standard platform
Charles Schwab
Commissions
$0
Account Min
$0
Compare Brokers securely through Charles Schwab’s website
Commissions
$0
Account Min
$0
1 Minute Review

Charles Schwab is a solid choice for traders of all skill levels. It offers full access to the U.S. equity and options markets as well as 30 international markets. Traders can create a diverse portfolio with $0 commissions and no account minimums. Schwab’s margin trading is expensive but Schwab makes up for it with affordable futures and options trades, along with a comprehensive mobile offering.

Best For
  • 3 trading platforms perfectly in sync makes matching your platform to your skill level a snap
  • Excellent futures trading education for new traders
  • $0 account minimum means anyone can start trading
Pros
  • Wide range of available assets to trade, including futures and 30 global markets
  • SmartStreet Edge platform is powerful enough for advanced traders, yet easy enough for new traders to utilize
  • Unique educational resources (like infographics and podcasts) make learning fun
Cons
  • Margin rates are more expensive than competitors
  • More limitations on available margin than competitors
  • Expensive mutual funds
Ally Investment
Commissions
$0
Account Min
$0
Compare Brokers securely through Ally Investment’s website
Commissions
$0
Account Min
$0
1 Minute Review

Ally Invest is a comprehensive broker offering easy access to domestic markets. Combining a wide range of charting tools with an easy-to-master platform, Ally is a solid choice for both new and experienced investors. Ally’s mobile app is particularly impressive for investors who already bank with Ally, offering seamless compatibility between accounts. While more experienced investors might be disappointed with Ally’s beginner-oriented educational center, they’re bound to love Ally’s wide range of technical tools and rock-bottom pricing.

Best For
  • Traders who already bank with Ally and want to streamline between accounts
  • Beginners looking for easy-to-follow educational tools
  • Stock investors looking for affordable access to low-value securities
Pros
  • Streamlined interface that’s easy to use and quick to master — even for beginners
  • Wide range of unique tools that makes analyzing securities simple
  • Seamless integration between mobile and desktop offerings, especially for Ally bank account holders
  • Impressive ETF screening tools that make it easy to find your next fund
Cons
  • No fee-free mutual funds
  • Educational offerings aimed at beginners only
  • No access to futures trading
Wealthfront
Commissions
0.25% annual fee
Account Min
$500
Compare Brokers securely through Wealthfront’s website
Commissions
0.25% annual fee
Account Min
$500
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 free financial planning solution, powered by its automated financial advice engine 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. Wealthfront also offers a high-yield cash account with a 2.51% APY, FDIC insurance up to $1M, and no fees. Investors who wish to invest their savings can use its automatic investing suite called PassivePlus at low cost. It offers the following strategies: Tax-Loss Harvesting, Stock-level Tax-Loss Harvesting, Smart Beta and Risk Parity.

Best For
  • Passive investors
  • Lower fees
  • Beginning investors
  • Investors who don't want to manage money on their own
Pros
  • Relatively small fee
  • Goals and risk tolerance based strategies
  • Time-tested and academically proven investment strategies
  • Tax optimization
  • Financial planning and results tracking
  • Referrals program
  • High-yield cash account
Cons
  • No partial shares allowed
  • Doesn't invest entire deposit
Fidelity Investments
Commissions
$4.95
Account Min
$0 for IRAs. Some accounts may require a minimum opening balance of $2,500
Compare Brokers securely through Fidelity Investments’s website
Commissions
$4.95
Account Min
$0 for IRAs. Some accounts may require a minimum opening balance of $2,500
1 Minute Review

Fidelity is a comprehensive and responsive brokerage suitable for both new and experienced traders alike. With complete access to the full U.S. stock and options markets, a set of state-of-the-art education and research tools, as well as a wide fee-free fund selection, Fidelity is equally useful for the veteran swing traders to novices opening their first accounts. Mobile traders will be especially happy with Fidelity’s app, which mirrors full capabilities of the platform. Though there isn’t much to criticize about Fidelity, the broker does have a few areas where it can afford to improve. Margin rates are significantly higher than most other brokers, especially for traders borrowing less than $25,000. It also doesn’t offer any access to the futures markets. Despite these minor flaws, Fidelity remains a strong choice for most investors.

Best For
  • Easy-to-navigate yet functional platform strikes the perfect balance between expert tools and comfort for beginners
  • Mobile trading app is fully-optimized and mirrors full functionality of the desktop platform
  • Wide range of education and research options make learning more about securities and the market easier and less time-consuming
Pros
  • Complete range of both independent and managed services available at exceptionally affordable prices
  • Offers access to both domestic markets and 25 foreign markets, as well as a wide range of options contracts and over 10,000 mutual funds
  • Mobile app that is well-integrated and works just as well as the desktop platform
  • Wide selection of education tools and resources available free of charge
Cons
  • Margin rates higher than many other competing brokerages
  • No access to futures trading
  • High fees for buying a non-Fidelity mutual fund (with over 3,300 fee-free funds available)

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