Want to jump straight to the best? Most of our users prefer Interactive Brokers for stock trading.
There have never been more options for traders looking to buy and sell stocks on the cheap. Heightened competition and industry consolidation has lead to pricing wars among online brokers, and commissions have now been falling for several years. From February 3, 2017 to March 6, 2017, Charles Schwab, Fidelity, TD Ameritrade and E*TRADE all issued major cuts to their standard trading commissions.
The Best Discount Stock Brokers:
- Lowest Fees Overall: Interactive Brokers
- Best for Mobile Traders: E*TRADE
- Best for Beginners: Robinhood
With lower commissions across the board, it’s easy to assume there’s no difference between a $6.95 full-service broker and a $4.95 discount broker. However, for traders making just 5 trades per day, that extra $2 per trade can end up being $6,500 in extra fees over a 5-year period.
While avoiding fees is important, many discount brokers offer bare-bones platforms and limited features. That’s fine for advanced traders who already know what they’re doing. But new investors looking to learn how to trade could be left high and dry if they choose the wrong discount broker.
At the end of the day, traders tend to get what they pay for when it comes to online brokers, and discount brokers are at a discount for a reason. However, there are a few hidden gems out there that offer both low commissions and top-tier features.
Lowest Fees Overall: IBKR
For day traders and other active traders who want to experience the feel of a Wall Street trading desk at a discount broker price, it doesn’t get any better than Interactive Brokers’ Trader Workstation.
Interactive Brokers was designed from the ground up to meet the needs of day traders.
Day traders know more than any other traders the importance of minimizing fees, and Interactive Brokers charges just Day traders know more than any other traders the importance of minimizing fees, and Interactive Brokers charges just Day traders know more than any other traders the importance of minimizing fees, and Interactive Brokers charges just $0.005 per share for standard trades.005 per share for standard trades.005 per share for standard trades.
Interactive Brokers also offers a wide range of tools that are designed to give day traders that split-second advantage that is critical for their success, including programmable hotkeys, customizable order types and algorithmic trading support.
See Related: Interactive Brokers Review
- Active traders
- Derivatives traders
- Retirement savers
Best Mobile App: E*TRADE
Traders on the move can find everything they need to make winning trades on one of two award-winning E-Trade apps.
For the standard trader, the E-Trade mobile app provides all the functionality you would ever need and an easy-to-use interface. App users get access to third-party research, live streams of CNBC TV and breaking market news alerts.
Advanced users can take advantage of the premium features that come for free in E-Trade’s OptionsHouse app. The OptionsHouse app has professional-grade tools for stock and option traders, including customizable options chains and 4-legged chains.
Check out Benzinga’s recommended Best Investment Apps for a more comprehensive look at app options.
- Beginner traders
- Mobile traders
Best Tools and Research: Robinhood
A downside of most discount brokers is they don’t provide the same level of information and trading tools as their premium peers. With Fidelity, research and tools are never a problem. Fidelity provides traders with free market research from 20 different 3rd-party providers.
Users get access to analyst ratings, specialized ETF reports, equity summary scores and even mutual fund fact sheets. Traders also have access to Fidelity Viewpoints articles that help point them in the right direction.
When it comes to trading tools, Fidelity offers advanced traders access to Active Trader Pro, a fully-customizable trading platform with real-time streaming quotes and market data updates. Traders can also use the Real-time Analytics tool, Strategy Ideas and Trade Armour features to streamline and optimize their trading strategies.
Traders who trade at least 36 times per year and maintain an account balance of at least $25,000 get access to Wealth Lab Pro, an advanced strategy-testing tool that allows traders to backtest multiple strategies at once by utilizing up to 20 years of historical data. The best part is that all these advanced features are customizable for your own personal trading style.
Sign Up with Your Discount Broker Now
Discount brokers can’t offer all the bells and whistles of a full-service firm, but you can find that diamond in the rough that offers low commissions and the features you need. Get started today with our recommended discount brokers.
Find the brokerage that meets your priority needs and check out a new account today.