Best Online Stock Brokers

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Contributor, Benzinga
February 16, 2024

Interactive Brokers stands out as the premier platform for stock investing due to its competitive pricing, extensive range of tradable assets, advanced trading tools, and comprehensive research resources, catering to both novice and experienced investors alike.

Given how easy it is to find online stock brokers, determining which online broker is best for you can take some research. You can choose the best stock brokers from this list and find the best trading platform for you. From penny stocks to an ETF, you want online trading to be as user-friendly as possible.

Remember, however, that the best brokers should match your needs. Low commissions are nice, but the trade platform that you choose must make sense, offer a margin account (if you want one) and generally support you on your investing journey.

The broker your neighbor loves may not work for you, and that is why there are several options available to you. Stock trading is subjective in many ways, and you want a trading tool, investor support and more in an online brokerage account.

Quick Look at the Best Stock Brokers:

12 Best Online Stock Brokers and Platforms

Once you know what you’re looking for online stock brokers, you can make an informed decision on which stock broker to choose. For example, if you plan on making investments in foreign stock markets and already have considerable experience operating in the financial markets, Interactive Brokers might make a good choice. Advanced investors have specific needs, and financial products will vary from one platform to another.

1. Best for Global Traders: Interactive Brokers

  • Securely through Interactive Brokers’ website
    Securely through Interactive Brokers’ website
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    Active and Global Traders
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Interactive Brokers’ award-winning platforms and services were designed with professional and international traders in mind. Clients can trade in 90+ different markets across 200 countries and territories with 26 currencies.

The company also offers multiple trading platforms including its flagship Trader Workstation (TWS) desktop platform, a web-based Client Portal, and various mobile applications including IBKR Mobile, GlobalTrader, and IMPACT. Furthermore, the IBKR Application Programming Interface (API) is available in Excel with the powerful FIX API.

The firm’s pricing depends on whether you choose IBKR Lite or IBKR Pro, although U.S. stocks and ETFs can be traded commission-free. Because investing can be scaled to your budget, you never feel as though you’re overpaying. Plus, you get some of the lowest margin rates in the industry and a relatively high APY on uninvested cash held in your account.

  • Fees: $1, max. 1% of trade value. Free for US clients choosing IBKR Lite plan.
  • Minimum investment: $100

Pros

  • Covers most global traders
  • A varying range of unique investment tools
  • Low fees and unique account types
  • Extensive research tools
  • Low account minimum

Cons

  • With such a broad scope, it could overwhelm some traders

2. Best for Intermediate Traders: Webull

Webull offers both a mobile-based and desktop app that are highly intuitive and perfect for intermediate and advanced traders. The Webull platforms feature fundamental and technical analysis tools that include advanced charting and technical indicators.

Consumers can trade over 5,000 stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs,) stock trading or options trading on Webull’s platforms free of commissions. You can also open an account without an initial deposit and try out their platforms in a paper trading account that lets you practice without risking your money. 

You can even open a margin account where you can short stock — although you’ll be required to deposit a minimum of $2,000. In addition, Webull’s promotional offers include 3 free shares of stock for successfully opening an account determined by random selection using Webull’s lottery system.

  • Fees: $0; Sells only - $0.000008 * Total $ Trade Amount (Min $0.01)
  • Minimum investment: $5

Pros

  • Large catalog of assets
  • Shorting is available
  • Free commissions on stocks, ETFs and options
  • Low trading fees

Cons

  • Platform may overwhelm beginners

3. Best for Active Investors: Moomoo

Moomoo is an intuitive investment and trading platform with a professional set of tools, data and insights. When you sign up with Moomoo and open a brokerage account with Moomoo Financial Inc., features include:

  • Real-time Level 2 stock and options market data for funded accounts
  • Advanced technical indicators and charting tools
  • Advanced order types for all investors
  • Full extended trading hours from 4 AM to 8 PM EST
  • Multi-market quoting
  • Low fees, including $0 commission on U.S. Stocks and ETFs plus $0 equity options contract fees
  • 5.1% APY in the Cash sweep program and a 3.0% boost for qualified customers

You can review the FAQs in the Help Center if you need more information, or you can reach out to the customer support team via email or phone during the trading day.

There are educational tools and professional-grade research tools that complement a community that has 20M+ users worldwide.

  • Fees: $0
  • Minimum investment: $0

Pros

  • Commission-free trading
  • 6.8% margin rate
  • 5.1% APY in the Cash Sweep program for new and qualified customers
  • Free Level 2 data for funded brokerage accounts
  • Advanced charting tools, 100+ indicators, 37+ drawing tools, and 20 candle patterns
  • Extended trading hours No minimum deposit to get started
  • 24/7 chat support options

Cons

  • Does not support fractional stocks and Crypto
  • No support for mutual funds
  • No support for retirement accounts

4. Best for Short Selling Over $25k: Cobra Trading

Cobra Trading is the go-to broker for short selling with exceptional access to stock borrows and direct access routing. Cobra gives you the ability to take advantage of the best opportunities in the market. This brokerage firm has been in business for nearly 20 years and maintains the perks of a small firm.

With Cobra’s platform, you get Active Trading Accounts over $25K, competitive access to short opportunities, direct access routing, immediate and available client service nd the DAS Investing Platform.

Cobra exclusively opens and services any active brokerage account above $25K. Cobra allows you to trade in a way that a “free broker” cannot.

  • Fees: As low as $0.0015
  • Minimum investment: $27,000

Pros

  • While not free, the platform offers far more than a free broker
  • You can take short positions more easily
  • The platform is designed to take the trading volume you’re used to

Cons

  • Because the platform only supports those with over $25k, you need to be prepared to start big

5. Best for Mobile Users: Plus500

Many people who want to get into CFDs are located in Europe where CFDs are quite popular. But, where can these traders get into CFDs of all types? Plus500 has the platform that advanced traders need to get into these assets, and it makes it very easy to both practice and trade these assets. The platform is not designed for beginners, which can be a big draw for those who are managing large portfolios and want to use CFDs to further than investments.

Yes, there are stock CFDs, but there are also CFDs for crypto, indices and forex, depending on what you prefer to trade.

  • Fees: $0; currency conversion fees may apply
  • Minimum investment: $100

Pros

  • Stock CFDs are a unique asset that you can use for easy diversification
  • You can also diversify amongst the CFDs you choose and manage them all in one place

Cons

  • Even if you have experience with CFDs, remember that stock CFDs can be risky and confusing for even the best traders

6. Best for Beginners: Robinhood

Robinhood is a platform well known for providing easy access to the markets for all investors, allowing traders to buy and sell stocks without commission charges. Along with the concept of no-fee trading and a $0 minimum deposit, Robinhood maintains a quality mobile app that's simple, intuitive and easy to learn.

While there may not be the most powerful trading tools for advanced or professional traders, users just like you can buy and sell stocks with a few clicks. Plus, the mobile-native platform upon which the app is based allows you to jump from the browser to the app without any trouble. 

To top it off, new users can even get a randomly selected free share of a major stock. You can even get a competitive APY on uninvested cash.

  • Fees: $0
  • Minimum investment: $0

Pros

  • Also offers access to options
  • The mobile app helps you jump from desktop to mobile with ease
  • Very low or no fees on most trades

Cons

  • May not have the trading tools advanced investors desire

7. Best for Momentum Traders: CenterPoint Securities

CenterPoint Securities is a brokerage that offers remarkable tools for intermediate to advanced traders, high-volume traders, momentum traders and short sellers. When you short-sell with CenterPoint, you can take advantage of a massive short inventory and advanced order routing so that your orders process as quickly as possible. 

The platform allows you to trade in any area you like, helping you engage with the strategies you’ve chosen so that you the results you want. Because the platform is so easy to use and helpful for momentum traders, it can be the perfect place for anyone to start. Plus, you can learn about trading on the platform as you go.

There are discounts available to active traders, and the customer service team is very responsive. Try a Pro, Web or Mobile account, and use the built-in scanners, custom alerts and short locates tools so that you can make wise decisions and stay on top of your portfolio.

  • Fees: $0.30 for fewer than 500,000 trades per month; $0.10 for 10 million to 100 million trades per month
  • Minimum investment: $30,000

Pros

  • Built and designed for active traders
  • Unique scanners and custom alerts
  • Other options like a large short inventory and advanced order routing

Cons

  • May not prove to be as affordable as some other platforms

8. Best for AI Investing: Magnifi


Magnifi is a marketplace that allows you, as an investor, to use common brokerage tools and AI to make the best decisions for your portfolio. Because you can pull up all the information you need on a given asset, you can easily invest in the assets that will give you the results you deserve and better match your strategy.

Search for the investment options that meet your needs, invest in specific categories or scan for assets in a price range that’s affordable for you.

Best for long-term investors and those who require a bit of client support, you can also learn more about investing from this platform, utilize the AI-powered investing assistant, enjoy commission-free investing, try the mobile app and take advantage of over 15,000 possible investment options. This makes Magnifi a good place to trade for both seasoned and novice traders.

  • Fees: $14 - $140 per month for the subscription. Free trial available.
  • Minimum investment: $0

Pros

  • Over 15,000 assets to choose from
  • Easy access to asset information
  • Relatively affordable fees

Cons

  • May not serve investors in short-term positions

9. Best for Fund Investing: Charles Schwab

Like most of its peers, Schwab charges $0 commission for online stocks and ETF trading and requires no account or trade minimum. There are also no hidden fees. However, there are charges for trading options contracts. A broad array of multiple asset types are available on the platform. These include stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, bonds, options, futures, IRAs, custodial accounts and trusts. 

Schwab's low-cost ETF and index investing is one of the largest in the market. Investors big on mutual funds can leverage the platform's diverse list of OneSource no-commission, no-load mutual funds and Schwab's branded low-cost mutual funds. The platform offers fractional shares. So with as little as $5, you can leverage Schwab’s Stock Slices to buy into S&P 500 stocks. In addition, you can trade on over 30 global markets. 

Whether you're a newbie or a seasoned pro, Charles Schwab's stock trading app has you covered. With the app, you can get real-time quotes, place trades, create a stock watchlist and view your positions and balances. You can also view market indices, breaking news and in-depth charts. The Schwab Assistant, one of the app's top-shelf features, allows you to place trades, get quotes, set alerts and receive clarifications on investment questions.

  • Fees: $0 commissions on stocks
  • Minimum investment: $0

Pros

  • Established, household name
  • An excess of unique market news updated every day
  • Can support both beginners and advanced traders

Cons

  • Expanse of the platform may be off-putting for some traders

10. Best for Trading Ideas: Public.com

Public.com is the only investing platform that lets you buy, sell, and hold stocks and ETFs alongside crypto and alternative assets—like art and collectibles. There are no account minimums, and all accounts are cash accounts—no IRA or 401(k)s at this time—which makes for simpler investing and easier decision-making. 

For every stock or ETF you want to buy, you can see all the information for that asset, a chart that tracks its trajectory, and historical data that allows you to learn and understand trends. This can also include access to advanced data, custom company metrics, and expert analyst insights through their Public Premium membership. It’s all about helping you be a better investor. Public even has a social feed to help you exchange ideas and opportunities with their active community of over one million investors.

If you’re a new investor, you can choose to build your portfolio around different themes—from Green Power to Meatless Revolution, Reduce and Reuse, Water Works, Cannabiz, and Self-driving cars. They also have a ton of educational resources if you’d like to understand more about the markets and what makes them move. Just remember to only spend money you’re comfortable losing if some of those investments don’t work out.

  • Fees: $0 commissions on stocks
  • Minimum investment: $0

Pros

  • Themed investing can help investors stick to their principles
  • You can easily mix your portfolio
  • The social feed helps you form a better investment plan

Cons

  • The platform may work better for newer investors

11. Best for Copy Trading: eToro

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    securely through eToro Stocks's website
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    eToros securities trading offered by eToro Securities, Inc, (“the BD”), member of FINRA and SIPC. Investing involves risk.

eToro, renowned for its crypto offerings, also offers stocks, ETF trading and forex trading. In addition, you can mix your stocks and ETFs into an existing cryptocurrency portfolio. The stock offering allows you to invest in full stocks or fractional shares for as little as $10, engage with real, experienced investors regarding strategy and view detailed price charts and analysis.

  • Fees: $0 commissions on stocks
  • Minimum investment: $10

Pros

  • Excellent crypto offerings
  • The newest investors can start small
  • Low commissions help you further invest in your portfolio

Cons

  • The platform is fairly complex and may prove difficult to navigate

12. Best for Scalping: TradeZero

  • securely through TradeZero's website
    securely through TradeZero's website
    Best For:
    Overall Global Broker for Short Selling
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TradeZero is a platform positioned so that it can serve all those who want the chance to trade with zero commissions, scale their portfolios and avail themselves of high-quality services. With TradeZero, you get direct market access at low to no cost, including 24/7 live customer support, a powerful mobile app and a free version of what other brokers charge quite a lot of money for.

If you step up to Zero Pro, you get more functionality, but the Zero Free dashboard is just as complex and rich with options and nuances. Review how TradeZero offers free trades and confine yourself to those securities or branch out if you like. From professionals to novices, TradeZero helps you get started, save money and increase your net worth.

  • Fees: $0 free limit orders; $0.005 per share on paid orders
  • Minimum investment: $250

Pros

  • You can access enhanced trading tools for much less money
  • The FAQs are quite expansive
  • Choose the account type that works for you

Cons

  • Some perks only available for massive accounts

Which Broker Suits You Best?

All the stockbrokers mentioned above have different features that might work better for certain people over others. A discount broker might be a good place to start with online trading. However, frequent traders may prefer a more robust brokerage that costs a little bit more. The best stock trading platform is the one that optimally fulfills your particular needs, going above and beyond a brokerage account. In short, it should always make investing easy.

Many of the best stock brokers also offer demo or paper trading accounts that let you gauge their services and platforms, so you can try them out before committing any funds. In the end, ensure that your online broker makes you feel comfortable and offers quality results.

How Quickly Can You Start Trading?

Setting foot on the path of investment can appear daunting, especially when you're pondering over the initial sum required. Wealth is not a prerequisite for investing, and you will be surprised to learn that many platforms keep their minimums low, and it is rare that you will run into investments that are set aside for accredited investors.

Embracing the right strategies helps you stay grounded with limited resources. So long as you can complete the KYC or verification process, you can get started. Some brokers are faster than others.

How Much Money Do You Need to Start?

Because you can set up an account in as little as an hour, you should decide on your budget. Yes, you must compare your budget to minimums given by your preferred online broker, but once you breeze through the verification process and spend a small amount of money, you can build your portfolio. Some platforms have no minimums at all, others have minimums as low as $10 or $100. In short, this is far less money than the thousands many people assume they will spend.

How Can You Diversify With Little Money?

Embarking on my financial journey, you will found that exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are a revelation. These funds allow investors to tap into a basket of stocks or bonds with a single transaction, thus slashing the cost of entry and enabling a slice of market diversity with far less capital than most would presume is necessary.

Peer-to-peer lending platforms also work well, presenting an alternative avenue that can add to a traditional brokerage account. In short, you want to mitigate risk, choose affordable stocks, take a look at penny stocks and try alternative investments as needed.

Choose the Best Trading Platform for You

From proper order flow to reviewing the past performance of financial assets, accessing unique financial markets, setting financial goals and obtaining advisory services, you need a trading platform that’s right for you. If you need educational content, find a broker that helps teach you about the markets. You can make better financial decisions, buy into asset classes that intrigue you or even open an individual retirement account with these brokers. To learn more about a great trading experience and more, visit Benzinga any time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q

Are online stock brokers safe?

A

Duly regulated online brokers like those listed above are insured by the Securities Investor Protection Corp. (SIPC) that protects assets held with the broker up to $500,000, including $250,000 held in cash.

Q

Which online broker has the lowest fees?

A

All of the brokers mentioned above charge no commissions for U.S. stock and ETF transactions. If you plan on trading other exchange traded assets like futures and options, you might have to pay exchange-related fees. 

Q

Does Warren Buffet use a stock broker?

A

Warren Buffet is not a registered broker, so he and his companies must buy exchange listed stocks through a broker just like the rest of us.

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