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Benzinga’s Online Brokerage Review Methodology

We aim to provide comprehensive and unbiased reviews on Benzinga to help users understand and learn about brokerage platforms. We hope our reviews help lead you to the best-suited platform and the best online broker for you.

Meet the Reviewers

Sarah Horvath is a financial writer located in New York City, New York. She focuses on the topics of insurance and investing for retirement. Horvath has written for numerous websites and publications, and her work regularly appears on websites like Robinhood’s news feed and Benzinga.

Dan began writing for Benzinga in 2018 covering topics like stocks, brokers, and retirement savings. He received a journalism degree from Penn State in 2008 and has spent most of his life in the Philadelphia area (Go Birds). His favorite books about investing are Dark Pools, Random Walk Down Wall Street, and Beat The Dealer.

Luke Jacobi, expert trader and CFO at Benzinga, hosts multiple trading and investing shows and has been a Benzinga team member since 2013. Luke’s writing has appeared on Benzinga’s news and Money sites along with Yahoo! Finance, Morningstar, MSN and many others. He has led Benzinga to a top 1,000 most visited US website, the largest distributor of news to US brokerages and 4 consecutive years of 50%+ revenue growth. Luke attended the University of Michigan and in his spare time, he reads and makes snacks.

Review Process

For brokerage reviews, Benzinga created a weighted scale based on the following criteria: usability, services offered, customer service, education, research, mobile app, account minimums and fees. Reviewers meticulously researched each category and rated it based on the following metrics.

Platform Usability

Weight: 20%

  • New customers onboarded less than 10 minutes
  • Reviewer easily navigate the site and find everything necessary to make a trade with no difficulty
  • Teaches users how to use the platform

  • New customers onboarded less than 10 minutes
  • Reviewer can navigate the site and find everything necessary to make a trade with little to no difficulty

  • New customers onboarded greater than 10 minutes
  • Reviewer can navigate the site and find everything necessary to make a trade with little to some difficulty

  • New customers onboarded greater than 20 minutes
  • Reviewer can navigate the site and find everything necessary to make a trade with difficulty

  • New customers onboarded greater than 20 minutes
  • Reviewer can navigate the site and find everything necessary to make a trade with difficulty

Platform Services Offered

Weight: 15%

  • Offers stocks, etfs, bonds, options, futures, forex
  • Can trade international securities

  • Offers (5/7) stocks, etfs,mutual funds, bonds, options, futures, forex
  • No access to foreign markets

  • Offers (4/7) stocks, etfs,mutual funds, bonds, options, futures, forex
  • No access to foreign markets

  • only stocks, options

*2 stars is the lowest possible score for this factor.

Platform Customer Service

Weight: 15%

  • Offers text chat, call, email options
  • Special services for disabled
  • Can chat with a live person in less than 2 minutes

  • Offers text chat, call, email options
  • Special services for disabled
  • Can chat with a live person in less than 5 minutes

  • Offers (2/3) text chat, call, email options
  • Special services for disabled
  • Can chat with a live person in less than 10 minutes

  • Offers (1/3) text chat, call, email options
  • No special services for disabled
  • Can chat with a live person in less than 15 minutes

  • Offers (1/3) text chat, call, email options
  • No special services for disabled
  • Can chat with a live person in less than 20 minutes

Platform Education

Weight: 15%

This section reviews education about both the plaform and about investing in general.

  • Full repository of educational material
  • Well organized educational content
  • Connected to mobile and desktop app
  • Offers retirement guidance

  • Full repository of educational material
  • Decently organized
  • Either on mobile or desktop
  • Offers retirement guidance

  • Has educational materials
  • Decently organized
  • Either on mobile or desktop
  • Some retirement guidance

  • Few educational materials
  • Not well organized
  • Either on mobile or desktop
  • Little retirement guidance

*2 stars is the lowest possible score for this factor.

Platform Research

Weight: 10%

  • Has customizable stock, etf, mutual fund and fixed income screener
  • Provides market commentary in the form of shows, webinars, podcasts, etc.
  • Provides options research
  • Access to analyst research

  • Has customizable stock, etf, mutual fund and fixed income screener
  • Provides market commentary
  • Access to analyst research

  • Has stock research platform
  • Provides market commentary
  • Access to analyst research

  • Has minimal stock research platform
  • No market commentary
  • Little access to analyst research

  • No stock research
  • No market commentary
  • No access to analyst research

Platform’s Mobile App

Weight: 10%

  • Mobile App offers the same experience as desktop
  • Integration between mobile and desktop
  • Available iOS and Android
  • Easy to use

  • Mobile App offers a similar experience as desktop
  • Integration between mobile and desktop
  • Available iOS and Android
  • Easy to use

  • Mobile App offers a similar experience as desktop
  • Integration between mobile and desktop
  • Available iOS and Android
  • Easy to a little difficult to use

  • Mobile App does not offer a similar experience as desktop
  • Integration between mobile and desktop
  • Available iOS or Android
  • Little difficult to use

  • No mobile app

Broker Account Minumums

Weight: 10%

  • $0 account min

  • < $100 account minimum

  • $250 to $500 account min

  • $500 to $2,000 account minimum

  • >$2,000 account min

Platform Fees

Weight: 5%

  • Stocks are free
  • $2 or less for options

  • Stocks are free
  • $2 – $5 for options

  • Stocks – up to $5
  • >$5 for options

  • Stocks – > $10
  • >$5 for options

  • Stocks – > $20
  • >$5 for options