Stock Trades: $6.95 | Option Trades: $6.95 + $0.75 per contract | Minimum Deposit: $0 Current Offer: Trade free for 60 days + Get up to $600 TD Ameritrade was ranked #1 Broker for Traders 2018 by Awadh Education* with its $6.95 stock trades and became the first broker to support 24/5 trading (24 hours a day, five days a week). Its platforms (thinkorswim was #1 desktop platform), tools, mobile apps (including Alexa Skill and Facebook Messenger bot), research, customer service (#1 for phone support), and education (#1) are all award winning.
Stock Trades: $4.95 | Option Trades: $4.95 + $0.65 per contract | Minimum Deposit: $2,500 Current Offer: Get up to 500 free trades for 2 years Fidelity is best known for its value driven customer experience. Regular stock trades are just $4.95 each and Fidelity was rated #1 for order execution quality, which drives down trading costs even further. Beyond cost and ease of use, Fidelity also finished #1 for research tools. It’s Viewpoint articles are top of class and Fidelity is the only broker to offer 12 third-party research reports for individual equities. Full review.
Having the best stock broker to serve individual needs is very important for any investor. For example, cheap trades most often come at the expense of less research tools and a more simplified trade platform. Consider these 12 key factors to help compare all stock brokers and ultimately find the best broker to suite your needs.
1. Trade Commissions
What does it cost to buy shares of stock? Does the fee change based on the type of order or size of order? To keep it simple, look for brokers that offer flat-fee trades, ie charging a flat rate regardless of the type, price of the stock, or size of the order.
When picking up the phone or emailing a broker, is a well trained customer service representative ready to assist? How any investor is treated as a client is more important to some than others. But, even for those that don’t rely on customer support that often, to know that they have award winning service there when they need it is comforting.
Trading successfully is a lot easier when investors have great tools at their disposal. A top stock broker should offer access to a wide variety of trade tools to help make the most of each and every trade. From real-time streaming quotes to last sale tickers, quality stock scanners, mobile trading apps, and level II quotes to name a few. Strong tools are essential for active investors.
Some brokers allow you to open an account with no minimum deposit while others may require several thousand dollars. Also know that some brokers require higher minimums to gain access to premium platforms, functionality, and personalized support.
Stock Trades: $6.95 | Option Trades: $6.95 + $0.75 per contract | Minimum Deposit: $0 Current Offer: Invest in a new account and get up to $600 Merrill Edge is the online investing arm of Bank of America (BofA), which is open to all investors, regardless if they are a current BofA customer. Thanks to its Preferred Rewards program, investors can get 30 free equity trades per month with a $50,000 three-month average combined balance, and 100 free equity trades per month with a $100,000 three-month average combined balance. Other rewards perks include credit card bonus cash back, savings interest bonuses, priority customer service, and more. My wife and I have personally been using the program since it launched in 2014 and I have yet to pay for a single stock trade. It’s awesome.
Stock Trades: $6.95 | Option Trades: $6.95 + $0.75 per contract | Minimum Deposit: $500 Current Offer: Trade Free for 60 Days & Get Up to $600 E*TRADE shines for its OptionsHouse platform for options trading alongside its mobile apps. OptionsHouse has been rated the #1 platform for Options Trading the past seven years. E*TRADE was also rated #1 for Mobile Trading in the StockBrokers.com 2018 Review*. Like TD Ameritrade, E*TRADE charges $6.95 per trade but offers a reduced rate of $4.95 (options $4.95 + $.50 per contract) when placing at least 30 trades per quarter.
Best platform technology Stock Trades: $5.00 | Option Trades: $5.00 + $0.50 per contract | Minimum Deposit: $500 Current Offer: All-New Pricing. Now Only $5/Trade + No Software Fees Advertisement TradeStation offers one of the most advanced desktop trading platforms in the industry. With its competitive commission rates for stocks and options trading, investors who have previous market experience will find themselves right at home. TradeStation’s target customers are traders that seek highly-customizable trading tools and low costs.
Stock Trades: $4.95 | Option Trades: $4.95 + $0.65 per contract | Minimum Deposit: $0 Current Offer: Up to $3,500 cash bonus + commission free trades for new accounts Ally Invest offers investors $4.95 stock trades, quality customer service, and full banking services through Ally Bank. TradeKing was acquired by Ally Financial in 2016 and continues to enhance its offering with tools like Ally Invest LIVE, the broker’s mobile friendly trading platform. However, unless you are already an Ally customer, you will find that there are better offerings available.
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