There are many different types of traders, as there are discount stock brokers. Whether you are looking to trade in high volume or only conduct a few trades each year, you must have an online broker who suits your needs.
Each firm has its strengths and weaknesses, and choosing the top discount stock broker for you depends on your particular trading style and goals. Order is in site popularity. Compare from the list of broker reviews below.
- SmartMoney rated TradeKing #1 Online Broker for Customer Service in 2010.
- Extensive educational resources and online community trader network.
- See our TradeKing promotional code page for special offers.
Stock Trades Options Base Options Contract Minimum Deposit Mutual Funds $4.95 $4.95 $0.65 $0 $9.95 no load
- Received at least 4 stars in the Barron’s Review of Online Brokers for 9 years straight.
- Trade stocks, options, bonds, futures, mutual funds and ETFs—all in one account
- Get $100 when signing up or other promo codes from optionsXpress
Stock Trades Options Base Options Contract Minimum Deposit Mutual Funds $8.95 $0.00 $1.50 $0 $9.95+load fee
- Rated “Best for Options Traders” by Barron’s (2009 and 2010).
- Full suite of professionally developed online trading tools.
- Visit our OptionsHouse promotion code page before signing up.
Stock Trades Options Base Options Contract Minimum Deposit Mutual Funds $4.95 $4.95 $0.50 $0 $9.95
- Trade free for 60 days and get up to $500. Visit E*Trade’s promotion page for details.
- Rated #1 in Kiplinger’s Best Online Brokers for 2012
- Best mobile trading application E*TRADE Mobile Pro
Stock Trades Options Base Options Contract Minimum Deposit Mutual Funds $9.99 $9.99 $0.75 $500 $0.00 – $19.99
- Over 500 branch offices
- Award winning customer service
- Large selection of investments and detailed research
Stock Trades Options Base Options Contract Minimum Deposit Mutual Funds $7.00 $7.00 $1.25 $2,500/$0 for IRA $9.95
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How to Pick the Best Online Stock Broker
There are many factors to consider when choosing an online discount stock broker. Before picking a broker make sure you consider these questions:
- What are their fees?
- Is the web site easy to use?
- What methods can you execute a trade? (i.e. web, phone, mobile device)
- Do they have a local branch office?
- Do you have access to investment research?
- What investment options are available? (ie. stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs, options, forex)
It is shown that many investors trade with multiple stock brokers. Each broker run special promotions or offer better deals with such services as commission-free ETFs. So it is recommended to have investments in at least two discount stock brokers.
What are their fees?
Before signing up, make sure you are clear what fees you’ll pay per trade. In addition, it makes sense to look at your previous trading activity and calulate costs. Will it make sense to move based upon your typical transactions?
Is the web site easy to use?
It might be great that an online discount broker has low commissions, but is the web site easy to use? If it’s confusing and it takes ten steps execute a buy or sell a security, why would you use it?
What methods can you execute a trade?
In today’s connected world, it’s important to have flexibility when trading stocks. All firms listed allow you to trade online via their web site, but not all have the ability to execute trades from a mobile device. Make sure you can not only access your account from your smartphone, but also can make trades.
Do they have a local branch office?
Some investors like speaking face-to-face with their broker. If this is important to you, make sure a local branch office is near your home or place of work. Some brokers offer educational seminars at their office and access to financial advisors.
Do you have access to investment research?
Have access to investment research via your broker is not only convenient, but also can save you money. Purchasing stock and mutual fund research can be very expensive. A discount broker offering the research papers for free is something to consider in reducing your trading expenses.
What investment options are available? (ie. stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs, options, forex)
Depending upon your skills and expertise, make sure your discount broker has all the features you want. If not, then separate your investment accounts per brokerage for the types of trades you need to do. In some cases it might be cheaper to keep your bond portfolio with one broker and your stocks at another.