We’re used to gliding through a clothing isle or making the perfect shoe selection when there are hundreds of choices. However, when it comes to selecting stock broker you’re probably a bit overwhelmed with all the options of brokers available online. I know I certainly was! So, I would like to take you on a small but informative journey through the best online brokers to help you pick the right one for you.

These are companies that offer reasonable investment minimums, or the minimum amount of money you have to invest.

They offer high-quality tools of the trade, great customer service, and no hidden fees as you manage your account.

After all, you have to pay somebody to manage your money as it is, let’s make it as inexpensive as possible!

I also took a look at how each of these firms handled matters that matter most to their customers.

For example, active traders or people who enjoy trading each day will want providers that offer volume discounts on their trade commissions, and great mobile apps and platforms for trading on the run.

For those of us who are beginners, i’ve also noted the brokers who provided great support, more or less holding my hand as I started (not in a patronizing way) offering tutorials and the chance to chat or call with any concerns or questions.

So, don’t lose time wondering which of these platforms are for you.

Check out one of our picks and get investing soon!

ps. I’ve saved the best for last!

Disclaimer: CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. Between 74-89% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

1. Best Online Stock Brokers: Index

Online BrokerBest ForHighlightsFeesAccount MinimumStart Investing
Plus 500High volume trades: Swing and day tradersCompetitive fees, no commission. Easy to use interface. Desktop and mobile app. Wide range of CFDs on trading instruments.No commission on trades. Competitive tight spreads.£100Trade Today
Ally Invest Casual investors that want to do it themselves online.Web based platform. Easy interface. No physical branches. Strong research and analytical tools.Zero annual fees.No minimum.Trade Today
TD Ameritrade Retail investors wanting access to a wide range of assets.Higher than average commissions. Great customer service. Up to $600 and 60 day commission free trading.$6.95 per trade.No minimum.Trade Today
E-Trade Frequent investors.Tiered commission structure (beneficial for high volume investors). Great mobile app. Up to $600 and 60 day commission free trading.$4.95 - 6.95 per trade.No minimum.Trade Today
Merrill Edge Bank of America customers.Single access with same details as bank accounts. Great customer service and branch access.$6.95 per trade.No minimum.Trade Today
Charles Schwab EveryoneHuge selection of EFTs with no commission. Plus no transaction fee mutual funds.No commission EFTs. No fee mutual funds.
$4.95 equity trades.
No minimum.Trade Today
RobinhoodFrequent and high volume traders.Free. Zero hidden fees. Limited analysis or tools - just great for people wanting to simply buy stocks and ETFs.Zero.No minimum.Trade Today
FidelityThose wanting access to expertise or market research papers.Research tools. Trusted name and low costs. Many 3rd party research papers.$4.95 per trade.No minimum.Trade Today
BettermentGreat starter broker - extremely low costs.Easy to use, tailored to experience levels (hands-on or hands-off).$0 per trade. 0.25% annual fee of balance.No minimum.Trade Today
EllevestWomen 🙂 Hands free, low cost stock market investments.Robo-advisor so hands off, low fee.0.25% for Ellevest Digital and .50% for Ellevest Premium.No minimum.Trade Today

1. Plus500

Not technically a stock broker, Plus500 sits as a leading platform for traders – especially Swing and Day Traders. Being a CFD (Contract For Difference) platform it suits high volume traders due to it’s zero commission structure. And even with no commission it has a tight spreads (which is where it makes its margin).

The interface is also really intuitive and simple to get used to so appeals to those that don’t want complexity. Plus, desk desktop and mobile application versions it makes accessing anywhere really easy.

Another favourite feature is ‘Guaranteed Stop’ which helps to protect your risk, along with Stop Limits, Stop Losses and Trailing Stops. A Wide range of CFDs on trading instruments also give this wide appeal, from individual stocks (eg. Tesla and Apple), to indexes (eg. NASDAQ, FTSE100 or DACH), to Crypto (eg. Bitcoin and Litecoin) and even now even Cannabis stocks.

Probably the best part for those starting out is the Demo Account, so you can get used to the interface and practice trading risk free, for as long as you want!

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Disclaimer: CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. Between 74-89% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

2. Ally Invest

This is a super strong trading platform and features loads of free research, data, analytical tools, and charts.

It makes it a great choice for those of you that are interested in active trading.

And even though it does feature this stuff, it’s also a fine choice for those of you who are just beginning (which, if you’re here, you definitely are) as there is no account minimum and zero annual fees for managing your money.

The web-based platform is so great for those of us with busy lifestyles -it’s very user-friendly.

Bear in mind that unlike Merrill Edge, who was connected with Bank of America, this company has zero physical branches you can visit.

At least their customer service is good and available.
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3. TD Ameritrade

Based in Omaha, Nebraska, TD Ameritrade is an American brokerage firm that has major trading centers in St Louis, Missouri and Southlake, Texas.

The letters “TD” stands for Toronto-Dominion Bank – the former owner of the bank.

The firm has been providing services to individuals and businesses alike that make investments online.

The higher than the average trading commission prices with a better than average sort of customer service, research, and tools of the trade that will keep everybody from the very beginners of investing all the way to the seasoned active traders coming back and managing their money with TD Ameritrade.

It’s $6.95 per trade, and you have a really large investment selection to choose from.

You can also look forward to the free research and the fact that there is no account minimum, too.

This platform showed up really well on our mobile devices, too, performing well and going smoothly as we explored the site and platform from our tablet and phones.
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4. E-Trade

E-Trade has been around since the 1990s, and for good reason, it works and is trusted among veterans and newbies alike.

The tools that this company offers are very easy to use.

They also offer a tiered structure of commission that favors the more frequent traders ($4.95 per trade), however.

This is fine for them, but for casual investors, this can add up to a lot of costs and fees (it is $6.95 per trade, after all).

Use this one with care-not because the quality isn’t good, but because it values a specific type of trader.

Customer support is top notch, so if you’re looking to start in active trading, this is a nice place to go.

The mobile app is great. You will need to keep a minimum balance for the active trading platform part of the brokerage.
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5. Merrill Edge

The customer service here is top notch. The fees are very low, starting at only $6.95 per trade.

The research that this company puts into its trades is really great, so you can make the best choice without having to perform extensive stock research (yes, it is a thing!).

Bank of America is its parent company, so integration is seamless if you already have an account there.

You can log in with just ONE single password and username, how cool is that!

One thing we did note is that you have to have a minimum balance for the active trading platform so if you don’t plan on buying and holding your stock for a while keep this in mind.
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6. Charles Schwab

When they say “talk to Chuck” they mean none other than Charles Schwab.

This company has been around long enough to know what good customer service and help means.

This broker not only offers you all the help you could ever want and answers each and every question that arises but also has TWO great quality trading platforms and a huge selection of ETFs (exchange-traded funds) that have no commission, as well as a selection of no transaction fee mutual funds.

There are no inactivity fees, so if life gets rough, don’t worry about it.

The research Charles Schwab puts into their stocks is great-this one’s perfect for beginners.

Beginners can also take comfort in knowing that Charles Schwab is a robo advisor-you can leave the heavy lifting to the algorithm and let it invest based on your personal preferences.
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7. Robinhood

Robinhood is free as a bird.

Yes, that means free, like FREE! There are zero hidden costs.

However, this does have some slight consequences.

For example, you won’t get a lot when it comes to trading tools, education, research, and investment options that go beyond ETFS and stocks.

However, this is my top pick for those of us on seriously tight budgets.

There are no commissions on stock trades, the interface is so easy to use and very streamlined, and the account minimums are zilch.

Bear in mind though that those of you who got into this game for retirement, mutual funds or bonds will find yourselves wishing for more-they don’t offer them.

Also, the customer service was rather limited, I found out.
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8. Fidelity

Fidelity is a name that many traders old and new love and admire.

They’ve been around forever helping people like us get situated for whatever we want out of life, whether it’s a diversified stock portfolio or some retirement assurance.

They thrive on customer service, which is value driven and oh so helpful.

The prices here are reasonable at only $4.95 apiece, and it is important to note that Fidelity was actually rated #1 in terms of its execution quality-this helps drive down the costs of trading, making it more accessible to the masses.

Also, Fidelity ranked #1 for its research tools.

The helpful viewpoint blog is easy and fun to read, and Fidelity is the ONLY broker that offers  A DOZEN third-party research reports for its individual equities.
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9. Betterment

Much like Robinhood, Betterment is a great starter for beginners because it costs nearly nothing to use it.

You can look forward to a $ 0 cost for the following: Minimum balance, cost options per trade, cost per stock trade, and commission-free ETFs.

The only thing that you pay for is the annual fees, which are .25% a year.

We really liked that you could get the app right on your phone or tablet just by going to the Apple Store or Google Play store.

This one is really great for those of you that want a hands-off approach, letting a robo-advisor take the cake for you and grow your money.

It is actually the largest company among the robo-advisor group, helping over a quarter-million clients manage over $11 billion in assets.

You can look forward to having a diversified ETF portfolio and can set up your account with your own goals in mind-whether you’ve got retirement, wealth building, or other savings goals on your brain.
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10. Ellevest

I may have inadvertently saved the best for last, so keep on reading.

This robo-advisor markets itself exclusively to women.

If you want to invest based upon your goals, are new to the game, or simply want to invest based upon your values or just want to stay hands-off with it all, this could be just the one for you.

For starters, a zero-dollar account minimum is the name of the game.

The management fees are pretty reasonable, too-only .25% for Ellevest Digital and .50% for Ellevest Premium.

This one is great for women thanks to the tone and approach it takes to investing.

It attempts to help women invest around the gender pay gap, and also aims to help women overcome the obstacles they face in their careers (women, for example, live longer but tend to have a lesser lifespan than men, ergo facing more problems when it comes to making and managing money).

Other robo-advisors simply treat men and women the same when considering their earnings of the future, which is a fair approach to take.

But Ellevest might recommend a higher savings rate for a female client instead of a male, all because of the lower future earnings probability.

Earlier on, Ellevest Premium was mentioned.

This requires a $50,000 minimum and comes with access to some very special resources: executive coaching, for instance, is a super value add.

It can be hard for women to find mentors to speak with regarding their career advancement, but this service helps with just that.

You can speak with a coach about issues like career advancement and salary negotiation, among other issues.

As a Premium member, you can also get unlimited access to certified financial planners that will schedule appointments to speak with you one on one and give you valuable nuggets of information you can’t get anywhere else.

Their primary goal is helping investors attain goals meant for the long term, like retirement.

There is even an additional planning layer that helps you invest for shorter, non-retirement goals, too.

You can set yourself up to save for a car, a down payment on a house, expenses related to a child, or even the startup costs for beginning your own business.

It makes it a heck of a lot easier to achieve these goals when you can arrange to have part of your paycheck deposited right into your Ellevest account thereby making it harder for you to simply spend that money.

Indeed, the thing that sets this apart is its women-centered marketing and the fact that its investing algorithm factors in the salary curve and average lifespan of the gender chosen by the prospective client.

You can also choose to invest your hard-earned money into companies that care about advancing women’s’ careers and earnings.

Conclusion

In closing, you will do well to choose any one of these online brokerage firms.

Some are a little more advanced than others, some offer a lot of hand-holding and guidance, and some are geared more toward those interested in saving for retirement.

The best for beginners traders would be Plus500. Betterment or even Ellevest if you’re new to investing. Robinhood is another great one due to low fees, however it offers limited scope for learning.

For those that demand a well-trusted name, Charles Schwab is the way to go.

Any of these great companies will help you out-do your own searching to find what is best for you.

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