Newly published list of non-recommended brokers

Best Binary Options Brokers 2020:
  • Binarium
    Binarium

    1st Place! Best Binary Broker 2020!
    Best Choice for Beginners — Free Education + Free Demo Acc!
    Sign-up and Get Big Bonus:

  • Binomo
    Binomo

    2nd place! Good choice!

Contents

There is a new section on our site xbinop.com, which is called Non-recommended brokers. It is basically a list of brokers that we do not recommend to trade with. Of course, these companies will not steal your money immediately at the moment you open your account. But they are companies that we personally don’t trust with our money and you shouldn’t either.

We are going to be expanding this list in the future because, unfortunately, the number of binary options scams is increasing very quickly. It is important to know that binary options itself are not a fraud. Onto the list, we are going to add all the fraudulent trading robots or signals and not just brokers. We hope to help to save money at least of some of our readers.

Lately, the regulatory authority CySEC is changing the conditions for regulated brokers so the conditions get more strict each month. Therefore I think that many brokers will end (just like optiontrade) or will change to fraudulent brokers as the case of TopOption. Below you can find an example of one of the non-recommended brokers.

Broker Status Withdrawals problem Scam phone calls Still in business More information
SCAM Yes Yes No NOT RECOMMENDED
More information

The case of TopOption

The first reason, why this broker has been deleted from the list of recommended binary brokers is their very unpleasant customer support. Well, to be fair, the customer support is very nice, but only as long as you play by their rules. That means that if you don’t want to deposit money into your trading account, they start to be pretty rude.

I opened a new trading account on their platform and I wanted to make a test deposit, but I couldn’t because my card was getting declined. After a while, I received a call from them. It was very pleasant talking to a nice lady, but she couldn’t help me with the problem so we gave it up with the conclusion that we are going to try it tomorrow.

Since then, she called me up like 5 times and she’d probably keep calling till today if I hadn’t blocked her number on my phone. During the conversations, she was telling me things like: ‘If you don’t make the deposit, I am going to cancel your account.’ She also said I was a terrible person, for stealing her time and money, etc.

Other brokers on the list

Besides TopOption, there are also two very famous brokers on the list. Maybe you already know them for their huge scams. We are talking about the very well-known Eztrader and Zoomtrader.

However, you are not going to see just fraudulent brokers on the list. You will be able to find there brokers who aren’t necessarily scams, only brokers that we don’t recommend for some reason. Also, we will try to put some not working binary robots there.

Author

More about the author J. Pro

Unlike Stephen (the other author) I have been thinking mainly about online business lately. I wasn’t very successfull with dropshipping on Amazon and other ways of making money online, and I’d only earn a few hundreds of dollars in years. But then binary options caught my attention with it’s simplicity. Now I’m glad it did because it really is worth it. More posts by this author

Best Online Brokers 2020

The StockBrokers.com best online brokers 2020 review (10th annual) took five months to complete and produced over 30,000 words of research. Here’s how we tested.

Best Binary Options Brokers 2020:
  • Binarium
    Binarium

    1st Place! Best Binary Broker 2020!
    Best Choice for Beginners — Free Education + Free Demo Acc!
    Sign-up and Get Big Bonus:

  • Binomo
    Binomo

    2nd place! Good choice!

Want to buy shares of stocks like Apple (AAPL), Facebook (FB), Disney (DIS), or Uber (UBER)? If so, you will need an online broker account.

Choosing an online stock broker is one of the most important decisions you will make as an investor. This guide aims to introduce online trading and break down the best online brokers available today.

As a previous full-time trader turned hobby enthusiast, since 2001, I have completed over 1,000 trades in my personal portfolio, finishing 2020 with a total 2,574 individual buys and sells.

While the markets are anything but certain, you can feel confident StockBrokers.com has your back in 2020 to help you choose the best broker.

Best Online Brokers 2020

  • TD Ameritrade – Best for overall and beginners
  • Fidelity – Best research experience
  • Charles Schwab – Best for IRA accounts
  • E*TRADE – Best web platform
  • Interactive Brokers – Best for professionals
  • Merrill Edge – Best rewards program
  • TradeStation – Best platform technology

1. TD Ameritrade

Overall | Open Account

Exclusive Offer: Get up to $600 and trade commission-free with TD Ameritrade.

TD Ameritrade delivers the ultimate package for investors, including $0 trades, fantastic trading platforms, excellent market research, industry-leading education for beginners, and reliable customer service. This outstanding all-round experience makes TD Ameritrade our top overall broker in 2020.

Why Choose TD Ameritrade:

  • Excellent trading platform thinkorswim. After spending hundreds of hours testing desktop platforms, I give thinkorswim my top recommendation, thanks to its modern feel and outstanding trader tools. That includes the mobile app, which is my favorite for active traders.
  • Great for beginner investors. TD Ameritrade has the largest selection of educational materials in the industry by far, with over 200 instructional videos covering every investment topic imaginable. Furthermore, the whole learning center is gamified, tracking your progress as you go with quizzes bringing concepts together at the end of each course.
  • Robust research. TD Ameritrade provides customers access to its own TV Network and trader magazine. Depth is across the board, as TD Ameritrade also uses proprietary data to analyze millions of tweets to power its Social Signals tool.
  • Industry-leading technology. TD Ameritrade is the only broker to offer customers the ability to access their accounts from Twitter, Apple Chat, Facebook, and Alexa. Technology and innovation are core parts of TD Ameritrade’s DNA.
Feature TD Ameritrade
Review Read full review
Minimum Deposit $0
Stock Trades $0 per trade
Option Trades $0 + $0.65 per contract
Commission-Free ETFs all
Trading Platform thinkorswim

2. Fidelity

Overall | Open Account

Trade Commission-Free: No commissions to trade online U.S. stocks, ETFs, and options. 1

Fidelity is a value-driven online broker offering $0 stock trades, industry-leading research, excellent trading tools, an easy-to-use mobile app, and comprehensive retirement services. Serving over 30 million customers, Fidelity is a winner for everyday investors.

Why Choose Fidelity:

  • Terrific for investment research. Research at Fidelity stands out for its 16 equity research reports, excellent in-house market analysis, and quotes experience that is meticulously crafted for maximum usability.
  • Great for new investors. Behind TD Ameritrade, Fidelity is my second broker recommendation for beginner stock traders. Fidelity offers investors the perfect blend of ease of use, excellent research tools, as well as a great education center.
  • Excellent mobile app for everyday investors. The Fidelity mobile app is a winner for investors because it is easy to use, packed full of market research, and includes a wide variety of trading tools.
Feature Fidelity
Review Read full review
Minimum Deposit $0
Stock Trades $0 per trade
Option Trades $0.65 per contract
Commission-Free ETFs all
Trading Platform Active Trader Pro

3. Charles Schwab

Overall | Open Account

Current Offer: $0 online stock, ETF, and options commissions at Schwab.

Founded in 1973, Charles Schwab is a full-service brokerage with over $3 trillion in total client assets. As a low-cost leader offering $0 stock trades, Charles Schwab provides investors excellent stock research, quality trade tools, and professional planning for the future.

Why Choose Charles Schwab:

  • Excellent market research. Schwab boasts a full lineup of 26 in-house experts who provide numerous articles, known as Schwab Insights, on a variety of market topics throughout each week.
  • Leader in retirement services. Charles Schwab shines with its Schwab Intelligent Portfolios (robo-advisor) and Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Premium (human advisor) services.
Feature Charles Schwab
Review Read full review
Minimum Deposit $0
Stock Trades $0 per trade
Option Trades $0.65 per contract
Commission-Free ETFs all
Trading Platform StreetSmart Edge

4. E*TRADE

Overall | Open Account

Promo Offer: Get $100 when you deposit just $5,000 into a new E*TRADE account!

Founded in 1982 as one of the first online brokerages in the United States, E*TRADE understands what investors need to succeed in the market. E*TRADE highlights include $0 trades, two excellent mobile apps, and the Power E*TRADE platform, which is great for options trading.

Why Choose E*TRADE:

  • Excellent web platform that is a winner for options trading. Our favorite web-platform again this year, Power E*TRADE, combines the best of both worlds: ease of use with fantastic trading tools. While just decent for stock trading, Power E*TRADE is terrific for options trading.
  • Full-featured mobile apps. Among all the online brokers we track on StockBrokers.com, E*TRADE offers the most mobile app features in a well-designed, easy to use experience.
Feature E*TRADE
Review Read full review
Minimum Deposit $0
Stock Trades $0 per trade
Option Trades $0.65 per contract
Commission-Free ETFs all
Trading Platform Power E*TRADE

5. Interactive Brokers

Overall | Open Account

Exclusive Offer: New clients that open an account today receive a special margin rate.

While Interactive Brokers is not well known for its casual investor offering, it leads the industry with low-cost trading for professionals. Through the Trader Workstation (TWS) platform, Interactive Brokers offers excellent tools and an extensive selection of tradeable securities.

Why Choose Interactive Brokers:

  • Excellent for professional traders. Interactive Brokers offers customers an arsenal of 63 different order types, the most in the industry by a landslide. Margin rates are also the lowest in the industry, across the board.
  • Great for day trading. Interactive Brokers does not accept payment for order flow (IBKR Pro only). This makes it’s already low pricing even better because there are no hidden execution costs.
  • Global access. The most diverse offering by a landslide, Interactive Brokers offers trading in 26 countries and over 125 market centers.
Feature Interactive Brokers
Review Read full review
Minimum Deposit $0
Stock Trades $.005 per share (IBKR Pro) // $0 (IBKR Lite)
Option Trades $0.65 per contract (IBKR Pro) // $0 (IBKR Lite)
Commission-Free ETFs 48 (IBKR Pro) // all (IBKR Lite)
Trading Platform Trader Workstation (TWS)

6. Merrill Edge

Overall | Open Account

Current Offer: Invest in a new account and get up to $600.

Backed by parent company Bank of America, Merrill Edge delivers $0 stock and ETF trades with fantastic research and customer service. Better yet, for current banking customers, Merrill Edge’s Preferred Rewards program offers the best rewards benefits across the industry.

Why Choose Merrill Edge:

  • Preferred Rewards. To open an account with Merrill Edge, you do not have to be a Bank of America customer. That said, it is far easier to reach the minimum combined account balance to earn all sorts of perks under the Preferred Rewards program. Here’s a list.
  • Excellent ESG (environmental, social, and governance) research. Merrill Edge offers Stock Story, Fund Story, and Portfolio Story, which makes conducting market research both educational and insightful. Full ESG Reports are also included.
  • Great customer service. In our national testing, Merrill Edge consistently delivered agent connection times under one minute.
Feature Merrill Edge
Review Read full review
Minimum Deposit $0
Stock Trades $0 per trade
Option Trades $0.65 per contract
Commission-Free ETFs all
Trading Platform Merrill Edge MarketPro

7. TradeStation

Overall | Open Account

Promo Offer: Commission-Free Trades on Stocks, ETFs & Options Trades.

As a trading technology leader, TradeStation supports casual traders through its web-based platform and active traders through its award-winning desktop platform, all with $0 stock and ETF trades.

Why Choose TradeStation:

  • Excellent trading platform. TradeStation 10 is a desktop-based, downloadable trading platform for online trading that is robust and full of trading tools. In our testing, TradeStation 10 is rivaled only by TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim platform.
  • Great mobile app for stocks and options trading. From monitoring multiple watch lists and setting price alerts, to analyzing stock charts and placing trades, TradeStation Mobile provides a fantastic all-around experience for traders.
Feature TradeStation
Review Read full review
Minimum Deposit $0
Stock Trades $0 per trade
Option Trades $0.50 per contract
Commission-Free ETFs all
Trading Platform TradeStation 10

More Online Brokers

Outside of our top seven online brokers for 2020, there are eight other brokerages we reviewed: Ally Invest, Firstrade, Chase You Invest Trade, SogoTrade, Robinhood, ChoiceTrade, Lightspeed, and Cobra Trading. Here’s our high-level takeaways for each broker. To dive deeper, read our full review.

8. Ally Invest, “Backed by Ally Financial, Ally Invest is a low-cost broker providing $0 stock and ETF trades. Ally’s complete universal-account management experience and easy to use website makes the brokerage great for current Ally Bank customers and everyday investors alike.” Read full review

9. Firstrade, “Firstrade offers $0 stock, ETF, and options trades, and is best known for its easy-to-use website, alongside its Chinese language services. While Firstrade offers Morningstar research and a variety of tools, its overall offering struggles to stand out against household name brands who are also priced at $0.” Read full review

10. Chase You Invest Trade, “Chase You Invest Trade provides current Chase Bank customers a convenient way to invest in the stock market. While Chase doesn’t provide all the bells and whistles like some of its non-bank competitors, our testing found the site to be easy to use and reliable overall.” Read full review

11. SogoTrade, “SogoTrade is an online discount brokerage that charges $4.88 base commissions and supports Chinese-speaking customers. Unfortunately, in a world where $0 trades are the baseline, despite offering five trading platforms for stocks and options, SogoTrade struggles to stand out.” Read full review

12. Robinhood, “Robinhood used to shine thanks to its easy-to-use mobile app and $0 trades. However, today, all of the largest online brokers offer free stock and ETF trades. As a result, it is much more difficult for Robinhood to outduel the competition.” Read full review

13. ChoiceTrade, “While ChoiceTrade advertises free stock trades, unfortunately, monthly costs add up, and, overall, ChoiceTrade provides customers an online investing experience not worth the hassle.” Read full review

14. Lightspeed, “Lightspeed is a direct-access online brokerage that focuses on serving active and professional traders through its in-house and third-party trading platforms. Casual traders beware, not trading enough means paying high monthly platform fees.” Read full review

15. Cobra Trading, “Cobra Trading was founded in 2003 by Chadd Hessing as a direct-access, low-cost online brokerage for professional stock traders. While Cobra Trading offers multiple trading platforms and personalized service, trading costs are more expensive than leader Interactive Brokers.” Read full review

2020 Category Winners

For the StockBrokers.com 2020 Online Broker Review, all online broker participants were assessed on 236 different variables across eight Core categories. 3,540 data points were collected in total. Here are the 2020 Core category winners. Here’s how we tested.

Alongside Core categories, StockBrokers.com ranks brokers by the most popular Investor categories. Here are the 2020 Investor category winners.

Finally, each year StockBrokers.com honors the brokerages who go above and beyond in the areas that matter most to investors. Here are the 2020 industry award winners.

2020 Overall Ranking

Here’s the Overall rankings for the 15 online brokers who participated in our 2020 Broker Review, sorted by Overall ranking.

Note: Robinhood does not offer phone support for customers. As a result, Robinhood shows “Not Rated” for Customer Service. To calculate an Overall rating, the points allocated to Customer Service were proportionally allocated to the remaining categories.

How do I choose an online brokerage?

When selecting a new online broker, the first step is to read reviews and see what features matter most to you. Are low-cost trade commissions most important? What about customer service, the trading platform, mobile app, investment research, ease of use, or education? With many brokers specializing in different areas, it is crucial to evaluate all categories by reading full-length broker reviews.

How do I assess trading costs?

When trading stocks online, it is essential to understand what the costs are to buy and sell shares. Fortunately, today in 2020, most online brokers charge $0 to trade shares of stocks. That said, if day trading, additional costs come into play, including routing fees, market data fees, and platform fees.

What trading tools do online brokers offer?

To trade stocks online successfully, some stock traders rely purely on their trading tools. Trading platforms come in one of three forms: desktop, web (browser), or mobile. Advanced charting, scanning, hotkeys, virtual trading, watch lists, ladder trading, Level II quotes, and backtesting are just a sampling of the features some brokers offer. To compare trading platform features, use the online brokerage comparison tool.

Do online brokers offer more than just stocks and options trading?

Are you only trading stocks online, or are you interested in ETFs, mutual funds, options, futures, and forex too? In the United States, different regulations are required for brokers who support more complex asset classes. For example, stocks, ETFs, and options are the most commonly offered, while forex trading is the least commonly offered.

Does every online broker provide a mobile app?

While every online broker offers a mobile app, quality varies widely. Managing a stock brokerage account on the go is certainly important for investors who travel and frequently use their smartphones. To find the best app for stock trading, we scored broker apps on 42 individual features.

Should I care about customer service?

It depends. 24/7 support is essential to some investors, while others may be completely fine using online chat during regular market hours or receiving an email back within one business day. That said, most investors neglect to think about a market crisis like a flash crash. In our experience, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have reliable customer service available for whenever the need may arise.

How important is stock research?

There are two types of stock research: fundamental and technical. Fundamental research explores company metrics such as earnings growth, earnings per share (EPS), debt, sales growth, and market capitalization. Meanwhile, technical analysis is all about learning how to read a stock chart and use historical price performance to help you predict future price direction. The best online brokerages offer tools to cover both types thoroughly, and we checked for 54 individual features during our 2020 Review. To compare research features, use the online brokerage comparison tool.

How can I verify if my online broker is regulated?

Online stock brokers operating in the United States and governed by US law are regulated by the SEC and must be members of FINRA and SIPC. To verify whether your online brokerage is regulated, scroll to the footer of their homepage, then read their disclosures. Using the FINRA broker check tool is another easy way to verify compliance.

Do online brokerages also offer banking services?

Many online brokerages do not limit their customers to just online stock trading. Full-service brokerages offer banking services including checking accounts, savings accounts, credit cards, mortgages, and more with deposits of up to $250,000 backed by the FDIC. Bank of America (Merrill Edge) and Chase (Chase You Invest Trade) are two examples of banks that also offer online trading.

Should I worry about security?

Fortunately, at least in the United States, investors do not have too much to worry about when it comes to account security. This is especially true when choosing a brokerage that is large, well known, and properly regulated. Every website should be secured with SSL encryption, and client data should be stored in secure servers. Dual-factor authentication and Face ID are other security protocols quickly growing in popularity.

With $0 trades, how important is order execution?

It is important to understand how your orders are routed and executed. There is a wide variation between quality and poor order execution. Unfortunately, most online stock traders can’t tell the difference. To help investors out, we tested brokers and wrote a complete guide to understanding order execution.

Can I trade internationally with my online broker?

While most online brokers do not offer international trading, some do. Nearly every broker supports trading American depositary receipts (ADRs), which offers US investors an easy, simple way to invest in foreign companies. However, if you want to buy physical shares of an international company, then you need to do your research. Interactive Brokers is the leader in this space but is built for professionals. For casual investing, both Fidelity and Charles Schwab offer international stock trading.

Explore our other online trading guides:

Methodology

For the StockBrokers.com tenth annual best online brokers review published in January 2020, a total of 3,540 data points were collected over six months and used to score brokers. This makes StockBrokers.com home to the largest independent database on the web covering the online broker industry.

Participation is required to be included. Each broker completed an in-depth data profile and provided executive time (live in person or over the web) for an annual update meeting. Our rigorous data validation process yields an error rate of less than .001% each year, providing site visitors quality data they can trust. Learn more about how we test.

More from the editor

Alongside the StockBrokers.com annual review, our fourth annual international forex brokers review, which includes 30 forex brokers, was also published on our sister site, ForexBrokers.com. Finally, be sure to check the latest financial advisor ratings, which you can view on investor.com.

Still aren’t sure which online broker to choose? Email us a question! Whether you are a beginner investor learning the ropes or a professional trader, we are here to help. Email us your online broker specific question and we will respond within one business day.

About the author: Blain Reinkensmeyer As Head of Research at StockBrokers.com, Blain Reinkensmeyer has 18 years of trading experience with over 1,000 trades placed during that time. Referenced as a leading expert on the US online brokerage industry, Blain has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Forbes, and the Chicago Tribune, among others.

All pricing data was obtained from a published web site as of 01/20/2020 and is believed to be accurate, but is not guaranteed. For stock trade rates, advertised pricing is for a standard order size of 500 shares of stock priced at $30 per share. For options orders, an options regulatory fee per contract may apply.

TD Ameritrade, Inc. and StockBrokers.com are separate, unaffiliated companies and are not responsible for each other’s services and products. View terms.

1 $0.00 commission applies to online U.S. equity trades, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and options (+ $0.65 per contract fee) in a Fidelity retail account only for Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC retail clients. Sell orders are subject to an activity assessment fee (from $0.01 to $0.03 per $1,000 of principal). There is an Options Regulatory Fee (from $0.03 to $0.05 per contract), which applies to both option buy and sell transactions. The fee is subject to change. Other exclusions and conditions may apply. See Fidelity.com/commissions for details. Employee equity compensation transactions and accounts managed by advisors or intermediaries through Fidelity Clearing & Custody Solutions® are subject to different commission schedules.

Options trading entails significant risk and is not appropriate for all investors. Certain complex options strategies carry additional risk. Before trading options, please read Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options. Supporting documentation for any claims, if applicable, will be furnished upon request.

Advertiser Disclosure: StockBrokers.com helps investors across the globe by spending over 1,000 hours each year testing and researching online brokers. How do we make money? Our partners compensate us through paid advertising. While partners may pay to provide offers or be featured, e.g. exclusive offers, they cannot pay to alter our recommendations, advice, ratings, or any other content throughout the site. Furthermore, our content and research teams do not participate in any advertising planning nor are they permitted access to advertising campaign data. Here is a list of our partners.

Disclaimer: It is our organization’s primary mission to provide reviews, commentary, and analysis that are unbiased and objective. While StockBrokers.com has all data verified by industry participants, it can vary from time to time. Operating as an online business, this site may be compensated through third party advertisers. Our receipt of such compensation shall not be construed as an endorsement or recommendation by StockBrokers.com, nor shall it bias our reviews, analysis, and opinions. Please see our General Disclaimers for more information.

© 2020 Reink Media Group LLC.
All rights reserved.

Best Online Brokers

Find and compare the best online trading platforms for every kind of investor

With so many different types of online stock brokers available to investors, it can be tough to choose one that works best for you. That’s why we put these U.S.-based online brokers through a comprehensive review process that included hands-on research to determine the best in the industry.

When we started our 2020 online broker reviews six months ago, no one knew how the world would change. We recognize that we all are living through a particularly volatile time as we deal with this global crisis, and financial markets have also seen unprecedented change, impacting all investors. Our analysis of the online brokerage industry is, “Commission Cuts, Consolidation, and a Coronavirus Crash.”

Our mission has always been to help people make the most informed decisions about how, when and where to invest. Given recent market volatility, and the changes in the online brokerage industry, we are more committed than ever to providing our readers with unbiased and expert reviews of the top investing platforms for investors of all levels, for every kind of market.

Best Online Brokers and Trading Platforms for April 2020:

  • Fidelity Investments: Best Online Broker
  • TD Ameritrade: Best Broker for Beginners
  • tastyworks: Best Broker for Options
  • Interactive Brokers: Best Broker for Advanced Traders
  • TD Ameritrade: Best Broker for Mobile
  • Interactive Brokers: Best Broker for International Trading
  • tastyworks: Best Broker for Low Costs
  • Charles Schwab: Best Broker for ETFs

Best Overall: Fidelity Investments

  • Account Minimum: $0
  • Fees: $0 for stock/ETF trades, $0 plus $0.65/contract for options trade

Fidelity earned our top spot for the second year running by offering clients a well-rounded package of investing tools and excellent order executions. It has continued to quietly enhance key pieces of its mobile-responsive website while committing itself to lowering the cost of investing for its clients. Fidelity joined in the rush to cut equity and base options commissions to zero in October 2020 but remains devoted to offering top-quality research and education offerings to its clients. The firm also makes it easy for clients to earn interest by sweeping uninvested cash into a money market fund. Fidelity also shares the revenue it generates from its stock loan program, and allows clients to choose which stocks in their portfolios can be loaned out.

Fidelity provides excellent trade executions for investors. On average, over 96% of orders for Fidelity customers are executed at a price better than the national best bid or offer.

Fidelity offers a wealth of research and extensive pre-set and customizable asset screeners.

Your uninvested cash is automatically swept into a money market fund to help contribute to overall portfolio returns.

Some traders and sophisticated investors may have to use Fidelity’s web platform in addition to Active Trader Pro to access all the tools and research they require.

Non-U.S. citizens or residents cannot open an account.

Traders and investors must manually refresh the data when using the website.

Fidelity has a wide offering of securities, but no commodities or options on futures.

Best for Beginners: TD Ameritrade

  • Account Minimum: $0
  • Fees: Free stock, ETF, and per-leg options trading commissions in the U.S., as of October 3rd, 2020. $0.65 per options contract.

Financial markets can be intimidating the first time you try to put your money to work, so it helps to have an online broker that understands that and puts in an effort to help. To determine the best broker for beginners, we focused on the features that help new investors learn as they are starting their investing journey. Brokers were selected based on top-notch educational resources, easy navigation, clear commission and pricing structures, and the overall quality of their portfolio construction tools. We also looked for low minimum account balances, as these can be a barrier for new investors with limited capital. Finally, we put an emphasis on the availability of demo accounts so new investors can practice using the platform and placing trades.

TD Ameritrade, one of the largest online brokers, has made significant efforts to market itself to beginner investors through social media. Work is still being done to further streamline its web and mobile experiences and make them more accessible to new users, but the resources new investors can already access are exceptional. Education is a key component of TD Ameritrade’s offerings. You’ll find expanded learning pathways, ranging from beginner to advanced, to help clients understand everything from basic investing concepts to extremely advanced derivatives strategies. You can open an account and poke around without making a deposit, and take advantage of all the learning opportunities until you’re comfortable. TD Ameritrade wants new investors to become more confident, and to trade additional asset classes as their skills grow.

The education offerings are designed to make novice investors more comfortable.

TD Ameritrade offers in-person education at more than 280 offices as well as multiple training pathways available on its website and mobile apps.

The TD Ameritrade Network offers nine hours of live programming in addition to on-demand content, viewable on mobile devices.

The well-designed mobile apps are intended to give customers a simple one-page experience.

Some investors may have to use multiple platforms to utilize preferred tools.

TD Ameritrade offers one of the widest selections of account types, so new investors may be unsure of which account type to choose when opening an account. More support is needed to ensure customers are starting out with the correct account type.

Investors are paid a tiny rate of interest on uninvested cash (0.01-0.05%) unless they take action to move cash into money market funds.

Best for Options: tastyworks

  • AccountMinimum: $0
  • Fees: $0.00 stock trades, $1.00 to open options trades $0.00 to close

Options trading has become extremely popular with retail investors since the turn of the 21st century. Our best options brokers have a wealth of tools that help you measure and manage risk as you determine which trades to place. They also include valuable education that helps you grow in sophistication as an options trader.

The commission structure for options trades tends to be more complicated than its equivalent for stock trades. Until the commission cuts that swept the industry in the fall of 2020, most brokers charged a fee for each leg of an options spread, plus a commission per contract being traded. The per-leg fees, which made 2- and 4-legged spreads expensive, have been eliminated for the most part. We are seeing some brokers place caps on commissions charged for certain trading scenarios.

Investors with fairly large portfolios can take advantage of portfolio margining at certain brokers, a practice that assesses the total risk inherent in a portfolio that contains stocks and derivatives, and can reduce the size of your margin loan.

Tastyworks officers say that more than 90% of the trades placed by their customers are derivatives, so there are a lot of tools for options and futures traders. Everything is designed to help the trader evaluate volatility and the probability of profit. It’s all about making decisions and taking action. Executions are fast and the costs are low, capping commissions for opening orders for options on equities and futures at $10 per leg. As you build a position from a chart or from a volatility screener, a trade ticket is populated for you. There’s a video viewer embedded so you can keep an eye on the tastytrade network. Though a newcomer to options trading might be initially uncomfortable, those who understand the basic concepts will appreciate the content and features.

All of the tools you’ll need for analyzing and trading derivatives are built into the tastyworks platform.

The charting capabilities are uniquely tuned for the options trader. If you have multiple positions on a particular underlying, you can analyze the risk profiles of the combined position.

There are hours of original video from tastytrade every weekday, offering up-to-the-minute trading ideas, plus a huge library of pre-recorded videos and shows.

Newcomers to trading and investing may be overwhelmed by the platform at first. There’s a learning curve to climb.

There is no fixed income trading (outside of ETFs that contain bonds) for those who want to allocate some of their assets to a more conservative asset class.

Besides profit and loss, any additional portfolio analysis requires setting up a login on a separate site, The Quiet Foundation, which is also part of the tastytrade empire.

Best for Advanced Traders: Interactive Brokers

  • Account Minimum: $0
  • Fees: Maximum $0.005 per share for Pro platform or 1% of trade value, $0 for IBKR Lite

Advanced traders need fast, high quality executions, reliable data, sophisticated order types, and access to the asset classes they want to trade. We also looked for portfolio margining and top-notch portfolio analysis.

Interactive Brokers (IBKR) earns this award due to its wealth of tools for sophisticated investors and its wide pool of assets and markets. The firm makes a point of connecting to as many electronic exchanges as possible. You can trade equities, options, and futures around the world and around the clock. Interactive Brokers’ order execution engine stays on top of changes in market conditions to re-route all or parts of your order to achieve optimal execution, attain price improvement, and maximize any possible rebate. The order routing algorithms seek out a speedy execution and can access hidden institutional order flows (dark pools) to execute large block orders. The wide array of order types include a variety of algorithms as well as conditional orders such as one-cancels-another and one-triggers-another. You can also set up conditional orders based on price, volume, daily P&L, margin cushion, number of shortable shares available, rebate available from the trading venue, and other factors.

IBKR’s order execution engine has what could be the smartest order router in the business.

Interactive Brokers connects clients to 125 markets in 31 countries and enables clients to trade stocks, options, futures, forex, bonds and funds from a single integrated account.

Algorithmic order types include VWAP (volume-weighted average price) and TWAP (time-weighted average price) as well as order types designed to minimize the trader’s impact on the price of a particular stock.

You can only have streaming data on one device at a time. This could be an issue for traders with a multi-device workflow.

The most advanced capabilities are restricted to IBKR Pro clients and trades on that plan are not commission free.

Best for Mobile: TD Ameritrade

  • Account Minimum: $0
  • Fees: Free stock, ETF, and per-leg options trading commissions in the U.S., as of October 3rd, 2020. $0.65 per options contract.

Over the last few years, online brokers have increasingly adopted the mantra “mobile-first.” As more investors and traders use tablets or smartphones as their primary platform, online brokers have made efforts to improve their mobile apps.

Streaming data has made its way to mobile apps along with complex options analysis and trading, advanced charting, and educational offerings. With the availability of computers in our pockets, the way people interact with their trading and investment accounts have forced brokers to offer mobile apps along with their traditional desktop platforms.

TD Ameritrade focused its 2020 development efforts on its most active clients, who are mobile-first – and in many cases, mobile-only. TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim mobile platform has extensive features for active traders and investors alike. The workflow for options, stocks, and futures is intuitive and powerful. You’ll find lots of bells and whistles that make the mobile app a complete solution for most trading purposes, including streaming real-time data and the ability to trade from charts. The regular mobile platform is almost identical in features to the website, so it’s an easy transition. TD Ameritrade clients can trade all asset classes offered by the firm on the mobile apps.

TD Ameritrade optimized its traditional website for mobile browsers with a dashboard where clients can quickly access account details, balances, balance history, positions, news, and more.

The well-designed mobile apps are intended to give customers a simple one-page experience where they can quickly check in on the markets and their account.

The TD Ameritrade Network offers nine hours of live programming in addition to on-demand content, viewable on mobile devices.

Streaming real-time data on thinkorswim’s mobile app is unlimited.

Customers may have to use multiple platforms to utilize preferred tools. Options-specific tools abound on thinkorswim and its associated mobile app, but fundamental research for equities and fixed income tools are mostly available only on the website.

Over-the-counter (penny stock) trades are subject to a commission of $6.95 per trade.

Clients are paid a tiny rate of interest on uninvested cash (0.01-0.05%) unless they take action to move cash into money market funds.

Best for International Trading: Interactive Brokers

  • Account Minimum: $0
  • Fees: Maximum $0.005 per share for Pro platform or 1% of trade value, $0 for IBKR Lite

For the international trading category, category weightings for the range of offerings were adjusted upwards to measure which broker offered the largest selection of assets across international markets. After that, overall platform functionality and variety of orders types were also measured as these are important to successful trading when undertaking position management in markets that span the globe. These adjustments revealed a clear winner for international trading in the 2020 review.

Interactive Brokers is the best broker for international trading by a significant margin. Interactive Brokers allows investors to access 125 exchanges in 31 countries across the globe. This reach is combined with a massive inventory of assets and 60 different order types to plan your entry and exit from a position. Investors can also fund their account in their domestic currency and IBKR will handle the conversion at market rates when you want to buy assets denominated in a non-domestic currency. And, if all that were not enough, the quality of trading tools available through Traders Workstation (TWS) make it easy to execute multi-layered trades across international borders. Interactive Brokers has won this category two years running, and there is no sign of that changing in the near future.

No broker can match Interactive Brokers in terms of asset inventory or international markets.

If an exchange enables a particular order type, IBKR offers it you. For example, very specific limit-on-close orders on the Tokyo Stock Exchange and pegged-to-primary orders on the London Stock Exchange.

You can trade non-U.S. dollar assets on margin without having to have the local currency in your account.

Most non-U.S. exchanges charge additional data fees that increase your trading costs.

All non-U.S. transactions incur trading commissions, some of which are not completely transparent.

Small or inactive accounts may be subject to maintenance fees or data charges, and interest is not paid on cash unless you have a substantial balance.

Best Free Stock Trading Brokers

Sarah Horvath
Contributor, Benzinga

Invest With TD Ameritrade – Now Commission Free

Invest With TD Ameritrade – Now Commission Free

Open an account with Benzinga’s best online broker, TD Ameritrade. $0 commissions on online stock, ETF, and option trades plus award-winning platform and customer service.

Anyone from online brokers to robo advisors offer free stock trading for new account holders. And now, with Robinhood finding wild success, you’ll find another new class of online brokerages looking to compete in the free stock trading world. With new brokerages and free stock trading promotions popping up, they can be hard to keep track of.

Every month, Benzinga hunts down where you can trade for free and puts the brokers in the list below. You can check back on the first of each month for more exclusive deals, promotions and other opportunities for free trades. If you’re looking for a new brokerage, it’s also worth it to check out Benzinga’s picks for the Best Brokerage of 2020 to compare services, fees, and other features.

Best Free Stock Trading Brokers and Apps:

  • Best for Active Stock Traders: TradeStation
  • Best for Day Traders: TD Ameritrade
  • Best Mobile App: Fidelity
  • Best for All Levels: Charles Schwab
  • Best for Retirement Savers: E*Trade
  • Simplest Platform: Vanguard
  • Best for Access to Foreign Markets: Interactive Brokers
  • Best for Passive Traders: M1 Finance
  • Best for Free Trades: Firstrade
  • Best for Beginners: Robinhood

Best Stock Trading Brokers:

Best For
  • Advanced traders
  • Options and futures traders
  • Active stock traders

1. Tradestation

Signing up for an account with TradeStation is intuitive and simple. You’ll begin by choosing the type of account you want, entering a little personal information, answering a few questions about your experience level and agreeing to the company’s terms of service. A TradeStation representative will review your application and open your account. As soon as your account is open you can begin funding your account and making trades.

If you’re new to trading, you’ll love TradeStation’s Simulated Trading tool. Its Simulated Trading tool allows you to practice entering buy and sell orders, using TradeStation’s suite of charting and analysis tools and using your trading strategy without risking any of your own money. One area where TradeStation excels is in education. Though it was originally aimed at professional investors, TradeStation now offers a wealth of education options that brand new traders can understand and use.

TradeStation offers traders a variety of affordable equity and contract trading options. You can currently trade stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs, futures, options and cryptocurrencies on TradeStation’s platform. For each asset, you can use TradeStation’s comprehensive platform to inform your trades and screen by your chosen set of indicators.

Best For
  • Novice investors
  • Retirement savers
  • Day traders

2. TD Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade offers the best of both worlds. On one hand, 0-commission trading and a vast library of educational articles and videos make TD Ameritrade ideal for a new investor’s first brokerage account. On the other hand, technology like the Thinkorswim platform gives accomplished traders the tools needed to pull off labyrinthine options trades or sell livestock futures at 3 a.m.

TD Ameritrade has developed a user-friendly platform and tries to appease investors of all shapes and sizes. From account signup to trade execution, the process is smooth and painless. New accounts can be opened in minutes and a variety of different options are available, including retirement vehicles like Roth IRAs and custodial accounts like UTMA/UGMA and 529 plans.

TD Ameritrade has several ways to get in contact with their support staff. The easiest way to get in touch is via phone. Ameritrade offers 24/7 phone support for both new and existing clients. Finding an exact email address is difficult though — you’ll just be directed to a form located on the website, which means a back-and-forth email conversation is difficult. Text support is also available, but live chat options only occur during normal working hours.

Best For
  • Easy-to-navigate yet functional platform strikes the perfect balance between expert tools and comfort for beginners
  • Mobile trading app is fully-optimized and mirrors full functionality of the desktop platform
  • Wide range of education and research options make learning more about securities and the market easier and less time-consuming

3. Fidelity

Fidelity’s brokerage platform is easy-to-use and beginner-friendly. Casual and retirement investors can place buy and sell orders directly from their browsers or mobile app, while more involved traders will enjoy using Fidelity’s Active Trader Pro downloadable desktop trading platform.

The Active Trader Pro is comprehensive and easy enough that even beginner traders will quickly be able to get a hang of how to use the platform’s many tools. The tool includes pre-built market shortcuts that you can use to immediately start making more informed trades, including hot keys, watch lists and other news and research tools.

You can even customize your layout by choosing your preferred colors and font size. For traders with visual impairments, this minor customization feature can make a huge difference in comfort and usability.

Fidelity offers access to the full U.S. stock market, as well as 25 international markets. Buy, sell and trade stocks and ETFs with $0 commissions. Fidelity also offers a wide range of bonds, stock and factor ETFs with no fees. Finally, Fidelity offers access to over 10,000 mutual funds, 3,300 of which are commission-free.

Best For
  • 3 trading platforms perfectly in sync makes matching your platform to your skill level a snap
  • Excellent futures trading education for new traders
  • $0 account minimum means anyone can start trading

4. Charles Schwab

Charles Schwab’s primary desktop trading application, StreetSmart Edge, is a customizable trading platform you can use to chart, track and place informed trades. The platform is responsive, updating market data on a second-by-second basis. StreetSmart Edge is completely customizable. You can set individual stocks, funds or watchlists to populate immediately when you load up your app. You can also customize your layout by dragging and dropping different windows into specific areas of your screen.

Charles Schwab offers traders both online and in-app education tools you can use to improve your trading strategies and learn how to more effectively save for retirement. Let’s take a look at 3 unique education tools offered by Charles Schwab

Charles Schwab offers you full access to the U.S. stock market, allowing you to buy and sell over 11,000 stocks and 2,000 ETFs with no commissions. Charles Schwab’s SmartStreet Edge includes a number of screening tools, including average expert rating, daily movement, average daily trading volume, price, beta rating and much more. In addition to U.S.-based equities, traders can also invest in 30 foreign markets and a separate set of screening tools are available for foreign and developing markets. Charles Schwab also offers access to over 3,000 mutual funds — though few funds come with $0 commissions.

Best For
  • Active traders
  • Derivatives traders
  • Retirement savers

5. E*Trade

E*TRADE leverages multiple platforms, 2 different mobile apps and a variety of account types and financial services to provide an inclusive brokerage experience. Most brokers aim their platform toward a specific type of investor, but ETRADE offers a little something for everyone. Does this overburden the trading system? Not at all.

E*TRADE offers 3 main avenues for providing clients with research and education to improve not only their trading acumen, but to better understand investing and markets. E*TRADE will walk you through the process of trading on their platform in a way no other broker does.

Stocks, ETFs, and (most) mutual funds are free to trade on E*TRADE, but that doesn’t stand out much anymore. Mutual fund and ETF screeners are also free, even if you don’t have an E*TRADE account. Search through over 2,300 ETFs and 9,000 mutual funds, sorted by asset allocation, leverage, expense ratio, Morningstar rating and more. Use the advanced search feature to look for securities based on risk profiles and technical indicators. E*TRADE’s standard E*TRADE mobile app and Power E*TRADE are free to clients on both iOS and Android, but they serve different purposes. E*TRADE Web mobile is aimed at the buy-and-hold, “set-and-forget-it” type of investor, while Power E*TRADE mobile seeks out the day trading and derivatives crowds.

Best For
  • Retirement savers
  • Buy-and-hold investors
  • Investors looking for a simple stock trading platform

6. Vanguard

Vanguard was the first to offer low-commission trading on inexpensive index funds based on consumer-friendly investment principles. Day traders might not find Vanguard’s old-school style appealing, but retirement savers, buy-and-hold investors and companies that seek employer-sponsored programs might want to take a gander. Vanguard is a sensible choice for common-sense investment advice and efficient products. It’s a company that sticks to the morals of its hardy pioneer, Jack Bogle.

Vanguard is the right place to be if investing is new and scary to you. The company offers a host of step-by-step guides to inform and educate clients about proper investment practices. Vanguard takes its fiduciary duty very seriously — you won’t be pushed into expensive investment products that benefit a salesperson more than you.

Vanguard offers a wealth of education and research materials, including some of the most in-depth reports on retirement planning you’ll find. Vanguard has the process down pat — an automated system asks about your retirement goals and makes suggestions pertinent to your situation. (In a way, Vanguard was the first robo-advisor.)

Vanguard’s customer service reps are helpful and dedicated to serving clients. However, Vanguard’s contact methods are a bit outdated. Email support can only be reached with an active account and phone support is only available during the week, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Text and chat support options are also unavailable. Vanguard’s ahead of the curve in so many ways — but its customer support structure could use a facelift.

Best For
  • Access to foreign markets
  • Comprehensive mobile app that makes trading simple
  • Wide range of available account types and tradable assets

7. Interactive Brokers

Interactive Brokers (IBKR) is a comprehensive trading platform that gives you access to a massive range of securities at affordable prices. With access to over 125 global markets, you can buy assets from all around the world from the comfort of your home or office. Options, futures, forex and fund trading are also available — and most traders won’t pay a commission on any purchase or sale. IBKR is geared primarily toward experienced investors. The platform offers limited assistance and can be a challenge for new users to become acclimated to. The broker’s tiered pricing strategy can also be frustrating for traders who focus on hourly or daily price movements.

IBKR has always been a top choice for professional brokers, but its new IBKR Lite accounts can appeal to new investors looking to test the waters of trading. However, IBKR still maintains its host of professional tools and charting software. Outside of its trading platform, Interactive Brokers offers a wide range of educational tools and resources you can use to learn more about trading. Let’s take a look at a few of the free resources it offers to help you learn more about the markets.

Interactive Brokers offers trades full access to the U.S. stock market on both its Pro and Lite platforms. You can even access stocks listed on European and Asian stock exchanges to buy and sell foreign securities. Most traders will pay $0 on all of their commissions, but high-value Pro account holders may pay a fraction of 1 cent per share.

Best For
  • Do-it-yourself investors who want to save money
  • Beginning to intermediate traders
  • Passive traders

8. M1 Finance

M1 Finance uses Pies, which allow you to show your holdings as slices of a pie. All you need to do is assign a percentage to each slice, fund your Pie and you have a portfolio of stocks. You also have the option to take advantage of M1’s ‘Expert Pies’ feature. M1 Finance has an in-house asset management team for those who prefer to invest passively but maximize returns. This feature is great for investors who are transitioning from a robo-advisor.

M1 really introduces something more than passive investing and other brokers might adopt the same or similar concept. Its strategy is based on a vision of its founder, who believes that in the future customers are not going to compare brokers based on fees. Instead, they are going to compare platforms. If this vision becomes a reality, investing is going to become more approachable and a lot more fun for retail investors.

It is difficult to diversify small accounts if you are trading with brokerage firms that allow only whole shares investing. M1 Finance offers fractional shares investing. When you receive a dividend or when you add a small amount of money to your account, you don’t have to wait until you have enough to buy a whole share. M1 allows you to put your money to work immediately.

Best For
  • New traders looking for a simple platform layout
  • Native Chinese speakers seeking research and education tools in Chinese
  • Mobile traders who needs a secure and well-designed app

9. Firstrade

Firstrade’s platform offers the following:

  • Manage and trade from one screen
  • Adjustable layouts
  • Customizable widgets
  • Advanced technical charting
  • Helpful graphs
  • Position simulator
  • Guides and podcast available for education purposes

You can monitor your portfolio’s performance easily with the Firstrade mobile trading app, which offers a more dexterous option compared to a desktop. You’ll be exposed to a touch ID screen for iOS devices, equity ratings and fundamental data, advanced charts, comprehensive dashboard and improved research and trading interface.

Firstrade offers varied customer service options, including live chat with a registered customer service representative Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET, or you can use the Firstrade Chatbot (named Sammi), which is available 24/7.

Best For
  • Beginner traders
  • Mobile traders

10. Robinhood

Robinhood is the broker for traders who want a simple, easy-to-understand layout without all the bells and whistles other brokers offer. Though its trading options and account types are limited, even an absolute beginner can quickly master Robinhood’s intuitive and streamlined platform. On the other hand, more advanced traders might be frustrated by Robinhood’s lack of technical analysis tools, a feature that’s now nearly universal across other platforms.

Robinhood only offers basic research tools. Though the brokerage has been making an effort to improve its options in recent months, the level of fundamental and technical analysis tools still pale in comparison to almost every other competing broker. Robinhood gives traders access to the U.S. equity markets, so you can buy and sell over 5,000 individual stocks and ETFs. You can also buy and sell over 250 stocks listed on foreign exchanges — though the platform doesn’t give you access to full foreign markets like some competitors. All trades are made with $0 commissions, whether you’re using Robinhood Gold or a standard Robinhood account.

One of Robinhood’s strongest assets is its mobile app. Like the desktop platform, Robinhood’s mobile app is streamlined, so even new traders can quickly buy and sell on the go.

Every Commission-Free Stock Trading Broker App

With Robinhood’s ever-increasing popularity, you may be curious where else you can trade stocks for free. Luckily, there are a number of new online brokers and robo advisors that offer free stock trading.

Robo advisors, like Acorns and Wisebanyan, offer managed accounts with zero commissions and low account minimums. These may be a great option for you if you’re looking to venture in the investing world and have goals, but might be too intimidated to pick your investments.

Other online brokers that offer self-directed trading accounts, like Webull, M1 Finance, Firstrade, and Matador, give you the power to make their own trading decisions. These brokers aren’t bare-bones, either. They’re equipped with news feeds, great mobile experiences and investor education.

TradeStation
Broker Best For Commissions Account Minimum Choose your platform
  • Advanced traders
  • Options and futures traders
  • Active stock traders
$0 $0
1 Minute Review

TradeStation is for advanced traders who need a comprehensive platform. The brokerage offers an impressive range of investable assets as frequent and professional traders appreciate its wide range of analysis tools. TradeStation’s app is also equally effective, offering full platform capabilities.

  • Comprehensive trading platform and professional-grade tools
  • Wide range of tradable securities
  • Fully-operational mobile app
  • Confusing pricing structure to leave new traders with a weak understanding of what they pay
  • Cluttered layout to make navigating TradeStation’s platform more difficult than it should be
Current Promotion

Get $100 when you open an account with $500 or more

The 8 Best Online Stock Brokers of 2020

We know just what institutions can help set you up for financial success

We are committed to researching, testing, and recommending the best products. We may receive commissions from purchases made after visiting links within our content. Learn more about our review process.

If you want to manage your investments, the best way to do so today is with an online stock broker. There are a handful of really good stock brokers to choose from, so knowing which is the best for your needs may be a challenge. Some things you should take into consideration before you lock one in are fees, research, trading platforms, account options, customer service and investment choices. Luckily, The Balance team reviewed some of the best online stock brokers to help you find the right one for you.

Best Overall: Charles Schwab

Courtesy of Charles Schwab

Schwab takes the spot as the best overall online stock broker. Thanks to low fees, high-tech trading tools, extensive investment options, a wide range of investment options and great customer service, Schwab is a good choice for beginner and veteran investors alike.

Beginners will appreciate Schwab’s easy-to-use online investing platform and mobile apps, which give you the ability to buy and sell securities, enter transfers, manage your accounts or access research, ratings and reports on a wide range of investments. Schwab customers also get access to a wide range of commission-free ETFs and mutual funds from the Schwab fund family and Schwab’s Select List.

Expert investors will enjoy Schwab’s advanced online and desktop trading systems, quick and easy mobile trades and a wide range of investment options. And with ​a low $4.95 trade fee, you’ll get among the lowest prices in the industry when you do decide to buy and sell.

Best for Research: Fidelity

Fidelity is another leader in low-cost investments, with a $4.95 per trade fee. Fidelity is known for its family of low-cost funds and in-depth research tools on the Fidelity website.

Fidelity is also a forward-looking leader in technology and tools for investors. Some useful tools from Fidelity include a retirement planning evaluation, trade strategy tools, estate planning features and more. Fidelity also offers its own family of funds.

When logged into a Fidelity account, the standout feature is the news and research tab. Here you can get detailed information about many stocks, bonds, funds and other investments, useful investment screeners and even information on participating in the coveted IPO process.

Best for Free Trades: Robinhood

Robinhood is a unique online brokerage. While it doesn’t have nearly the number of features or investment options as a traditional brokerage, this company offers something none of the others do on an ongoing basis: free stock trades. Unlimited. Forever.

Yes, Robinhood offers free trades. In fact, when you apply you can also get access to free options trades and cryptocurrency trades as well (that’s Bitcoin, Ethereum and other digital currencies).

Robinhood is a mobile-first trading platform. The Web version is actually brand new. Once you log in, you won’t get many bells and whistles, but you will get free trades. You can’t beat the price.

Best for Investment Choices: Etrade

Etrade is one of the oldest online brokers, and they are popular due to their easy-to-use tools and powerful trading platform. At $6.95 per trade (for the first 29 trades, $4.95 after up to 500), they are not the cheapest game in town. But they can have a lower cost with some volume discounts.

The OptionsHouse platform rests in the middle of the Etrade experience. While you can trade just fine on the Web or website, opening up OptionsHouse gives you quick access to the trendline, volume, as well as other important market charts and data, so active traders know they are making the right decision.

Like most brokerages, you can get access to a range of investment choices. Etrade offers stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs, options and futures. Pretty much anything that can be traditionally traded by a retail investor is tradeable with Etrade

Best for Beginners: Ally Invest

Ally Invest joins other low-cost brokerages with $4.95 trades, with volume discounts when you trade more. Thanks to low commissions, no account minimums and automated investment plans, Ally Invest is a great choice for beginners.

Ally Invest is formerly known as TradeKing, which Ally acquired in 2020. TradeKing became Ally Invest. If the Ally name sounds familiar, it may be because of Ally’s top-rated checking and savings accounts. Investing is a natural extension of Ally’s online banking.

Ally offers volume-based discounted trades, only $3.95 each, for account holders with a $100,000+ average daily balance or at least 30 trades per quarter. But even if you don’t qualify for the discount, Ally offers competitive standard pricing and a range of investment choices, including foreign currencies.

Best for Active Traders: TD Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade is a long-time brokerage that offers $6.95 trades. TD Ameritrade completed an acquisition of Scottrade back in September 2020, making it one of the larger players in the online brokerage industry.

Active traders prefer TD Ameritrade, thanks to its thinkorswim platform. While you can trade on the Web or your phone as well (or even with a smartwatch!), thinkorswim sets a high bar for trading platforms.

Thinkorswim offers professional grade trading tools. If you have a background in investing, this is about as close to a Bloomberg terminal as you can get in retail investing without spending a massive amount of subscription fees. With thinkorswim, you can even trade 24 hours per day (five days a week) on select securities with a global 24-hour trade cycle.

Between alerts, charts, economic- and investment-specific data and advanced trading entries, veteran traders with an active account may like TD Ameritrade best.

Best for Rewards: Merrill Edge

Merrill Edge, part of Bank of America, has some serious Wall Street heritage. Merrill Edge gets its name from Merrill Lynch, a long-time Wall Street powerhouse with roots going back to 1914. Merrill Lynch was a big loser in the Great Recession and ended up selling out to Bank of America in 2008.

These days, Merrill Edge is the discount brokerage arm of Merrill Lynch/Bank of America. But what makes Merrill Edge most unique is its participation in the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program. If you already bank with Bank of America, this might make Merrill Edge the best option for you.

Benefits for Merrill Edge customers in the Preferred Rewards program include discounts and interest rate boosts based on your account balance. Some of these perks, like no-fees at other Bank ATMs, are not all that exciting because many banks offer that for free these days.

But among big brick and mortar banks, that is a rare and valuable add-on for some people, as are waived monthly maintenance fees and priority customer service. The best rewards are reserved for those with a $100,000+ combined Bank of America balance who fall into the “Platinum Honors” tier.

Best for International Investing: Interactive Brokers

Interactive Brokers offers a unique pricing structure that can help the most active traders save on fees. You can choose between fixed-rate plans and tiered plans depending on your needs and trading strategy.

Under the fixed pricing model, U.S. stock trades are $0.005 cents per share (that’s a half a cent per share), with a $1 per order minimum. Interactive Brokers offers nine fund families with commission-free ETF trades. International markets charge different fees depending on where you trade.

Under the tiered pricing structure, you pay less per share, but your fees are based on your total trade volume. You’ll pay anywhere from $0.0035 cents to $0.0005 cents per share depending on your trade volume. Exchange fees are broken out from the trade fees, you’ll pay more than just that rate depending on the exchange and trade volume.

Interactive Brokers gives you direct access to a handful of popular global stock exchanges. Countries include Canada, Mexico, Austria, Baltic States, Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Australia, Hong Kong, India, Japan and Singapore.

Best Binary Options Brokers 2020:
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