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Binary Options Day Trading 2020
Binary options trading hinges on a simple question – will the underlying asset be above or below a certain price at a specified time? If so, you can make substantial profits with one of the most straightforward financial instruments to trade. But what exactly are binary options, and what are their benefits and drawbacks? This page will answer those questions, as well as detailing how to start day trading binary options, including strategies, tips, and regional differences to be aware of. Use the broker top list to compare the best binary brokers for day trading 2020.
What Are Binary Options?
Firstly, let’s have a look at how it all works. Put simply, binary options are a derivative that can be traded on any instrument or market. They appeal because they are straightforward. You know precisely how much you could win, or lose before you make the trade. No complex maths and calculator is required. This is why they are also known as ‘all or nothing’ trades.
If you anticipate news announcements, quarterly reviews, or global trends, then you may be able to make an accurate determination as to whether the price is going to increase or decline at a certain point in the future, turning a profit.
There is a whole host of derivatives to choose between. You can trade binary options on commodity value, such as aluminium and crude oil. You can opt for a stock price, such as Amazon and Facebook. There are foreign exchange rate options, including all the major and minor pairs. Even cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin are on the menu.
A Brief History
If you want to start trading binary options full-time, a detailed understanding of their origins will help. Binary or ‘digital’ options have been around for decades. Originally though, it was only large institutions and the fabulously wealthy that had access. However, 2008 saw the US Securities and Exchange Commission open the floodgates by allowing binary options to be traded through an exchange.
The internet and technology have since given the whole world access to these ‘digital’ options. As it stands, with low barriers to entry for savvy day traders and a simple to understand preposition, the demand for these digital trades will only increase.
There are a number of different option types to choose from. The most popular types are listed in the brief glossary below.
- Up/Down (High/Low) – The most simple and prevalent binary option. Will the price be higher or lower than the current price when the expiry time comes?
- In/Out (Range or Boundary) – A ‘high’ and ‘low’ figure will be set. You are then making a determination as to whether the price will finish within or outside of these boundaries.
- Touch/No Touch – Levels will be set that are either higher or lower than the current price. You then enter a position as to whether the price will ‘touch’ these levels between the time of trade and expiry. Payout will come as soon as the touch takes place.
- Ladder – These are similar to up/down trades. However, instead of using the current price, the ladder will have pre-determined levels that are staggered up or down. These normally demand a substantial price move. The flip side of this is returns will frequently exceed 100%. Although it is worth noting, both sides of a trade are not always available.
Another important component of binary options is expiry times. This is when the trade will end and the point that determines whether you have won or lost. These times can range from 30 seconds and 1 minute (turbos) to a full day (end of day), and even up to a whole year.
As an intraday trader though, you will be more concerned with trading 5 and 30-minute binary options. Opt for binaries with 1 minute expiry times though and you have the ability to make a high number of trades in a single day.
Is Trading Binary Options Legal?
Despite the somewhat negative reputation, the reality is binary options are legal. The majority of companies operate fairly. Opinions have been split because there are some out there that operate scams.
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Regulation in certain regions has meant binaries have been withdrawn from the retail market. In the EU for example. But professional traders can still use them. In regions such as India and Australia, binary are legal – but traders should make sure they use a reputable broker, and read our section below on avoiding scams.
Scams & Frauds
The binary reputation has suffered from dishonest marketing and cybercrime. Too many unregulated brokers promise quick cash, whilst operating frauds. Regulators are on the case and this concern should soon be alleviated.
Binaries themselves are perfectly legitimate, but steer clear of ‘instant money’ promises, brokers that cold call, and celebrity endorsements, plus any claims that you can ‘start trading binary options for free’.
So it isn’t a question good or bad, it’s simply a question of being alert to the dangers and knowing what to look out for. If you’re unsure about a broker, ask the question in a live trading room to check they’re properly regulated.
Binary Options Vs CFD Trading
Although in some ways similar, there remain some crucial differences between binary options and CFDs. With CFDs, you have potentially unlimited risk. If the price of the asset moves significantly, the value of the trade can grow very large, very quickly – for better or worse.
Whereas binary options work slightly differently. Whilst you are still investing without owning the asset in question, the gain and loss rate is fixed. With a call option, it doesn’t matter if the price rockets, you retain the same percentage as if it rose by just a couple of pips.
Likewise, if the price sinks to zero, you’ll only lose what you put in. So, to define the difference – with binary options you get fixed risk.
Having said that, just as if it was binary options versus forex trading, you are restrained in your profit potential.
Why Trade Binary Options?
If you want to profit trading binary options, you need to first understand both their pros and cons. You need to make sure binary options will suit your trading style, risk tolerance, and capital requirements.
There is a whole host of attractive benefits to trading with binary options. The greatest advantages have been outlined below.
- Simplicity – Because you are making a determination on only one factor, direction, your bet is straightforward. The price can only go up or down. You also don’t need to concern yourself with when the trade will end, the expiry time takes care of that. Whereas in other markets, you may need a system to limit your losses, such as a stop-loss.
- Fixed risk – Trade stocks, gold, and crude oil and you’ve got a vast number of factors to contend with, from slippage and margin to news events and price re-quotes. With binaries, your risk is kept to a minimum with far fewer parameters.
- Trade control – Because you know what you may make or lose before you enter the trade, you have greater control from the start. Trade in stocks, for example, and you have no guarantee that your trade will make the entry price.
- Profit potential – Compared to other trading, the returns in binaries are extremely attractive. Some brokerages promise payouts of up to 90% on a single trade. If you’re looking to make simple trades with large profit potential, binaries could well be worth a look in.
- Choice – Rather than being constrained to a specific market, e.g. cryptocurrency or stocks, binary options gift traders the opportunity to trade instruments across virtually all markets, allowing you start currency, indices, and bonds trading if you so wish.
- Accessibility –In the binary options game, it’s always the best trading hours somewhere on the globe. So, you can login at night, or on the weekends and join the groups of avid traders attempting to turn daily profits. Real-time charts are available for every market so if you’ve got the time you can invest 24 hours a day.
Whilst there are plenty of reasons to delve into trading on binary options, there remain several downsides worth highlighting:
- Reduced trading odds – Whilst you can benefit from trades that offer in excess of 80% payouts, these are often when the expiry date is some time away from the trade date. If the odds of your binary trade succeeding are extremely high you may have to make do with reduced payout odds.
- Limited trading tools – Whilst most brokerages offer advanced charting and analysis capabilities, trading tools for binary traders often fall short of the mark. Fortunately, there are other online sources for these graphs and tools, plus brokers are working swiftly to increase their offerings.
- Price of losing – Your odds are tilted in favour of losing trades. Approximately for every 70% profit, the corresponding loss of the same trade would result in an 85% loss. This means you need a win percentage of at least 55% to break-even.
- Risk management – Unlike other markets, brokers often set a trading floor, with minimum accounts a trader needs to enter the market. This means losing capital can happen with ease. Whilst a stocks broker may permit you to open an account with $250, trading micro-lots, most binary brokers won’t allow $50 trades. So, even with $250 in your account, just five trades that don’t go your way could see you sink into the red.
Binary Trading via Mobile App
How Does Trading Binary Options Work?
Trading binary options for beginners is straightforward. Simply follow the steps outlined below.
Step 1 – Find a broker
This is one of the most important decisions you will make. You need a broker that meets all your requirements and who will enhance your trade performance. But with so many options out there, how do you know what to look for?
If you’re high-frequency binary trading each day, the commission fees and costs will quickly rack up. You want to maximise your profits so look for brokers with a competitive and transparent fee structure, and remember, different asset classes pay out different amounts.
One point worth investigating is rules around minimum deposits. Whilst some brokers will offer binary options trading with no minimum deposit, many will expect a deposit of close to $50, and some $100. A broker offering low minimum deposits is ideal if you’re strapped for cash. Trading binary with JC and GCI are good choices if you’re looking for low deposits.
Some brokers will specialise in certain assets. If you’re set on crude oil, it may be worth finding a broker that’s geared towards those binaries. You may benefit from relevant news feeds and the most prudent option choices available. Trading binary stocks with 212, for example, is ideal for those interested in stocks.
With scams out there it’s important you check your broker is properly regulated by the relevant financial body, e.g. FCA, CySec, CFTC. Trading with 247 Binary Options, IQ option, and Binary.com are all safe bets.
Binary options platforms are your gateway to the market and where you’ll spend many hours a day. There are now many online trading platforms, so, make sure it’s easy to use and offers all the charts, patterns and tools you need to make smart and accurate trade decisions. For example, will you be trading binary options with candlesticks or more obscure charts?
Both Keystone and Nadex offer strong binary options trading platforms, as does MT4. Before you buy, conduct a thorough trading platform comparison and check reviews.
Any problem could cost you time, and as an intraday trader, time can cost you serious cash. So, check the broker offers reliable support. Some brokers will offer 24/7 customer support through calls, live chat, and in a number of languages. Binary options trading with Etrade and 24 Option are smart moves if you want top quality support.
A growing number of people use mobile devices and tablets to enhance their trading experience. However, software for trading binary options varies hugely. So, it’s worth checking whether your broker offers cross-platform capabilities. Also, check the charting tools you need will work on your iOS or Android device. Binary options trading with IQ Option, for example, offers fantastic trading apps.
Many brokers will sweeten the deal with some useful add-ons. Some may offer free trading plans, courses, and lessons. So, find out first if they offer free courses online to enhance your trading performance. Some brokers will also offer free binary trading trials so you can try before you buy.
You could also benefit from trading bonuses, tips, the best strategy and trading signals reviews, plus free, practice demo accounts. Not to mention some brokers allow for binary options trading using Paypal. However, don’t be put off by no binary options trading deposit bonus, these can be a sign of potential scams.
For newbies, getting to grips with a demo account first is a sensible idea. Funded with simulated money, you can try numerous assets and options. It’s the perfect place to make mistakes and learn before you put real capital on the line. In addition, you’ll find most free binary options demo accounts require no deposit, so you can start practicing whilst you save that initial capital.
There is no universal best broker, it truly depends on your individual needs. Some brokers offer minimum trades of just a couple of pounds, whilst others require hundreds or even thousands. The solution – do your homework first.
For more guidance on making the right choice, see our brokers page.
Step 2 – Choose An Instrument/Market
You can trade binaries in pretty much everything, including stocks, forex, indices, and commodities. You can bet on anything from the price of natural gas, to the stock price of Google. Opt for an asset you have a good understanding of, that offers promising returns.
Step 3 – Decide On An Expiry Time
As a short-term trader, you’ll probably be more interested in 30 seconds, 1 minute and end of day expiry times. You need to balance binary options trading volume with price movement. Whilst the more trades you make means greater profit potential, it’s better to make fewer and more accurate trades. Also, find a time that compliments your trading style.
Step 4 – Decide On Size
In the binary options game, size does matter. The greater your investment the greater the possible profit. On the flip side, remember the entirety of your investment is on the line. You need an effective money management system that will enable you to make sufficient trades whilst still protecting you from blowing all your capital.
Step 5 – Choose An Option
You will have any number of the options outlined above to choose from. Think carefully about how confident you are in your determination. Consider factors that will jeopardise your investment, and select an option that gives you the best chance of succeeding. Don’t automatically select a ladder trade because you want huge returns, consider which options are the relatively safe bets.
Once you’ve made that decision, check and confirm your trade. Then you can sit back and wait for the trade payout.
Below is a video explaining how to trade binary options on the platform of a leading provider:
Binary trading strategies will differ from trade to trade. What may work for a ladder option in forex, may prove useless in a range option on gold. Having said that, there are two reasons you must have a strategy.
Firstly, a strategy prevents emotions interfering in trade decisions. Fear, greed, and ambition can all lead to errors. A strategy allows you to focus on the maths and data.
Secondly, a strategy allows you to repeat profitable trade decisions. Once you’ve found out how and why that binary option worked, you can replicate it to create consistent profits.
Building A Strategy
There are two crucial elements to your binary options trading method, creating a signal, and deciding how much to trade. The second is essentially money management. How do you go about determining these two steps then?
Step 1 – Creating A Signal
The signal will tell you in which direction the price is going to go, allowing you to make a prediction ahead of time. The two main ways to create signals are to use technical analysis, and the news.
Charts, Patterns & Indicators
If you can identify patterns in your charts, you may be able to predict future price movements. They rest on the idea that ‘history repeats itself’. You can start trading binary options using Heiken-ashi, other candlesticks, and line charts. Armed with charts and patterns, successful traders will build a strategy around their findings.
You can then build indicators into your strategy, telling you when to make a binary option, and which binary option you should go for. These technical tools can prove invaluable, so make sure your broker offers the features available to conduct thorough market analysis.
One of the great things about trading binary is you can use any number of your normal indicators, patterns, and tools to help predict future binary options movements. So, you can start trading with/using:
- Support and resistance levels
- Price action
- Stochastic oscillators
- MACD indicators
- Options close to expiry
For more detailed guidance, see our charts and patterns pages.
You can trade binary options without technical indicators and rely on the news. The benefit of the news is that it’s relatively straightforward to understand and use. You’ll need to look for company announcements, such as the release of financial reports. Alternatively, look for more global news that could impact an entire market, such as a move away from fossil fuels. Small announcements can send prices rocketing or plummeting.
If you can stay in the know you can trade your binary options before the rest of the market catches on. To do that you’ll need to be tuned into a range of news sources. You can browse online and have the TV or radio on in the background. Some of the most useful news sources in terms of trading information are:
- Yahoo Finance
- Business Insider
- Financial Times
Step 2 – How Much You Should Trade
If you’re just starting off it’s often best to keep things simple. Trading the same amount on each trade until you find your feet is sensible. Below are 3 binary options trading strategies for both beginners and experienced traders.
Binary options using the martingale trading strategy aim to recover losses as quickly as possible. To do this you’d trade larger amounts of money in the trades following a loss. So, you’d set an amount that you trade each time, say $250. However, if you lose on that $250, you’d bet $500 on the next trade. If the trade wins, you’ll already be back in the black, rather than being stuck around the break-even mark.
The problem with this strategy is that if you go on a losing streak you can lose a serious amount of capital in a short space of time. So, only use this strategy if you’ve got a relatively accurate means of making trade decisions. If you’re still in the trial and error stage, consider a different approach.
A percentage based system is popular amongst both binary options traders and other traders. The idea is you specify a percentage you’re willing to risk. Between 1-2% is common. So, if you’ve got $10,000 in your account, and your risk value was 2%, you could trade $200 on a single trade.
If you have a greater risk tolerance and consistent results you may want to increase that risk margin to 5%. The benefit of this system is that you should never lose more than you can afford. This makes it an ideal approach to take if you’re new to trading on binary options.
This example is best employed during periods of high volatility and just before the break of important news announcements. This technique can be utilised by traders of all experience levels. It gives you the capability to avoid the call and put option selection, and instead allows putting both on a specified instrument.
You aim to utilise put when the value of the instrument has risen, yet you think that it’s going to decrease soon. Once the descent has begun, place a call option on it, anticipating it to bounce back swiftly. You can also do it in the reverse direction. Simply place a call on the assets prices low and put on the rising asset value.
This significantly increases the chance of at least one of the trade options producing a profitable result. If you’re in a volatile market, this simple system could you see turn handsome profits. This works well as a binary options trading 60 seconds strategy, and will also cover expiry times of up to one day.
Bots & Algorithmic Trading
Once you have honed a strategy that turns you consistent profits, you may want to consider using an automated system to apply it. These robots usually rely on signals and algorithms that can be pre-programmed.
The bots then do all the leg work, trading options on your behalf. The plus side is they can make far more trades than you can do manually, increasing your potential profit margin. They can also trade across different assets and markets.
It’s worth investigating your brokers offering when it comes to auto trading and checking for robot reviews. Many allow you to build a program with relative ease. You can use your own entry points that rely on Bollinger bands, RSI/MFI patterns, and moving averages.
However, even when you’ve got your system up and running, you can’t go into trading binary options on autopilot, you need to stay tuned in. If any mistakes take place, you need to be there to remedy the problem. Technical crashes and unpredictable market changes can all cause issues, so stay vigilant.
Many binary option strategies pdfs fail to sufficiently consider time variables. Certain strategies will perform better with specific time options. You may want to look specifically for a 5-minute binary options strategy. Alternatively, trading 15-minute binary options may better suit your needs. So, whichever strategy above you opt for, ensure you take time into account.
Summing Up Strategy
Trading binary options with success rests on finding a strategy that compliments your trading style. So, consider the instrument you’re going to be trading. Then, employ an effective money management system and use charts and patterns to create telling indicators. Also, utilise news announcements to your advantage.
If you’re trying a new fence, gap, hedging, or any other binary strategy for the first time, why not try it on a trading practice account first? This will allow you to address any issues before you invest your own money.
For more detailed guidance, see our strategies page.
Binary options trading 101; immerse yourself in educational resources. As Benjamin Franklin asserted, ‘an investment in knowledge pays the best interest’. The top traders never stop learning. The markets change and you need to change along with them.
To do that, utilise some of the resources detailed below.
- Books & eBooks – There is a whole host of books and ebooks out there that can impart invaluable information on day trading binary options. You can benefit from the binary options trading knowledge of experts with decades of experience. The good thing about a book it is allows you to learn at a pace that suits you. One book that has made binary options trading easy is ‘Trading Binary For Dummies’, by Joe Duarte.
- Video tutorials & seminars – Engaging and easy to follow. There are numerous online video tutorials out there that can walk you through making a trade. With seminars, you’ll also be able to have questions answered and the binary options trading basics explained, plus some brokers offer weekly seminars to keep you up to date with market developments.
- PDFs & instruction guides – These will give you a clear breakdown of steps that you can follow and apply. The best part is you can find plenty online that are totally free and easy to download, whether you’re using Android, Windows, or iOS. The trading binary options ‘Abe Cofnas’ pdf is particularly popular.
- Forums & chat rooms – This is the perfect place to brainstorm ideas with binary options gurus. You can benefit from recommendations and learn in real-time whilst investing in your binary options. You can also swap live chart screen grabs to get a feel for other binary methods and tactics.
- Newsletters & blogs – These are brilliant for keeping up to date with upcoming developments that may affect your markets. Plus, you could hear about binary options competitions (yes, they really do exist).
- Copy trading – This is when social trading networks/platforms are combined with binary trading tools. You can follow experienced traders, analyse their strategies, and then replicate their trades. Check out copy trading reviews before you sign up.
All of the above will play a key part in your binary options trading training. Free trading videos and examples will help give you an edge over the rest of the market, so utilise them as much as possible.
There currently exists no binary options university. So, explanations as to why that option didn’t work can be hard to come by. Keeping a journal with all your binary option trading results in could solve that issue. A detailed record of each trade, date, and price will help you hone your strategy and increase future profits.
Whether you keep it an excel document or you use tailor-made software, it could well help you avoid future dangers. As an added bonus, it can make filling in tax returns at the end of the year considerably easier. A journal is one of the best-kept secrets in binary options, so now you know, use one.
Trading binary options successfully isn’t just about having the right strategy. If you can’t control your emotions you will make costly mistakes. As Robert Arnott stated, ‘what is comfortable is rarely profitable’. When the pressure kicks in, fear and greed can distract you from the numbers.
You need to accept that losses are part of trading and stick to your strategy anyway. If it’s based on accurate maths and careful technical analysis then you have to keep your faith. As soon as you start acting inconsistently your profits will suffer.
As the popularity of binary options grows across the world, regulatory bodies are rushing to instill order. That means where you trade and the markets you break into can all be governed by different rules and limitations.
If you’re day trading binary options in the UK, for example, you will require a license from the UK gambling commission. If you opt for a broker regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), you’ll be guaranteed an extra level of protection. Beware some brokerages register with the FCA, but this is not the same as regulation.
Brexit has brought with it complications to trading regulations. The MiFID II guidelines were set to be implemented across Europe enforcing rules around binaries, however, the UK may not now implement the guidelines. This means the UK is no longer under pressure from Europe to reclassify binaries as financial instruments.
Binary options trading for US citizens is limited by a choice of just two brokers. Nadex and CBOE are the only two licensed options. Fortunately, they are both huge firms offering competitive prices and a range of different assets to trade binaries on.
Rest Of World
In Australia, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) runs the show. If you’re interested in brokers based in Cyprus and Israel, then check they are regulated by CySec. In Dubai and the rest of the UAE, binary options are regulated by the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).
You can also start day trading binary options in Canada, India, Pakistan, South Africa, Malaysia, Kenya, New Zealand, Nigeria, Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Each has their own regulatory bodies and different requirements.
So, if you want protection, ensure you do your research before you sign up for a binary broker on the other side of the world.
Another important regional distinction comes in the form of taxes. Some countries consider binary options as a form of gambling, such as the UK. This comes with notable benefits. The HMRC will not charge you any taxes on profits made through binary options. However, in the future binaries may fall under the umbrella of financial derivatives and incur tax obligations.
Having said that, if day trading binaries are your only form of income and you consider yourself a full-time trader, then you may be liable to pay income tax. Whilst you are probably still exempt, it is worth seeking clarification.
Outside the UK, tax regulation differs hugely. Binary options in Japan and Germany come with vastly different tax obligations, for example. So, before you start trading seek advice to ascertain whether you’ll be exempt from tax. If not, will you pay income tax, capital gains tax, business tax, and/or any other form of tax?
For more detailed information, see our taxes page.
Can Trading Binary Options Make You Rich?
Although exciting and dynamic, to make a living trading binary options you’ll need to use this page and other sources as guides. Can trading binary options make you rich then? Done correctly, yes it can. There is no question of binary options potential profitably, this is evidenced by numerous millionaires. To get there though, you’ll need the right broker, an effective strategy, and you’ll need to invest in your trading education, by utilising the resources outlined above.
Are binary options legal?
Yes, but regional regulation varies.
In India and Australia for example, binary options are legal.
In the US, binaries are available via Nadex, and perfectly legal.
In the EU, binaries have been withdrawn for retail investors, but it is still possible to trade binary options legally, by professional traders. Certain criteria need to be met in order to be classed as ‘professional’.
Can you trade at weekends?
Yes. There are two ways to trade at weekends. Firstly, forex markets are still open in some parts of the world during the “weekend” in other parts. Binaries can be traded on forex during these times.
There are also ‘synthetic’ markets with some brokers (such as binary.com) but traders should note there is no underlying market with these options. They are ‘virtual’ markets created solely to cater for traders looking to trade anything at all. They are not for sophisticated traders.
Are binary options banned in Europe?
Binary options have been withdrawn for retail traders by the European regulator, ESMA. Brokers not regulated in Europe may still offer binaries to EU clients.
It is also possible for EU traders to nominate themselves as professional traders. This waives their rights to regulatory protection, and means binaries are free to be used again.
Some synthetic markets can also be traded by EU traders, and while the product works exactly as a binary options, they are referred to slightly differently.
Do binary options work on MT4 or MT5?
There are no binary options brokers offering Metatrader integration. It is however, possible to perform technical analysis in MT4 and place trades on a separate trading platform.
Can you use binary options on cryptocurrency?
Yes. The leading binary options brokers will all offer binaries on Cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin. As a derivative, traders will not “own” any cryptocurrency, they will purely be speculating on the price. This does mean however, there is no need for a Crypto wallet or crypto account.
Trading for Yourself: The Trials and the Plus Sides
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Best Online Investment Sites & Brokers
Note: We receive a commission for purchases made through the links on this site. Our sponsors, however, do not influence our editorial content in any way.
Online investing is one of the most strategic things you can do with your money if you want to increase your savings. While there is no single choice for the best online investment site, there are a variety of financial tools available to help you in your decision making. It’s important to be aware of your options — plenty of online brokers, trading platforms, and investing websites would love to have you choose them. Regardless of whether you’re looking to invest for the first time or you’ve been trading options for a long time, there are interactive brokers out there that can help you make smart financial decisions. Here is a breakdown of some of the best online investing resources.
Best Investment Companies
|Rank||Investment Company||Best For||STL Rating|
|3||Chase’s You Invest||Brokerage Site||★★★★★|
|4||M1 Finance||New Tools||★★★★★|
Best Investment Companies
|Rank||Investment Company||STL Rating|
|3||Chase’s You Invest||★★★★★|
The 5 Best Online Robo-Advisors
- Stash: Best Overall Investing App
- Acorns: Best Hand-Off Investing App
- Betterment: Best Robo-Advisor
- WealthSimple: Best for Beginners
- Blooom: Best Investing Site for 401(k)
The 5 Best Online Brokers
- Chase’s You Invest: Best Brokerage Site
- M1 Finance: Best New Investing Tool
- Public: Best Investing Site for Stock Trading
- Personal Capital: Best for Large Investments
- Coinbase: Best for Cryptocurrency
Best App for Beginners: Stash
Stash is one of the new app-only options for investing, along with its competitor Acorns. It makes investing easy, even for someone who has never invested before. The concept of the Stash app is that it takes money you are not using by rounding up transactions in your bank accounts to the nearest dollar and using the change to make small investments for you. It’s investing without any of the work, making it the best app for investing beginners.
- Best for: App for beginners. If you like the idea of investing but don’t want to think about it, Stash is a good investing app option for you.
- Price: Stash charges from $1-$9 per month to manage your account, which is a little higher than its competitor Acorns. You only need $5 to open an account, which is great for beginners who don’t have a lot of money to invest.
- Features: A nice feature of Stash is that it collects your “spare change” from your purchases by rounding them all up to the nearest dollar and collecting the change into an account. Once that account hits $5, Stash invests that money into your investment account. It also offers a debit card that rewards you with purchases of fractional shares for your account.
- Fractional shares: Since Stash deals in transactions that are usually quite small, most of its activity deals in fractional shares. The good news is that you don’t have to be an expert, or even know what fractional shares are, to use Stash. The app does all the work for you.
- Customer service: Stash does not offer human advisors to help you with any investing questions you may have, but it has a dedicated customer service team that you can contact via phone, email or chat.
Brokerage accounts, IRAs
Best Investing App: Acorns
Acorns is a great investing platform for anyone who wants to invest but doesn’t want to have to think about investing. The app allows you to take your extra change and invest it. It will automatically invest small sums from your bank account or credit cards to help fund your investing account, so you won’t notice much of a difference but will be squirreling away money for your retirement. It is easy to use and takes very little time to set up; perfect for those who don’t want to invest too much time in investing.
- Best For: Automatic investing, people new to investing and those looking to increase their savings but not necessarily make a great deal of money. You can sign up for Acorns here.
- Price: Depending on the services, Acorns costs $1, $2 or $3 monthly.
- Features: You link credit cards and bank accounts to the Acorns app, and it automatically invests small sums of money on occasion. You can choose from among five portfolios, each with a different risk-reward ratio.
- Other Highlights: The platform will rebalance your portfolio as needed and reinvest your dividends. Plus, Acorns lets you turn off the automatic investing function and make manual investments if you prefer.
- Customer Service: Acorns doesn’t employ financial advisers, but its staff will answer your questions via phone, email or live chat.
$1/month up to $5,000, 0.25% annual advisory fee after
Stocks and Bond ETFs, Real Estate
Best Brokerage Site: Chase’s You Invest
Chase’s You Invest offers an easy-to-use investing platform that comes with a lower price tag and great education tools to help first-time investors make informed decisions about their investing. Here is a breakdown of what You Invest offers and how it compares to other trading platforms.
Chase’s You Invest Review
- Best For: Self investing. Chase’s You Invest is great for people who want to take control of their own investing.
- Price: The fees are $2.95 per stock trade, which is one of the cheapest we’ve seen. You also get 100 free trades when you sign up.
- Features: Chase’s You Invest is your typical investing platform, but with a more reasonable price. You can trade stocks, or you can invest in either a Traditional IRA or a Roth IRA to help with your retirement. At this time, You Invest doesn’t have any automated investing options, but the company is on hand to help with any trading or investing help you might need.
- Customer Service: Backed by the financial powerhouse of Chase J.P Morgan, You Invest provides a robust customer service suite to help you with all your needs.
Stocks, ETFs, IRAs
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INVESTMENT PRODUCTS: NOT A DEPOSIT • NOT FDIC INSURED • NO BANK GUARANTEE • MAY LOSE VALUE
Best New Investing Tool: M1 Finance
Traditional investing sites like E*Trade and Fidelity are giving way to a new investing option that is more flexible and not weighed down by the rules of traditional investing. M1 Finance is the best of that new world of investing. First off, it offers practically no fees when it comes to either trading or automated portfolios. Second, if offers flexibility in trading with options like fractional shares, which give you the option to invest for smaller amounts of money. (Check out our reviews of the best fractional shares investing sites to learn more.) These options, coupled with its sleek app and website that make investing easy, make it our top pick for investing.
M1 Finance Investing
- Best for: Overall investing. With minimal fees and options such as fractional trading, M1 Finance is an investing option for the future, leaving tradition investing options like E*Trade in the dust.
- Price: Like many new tech-focused investing companies, M1 Finance offers commission-free trading. It also does not charge an advisory fee for robo-advisor portfolios, which puts it above other popular robo-advisors like Betterment. It does charge a fee if your account is under $20 or if you have had no trading activity within 90 days.
- Features: M1 Finance utilizes “pie” investing, which presents you with a recommended pie that divides up your investment options, and you can adjust the pie however you wish. It allows you to have complete control over your investments and invest in companies that you believe in.
- Fractional shares: M1 Finance offers fractional shares, which allows you to invest in partial shares, making it easier to invest for less.
- Customer service: In order to get ahold of M1, you will need to go through a dedicated phone number or email service.
Commission-free trading, no advisory fees
Stocks & options, ETFs, IRAs
Best Robo-Advisor: Betterment
Betterment is one of the best financial advisor platforms. It has no minimum deposit requirement and features tons of great research tools to help users save, develop retirement plans and reduce taxes. The management fee is 0.25 percent annually, which is pretty low compared to other automated financial advisor.
- Best For: Automated Investing. Betterment is the lazy man’s best friend and is also great for anyone just starting out in investing, since it automates trading for you. All you do is fund your account and answer questions about the types of investments you want, and Betterment will do all the heavy lifting for you. You can sign up for Betterment here.
- Price: The benefit of Betterment is there are no complicated fees, just a percentage charged depending on how much you’ve invested. It’s 0.25 percent annually, no minimum required. For the premium service you must invest at least $100,000, the fee for this is 0.40 percent annually.
- Features: Since Betterment is an automated service, it doesn’t offer a lot of options when it comes to investing. Its main platform invests in both stock and bond ETFs to create your portfolio. You can also set up various forms of IRAs through Betterment, which will then tailor your investments based on your goals.
- Other highlights: You can currently get a year of free management, all dependent on the amount you invest. If you invest between $15,000-$999,999 you’ll receive one month for free, If you invest, $100,000-$249,000 you’ll receive 6 months of free management, and if you invest anything over $250,000 you will get an entire year of free management.
- Customer Service: Since Betterment does all the heavy lifting for you, of course there are going to be questions, which Betterment is more than capable of answering. You can also get financial planning advice via Betterment.
0.25 percent of investment, annually
Stocks and Bond ETFs, IRAs
Best Investing Site for Stock Trading: Public
Public is one of the new crops of investing companies that offers commission-free trading. Unlike sites like M1 Finance, it does not offer automated portfolio investing, just stock trading, but its stock trading options give it an edge in that category. Like its competitors, Public offers fractional shares, which allows you to invest in companies for less money. It also offers live investing options, which M1 Finance does not. Here is everything you need to know about Public.
- Best for: Commission-free investing.
- Price: Public offers commission-free investing, which a lot of new investing options are offering. There are, of course, other fees that you need to watch out for, including broker-assisted phone trades at $30, domestic wire transfers at $30 and paper statements at $35.
- Investments: If you are looking a flexible brokerage account, Public is a good option. It offers trading for stocks and ETFs, but is limited when it comes to over-the-counter trading and retirement accounts like IRAs. If you are looking for a brokerage-specific investing option though, Public is a good choice.
- Features: Public allows you to connect with friends and thought leaders to get insights on hot companies, how people are investing and other industry news.
- Fractional shares: Public is one of the new companies that is now offering fractional shares, which can allow you to invest for as little as $1.
- Offers: Public is now offering a 2.5% interest on the first $10,000 in your cash account.
- Customer service: If you need to get ahold of Public, you can contact them via email or chat on its website.
Stocks & options, ETFs
Best for Large Investments: Personal Capital
Personal Capital is perfect for those who prefer to have a lot of guidance and feedback on their investments and individual stocks. You’ll have dedicated human financial advisors who can help you invest wisely. It’s a good choice for high-net-worth investors and those looking for free financial management tools. Investing options include individual accounts, taxable accounts (joint and trust), traditional IRAs, Roth and SEP IRAs.
Personal Capital Review
- Best For: Wealthy investors. High-value investors get the comprehensive services available through Personal Capital at a reasonable price. You can sign up for Personal Capital here.
- Price: Annual advisory fees range from 0.49 percent to 0.89 percent, depending on the account balance.
- Features: Accounts with a minimum of $200,000 enjoy the hands-on service of two account managers, while all account holders can use the available personal finance tools and account teams to manage their accounts.
- Customer Service: Available through email or via phone. Personal Capital also has members-only contact methods, avoiding the clutter of a public line.
0.49% to 0.89% percent annual advisory fee, depending on the account balance
Traditional and Roth IRAs, Trust accounts, Taxable Retirement accounts, 401k Plans
Best for Cryptocurrency: Coinbase
Cryptocurrency is relatively new in the investing world, even though cryptocurrencies have been around for over a decade. Most people don’t necessarily trust cryptocurrency since it is not widely used, but it can be a very effective way of trading. While there are many cryptocurrency apps available, Coinbase is not only the biggest but also the best when it comes to crypto trading. It offers not only an exchange, but a brokerage and a secure wallet to store your currency.
- Best for: Overall cryptocurrency needs.
- Price: Coinbase charges hefty fees compared to some of its competitors, which you can do when you are the #1 name in cryptocurrency options. A bank transfer will run you 1.49% of your payment. If you want to use a debit or credit card, it will cost you 3.99% of your payment.
- Options: Coinbase offers three services to use: a brokerage, cryptocurrency exchange and a wallet. The brokerage allows you to purchase your Bitcoins. The exchange allows you to trade Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies. The wallet holds your currency in a secure environment to keep it safe. Most exchanges and brokerage sites are not as secure as a cryptocurrency wallet.
- Pros: Coinbase is the biggest Bitcoin brokerage currently available. Its interface is very easy to use and especially designed for beginners to cryptocurrency. It also offers higher buy limits than its competitors.
- Cons: Since Coinbase is so popular, it can charge more for its services, which it does. It also only allows two methods of payment, while competitors offer more options.
Brokerage, exchange, and wallet
Bitcoin, Litecoin, Dogecoin, Augur, Ripple, Stellar, Ether, Ether Classic, Iconomi, Tether, Dash, Zcash, Monero, Gnosis, EOS and Bitcoin Cash
Best for Beginners: Wealthsimple
Though Wealthsimple features many of the items found commonly with other robo advisors, it distinguishes itself from the rest of the competition in several ways. First, Wealthsimple offers socially responsible investment portfolios for customers who want to feel good about where their money is invested. It also offers transparency when it comes to pricing, which is a great feature. It also is one of the highest-rated robo advisors when it comes to actual investment practices.
- Best for: Wealthsimple is best for investors with at least $100,000 to invest, beginning investors with less than $5,000 to invest, people who want their investment choices to align with their values, and people who value human interaction. You can sign up for Wealthsimple here.
- Price: Wealthsimple charges an account management fee between 0.4 and 0.5 percent annually, depending on whether you have a Basic account with a balance of less than $100,000, or a Black account. Neither account is charged trading, account transfer or rebalancing fees. Wealthsimple charges only an investment management fee, though managers of the funds you invest in will likely charge a fee that annualizes to about 0.2 percent.
- Features: All Wealthsimple accounts feature automatic portfolio rebalancing, dividend reinvesting, automatic deposits, live financial advice from experts and tax-loss harvesting. Wealthsimple Black accounts, for investors with more than $100,000, also provide financial planning sessions and VIP airline lounge access in more than 400 cities around the world.
- Customer Service: The Wealthsimple Relationship Management team can answer questions regarding opening and funding accounts, your application, investment portfolio or financial plan, and they’ll connect you with a Portfolio Manager through a scheduled call when they cannot answer your question. Customer service is available by phone, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, and by email.
$0 for the first $5,000 for the first year. 0.5% for up to $99,999 of investment, 0.4% for over $100,000.
Personal taxable account, Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, SEP IRA, joint taxable account and trust, rollovers from 401(k) and 403(b) retirement accounts
Best Online Investment Site for Do-Gooders: Swell Investing
Swell Investing is being marketed as the best investing site for millennials. It not only takes a super-simple approach to investment, but it also allows you to invest in companies that are doing good for the world. It is run by Pacific Life Insurance Company, so it has a long history in the financial world, which is always good for piece of mind. Swell’s mobile platform makes it easy to invest with the swipe of finger and to even set up weekly or monthly deposits into your accounts. You can set up an account for only $50, and while the 0.75% annual fee may seem steep, its because Swell only works with a select group of do-gooder investments, which makes its job more difficult than your normal robo advisor.
Swell Investing Review
- Best for: Investors wanting to do good. Swell Investing takes a different approach to investing, gearing its portfolio offerings toward stocks that could potentially create positive change for the world. Investors who have a small amount of investment money and have an interest in combining social missions with their investment choices may find Swell Investing worth a serious look.
- Price: When comparing Swell Investing with other online, robo advisor trading platforms, Swell’s low initial deposit, no price per trade charge and low annual fee are attractive features. Swell’s minimum investment requirement is one of the lowest at $500, and every portfolio pays 0.75 percent per year in service fees.
- Features: Swell Investing is an online, robo advisor platform, meaning there is little human intervention in the portfolio management process. Swell buys and sell stocks on your behalf, based on a survey to determine which impact investing portfolio theme most interests you and using automated investing that has a base in fiduciary standards (Swell must act in your best interest).
- Customer Service: As an online platform, Swell Investing uses email as its main mode of communication. There is no live customer service department to contact or direct link on their website, but the company does offer an email address and a promise that if email correspondence can’t resolve your problem, or you can’t find an answer to your question in their FAQ Support Center site, they will be in touch.
Separately managed accounts (SMA), individual accounts, 401(k)
Best Investing Website for 401(k): Blooom
With so many robo advisors handling IRAs and individual accounts, Blooom decided to take a different approach and focus on company-sponsored 401(k)s and 403(b)s. It uses the same robo advisor technology to optimize your investment returns while working within the investment offered by your company’s retirement plan. The best part about Blooom is its straight-forward pricing. You pay $10 a month no matter how large your investment is, and there are no extra fees or changing rates like other robo advisors. There is also no minimum investment requirement, so you can sign up no matter what you have saved in your 401(k).
- Best For: 401(k) management. Blooom is best for people who want to improve the performance of their 401(k) accounts without paying a financial adviser.
- Price: Blooom charges a flat rate of $10 per month no matter how much money you have in your retirement portfolio.
- Features: Blooom includes several noteworthy features, including 401(k) audits, 256-bit encryption, 24/7 virus scans, regular account reviews and educational tools that will help you make wiser investment choices.
- Customer Service: You can contact Blooom’s customer services via live chat or email. The team at Blooom usually responds within a few hours during business hours. If you reach out to them at night, you may have to wait until the next morning for an answer to your question.
Runner Up: Ally Invest
Commission costs at Ally Invest are $4.95, and it offers a lot of value for that low price tag. Ally Invest has a $0 account minimum and is a great option for active traders and options trading. It isn’t as mainstream as some of its competitors, but it’s building a healthy reputation for the quality and breadth of its offerings. Investing options include stocks and options, ETFs, IRAs, mutual funds, bonds, forex and International Stock Exchange.
Ally Invest Review
- Best for: Beginners. Ally Invest makes investing easy and offers a lot of education around investing, so you can make the best decisions when it comes to your money.
- Price: There are no advisory fees for managed account.
- Features: Ally Invest offers all the typical investing options, including stocks, options, ETFs, IRAs, mutual funds, bonds, forex and trading on the International Stock Exchange.
- Other highlights: Ally Invest sets aside a “cash buffer” which is about 30% of your investment, so if the markets suddenly crash, you have cash in the account that is safe from wild fluctuations. It also offers an easy-to-use platform and a mobile app, which are benefits for beginners.
- Customer service: Ally Invest offers customer service both for technical issues and when you have questions about trading. It has brokers on hand to help with any of your investment questions.
No advisory fees
Stocks & options, ETFs, IRAs, mutual funds, bonds, forex, International Stock Exchange
Stock Trading Runner-Up: TradeStation
TradeStation is known for its pro tools, so of course it is our pick for the best online investment site for experienced traders. TradeStations OptionsStation Pro platform provides experienced traders with all the tools that the pro traders use, making it easy and intuitive to either do day trading or make long-term investments. Experience and sophistication, of course, come at a price. While TradeStation’s $5 per trade fee is either on-par or lower than other trading sites, it does charge a lot more for broker-assisted trades ($50) and has a high minimum investment at $5,000.
- Best for: Serious traders. TradeStation is a top-of-the-line choice for those who are serious about investing, such as advanced traders, active stock traders, and stock, options and future traders. It is a favorite platform for frequent traders and international traders.
- Price: The minimum investment of $5,000 is a deterrent for some investors. But for those who are serious and willing to put their money where their mouth is, the initial investment opens a top-notch trading platform with a set per-trade fee of $5.00 for most transactions.
- Features: TradeStation is geared toward the experienced trader who wants to trade in high volumes. It is a popular platform for investors whose trading includes a diverse range of products, such as futures, stocks, forex and options.
- Customer Service: Support is available via email or telephone, and those manning the customer service desk are quick to deal with problems or concerns you need addressed. Unfortunately, customer support is not available 24/7; customer service is available Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Stocks & options, ETFs, IRAs, mutual funds, bonds, forex, International Stock Exchange
Best Traditional Investing Site: TD Ameritrade
TD Ameritrade has a wide selection of investments and makes a good choice for every kind of investor. You can invest in mutual funds or use the high-tech investing platform for more sophisticated trades, and there is no minimum balance requirement. It also provides extensive free research to help you make educated decisions. Investing options include stocks and options, ETFs, IRAs, mutual funds, bonds, forex and International Stock Exchange.
TD Ameritrade Review
- Best For: Investing options. TD Ameritrade is a well-known online brokerage firm that offers a wide range of investment options, from preferred stocks to college saving plans.
- Price: TD Ameritrade has fairly straight-forward pricing, starting at $9.99 per online stock trade.
- Features: TD Ameritrade is especially popular for its accessibility and user-friendly model, making it particularly attractive to first-time investors. With its one-on-one support system, which is monitored by licensed brokers, it’s also popular with consumers who are interested in investing money but would prefer to be guided by a professional with expertise in trading.
- Customer Service: TD Ameritrade is one of the only online investing service that also offers physical offices you can go to if you need in-person help with your investments.
$9.99 per online stock trade
Preferred stocks, mutual funds, futures, exchange traded funds (ETFs), options trades, margin lending, fixed income services, IRAs, college savings plans and cash management solutions
Best Online Brokers
Wealthfront offers free, automated investment management and financial planning for the first $10,000 invested. It’s a useful service for small balances and offers tax-efficient features like Direct Indexing management of 529 college savings plans, something none of its competitors offer.
FutureAdvisor is a robo-advisor that offers some free services, such as a comprehensive retirement planning analysis. It charges 0.50 percent as a management fee and necessitates a balance of $10,000 or more. It also offers access to a team of financial advisors. FutureAdvisor website
Personal Capital offers more one-on-one advisement for investors. Its investing site uses computer algorithms, but human financial advisors are paired with each client to help you make your choices. The costs are a little higher as a result — fees range from 0.49 to 0.89 percent per year depending on the size of your account. It’s great for large investments and hands-off investing.
Motif is a great way to invest in ideas without huge hassle or expense. Groups of up to 30 securities are put together by a staff member — there are nearly 100 motifs to choose from and you can trade them for just $9.95 each, quite low fees for that kind of transaction.
OptionsHouse is perfect for active traders because of the low stock trading commissions ($4.95) and lack of penalty fees. It’s free to open and maintain an account, and OptionsHouse offers professional-grade stock analysis research and excellent trading tools. However, it’s not the best for mutual fund and exchange-traded fund investors.
TD Ameritrade’s trade costs are on the high side ($9.99), but it offers first-class trading platforms that seasoned traders love. It also provides a variety of no-transaction-fee mutual funds and commission-free ETFs. There’s no account minimum, and TD Ameritrade offers free research and data, which can be very helpful.
Charles Schwab is a top pick for many reasons. The firm offers full-service treatment if you live close to one of its branches — there are 300 across the country. Online, you can find a lot of educational resources and great mobile trading platforms and tools.
OptionsXpress is a perfect discount broker for investors who aren’t solely focused on stock trading. It provides a selection of investment products, including bonds, ETFs and mutual funds. The cost is $3.50 per contract per side, but you can save money if you’re a high-volume trader.
Merrill Edge definitely stands out because of its research offerings from BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research as well as Morningstar, S&P, Capital IQ and more. It’s a great choice for casual traders because of the competitive pricing and great customer service. It commissions at $6.95 per trade, and there’s no account minimum.
Best Online Trading Companies
Ally Invest is a great choice for fee-conscious investors. The trade commissions are low ($4.95), there is no account minimum, and you can qualify for $1,000 in commission-free trades depending on your deposit. However, it doesn’t offer ETFs or no-transaction-fee mutual funds.
TD Ameritrade is an advanced trade architect platform with no account minimum. It offers a lot of free research and data, but it’s still best for advanced traders who have experience trading stocks, options or futures and commodities. Equity stock trading costs are $9.99, and transaction-fee mutual fund trades cost $49.99.
TradeStation has an ultra-advanced trading platform that used to be available only to brokers and institutional investors. Now it’s open to everyday investors, and it has super-sophisticated analysis software and other tools available. It’s perfect for very active stock market traders interested in options, futures and forex trading.
Best Stock Trading App
Robinhood is a free-trading app that saves you a lot of money on commissions. You can trade more than 5,000 stocks and ETFs without commissions or account minimums. It’s best for frequent stock or ETF traders as well as mobile traders. It offers real-time market data in addition to free trading.
Best Crowdfunded Investing Service
If you are looking for a non-traditional approach to investing, you can try a crowdfunded investment service like RealtyShares. RealtyShares allows you invest in a portion of a real estate investment project without having to deal directly with that project. The minimum investment is $5,000, which allows people with smaller incomes who are interested in real estate investments to participate at a lower price. The only downside is that your investment is not liquid, so you have to wait until the project is completed and sold before you get the return on your investment. To find out more, here is our RealtyShares review to give you a better idea of how it works.
Best Cheap Stocks to Buy
It’s always a good idea to buy the stock of a great company, but it’s even better if you can buy it at a low price. There aren’t too many companies discounting the sales of their stock these days because the market is at such a high point, but there are still some decent stocks that online brokerage firms can help you buy.
The new administration’s plan to dismantle Obamacare and lower the corporate tax rate to 15 percent could mean that Pfizer will be a great investment option. The business tax rate would give Pfizer’s bottom line a big boost. It’s still risky depending on what happens in Congress surrounding these proposals, but the company’s tailwinds still probably make it a good investment.
Brookfield Property Partners stock was selling for about 70 cents on the dollar as the year came to a close. The company is selling selective assets within the core portfolio and is securing great value-affirming deals in retail and multi-family portfolios. Its plans to continue selling assets, buy other discounted assets or repurchase more of its discounted units stand to make it a strong choice.
Infrastructure stocks are looking good on Wall Street this year, again due to the new administration. Many companies stand to gain, but USG has solid products, a solid growth plan and a valuation that make it a more secure choice and a long-term winner.
The Walt Disney Co.
You may have heard on social media about next year’s planned opening of Avatar Land at Walt Disney World. With that and a full year of results from Shanghai Disney Resort, WDW is shaping up to be a great stock choice. Disney also has a slate of new movies coming out this year. Shares are down for now, which makes it a good time to buy before these growth drivers take hold.
Verizon has recently been one of the cheapest stocks in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Although it’s seen slow growth lately, it’s been able to continue growing its business and the FiOS product in a challenging market, and changes in the landscape might make Verizon the company to start investing in right now.
Best Online Brokers For Beginners
Trading and investing can be tricky for people who are just starting out, and beginners can greatly benefit from a broker that is willing to help out first-timers. It’s best to start simple — and online investing can be one of the best ways to begin.
Ally Invest offers super-easy tools that are helpful to beginners. It’s known for excellent customer support and makes a great choice for first-time investors. You can take advantage of its options pricing calculator, profitability calculator, stocks and ETF screener, and more. It’s also one of the most affordable sites.
This is a great site for beginners who don’t want to do the decision making on which stocks and bonds to invest in. Wealthfront is a fully automated investment management and financial planning service. After you complete the risk assessment and review your recommended portfolio, you can open and fund an account. Once you’ve made the initial deposit, Wealthfront’s software automatically invests the money for you.
Personal Capital is an excellent investing site for those who want to invest a considerable sum of money. Its minimum investment policy is $25,000, and for that, it also provides a complete view of your portfolio and personalized services that make stock trading easy and profitable.
Best Online Investment Sites for Staying in the Black
For most of us, the price savings offered through internet investing is the single biggest reason to switch from traditional brokerage firms. Even the most expensive investment site typically costs substantially less than a brokerage firm, even when making brokerage assisted purchases. Priced at only $43.95 for market trades, OptionsHouse.com offers one of the least expensive rates. That fee remains the same, even with brokerage assistance. TradeKing also charges $4.95 plus $20 for brokerage assistance, versus TDAmeritrade’s price point of $9.99 plus $44.99 for brokerage assistance. OptionsHouse.com offers the lowest rates, almost across the board, but they only have three options: Stocks, Options and Spreads.
Deals: OptionsHouse.com is currently offering 60 commission-free trades when you sign up. TDAmeritrade is offering up to $600 when you open a new account. And TradeKing is offering $200 when you sign up.
Diversifying Your Portfolio With Online Investing
Volatile markets and the uncertainty left over from the global financial crisis make it important for you to be able to invest in a variety of ways. The limited options available through OptionsHouse.com may not work for the investment portfolio you are trying to build. With mutual funds, Forex, Futures and Fixed income investment options, TDAmeritrade has a package that suits almost any investor. TradeKing goes even further, offering bonds, international trades and margin purchases. TradeKing offers the largest range of potential investments, with clear up-front pricing on all of their products.
Managing Your Investments
Lowest price and greatest diversity does not mean that a site will be your top pick. Easily managing your portfolio can be another big factor. You probably do not have time to sit for hours, poring over financial pages. Instead, you need quick access to your entire investment package and the ability to automate many decisions. Does your online investment site allow you to pre-set sale prices? Can you manage your portfolio from a mobile site? Do you receive notifications when the market shifts, suddenly? Can you call in at any time to discuss your account?
All three of these investment sites offer you control over your sales prices and mobile access, but they do not all offer the same types of customer service. When you are investing a large portion of your savings, it is a nerve-wracking experience. OptionsHouse.com does offer a variety of contact methods, including telephone, live chat and email support, but it is not 24/7.
TDAmeritrade does not include live chat as a support method, but E*TRADE does, and they are both available all day, everyday in other ways. When you need to talk to someone about your investment account, 24-hour service can be a real advantage. Even a few hours can make a big difference to your investment package.
Finalizing Your Choice Of Investment Platform
Ultimately, choosing the right investment site will be determined by the type and scope of investing you plan to tackle. If you are just looking for the cheapest option that also includes solid investing tools, you should check out TD Ameritrade. If you are most interested in long-term, low-risk trades, OptionsHouse.com may be the best choice. The lower fee structure is a bonus, and you will not need access to more volatile trading options. If you want a more diversified portfolio, TradeKing may be the best option. It has a wealth of trading options, quality customer service and a long-time reputation in the online trading industry. TDAmeritrade’s solid, middle-of-the-road options do not seem to measure up when combined with their higher fee structure. Take a look at this quick, side-by-side comparison to get more information, at a glance.
About the Author
Jack Ryder has been working as a reporter and writer in the personal finance space for many years. He enjoys breaking down complicated finance information into easy-to-read articles, so his readers can better navigate their financial lives. He is currently the Editor of the Credit Repair and Debt Relief categories, although enjoys writing about all things finance. Jack has had articles appear in publications from the Huffington Post to Business Insider. You can contact Jack at [email protected]
Steven Deninger • December 22, 2020
Hello guys I am totally new to investing and know nothing about it. My wife and I are in the military and have 2 kiddos I have been told by co workers who invest that we have something on our side that helps which is time, we are both 23 years old we are not wealthy by any means but we are able to save money every month and have no overwhelming debt just a credit card we use for gas just to form some type of credit. we have decided we want to prepare for our future, not everyone gets to retire unfortunately, so we know we want to begin to invest but just do not know how or where to start was hoping someone could give us some insight or anything would be helpful and very appreciative!
Jackie Spanner • December 17, 2020
Hey does anyone here know which one would be good for someone who doesn’t know anything about investing? I was going to go with etrade but after reading this I’m not sure which one to use. I really don’t know what I’m doing.
Jack Ryder • December 17, 2020
Hi Jackie, Thank you for reading! In my opinion, TradeKing is the best option for you. It has great articles as well as tutorial videos for beginners such as yourself. Many other online investment sites have similar tools, but TradeKing also has the cheapest fees, which are good for a beginner just starting to invest. Hope that helps!
Zach Aboud • December 17, 2020
Sites like charles schwab and etrade are what people always use, but I wanted to do the research for myself, so I looked at a bunch of online investment sites and I finally decided on tradeking. I couldn’t be happier, it’s the best site, they have the lowest prices and they treat you like an actual person instead of a number.
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