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Compare Online Brokers

When trading stocks, it's very important to compare online brokers before trading, so you can be sure you are getting the best deal for your money.

I always think if we are prudent and invest carefully we have a great chance of making great returns from the stock market, but to do this we need to keep our trading costs down as much as possible. In the stock broker comparison chart below I compare the best stock brokers by looking at the various costs and minimum account sizes.

Broker Cost Per Trade Min Account Size Inactivity Fees Broker Assisted Trades Options Base Options Contract
Zecco $4.95 None None $19.99 $4.95 50c
TradeKing $4.95 None None $4.95 $4.95 65c
FirstTrade $6.95 None None $26.95 $6.95 75c
Scottrade $7 $500 None $27 $7 $1.25
E-Trade $7.99-9.99 $500 None $45 $9.99 75c
OptionsXpress $9.95 None None $9.95 $9.95 $1.50

Zecco have been around for about five years now. They have earned themselves a good reputation in the trading community. They are one of the best online brokers and have very good support. They also have a vibrant trading community where you can chat with other traders.

Zecco offer cheap stock trades with no minimum account size and no inactivity fees. However, They may not be the best broker if you want to make broker assisted trades (Trades over the phone), as they charge nearly 20 bucks for these!

Another great feature of Zecco is they offer a free virtual trading account to let you practice your strategies on a test account before risking your money.

Open an account with Zecco


Tradeking are another good broker that offer cheap stock trades. Trades cost just $4.95 each and unlike many other brokers there is no extra charge for broker assisted trades (trades made over the phone).

They have won many awards including #1 in Customer Service by SmartMoney magazine in 2010 and Rated #1 Online Broker by SmartMoney magazine in 2006 and 2007 and Kiplinger’s in 2008.


Get 250 Free Trades and more at Firstrade!

FirstTrade has been around for decades. Whilst more expensive than Zecco they do often have some good promotions to make trading with them that much more attractive.

Currently if you open and an account and fund it with $1000, you get 250 FREE trades. Not bad huh?

Open an account with FirstTrade


E-Trade is one of my favorite brokers, despite being more expensive than some of the others above. They aren't just a stock broker, you can trade bonds, futures, forex, options, cfds, international trading and much more with ETrade.

ETrade as been around for many many years and have earn themselves a very solid reputation.

They have also won many awards, too many to list infact, including a five star award from smart money. They also have some fantastic promotions. At present, if you fund a trading account with more than $2,000 you get FREE trading for 60 days. They also offer bonuses up to $500 depending on the amount you fund your account with.

After the free trading period, stock trades are a very reasonable $7.99 if you make more than 150 trades per quarter or $9.99 otherwise.

Click here to open an account with E-Trade


scottradeScottrade offer a flat $7 per stock trade and options contracts are an additional $1.25. They have a $500 minimum account size. Watch out for their expensive broker assisted trading at a whopping $27. Scottrade have no inactivity or account maintenance fees to worry about.

Open an account at Scottrade


OptionsXpress is one of the oldest online brokers around. Don't let their name deceive you, they don't just offer options. Infact, like ETrade they offer a very wide range of instruments including stocks, forex, futures, options, bonds plus many more all from one account.

Online stock trades and broker assisted trades cost $9.95.

Open an account with OptionsXpress

Direct Comparison

If you would like to compare one broker directly against another, you can do this too with the direct comparisons below:

A little extra information

When looking at the stock broker comparison chart, it is very important to think about the type of trading you intend to do. If you intend to make a lot of options trades, then Zecco is likely to offer the cheapest stock trades for you. However, if trading over the phone is very important to you, then Tradeking and Optionsxpress offer the cheapest broker-assisted trading.

On the other hand, if you want to employ a long term buy and hold strategy which will just involve buying several stocks at the beginning and then holding onto them, ETrade may be a better option as they offer free trading for the first 60 days if you deposit more than $2,000 and many additional bonuses depending on your initial deposit size.

I wish I could just say a particular broker is best for everybody, but unfortunately it is not that easy as it is entirely dependent on your circumstances. If you need any extra help, please feel free to contact me and I can do my best to help!

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