4 Top Online Stock Brokers

So you have some of your hard earned money to invest, but now you need to look at the best online stock brokers to find the one that is most suitable for you.

In this section I give you the opportunity to compare online stock brokers. I’ve written detailed reviews on the most popular ones.

There is no question there are a number of greedy online stock brokerages out there, who only care about extracting as much money from you as they can in the way of fees. My goal here is to help you avoid these sharks!

Picking the right broker can have a massive effect on your trading results. In some cases, picking a broker with higher fees can be the different between having a positive return and a negative return.

 

Broker Cost Per Trade Min Account Size Inactivity Fees Broker Assisted Trades Options Per Contract
Zecco $4.95 none none $19.99 $0.65
TD Ameritrade $9.99 none none $44.99 $0.75
Scottrade $7 $500 None $27.00 $1.25
E-Trade $7.99-9.99 None None $54.99 $0.55
OptionsXpress $8.95 None None $8.95 $0.75

 

Zecco was established in 2006 and is now well known for being a cheap broker.

They are certainly one of the lowest priced online stock brokers. The good thing is, despite this they still offer great customer support both online and on the phone.

Zecco has won many awards including the “Best of the Online Brokers” award from Kiplinger. They also have a great platform that is easy to use.

Another great thing about Zecco is there is no minimum account size and no inactivity fees.

The only downside to this broker is that they don’t currently offer any good promotions like E-Trade, but they do offer cheaper stock trades!

Open an account with Zecco

TDAmeritrade have been around for decades. They are one of the biggest online brokers out there. This is certainly for good reason in my view. The platform is one of the best I have ever used. They also offer great support. The biggest downside is they are probably not a good broker if you prefer to make trades over the phone. They charge a whopping $44.99 for this.

They are more expensive than some online brokers, however they often have great promotions which helps with this. At present they let you trade free for 60 days.

TD Ameritrade is one of the few online brokerages to offer hundreds of local branches, infact they have over 500. So if you are looking to trade with a rock solid company with a great reputation, the extra trading charges be worth it to you.

Open an account with TDAmeritrade

Scottrade is a very big, solid broker. They have been around for decades and have over 500 local branches. As far as brokers come, they are about as solid and established as you can get.

Trades are priced very competitively at just $7. Signing up for an account is very quick and easy, it only took me about 10 minutes to complete the entire process.

They offer many different platforms, so whether your a new trader or experienced trader, there will be a platform suitable for you.

A few other pluses include no free IRAs, great support and free real-time streaming quotes and charts.

Scottrade have a $500 minimum to open an account.

Click here to open an account with Scottrade

E-Trade is a well established broker that offers fairly competitive pricing at $9.99 per stock trade. This goes down to $7.99 if you make more than 150 trades in a quarter. They have a $500 account minimum.

They have a special promotion at the moment where you can trade 60 days for free! Great if you are a long term investor wanting to buy a several stocks and hold them!

They are the best broker around for trading penny stocks. The cost is a straight up front $7.99-9.99 per trade regardless of the price of the stock. Most other brokers have additional fees for these types of stocks.

ETrade also offer a bonus of up to $500 depending on the size of your deposit.

Open an Account with E-Trade

Optionsxpress has been around since 2000. They are a very reputable online stock broker and have won many awards to prove it including being named the “Best Deal” in the online discount broker category by Smart Money Magazine. They continued the streak in 2006 when Kiplinger’s Magazine called Firstrade the “Clear Winner in the Mutual Funds Category” and “Top Clean-Hands Firm”. Stock Trades cost $8.95 which is very competitive for what they offer.

They don’t only offer stock trading. You can trade Options, Futures and much more with OptionsXpress

They have grown massively online over the last few years, perhaps due to their low trading fees and good service.

Click here to open an account with OptionsXpress

 

Which online stock brokers are best for me?

For some traders, using more than one brokerage can be beneficial. For example some brokers charge a great deal more for options contracts than others. If you are a big options trader, this is inevitably going to be an important factor for you. Currently Optionshouse offers the best deal on options, just 15 cents per contract.

If you are a long term and buy hold investor, you might want a big well established broker. For many long term investors, the cost per trade isn’t as important, as far fewer trades are made than short term traders. Personally I use TDAmeritrade for long term investing.

I am sure you get the idea. Your trading strategy often needs to dictate the online stock brokerage you choose.

 

3 Top Penny Stock Brokers

Here we look at Penny Stock Brokers. We look at factors such as cost per trade, minimum account size, inactivity fees and much more. 

Tradestation

Tradestation have been around for over 30 years and are one of the lowest cost penny stock brokers out there offering trades for just $5 per trade.

Tradestation have also won many awards recently, including the top award for “Best for Frequent Traders”.

Another thing I really like about Tradestation is their very advanced, yet easy to use trading platform. It’s free too.

As for customer support. Every time I have needed them, I have always spoken to a polite, knowledgeable individual without the need to wait in a queue.

SureTrader


Suretrader charge $4.95 per trade. They are one of the best brokers for penny stocks. They have a low account minimum of just $500. There are many funding options including credit card and bank wire. They are ideal for small traders as well as larger traders as Suretrader do not have the PDT rule. Not that I recommend using it, Suretrader offer 6:1 leverage intraday.

For anyone who likes shorting penny stocks, they have some of the best borrows.

Conclusion

Choosing a penny stock broker is very important, as it can have a profound affect on your trading results. We have put together some of the main factors I believe you should consider when choosing a penny stock broker:

Cost per Trade

This is the most obvious consideration when choosing a broker. Fees can range massively between different brokers. Deep discount brokers start at around $3.95 and more expensive brokers can be in excess of $50.

The cost per trade is more important for traders who make a large number of trades. If you only intend to buy a handful of stocks and hold them for several years, the cost per trade is unlikely to have a significant impact on your bottom line.

Nowadays, most traders place their trades online, but for those who don’t, you might want to take a look at how much a broker charges for “broker-assisted” trading. This is a fancy way of saying trading over the phone.

Training

Some traders prefer a broker to have in depth training on how to invest their money. Personally, this is not something that interests me. There are many sources online that provide tutorials on stock trading, including this site! If the broker spends money on creating training material, this may be reflected in the price they charge.

Trading Community

Some brokers offer trading communities where you can share ideas with other traders. This can be helpful for helping improve your knowledge and understanding of stock trading.

However, this said, I would be very careful about taking trading advice from others. Online communities can be a great resource when used wisely, but always remember, many of the traders who contribute to these forums and communities are not making money yet, so taking specific trading advice from them may not be suitable.

Minimum Account Size

If you are a large trader, this is unlikely to ever be an issue. Thankfully many brokers have no minimum, but some of the bigger ones do, so it’s something to keep an eye on if you are a small trader. Out of the brokers mentioned here, Scottrade is the only one with a minimum of $500.

Platform

Last on the list but certainly not least. The platform is a very important consideration when choosing a broker. Some platforms are clearly aimed at the new trader whilst others are aimed at the more advanced trader.

It is essential that you fully understand how your brokers platform works before trading with real money. Many brokers, including the brokers mentioned here, let you trade a virtual account. This lets you get used to the trading platform with pretend money.

Take your time and have a play with the virtual account, so you are fully prepared when you begin trading with real money. You don’t want to miss out on a great training opportunity because you are still figuring out how to use the platform, or even worse, accidentally place a big trade you didn’t mean to!

Online Stock Broker Reviews

Welcome to the online stock broker reviews section of my site. It is always my goal to help traders get the best deal for their money when trading the stock market. With so many stock trading accounts to choose from, as traders we can afford to be picky and do not need to settle for a stock trading account with anything but excellent service and competitive pricing.

Below are some details and reviews on some of the popular stock brokers.

E*Trade

ETrade is a broker that has been around for decades. They have offices all over the world. They offer trading many many instruments including stocks, bonds, forex, futures, options and many more all from a single account. Look out for the promotions with ETrade. They often have some really good ones.

Visit ETrade.com or Read the full review here