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Best Online Brokers for Stock Trading (Updated 2016)

Best Online Brokers for Stock Trading (Updated 2016)

It is impossible to say which is the best broker for you personally because you have your own needs, your own goals, and your own priorities. Use the information below as part of your personal research. The brokers listed below are established and popular, which makes this list a great place to start for investors, savers and wealth builders.

OptionsHouse

Cost of stock trading: $4.95

Cost of options trades: $4.95 + $.50 per contract

Minimum balance requirement: $0

Are there any account fees?

  • There is a $60 closing fee for your IRA
  • There is a $75 fee for outgoing transfers

Mutual fund costs/fees: There may be a $20 fee

Commission-free exchange traded funds: There are none

What are their tradable securities?

  • Bonds
  • Stocks
  • Futures
  • Mutual funds
  • Options
  • ETFs

How to trade online

There is a browser-based platform that you may use. It has plenty of trading information, including real-time data and customizable tools that help you research the information you need to make informed decisions. There is also a mobile app that offers similar functionality. Data and research is free if you have a $100 minimum balance.

TD Ameritrade

Cost of stock trading: $9.99

Cost of options trades: $9.99 + $0.75 per contract

Minimum balance requirement: $0

Are there any account fees?

  • There are no annual fees
  • There are no inactivity fees
  • There is a $75 fee for outgoing transfers

Mutual fund costs/fees: 2000+ no-transaction-fee mutual funds

Commission-free exchange traded funds: 100+ commission-free ETFs

What are their tradable securities?

  • Options
  • Bonds
  • ETFs
  • Futures
  • Mutual funds
  • Stocks
  • Forex

How to trade online

You may use a website called Trade Architect, or ThingOrSwim. They both offer the same fees and choices, and they have mobile apps that mirror the websites in terms of functionality. Data and research is free and fairly extensive.

Charles Schwab

Cost of stock trading: $8.95

Cost of options trades: $8.95 + $0.75 per contract

Minimum balance requirement: $1,000

  • The minimum balance figure is often waived if you make monthly transfers of $100.

Are there any account fees?

  • There are no annual fees
  • There are no inactivity fees
  • There is a $50 fee for closing your account

Mutual fund costs/fees: 3000+ no-transaction-fee mutual funds

Commission-free exchange traded funds: 200+ commission-free ETFs

What are their tradable securities?

  • Bonds
  • Mutual funds
  • ETFs
  • Options
  • Stocks

How to trade online

There are two platforms that may be found online, and there is a mobile app that offers a little more than the average trading app. Data and research is free and fairly extensive.

E-Trade

Cost of stock trading:

  • $9.99 for up to 149 trades per quarter
  • $7.99 for between 150 and 1,499 trades per quarter
  • $6.99 for over 1,500 trades per quarter

Cost of options trades: $9.99 + 75 cents per contract

  • Active traders may earn discounts

Minimum balance requirement:

  • The minimum if $0 for IRAs
  • The minimum is $500 for brokerage accounts

Are there any account fees?

  • There are no annual fees
  • There are no inactivity fees
  • There is a $60 fee for full outgoing transfers

Mutual fund costs/fees: 1300+ no-transaction-fee mutual funds

Commission-free exchange traded funds: 100+ commission-free ETFs

What are their tradable securities?

  • ETFs
  • Options
  • Bonds
  • Mutual funds
  • Futures
  • Stocks

How to trade online

On your web browser, you will have to use E-Trade 360. If you wish to use their E-Trade Pro platform, you will have to maintain an account balance of $250,000, or you have to execute 30 or more options or stocks per quarter. There is a mobile app that is fairly advanced and shares many features with the trading platform you find online. Data and research is free and fairly extensive.

OptionsXpress

Cost of stock trading: $8.95

Cost of options trades:

  • There is no consistent base fee
  • 1 to 10 contracts has a $14.95 flat fee
  • 11+ contracts costs $1.50 per contract
  • 35+ trades per quarter may qualify you for reduced rates as an active trader

Minimum balance requirement: $0

Are there any account fees?

  • There are no annual fees
  • There are no inactivity fees
  • There is a $60 fee for full outgoing transfers
  • There is a $50 fee for closing your IRA

Mutual fund costs/fees: $9.95 fee

Commission-free exchange traded funds: 200+ Schwab commission-free ETFs

What are their tradable securities?

  • Mutual funds
  • Stocks
  • ETFs
  • Bonds
  • Forex
  • Options
  • Futures

How to trade online

You have to go to their website, or you may use their mobile app. The mobile app offers a little more than your average brokerage app. Data and research is free, though it isn’t as in-depth as many of the other brokers featured on this article.

Merrill Edge

Cost of stock trading:

  • $6.95 per trade
  • You may qualify for 30 commission free trades per month if you maintain enough money in your account to qualify, and if the balance is in certain designated accounts.

Cost of options trades: $6.95 + $0.75 per contract

Minimum balance requirement: $0

Are there any account fees?

  • There are no annual fees
  • There are no inactivity fees
  • There is a $49.95 fee for full outgoing transfers

Mutual fund costs/fees: 5000+ no-transaction-fee mutual funds

Commission-free exchange traded funds: There are none

What are their tradable securities?

  • Stocks
  • Options
  • Bonds
  • Mutual funds
  • ETFs

How to trade online

There is a website you may visit in order to trade online. There is also the Merrill Edge MarketPro, which you may use if you maintain a $50,000 balance, or if you make 15 trades per quarter. The mobile app is above average in terms of functionality and ease-of-use. Data and research is free and fairly extensive.

Fidelity Investments

Cost of stock trading: $7.95

Cost of options trades: $7.95 + $0.75 per contract

Minimum balance requirement:

  • The minimum if $0 for IRAs
  • The minimum is $2500 for brokerage accounts

Are there any account fees?

  • There are no annual fees
  • There are no inactivity fees
  • There is a $50 fee for closing your account

Mutual fund costs/fees: 3400+ no-transaction-fee mutual funds

Commission-free exchange traded funds: 85+ commission-free ETFs

What are their tradable securities?

  • Bonds
  • Mutual funds
  • Options
  • ETFs
  • Forex
  • Stocks

How to trade online

The trading platform they offer online is fairly easy to use. They also have an Active Trader Pro tool that you may download and use, or that you may access via your web browser. You need to execute at least 36 trades per year in order to qualify for the Active Trader Pro tool. The mobile app is very similar to the downloadable desktop platform. Data and research is free and fairly extensive.

TradeKing

  • Cost of stock trading: $4.95
  • Cost of options trades: $4.95 + $0.65 per contract

Minimum balance requirement:

  • The minimum is $0
  • There is an inactivity fee of $50 if you have not executed any trades in the last year
  • There is a fee of $50 if the value of your combined trades over the last year come to less than $2500

Are there any account fees?

  • There are the fees listed above for inactivity and/or not having a large enough combined trade over a year
  • There is a $50 fee for outgoing transfers
  • There is a $50 fee for closing your IRA

Mutual fund costs/fees: $9.95 fee

Commission-free exchange traded funds: There are none

What are their tradable securities?

  • Bonds
  • ETFs
  • Stocks
  • Options
  • Forex
  • Mutual funds

How to trade online

There is a website that has customizable charting, screening tools and real-time data. There is a mobile website and a mobile app you may use too. Data and research is free, but not as extensive of in-depth as the other brokers on this article.

Interactive Brokers

Cost of stock trading:

  • $0.005 per share.
  • You need to spend a minimum of $1 in fees and maximum of 0.5% of the trade value in fees.
  • $0.005 per share makes it very expensive for larger trades, but they also have volume discount on offer.

Cost of options trades:

  • $0.70 per contract
  • $1 minimum order
  • There are discounts for volume trades

Minimum balance requirement:

  • The minimum is $10,000
  • The minimum for IRAs is $5,000
  • The minimum is $3,000 if you are 25 years old or younger

Are there any account fees?

  • There are monthly inactivity fees
  • Inactivity fees range from between $3 to $20

Mutual fund costs/fees: 1700+ no-transaction-fee mutual funds

Commission-free exchange traded funds: 50+ commission-free ETFs

What are their tradable securities?

  • Forex
  • Futures
  • Options
  • ETFs
  • Stocks
  • Mutual funds
  • Bonds

How to trade online

There is a Trader Workstation platform you may use, and that offers a series of extensive tools for people that consider themselves advanced traders. There is also a very good mobile app that works and synchronizes well with the desktop program. Data and research is mostly free, but the more in-depth data must be paid for and/or accessed through their premium features.

About The Author

Ben Todd

Ben was a seriously broke graduate student with bad credit who after finding himself rejected for any sort of credit card or loan for most of his adult life, finally decided to get his financial life in order. ‘

He spent several years reading as many financial advice books and blogs as he could.

And suprisingly, Ben found he actually LIKED the topic of personal finance; after fixing his own finances, starting his own successful work at home website business, and using his earnings to get out of debt, created echeck.org to help others do likewise!

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