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Find The Best Stock Broker For You

Traditional brokers

Traditional brokers provide full-service platforms for trading stocks, mutual funds, exchange-trade funds, options and more. They earn money by charging a commission when you buy or sell an investment. With a traditional broker, how you invest is up to you — the sky’s the limit. (Jump to alternative brokers.)

Online Broker Costs Account Min. Highlights Link

Scottrade

Stocks & ETFs
$7.00/trade online
Options
$7.00 + $1.25/contract
$500 Competitive trade pricing
Large selection of mutual funds
Access to 500+ branches
Go to Scottrade »Read more about Scottrade »

TradeKing

Stocks & ETFs
$4.95/trade
Options
$4.95 + $0.65/contract
$0 Full-service online broker
Low cost trades
Go to TradeKing »Read more about TradeKing »

TD Ameritrade

Stocks & ETFs
$9.99/trade online
Options
$9.99 + $0.75/contract
$0 A comprehensive online broker
Thousands of mutual funds
Best-of-breed research tools
Go to TD Ameritrade »Read more about TD Ameritrade »

OptionsHouse

Trade Free For 60 Days when you Open a New OptionsHouse Account!

Stocks & ETFs
$4.95/stock trade
Options
$4.95 + $0.50/ contract
$0 Full-service online broker
Low cost trades
Trade free for up to 60 days
Go to OptionsHouse »Read more about OptionsHouse »

E*Trade

Stocks & ETFs
$9.99/trade online
Options
$9.99 + $0.75/contract
$500 Best-of-reed research tools
Highly-rated mobile trading
Go to E*Trade »

Vanguard

Stocks & ETFs
$7.00/trade online
Options
$20.00 + $1.00/contract
$3,000 World’s largest mutual fund company
A leader in low-cost mutual funds
Go to Vanguard.com »

Fidelity

Stocks & ETFs
$7.95/trade online
Options
$7.95 + $0.75/contract
$0 Thousands of mutual funds
Commission-free ETFs available
Go to Fidelity.com »

Charles Schwab

Stocks & ETFs
$8.95/trade online
Options
$8.95 + $0.75/contract
$1,000 Thousands of Schwab mutual funds
Branches available in some areas
Go to Schwab.com »

Kapitall

Stocks & ETFs
$7.95/trade online
Options
N/A
$0 Free practice tools to help you learn
Game-like interface makes trading fun
Go to Kapitall.com »

Merrill Edge

Stocks & ETFs
6.95/trade online
Options
$6.95 + $0.75/contract
$0 Full-service online broker
Integrates with Bank of America accounts
Go to MerrillEdge.com »

Alternative brokers

In recent years, some new, innovative companies make it easier and less expensive to invest small amounts of money or invest in diversified portfolios without needing to know anything picking stocks. These companies are compared below.

Online Broker Costs Account Min. Highlights Link

Betterment

Accounts under $10K
With $100/mo. auto-deposit:
0.35%/year
Without auto-deposit:
$3/month
Accounts $10K – $100K
0.25%/year
Accounts over $100K
0.15%/year
$0 Very easy to start investing
Invest in simple risk-adjusted portfolios
Create sub-accounts for different goals
Go to Betterment »Read more about Betterment »

Acorns

Accounts under $5K
$1/month
Accounts over $5k
0.25%/year
Student Pricing
Free if under 24 or a student with a valid .edu email address
$0 Invest as little as $5/month
Invest in simple risk-adjusted portfolios
Round up purchases & invest the change (optional)
Go to Acorns »Read more about Acorns »

LOYAL3

Select Stocks
$0
Select IPOs
$0
$0 Invest as little as $10 in a stock
Buy select stocks for no commission
Invest as little as $100 in IPOs
Go to Loyal3 »Read more about Loyal3 »

Motif

Motifs (up to 30 stocks)
$9.95/trade
$0 Create buckets (“motifs”) of up to 30 stocks
Diversify for less by owning fractional shares
See how others are investing
Get feedback on your trading ideas
Go to Motif »Read more about Motif »

Our recommendations: The best online brokers

The fact that you start to invest is far more important than where you invest. It’s hard to go wrong with any of our recommended traditional brokers — they’re all going to offer the same functionality just with different pricing, trading tools and perhaps customer service. That said, alternative brokers may well be a better way to go if you’re new to investing and/or don’t have a lot to invest right now. Here we talk a bit more about each broker to help you make a decision:


Top Pick!

TradeKing

TradeKing is a popular broker among MoneyUnder30 readers because of their low-priced trades ($4.95) and award-winning customer service.

Trading doesn’t get more straight-forward and affordable than with TradeKing whether you are just getting started with a few shares for your IRA or diving into options.

Min. to Open Stock Trades Mutual Fund Trades
$0 $4.95 $9.95

OptionsHouse

Trade Free For 60 Days when you Open a New OptionsHouse Account!OptionHouse is a great pick for new investors as there’s no minimum to open; and stock trades are just $4.95.

As its name implies, OptionsHouse has some unique features that will appeal to options traders, but it’s also a great affordable all-around stock broker for new investors.

There’s no minimum deposit to open an account and you it’s hard to beat the $4.95 trade commissions. Among our recommended brokers, we think OptionsHouse’s online trading tools are also the easiest to use.

Special promotion! Trade free for 90 days when you open and fund a new OptionsHouse account

Min. to Open Stock Trades Mutual Fund Trades
$0 $4.95 $9.95

Acorns

Acorns is a mobile app that provides an alternative to a broker for investors who want to start small. (You can invest as little as $5 a month.)

With Acorns, you choose one of five diversified portfolios depending on your risk tolerance. You can set up recurring deposits, make lump sum investments, or even round up credit/debit card purchases and invest the change.

Although Acorns has low fees for everybody, it is free for investors under age 24 and students with a valid .edu email address.

Min. to Open Fees (Accounts under $5K) Fees (Accounts over $5K)
$0 $1/month 0.25%/year

LOYAL3

Loyal3 makes it possible for you to invest as little as $10 in brands you love. Plus, unlike other brokerages, you pay $0 fees to buy and sell stocks, and there are no account minimums. You can even set up monthly automatic plans, where we’ll automatically purchase stock monthly for you in the amount you select.

If stocks aren’t your thing or you’re looking for more investment options, then we have something for you. We provide access to IPOs (Initial Public Offerings) at the same time and price as Wall Street. Start investing in IPOs with $100, fee-free.

Get started today, it’s as simple as buying a product online and will only take a few minutes.

Min. to Open Stock Trades IPO Trades
$0 $0 $0

TD Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade features no minimum opening deposit and a user-friendly interface.

Their trading commissions are a flat $9.99; not the cheapest but still quite affordable. And if you really get into trading and stock-picking, TD’s powerful research tools don’t disappoint. Best of all, TD Ameritrade also has commission-free ETFs perfect for new investors.

TD Ameritrade offers hundreds of no transaction fee mutual funds which you can purchase at no cost. Most investors will be satisfied with such a selection, but purchasing a no-load mutual fund outside of these selections will incur a $49.99 commission.

Min. to Open Stock Trades Mutual Fund Trades
$0 $9.99 $0-$49.99

Betterment

Betterment: Smarter Investing for Busy PeopleIf you find the idea of choosing from say, over 13,000 mutual funds a bit overwhelming and you want to keep investing as simple as possible — at least until you’ve grown your cash a bit — take a look at Betterment.

Betterment isn’t really a broker so much as an alternative — very easy — way to invest in a a broad index of the stock market. Many experts — including Warren Buffet — say that this is how most individual investors should invest. The idea is you simply invest in everything — an index of the entire stock and bond markets. You eliminate the risk of a few bad investments weighting down your returns.

Over time, studies show that index investors do at least as well, and often better, than people who spend years (and fortunes) trying to pick stocks that will beat the market. Best of all, index investing is cheap.

Min. to Open Stock Trades Mutual Fund Trades
$0 N/A N/A

Motif

Get up to $150 when you start trading with MotifMotif provides a creative alternative to traditional brokers by letting you invest in buckets of up to 30 stocks for a single $9.95 per trade.

Choose from ready-made themes like Clean Technology, Emerging Consumer Markets and hundreds more. You can also customize the motifs or create your own.

Motif is an excellent option for new investors who want to be more involved with their investment choices while keeping costs low because you won’t have to pay a $5-$10 commission to buy individual stocks.

Min. to Open Stock Trades Mutual Fund Trades
$0 $9.95 N/A

Need a Financial Advisor?

The above brokers are all great for do-it-yourself investors. However, if you find yourself wondering if it’s time to get professional help making a financial plan, it may be time to work one-on-one with a financial advisor. You can learn more about how to find a qualified financial advisor to help with your investment goals here.

Get Matched with 5-Star Rated Financial Advisors in Your Area

The Paladin Registry pre-screens financial planners and investment advisors. It’s free to use and there’s no obligation. Start now:

Note: One way I’m able to support my blogging while helping you is to link to products I like and earn a referral commission if you sign up. I only link to products I trust. That said, you should know that, for some of these brokers, I earn a small amount if you follow my links and eventually open an account.