Using my knowledge of the platforms and experience as a trader, I worked to uncover the top picks and identify who or what each product is best for. Managing your own money can be a stressful endeavor. To minimize this, and to minimize information overload that tends to come from watching the marketsthere are a few must haves that I look for in an online broker. There are over 50 online brokerages where you brokerage open an account. This industry is more complex than the average person thinks.
The best online broker for one person is often completely different for the next person. Use this resource as a guide to your decision process. Figure out what features are best for you, and make your selection. I analyzed a number of elements to come to my decision on which brokers are the best. Later in this post, I provide full details on how I selected the best online brokerages. For those simply looking to make cheap trades, I would recommend going with OptionsHouse.
For example, my colleague, who is also an ex-trader, likes to use a combination of stock and options trade in his longer-term trading. He recently switched over to Fidelity because he really liked the cash management features, but was very disappointed by complex order entry, sub-par options execution and frustrating navigation.
Platform Web-Based Trading Platform The OptionsHouse web-based platform is completely customizable, meaning you can remove or add different components, minimize sections, and adjust the entire home screen to your preferences. One cool feature is that you can click on any of the components on your home screen and detach it so it shows up in a separate window.
For example, if you have two monitors, or just want their charts opened separately, you can have your trade execution tools in one spot and your charts in another location. Advanced Options Trading Tools OptionsHouse is one of the three best options brokers the others are optionsXpress and tradeMONSTER. Not only is OptionsHouse the cheapest platform trading optionsbut they also provide you with an account view that enables you to look at an options calendar, options chains, and all kinds of option spreads.
There are several proprietary tools that help you gain insight into your risk or exposure in addition to the quality options trading tools. Quick Trading For options traders and, more specifically, high-frequency traders, OptionsHouse is a solid choice because you can fire off trades with the quick-order entry ticket.
If you simply type in a quote, you can instantly add a stock or option leg to a trade. Navigation is simple and everything is laid out to ensure you can move around your account efficiently while making options trades with ease. As the name implies, this online brokerage is best for options traders and people who want to make cheap trades. Learn more on OptionsHouse website Get Started For years, Scottrade has been known as the best online brokerage for customer service.
They thrive on building relationships with their clients, which is pretty rare these days. In fact, Scottrade has been on that list for six straight years. So what does that have to do with customer service? When a company treats their employees the right way, those employees treat customers the right way.
Power and Associates self-directed investor studyScottrade also ranked number one for interaction, account information, trading charges fees fees, and overall satisfaction. This study only included larger, full-service brokers that offer other services beyond trading.
Scottrade has over local branches where you can walk in and talk to someone face-to-face. So beyond the basics, Scottrade is another full-service broker that offers banking services, retirement planning, savings plans, and more.
The web-based platform has a fully customizable home page that enables you to drag, drop, and rearrange fees various components of the page to your preferences.
That can certainly add up depending on the volume you plan on trading. Scottrade has the foundation in place to rise above the other top online stock brokers, but they fall short when it comes to innovation. There are a few instances where major improvements can be made. The mobile app looks like it was created five years ago. The app does include an area where you can research news, statistics, opinions from analysts, and more. They lead the industry with support and service, and then they follow in terms of technology.
You get access to CNBC videos, real-time quotes, live market news, and more. You can also conveniently deposit checks directly into your trading account. This is beneficial because you can gauge how others are reacting to the market, see the opinions of other traders, and see how actively traded certain stocks are. Brokerage everyone is doing the same thing, the likelihood of a big group of people caught in the same trading position is high.
Page elements can be added and deleted as you wish. With some brokers, placing a brokerage takes two to three clicks just to get to the right area. Also like TD Ameritrade, you get what you pay for.
Back in the day, it was TD Waterhouse and then it merged with Ameritrade to form one company. TD Ameritrade is one of the all-around best online brokers because any level of trader can be satisfied here. While the costs and fees are on the high end of the industry, you get access to comprehensive research materials both third-party and in-house as well as education resources that can help you advance as a trader.
The Trade Architect platform is well suited for more active traders. TD Ameritrade clients have access to two apps — the TD Ameritrade Mobile app and the the TD Ameritrade Mobile Trader.
The Mobile Trader app is set up to enable you to make trades on the go, just as you would with your normal account. The app also enables you to chat with other traders and watch CNBC broadcasts. The first mobile app I mentioned is more basic, but it does have a unique feature built in worth noting. Quick investment tip: Invest in products or services you use or buy yourself.
When you get a quote for a stock or mutual fund, TD Ameritrade provides you with all the information you need, including a summary, charts, analyst reports, and earnings. With TD Ameritrade, you can also open a Roth Platform or a traditional IRA, roll over a 401k, and get retirement guidance.
You can have all your finances in one account vs. This makes transfers much easier. Plus, you can keep track of your finances better when everything is in one spot. Like I said before, I believe the value is there. I had to be aware that comparing a full-service broker to a discount broker or options broker was going to be difficult. Once this comparison was complete, I was left with four of the best online brokers that excelled in specific areas.
These four online brokerage firms cover the spectrum for anyone who would sign up for an investment account. I knew I could recommend one of them to a specific group of investors or traders. The company still exists today and trades under the ticker SCON. Being 14 years old and thinking this stock was going to go up forever, I rode the wave up and all the way back down — down to nothing. Check out the chart of SCON below and feel my pain. You can see that the stock took two major spikes up and crashes back down I was involved in the first one.
Staying disciplined can keep you from losing money and brokerage you lock in your gains. By discipline, I mean picking your prices — where you get platform and get fees ahead of time — and sticking to them. The good news about many of the best online brokerage accounts is that you can start by trading virtually before you risk fees money. You can practice strategies and track your gains and losses without having to invest a dime using the same software the broker offers for real money.
The best traders in the world are extremely disciplined and always on top of the latest research and trends in the market. I worked with several of these people and witnessed it firsthand on a daily basis.
The amount of money I would make on my biggest winning days was significantly more in comparison to the amount I would lose on my worst losing days. The experience was well worth it. My recommendation to most of you is to open an account with a full-service broker.
I also wrote about the best IRA accounts where I explain the differences between traditional and Roth IRAs so you can see what your best options are. Your email address will not be published.
However, the rankings and listings of our reviews, tools and all other content are based on objective analysis. For more information and a complete list of our advertising partners, please check out our full Advertising Disclosure. To minimize this, and to minimize information overload that tends to come from watching the marketsthere are a few must haves that I look for in an online broker Clean interface. When I trade, I want to be able to easily find my order entry ticket. A chart tells me where the stock has been recently.
I use a chart to see current price relative to those time periods, mainly to avoid purchasing at a bad price Low fees. Self explanatory There are over 50 online brokerages where you can open an account. Figure out what features are best for you, and make your selection What Makes a Great Online Broker? This study only included larger, full-service brokers that offer other services beyond trading Scottrade has over local branches where you can walk in and talk to someone face-to-face.
Mobile Trading TD Ameritrade clients have access to two apps — the TD Ameritrade Mobile app and the the TD Ameritrade Mobile Trader. Comprehensive Account With TD Ameritrade, you can also open a Roth IRA or a traditional IRA, roll over a 401k, and get retirement guidance. What Makes a Great Online Broker?