11 Best Online Stock Brokers and Trading Platforms – Pros, Cons & More

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Best Online Stock Brokers

If you want to start stock trading, you need a reliable stock broker. A reliable stock broker is authorized by a regulatory authority, offers a reasonable trading platform with enticing tools, ensures great customer support services, and also charges reasonable trading fees. Let’s compare online stock brokers to find the best for you!

There are hundreds of stock brokers currently operating in the industry. However, a very few of them are reliable. But finding a quality stock broker is as crucial as developing an effective trading strategy. Therefore, you need to look for a stock broker with the utmost care.

To help you in your quest, we studied, analyzed, and reviewed various stock brokers and have assembled a list of the best online stock brokers. Hence, we are sure that it will guide you in finding the best stock broker for yourself.

Let’s begin then!

11 Best Online Stock Brokers and Trading Platforms

1. Charles Schwab

Trading stocks at one of the best stock brokers like Charles Schwab enables you to take your stock trading to the next level. The broker provides stock research and analysis tools that are equally beneficial for both, new and experienced stock traders. As a result, Charles Schwab gives you a wonderful opportunity to trade stocks the way you want on the platform you want. Schwab.com and StreetSmart Edge are both feature-rich stock trading platforms with user-friendly interfaces. In addition to platforms, the broker lets you get your hands on the following key features.

Main Features

  • Exquisite stock research and powerful trading tools help you in stock analysis and finding the best stocks for trading.
  • Advanced screeners and Schwab Stock Lists make your stock finding quest seamless. Thus, you can find new ideas, compare different stocks, and customize search criteria using these innovative tools.
  • Charles Schwab also provides Equity Ratings that help you in the evaluation of more than 3000 US stocks.
  • Third-party researches and commentaries from Market Edge, Morningstar, Credit Suisse, and Briefing.com also help you evaluate stocks.
  • Intuitive All-in-One Trade Ticket tool makes stock, ETF, and options trading effortless. Gain/Loss Analyzer also helps you analyze your trading performance.
  • Mobile trading platforms, real-time streaming quotes, advanced charting tools, excellent customer support services, and much more also make Charles Schwab one of the best online stock brokers.

Account Minimum

Charles Schwab doesn’t require any account minimum.

Pairs Offered

Charles Schwab offers to trade on all stocks listed on the US stock exchange. You can also trade fractional shares, over-the-counter stocks (OTCs), and initial public offerings (IPOs). Charles Schwab also gives you an opportunity to trade international stocks including American Depositary Receipts (ADRs), foreign ordinaries, and Canadian stocks.

Fees

Charles Schwab charges $0 commission on online stock trades.

Best For

Charles Schwab is best for its powerful trading platforms, intuitive tools, and extensive US stock offerings for trading.

Regulation

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) regulate Charles Schwab.

Funding Methods

Charles Schwab supports bank transfers, checks, and electronic wallets.

Pros

  • Offers all US stocks for trading
  • Zero-commissioned online stock trading
  • Powerful platforms and trading tool
  • Responsive mobile application

Cons

  • Offers limited international stocks
  • Doesn’t support credit/debit cards

2. TD Ameritrade

Another stock broker that ensures confident stock trading is TD Ameritrade. It provides you with different platform options to choose from including desktop, web, and mobile platforms. Web platforms allow you access powerful tools from wherever you are with internet access. Thinkorswim desktop platform is also a feature-rich stock trading platform with some unique trading tools. TD Ameritrade also provides tutorials to help you get started quickly. The broker also offers device-optimized mobile applications that allow you to trade stocks on the go. TD Ameritrade undoubtedly makes stock trading interesting as well as confident with several remarkable charts.

Main Features

  • Web platforms allow you access to some astonishing technical analysis tools, planning tools, educational resources, and third-party research.
  • You can also stay updated with the latest market news from Yahoo Finance in the customizable Dock.
  • Thinkorswim platform also promises elite-level tools, powerful market scanners, monitor risk/reward, and much more for a seamless trading experience.
  • Social sentiment tools, 400,000+ economic indicators, real-time streaming quotes, phenomenal mobile applications, etc. also make TD Ameritrade one of the best online stock brokers. 

Account Minimum

TD Ameritrade has no account minimum requirements.

Pairs Offered

TD Ameritrade offers all domestic stocks, initial public offerings (IPOs), and international stocks via ADRs.

Fees

TD Ameritrade charges $0 commission on online stock trading.

Best For

TD Ameritrade is best for a collection of powerful stock trading platforms, exceptional tools, and commission-free stock trading.

Regulation

TD Ameritrade is regulated by Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Securities Futures Commission (SFC), the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), and the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC).

Funding Methods

TD Ameritrade supports electronic bank transfers, wire transfers, checks, and account transfers from another firm as funding methods.

Pros

  • A collection of powerful trading platform
  • Latest market news from Yahoo Finance
  • Commission-free stock trading
  • Allows trading of almost all US-listed stocks

Cons

  • Doesn’t allow credit/debit cards transfers
  • Access to limited international stocks

3. Fidelity Investments

Fidelity Investments is another one of the top online stock trading brokers that give you access to multiple enticing features. From wealth management to retirement needs and robust trading tools to transparent pricing, everything is available for you. Furthermore, Fidelity Investments gives you access to Active Trader Pro which is one of the most brilliant online stock trading platforms. The industry-leading research and analysis tools are more than enough for a perfect trading experience. Moreover, an investment professional is available 24/7 if you need any kind of customer support. Fidelity Investments is surely among the very best online stock brokers because of some tremendous features.

Main Features

  • Active Trader Pro and robust trading tools help you in your trading endeavor and give you an edge.
  • You can also plan, evaluate, and monitor your finances through remarkable tools and calculators.
  • Planning and Guidance Center by Fidelity Investments also assists and guides you in creating and tracking progress toward your stock trading goals.
  • Additonally, industry-leading investment research and analysis empower you to make informed trading decisions.
  • Fidelity Viewpoints also provides articles on the latest market news and commentaries on what is happening in the industry. It also leads you to make informed trading decisions.

Account Minimum

Fidelity Investments doesn’t require any minimum initial investment.

Pairs Offered

Fidelity Investments offers all stocks listed on the US stock exchange for trading including common stocks, IPOs, and other equities. You can also trade in 25 countries and 16 different currencies to capitalize on foreign stock exchanges.

Fees

Fidelity Investments charges no commission for online US stock trades.

Best For

Fidelity Investments is best for offering the Active Trader Pro platform, unique features like wealth management, industry-leading research, and commission-free stock trading.

Regulation

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulates Fidelity Investments.

Funding Methods

Fidelity Investments supports electronic bank transfers, wire transfers, checks, and electronic wallets like PayPal.

Pros

  • Robust trading platform with some exceptional tools
  • Latest research and analysis access
  • Commission-free stock trading
  • Covers US as well as stock markets in 25 countries

Cons

  • High margin fees
  • Credit/debit cards are not accepted
  • Difficult to navigate website

4. Interactive Brokers

Interactive Brokers is another of the superb online stock brokers that can help you achieve huge success in your stock trading. The broker offers a Trader Workstation platform that is among the most efficient and top-class online stock trading platforms. It offers a suite of amazing features that make your trading simple but tremendously profitable. Additionally, the platform is also available in all three versions: desktop, web, and mobile. Moreover, if you want to take advantage of 100+ order types and complex algorithm trading, Interactive Brokers is for you.

Main Features

  • Trader Workstation with all its powerful but free trading tools helps you in identifying profitable market opportunities, analyzing trading outputs, and making informed trading decisions.
  • The broker also promises comprehensive reporting that leads you to easy transaction costs analysis, portfolio analysis, and more.
  • Furthermore, backtesting, paper trading, IB Risk Navigator, advanced order and algorithms, simple orders, and much more make your trading simple, effortless, and enjoyable.
  • Interactive Brokers also empowers you to take advantage of global market fluctuations. You can trade on stocks of companies from 33 countries and in 23 currencies across 135 global markets.

Account Minimum

Interactive Brokers doesn’t require any account minimum for opening accounts on the platform.

Pairs Offered

Interactive Brokers offers trading on stocks of companies from 33 countries and in 23 currencies across 135 global markets.

Fees

Interactive Brokers’ IBKR Lite account offers commission-free trading on stocks listed on a stock exchange. When using the IBKR Pro account, the platform charges $0.005 to $0.0035 per share commission.

Best For

Interactive Brokers is best for powerful and flexible trading platforms, comprehensive reporting, low commissions, and margin accounts.

Regulation

Interactive Brokers is regulated by the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) in the US.

Funding Methods

Interactive Brokers supports numerous funding methods like wire transfer, checks, Automated Clearing House transfer, Canadian Electronic Funds Transfer, and BPAY for Australian dollars only.

Pros

  • Allows trading on stocks from 33 countries
  • Fractional share trading
  • Powerful trading platform and research tools
  • Superior order execution
  • Zero commission on IBKR Lite

Cons

  • The website is not user-friendly

5. E*TRADE

E*TRADE is one of the most popular online stock brokers for getting access to a cutting-edge trading platform, top latest research, trading strategies, and much more. The broker’s innovative Power E*TRADE platform is packed with the latest tools for stock trading. Moreover, powerful charts with 100+ studies, 30+ charting tools, multiple chart types, and various other features take your technical analysis to the next level. E*TRADE is a unique broker as it also offers various other unique features as well.

Main Features

  • Power E*TRADE is among the very best, efficient, and robust online stock trading platforms. It brings various top-quality features that help you in making the best trading decisions.
  • The advanced charting tools with multiple indicators, chart types, and drawing tools also assist you in your technical analysis.
  • Independent analyst research, market news, quotes, screeners, and even retirement planning also help you in taking control of your trading and financing.
  • E*TRADE enables you to trade on all stocks listed on the US stock exchange as well as foreign stocks.

Account Minimum

E*TRADE doesn’t require any account minimum.

Pairs Offered

E*TRADE offers all US-listed stocks.

Fees

E*TRADE charges a $0 commission on domestic stocks. However, the broker charges variable commissions on foreign stocks.

Best For

E*TRADE is best for the intuitive platform, robust features, and commission-free domestic stocks’ trading.

Regulation

E*TRADE is regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

Funding Methods

E*TRADE supports bank transfer, wire transfer, and check deposits.

Pros

  • Intuitive but user-friendly platform
  • Extensive research access
  • Exceptional customer support services
  • Commission-free stock trading

Cons

  • Difficult to navigate website
  • Credit/debit cards are not acceptable

6. Robinhood

Robinhood is among the online stock brokers that put their clients’ safety first and ensure radical customer focus. The platform offers a single mobile application with some top-notch trading tools. Robinhood is also among the platforms that provide exceptional educational content. Moreover, if you want to stay updated on what is going on in the financial world, Robinhood Snacks gets you covered. Robinhood promises some great features that have attracted millions of its clients.

Main Features

  • The platform offers a unique mobile trading application that only accompanies great trading tools but also allows you to learn about financial markets, manage your portfolio, and set up customized news and notifications.
  • The broker also gives you access to initial public offerings (IPOs) and helps you become the first investors investing in newly listed companies.
  • Additionally, you can invest in stocks of any amount of your choice through Robinhood and buy fractional shares with ease.

Account Minimum

Robinhood has no account minimum requirements.

Pairs Offered

Robinhood offers stocks of US-listed companies, 650 foreign companies via American Depositary Receipts, and more than 6,900 symbols for fractional trading.

Fees

Robinhood is a commission-free stock trading platform for stock trading.

Best For

Robinhood is best for offering IPOs, fractional share trading, and quality customer support services.

Regulation

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulates Robinhood. The broker has also secured and maintains Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) membership.

Funding Methods

Robinhood supports bank transfers and credit/debit cards as funding methods.

Pros

  • Gives access to IPOs and fractional shares
  • User-friendly but powerful mobile application
  • Cash management feature

Cons

  • Mediocre advanced trading tools
  • Only suits beginners

7. Merrill Edge

Merrill Edge is a unique stock broker because it is integrated with the Bank of America. The remarkable online stock broker offers a highly customizable trading platform. Merrill Edge Market Pro allows you to customize the dashboard as well as analyze the market the way you prefer. Moreover, the platform is continuously upgraded to meet the trading requirements of traders. Idea Builder is another unique feature by Merril Edge that shows you stocks grouped by themes and ideas. Thus, you can look for stocks in a different way. Merrill Edge is a remarkable broker that has plenty of useful tools to offer.

Main Features

  • Merrill Edge Market Pro allows you to save up to 25 layouts for your convenience. Moreover, the highly customizable platform also provides you with 26 windows for customization.
  • The broker gives you access to some unique charting features such as 104 technical indicators, 25 drawing tools, screeners, and strategy builders.
  • Additionally, Dynamic Insights provides key updates and information about your stocks upfront and makes timely decisions.

Account Minimum

There isn’t any account minimum requirement for opening an account on Merrill Edge.

Pairs Offered

Merrill Edge offers multiple domestic stocks listed on the stock exchange.

Fees

Merrill Edge charges $0 commission on stock trading.

Best For

Merrill Edge is best for its powerful trading platform and for being integrated with the Bank of America.

Regulation

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) regulate Merrill Edge.

Funding Methods

Merrill Edge supports bank transfer, wire transfer, and checks as funding methods.

Pros

  • Integrated with the Bank of America
  • User-friendly but intuitive platform
  • Highly customizable platform
  • Good customer support services
  • Commission-free stock trading

Cons

  • Limited stock offerings
  • Lacks in advanced trading features
  • Doesn’t support credit/debit cards

8. Ally Invest

Whether you want to handle your trading yourself or want automated trading, Ally Invest is among the online stock brokers that offer you both. The Robo Portfolio enables you to fully automate your trading and also manages your portfolio for the best. Ally Invest offers a web-based HTML 5 trading platform with some valuable tools. Moreover, if you want to trade on mobile devices like smartphones or tablets, the Android and iOS applications provide you with the perfect cover. Ally Invest doesn’t fall behind when it comes to features offered by the broker.

Main Features

  • Robo Portfolio makes your trading effortless with fully automated trading. The tool also manages and rebalances your portfolio to ensure your trading is on the right track.
  • The broker also provides you with the latest research and market analysis tools to help you make informed trading decisions.
  • Being a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC), Ally Invest also offers the maximum protection of your account.
  • Ally Invest offers a wide variety of financial instruments for trading at very competitive rates including $0 commissioned stock and ETF trading.

Account Minimum

There is no account minimum requirement for opening a Self-directed Trading account. However, if you want a Robo Portfolio account, you can start trading with a $100 minimum deposit.

Pairs Offered

Ally Invest offers stocks, both long and short, listed on the US stock exchanges.

Fees

Ally Invest charges $0 commission on stock trading.

Best For

Ally Invest is the best for commission-free stock trading, low options commission, and portfolio management.

Regulation

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) regulate Ally Invest.

Funding Methods

Ally Invest supports funding methods including debit cards, eChecks, wire transfers, and checks.

Pros

  • Powerful web-based HTML 5 platform
  • Device-optimized mobile applications
  • Automated trading
  • No account minimum requirements
  • Commission-free stock trading

Cons

  • There are inconsistencies between web platform and mobile application

9. TradeStation

TradeStation is another big player in the industry that makes intimidating trading decisions fearlessly. The broker’s top-class stock trading platforms and powerful tools provide the much-needed power and efficiency required for making confident trading decisions. TradeStation offers an award-winning and one of the most popular online stock trading platforms named TradeStation Platform. The platform allows you to develop, test, optimize, monitor, as well as automate your trading strategies. The broker also offers various other features that make it one of the best stock brokers in the market.

Main Features

  • TradeStation offers web-based, desktop, and mobile versions of the platform that enables you to trade in the way you want.
  • The platform also ensures impressive reliability and speed in terms of order execution via powerful order execution technology.
  • If you need the depth to make informed trading decisions, the platform also provides access to a huge historical database.
  • Moreover, you can buy and sell stocks in thousands of companies including big-name tech companies like Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Netflix.

Account Minimum

TradeStation requires an account minimum of $500.

Pairs Offered

TradeStation offers thousands of stocks for trading including big-name tech companies like Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Netflix.

Fees

TradeStation charges $0 commission on stock trading.

Best For

TradeStation is best for commission-free stock trading, competitive margin rates, a collection of trading platform versions, and superior order execution.

Regulation

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) regulate TradeStation.

Funding Methods

TradeStation supports smart transfers, wire transfers, checks, and electronic transfers.

Pros

  • A collection of trading platforms
  • Powerful tools
  • User-friendly interface
  • Competitive margin rates
  • Comprehensive research
  • Active trader community

Cons

  • Higher account minimum

10. Webull

Webull is an online stock trading platform that uses state-of-the-art technology to offer the most advanced trading solutions. The Webull trading platform is a user-friendly but powerful trading platform that accompanies some spectacular tools. The platform is also highly customizable with customizable buttons and hotkeys for easy one-click order placement. In addition to this, the platform is available for all three operating systems: Windows, Mac, and Linux. Moreover, you can also have mobile applications for both, Android and iOS.

Main Features

  • The Webull trading platform comes with flexible charting features that support multi-screens and different platforms.
  • The platform also allows you to discover trading opportunities using a collection of 50 indicators and 12 intuitive charting tools.
  • Additionally, powerful widgets like Price Ladder and Order Entry empowers you actively trade and place orders with great ease.
  • In-depth analysis tools like market screeners, fundamental data, and the latest news also help you analyze the market with perfection.

Account Minimum

There is no account minimum requirement for opening an account on Webull.

Pairs Offered

Webull offers thousands of stocks for trading and also gives you an opportunity to trade fractional stocks with as little as a $5 investment.

Fees

Webull charges a $0 commission on stock trading.

Best For

Webull is best for multiple charting tools, fractional stock trading, and commission-free stock trading.

Regulation

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) regulate Webull. It is also a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC).

Funding Methods

Webull supports electronic or smart transfers and wire transfers to deposit funds.

Pros

  • Powerful platform with flexible charting tools
  • Fractional share trading
  • No account minimum
  • Reasonable customer support services

Cons

  • Mediocre market research
  • Lacks in providing advanced technical tools
  • Automated trading isn’t available

11. SoFi

SoFi is a platform that provides numerous services such as student loans, mortgages, and much more besides stock trading. Members of SoFi also have free access to professional financial planners to get their money right. Apart from self-directed trading, the platform also provides automated trading. Although the broker is a new player in Robo-advisory services, it offers the best services. If you are a trader who wants some great financial services as well, SoFi is your readymade choice then.

Main Features

  • The broker provides excellent automated trading facilities but charges no management fees.
  • SoFi offers 10 portfolio options to choose from that are based on factors like risk tolerance and also the trading objectives of the members.
  • SoFi offers an all-in-one mobile application that lets you handle all your activities in one place.
  • Initial public offerings and fractional share trading also enable you to own new companies and invest in even fractions of shares.

Account Minimum

SoFi requires $1 as an account minimum.

Pairs Offered

SoFi offers thousands of stocks for trading including big companies you are familiar with.

Fees

SoFi charges $0 commission on stock trading.

Best For

SoFi is best for IPOs trading, fractional share trading, excellent customer support services, and a variety of financial services.

Regulation

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) regulate SoFi.

Funding Methods

SoFi supports bank transfer, wire transfer, checks, or rollover.

Pros

  • A broad range of low-cost investments
  • Free management services
  • Excellent customer support
  • Access to professional financial planners

Cons

  • Offers limited account types
  • Limited trading tools
  • Relatively new broker

What is stock trading?

Stock trading is a type of trading that involves buying and selling shares in a particular company listed on the stock exchange. Stock traders make profits by capitalizing on short-term market events. They buy stocks at low prices and sell at higher prices. Moreover, stock investors make profits by buying and holding stocks of a company over a particular period. Because companies tend to grow over time, their stock prices increase, and investors get returns through higher stock prices.

What is a stock broker?

A stock broker is an individual or a company that executes buying or selling orders on behalf of the client. Stock brokers generally charge commission for their services. However, compensation methods vary widely from one broker to another.

What to look for when choosing your stock broker?

Your stock broker is your gateway to profitable stock trading. Therefore, it is always imperative to choose the best stock broker to open the door of myriads of profitable opportunities. So, what makes a good stock broker?

1. Regulatory Compliance

Many stock brokers have come and gone over the years. However, they were never able to establish themselves in the industry. As a result, you need to avoid them and look for an established and trusted stock broker that has been in the industry for years. Because only established stock brokers ensure regulatory compliance. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Australian Security and Investment Commission (ASIC), and the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) are among the most respected regulatory authorities. Hence, you need to ensure your broker complies with any one of them. Moreover, you also make sure that your chosen broker conducts business following strict stock trading rules and regulations.

Typically, listed stock brokers as well as brokers that are part of some organizations like banks ensure regulatory compliance. They have to abide by all the regulations and thus promise the ultimate security investors need.

2. Trading platform

A stock broker is good for you if the trading platform of the broker offers better tools and you are also familiar with the platform. That is why, you have to look for a trading platform that brings user-friendliness and advanced features. Trading platforms vary depending on the offered features. As a result, you should choose a platform that suits your trading style and requirements.

3. Available stocks for trading

Each stock broker offers different stocks for trading. As a result, you need to make sure that your platform offers the stocks of your choice. Moreover, you also need to make sure that the broker covers a wide range of markets. It will help you in transition if you would like to trade in another market in the future.

4. Leverage

Leverage is another feature that you need to consider. Have in mind leverage is dangerous. A broker is not necessarily good if it offers maximum leverage. Therefore, make sure that the leverage offered suits your trading strategies.

5. Account opening

Each stock broker has its own minimum deposit requirements. Therefore, you can also make sure if you can meet its requirements or not.

6. Funding methods

Methods of depositing and withdrawing funds are also important. Therefore, check these methods and see whether these methods are convenient for you or not? In addition, all good stock brokers offer various different funding methods for their clients. However, a few brokers offer only a couple of methods that may not suit you.

7. Fees

Typically, stock brokers also charge three types of fees, commission, spread, and overnight holding fees. That is why, you need to factor in all of them before choosing your platform. Furthermore, some brokers also charge fees like withdrawal fees, inactivity fees, etc. Therefore, you need to consider fee criteria before finalizing your stock broker.

8. Customer service

Finally, you need a broker that offers at least 24/5 and multilingual customer support. Moreover, you must make sure that the customer support team is available for you whenever required. Also, the factors you can consider are the geographical location of the broker, supported languages, timings of the customer support team’s availability, etc.

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