Are you looking to purchase shares of stocks such as Apple (AAPL), Facebook, Netflix (NFLX), Tesla (TSLA), and Netflix (NFLX)? You will need to open a trading account through an online broker if you are interested in buying shares of stocks like Apple (AAPL), Facebook (FB), Netflix (NFLX), or Tesla(TSLA).

Each stock trading platform has its own unique characteristics. Every broker offers $0 stock trades and ETF trades. Now, it is up to you to decide which one to use. When choosing a broker, investors must consider the following factors: trading tools, market research and beginner education. Customer service is also important.

These annual reviews have been my responsibility for 11 years. I’ve seen the industry grow firsthand. When I was 14 years old, I made my first stock trade. It was Starbucks. At 34 years old, my lifetime total of trades exceeds 2,500.

Every aspect of trading is fascinating to me, and that is why my review process is so thorough. We measured over 250 variables this year. This was not possible without my team. My teammates Jessica Hoelscher, Steven Hatzakis and Joey Shadeck as well as the rest of our amazing editorial staff deserve a huge thank you.

TD Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade is one of the most popular online brokers and has taken significant steps to promote itself to novice investors via social media. While there is much work to be done to improve the web and mobile experience and make them more accessible for new users, the resources that new investors have access to are extraordinary. Education is a core component of TD Ameritrade’s offerings. There are many learning paths that can be used to help clients learn everything, from the basics of investing to highly advanced derivatives strategies. Open an account, explore the site without having to deposit anything. Then take advantage of all learning opportunities until your confidence is high. TD Ameritrade encourages new investors to be more confident and to trade additional asset types as they grow.

TD Ameritrade focuses its 2019 development efforts upon its most active clients who are mobile-first and, in some cases, mobile-only. The thinkorswim mobile platform from TD Ameritrade has many features that both active traders and investors will appreciate. It is easy to use the options, stocks, and futures workflow. The mobile app is a complete solution for almost all trading needs, with streaming real-time data and the option to trade directly from charts. It’s easy to switch from the website to the mobile platform. The features of the regular mobile platform are almost identical. All asset classes are available to clients of TD Ameritrade on the mobile app.

Pros

  • These education programs are intended to make novice investors feel more at ease.
  • TD Ameritrade offers education in person at over 280 locations, as well as numerous training paths on its website or mobile app.
  • TD Ameritrade’s traditional website was optimized for mobile browsers. It has a dashboard that clients can access quickly to account details.

Cons

  • Investors may need to use several platforms in order to access their preferred tools.
  • TD Ameritrade has one of the largest selections of account types. This can make it difficult for new investors to decide which type of account they should choose when opening an account. Customers need to be supported more in order to choose the right account type.
  • Investors receive a very small interest rate on cash that is not invested (0.01-0.05%), unless they move the cash into money market funds.


TastyWorks

TastyWorks

Tastyworks officials claim that over 90% of trades made by customers are derivatives. This means that there are many options for futures traders and options. All tools are designed to assist traders in evaluating volatility and predicting profit. It is all about making decisions and executing. Executions are quick and costs are low. You can open orders on futures and equities at $10 per leg. A trade ticket will be created for you when you create a position using a chart or a volatility screener. A video viewer is embedded to allow you to keep track of the tastytrade network. Although options trading can be intimidating for newbies, those who are familiar with the basics will find the content and features useful.

This award is for the company with the lowest out-of-pocket costs. Tastyworks is a good choice as customers don’t pay commissions to trade U.S. stocks online and there are no options for trade fees. Tastyworks offers an unusual fee structure for options trades. It charges $1 per contract to open and close a position. Options trades are subject to a $10 limit per leg, which makes it easy for traders to place large spread orders.

Pros

  • The Tastyworks platform includes all the tools that you need to analyze and trade derivatives.
  • Delicioustrade offers hours of original video every weekday. It has up-to-the-minute trading ideas and a large library of prerecorded videos.

Cons

  • Initially, newcomers to investing and trading may feel overwhelmed by the platform. There is a steep learning curve.
  • Fixed income trading is not available (except for ETFs with bonds), for those who wish to allocate some assets to a more conservative asset.
  • A login is required for any additional portfolio analysis, other than profit and loss.


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Interactive Brokers

Interactive Brokers

Interactive Brokers (IBKR), was awarded this award for its rich portfolio of tools and wide range of markets. It makes it a priority to connect to as many electronic trading platforms as possible. Trades in equities, options and futures can be made anywhere, anytime, around the globe. The Interactive Brokers order execution engine keeps track of market changes to re-route any or all of your orders to ensure optimal execution, price improvement, and maximum rebate. The order routing algorithms seek out a speedy execution and can access hidden institutional order flows to execute large block orders. The wide array of order types include a variety of algorithms as well as conditional orders such as one-cancels-another and one-triggers-another. Conditional orders can be set up based on price and volume, daily P&L or margin cushion, shortable shares, a rebate from the trading venue and other factors.

Interactive Brokers is by far the best international broker. Interactive Brokers gives investors access to 125 exchanges in 31 different countries. You can plan your entry or exit from a position by combining this reach with 60 order types and a huge inventory of assets. You can fund your account in your domestic currency. IBKR will convert the currency at market rates if you wish to purchase assets in non-domestic currencies. As if that wasn’t enough, multi-layered trades can be executed across borders using the trading tools provided by Traders Workstation. Interactive Brokers won this category twice in a row, and that trend is not likely to change.

Pros

  • IBKR’s order execution engine could have the best order routing system in the business.
  • Interactive Brokers allows clients to connect to 135 markets across 33 countries. Clients can trade stocks, options and futures from one integrated account.

 

Cons

  • You can only stream data to one device at a given time. This can be a problem for traders who use multi-device workflows.
  • IBKR Pro clients have access to the most advanced capabilities. Trades on this plan do not come with a commission.
  • Many non-U.S. exchanges will charge extra data fees, which can increase your trading costs.


Charles Schwab

Charles Schwab

The mutual fund industry is seeing money flow into exchange-traded funds. ETFs are used by many investors, including most robo-advisors, to create a balanced portfolio that balances risk and reward. We looked at the research capabilities of the online broker that could help us find the best ETFs to suit our customers’ needs. This award is based on top-quality screeners, analyst reports and fundamental and technical data. It also allows you to compare ETFs.

Schwab is an investment firm that offers full-service services to anyone, from active traders who are self-directed to those who need the guidance of a financial adviser. You can choose from a variety of platforms, and it also has full banking capabilities. Schwab’s ETF screening tool on StreetSmart Edge will attract the attention of ETF investors. StreetSmart Edge ETF Screener offers over 150 criteria that combine technical, fundamental, and third-party data. You can save your criteria combinations for future use. Schwab’s news- and research offerings were among the best of all the brokerages that we reviewed. This category is a major win for the industry giant.

Pros

  • The ETF screener has 16 screens that can be customized to meet client requirements. You can export the results or create a watchlist. Prospects (pre-login required) and StreetSmart Edge clients can access the ETF screener.
  • Schwab provides its clients with free access to news feeds from BondSource and MarketEdge.
  • Discounted third-party research is available

Cons

  • The Schwab.com ETF screener is much simpler than the StreetSmart Edge ETF screener.
  • Trading derivatives requires most tools to be on StreetSmart Edge, but equity traders will end up using technology found on the standard website.
  • Schwab doesn’t automatically transfer uninvested cash to a money market fund. Their base interest rate is very low.


E*TRADE

E*TRADE

E*TRADE is a long-standing online broker. Active traders will love the company’s strong trading platforms and $0 commissions. Beginners can also benefit from the extensive library of educational resources.

Pros

  • Simple-to-use tools
  • Large selection of investments
  • Excellent customer support.
  • Access to extensive research.
  • Mobile app with advanced features
  • Commission-free Stock, Options and ETF Trades

Cons

  • It can be difficult for visitors to navigate websites.


Robinhood

Robinhood

Robinhood offers stock, options, and crypto trades for free. The minimum account balance is $0. There are no mutual funds or bonds available. Only taxable investment accounts can be opened. Robinhood is an excellent choice if you want to trade crypto or limit your costs.

Pros

  • There is no minimum account.
  • Simple interface
  • Trading in cryptocurrency

Cons

  • There are no retirement accounts.
  • There are no mutual funds.
  • Limited customer support.

 

Zacks

Zacks

Zacks is an excellent choice for active and experienced investors who want a little more support, however trades are more expensive than those at other competitors.

Pros

  • Numerous research options.
  • Robust trading platform.
  • Access to international exchanges

Cons

  • Trails competitors in commissions
  • Minimum account balance:


Fidelity Investments

Fidelity Investments

Fidelity topped our list for the second consecutive year by providing clients with a comprehensive package of investment tools and exceptional order executions. It continues to improve key elements of its mobile-responsive website and vowed to lower the investment cost for clients. Fidelity was part of the rush to reduce equity and base options commissions by zero in October 2019. However, it has continued to quietly improve key parts of its mobile-responsive website. Clients can also earn interest by investing uninvested cash in a money market fund to make it easier to earn interest. Fidelity shares the revenue from its stock loan program and lets clients choose which stocks can be loaned to them. 

Pros

  • Fidelity offers excellent executions of trades for investors. On average, over 96% of orders for Fidelity customers are executed at a price
  • Fidelity provides wealth in research as well as extensive pre-set and custom asset screeners.
  • To help increase portfolio returns, your uninvested cash will automatically be swept into a money-market fund.

Cons

  • Fidelity’s web platform may be required by some traders and more sophisticated investors to access the tools and research that they need.
  • Accounts cannot be opened by non-U.S. residents or citizens.
  • Investors and traders must manually refresh the data whenever they use the website.


TradeStation

TradeStation

TradeStation is an excellent choice for active stock, options, and futures investors who depend on TradeStation’s high-octane platform, extensive research, and sophisticated analytical tools. Trades up to 10,000 shares can be executed without commission.

Pros

  • Trading platforms of high quality.
  • Comprehensive research.
  • Commission-free options, ETF, and stock trades
  • Advanced tools
  • Active trader group.

Cons

  • TS Select is required to trade on advanced platforms.
  • Mutual funds are not subject to transaction fees.
  • Pricing and plans can be confusing.