Best Online Stock Trading Brokers for 2019

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If you’re looking for a way to build more wealth in 2019, getting started with one of the best online brokerage accounts is a solid first step. Doing so will allow you to invest outside your traditional retirement accounts and on your own terms. The best part is, the top online brokerage firms charge little or no fees and offer excellent resources that can help you learn more about investing.

Not all brokerage firms are the same, of course. If you’re looking for a new way to invest this year and are ready to strike out on your own, the following online brokerages should be at the top of your list.

The Simple Dollar’s Top Picks Best Online Brokerage Accounts in 2019

Robinhood: Best Discount Broker

Establishing itself as a unique online brokerage, Robinhood offers free trades. Even better, the company provides unlimited free stock trades. There are no hidden costs and no account minimums necessary to start an account with Robinhood. You’ll also have access to cryptocurrency trades through Bitcoin, Ethereum and other digital options.

While there aren’t any bells and whistles on the company’s mobile-first trading platform, which also provides very little customer support, you can’t really argue with the price of free trades if you’re looking for a discount brokerage.

Who Robinhood Is Best For:

  • Options traders
  • Mobile users
  • Deal seekers
  • Cryptocurrency traders

Robinhood Costs and Fees

  • Stock Trade: $0
  • Options Trade: $0
  • Options Contract: $0
  • Mutual Funds Trade Fee: not supported
  • Futures Contract Cost: not supported
  • Margin Rates: Not applicable
  • Minimum Deposit: $0

Charles Schwab: Best Support and Service

Whether you’re new to trading or you have some experience, Charles Schwab offers excellent support and service for all your investment needs. The company offers a range of sophisticated tools and extensive trading platforms that are perfect for conducting your business. In addition, there are plenty of resources available to introduce the various investment options and the methods to apply for them and use them.

If you need research tools and around-the-clock telephone support, Charles Schwab is the broker for you. However, some of the upper-level features do come at a premium, so don’t be surprised at an increase as you begin to spread your wings with this excellent service.

Who Charles Schwab Is Best For:

  • Beginners
  • Long-term investors
  • Research-based traders
  • Traders getting started

Charles Schwab Costs and Fees

  • Stock Trade: $4.95
  • Options Trade: $4.95
  • Options Contract: $0.65
  • Mutual Funds Fee (Load): $0 when participating in Schwab’s Mutual Fund OneSource service
  • Mutual Funds Fee (No-Load): $0 when participating in Schwab’s Mutual Fund OneSource service
  • Futures Contract Cost: $1.50 per contract
  • Margin Rates: 8.075%-9.825%
  • Minimum Deposit: Minimum waived if also opening checking account.

E*TRADE: Best Trader Resources

E*TRADE is right there with TD Ameritrade if you’re looking for the all-around best online brokerage. What’s interesting about this comparison is that E*TRADE excels in several different areas compared with TD Ameritrade, but it also has many similar offerings. E*TRADE’s web-based platform is incredibly advanced and a breeze to use, as is its mobile app. However, you have to pay for these features because E*TRADE is just as pricey as TD Ameritrade and also requires a $500 deposit to open an account (TD Ameritrade is free).

Who E*TRADE Is Best For:

  • Low-frequency traders
  • Long-term investors
  • Research-based traders
  • Multiple-market traders
  • Traders getting started

E*TRADE Costs and Fees

  • Stock Trade: $6.95
  • Options Trade: $6.95
  • Options Contract: $0.75
  • Mutual Funds Fee (Load): Varies by fund
  • Mutual Funds Fee (No-Load): $19.99
  • Futures Contract Cost: $1.50
  • Margin Rates: 7.50%-11.00%
  • Minimum Deposit: $500

TD Ameritrade: Best for Developing Traders

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.

Who TD Ameritrade Is Best For:

  • Traders of all levels
  • Long-term investors
  • Low-frequency traders
  • Beginning traders who want to advance

TD Ameritrade Costs and Fees

  • Stock Trade: $6.95
  • Options Trade: $6.95
  • Options Contract: $0.75
  • Mutual Funds Fee (Load): $0
  • Mutual Funds Fee (No-Load): $49.99
  • Futures Contract Cost: $2.25
  • Margin Rates: 9.50%-10.75%
  • Minimum Deposit: $0

Ally Invest: Best For Options Traders

Whether you’re a new or seasoned investor, Ally Invest offers plenty of free tools, research information and low fees to help you manage your accounts.

With low commission rates and no account minimums, you get discount rates for unusual services such as automated portfolio management and forex trading that you generally find at bigger investment companies. In fact, the trading platform that the company employs will give you everything you need to gain insight into the trading opportunities, explore your options and take action if you want to make a move on your trades.

Without a physical branch available to visit, new investors may feel lost in the online-only trading sphere; however, Ally Invest does have online and phone customer support available around the clock.

Who Ally Invest Is Best For:

  • Active traders
  • Options traders
  • Experienced traders
  • Traders who are comfortable interacting online
  • Researchers

Ally Invest Costs and Fees

  • Stock Trade: $4.95
  • Options Trade: $4.95 + $0.65 per contract
  • Options Contract: $0.65
  • Mutual Funds Fee (Load): Not applicable
  • Mutual Funds Fee (No-Load): $9.95
  • Futures Contract Cost: Not applicable
  • Margin Rates: 5.50%-10.0%
  • Minimum Deposit: $0

What Matters When You Trade Stocks on Your Own?

Managing your own money can be a stressful endeavor. To minimize this – and the information overload that tends to come from watching the markets 24/7 — there are a few must-haves to look for in an online broker.

  • Clean interface: When you trade, you want to be able to easily find your order entry ticket. You don’t want it buried under a bunch of drop-downs. This interface should have intuitive access to see your balance, available cash and positions with real time P/L (profit/loss), and it should all be easily navigated..
  • Quick access to basic charting: A chart tells you where the stock has been recently. If you’re not trading minute to minute, you don’t need complex tools like stochastics or retracement lines. All that’s important is that you have a basic chart on a yearly, monthly, weekly, daily and intra-day time period. You use a chart to see current price relative to those time periods, mainly to avoid purchasing at a bad price.
  • Low fees: One of the biggest roadblocks to building wealth is fees incurred to invest your hard-earned dollars. Because the fees charged by different brokerage firms vary so dramatically, it’s crucial to seek out options that charge low fees (or no fees) for account management and trades.

There are over 50 online brokerages where you can open an account. Beyond having the three critical features explained above, the best online brokerage accounts aren’t just for trading stocks. Sure, many of them started as online stock trading brokerages, but now they’re full-fledged trading, saving, investing, retirement planning, and banking machines.

What Makes a Great Online Broker?

When you take all the features, resources, trading platforms and technology into account (while also considering every type of trader), the full-service brokers like E*TRADE and TD Ameritrade are the best for the largest number of people.

For those simply looking to make cheap trades, consider going with Ally Invest.

If you’re a very advanced trader, high-volume trader or a professional who manages money, try Interactive Brokers. Interactive Brokers isn’t included on this list because it’s best for a very small group of traders, and the platform is very complex.

Top Qualities of Standout Online Trading Platforms

  • Quality trading tools and technology
  • Multiple trading platforms for all levels of traders
  • Excellent mobile trading features
  • Solid navigation that displays the relevant information where you want it
  • Quality educational resources and research for trader development

There’s more to selecting an online broker than price. You have to consider the resources you’re getting for the cost you pay per trade.

Recap: Best Online Brokerages for 2019

Whether you want to make basic stock trades for free, research complex strategies and trade options contracts, or just dabble in investing with some trusted support to guide you, there’s an online brokerage that will fit your trading style.

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