The Best Online Stock Brokers For Cheap Stock Trading

Now a days, you can find dozens of online stock brokers, each claiming to be the best at what they do. But just how many of them can offer cheap trading, expert customer service, lightning fast execution and cutting edge technology? Let's take a look. Finding the best online stock broker is becoming more and more difficult everyday.

It seems like a new online broker is launched every month and cheap stock trading has become the way of the stock trading world.

But with all of the new players in the game, it’s the oldest and most respected online stock brokers that continue to offer the best deal.

Just 10 years ago, trading online was nearly impossible. With a few start-ups in the works, E*Trade and Firstrade offered a raw and expensive way to avoid calling your local broker and making trades on your own. 

As the years have progressed, trading stocks online has become easier for the consumer AND less expensive, which is a rare combination in business.

Now a days, you can find dozens of online stock brokers, each claiming to be the best at what they do. But just how many of them can offer cheap trading, expert customer service, lightning fast execution and cutting edge technology? Let’s take a look.

The Best Online Stock Brokers

TradeKing TradeKing fits right at the top of our list as it seems to do everything very well. TradeKing has a low per trade commission of $4.95, which does not change if you utilize a broker over the phone and options trading has the same $4.95 cost, plus a $0.65 fee per contract. If you follow SmartMoney, Barron’s and other graders of online stock brokers, you’ll find TradeKing winning awards almost every time they are handed out. TradeKing offers extended hours customer support (Not 24/7 like a few others) and if you’re considering transferring your current trading account to TradeKing, they will reimburse your transfer fees up to $150. Finally, TradeKing is a leader in educating customers and you’ll find hundreds of resources to help both amateur and professional investors.

To open up a TradeKing account, visit their official website at

ETradeE*Trade is the only online stock broker I can think of that advertises on television, making them the most well known of this list. E*Trade is also one of the most expensive, as they charge $7.99 – $9.99 per trade and an additional $25 if you use a broker to execute the trade. To ease the cost of trading, E*Trade is offering free trades for the first 60 days of opening your account (restrictions apply of course). You must have a minimum balance of $1,000 to open an E*Trade account and you will be charged account maintenance fees and inactivity fees so make sure you keep your account active. In fairness to E*Trade, their technology and platform are like no other and for experienced investors, E*Trade by far is your best option. However, for the casual investor, there is just too many fees and too high a cost per trade to take advantage.

To open up an E*Trade account, visit their official website at

ShareBuilder LogoShareBuilder once had an elite trading platform that allowed for users to make trades online at a great, cheap price of $6.95. While users can still take advantage of this opportunity, the rest of the world seems to have passed ShareBuilder by. One of the premier benefits of having an account with ShareBuilder and Capital One is that ShareBuilder can be connected with your Capital One 360 account, making transactions to and from the bank a snap. Express funding is available (unlike with most brokers on this list), which allows quick decisions if needed. The low margin rate of 7.25% is the best you’ll find among discount broker competitors.

To open up a ShareBuilder account, visit their official website at

ScottradeScottrade currently offers fee free IRA accounts, has fantastic customer service and in 5 years of trading with Scottrade, I have never encounter a single delay, problem or inconvenience. Sure $7 per trade ($27 for broker assisted trades) is more expensive than the $4.95 or even $2.95 that other online stock brokers charge but when so many other brokers offer similar services for cheap stock trading and I’ve found one that has been nothing short of fantastic, I’m not about to risk having problems for a dollar here or dollar there.  In order to trade with Scottrade, you’ll need a minimum balance of $500 and all mobile tools (Blackberry, iPhone, Palm, etc) can be used to access your account and make trades.

To open up a Scottrade account, visit their official website at

FidelityFidelity isn’t your normal online stock broker and with a very powerful brand behind them, they are slowly gaining traction as a “discount broker”. Currently Fidelity offers trades for an $8.00 commission and if you’re not careful, you will be charged account maintenance fees. Broker assisted, market and options trades are still the flat rate of $8 so if you need help executing an order, there’s no extra charge.  Fidelity does offer live chat, however it’s not 24/7 like a few other brokers but free telephone support is very fast and simple to use (Tried it myself). Most mobile devices are compatible with Fidelity and with hundreds of webinars to educate investors, Fidelity is a great place to begin your investing career.

To open up a Fidelity account, visit their official website at

OptionsHouseOptionsHouse is a relatively new broker in the online space and offering trades for $3.95 qualifies them as one of the best. If you find yourself needing broker assistance on making a trade the same $3.95 trade fee applies, making OptionsHouse the cheapest place to make an online stock trade today. You might be thinking that OptionsHouse specializes only in options and contracts and that’s simply not true.  In order to prove it, OptionsHouse is offering 100 free trades for new customers if you fund your account with at least $3,000 (Offer expires June 30th 2010). In terms of customer service, OptionsHouse has live chat which includes 24-hour, seven days a week support and OptionsHouse was recently voted best broker for options trades by Barron’s (In both 2009 and 2010)

To open up an OptionsHouse account, visit their official website at

ChoiceTradeChoiceTrade isn’t your everyday online stock broker and if you visit their website, you’ll know that right away. Rated four-star broker by Barron’s for the last five years, ChoiceTrade offers $5 online trades with NO penny stock surcharge (very hard to find). However, the immediate drawback to using ChoiceTrade is their platform as if you’re looking for technology, you have to pay for it. Their basic streaming platform can be utilized for four months, free of charge but after that the cheapest plan available is $14.95 a month. Like Zecco, ChoiceTrade has an in-depth investor community where you can ask thousands of fellow users your questions.

To open up a ChoiceTrade account, visit their official website at

ThinkOrSwimthinkorswim has been around since 1999, and is now owned by TD Ameritrade. thinkorswim is known as one of the best places to trade options (superior technology), as well as a hub for options educational information. They were ranked #1 by Barron’s with 4 and a half stars in their 2010 ranking of the best online brokers. You can trade stocks there at their flat fee rate for $9.95. There are several different pricing models for options trading there. I suggest you review them on their website. They will reimburse your account transfer fees of up to $100 if you are a new member. And you have 30 days to check them out without consequence. They will reimburse you for your high-speed internet service when you make 40 or more trades. You get 3 complimentary mutual fund trades per month. And there are no fees associated with their IRAs. On top of all that, you get a free thinkorswim Monkey plush toy. How cute.

To open up a thinkorswim account, visit their official website at

SogoTradeSogoTrade is one of the quieter online stock brokers and unless you’ve already signed up an account with them, this may be the first time you’ve heard of them. At $3 per trade, SogoTrade is one of the leaders in cheap stock trading and with three unique trading platforms, SogoTrade continues to implement game-changing technology. SogoTrade, SogoElite and soon to be launched Laser all provide customers up to the second data to help them make the best trade possible. There are no account maintenance fees or inactivity fees of any kind and SogoTrade protects customer account funds up to $500,000.

To open up a SogoTrade account, visit their official website at

Last Edited: May 21, 2015 @ 9:38 pm The content of is for general information purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. Visitors to should not act upon the content or information without first seeking appropriate professional advice. In accordance with the latest FTC guidelines, we declare that we have a financial relationship with every company mentioned on this site.
About Philip Taylor

Philip Taylor, aka "PT", is a CPA, financial writer, FinCon CEO, and husband and father of three. He created PT Money back in 2007 to share his thoughts on money and to meet others passionate about managing their finances. All the content on this blog is original, and created or edited by PT. Read more about Philip Taylor, and be sure to connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, or view the Philip Taylor+ Google profile.


  1. Thanks for sharing, it was very useful….

  2. Hello,

    Very impressive post!

    Banc De Binary is yet another financial organization providing cheap trading services, would be happy if you also add them in this list. It is a good choice for both the casual and experienced investors.

    I completely agree with your point that E trade is a good option for experienced investors but not for casual investors who would have to pay a lot of fees on some basic things.

    Please try to make your post more interesting and fun to read.


    • misha_kachkan says:

      @Lopez well, it seems that it was only yesterday. bbinary is now a very powerful brand with loads of features and great commissions as well. “We expect to become a leader in online trading technology and financial services” – Well, I think Aaron was right about it (: A lot of great reviews sites also popped up as mushrooms after a good rain. Needless to mention that’s doing a great job promoting the binary options broker itself – great tips, great guides and a very powerful binary trading system. keep your work up guys, you’re doing it great!

  3. Daniel3321 says:

    Thanks for the info!
    I signed an account with sogotrade, after days of research I finally found a good broker for international clients! :)  The 1st thing I noticed is the REALLY fast live support response in chat (I asked about “any additional fees for non-US residents?” – they said no), so now I opened an account, and have to print and mail them the 3 PDF files they ask to fill and sign by hand (then scan and mail), overall I have a very good feeling about the broker :)  I hope they will not disappoint me.

  4. FinancialKing says:

    I believe Banc De Binary is not applicable for US resident. They site said that.

  5. FinancialKing says:

    I would suggest to add in this list.
    I think sogo trade is not the cheap because if we do not do 150+ trade in a quarter then they charge $5 instead $3 as standard.