The Best Online Stock Brokers for Cheap Stock Trading (in 2019)

 

Finding the best online stock broker is becoming more and more difficult every day. It seems like a new online broker is launched every month and cheap stock trading has become the way of the stock trading world.

Just 20 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.

Nowadays, 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

Ally Invest Ally Invest If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Ally Invest fits right at the top of our list as it seems to do everything exceptionally. It was the first to offer the 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.

Those fees go down to $3.95 per trade and a $0.50 per options contract if you either execute 30 or more trades per quarter or if you maintain an average daily balance of $100,000 or more.

If you follow SmartMoney, Barron’s and other graders of online stock brokers, you’ll find Ally Invest (formerly TradeKing) winning awards almost every time they are handed out.

Ally Invest offers 24/7 customer support and will reimburse you for up to $150 in transfer fees if you move at least $2,500 to Ally from another brokerage.

They are also offering a cash bonus and 90 days of free trades if you open an account with at least $10,000. You will receive $300 in cash to your account with an opening deposit of $10,000. The cash bonus goes up in tiers up to a $3,500 bonus with an opening deposit of $2 million.  

Finally, Ally Invest is a leader in educating customers and you’ll find hundreds of resources to help both amateur and professional investors. See our full review of Ally Invest.

To open up an Ally Invest account, visit their official website at www.ally.com/invest/ If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

TD Ameritrade Logo TD Ameritrade If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

TD Ameritrade currently offers fee-free IRA accounts and has fantastic customer service.

In my five years of trading with TD Ameritrade, I have never encountered a single delay, problem or inconvenience. Sure $6.95 per trade (and $44.99 for broker-assisted trades) is more expensive than the $4.95 or even $2.95 that other online stock brokers charge.

While many other brokers offer similar services for cheap stock trading, 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 TD Ameritrade, you’ll need a minimum balance of $2,000, but you can trade for 60 days commission-free if you deposit $3,000 or more. And you can get $100 to $600 in cash bonuses by depositing larger amounts (between $25,000 and $250,000). You can also use their iPhone or Android app to access your account and make trades.

To open up a TD Ameritrade account, visit their official website at www.TDAmeritrade.com If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

M1 Finance If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

M1Finance allows you to actively choose what you want in your portfolio while using a robo advisor platform–making it an excellent hybrid option for anyone who wants hands-on control with automatic contributions and rebalancing.

The program is built on the idea of “pie investing,” where each slice of the pie represents categories of investments. While M1 Finance has dozens of prebuilt pies for you choose from, each of which is geared to particular risk tolerance and investment horizon.

You can personalize your pie by making adjustments or reallocating investments or choosing the weight of each slice. Slices that outperform their target weight will grow and underperforming slices will shrink.

M1 Finance also lets you trade fractional shares. There are no fees, and you can get started with a $100 minimum investment. See our full review of M1 Finance.

To open up an M1 Finance account, visit their official website at www.M1Finance.com If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

FidelityFidelity

Fidelity isn’t your normal online stock broker. They have a very powerful brand behind them, produce quality, low-cost funds, and over the past several years have received major credibility as a “discount broker.”

Currently, Fidelity offers stock and ETF trades for a $4.95 commission. This is down from $7.95. To trade options, you’ll pay $4.95 + $0.65 per contract. There is no minimum deposit required to fund your brokerage account, but certain accounts may require a minimum opening balance of $2,500.

Fidelity offers live chat and 24/7 phone support. It’s free, very fast, and simple to use (I’ve tried it myself). Most mobile devices are compatible with Fidelity. 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 www.Fidelity.com

ETradeE*Trade

E*Trade is the only online stock broker I can think of that advertises on television, making them the most well known on this list. They are also one of the more expensive, as they charge $6.95 per trade and an additional $25 if you use a broker to execute the trade. This fee drops to $4.95 per trade if you make over 30 trades per quarter.

E*Trade is currently offering up to 500 free trades for the first 60 days of opening your account, but you will have to fund it with at least $10,000 (and of course other restrictions apply).

You can also get $200 in a cash credit if you deposit or transfer $25,000 to an E*Trade account. That cash bonus goes depending on your deposit amount and maxes out at $2,500 for a million dollar deposit. E*Trade’s technology and platform are like no other and for experienced investors, E*Trade by far is your best option. However, for the casual investor, it may be a better idea to go with one of the other brokers, to save money on fees.

To open up an E*Trade account, visit their official website at www.ETrade.com

ChoiceTradeChoiceTrade

ChoiceTrade 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 six years, ChoiceTrade offers $0 stock trades. For options trades, there is a $5 base plus $0.15 per contract–or you can choose a $10 and $0 per contract.

However, the main drawback to using ChoiceTrade is their platform. If you’re looking for good technology, you will have to pay for it. The ChoiceTrader platform is free, but you can upgrade to one of three online streaming platforms for a monthly fee.

Their basic online streaming platform costs $14.95 per month and their premium platform is $135 per month. ChoiceTrade does feature an in-depth investor community where you can ask thousands of fellow users your questions. Also, you can sign up for a virtual account with a $100,000 balance to try out their services.

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

ThinkOrSwimthinkorswim

thinkorswim has been around since 1999 and is now owned by TD Ameritrade. They are known as one of the best places to trade options because of their superior technology, as well as a hub for options educational information.

In 2017, they were ranked #1 for long-term investing by Barron’s and #1 overall broker by StockBrokers.com. You can trade stocks for a flat fee rate for $6.95–with no account balance requirement or limit on how often you can make trades. Broker-assisted trades will cost you $44.99.

TD Ameritrade is currently offering 60 days of commission-free trading when you fund an account with at least $3,000, and higher initial deposits will earn you an additional cash bonus. They offer 24/7 customer support and they don’t charge any fees for access to the trading platform or other data. TD Ameritrade and thinkorswim offer “Paper Money” accounts, to try out different strategies with no real money involved.

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

SogoTradeSogoTrade

SogoTrade is one of the quieter online stock brokers and unless you’ve already opened an account with them, this may be the first time you’ve heard of them.

They are one of the leaders in cheap stock trading with a $2.88 rate for those who make at least 150 trades per quarter (otherwise the fee is $4.88). With their four unique trading platforms and an app (available for Apple or Android devices), SogoTrade continues to implement game-changing technology. All of their platforms provide customers with up-to-the-second data to help them make the well-informed trades.

There are no account maintenance fees and no minimum deposit. SogoTrade protects customer account funds up to $500,000.

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

Not into active, online trading? Try something a little less hands-on. See our list of the best Robo Advisors.

Comments

  1. FinancialKing says:

    I would suggest LOYAL3.com 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.

  2. FinancialKing says:

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

  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. 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.

    Cheers!

    • 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 bancdebinaries.com 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!

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