Where some discount brokers focus on only one kind of trader for example, options traders or high-net-worth investors , Ally Invest provides an excellent experience for investors of all kinds.
Excellent trading platform
Like Merrill Edge and Capital One Investing, customers can easily manage their banking and brokerage accounts under one login. When looking for a new online broker, make sure you meet your most important needs as an investor.
Are low-cost trade commissions most important? What about customer service, the trade platform, mobile trading, active trading, or a community to trade alongside?
With many brokers specializing in different areas, it is vital to evaluate and compare all the possibilities.
Based on 59 different variables, here is a summary of the top five brokers for stock trading tools and trade platforms. To trade online successfully, some investors rely purely on their trading tools.
Advanced charting, options tools, screeners, hotkeys, virtual trading, watch lists, ladders, Level II quotes, and back testing are just a sampling of the functionality brokers make available to their customers.
Over the years, I have learned it is not just the trading tools that separate brokers, but the design, depth, speed, and overall execution of delivering the ultimate trading experience.
After spending hundreds of hours on both desktop platforms, we give thinkorswim the edge, thanks to its modern feel and outstanding trader tools; however, both platforms execute so well that it truly comes down to personal preference. Die-hard fans exist for both, and either one is a great choice for seasoned traders.
TD Ameritrade thinkorswim platform. While these platforms do not offer the same depth of trading tools, historical data, chart studies, etc. In some respects, their balance of power and design make them a better fit for certain traders. Fidelity Active Trader Pro. Investors who prefer a web-focused experience have a choice of several great browser-based platforms.
Best Brokers for Options Trading. Before selecting a broker based on its platforms and tools, take time to read our online broker reviews , narrow your search to two or three brokers, compare their offerings , then make a decision. It is not surprising that the largest, most publicly known online brokers excel, and all vie for the top spot for research. With larger client bases and higher commission costs, high-quality research is expected. Comparing apples with apples, all five brokers are fairly similar.
They all use Morningstar as their primary provider for Exchange Traded Funds ETF and mutual fund research, all of them offer a slew of data and graphs for researching stocks, and all offer fixed-income research. Slight differences begin to show only when you assess specifics such as total third-party research reports available for equities, for example Apple AAPL.
In that category, the title goes to Fidelity, with 12 total reports offered, followed by Charles Schwab with eight, and TD Ameritrade with seven. All in all, when it comes to researching stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, and fixed income, any top five broker is going to provide an excellent experience for investors. Fidelity, which earned our No. Fidelity also distributes high-quality market analysis and personal finance education through its Fidelity Viewpoints weekly distribution.
What excites us most about Fidelity is its fully responsive mobile friendly , carefully laid out research area. Content flow and personalization are at the heart of the experience, which is unlike any other broker in the industry.
Fidelity account stock quote. Even more impressive, Schwab boasts a full lineup of 26 in-house experts who provide numerous articles, known as Schwab Insights, on a variety of market topics throughout each week. Schwab also provides the best video experience out of all the brokers, thanks to its market updates and Schwab LIVE events.
Charles Schwab Equity Rating summary Apple. Not to be outdone, TD Ameritrade won our Best New Tool award in for the earnings analysis tool offered on its thinkorswim platform. TD Ameritrade also offers what it calls Social Signals analysis for individual equities. Using proprietary algorithms, the Sentiment Score shows what percentage of tweets are positive and displays other relevant metrics.
TD Ameritrade thinkorswim earnings analysis. Staying on the theme of unique research tools, Merrill Edge offers Stock Story, which makes researching individual stocks both educational and insightful. Even environmental, social and governance ESG ratings data is included. Merrill Edge Stock Story Apple.
Based on 40 different variables, here is a summary of the top five brokers for investment products:. Investing covers a global spectrum, from investing in international equities to trading forex to purchasing US treasury bonds. To understand the true range of offerings, StockBrokers. Thanks to its focus on professional and institutional trading, Interactive Brokers takes the crown.
Do you require advanced order types? Interactive Brokers offers customers an arsenal of 63 different order types. What about trading internationally? Interactive Brokers offers trading in 26 countries and over market centers. The list goes on and on. Clean design and user-friendly tools help make heaps of information easier to digest. Trigger Alerts lets users set up their accounts to automatically purchase an order based on a particular scenario.
For example, you can set an alert to buy any number of shares of one stock if its direct competitor falls by a certain percentage.
Tools like tradeLAB help dissect options spreads, with green smiley faces for the statistical probability of making a profit, and red frowns for a loss. Whether you prefer to trade via desktop, tablet, or mobile, its customizable interface seamlessly transitions between all three — though, admittedly, customers seem to either love or hate the app.
You can sort stocks by size, performance, and even criteria like sales growth or profit growth. Want to sort ETFs by the sectors they focus on, or their expenses? When it comes to research, Fidelity is in a league of its own. The intellectually curious can dive into research from more than 20 providers, including Recognia, Ned Davis, and McLean Capital Management. They cover how to apply principles to your own Fidelity investments.
Charting with Recognia requires a significant trades per year to use, and its Active Trader Pro requires 36 trades per year. Warren Buffett is the best example to hit this point home. Conversely, hedge funds stack management fees on top of trading fees to pay for the time and knowledge actual strategists are putting into your investments. So what happened to the bet? Buffett won , and donated the winnings to charity.
He managed to beat his high-priced peers not because he scored bigger gains, but because he minimized costs. The capital gains tax rate favors long-term investments. An investor who buys and sells their stocks within a few months will face a higher capital gains tax rate 25 percent on their profits than an investor who buys and holds their stocks for a full year 15 percent. The larger your investment, the bigger the difference. Mutual funds and ETFs come with their own set of fees, too.
Instead, these fees show up in the price on the ticker tape. Also watch out for mutual funds that charge a front- or back-end load for each purchase or sale. These usually range from 0. Give yourself a few thousand in fake money and play investor for a bit while you get the hang of it.
Even with just a virtual portfolio. Outside of actual trading sites, MarketWatch and Investopedia offer simulators to get you started. Our experts suggest you begin by looking at your own life. There is literally no minimum to get started, and starting with just one share is better than putting things off. The best investors are in it for the long haul.
Checking your account too often might make you react to the fluctuations in the market too quickly. Each of our top trading sites puts up a digital vault around your money with bit, two-way data encryption, multi-factor authentication, and up-to-date firewalls.
That said, the sooner you can invest, the better, as you give your money more time to grow. Robo-advisors like Wealthsimple, Wealthfront, and Betterment use algorithms to determine your investment strategy. You just plug in your time frame and risk tolerance and their computers do the rest.
Wealthsimple charges an annual 0. Online stock trading is just one piece of a healthy portfolio. Check out some of our favorite reviews below:. Makeup Foundation Mascara Lip Balm. If you click on or buy something via a link on this page, we may earn a commission. Sorry, something went wrong.
Please refresh your browser and try again. Last updated on January 4, Best Platform for Cheap Trading. Front-runner for low rates and attractive discounts Easy-access investing - no minimum account balance Sharp technology for all expertise levels. Stock trading sites we considered. Pros Rock-bottom rates Easy entry point Stellar ratings. Best Trading Platform for Beginners. Pros Education-heavy platform Low minimum account balance.