Best Deep Discount Brokers

Best Deep Discount Online Trading Brokerage Firms in 2015

Many regular individual investors and even some active traders are still unaware that there are highly rated deep discount brokers that charge $5 per trade to buy or sell stocks or ETFs in a flat rate pricing plan, and as low as $1 per trade in a pay-per-share pricing plan. Stock trading commissions came down a lot since the time Charles Schwab introduced discount stock trading at $30 per trade. Competition among brokerage houses is now stronger than ever, with new companies constantly pressuring established players with aggressive pricing. There is a clear long-term trend of lower trading commissions and fees that continues in 2015.

The online trading and investing industry is so large and popular now that there are different niches created within it that companies start to fill. One of these niches is deep discount trading. It's created by the need of very active traders to have the lowest possible commissions on online trading. Some firms in that niche charge as little as $1.00 per trade. But, as usual, there is a catch. The deep discount brokers often charge lots more fees that most other brokerages. The most common of these are fees for using trading platforms (could be hundreds of dollars per month) and account inactivity fees.

Deep discount brokers also tend to offer pay-per-share commission structure. With it, customer pays for each share in a trade. The more shares a client buys with pay-per-share structure - the higher is commission. There is always a minimum charge per trade of at least $1.00. This cost structure is different than paying flat rate commission regardless of the number of shares at most other brokerage houses.

Let's review the pricing of the top deep discount brokerage firms in 2015:

Interactive Brokers (IB)

3-star brokerage firm rating

Interactive Brokers is a deep discount online trading company that offers pay-per-share commission structure: customers pay $0.005 for each share with $1.00 minimum for SMART routed orders. This means that any SMART routed order of up to 200 shares will cost you just $1.00. 500 shares will cost just $2.50. 1,000 shares - $5.00. And 2,000 shares costs much less attractive $10.00 per trade.

Options at Interactive Brokers are priced at $0.70 or less per contract plus exchange fees. Mutual funds cost is $14.95 per transaction.

Before you get too excited, you have to keep in mind additional costs: Interactive Brokers charges $10 monthly inactivity fee ($20 monthly if account balance is less than $2,000) and $10 monthly for market data if your trading commissions are less than $30 per month. This means that investors who rarely trade could pay total inactivity fees of up to $360 a year.

Minimum to open most accounts at IB is $10,000. IRA accounts are being charged $30 annual IRA fee.

Read full Interactive Brokers Review.

Interactive Brokers Promotion Code

Company doesn't offer promotions.

Open Interactive Brokers account


TradeStation offers one of the lowest rates among deep discount brokers: it charges just $0.01 per share for the first 500 shares, $0.006 per share thereafter, with $1.00 minimum per trade. With that rate all stock or ETF trades of up to 100 shares will cost you just $1.00. Options pricing could be as low as $4.99 plus $0.20 per contract for very active traders. Mutual funds are priced at $14.95 per transaction.

Unfortunately, there is a serious disadvantage with this broker: $99.95 fee will be charged to use their trading platform if customer did not trade at least 5,000 shares in previous month. With this fee it does not make sense to open account at the firm unless you can meet this requirement.

In 2015 TradeStation was rated Best for Frequent Traders and Best for International Traders by Barron's magazine. We rated the firm Best for Futures Traders and Best for Day Traders in 2015.

Read full: TradeStation Review.

TradeStation Promotion Offer

Get up to $500 - trade commission free for 90 days.

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4.5-star brokerage firm rating

Optionshouse is a top deep discount brokerage firm charging flat rate $4.95 for stock or ETF trades regardless of the number of shares in the order. For stocks priced $2 or less that are not options eligible, there is additional surcharge of $0.005 per share for the entire order. Options trading is available with $4.95 plus $0.50 per contract rate. Mutual funds are priced higher than at TradeStation: $20 per transaction.

Optionshouse is one of the top choices for active traders and day traders looking for flat rate commission account to make larger trades that will be too expensive with pay-per-share pricing plan. The firm offers free checking account, real-time quotes, and virtual trading. Unlike TradeStation and Interactive Brokers, there are no fees for inactivity and for IRA accounts.

Optionshouse has been rated Best For Options Traders in 2015.

Read full Optionshouse Review.

Optionshouse Promotion Offer

Trade Free For 60 Days when you Open a New OptionsHouse Account

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Updated on 11/18/2015.

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