About Broker Promotions
Below is a list of the current online discount broker promotions being offered by the various brokerage firms. Due to regulations, a number of these deals are
valid only for U.S.-based customers looking to open a new brokerage account.
Please read the details of each offer carefully; some of these offers are not valid for retirement accounts like IRAs.
The most popular types of online broker promotions for 2016 are the following:
- Free Trades
: As an incentive to sign up, brokerage companies are offering new clients free trades. The number of free trades range from 3 to 500, and typically must be used within a specific timeframe (i.e. 30, 60, or 90 days).
- Cash Bonuses
: Another type of incentive is free cash in exchange for signing up with the brokerage firm. For example, TradeKing offers $100 for signing up with no set threshold for deposits or other strings attached. Other firms provide cash bonuses, but do require the account to be funded with specific amounts. These bonuses can range from $25 to $600, with Scottrade offering the highest bonuses. Be sure to read the fine print as these bonuses may be available for existing customers.
- Account Transfer Rebates
: Brokerage firms will often reimburse customers for the fees imposed by the client’s old broker for transferring the account. When transferring an account, the client will often incur an account transfer fee (i.e. ACAT fee). These fees may be reimbursed by the new broker; Scottrade and TradeKing offer Account Transfer Rebates.
Less popular forms of incentives and rewards include gift cards (i.e. Apple), merchandise (i.e. Kindle Fire, computer monitors), free or heavily discounted subscriptions to popular investment magazines, websites, or newsletters.
There are a number of great deals available for the trader or investor looking to open a new brokerage account. However, it is important to remember that it is the service, fees, and reliability of the broker that are most important. Be sure to research brokers carefully by reading high quality reviews from various sources and compare a few different brokers before deciding which one is the best for you.
Brokerage Free Trades Promotions Comparison
Right now many online brokerage firms offer promotions or incentives for investors to lure new customers on to their site. These can be anything
from free trades to free cash for opening an account or promotions for referring a friend to the site. Below are descriptions of promotions
offered by some of the best known online brokerage firms on the market.
Brokerage account promotion:
Get up to $500 - trade commission free for 90 days.
New investors to TradeStation are able to trade for free for the first 90 days after they open and fund their account. The account does however need to be funded with a
minimum of $5,000 to obtain this broker promotion, and the free trades can only be applied towards stock trades, futures, or options contracts and not mutual funds or bonds.
It is difficult to calculate the monetary value of this brokerage account incentive as TradeStation has several different commission structures based on your trading volume
Analysis: For active traders that are looking to open an account and trade frequently, 90 days of commission free trading is a great deal. Passive investors, and those who
do not trade with a lot of capital won’t be taking full advantage of this stock broker promotion.
TradeStation brokerage review
Brokerage account promotion: Trade Free For 60 Days when you Open a New OptionsHouse Account.
OptionsHouse gives investors the ability to trade commission free for 60 days after funding and opening an account. The account must be funded with at least $5,000 within
30 days of the account being open. This online broker promotion is limited to 150 commission-free trades for stocks or options and doesn’t apply to OTC stocks priced below
$1.00. Assuming a trader is extremely active and uses all 150 commission-free trades on stocks, the savings will total of $742.50.
Analysis: Once again active traders will benefit from the 60 days of free trading. The limit on free trades is quite high, and no one but the most active investors or day
traders will reach this limit.
Optionshouse brokerage review
Brokerage account promotion: Trade free for 60 days + get up to $600.
Who doesn’t love free cash? TD Ameritrade is luring investors away from other brokers by offering free trading along with a cash bonus. The account minimum for 60 days of
commission free trading is only $2,000. However, in order to receive the cash bonus, brokerage accounts must be funded with much higher minimums in a tiered system. In fact,
to receive a $500 the account must be funded with upwards of $250,000 in capital. Lastly, the account must be opened for at least 9 months or TD Ameritrade has the ability
to retroactively chargeback the account for the cost of the cash awarded.
Analysis: The $2,000 minimum for funding an account is significantly less than other broker promotions. In the case of TD Ameritrade that will get you only 60 days of free
trading, as opposed to the 90 days free incentive that some other brokers offer. The cash bonus is enticing on the surface, but unless an investor is well entrenched in the upper class,
they will not have enough capital to qualify.
TD Ameritrade brokerage review
Brokerage account promotion: 60 days of free trades for deposits of $10k or more.
Going with a similar theme as the rest of the brokerage promotions on this list, Etrade is offering free trading for opening an account. The minimum account balance must be
$10,000 funded within 60 days of opening the account and there is a limit of 500 free trades for the 60 day period. With Etrade’s $9.99 standard stock trading fee, this can
result in a savings of up to $4,995. The $600 in free cash will only come when depositing over $250,000 in to a new account, but a more reasonable $200 bonus can be obtained
with a deposit upward of $25,000.
Analysis: The brokerage free trade bonus has the highest minimum deposit of the bunch at $10,000. On the flipside, a free $200 for a $25,000 deposit is the best cash bonus seen
thus far and a 500 free trade limit is quite high compared to other brokers.
Etrade brokerage review
All of the listed brokerage incentives follow the same formula: commission free trades and/or a cash bonus as a result of a substantial opening deposit. TradeStation
and OptionsHouse promotions are almost identical, and give the longest commission free trading period for new clients seen on the list at 60 and 90 days. TD Ameritrade has
the best stock broker incentive for those with less capital to invest, setting the minimum deposit for free trades at only $200. Finally, Etrade brokerage account promotion works
best for those with at least $25,000 to invest, where they will receive their 60 days of free trades incentive plus the only real attainable cash bonus for anyone but the super
Updated on 9/20/2016.