About Stock Broker Promotions
Above is the list of current discount online brokerage firm promotion offers for 2016. These deals are valid mostly for U.S.-based new
customers, and usually do not apply to clients from other countries. If you are looking to open a retirement account, make sure to read offer details
since some deals also do not apply to IRA accounts.
The most popular online broker promotions are:
: brokerage companies offering new clients a specific number of free trades (usually these must be used within certain period of time), or
almost unlimited trades during a specified period of time, usually 30 or 60 days.
: brokerages giving away free cash for signing up in two main ways:
Account transfer fee rebate
- 1. bonus just for opening new brokerage account, with no strings attached.
- 2. cash bonus amount depending on the amount deposited into just opened account. It is ranging anywhere from $25 to $600 (Etrade and TD Ameritrade have
the highest bonuses, and these offers are sometimes valid for existing customers too).
: companies reimbursing new customers the expense of moving to them an existing account from a different firm.
When transferring an account, a client usually incurs an account transfer fee (a.k.a. ACAT fee), charged by a broker from which transfer originates
(only Scottrade and Vanguard don't charge this fee).
Companies, like Scottrade or TradeKing will reimburse you ACAT fee if you move your account to them.
Less popular forms of incentives and rewards for opening new account are various gift cards (like Apple store card), merchandise gifts
(computer monitor or Kindle Fire), free of heavily discounted subscriptions to investment magazines, websites, and newsletters.
Most of these special offers for clients opening new brokerage account are great! But don't forget that ultimately you are trusting a
company with all or a part of your life savings. Therefore, researching a firm diligently by reading reviews from various sources and trying a few different
online brokers to find the best fit is very important.
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 promotions offered by some of
the biggest 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.
Brokerage review: TradeStation
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.
Brokerage review: Optionshouse
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 most 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.
Brokerage review: TD Ameritrade
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.
Brokerage review: Etrade
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 broker 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
wealthy at $200.
Updated on 6/7/2016.