Best Online Brokerage Account for Small Investors
Best brokerage firm for small investor in 2016. Top discount online broker for small account balance for low cost investing (trading) in stocks, mutual funds, ETFs, options, and bonds.
Best Brokerage for Small Investor: Commissions
|Stocks and ETFs|| $4.95|
|Stocks and ETFs broker assisted|| $29.95|
|Options||$4.95 + $0.50 per contract|
|Mutual funds|| $20|
|Futures|| $1.50 per contract|
- Very low commissions
- Free streaming quotes
- No fee IRA accounts
- No volume requirements, or maintenance or inactivity fees
- Free check-writing privileges
- Free DRIPs/dividend reinvestment (complete, non-fractional shares only)
- No surcharges on large orders or extended hours trading
- Low margin rates
- Free virtual trading
Best Brokerage Firm for Small Investor Review
Optionshouse is one of the best discount online brokerage firms for small investors (those with small account balance) in 2016
since there are no minimum deposit requirements, no hidden fees, and no penalties for having low balance, or not making any trades.
Prospective customers can open cash account
with $0. The firm also offers extremely low cost pricing: $4.95 per stock or ETF trade, and $20 per mutual fund trade.
Compare it to big brokerage houses: $10 for stocks and $50 for mutual fund trades at Etrade,
$9 and $76 per trade respectively at Charles Schwab, and finally $8 and $50 per
trade respectively at Fidelity Investments.
It's extremely important to get the best pricing for investors with small account balances since high commissions will take a huge bite out of their account.
For example, let's say account balance is $1,000 and an investor decides to buy a mutual fund. Since the cost of transaction is $50 at Fidelity, it means
that investors will spend 5% of their portfolio just on that one transaction! It's a huge expense! Compare it to just $20 per mutual fund transaction at
Optionshouse or just 2% of the account balance.
Another thing worth mentioning is that some online brokers charge account inactivity fees: the fee is imposed when a customer does not make a specified amount
of trades during a month (Interactive Brokers), a quarter (Lightspeed Trading), or a year (TradeKing). Small investor will likely not be making a lot of trades,
because active trading will just eat away their money. Optionshouse doesn't charge inactivity fees.
There are also companies that impose special fees that could destroy a small account investor - Low Balance Fees. These fees are charged if client has account
balance lower than required by a brokerage house (Interactive Brokers), or it could be charged if the amount invested in a mutual fund is too low (Fidelity
Investments, Vanguard). Optionshouse does not charge any of the above mentioned fees.
Because there are no setup, termination, or maintenance fees for all individual retirement accounts, Optionshouse is also one of the
Best Brokers for IRA.
Read full Optionshouse Review.
Alternative Broker for Small Investors
If you have never heard about Optionshouse, and you only want to open an account with one of the well-known companies, than TD Ameritrade is an excellent
alternative to Optionshouse. It is one of the largest brokerage houses in U.S. that has been in
business for over 30 years.
TD Ameritrade allows customers to invest in thousands of mutual funds and 101 ETFs without paying any commission. The firm requires no minimum deposit
to open and maintain both IRA and non-IRA accounts. There are no account inactivity or low balance fees. All this makes the firm one of the best brokers for
small investors. More information is in detailed TD Ameritrade review.
Updated on 2/19/2016.