Best Discount Brokerage Firms

Best Discount Brokers 2014


Best discount brokerage firms in 2014: 3 top rated low cost online brokers in U.S. for stock trading/investing/IRA account



4-star brokerage firm rating

Optionshouse Review

Best Discount Broker Commissions


InvestmentsCommissions
Stocks and ETFs $4.75
Stocks and ETFs broker assisted $4.75
Options
Plan 1. Up to five contracts for $5; each additional contract $1
Plan 2. $8.50 + 0.15/contract (great if trading over 10 contracts)
Spreads
Plan 1. Up to 10 contracts for $10; each additional contract $1
Plan 2. $12.50 + 0.15/contract
Mutual funds $9.95
U.S. Treasury bonds and listed corporate bondsOrders are accepted by phone

Investments stocks, options, mutual funds, bonds, ETFs
Optionshouse minimum deposit to open account $1,000 for cash account, $2,000 for margin account
FeesOptionshouse fees

Optionshouse Advantages

  • 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)
  • Very low margin rates
  • Free virtual trading

Optionshouse Disadvantages

  • For stocks priced $2 or less that are not options eligible, add $0.005 per share for the entire order
  • Shortened after-hours trading: 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm EST, instead of 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm EST
  • Basic charts
  • NTF mutual funds are not offered
  • Very limited research
  • Few educational resources

Top Discount Broker Review


Don't let the name fool you - Optionshouse is not just for options traders. The firm also provides highly rated services and excellent pricing for stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, and bonds investors. It offers very low, flat-rate $4.75 per trade commissions on stocks and ETFs, two attractive plans for option traders, and a great $9.95 per transaction rate on mutual funds. The company does not have minimum account balance, volume or minimum number of trades requirements to get these low commissions, either.

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4.5-star brokerage firm rating


Best Discount Broker Commissions


ProductPrice
Stocks and ETFs $4.95
Options $4.95 + $0.65 per contract
Mutual funds $9.95
Bonds $1 per bond with $10 minimum, $250 maximum
Treasuries commission-free
Certificates of Deposit (CDs) $24.95

Investments stocks, options, mutual funds, bonds, CDs, forex, treasuries, ETFs
TradeKing minimum deposit to open account $0 for cash account, $2,000 for margin account
FeesTradeKing fees

TradeKing Advantages

  • Great commissions
  • No minimums, or maintenance or hidden fees
  • Free real-time quotes
  • Top-rated customer service
  • Low margin rates
  • Best online investor community
  • Fee-free IRAs
  • Free DRIPs (dividend reinvestment plans)
  • Extensive educational resources
  • Low cost professional portfolio management

TradeKing Disadvantages

  • Additional $0.01 per share on the entire order for stocks priced at less than $2
  • $50 annual inactivity fee if BOTH apply to an account(s):
    • Combined account value of the household account(s) is less than $2,500
    • No commission-charged trades have been executed in the account(s) during the last 12 months
  • Shorter after-hours trading: 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm EST, instead of 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm EST

Top Discount Broker Review


TradeKing is one of our favorite online brokers -- we rated it as one of the Top Brokerage Firms in 2014. It received lots of awards from financial magazines: in 2013 Barron's magazine named it "Best for Option Traders" and among the best for "Long-Term Investing." In Smart Money magazine's Annual Broker Survey, TradeKing was top rated discount brokerage firm in Customer Service.

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4.5-star brokerage firm rating

Scottrade Review

Best Discount Broker Commissions


InvestmentsCommissions
Stocks and ETFs $7
Stocks and ETFs broker assisted $32
Stocks and ETFs interactive voice response (IVR) telephone system $32
Options $7 + $1.25 per contract
Mutual funds 3,000+ commission-free NTF funds, $17 for others
CDs, OTC Secondary Corporates, OTC Secondary Municipals,
U.S. Treasury Bills, Notes, Bonds and STRIPS, New Corporate Offerings
subject to a markup or markdown
Listed Corporate Bonds $35 + $3 per bond (minimum investment $1,000)
Unit Investment Trusts (UIT) $50 liquidation fee
Foreign Stocks Transferring In or Out $60 per transaction

Investments stocks, options, mutual funds, CDs, munis, U.S. Treasury, Canadian and foreign stocks, ETFs
Scottrade minimum deposit to open account $2,500 ($0 for IRA accounts)
FeesScottrade fees

Scottrade Advantages

  • No inactivity, account maintenance or hidden fees
  • No-fee IRAs
  • #1 in customer satisfaction according to JD Power and Associates
  • 500+ local branches for in-person assistance
  • Great support for beginner investors with a massive number of educational resources
  • Online user community
  • Good banking services: savings, CDs, money market and free checking accounts (free ATM withdrawals, VISA check card, and first order of checks free)
  • Free real-time streaming quotes and charts
  • Free dividend reinvestment for mutual funds (but not for stocks)
  • Largest number of mutual funds - over 14,500

Scottrade Disadvantages

  • Additional 0.5% of the principal value commission for stocks under $1
  • No electronic withdrawals, but you can use a debit card or check. Once you receive checks, you will have the routing number and account number, which you can use to withdraw money via ACH initiated from other financial institutions

Top Discount Broker Review


Open an account with Scottrade if you are only comfortable investing with one of the oldest, most established and largest online brokerage houses for do-it-yourself (DIY) investors in the country, or you are looking for an IRA account (there are no IRA fees). The firm offers the lowest commissions among the largest brokerage houses: $7 per stock or ETF trade. Compare it to other big brokerages: $10 per trade at Etrade and TD Ameritrade, $9 at Charles Schwab, $8 at Fidelity Investments.

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$100 in Transfer Fees Refunded. No set-up fees. No Annual Fees.
This article was updated on 10/13/2014.


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