Best Discount Brokerage Firms

Best Discount Brokers


Best discount brokerage firms in 2015: 3 top rated low cost online brokers in U.S. for stock trading/investing/IRA account



4.5-star brokerage firm rating

Optionshouse Review

Best Discount Broker Commissions


InvestmentsCommissions
Stocks and ETFs $4.95
Stocks and ETFs broker assisted $4.95
Options$4.95 + $0.50 per contract
Mutual funds $20

Investments stocks, options, mutual funds, bonds, ETFs
Optionshouse minimum deposit to open account $0 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)
  • No surcharges for large orders or extended hours trading
  • 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

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 $4.95 per trade commissions on stocks and ETFs, attractive plan for option traders, and a great $20 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.

Read Optionshouse Review

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



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 2015. The firm received lots of awards from financial magazines: 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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Etrade Review

Best Discount Broker Commissions


ProductPrice
Stocks and ETFs $9.99 ($7.99 if making 150+ trades per quarter)
Stocks and ETFs broker assisted $34.99
Options $9.99 + $0.75 per contract ($7.99 + $0.75 if making 150+ trades per quarter)
Mutual funds $19.99
Futures contracts $2.99 per contract, per side + fees
Fixed Incomemarkup or markdown and any transaction fee will be included in the price quoted
Forex No commissions. Etrade receives compensation through the bid/ask spread.
Bonds$1 per bond (minimum $10, maximum $250) for online secondary market trades. Includes Agency bonds, Corporate bonds, Municipal bonds, Brokered CDs, Pass-thrus, CMOs, Asset Backed Securities.

Investments stocks, bonds, mutual funds, futures, forex, fixed income, options, ETFs
Etrade minimum deposit to open account $500 for non-retirement cash account, $0 for retirement cash account, $2,000 for margin account
FeesEtrade fees

Etrade Advantages

  • No account maintenance or inactivity fees
  • Large and well established company
  • Powerful trading tools
  • No IRA account fees, and no minimums with electronic statements and confirmations
  • Low minimums to open accounts: $500 for cash account, $0 for retirement cash account, $2,000 for margin account
  • Investing advice is available by phone or in person
  • No surcharges on large orders or penny stocks
  • Great research amenities from S&P, MorningStar, Thompson Reuters, Credit Suisse, and Smart Consensus
  • Access to trading on 40 foreign exchanges
  • Free streaming quotes
  • Very broad selection of products: 8,000 mutual funds, every ETF sold, over 30,000 bonds, securities from 77 international markets, 1,300 no-load, no-transaction fee mutual funds, and 90+ commission-free ETFs

Etrade Disadvantages

  • High commissions on stocks and ETFs
  • High margin rates
  • $0.005 per share surcharge on extended hours trades (ECN fee) and on trades executed through E*TRADE Pro at an ECN during both regular market and extended hours sessions
  • E*TRADE Pro platform is available at no charge only to customers who execute at least 30 stock or options trades during a calendar quarter

Top Discount Broker Review


Open an account with Etrade if you are only comfortable investing with one of the oldest, most established and largest online brokerage houses for do-it-yourself investors in the country, or you are looking for an IRA account (there are no IRA fees).

Read full Etrade Review

Open Etrade Account

Trade free for 60 days + get up to $600.



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
  • 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
  • Large number of mutual funds available - 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
  • Outdated, cluttered website design

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 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.

Read full Scottrade Review

Open Scottrade Account

Get up to $2000 when you open new account or add funds to existing account.
This article was updated on 4/25/2015.


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