Best Brokerage Firms

Best Online Brokerage Firms: Top Brokers in 2015

On this page we list the best online brokerage companies that offer the lowest trading commissions and fees, and the highest quality of client services. We reviewed and compared over 30 top rated U.S. investment/trading discount broker accounts and selected three best stock brokerage firms for individuals in 2015.

Best Brokerage Firm Pricing

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 $17
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

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
Promotion and login linksScottrade login, Scottrade promotions

Scottrade Advantages

  • No inactivity, account maintenance or hidden fees
  • No-fee IRAs
  • 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 free first order of checks)
  • Free real-time streaming quotes
  • Flexible and free dividend reinvestment programs (DRIPs)
  • Large number of mutual funds available - over 14,500
  • Instant funds deposits

Scottrade Drawbacks

  • Outdated, cluttered website design
  • Additional 0.5% of the principal value commission for stocks under $1
  • No electronic withdrawals, but clients can use a debit card, checks, or ACH transfer from their bank
  • $25,000 account balance, or 9+ stock/option trades during the previous three months is required to use advanced trading platform (ScottradeELITE)
  • High $2,500 minimum to open regular brokerage account (but $0 for IRA)

Full Scottrade Review

Scottrade Review

Link To Scottrade Promotion

Get up to $2000 when you open new account or add funds to existing account.

Open Scottrade account

4.5-star brokerage firm rating

Optionshouse Review

Best Brokerage Firm Pricing

Stocks and ETFs $4.95
Stocks and ETFs broker assisted $29.95
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
Promotion and login linksOptionshouse login, Optionshouse promotions and Optionshouse referral

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 Drawbacks

  • For stocks priced $2 or less that are not options eligible, add $0.005 per share for the entire order (including OTCBB, Pink Sheets)
  • Short after-hours trading: 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm EST, instead of 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm EST

Full OptionsHouse Review

Optionshouse Review

Link To OptionHouse Promotion

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

Open Optionshouse account

4.5-star brokerage firm rating

Best Brokerage Firm Pricing

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
Promotion and login linksTradeKing login, TradeKing promotions

TradeKing Advantages

  • Very low 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 Drawbacks

  • 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

Full TradeKing Review

TradeKing Review

Link To TradeKing Promotion

Get $200 and trade for just $4.95.

Open TradeKing account

Best Brokerage Firms

Above is the list of our three best online brokerage firms for individuals in 2015. These top rated discount investing companies accept USA-based customers, and enable their clients to buy and sell stocks listed on NYSE, NASDAQ, and other exchanges.

Of course, the brokerages mentioned in this article also offer their customers an ability to invest in literally thousands of various mutual funds from most major mutual fund families including Vanguard and Fidelity. The types of mutual funds available are no-load, load, NTF (no transaction fee), index funds, bond and target retirement funds, and others. The firms also allow options trading (including complex options) as well as investing in ETFs (exchange traded funds) and in majority of available bond securities.

You can open new regular brokerage or IRA account, or transfer your existing brokerage account to one of these top online brokerage firms by clicking on the links on the website and completing application form. Optionshouse and TradeKing allow opening an account with no initial deposit ($0 down), while Scottrade requires $2,500 minimum deposit for regular brokerage account and $0 for an IRA. All three companies offer generous promotion incentives for new customers.

Our Recommendations

If you are only comfortable investing with large, well-known, top rated online brokerage firm, then Scottrade is a great choice. The company belongs to the "Big 5 Brokerages" - the five largest brokerage houses in the U.S. and it has been in business for over 30 years. Scottrade is one of the best brokerages for beginners, long term and mutual funds investors.

For active stock, ETF and options traders, Optionshouse offers one of the best brokerage accounts complete with cheap trading costs as well as an award winning suite of trading tools. The firm charges just $4.95 per stock or ETF trade. It also provides lots of valuable services completely free.

TradeKing offers easy-to-use yet powerful and sophisticated set of trading tools, a simulated trading environment, fee-free IRAs, online trader comminity, free streaming quotes, and great beginner investor education. Stock and ETF trades cost very low $4.95 per trade, and transaction-fee, no-load mutual funds are just $9.95 per transaction.

We rated TradeKing, Optionshouse and Scottrade the Best Brokerage Firms in 2015 in the United States for do-it-yourself (DIY) investors. Each company has unique strengths that will appeal to various groups of customers - therefore we highly recommend reading brokerage reviews. All these firms are safe: they are members of FINRA and SIPC, which means that they are regulated by United States government, and their client accounts are insured for up to $500,000 per customer, including up to $250,000 in cash.

Updated on 10/15/2015.

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