Best brokerage firms

Best brokerage firms: top rated online discount stock brokers in 2014-2015

On this page we list 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 online discount stock broker accounts and selected three best brokerage firms for 2014-2015.

4.5-star brokerage firm rating

Scottrade Review

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 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 for mutual funds (but not for stocks)
  • Large number of mutual funds available - over 14,500

Scottrade Drawbacks

  • 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

Full Scottrade Review

Scottrade Review

Link To Scottrade Promotion:

$100 in Transfer Fees Refunded. No set-up fees. No Annual Fees.

4.5-star brokerage firm rating

OptionsXpress review

Best Brokerage Firm Pricing

Stocks and ETFs$8.95
Options$14.95 for up to 10 contracts, $1.50 per contract for over 10 contracts
Options Active Traders$12.95 for up to 10 contracts, $1.25 per contract for over 10 contracts
Mutual funds $9.95
Bonds$5 per bond, $9.95 minimum
Futures$3.50 per contract
Forex No commissions. optionsXpress receives compensation through the bid/ask spread.
Options on Futures $3.50 per contract
Spreads, Straddles & Combos2-10 contracts - $12.95 flat (active traders) $14.95 flat (non-active traders); 10 + contracts - $1.25 per contract (active traders); $1.50 per contract (non-active traders)

Investments stocks, options, mutual funds, bonds, futures, options on futures, covered calls, forex, ETFs
OptionXpress minimum deposit to open account $0 for cash account, $2,000 for margin account
FeesOptionsXpress fees

OptionsXpress by Charles Schwab Advantages

  • Very cheap mutual fund commissions at $9.95 per transaction
  • Best customer service
  • Many well-designed trading tools and cutting-edge trading technology
  • Free streaming quotes
  • $100 bonus for opening new account
  • No fee IRA accounts
  • Great research
  • Free virtual trading
  • Helpful investor community
  • No money down to open new account
  • Free account transfers
  • Free instructor-led online classes
  • Free broker-assisted trading
  • Free DRIP: dividend reinvestment plan (contact customer service to set up)
  • Access to financial advice and additional brokerage services through Charles Schwab

OptionsXpress by Charles Schwab Drawbacks

  • Higher than average commissions on stocks and ETFs

Full OptionsXpress by Charles Schwab Review

OptionsXpress Review

Link To OptionsXpress Promotion - $100 bonus:

Open OptionsXpress account and get 50 free trades.

4.5-star brokerage firm rating

TradeKing 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

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 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 Promotional Code:

(Refer a friend and both receive $50)

Above is the list of our three top rated, best brokerage firm accounts in 2014. These discount stock trading companies accept USA-based customers and enable their clients buy and sell stocks listed on NYSE, NASDAQ, and other exchanges. Some of these stocks are in S&P500 and Dow. OptionsXpress is also open to international investors, so if you are one of them read this first.

You can open new account or transfer your existing brokerage house account by clicking on one of the links on Brokerage Review website. Some of the companies allow opening account with no initial deposit ($0 down). All three firms have promotion offers for new customers.

The best online brokerage for beginner investors and IRA accounts is Scottrade - there are no IRA fees: individual retirement account setup, inactivity, or annual maintenance fees. Unlike most other competitors, the company does not even charge customers who decide to close their IRA account.

If you are only comfortable investing with large, well-known online brokerage firm, then either Scottrade or OptionsXpress (now owned by Charles Schwab) will be great choices. These two companies belong to the "Big 5 Brokerages" - five largest brokerage houses in the U.S.

TradeKing has one of the best brokerage accounts for active traders, as well as investors looking for the cheapest trading costs. The firm charges just $4.95 per stock or ETF trade and $9.95 for no-load, no-transaction fee mutual funds! It also offers lots of valuable services for free.

We believe that these three are the top broker-dealers for do-it-yourself (DIY) investors in the United States, each with its unique strengths that will appeal to various groups of customers. All these firms are safe: they are members of FINRA and SIPC, which means that they are regulated by U.S. government and their client accounts are insured for up to $500,000 per customer, including up to $250,000 in cash.

This article was updated on 1/13/2015.

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The stock brokerage firm you select is solely responsible for its services to you, the user. shall not be liable for any damages or costs of any type arising out of or in any way connected with your use of a brokerage house's services. has partner relationships with other companies. As a partner, we often provide reviews of products and services based on our personal opinions. We are not compensated for positive reviews. While we strive to make sure that the information we present here is true and accurate upon publication, the rates and offers that we share with you may change without notice, so please visit the sites we reference for more up to date information.