Best Self Directed Brokerage Accounts

Best Self-Directed Investment Firms, Online Stock Brokers For IRA and Non-IRA Accounts in 2015



Review of the best self-directed brokerage accounts in 2015. Top 3 rated self-managed online stock brokers, personal investing/trading firms.


4.5-star brokerage firm rating

Optionshouse Review


OptionsHouse Self-Directed Brokerage Pricing


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 Drawbacks

  • For stocks priced $2 or less that are not options eligible, add $0.005 per share for the entire order

Full Top Self-Directed Broker Review


Optionshouse Review

OptionHouse Promotion


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







Scottrade Self-Directed Broker Account Pricing


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 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
  • Outdated, cluttered website design

Full Top Self-Directed Broker Review


Scottrade Review

Scottrade Promotion


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



4-star brokerage firm rating

TDAmeritrade review

TD Ameritrade Self-Directed Brokerage Firm Pricing


InvestmentsCommissions
Stocks and ETFs $9.99
Stocks and ETFs broker assisted $49.99
Stocks and ETFs interactive voice response (IVR) telephone system $34.99
Options $9.99 + $0.75 per contract
No-load mutual funds $49.99
Treasuries at auction $25
All other bonds and CMOs, CDs on a net yield basis
Futures $2.25 per contract (plus exchange & regulatory fees)
Forex Non-commission currency pairs trade in increments of 10,000 units (and do not contain a "#" symbol suffix). There are no additional fees or charges.

Investments stocks, mutual funds, options, ETFs, bonds, CDs, UITs, futures, and forex
TD Ameritrade\TDA minimum deposit to open account $0 for cash account, $2,000 for margin account
FeesTD Ameritrade fees

TD Ameritrade Advantages

  • No surcharges on penny stocks, large orders, or after-hours trading
  • Large and well-known company with 126 local branches
  • Two excellent trading platforms: Thinkorswim and Trade Architect
  • Users can practice trading without risking real money using PaperMoney virtual trading
  • No-fee IRA accounts
  • No account maintenance or inactivity fees
  • Rich selection of independent, third-party research from 12 firms (Standard & Poor's, Morningstar, Jaywalk, TheStreet, etc.)
  • Large number of mutual funds - over 13,000 available; 2,500 NTF (no-transaction fee) funds
  • Free DRIP (dividend reinvestment plan)

TD Ameritrade Drawbacks

  • At $9.99 for stocks and ETFs and $49 for mutual funds, commission rates are very high
  • High margin rates

Full Best Self-Directed Brokerage Review


TD Ameritrade Review

TD Ameritrade Promotion


Trade free for 60 days + get up to $600.
This article was updated on 7/23/2015.



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