Best Self Directed Brokerage Accounts

Best Self-Directed Investment Firm Accounts, Online Stock Brokers in 2014



Review best self-directed brokerage firms accounts in 2014. Top 3 rated self-managed online stock brokers, personal investing/trading brokerages in U.S. for IRA & non-IRA clients.


4-star brokerage firm rating

Optionshouse Review


OptionsHouse Self-Directed Brokerage Pricing


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 Drawbacks

  • 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

Full Top Self-Directed Broker Review


Optionshouse Review

OptionHouse Promotional Offer


Get 150 commission-free trades at OptionsHouse.



4.5-star brokerage firm rating

Scottrade Review


Scottrade Self-Directed Broker Account 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
  • Investment products: stocks, options, mutual funds, CDs, munis, U.S. Treasury, Canadian and foreign stocks, ETFs
  • Scottrade minimum deposit to open account: $500 for a cash account, $2,000 for a margin account
  • All Scottrade 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)
  • Only $500 minimum to open account
  • 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 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 Top Self-Directed Broker Review


Scottrade Review

Scottrade Promotional Offer - $100 in transfer fee reimbursed


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



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
  • Practice trading without risking your own money using paperMoney
  • 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
  • Extremely high margin rates

Full Best Self-Directed Brokerage Review


TD Ameritrade Review

TD Ameritrade Promotional Offer


Trade free for 60 days + get up to $600.
This article was updated on 4/28/2014.



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