Direct Access Brokers List

Direct Access Brokerage Firms List

Below we list top direct access brokerage firms in 2015. Read their online reviews, compare stock and options fees, and see ratings and rankings for their direct market access trading platforms.

4-star brokerage firm rating

Thinkorswim review

Direct Access Broker Trading Costs (Negotiable for active traders)

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, bonds, mutual funds, options, ETFs, bonds, CDs, UITs, futures and forex
Thinkorswim\TOS minimum deposit to open account $0 for cash account, $2,000 for margin account
FeesThinkorswim fees
Promotion and login linksThinkorswim login, Thinkorswim promotions

ThinkOrSwim Pros

  • 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
  • Easy access to myTRADE trader community
  • No-fee IRA accounts
  • No account maintenance or inactivity fees
  • Free streaming quotes, including Level II
  • Rich selection of independent, third-party research from 12 firms (Standard & Poor's, Morningstar, Jaywalk, TheStreet, etc.)
  • 100+ ETFs with no commissions
  • Large number of mutual funds - over 13,000 available; 2,500 NTF (no-transaction fee) funds
  • Free DRIP (dividend reinvestment plan)

ThinkOrSwim Cons

  • High commissions on all investment products
  • High margin rates

Direct Access Broker Review

ThinkOrSwim Review

TradeStation review 2015

Direct Access Broker Trading Costs

Stocks and ETFs flat-rate plan $9.99 (1 to 9 trades/month); $7.99 (10 to 29 trades/month); $6.99 (30 to 99 trades/month); $5.99 (100 to 199 trades/month); $4.99 (200 or more)
Stocks and ETFs per-share plan $0.01 per share first 500 shares, $0.006 per share after that; $1.00 minimum per trade
Options per contract plan $1.00, no base or ticket charge, market or limit orders
Options per trade plan $9.99 + $0.70 per contract (1 to 9 trades/month); $7.99 + $0.50 per contract (10 to 29 trades/month); $6.99 + $0.40 per contract (30 to 99 trades/month); $5.99 + $0.30 per contract (100 to 199 trades/month); $4.99 + $0.20 per contract (200 or more)
Futures $0.25 - $1.20 per side, per contract + exchange, regulatory & overnight fees
Mutual funds $14.95
Bonds $14.95 + $5 per bond
Forexcommission-free with tight spreads and fractional pips
OTCBB $9.99 (100,000 share position maximum)
Pink Sheet Stocks $9.99 (100,000 share position maximum)

Investments stocks, options, mutual funds, bonds, futures, T-Bills, OTCBB, Pink Sheet Stocks, Forex, ETFs
Tradestation minimum deposit to open account $5,000 for non-daytraders, futures and forex accounts, $5,500 for futures and forex IRA accounts, and $30,000 for daytraders
FeesTradestation fees
Promotion linkTradestation promotions

TradeStation Pros

  • Low commissions for active traders
  • Great direct-access platform
  • Best charting package
  • Trading modeling functionality
  • Rich selection of investment products
  • Active online trader community
  • Good mutual funds pricing at $15 per transaction

TradeStation Cons

  • $99.95 monthly fee if not traded at least 5,000 shares in previous month (or 50 options contracts a month; or 10 round-turn futures or futures option contracts; or 50 round-turn single stock futures). Fee also doesn't apply for accounts with $100,000+ balance
  • High stock and ETF commissions for those who don't trade a lot
  • Direct routing up to 1,000 shares is no additional charge, $0.004 per share thereafter
  • $35 annual IRA fee
  • Steep learning curve to master the trading platform
  • Only about 100 mutual funds available
  • Minimum amount to open account is high: $5,000 for non-daytraders and $30,000 for daytraders

Direct Access Broker Review

TradeStation Review

3-star brokerage firm rating

Interactive Brokers review 2015

Direct Access Broker Trading Costs

Stocks and ETFs $0.005 per share with $1 minimum, 0.5% of trade value maximum for SMART routed orders
Options $0.70 per contract if Premium => $0.10; $0.50 per contract if $0.05 =< Premium < USD 0.10; $0.25 per contract if Premium < $0.05 + exchange fees. Minimum $1 per order.
Mutual funds $14.95 (minimum size on initial fund order is $3,000, subsequent minimum order size is $100)
Corporate and Municipal Bonds0.1%* Face Value (10 bps) if <= $10,000 Face Value; 0.025%* Face Value (2.5 bps) if > $10,000 Face Value
Treasuries (Bills, Notes, Bonds)0.02%* Face Value (2 bps) if <= $1,000,000 Face Value; 0.002%* Face Value (0.2 bps) if > $1,000,000 Face Value; $5 minimum
Metals0.15 basis point * Trade Value; minimum $2; storage cost 0.10% per annum
Forex0.20 basis point * Trade Value if <= $1,000,000,000; minimum $2

Investments stocks, options, mutual funds, ETFs, bonds, futures, currency transactions, US SSFs, EFPs, metals
Interactive Brokers\IB minimum deposit to open account $10,000 for non-IRA account, $5,000 for IRA account, $3,000 for anyone age 25 or younger
FeesInteractive Brokers fees
Promotion linkInteractive Brokers promotions

Interactive Brokers Pros

  • Low pay-per-share commissions on stock trades with up to 1,000 shares and on options trades of up to 20 contracts
  • Professional trading platform (Trader WorkStation)
  • Best margin rates
  • Access to 100 markets
  • Rich selection of products for trading

Interactive Brokers Cons

  • $10,000 minimum to open most accounts
  • $30 per month minimum commission requirement to avoid $10 monthly fee (rises to $20 monthly if account balance is less than $2,000; waived for $100,000+ accounts)
  • $10 monthly for market data feed (waived if trade commissions are more than $30 per month)
  • $7.50 quarterly fee for IRA accounts ($30 per year)
  • Complicated fee structure
  • Trader Workstation is designed for professional traders; it is not intuitive and difficult to learn
  • Expensive to make trades with over 1,600 shares
  • Lots of customer complains about snobby customer service (and yes, we experienced it ourselves)
  • Merciless margin tightening and fast margin calls - IB apparently doesn't care if their customers get completely wiped out
  • Minimum size on initial mutual fund order is $3,000 (subsequent minimum order size is $100). Only no-load funds and short term redemption fee funds are offered
  • Technical problems with trading platforms and website

Direct Access Broker Review

Interactive Brokers Review

List of direct access brokers

4.5-star brokerage firm rating

MBTrading review 2015

Direct Access Broker Trading Costs

Stocks and ETFs $4.95
OR $0.0075 per share with a $4.95 minimum per trade (proprietary order routing through MBTX system)
Executions on foreign stock exchange $4.95 + 0.01 per share
Options $0.95 per contract (1-10 contracts), $0.60 per contract (11-100 contracts), $0.35 per contract (101-249 contracts)
Mutual funds $9.95
Bonds Corporate/Listed 1 per bond ($10 minimum, $250 maximum charge)
Bond Treasuries free
Bonds Allocation $25
Pink Sheets & OTC BB $4.95 per trade + $0.01 per share, Maximum charge of 5% of principal value
Futures $0.85 per contract (1-250 contracts), $0.65 per contract (251-2000 contracts), $0.55 per contract (2001+ contracts)
Forex $2.50 per 100,000 traded

Investments stocks, options, mutual funds, Forex, futures, bonds, ETFs
MB Trading minimum deposit to open account $1,000 for cash account, $2,000 for margin, $400 for a Forex, $500 for IRA
FeesMB Trading fees
Promotion linkMB Trading promotions

MB Trading Pros

  • Good commissions on market and limit orders (regular hours only)
  • Excellent trading tools
  • Great customer service
  • No maintenance or inactivity fees

MB Trading Cons

  • Surcharge of $0.005 per share for each share over the first 5,000, on extended hours trades, and orders executed using the Reserve, Discretionary, or Pegged order types
  • Stocks priced less than $1.00: $4.95 per trade + $0.01 per share, Maximum charge of 5% of principal value
  • $30 annual fee for IRAs
  • High margin rates
  • $0.01 per share fee to exercise options contracts
  • Very long and privacy-intrusive new account opening process

Full MB Trading Review

MB Trading Review

2-star brokerage firm rating

SpeedTrader Review

Direct Access Broker Trading Costs

Stocks and ETFs per trade plan $6.95 for accounts under $25,000
Stocks and ETFs per trade plan $4.49 for accounts above $25,000
Stocks and ETFs per share plan $0.0044 per share, $1.99 min per trade (only for accounts above $25,000)
Options$0.40 per contract ($1.99 min per trade) + routing and other fees

Investments stocks, options, ETFs
SpeedTrader minimum deposit to open account $0 for cash account, $2,000 for margin account
FeesSpeedTrader fees

SpeedTrader Pros

  • Low commissions for very active traders
  • Professional trading platforms
  • Virtual trading

SpeedTrader Cons

  • $30 Quarterly Inactivity Fee (if under 15 trades in a quarter)
  • Steep trading platform fees
  • $75 annual IRA fee
  • Pricing and platforms are changed often
  • Option exercise and assignment fees are $30 each
  • No research tools and a poor tax record keeping

Direct Access Broker Review

SpeedTrader Review
Updated on 9/1/2015.

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