As you can see, we used a "star" rating system to rate online stock brokers in the list. The best brokerage firm accounts got the highest, five-star rating. Any company with
two- or one-star rating should be avoided. Three-star rated firm is perfectly fine, but there are, probably, better options for you to consider. All companies with three and half
stars and higher are recommended at least for one category of investors.
Every online investing firm listed has its strengths and weaknesses which could work for one customer but might not work for the other. Before opening an account, there are a lot of parameters to
consider beside commissions, well-known name and pretty website: surcharges and fees, friendliness to your knowledge level (perhaps you are a beginner? or you need a professional trading platform?),
availability of investment products you want to buy, online community, virtual trading, discounts, and others. We suggest you take a time to read brokerage reviews, to see for yourself
if a particular firm is right for you.
Some online brokers in the list let you open an account with $0 down: you should take this opportunity and open few brokerage accounts, to see which one you like the most.
It will also allow you to take advantage of unique and valuable features some companies provide at no charge. For example, OptionsHouse
offers lots of great trading and screening tools, and $0 to open account. If you decide to invest, the firm has hard-to-beat $4.95 commission on stocks and ETFs.
With TD Ameritrade
there is $0 minimum to open account, and you'll get amazing selection of independent,
third-party investment research, best trading platform, free market data, and generous promotional offer. There are no inactivity or maintenance fees to worry about - everything is free.
This list of stock brokerage firms was last updated in September of 2016. All companies are members of SIPC and FINRA, which means that they have to follow strict government rules and regulations, and
client accounts are insured (similar to bank accounts FDIC insurance) in case of brokerage company failure. If you know a North American/U.S. online stock trading
broker that should be included here, please contact us
Choosing The Right Brokerage Firm For You
If you are trying to figure out how to choose the best stock broker for you, it is not an easy task - there are hundreds of brokerage
companies in the United States. Most of them are small, local and unknown beyond their little area. They also tend to be more expensive and offer
few investment choices to their customers. But there are also around 30 bigger brokerages firms, that have a lot of clients, and are well known
in investing/trading community. So how exactly do you choose the best stock broker for you from the list above? That depends on what kind of
investor you are, and what are your goals.
1. Are you beginner in investing?
If you are completely new or semi-new to investing, you need a company that will be very friendly to beginners, providing great customer service,
lots of educational materials, easy-to-use trading tools and, preferably, an investment community where you could learn from other, more advanced
users, and even get some ideas on how to get started. Read more in Best Brokers For Beginners
2. Are you looking for a retirement account?
Investors who want to open a retirement account, tend to look for an established, well-known brokerage house that doesn't have IRA setup and IRA
maintenance or annual fees. They also tend not to be very risky with their retirement savings: they invest for long term, and therefore do not trade that
much. For them, the cost of trades is not that important. Read more in
Top Brokers For IRA
3. Are you a conservative, long term, "buy-and-hold" investor, or want to invest only with large brokerage house?
Very similar to retirement investors, customers looking to invest for long term, as well as those who believe in "buy-and-hold" strategy
(and that one cannot time the market), will tend to select a company that is not necessarily the cheapest (they don't trade that much),
but is large, well-known and have been in business for a while. For you we compiled the list of
Largest Brokerage Firms In U.S.
consisting of so called "Big 5" brokerages (TD Ameritrade, Etrade, Scottrade, Fidelity and Charles Schwab) and the sixth largest firm - TradeKing.
4. Are you an active trader or a day-trader?
If you trade often, maybe even daily, then finding a broker that has the lowest commissions and best trading tools is the most important
criteria for you. Take a look at the list of Best Brokers For Day-Traders
for some ideas.
Updated on 1/12/2016.