Best ETF brokers

Cheapest ETF trading commissions: best online stock brokers with lowest ETF trading fees (flat rate) in 2014



Optionshouse Review

OptionsHouse ETF Commission


$4.75 flat-rate per trade (even for broker assisted trades)

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 Disadvantages

  • 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

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Optionshouse Review

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Get 150 commission-free trades at OptionsHouse.


TradeKing ETF Commission


$4.95 per trade

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

TradeKing Disadvantages

  • 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
  • International investors are not accepted
  • Shorter after-hours trading: 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm EST, instead of 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm EST

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TradeKing Review

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(Refer a friend and both receive $50)


TradeMonster ETF Commission


$4.95 per trade

TradeMonster Advantages

  • Very low stock and ETF commissions
  • Selling mutual funds is free
  • No inactivity or account maintenance fees
  • No-fee IRAs
  • Free trading simulator (virtual trading)
  • Lots of learning materials for investors, including webinars
  • Powerful, feature-rich trading tools
  • Excellent research amenities and customer service

TradeMonster Disadvantages

  • Additional 1.5 cents per share surcharge on extended hours trades
  • Additional $0.0005 per share on the entire order for any stocks priced less than $1

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TradeMonster Review

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Trade Commission Free for 60 Days at tradeMONSTER



Brokers With Lowest ETF Commissions


For investors who primarily trade Exchange Traded Funds (ETF), there are several brokers that offer the lowest commissions on this type of investment. The attraction of ETFs is that one can select an ETF that represents a stock index such as the S&P 500, commodities such as gold or sliver, and even a stock sector like biotech. It saves the investor from having to select a specific stock and minimizes the company risk associated with single stock investments. The ETF world has grown considerably, and there are now selections that multiply returns (and losses) by 100-200%.

Since some traders like to use ETFs for shorter time frames, commissions may become an important factor when selecting a broker. The lowest ETF commissions are offered at OptionsHouse, TradeKing and TradeMonster. An examination of these brokers’ commissions and services reveals a few differences to consider.


OptionsHouse


The commission at OptionsHouse is $4.75 per trade, even if a broker assists with the trade. That is a nice feature, where some large brokers may charge up to $40 to include a broker in the trade. This combined with no maintenance or inactivity fees makes this discounter an attractive choice. One is limited in the areas of research and education, but that may be a low priority for ETF investors. There is an additional fee $0.005 per share for trading a vehicle under $2, but most ETFs are above that threshold so it would not apply.


TradeKing


TradeKing’s ETF commission is $4.95 per trade, with an additional fee of $0.01 per share if the share price is less than $2. They do charge an inactivity fee of $50, but don’t have account minimums or maintenance fees. TradeKing offers excellent trading tools, educational resources and online community, so a trader does receive a bit more for their commissions spent on trading.


TradeMonster


Completing an ETF trade at TradeMonster costs a similar $4.95, with a minimal $0.0005 per share on ETFs less than a dollar. This fee would almost never come into play with most ETFs. However, they do have an extra fee for trading after hours of 1.5 cents per share, which the others do not charge. Also, there are no account inactivity or maintenance fees.

As with most broker choices, ETF traders will have to make a selection based more on the services offered by each, rather than significant differences in commissions. For all three brokers, trades placed during normal hours for ETFs over $2 will all carry a similar commission cost.
This article was updated on 5/1/2014.



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