Best Brokers For Day Traders


2017 review of the best brokerages for day trading. Best day trading broker accounts for stocks, options, and futures markets.



A lot is needed to make a living out of day trading on the markets with knowledge, experience, and right trading tools being the most important factors. It is also imperative to minimize the cost of trading as it might eat out large portion of a trader profits. In an ideal world, there is a brokerage firm that offers both the lowest possible pricing and the best trading platform and research tools for active traders. Unfortunately, in the reality the best tools and the lowest costs will be in different companies.

We believe that a successful day trader needs three brokerage accounts. First account should be with a company offering very low per-share pricing plan to make small size trades of up to 1,000 shares. Second account should be with a firm that provides low flat-rate pricing plan for making larger trades (1,000 shares or more) that will be too expensive with the pay-per-share plan. And, finally, the third account will provide access to the best trading, research and charting tools which are usually found in more expensive brokerage houses.

Below we list our picks for 2017 best brokers for day-trading. All of these firms are offering fast trade executions.

- TradeStation for low per-share pricing: first 500 shares are $0.01 per share, $0.006 per share thereafter, with $1 minimum per trade;

- Ally Invest for cheap flat-rate trades: $3.95 per trade for clients making 30 or more trades in 90 days, regardless of the number of shares;

- TD Ameritrade for fantastic set of trading platforms and research tools: learn more in TD Ameritrade thinkorswim review.

It takes 10-15 minutes to open a day-trading account at Ally Invest ($0 minimum opening deposit) or TD Ameritrade ($0 minimum opening deposit), and a couple of days at TradeStation ($5,000 minimum opening deposit). If you decide to start daytrading, any brokerage firm will require at least $25,000 account balance.


Ally Invest rating

Ally Invest

Ally Invest

InvestmentsCommissions
Stocks and ETFs $4.95 ($3.95 per trade if making 30+ trades per quarter or for $100,000 balances)
Options $4.95 + $0.65 per contract ($0.50 per contract if making 30+ trades per quarter or for $100,000 balances)
Mutual funds $9.95
Bonds $1 per bond with $10 minimum, $250 maximum
Treasuries commission-free
Certificates of Deposit (CDs) $24.95

Investments stocks, options, mutual funds, bonds, CDs, forex, treasuries, ETFs
Ally Invest minimum deposit to open account $0 for cash account, $2,000 for margin account
FeesAlly Invest fees
Promotion link Ally Invest promotions


With only $4.95 flat-rate stock and ETF commission and $4.95 plus $0.65 per contract options commission, Ally Invest is one of the best brokers for day traders and active investors looking for flat-rate commission account to make larger trades that will be too expensive with per-share plan (see below). Clients who are making 30 or more trades per quarter get even lower, $3.95 stock or ETF trades and 50 cent option contract rates.

Ally Invest also provides its clients with an access to a great online trader community, where they can get trading ideas and see what other, day traders are doing.

Full Ally Invest Review

Ally Invest Review

Ally Invest Promotion Code

Get a $100 cash bonus or $500 in commission-free trades with Ally Invest.


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Tradestation rating

TradeStation

TradeStation: Best Broker For Day Trading With Per Share Plan

InvestmentsCommissions
Stocks and ETFs flat-rate plan$5 ($4 for IRA)
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 trade plan $5 + $0.50 per contract ($4 + $0.30 per contract for IRA)
Options per contract plan $1.00, no base or ticket charge, market or limit orders
Futures from $1.20 (1 to 300 monthly contracts) to $0.25 (20,000+ monthly contracts) 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

Investments stocks, options, mutual funds, bonds, futures, forex, ETFs
Tradestation minimum deposit to open account $500 for cash account, and $2,000 for margin account
FeesTradestation fees
Promotion linkTradestation promotions


TradeStation offers one of the lowest commissions among discount online brokers: it charges just $0.01 per share for the first 500 shares, $0.006 per share thereafter, with $1 minimum per trade. With that rate all stock trades of up to 100 shares will cost you just $1!

Thanks in part to fast trade executions, TradeStation got the highest score in Best for Frequent Traders and Best for International Traders categories in Barron's magazine online broker survey. We rated the firm Best for Futures Traders and Best for Day Traders for the third year in a row.

Detailed TradeStation Review

TradeStation Review

TradeStation Promotion Offer

Get $5 per trade stock and ETF commissions. $4 per trade for IRAs.


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TD Ameritrade rating

TD Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade: Broker With Best Day Trader Platform

InvestmentsCommissions
Stocks and ETFs $6.95
Stocks and ETFs broker assisted $44.99
Options $6.95 + $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 minimum deposit to open account $0 for cash account, $2,000 for margin account
FeesTD Ameritrade fees
Promotion links TD Ameritrade promotions


TD Ameritrade commissions is $6.95 per trade. But the pricing is negotiable for active traders. What we really like about the firm is TD Ameritrade's Thinkorswim trading platform, that allows trading stocks, options, forex and futures from the same place. The platform is the best in the industry for day traders, and it is free of charge. Thinkorswim provides instant trade executions, and it is a must-try for any day trader.

Because of Thinkorswim, TD Ameritrade has been rated one of the top brokers for active traders for the last few years. Read complete Thinkorswim platform review.

Detailed TD Ameritrade Review

TD Ameritrade Review

TD Ameritrade Promotion Offer

Trade free for 60 days + get up to $600.


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Becoming A Daytrader: It's Simple, But It's Not Easy


When people discover that I am a professional trader, they usually want to know “what's the secret?” and they are inevitably disappointed with my answer. I always respond that there is no secret; in fact, trading is simple. Simple, but not easy.

Through discussions and interactions with other traders, I've concluded that everyone goes through a similar process on the way to becoming a person who derives their income from trading the market. Not the exact same in terms of time and effort, but the stages correspond. I'll share the steps I went through with the hope that others can recognize where they are and also see that there is light at the end of the tunnel.


Nothing To It


When I first started trading, it looked as though there should be nothing to it. Price either goes up or it goes down, doesn't seem like rocket science, lets get at it. I placed a lot of trades and took a lot of risks...if a trade started to go against me, I would reverse my position. Then the price would reverse and I'd go back to my original position only to see the price reverse again. Ten days of this tail-chasing and money losing exercise was enough to convince me that perhaps there was more to this than I had first thought.


The Search


I spent the next 2 years reading countless books, visiting websites and chat rooms, purchasing systems and basically immersing myself in anything and everything market related. I toyed with every indicator under the sun, from Fibonacci lines to moving averages. I would test a system for a week and if it didn't produce results, I'd move on to the next one. I would try to pick the exact turning points in the market and would chase losing trades. Basically, I tried everything, but no one thing long enough to see if it actually worked.

After committing more time and effort than I ever thought I'd have to and blowing out 2 fully funded brokerage accounts, I was on the verge of packing it in.


Epiphany


One day I looked at the littering of notes on my desk and realized that I had tried no less than 5 different systems in the last 8 days. The proverbial light bulb came on over my head: maybe it's not the system that is making the difference. Perhaps no one and no thing can predict what the market will do in the next few seconds or the next half an hour. This revelation led me to delve in to the psychology of trading and I began to work on my own system and develop my own method of trading.

I stopped looking at results on a trade by trade basis and took a longer view, I no longer got frustrated when a trade lost, I just closed it and went on to the next one. I actually truly accepted that I could not predict the market and things began to fall into place.


Rolling


The next year was a slow but sure climb to the ranks of profitability. I was making trades whenever they fit my criteria. I was taking losses just as freely and easily as I was taking wins. My winning trades were finally allowed to run to their conclusion and my losers were closed quickly. I began to break even most days and most months...I was growing more confident with my system and was conscious that I was on the right path. I was still working hard and thinking through every trade and slowly I began to make more money than I would lose on a consistent basis.


Boredom


Once I saw my account growing steadily month after month, the boredom started to creep in. Trading became no longer exciting, it was just like anything else in life that a person is good at or does as a job, it gets boring. Once you have a proven method of trading that is profitable, it tends to become mundane.

I guess in conclusion, the more appropriate answer to the “what's the secret?” question is that the journey to becoming a successful trader is simple, but it's not easy.


Updated on 7/24/2017.




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