Online brokerage comparison

Online Brokerage Firms Comparison


2018 chart to compare best online brokerage firms on pricing, investment products, trading tools, beginner support, research amenities, and customer service.



How We Rate and Compare Online Brokers


In 2018 Brokerage-Review.com staff have rated 20 of the largest U.S. discount brokerage firms, using specific criteria that we feel offers a solid methodology to compare brokers against one another.

In our broker ratings and rankings we used the following categories (percentages in parenthesis is the weight we give that specific criteria in the overall rating):

     -  Pricing (35%): This category rates brokers on a combined value of commissions, fees, surcharges, and promotions. It includes availability of commission-free ETFs and mutual funds.

     -  Trading Tools (15%): Rates brokers based on the quality of their trading tools - customizability, ease of use, richness of features, charts sophistication, order execution. Here, we also factor in mobile trading apps features as well as advanced platform availability to all clients.

     -  Range of Products (15%): This category is a total number and variety of investment products available to clients. One of the most crucial factors here is the total number of mutual funds available. It also includes availability of options, bonds, futures, and forex trading.

     -  Research Amenities (15%): This criterion is the quality and number of options for investment research.

     -  Customer Service (8%): Compares brokers based on how responsive, knowledgeable, and cordial their customer service team is. Includes an evaluation of the hours of support as well as availability of physical branches and online chat.

     -  Friendliness to Beginners (6%): Rates brokers based on support provided for customers new to investing and trading. Includes ease of use of the websites, presence of an online user community, availability of practice accounts, and well as surcharge on broker-assisted trades.

     -  Education (6%): Compares online brokers based on availability of educational resources about investing and trading including videos, webinars, and online classes.

Pricing receives by far the highest weight on overall score in our online broker comparison. While investors may value different features higher or lower, the majority of brokerage clients care about trading costs and fees since these expenses may have a large impact on investment returns.

Trading Tools, Range of Products, and Research Amenities categories are next in terms of importance and have equal value in overall score. Advanced trading tools help traders take advantage of time sensitive opportunities in the market as well as help lower the chances of making costly mistakes. Research Amenities help investors find excellent investing opportunities while products in the Range of Offerings category gives clients a variety of investment and trading options to maximize their returns.

The lowest weight on total score is given to Customer Service, Education, and Friendliness to Beginners categories. While these are important to some clients, they are not the most critical factors to consider when choosing a broker.


Online Broker Comparison Chart




Top Online Brokers in Our Comparison


In 2018 Brokerage-Review.com online brokers comparison, the highest rated brokerage firm is TD Ameritrade (read review). It is a large brokerage house with over 10 million customers and over $1.1 trillion in clients assets under management.

The company offers very reasonable pricing – $6.95 for stock and ETF trades – as well as provides customers with access to over 2,000+ NTF (commission-free) mutual funds. For ETF investors there are 296 exchange traded funds that could be bought and sold for free - this is one of the richest offerings in the industry.

Combined with excellent customer service, no account fees, free IRA accounts, free professional trading tools, and the largest network of local offices, this year TD Ameritrade earns the title of #1 highest rated online brokerage house.


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Second place goes to Ally Invest (read review), with its award winning customer service, great support for beginner investors, and very low pricing. Their commissions are only $4.95 for stock or ETF trades ($3.95 for anyone making 30 or more trades in 90 days or $100K account balance) and just $9.95 for mutual fund transactions.

Ally Invest has been actively growing through mergers and acquisitions, and has been adding the best features from each firm they acquired.


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In third place in our online brokerage comparison chart is Fidelity Investments (read review), with great scores in all categories. The firms’ customers enjoy competitive pricing, great selection of independent investment research, and access to the the Fidelity's own family of mutual funds.


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Online Brokerage Comparison Summary


To learn more about any firm in this online broker comparison chart, click on their review link in the table above, and you will be taken to the company's account review page. There you'll be able to find all commissions; link to all fees charged; pros and cons; trading tools, investment options and IRA accounts overview as well as all promotional offers a brokerage house currently has for opening new account.