List of Stock Brokerage Firms. Online Stock Trading Companies List.


Below is the 2018 list of stock brokers doing business in the United States. Their names are ordered alphabetically. The table contains firms' website links, commissions on stock and ETF investing, and minimum amounts required to open a new brokerage account. There you could also find the stock trading companies ratings as well as links to detailed account reviews.



Broker Website Rating Stock/ETF
Commission
Minimum
to Open
Broker Review
Ally Invest Ally Invest rating

$4.95 $0 Review
Ameritrade TD Ameritrade rating

$6.95 $0 Review
Capital One Capital One Investing rating

$6.95 $0 Review
Charles Schwab Charles Schwab rating

$4.95 $1,000 Review
ChoiceTrade Choicetrade rating

$5 $0 Review
Etrade Etrade rating

$6.95 $500 Review
Fidelity Fidelity Investments rating

$4.95 $2,500 Review
Firstrade Firstrade rating

$2.95 $0 Review
IB Interactive Brokers rating

$1-$100 $10,000 Review
Kapitall Kapitall rating

$7.95 $0 Review
Just2trade just2trade rating

$2.50 $2,500 Review
LightSpeed Lighspeed Trading rating

$4.50 $10,000 Review
Merrill Edge Merrill Edge rating

$6.95 $0 Review
Muriel Siebert Muriel Siebert rating

$14.95+ $0 Review
Motif Investing Motif Investing rating

$4.95 $200 Review
Sogotrade Sogotrade rating

$5 $0 Review
SpeedTrader Speedtrader rating

$6.95 $0 Review
TradeStation Tradestation rating

$5 $500 Review
Trading Block Trading Block rating

$7.50 $500 Review
USAA USAA rating

$8.95 $0 Review
Vanguard Vanguard rating

$7 ($20) $1,000 Review
WellsTrade Wellstrade rating

$5.95 $1,000 Review


List of Stock Brokerage Firms


We used a five-star-based rating system to rate U.S. stock trading companies in the online stock brokers list above. The best brokerage firms would get the highest, five-star rating. In 2018 not a single firm got five stars, however five brokers were rated at four and half stars. Any brokerage house with two- or one-star rating should be avoided. Three-star rated firm is perfectly fine, but there are, probably, better options for investors to consider. All companies with three and half stars and higher are recommended for at least one category of investors.

Every online brokerage firm in list above has its strengths and weaknesses. It might be ideal for one customer and at the same time might not work for someone else. Before opening a brokerage account, there are a lot of parameters to consider besides commissions, well-known name, and pretty website. Some of the most important of these parameters are surcharges and fees; friendliness to client's knowledge level (perhaps one is a beginner? or needs a professional-level trading platform?); availability of investment products a client wants to buy (for example forex, futures, or NTF mutual funds) as well as availability of online community, virtual trading, and discounts. We suggest to investors to take a time to read brokerage reviews, and see for themselves if a particular firm is a right fit.

Some online brokers in list above allow clients to open an account with $0 down: investors should take this opportunity and open few brokerage accounts, and see which one they like the most. This will also allow investors to take advantage of unique and valuable features some of the companies provide at no charge. For example, Ally Invest offers lots of great trading tools and investor community, and $0 to open account. If a client decides to invest, the firm has hard-to-beat $4.95 commission on stocks and ETFs. With TD Ameritrade there is $0 minimum to open an account, and a client will get an amazing selection of independent, third-party investment research, best trading platform on the market, free Level 2 quotes, and generous promotional offer. There are no inactivity or maintenance fees to worry about - everything is free.

The list of stock brokerage firms names is updated throughout the year. TradeMonster, MB Trading and Scottrade were removed from the table above, since they got acquired and merged into Etrade, Ally Invest and TD Ameritrade respectively. In addition from keeping stock brokerage companies list current we also update broker's rating and pricing, which are often correlated.

All companies mentioned in this article are members of SIPC and FINRA, which means that they have to follow strict government rules and regulations, and their client accounts are insured (similar to bank accounts FDIC insurance) in case of brokerage company failure for up to $500,000 ($250,000 cash).

If you know an online stock trading company not in list right now but should be included, please contact us.





Overview of Special Services at Brokerage Houses


Some online stock trading companies in list above offer only a limited number of services, typically investing in stocks and ETF’s, without offering additional features. Other brokerage firms supply much more than this, providing managed accounts, robo accounts, their own mutual funds, trading in forex, and much more. This article will survey these special features, and see which firms form list of online brokers offer them and which don’t.


Forex and Futures


Most securities brokers only provide trading in securities—stocks, bonds, funds, and other instruments defined as securities. Forex and futures are not securities, and so they’re usually not offered at most traditional brokerage houses. But a few brokers have broken through this mold and do offer trading in at least one of them. E*Trade, for example, offers access to the futures markets. And Ally Invest customers can trade currencies on the forex market. Fidelity offers neither while TD Ameritrade offers both.

If you do find a securities broker that provides trading in futures or forex, be aware that it may eventually exit the business. TradeStation, E*Trade, and optionsXpress all used to provide trading in forex, but have since abandoned the service.


Global Investing


In today’s global economy, having access to international markets is necessary to capture all areas of investment opportunity. Some stock brokers in list above provide access to foreign markets, while others do not. Interactive Brokers clients, for example, can trade on European, Asian, Australian, and North American markets. Available stock and option markets include Mexican, Canadian, Italian, Swedish, Austrian, Japanese, Indian, and Australian exchanges.

Other brokers provide little to no global investing. Ally Invest, for instance, offers its clients very little in this area. The broker does not even provide access to the over-the-counter market in the United States, where some foreign stocks can be found.


Day Trading


Some firms from the list of online stock trading companies provide the advanced technology that day traders need to submit orders quickly to an exchange. Interactive Brokers’s advanced desktop platform Trader Workstation is able to do just this. The firm also provides unbundled pricing, which can bring the cost of trading down to a fraction of a penny per share, which could be of value to day traders. Lightspeed Trading also offers unbundled pricing along with advanced desktop software.

Other stock trading companies, like Capital One Investing, offer neither a desktop trading system nor unbundled pricing. Capital One charges $6.95 for every trade submitted through its website or mobile app.


Options


Many companies from the list of brokerage firms provide access to options. But not all of them offer advanced research and trading tools for the securities. Vanguard clients can trade derivative contracts, but the company does not have any search tools other than very simple option chains. TD Ameritrade provides advanced option research tools.

Pricing on options can vary widely as well. Depending on an account’s total monthly volume, Lightspeed Trading charges anywhere between 20 cents and 60 cents with no base charge. TD Ameritrade clients pay 75 cents per contract plus a base charge of $6.95.


Family of Mutual Funds


While most brokerage firms provide trading in mutual funds, some of them manage their own line of funds. Fidelity and WellsTrade (through Wells Fargo) manage their own mutual funds. While Fidelity’s funds are always transaction free when traded at Fidelity, some of the Wells Fargo funds actually have transaction fees at WellsTrade.

There are 111 Wells Fargo funds currently open to new investors. Fidelity manages 322 of its own mutual funds; it also offers 21 exchange-traded funds. Vanguard provides 70 ETF’s and 300 mutual funds.

Most brokers do not offer their own funds. These companies include TradeStation and Robinhood.


Long-term Investing


Buy-and-hold investors will find good resources at some brokers, but not at all. Long-term investors benefit from good customer service rather than low commissions. Brokerage houses that emphasize this model include E*Trade and TD Ameritrade, where 24/7 support is available. Both of these brokers also offer a good selection of mutual and exchange-traded funds, which may be of interest to long-term investors.

Other players from the list of online brokers emphasize the opposite. These firms provide low commissions, but less than stellar customer service. Brokers in this category include Robinhood and SogoTrade. These firms would be better for short-term traders who don’t need a lot of guidance.


Investment Advice and Managed Accounts


During the past few years, more online brokers in the list have been offering managed accounts in addition to their usual line of self-directed accounts. Additional investment advice may be available in some of these cases.

Merrill Edge, for example, offers a managed account package that costs 0.85% per annum. This asset-based fee includes a face-to-face consultation with a financial advisor at a Bank of America location at least twice per year. The portfolio itself is managed by Merrill Lynch investment advisors. There is a $20,000 deposit requirement to begin the service.

Other firms form list of stock brokers do not provide any type of investment advice or portfolio management. Firstrade is one example.


Robo-advisory Accounts


Besides traditional human-managed accounts, some brokers have gone one step further by providing accounts that are managed by computer programs. Called robo accounts, customers pay anywhere from 0.0% up to 35 basis points for a software program to make all trading decisions.

Some brokers specialize in this model and don’t offer self-directed accounts. Betterment and Wealthfront are two examples. Other brokers, like Schwab and E*Trade, offer robo-advisory services plus human-advised accounts plus self-directed accounts.

The cost of robo-advised accounts varies among the firms that offer the service. Schwab has managed to provide its service for free, while Fidelity charges 0.35%. Trades placed by a robot are always commission free.

Despite the move to this intriguing method of portfolio management, there are still on-line discount firms that provide only self-directed accounts. Firstrade and Robinhood are two examples.


Stock Trading Companies Specialties Summary


Most brokerage houses today offer more than just stocks and bonds. Do some research before opening an account, and you’ll probably find a service that interests you.






Schwab


Charles Schwab has recently lowered its stock and ETF commission from $8.95 to $4.95, making the broker less expensive than its rivals Merrill Edge and Scottrade. Despite the new pricing, Schwab still provides more than 200 ETF's commission-free. The company also has over 300 brick-and-mortar locations plus 24/7 service over the phone or via on-line chat. Its very good desktop platform StreetSmart Edge only requires a $1,000 account balance, and its mobile app streams CNBC news free of charge.


Fidelity


Very high in the list of financial firms is Fidelity, where customers pay only $4.95 for stock and ETF trades, but still receive excellent customer service in return. A representative is available over the phone or through on-line chat around the clock. The company also has several local offices. ETF traders have access to 84 securities that cost nothing to trade, while mutual fund investors can buy and sell more than 11,000 products. The Fidelity mobile app streams Bloomberg business news in HD, the only low-cost firm to do so. Fidelity also provides a platform for Apple Watch free of charge.


TD Ameritrade


There are over 500 Scottrade locations, more than any other in list of financial investment firms. Despite this convenient service, traders still pay only $6.95 for stock and ETF trades. The firm offers 296 commission-free ETF's and more than 2,000 mutual funds that come with no load and no transaction fee. Option contracts are just 65¢ each, another low charge. An advanced desktop platform is available to active traders, while other traders can use the TD Ameritrade website, which has been recently redesigned and boasts a useful trading ticket.


Merrill Edge


Traders at Merrill Edge pay just $6.95 for stock and ETF trades. The broker's website has excellent educational and research tools, while its trading ticket is very useful. There is also a Merrill Edge mobile app and Apple Watch platform. Frequent traders can use the company's advanced desktop platform. While the firm doesn't offer any commission-free ETF's, it does give out checks and a Visa debit card free of charge. Financial advice is available at an additional cost at many Bank of America locations.


Ally Invest


Ally Invest traders pay just $4.95 for stock and ETF transactions with $1 discount for active traders and large balances. This is one of the lowest commissions in the brokerage world. Option contracts are just 65¢ extra, also very low by industry standards. The firm's website is easy to use and the broker provides a desktop platform free of charge. A mobile app is also available. Both tools offer paper trading, a rare feature. Forex can also be traded at Ally Invest, one of the few securities brokers in list above to offer the service.


WellsTrade


Stock and ETF trades cost $8.95 at WellsTrade, although certain Wells Fargo Bank clients receive a $2 discount. The financial company requires no minimum deposit to open an account, although it does have a $20 annual fee. It can be avoided by maintaining a $5,000 account balance. Although WellsTrade doesn't offer any commission-free ETF's, it does provide a large mutual fund selection. WellsTrade does not have a desktop trading system, although the broker's website does have good charting tools with several technical indicators. The firm's mobile app is one of the few in the industry that can be used on Windows 10 mobile.


Capital One Investing


Rounding up the list of brokerage firms is Capital One Investing which charges just $6.95 for equity transactions. There no account fees with the broker. The Capital One Investing website is user-friendly, and it has a handy trade ticket. Its mutual fund screener returns over 1,000 products, some of which carry no load and no transaction fee. While the broker doesn't have a desktop platform, it does have good charting software on its website. The site also has on-line chat, which many broker's don't provide.


Updated on 3/7/2018.