Top 10 Online Stock Brokers


Top 10 stock brokerage firms in US. 2017 ten best rated online brokers for stock market, NYSE, NASDAQ, S&P companies investing.





Brokerage Firm
Rating
Trading
Commissions
Products
Offered
Broker
Review

TD Ameritrade rating

TD Ameritrade


Stocks, ETFs: $6.95

Mutual Funds: $49.99

Options: $6.95 plus
$0.75 per contract
  • Stocks
  • Options
  • Mutual Funds
  • Bonds
  • ETFs
  • Futures
  • Forex
TD Ameritrade
Review

Ally Invest rating

Ally Invest


Stocks, ETFs: $4.95

Mutual Funds: $9.95

Options: $4.95 plus
$0.65 per contract
  • Stocks
  • Options
  • Mutual Funds
  • Bonds
  • Forex
  • CDs
  • ETFs
Ally Invest
Review


Scottrade rating

Scottrade


Stocks, ETFs: $6.95

Mutual Funds: $17

Options: $6.95 plus
$0.70 per contract
  • Stocks
  • Options
  • Mutual Funds
  • Bonds
  • CDs
  • Munis
  • ETFs
Scottrade
Review

Charles Schwab rating

Charles Schwab


Stocks, ETFs: $4.95

Mutual Funds: $76 to buy
$0 to sell

Options: $4.95 plus
$0.65 per contract
  • Stocks
  • Options
  • Mutual Funds
  • Bonds
  • CDs
  • Annuities
  • ETFs
Charles Schwab
Review

Fidelity Investments rating

Fidelity


Stocks, ETFs: $4.95

Mutual Funds: $49.95 ($75 for some funds)

Options: $4.95 plus
$0.65 per contract
  • Stocks
  • Options
  • Mutual Funds
  • Bonds
  • CDs
  • Annuities
  • ETFs
Fidelity
Review

Tradestation rating

TradeStation


Stocks, ETFs: $5

Mutual Funds: $14.95

Options: $5 plus $0.50 per contract
  • Stocks
  • Options
  • Mutual Funds
  • Bonds
  • Futures
  • ETFs
  • Forex
TradeStation
Review

Etrade rating

E*trade


Stocks, ETFs: $6.95

Mutual Funds: $19.99

Options: $6.95 plus
$0.75 per contract
  • Stocks
  • Options
  • Mutual Funds
  • Bonds
  • Futures
  • ETFs
Etrade
Review

Optionshouse rating

Optionshouse


Stocks, ETFs: $4.95

Mutual Funds: $20

Options: $4.95 plus $0.50 per contract
  • Stocks
  • Options
  • Mutual Funds
  • Bonds
  • Futures
  • ETFs
Optionshouse
Review

Optionsxpress rating

Optionsxpress


Stocks, ETFs: $4.95

Mutual Funds: $9.95

Options: $4.95 plus $0.65 per contract
  • Stocks
  • Options
  • Mutual Funds
  • Bonds
  • Futures
  • ETFs
OptionsXpress
Review

Motif Investing rating

Motif


Stocks, ETFs: $4.95

Mutual Funds: N/A

Options: NA
  • Stocks
  • ETFs
Motif Investing
Review


Top 10 online stock brokerage firms in U.S.


For many investors the task of hitting an investment target feels more like art rather than science. Many average or beginner investors understand that they have invest for their future, and they likely have one or multiple investment accounts. Despite this good effort, some lingering questions often remain:

- What really is the target goal and how do you know you’re going to actually hit it?

- How do you know that fees are not going to kill your long term investment strategy?

- How do you ensure you’re properly diversified and what kind of risk can you tolerate?

Fortunately there are now investment services that have sprung up recently to help provide some answers to these nagging question and a popular ones are listed in this article.

Above we present to our readers the list of our 2017 top 10 highest rated online stock brokerage companies in U.S. The list contains the brokerage firms ratings, links to companies' websites, pricing on stocks, exchange traded funds, mutual funds and options trades, investment products offered by the firms as well as the link to complete brokerage accounts reviews.

All firms above offer their customers online investing in stock market, NYSE, NASDAQ, and S&P companies. Clients could either buy individual stocks or, to lower their risk exposure, they can purchase exchange traded funds as well as various mutual funds (index, target retirement, stocks, international and others).

A great idea that too many investors easily overlook is to practice trading a particular asset class before committing real money. Unfortunately, not many brokers offer this service, which is often called paper trading. TD Ameritrade is the best brokerage firm that offers practice account to its customers.

Each company has its strengths and weaknesses, and not every firm is right for a particular client. For this reason, before opening an account it is important to do some research on a company that spiked your interest to see if it is really right for you.

Some of these top 10 stock brokerage firms offer opening an account with $0 minimum deposit: you should take this opportunity to open a few brokerage accounts, and see which one you like more.

These top ten online stock brokers often offer new customers sign up incentives for opening a new account: it could be a reimbursing of an ACAT fee, commission-free trading for a period of time, cash bonus or a merchandise gift card. You should definitely check out promotional offers we have listed on the website to get as much value out of opening a brokerage account as possible.


Overview of Changes in the Online Investing Industry


Many changes have been seen among the top 10 stock brokerage firms in recent months. The industry has witnessed a very intense price war, which is still on-going. Many companies have launched robo-advisory account services, while other brokers have been sold to larger firms. Let’s take a look at the recent changes and see what the new landscape looks like.


Price War


A major price war among top 10 online brokerage firms erupted in 2017, and it hasn’t finished yet. Schwab started the move to lower commissions by reducing its stock trading fee from $7.95 to $4.95, and its option commission from 75 cents to 65. Fidelity quickly followed for both stocks and derivatives.

With both Fidelity and Schwab sitting at $4.95, TD Ameritrade and E*Trade couldn’t stay at $9.99. So both of them came down to $6.95, and E*Trade also lowered its standard for active trader status. Its customers can now trade just 10 times per month and receive a $2 discount. TD Ameritrade does not offer a discount to frequent traders.

With E*Trade sitting between $6.95 and $4.95, Firstrade had to come down to $4.95. It also lowered its option commission down to 65 cents. WellsTrade was sitting on the sidelines watching all of this happen, and it wasn’t budging. It finally gave in and lowered its equity commission in June of 2017 to $5.95. It was at $8.95 previously. The broker also lowered its option base charge and per-contract fee. The firm also increased its trading discount for Wells Fargo Portfolio customers from $2 to $3.

Despite the industry-wide changes, a few brokers have held out. Merrill Edge, for example, is still at $6.95 for stock and ETF trades. Its account fee schedule has remained the same as well.


Mergers


Some top 10 online brokerage firms have also been purchased by rivals. Scottrade lowered its stock commission from $7 to $6.95. But this wasn’t really necessary from the long-term perspective because the brokerage house has been purchased by TD Ameritrade. The details of the merger are still being ironed out, and the hookup is not yet complete. Scottrade plans to keep operating its 500 brick-and-mortar locations after the union is finalized.

Another acquisition was announced when OptionsHouse agreed to be purchased by E*Trade. The deal is worth $725 million in cash, financed mostly with preferred stock issued by the purchaser. The OptionsHouse platform is migrating to the E*Trade site along with website tools. On August 6, 2017, the OH site will cease to function, and all accounts will be available through the E*Trade site.

E*Trade’s purchase will help it to be more competitive in the option trading business. In addition to its derivative trading tools, OptionsHouse will be bringing almost $4 billion in client assets to E*Trade along with nearly 160,000 client accounts and 27,000 daily trades.

The third major join up was the purchase of TradeKing by Ally Financial. The broker was renamed Ally Invest, and TradeKing’s technology now resides on the Ally website. All TradeKing accounts have been moved to Ally, and the new broker eliminated TradeKing’s annual account fee and provided a $1 discount to active traders.


Robo Accounts


Another change the top 10 stock brokerage firms has seen recently is a move away from self-directed and traditionally-managed accounts towards automated investment management. Betterment and Wealthfront first launched robo-advisory services in 2008. As their computerized investment management gained popularity, the on-line discount brokerage industry didn’t want to get left behind. So many firms began developing their own robots to trade client accounts.

Today, many top 10 brokerage firms offer both self-directed and robo-managed accounts. Essential Portfolios is TD Ameritrade’s automated trading service. It costs just 0.30% annually with a $5,000 minimum deposit. The service buys and sells low-cost ETF’s. Commissions are free, and the service automatically rebalances a portfolio at no charge.

Schwab offers Intelligent Portfolios. This robo-advisory package costs nothing. Schwab is able to offer it for free by maintaining an above average cash position and trading ETF’s that earn the broker revenue.

WellsTrade is hard at work on its own robo service called Intuitive Investor. Scheduled for launch in the fourth quarter of 2017, the service will cost 50 basis points with a $10,000 minimum. The company plans to market its robot to Millennial investors and Wells Fargo Bank customers.


Mobile Trading


Many broker-dealers have also launched mobile apps as investors have developed more mobile lifestyles. These trading platforms can be used on tablets, phones, and even smartwatches. The quality of these trading systems varies widely.

For example, charting on Robinhood’s mobile app is very rudimentary. Only one graph style is available, and there are no technical studies. Charting on TD Ameritrade’s app comes with hundreds of technical indicators and several graph styles. Other brokers offer mobile charting capability somewhere between these two extremes. E*Trade’s app offers 11 technical studies. It also provides the ability to compare a stock’s price history to an index or another stock. The Firstrade app offers several color choices in its graphing program, while most apps don’t.

Some mobile apps offer trading in mutual funds. Fidelity provides this capability, for example. Other brokers do not allow mobile trading of these securities. The Firstrade app cannot place a trade for a mutual fund.

Apps are also available now for smartwatches, primarily Apple Watch. Brokers that offer this platform include Fidelity, E*Trade, TD Ameritrade, Merrill Edge, and Schwab. TD Ameritrade actually provides two different apps for Apple Watch, which have slightly different functions. Fidelity has also developed an app for Apple TV.


Top 10 Stock Brokers Summary


Many changes have been seen in the top 10 stock brokerage firms during the past several months. Looking at the direction the industry is moving in, it is easy to predict that there will be further advancements in trading technology in the years ahead.


Updated on 7/29/2017.





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