Top 5 brokerage firms in U.S. Best investment firms for individuals. 5 highest rated stock broker companies.

Scottrade rating


Scottrade Stock Brokerage Company Advantages

With stock and ETF trades costing $7 and mutual fund trades costing $17, Scottrade ranks the best among large brokerages companies when it comes to commissions. Their options fees are $7 plus $0.70/contract. Minimum deposit required to open an account is $2,500.

Some of the features that put Scottrade at the top 5 brokerage firms are no inactivity, account maintenance, or hidden fees, along with no custodian fees for IRAs. They also offer banking services such as savings accounts, CDs, free checking accounts with free ATM withdrawals, a check card, and a free starter set of checks. Scottrade is good for beginning investors thanks to their educational resources, and large number of mutual funds they make available to trade. Dividend investors will love their unique take on a free dividend reinvestment program (DRIP).

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Scottrade Review

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

Tradestation rating


TradeStation Stock Brokerage Company Advantages

TradeStation offers the lowest commissions of almost any stock brokerage companies at $5 /trade for stocks and ETFs plus a reasonable $15 charge for mutual funds. Options pricing is outstanding at $5 plus $0.50 per contract.

TradeStation has earned high marks for their trading platform, and no penalties or fees for account inactivity or maintenance. A plus for beginning investors is a free virtual trading platform along with free streaming quotes. Other nice benefits are free check-writing privileges and free DRIPs. For traders who frequently use margin, TradeStation offers good margin rates.

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TradeStation Review

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

Ally Invest rating

Ally Invest

Ally Invest Stock Brokerage Company Advantages

One of the top 5 brokerage firms when it comes to commissions, Ally Invest's $4.95 stock and ETF fee, coupled with $9.95 fee for mutual funds, is an attractive lure for active traders. Options are also priced at a competitive rate of $4.95 plus $0.65 per contract. Initial investment requirements are low: $0 to open a cash account, and only $2,000 is needed to open a margin account.

Like many of the other top stock brokerage companies, Ally Invest charges no maintenance or hidden fees and doesn't charge a trader for inactivity. Other freebies are no-fee IRAs, DRIPs, and real-time quotes. Ally Invest also offers a wide variety of educational resources and hosts a very active and helpful online investor community. They've received high marks for customer service and offer low-cost professional portfolio management for individuals who want a higher level of personal service.

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Ally Invest Review

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

TD Ameritrade rating

TD Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade Stock Brokerage Company Advantages

While they don't offer the lowest commissions of this group, TD Ameritrade's pricing for stocks and ETFs is still a reasonable $6.95 a trade, but more than 100 ETFs may be traded for no cost. Options commissions are $6.95 plus $0.75 per contract. Mutual funds are not so competitive at a steep $49.99, but the company lists 2,500 mutual funds that qualify as NTF (no transaction fee) funds. Initial investment requirements are excellent at $0 for cash accounts and $2,000 for margin accounts.

TD Ameritrade offers many benefits for investors that may be worth the higher commissions. They have two of the best trading platforms in the business - Thinkorswim and Trade Architect. Virtual trading is available with a product called PaperMoney. Streaming quotes including Level II are free, and they feature independent, third-party investment research from 12 firms including Standard & Poor's, Morningstar, and

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TD Ameritrade Review

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

Etrade rating


Etrade Stock Brokerage Company Advantages

Rounding out the top 5 brokerage firms in U.S. is one of the perennial leaders. Etrade charges $6.95 stock and ETF commissions, but offers a $2/trade discount for active traders (30+ trades/ quarter). Options are also priced at $6.95 with a $0.75/contract fee, and the same quantity discount is offered that’s offered with stocks. Mutual fund commissions are $19.99. Account minimums are $0 for retirement cash accounts, $500 for taxable cash accounts, and $2,000 for margin accounts.

As with TD Ameritrade, Etrade offers some extra features that offset its higher commissions. Their trading platform, Etrade Pro, is feature-rich, though unlike TD Ameritrade, it is available only to active traders. Research from Standard and Poor's, Morningstar, and Thompson Reuters is offered to clients at no charge. Etrade doesn't charge fees for IRAs, account maintenance, or inactivity.

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Etrade Review

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At E*TRADE, active traders get $4.95 trades + 50₵ per options contract.

Updated on 6/29/2017.

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