Best Small Account Investor Brokers (2024)

Recommended brokerage firms for small investor. Discount online brokers for small account balance for low cost investing in stocks, mutual funds, ETFs, and bonds.

Firstrade rating


Brokerage for Small Investor: Commissions

Stocks and ETFs $0
Options $0
Mutual funds $0
Crypto markup of 100 basis points on both sides
Treasury Bills, Notes, Municipal and Agency Bonds, Zeros & Strips net yield basis
CDs $30 for primary market CDs, net yield basis for secondary market CDs

Investments stocks, options, mutual funds, bonds, CDs, cryptos, ETFs
Firstrade minimum deposit to open account $0
FeesFirstrade fees


  • FREE stocks, mutual funds, options, and ETFs commissions
  • $0 minimum to open an account
  • 17,000 mutual funds to choose from
  • No account maintenance or inactivity fees
  • No annual or setup fees for IRA accounts
  • Free dividend reinvestment plan (DRIP)
  • Easy to use, clean website


Firstrade is one of the top brokerage houses in the United States, and the best discount online brokerage firm for small investors (small account balance) since there are no minimum deposit requirements, no hidden fees, and no penalties for having low balance, or not making any trades. Prospective customers can open a brokerage account with $0 down.

The firm also offers low cost pricing: $0 per stock or ETF trade.

With Firstrade customers could invest in 10,000+ mutual funds. More than 1,600 have no load. Mutual funds at Firstrade have the lowest transaction fee among all online brokers - $0 on both the buy and sell sides.

Firstrade Mutual Funds

It's extremely important to get the best pricing for investors with small account balances, since high commissions will take a huge bite out of their account. For example, let's say account balance is $1,000 and an investor decides to buy a mutual fund. Since the cost of a transaction is $49.95 at Charles Schwab, it means that investors will spend 5% of their portfolio just on that one transaction! It's a huge expense! Compare it to $0 per mutual fund transaction at Firstrade, or 0% of the account balance.

Another thing worth mentioning is that some online brokers charge account inactivity fees: the fee is imposed when a customer does not make a specified amount of trades during a month (Interactive Brokers), a quarter (Lightspeed Trading), or a year. Small investor will not be making a lot of trades, because active trading would just eat away their money. Firstrade doesn't charge inactivity fees.

There are also companies that impose special fees that could destroy a small account investor - Low Balance Fees. These fees are charged if a client has an account balance lower than required by a brokerage house (Interactive Brokers), or it could be charged if the amount invested in a mutual fund is too low (Fidelity Investments, Vanguard). Firstrade does not charge any of the above-mentioned fees.

Because there are no setup, termination, or maintenance fees for all individual retirement accounts, Firstrade is also a great option for an IRA account (traditional, ROTH, SEP, or SIMPLE IRA).

Read detailed Firstrade review.

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Charles Schwab rating

Charles Schwab

Alternative Broker for Small Investors

For small investors who are looking to open an account at one of the largest brokerage houses in the United States, Charles Schwab is an excellent alternative to Firstrade. It is one of the big 5 brokerage houses, and it has been in business for over 35 years. Offering the best tools in the industry with record breaking execution time and some of the lowest fees available, the benefits of Charles Schwab far outweigh any possible drawbacks making the company one of the best brokers for small investors.

$0 commissions how do brokerage firms make money

Charles Schwab's website is well-designed with intuitive menus, and users can easily find all the resources they need. One particularly useful feature is the ability to enter trades anywhere on the website through the order-entering box that is located on the bottom of every page. Trading through this site is, in short, efficient and comprehensive.

Charles Schwab is one of the few on-line discount brokers to offer an advanced desktop trading platform completely free of charge or requirements for all its clients. Amazingly, the software also comes with some very powerful charting tools.

Charles Schwab allows customers to invest in thousands of mutual funds and all ETFs without paying any commission. The firm requires no minimum deposit to open and maintain both IRA and non-IRA accounts. There are no account inactivity or low balance fees. Their new client promotion offer allows investors to build a diversified portfolio without spending a dime on broker commissions. All this makes the firm one of the best brokers for small investors in 2024.

More information is in detailed Charles Schwab review.

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About the Author
Chad Morris is a financial writer with more than 20 years experience as both an English teacher and an avid trader. When he isn’t writing expert content for, Chad can usually be found managing his portfolio or building a new home computer.