Which are the Best Online Brokers?If you are intending trading stocks online then you will need to sign up with an online stock broker. The following is a list of some of the current best online stockbrokers and discount brokers - but in no particular order, you will notice there is no mention of TDWaterhouse or any TDAmeritrade related companies, you may even wonder why, well in my experience they are useless ! So I haven't mentioned them.
1) Charles Schwab has just been voted best onlike broker overall over at ConsumerResearch.com as a result of its investment product range, the ease of use of its research and trading tools, customer service and customer satisfaction. You will need a minimum opening balance of $1,000. Fees are from $8.95 to $12.95 per trade.
2) Interactive Brokers has been voted 'best for active brokers' by ConsumerResearch.com who say that experts consider they offer the best of both worlds: low costs and state- of the art technology for day traders. Fees are $.005 per share up to 1,000 shares. Interactive Brokers offer direct access trading i.e. trades are sent directly to the market. However this site isn't for people whoe require a lot of support. And you must spend at least $10 per month in commissions
3) Zecco - free stock trading ! - : If you can maintain a minimum balance of $25K or make at least 25 trades each month, then you will be entitled to ten (10) free stock trades a month with Zecco. The regular Zecco commission rate is only $4.50 per trade which is still pretty good. As far as online stock brokers go Zecco is firmly in the cheap and cheerful camp - they offer very cheap trades (you can't realistically get cheaper than free!) but expects its clients to do their research elsewhere.
4) OptionsHouse - $2.95 each trade - OptionsHouse is another very cheap online stock broker at just $2.95 per stock trade. In addition you do not need to maintain a minimum monthly balance and there are no account maintenance fees. OptionsHouse doesn't just do options, you can also trade stocks, and a whole raft of financial products from a major discount broker. At the moment they will also pay up to $100 if your current broker charges a contract termination fee amd if you refer a friend they will pay you $50.
5) TradeKing - $4.95 a trade - TradeKing (voted 'best discount broker' by ConsumerResearch.com), also does not require you to have a minimum balance and does not charge fees for maintaining your account. TradeKing also is very well perceived by both the press and the public. At the moment they are also covering transfer fees up to $150 and offering $50 if you refer a friend.
6) Scottrade - Scottrade charges $7.00 per online trade which is pretty cheap but not as cheap as some. It also does not charge fees for account maintenance or inactivity. It also has a very large network of branch offices that you can visit (430 which is actuall more than Charles Schwab), which for some retail investors is important.
7) TradeMonster charge $7.50 a trade up to 5,000 shares - TradeMonster is a newish discount broker but has already been awarded 4 stars for trade experience, research amenities, usability, and portfolio analysis reports by Barron's. TradeMONSTER's rates are 'competitive' and they offer the latest online trading technology plus a complete suite of trading tools. They have 24 hour a day help via their 'learning center' (doesn't sound like live online help to me) and you get free real-time streaming quotes! Plus they will pay up to $250+ (why the 'plus' it makes no sense) for transfer fees.
8) E*Trade Financial charges $9.99 a trade. ETrade has been voted No. 1 by SmartMoney as best overall broker is not the cheapest of the discount brokers but it is one of the oldest. Etrade has won numerous awards over the years, including number 1 for best overall online discount brokerage in the 2009 best broker survey by SmartMoney. Etrade offers the best investment calculation tools and financial research material. It is competitive but far from the cheapest. Its rates are $9.99 per stock trade if you make 30 trades a month or keep $50K in assets, otherwise they charge $12.99 per trade. At the moment ETrade is offering a bonus offer of 100 commission-free stock and option trades for new accounts. Their site however has great screeds of information in what looks like 8 point font - aargh! Why do they do that ?