Comparison of best online stock brokers and brokerage firms

(Be sure to check out our thorough broker reviews where you can get info on most every broker out there.)
Determining which online broker or brokerage firm is best for you truly depends on many factors of which I will discuss below. Knowing what you need will help you get the most for your money, and will potentially help save and prevent you from going with an expensive broker that you don’t need. Start thinking about the following questions to help you determine what you are looking for in a broker, below these questions I will show you multiple online brokers and what they offer as it compares to the costs they will charge you:

  1. What are you trying do? Are you interested in merely buying stocks, or are you a more advanced investor wishing to dabble in things such as options trading, forex and futures trading, etc.?
  2. How much money are you wanting to invest? Depending on how much you are wanting to invest, some firms may not even be an option for you. There are hefty minimum balances at some of these institutions. Below, I will show you which companies are even available to you depending upon your investment dollars.
  3. What kind of service do you expect? The old adage you pay for what you get is true in many cases, however, there are some inexpensive services that truly are outstanding. However, more experienced traders may requires various technologies for charting, etc., and some of the inexpensive online brokers may not offer them.
  4. How reliable do you need them to be? If your constantly making trades this is likely a must, however, for those investors not interested in this, it wouldn’t make sense to pay for a service you don’t or probably won’t ever use.
Here are the companies I will compare below:
E*Trade, ShareBuilder, Scottrade, TD Ameritrade, Fidelity, Zecco, Tradeking, Charles Schwab, Interactive Brokers (IB), and Options Express
*Keep in mind these prices are based upon minimum trading, larger volumes usually dictate lower pricing. NA means the data was not available when researched, it does not mean they don’t do these things.
Company Stock Options (options fees) Futures Broker-Assist Min. Invest
E*Trade $12.99 $12.99 $ 0.75 $ 2.99 $ 45.00 $
ShareBuilder $9.95 $9.95 $ 1.50 NA NA $
Interactive Brokers $10/month $10/month $ 0.70 $ 0.90 NA $ 10,000
Scottrade $7 $7 $ 1.25 NA $ 27.00 $ 500
TD Ameritrade $9.99 $9.99 $ 0.75 NA $ 44.99 $ 2,000
Fidelity $19.95 $19.95 $ 0.75 NA $ 181.00 $ 2,500
Zecco $4.50 $4.50 $ 0.50 NA $ 19.99 $
Tradeking $4.95 $11.45 $ 0.65 NA $ 4.95 $
Charles Schwabb $12.95 NA NA NA NA $ 1,000
Options Express $14.95 $14.95 NA NA NA $

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  1. […] is an older but still current online brokerage comparison we completed they may help you determine how to dwindle down that list of potential companies. […]

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