Whether you’re new to the world of investing, or a seasoned player, there’s always something new to learn.
Thanks to the wonderful world of online, there are always new stock brokerages popping up. However, this does pose a potential problem – which ones are worth your time?
Luckily, there is a handful of prime stock brokerages to choose from, depending on what you want to do. There are a couple of things to consider when making your choice, including customer service, fees, account options, and overall investment choices.
Let’s take a look at the ten best stock brokerages in 2019.
Best for Beginners: Acorn
The first stock brokerage on our list is excellent if you’re just starting out in the world of stocks and quite literally have no idea what to do first.
Once you’ve linked up your bank account with this app, it will begin to track your regular spending. It will round up each purchase to the nearest dollar value, which is instantly transferred to your Acorns account for you to invest.
You also have the option of transferring funds to your Acorn account manually. Once that money has been placed in your Acorn investment account, the app will begin to compile a portfolio of bond and stock investments. These choices will be based on a short questionnaire you complete when you first sign up with them.
This automatic investing app will build you a broad, diverse portfolio that will sync up with your personal investment goals.
Best for Families with Kids: Stockpile
You’re never too young to start learning how to invest. The next stock brokerage on our list makes investing a fun family activity.
Like most other stock trading apps, Stockpile lets you sell and buy stocks. Additionally, it also enables you to gift single stock shares and even purchase fractional shares for a low trade fee of 99 cents.
When it comes to your account, these fractional shares allows you to buy highly valued shares including Google and Amazon, without paying through the nose for each share. Instead, you can invest in just a portion of a share with a much lower minimum investment requirement.
Being able to gift and buy shares of stock is excellent for kids, teenagers and anyone else in the family who's looking to begin their portfolio going early. Instead of watching the tv, try having a lesson with your kids on the art of trading stocks, allowing them to gift a stock card that’s a part of a portfolio of growing value.
Best for International Investments: Interactive Brokers
Interactive Brokers has an advantage over other stock brokerages because it caters for frequent traders with its low account fees.
You can choose from either tiered plans or a fixed-rate depending on your trading strategy and needs. If you sign up for a fixed pricing model, you’re looking at half a cent per U.S. stock share, with a minimum of $1 per order. It’s worth remembering, however, that markets based internationally vary in the fee that they charge, depending on where you’re trading.
If you opt for the tiered pricing option, you pay less overall per share. Your fees depend on your total trade volume. This means you could spend anywhere between $0.0035 and 0.0005 cents for each share, depending on the size at which you're trading.
Trade fees are separated from exchange fees, which means that you will pay more than just the rate depending on the trade and exchange volume.
One thing we love about Interactive Brokers is that they give you access to many popular international stock exchanges. These countries include Austria, Belgium, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Germany, Hungary, France, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Hong Kong, India, Japan – and the list goes on.
Best Stock Brokerage for Rewards: Merrill Edge
Our next brokerage is a part of Bank of America – which means that it has some serious weight on Wall Street. As you may have guessed, Merrill Edge has Merrill Lynch to thank for its name, a powerhouse of Wall Street that’s been well-established since 1914.
While Merrill Lynch lost big in the Great Recession and ended up selling to Bank of America, these days it’s not quite so grim. Merrill Edge is now the discount stock brokerage of Bank of America and Merrill Lynch.
The reason why this brokerage is so unique is that of its affiliation with Bank of America's Preferred Rewards program. If you've already got all of your accounts with Bank of America, then Merrill Edge is the best option for you. Benefits from being in the rewards program include interest rate boosts and discounts, depending on your balance of course.
While some of the bonuses aren’t that different from what other banks are offering these days, the waived maintenance fees and exceptional customer service does put them above the rest.
Best Brokerage for Active Traders: TD Ameritrade
TD Ameritrade is currently one of the biggest players in the stock market industry – especially when it comes to online investments.
The think-or-swim platform that TD Ameritrade confronts its customers with make it popular among people who trade on a regular basis. With TD, you can trade online or even through your smartphone, setting a high bar for trading platforms in general.
Think-or-swim offers customers professional grade level trading tools. If you have a background in investing, this is going to be the best option for you, without spending an unsightly amount in subscription fees. With select securities that run a 24/7 global trade cycle, you can even trade 24 hours a day, five days a week.
If you're a veteran trader and are keen to get back into the business, the advanced trading entries collected investment specific data and charts will appeal to you.
Second Best for Beginners: Ally Invest
Because we don’t want to leave anyone behind, we’ve included a second excellent brokerage that is ideal if you’re just starting out and can’t even begin to get your head around something like TD Ameritrade.
Ally Invest has low $4.95 trades, which drop down even lower the more you invest. Thanks to no minimums for your account, low commissions, and automatic investment plans, the sixth stock brokerage on our list is excellent for beginners.
This company was formerly known as Trade King which was bought by Ally in 2016. This easy to understand and simple to use brokerage offers volume trades for just $3.95.
Even if you don’t qualify for this discount, Ally still offers a competitive rate for standard pricing, as well as a range of investment choices, which include foreign currencies.
Best for Choice: Etrade
If you want a brokerage that you can trust with a solid reputation, Etrade is an excellent option. They happen to be one of the oldest online trading brokerages and are known for their powerful trading platform yet easy to use trading tools.
However, we will say that they aren’t the cheapest trading option available, at $6.95 a trade. Like many other firms on this list, though, they do also offer discounts for higher trading volumes.
With Etrade, you can either trade directly through their online platform or download OptionsHouse onto your smartphone. Through the app, you get quick access to volume, trendline, as well as other essential market data and charts.
Like most of our options here, you get access to a broad range of investment options. Etrade has mutual funds, bonds, options, ETFs and stocks on offer. Anything that can be traded by your traditional retail investor can be exchanged through Etrade.
Best for Free Trading: Robinhood
Robinhood has some exciting features that make it quite unique in the world of online brokering. While it doesn’t have nearly the amount of investment options or features that a traditional brokerage has, it does offer something that we haven’t seen elsewhere: free, unlimited stock trading. Forever.
You read that right – Robinhood offers free trading. As a matter of fact, when you sign up for their services, you can also get access to free cryptocurrency and options trades as well, including Bitcoin and other digital currencies.
Robinhood puts mobile first when it comes to its trading platform. Their web option is actually brand spanking new. Once you log in, you won’t get a lot in the way of features – but you will get free trades. This is something that’s hard to beat.
Best for Trade Research: Fidelity
Fidelity is another favorite stock brokerage because of its low $4.95 trading fee. In fact, Fidelity is best known for its group of low-cost funds and in-depth research tools that it offers through its website.
Fidelity also has its finger on the pulse of forward-looking tools and technology for investors. Some useful tools that you'll want to try through Fidelity are trade strategy tools, estate planning features, and retirement planning evacuation.
When you’re logged into your Fidelity account and on the dashboard, the feature that will stand out the most is the research and news tab. It’s here that you can have full access to detailed information about bonds, stocks, and funds, among other investments.
Best Overall: Charles Schwab
We thought we’d save the best for last. Charles Schwab takes the title for best stock brokerage overall, for a number of different reasons.
These include the broad range of high-tech trading tools on offer, extensive investment options, low fees, and excellent customer service. We believe that Schwab is a great choice for both everyone, whether you’re a novice or a veteran.
The easy to use online platform will be a saving grace for beginners that can be used in the mobile app as well. It can help you to enter transfers, access research and manage your accounts, and sell and buy securities. Customers also get exclusive access to a wide range of mutual funds and ETFs that are free of commission.
If you're an expert investor, you'll appreciate the advanced desktop and online trading systems, as well as the full range of investment options. With a pleasantly low trading fee of $4.95, you'll find it difficult to compare.
There are many different stock brokerages these days to choose from – which can actually make the task a bit overwhelming.
That’s why we’ve compiled a well-researched list of the ten stock brokerages we believe to be the best. They all come with their different advantages and unique features, making them collectively a great place to start when trying to figure out where your investments sit on the spectrum.