8 Best Online Stock Brokers and Trading Platforms for Beginners

Betterment is also a good brokerage option for small business employers looking to offer their employees 401(k) plans. Betterment offers unique benefits like the new student loan match program through Betterment at Work. TD Ameritrade’s robo-adviser and managed accounts — Essential Portfolios, Selective Portfolios, and Personalized Portfolios — are no longer available to new clients. Steven Hatzakis is the Global Director of Research for Steven previously served as an Editor for Finance Magnates, where he authored over 1,000 published articles about the online finance industry. Steven is an active fintech and crypto industry researcher and advises blockchain companies at the board level.


  1. Make sure to keep an eye out for hidden fees, especially on trades for assets like index funds, options contracts, futures, and digital currencies.
  2. Once you have set up an emergency fund and started funding a retirement account, then you might consider opening a brokerage account as a place to invest after-tax dollars.
  3. Tastytrade may have an unconventional name for a brokerage, but it’s not less firmly committed to providing an attractive environment for traders, especially options traders.
  4. He founded, which has received tens of millions of page views to date.
  5. Fidelity Investments offers one of the best research and education opportunities to you grow from a beginner into an advanced trader.
  6. The platform is also one of the best custodial accounts, offering the Acorn’s Early account.

Stock funds may receive dividends or if a stock rises in value they may choose to sell, which requires shareholders money to be distributed by means of distribution. This means that when a stock decreases in price, it also negatively affects the value of your investment in the fund, too. Some brokers offer detailed knowledge material and guidance, to help you diversify your portfolio, make more informed decisions, and even build and monitor your portfolio for you. Their online customer support and chat support is available to customers 24/7, and they also invite customers to attend their complementary workshops throughout their 350 plus branches.

What is the best way to diversify my investments?

Customers are covered for up to $500,000 for all accounts at one institution, including a maximum of $250,000 for uninvested cash. Choosing an online stock broker can be an intimidating process, but it’s an important first step in your investing journey and can help you build substantial wealth over time. While the task of choosing a broker can be daunting, especially when stocks are highly volatile, it’s actually quite simple to get started.

Runner Up, Best Online Broker for Customer Service

Through this all-encompassing data collection and review process, Investopedia has provided you with an unbiased and thorough review of the top online brokers and trading platforms. In addition to offering strengthened customer service, the TD Ameritrade acquisition also significantly increased the company’s ability to offer unparalleled investor education and a state-of-the-art trading platform. Schwab Trading powered by Ameritrade offers investors advanced trading simulators, along with powerful charting and analytical tools. Fidelity’s platform is a standout for its user-friendliness, customer service and educational features.

What do you want to do with money?

Nothing will have everything you need, but go with the brokerage account with the best of what you need. Parents or other family members can get gift cards redeemable for stock in Stockpile accounts. Plus, you’ll pay no fees to buy an e-gift, redeem a gift card, or switch to another stock. There is an Options Regulatory Fee that applies to both option buy and sell transactions. One Robinhood user and IBD survey respondent summed up his experience with the platform.

Do Brokers Offer Mobile Platforms?

Investors’ accounts are covered by Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) insurance if the broker-dealer files for bankruptcy. The SIPC will reimburse investors for up to $500,000, including $250,000 in cash, in the event that a firm becomes insolvent. Fidelity was founded in 1946 in Boston and has been headquartered there ever since. Founded on the idea of “take intelligent risks rather than follow the crowd,” Fidelity has been able to continue to meet the evolving needs of its customers and implement innovative strategies to be competitive. Many want to avoid taking on the extra risk of putting their money into one or a few individual stocks.

Interactive Brokers has multiple pricing options depending on your level of trading activity and your personal trading needs. The basic account, IBKR Lite, gives you commission-free stock, ETF trades, and competitive fees for most other trades. In addition to offering best online stock broker for beginners competitive accounts with no minimum balance requirements and no recurring fees, Schwab is a leader in low-cost pricing for retail investors. Another important metric to consider in seeking out the best online broker for beginners is availability of account type.

Founded over 50 years ago, Schwab has been a leader in wealth management, continually innovating and growing, with a focus on the core company value of putting the client first. As part of its merger with TD Ameritrade in 2020, Charles Schwab relocated its corporate headquarters from San Francisco to Westlake, Texas. We opened live accounts at each of the brokers in our survey for hands-on testing of their services.

These group stocks by industry or other major categories to help you zero in on companies that make sense for your investment strategy. Public uses a commission-free pricing model so most users won’t pay any fees when they trade. Follow Fox on Twitter at @IBD_RFox for more on the best online brokers for beginners and market insight. Your account choices boil down to a taxable brokerage account versus tax-favored retirement account, such as an IRA. Our guide to brokerage accounts goes into more detail about what’s involved in setting up a taxable account. Opening an IRA involves choosing which type, such as a Roth IRA, traditional IRA or SEP IRA.

The best online stock brokers are mobile-friendly, if not mobile-first. You should be able to place complex trading orders, review your entire portfolio at a glance, and do market research from your phone. While no online stock broker is totally free — thanks, regulatory fees — the best don’t charge trading commissions and have low or nonexistent management fees for robo-advisor accounts.

This book is geared toward women, which is valuable because many view investing as a “man’s game.” The first chapter explains why investing is important, specifically for women. Then, Sokunbi breaks down how the stock market works, different types of investments, common mistakes to avoid, and more. The best investment books are valuable resources for anyone interested in expanding their market and trading knowledge beyond blog posts and webinars. Investing books provide reliable, accessible information from reputable sources. TD Ameritrade offers a broad suite of investment research tools, including third-party analyst reports and a variety of screeners. The platform offers thinkScript, a simple programming language that lets users build their own analysis tools tailored to their specifications.

Other factors, such as our own proprietary website rules and whether a product is offered in your area or at your self-selected credit score range, can also impact how and where products appear on this site. While we strive to provide a wide range of offers, Bankrate does not include information about every financial or credit product or service. It’s also important to realize that some brokers allow you to buy fractional shares of stock, while others only allow purchases of whole shares. In other words, if you want to buy a stock that trades for $200 per share, you’ll need at least $200 to get started if your broker doesn’t allow fractional share investing. If it does allow fractional shares, you might be able to buy a “piece” of a share for just a dollar or two. Some brokers will allow you to open a new account with $1, while others have minimum initial amounts, especially for mutual fund accounts.

Our partners cannot pay us to guarantee favorable reviews of their products or services. Making the right choice for a stock broker takes some insight into what to look for. However, they may also charge account fees or minimum investment deposit, so it’s good to work out how much you’ll potentially be paying in fees before you choose a broker. To get the best results and reduce the volatility of your portfolio over time, investors buy individual stocks across many different industries.

These are ways you can grow your money beyond collecting interest in a savings account. You invest money that has already been taxed and you pay taxes on your investments when you sell. A taxable, self-directed account where you buy and sell individual stocks is different than a retirement account. For a self-directed account, you might prefer to use a brokerage firm with an easy-to-use app to make daily trades.

Charles Schwab ranked No. 1 in customer service, with Fidelity and Vanguard rounding out the top three. Read our article on how to buy stocks for step-by-step instructions on placing that first trade. Charles Schwab was a close contender for first place in several of our categories. Ultimately, its reliable and competent representatives earned it the top spot for customer service.

The Securities Investor Protection Corporation, or SIPC, protects the clients of brokers who are covered by the plan, including those listed above. That means it protects a customer’s assets, up to $500,000 in total with a $250,000 limit on cash, in the event that the broker fails. Some brokers such as Interactive Brokers take out even more insurance to reassure their customers that their assets are safe with the broker. The broker also charges no fees on more than 17,000 mutual funds, though other fund expenses may apply, depending on the fund. Make it a point to contribute as frequently as you can, because that’s how wealth is built over time. Before saving in a taxable brokerage account, it’s important to consider where saving adds the most value to your unique financial situation.