In some cases, we receive a commission from our partners; however, our opinions are our own. Online brokers, like many companies, frequently entice new customers with deals, such as a cash bonus on certain deposit amounts. If you’re new to investing, it may be best to look for a brokerage that offers free educational resources, such as live webinars, thorough how-to guides, video tutorials, glossaries and more. We recommend that every individual do their own research to determine which online brokerage might best suit them. Robinhood introduced support for purchasing fractional shares and automatic dividend reinvestingin December 2019.

  1. To buy shares of stocks like Apple (AAPL), Nvidia (NVDA), or Tesla (TSLA), you’ll need to set up an investing account with an online broker.
  2. It offers $0 stock and ETF trades, $0.65/contract options trades, $0 Fidelity mutual fund trades, and some 3,300 NTF mutual funds.
  3. Look for a broker that can assist you with quality research and educational materials to aid your development as an investor and help you make winning decisions in the markets.
  4. If you want to invest in mutual funds, or pretty much anything other than stocks or ETFs, you’ll have to look at other brokerage firms.
  5. But the best broker for you depends on your personal preferences and investment goals.

Once you’ve researched online brokers and selected the best option for your investing needs, here are the steps to take to open a brokerage account. In the past, brokers and brokerage firms worked with their clients face-to-face or by phone, but those days are largely over. For the vast majority of people today, brokers are almost exclusively online services accessed via the internet,and that’s why they’re called online brokers.

Now you can open an account, fund it with a dollar or two, and buy a fraction of a share of stock. You can also practice investing with no money at all at a broker that offers virtual trading, also called paper trading. After having placed over 2,000 trades in his late teens and early 20s, he became one of the first in digital media to review online brokerages. Blain created the original scoring rubric for and oversees all testing and rating methodologies.

Runner Up, Best Online Broker for Educational Resources

Account minimums (if any) are displayed at the top of our reviews, as well as in our selection of the best platforms for different types of investors. If you are looking for more general guidance on investing with limited capital, check out our article on smart investing on a small budget. Tastytrade has acted on customer demand for social trading capabilities by allowing users to follow individual traders in real time and enabling them to both view and replicate strategies employed by other traders. In addition, many investors will find lower account minimums at an online trading platform than at a traditional or full-service brokerage, Blaylock says. A willingness to do your own research and place your own trades will also help you cut costs, he says.


It also now offers trading for alternative assets like art, collectibles, and NFTs. SoFi’s account selection is also fairly limited compared to larger brokers that offer any type of retirement or business investment account under the sun. Your money is indeed insured, but only against the unlikely event a brokerage firm or investment company goes under. A broker’s SIPC coverage (Securities Investor Protection Corporation) doesn’t cover any loss in value of your investments. The scoring formulas take into account multiple data points for each financial product and service. Another important thing to consider is the distinction between investing and trading.

Some are mobile-focused, like Robinhood, while others simply use mobile apps to offer their customers an additional way to trade stocks. Because discount brokers forgo many of the frills, they can charge rock-bottom prices for their services. Virtually all online stock brokers charge $0 to place a stock trade — a bargain, especially considering what traditional brokers charge, and also charge low fees for other products and services. In addition, discount brokers tend to have lower minimum investment requirements (or no minimums at all), making them accessible to everyone. The design is focused primarily on performance over the long term and the balance of your holdings. Unlike many other brokerages on this list, Vanguard doesn’t offer real-time streaming news or advanced charting tools, as buy-and-hold investors may not benefit from those like active traders would.

Not to mention the various ways customers can get in touch with a service representative. This online brokerage’s offerings include stocks, mutual funds, crypto, fixed income assets, bonds, CDs, ETFs, and options. The best online brokerages for beginners offer low fees, easy trading, educational resources, research access, financial tools, and more. Robo-advisors, like Betterment and Acorns, are popular online brokers for beginners who implement low-cost, passive investing strategies.

Investors who might already know a thing or two and want to further their investment game. Investors just starting out can benefit well from Fidelity’s wide range of easily digestible educational tools. It’s important to note that Schwab does not offer cryptocurrency trading, so if you’re interested in venturing into the world of crypto, you won’t be able to do that through Schwab.

Summary: Best Online Brokers for Beginners

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 offers that appear on this site are from companies that compensate us. But this compensation does not influence the
information we publish, or the reviews that you see on this site.

Best Online Brokerages for Beginners

This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. Schwab offers 24/7 phone and online chat support as well as in-person support at one of its more than 300 branches across the US. When investing with small sums, consistency is the key to building wealth. If you can regularly put a set amount of money into the market—even $10 a week—you will be surprised at how quickly it begins to grow.

We collect data directly from providers through detailed questionnaires, and conduct first-hand testing and observation through provider demonstrations. The final output produces star ratings from poor (one star) to excellent (five stars). Read our article on how to buy stocks for step-by-step instructions on placing that first trade. Our evaluations and opinions are not influenced by our advertising relationships, but we may earn a commission from our partners’ links. We publish unbiased product reviews; our opinions are our own and are not influenced by payment we receive from our advertising partners. Learn more about how we review products and read our advertiser disclosure for how we make money.

Robinhood’s mobile app delivers on this promise as one the cleanest, easiest-to-use mobile investing platforms in our tests. Using the screener tool for mutual funds, users can search thousands of funds, including Fidelity’s own fee-free funds and those with low minimum investment requirements. Similarly, the ETF screener tool allows users to scan over 2,000 commission-free ETFs based on their interests. Merrill Edge is a full-service broker that offers high-quality tools for traders while still catering to investors looking to get started. But unlike most other brokers, there are no per-contract fees for options trading, making it a good option for options traders. We consider this one of the best trading platforms because it’s a good choice for both beginner and seasoned investors, and really anyone in between.


An average of 85% of orders are executed at a better price than the National Best Bid and Offer (NBBO), with an average execution speed of 0.07 seconds. Novice investors inevitably have questions beyond the scope of FAQs and chatbot capabilities. To help answer these queries, TD Ameritrade offers customer service that was sound in our tests, with reliable phone support, a message center and live chat available best online brokerage 24/7. Note that the account requirements, fees, and perks offered by these online banks may be available for limited time periods. Interest rates are subject to change at the discretion of the bank, which could impact how much interest you earn. The Fortune RecommendsTM team compared more than 30 online banks and credit unions to help you find the best institution to help you meet your needs.

It’s worth noting that Interactive Brokers has both IBKR Pro and IBKR Lite offerings, depending on how much research and advanced features are important to you. The fee structure for both are more complicated than most brokers on this list, so be sure to look into which tier makes the most sense for you and what fees correspond to that tier before making a decision. Different brokerages have different trading platforms, so it’s important to find one you like. Brokers with strong customer support allow you to contact them and ask questions, sometimes at any hour of the day via phone or chat. They’ll also have educational sections on their site that walk you through how to trade on their platform, what to look for in an investment and more. The Securities Investor Protection Corporation, or SIPC, protects the clients of brokers who are covered by the plan, including those listed above.

We also recognize the top four brokers in 20 key performance categories that investors deemed important. “Online brokers tend to attract two main types of investors in my experience, day traders and people who are extremely fee-conscious.” In the US, brokerage accounts are insured by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC).

Investors can buy and sell different investment assets with an online brokerage account, which provides secure storage and market access. The best online brokerages provide an intuitive interface and a variety of account types to serve your needs. When you open an account with an online broker, you get access to a trading platform that provides you with a wide range of investing tools. Every online brokerage platform is different, ranging from very simple interfaces that permit only the most basic trades, to sprawling, complicated trading platforms designed for professionals. Known for its cost leadership in the fund industry, Vanguard also offers commission-free trading in stocks and ETFs. You’ll also find more than 3,000 no-transaction-fee mutual funds available.

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