Best Online Stock Brokers for Beginners in May 2024

When you’re just starting out with investing, the stock market can seem like an intimidating place. With so many options online it’s hard to figure out the best online stock brokers for beginners.

What’s the best and safest way to start investing? Fortunately, there are a ton of platforms out there that can help you get in the game.

We’ve compiled a list of the best online stock brokers available for beginners, with a focus on low fees, ease of use, and educational resources.

12 Best Online Stock Brokers for Beginners

To get started on your journey to financial freedom, here are the best online stock brokers for beginners to check out today:

  1. 🏆 J.P. Morgan
  2. Fidelity Investments
  3. E*TRADE
  4. InteractiveBrokers
  5. Webull
  6. Charles Schwab
  7. Merrill Edge
  8. Vanguard
  9. SoFi Invest
  10. Robinhood
  11. Ally Invest
  12. Acorns

1. J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing

  • Fees Per Stock/ETF Trade: $0
  • Account Minimum: $0

J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing is our top pick for new stock traders. Backed by one of the biggest names in the financial industry, the platform provides new investors with a simplified trading experience, security, and affordability.

Account holders can make unlimited commission-free trades on stocks, options, ETFs, and mutual funds.

In addition to making trades, you can use the online platform and mobile app to access market data and educational resources. The platform features customizable screeners, watchlists, and a wealth planning tool.

New customers can also take advantage of a sign-up bonus of up to $700. Current Chase customers have the added perk of being able to easily manage their investing and bank accounts in a central location.

INVESTMENT AND INSURANCE PRODUCTS ARE: NOT A DEPOSIT • NOT FDIC INSURED • NO BANK GUARANTEE • MAY LOSE VALUE

2. Fidelity Investments

  • Fees Per Stock/ETF Trade: $0
  • Account Minimum: $0

Fidelity offers a full-featured, no-fee brokerage account that comes with commission-free stock, exchange-traded fund (ETF), and options trading. They also offer other investment options like mutual funds, bonds, and even precious metals.

New investors get access to detailed research from a number of independent providers, along with educational materials like live webinars, coaching sessions, and online classes.

With Stocks by the Slice, you can invest in stocks or ETFs for as little as $1, no matter the share price.

You can access your Fidelity account through the website or mobile app, which is highly rated on both iOS and Android. Fidelity also offers 24/7 customer support and you can even get help in person at one of its more than 200 brick-and-mortar locations.

3. E*Trade Financial

  • Fees Per Stock/ETF Trade: $0
  • Account Minimum: $0

With commission-free trading and a user-friendly platform, E*TRADE has been one of the most popular online brokers for a long time.

You can access your brokerage account from the website, the basic mobile app, or the advanced Power E*Trade app, where you can make trades, access your funds, and set goals with intuitive investing tools.

For beginners, E*TRADE stands out because of its sheer volume of educational materials. The platform is set up for traders of all levels, and you can take advantage of videos, articles, and classes to help get you up to speed.

When you’re ready to jump in, you’ll be covered with real-time updates and commentary on the market. E*TRADE comes with access to free independent market research plus stock screeners that will help you narrow down your investment options.

4. InteractiveBrokers

  • Fees Per Stock/ETF Trade: $0 for Lite Plan/$0.005 with $1 min. or $0.0005 to $0.0035 for Pro Plan
  • Account Minimum: $0

InteractiveBrokers (IBKR) is a low-cost international trading platform. With InteractiveBrokers, you’ll have global access to stocks, options, futures, and more from a single account.

An account also comes with IBKR Campus, a massive financial learning platform that can help hone your trading skills.

When you’re more experienced, you can move up to IBKR Pro, which comes with the IB SmartRouting system to help improve your returns.

The biggest downside of IBKR is its mobile app, which has a rating of 3.9 stars (out of 5) in the App Store. If you mostly trade on the go, you may be better off looking for a different solution.

5. Webull

  • Fees Per Stock/ETF Trade: $0
  • Account Minimum: $0

Webull is an online trading platform that gives investors up to 12 free fractional shares just for opening an account and making a deposit.

The app, which is owned by Fumi Technology, has been around since 2017 and offers desktop and mobile trading. Like most fintech platforms, Webull is easy to use and offers intuitive online tools to help you along the way.

You can purchase fractional shares for as little as $5, and you can invest in over 36 of the most popular cryptocurrencies starting at $1. Webull comes loaded with real-time market data, customizable charts, and indicators to help you spot important trends.

As an added bonus, Webull also offers extended hours trading, which enables you to execute trades between 4 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.

6. Charles Schwab

  • Fees Per Stock/ETF Trade: $0
  • Account Minimum: $0

Charles Schwab, commonly called Schwab, offers everything from investment services to retirement accounts and bank accounts.

For beginning investors, Schwab’s brokerage account allows for easy, low-cost trading on a user-friendly platform. You can manage your account balance from the website or mobile app and take advantage of intuitive trading tools to evaluate investments and come up with a plan.

All Schwab accounts come with free access to Schwab Trading Services, an online platform that’s loaded with trading education and dedicated specialist insights.

In addition to serving as one of the best online stock brokers, Schwab also runs more than 300 in-person investment centers nationwide. When you need a hand with your account, you’ll have 24/7 access to licensed professionals through live chat or over the phone.

7. Merrill Edge

  • Fees Per Stock/ETF Trade: $0
  • Account Minimum: $0

Merrill Edge is the online investment wing of the New York-based financial giant Merrill, which is now owned by Bank of America (BoA).

This is significant because, along with its online trading features, a Merrill account comes with full access to BoA’s nationwide network of in-person financial advisors.

You can opt to trade stocks on your own through self-directed investing or take advantage of Guided Investing, Merrill’s advisory program.

The Merrill app comes with access to both your portfolio and your BoA checking and savings accounts. This means you can quickly move money around when you need to. You can also review any open orders, browse through investing options, and check out expert analysis.

8. Vanguard

  • Fees Per Stock/ETF Trade: $0
  • Account Minimum: $0

Though it’s probably best known for retirement accounts and mutual funds, Vanguard is a great starting point for a comprehensive investment experience.

With the platform, you can choose to invest in Vanguard’s in-house mutual funds, ETFs, and ESG funds — or self-direct your account with outside trades.

There’s also a Digital Advisor platform if you’re looking for a robo-advisor account.

Rather than focusing on quick wins, Vanguard’s entire online model is based on low-risk, long-term investment strategies to promote overall financial well-being.

Before you get started with trading, Vanguard offers a host of resources to help you set goals, understand strategies, and learn to diversify your assets.

For retirement, Vanguard offers traditional and Roth IRAs, spousal IRAs, SEPs, and 401(k)s.

9. SoFi Invest

  • Fees Per Stock/ETF Trade: $0
  • Account Minimum: $0

Social Finance, Inc, known as SoFi, is an online personal finance company that offers several account types, including loans, deposit accounts, and of course, online brokerage accounts.

SoFi has two main options for managing your account: active investing or automated investing.

Active traders manage their own accounts with zero-commission stock trading and investment advice from SoFi’s investor community.

With automated investing, you can put your portfolio on autopilot by setting a goal and letting SoFi automatically rebalance your investments over time.

One of SoFi’s newer features is the ability to invest in initial public offerings (IPOs). If you have an active account, you can get in at the ground floor of a newly public company, and there’s no minimum balance required to qualify.

10. Robinhood

  • Fees Per Stock/ETF Trade: $0
  • Account Minimum: $0

Founded in 2015, Robinhood is a relative newcomer on this list but has quickly turned into one of the best trading platforms in the United States.

The mobile-based broker comes with no trading commissions, the option to purchase fractional shares, and IPO access.

Robinhood’s mobile platform is built around the idea of making investing accessible to anyone, meaning it’s a great option for beginners.

The app is sleek and user-friendly and serves as a welcoming entry point to the world of investing with expert analysis and educational resources at the ready.

Since you can build a portfolio with as little as $1 to start, Robinhood is a great option if you don’t have a lot of cash to seed your account with. Not to worry: Robinhood even offers a sign-up bonus.

11. Ally Invest

  • Fees Per Stock/ETF Trade: $0
  • Account Minimum: $0 for self-directed accounts, $100 for managed portfolios

Ally is arguably the best-known online-only bank, but it also operates as a full-service broker through Ally Invest.

Like any digital financial product worth its weight, one of the main benefits of Ally is its seamless performance across all of your devices. Whether you’re on your desktop, smartphone, or tablet, you can quickly move between your accounts and execute trades.

When you sign up for Ally Invest, you can opt for Self-Directed Trading, which comes with plenty of research tools geared toward DIY investors, or elect to open a Robo Portfolio.

The other option is to open a Managed Portfolio, which will put your investment goals in the hands of a robo-advisor.

The Wealth Management account charges a .75%-.85% advisory fee and requires a $100 minimum investment.

Aside from your financial goals, you can also tailor your account toward investments that align with your values. Whether you want to focus on social responsibility or tax optimization, you can set your portfolio to match what you’re all about.

12. Acorns

  • Account Fees: $3 – $5 per month
  • Account Minimum: $0

Of all the best brokers for beginners I’ve covered here, Acorns is the most hands-off. It’s a robo-advisor that takes your spare change and invests it for you automatically.

Here’s how it works: When you sign up, you’ll link all of your credit and debit cards to your Acorns account. Once that’s done, Acorns will round each transaction you make up to the nearest dollar and drop the remainder in your investment account.

You don’t need to make any minimum deposit to get started, but Acorns does come with a monthly fee. That said, the pricing is reasonable. You can choose from two account tiers: Personal and Family.

At $3 per month, the Personal Plan offers an investment, retirement, and checking account.

The Acorns Family plan ($5 per month) allows you to open accounts for your kids alongside your personal investments.

How to Choose the Best Online Stock Broker for Beginners

Just getting started? Here are a few tips to help you choose the right online stock broker.

1. Know Your Goals

Map out your investment goals and risk tolerance, then decide what type of account you want to open and consider how you’d like to invest. Decide whether you’re interested in active trading, a hands-off experience, or something in between.

There are a ton of options out there, but not every broker will have what you’re looking for. As you compare your options, look at the types of funds and the account options different brokers offer.

2. Research Fees and Account Minimums

Pay close attention to a broker’s cost structure. Most of the best stock brokers for beginners don’t charge commissions or transaction fees when you trade ETFs or stocks. And most don’t charge account fees, or keep them low.

You should also look out for account minimums, which can be steep with some brokerages. As a beginner investor, you have access to several great brokerage services that don’t have balance requirements.

3. Consider Features

There’s more to a good online broker than low fees and investing options. You should also assess the educational resources and investing tools each investing platform has to offer.

Look for a broker with educational materials, data, and trading tools to help you learn the ropes and invest confidently. Some stock trading apps offer webinars, courses, and forums, too, adding a community element to investing.

4. Look at User Experience

You should also choose a platform that makes investing easy, whether you’re at home on a desktop or on the go trading from your phone. Open the broker’s website, read customer reviews and see how high its app is rated in the Google Play and Apple App stores.

While you’re at it, take a look at the customer service availability. Choose a broker that provides resources and access to a living breathing representative if you have a question or concern.

What Is an Online Stockbroker?

Traditionally, stockbrokers were individuals you would hire to make market trades on your behalf. This practice was costly and time-consuming and gave you little control over your own portfolio.

The good news is that, in the digital age, you have plenty of other options at your disposal.

Individual stockbrokers are still out there. But you also have the flexibility to make online trades in seconds through digital firms, apps, and even fully automated platforms.

With so many options, it’s easier than ever to start investing. Building up a foundation of investment knowledge is crucial to your long-term financial growth, and you can get started without breaking the bank.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the most frequently asked questions about the best brokers for beginners.

Which online stock broker for beginners is easiest to use?

In general, newer platforms like Robinhood and Webull are the easiest online brokers for beginners to use. These apps were designed for easy, everyday use and make trading accessible with any level of knowledge.

That said, it depends on what you need out of a broker. Bigger firms might seem more confusing to start but often come with a wider network of advisors, in-person help, and educational resources.

What are the best online stock brokers for beginners to trade forex?

If you’re looking to invest in foreign markets, you’ll want to find a broker that offers access but also specializes in investments outside the U.S.

Most of the bigger firms allow for international trading (with added fees). But online brokers like InteractiveBrokers have geared their entire platform toward a global trading experience.

If forex trading is what you have in mind, be sure to look into international trading fees for any broker that you’re considering.

What are the best online stock brokers for beginners to trade ETFs?

Exchange-traded funds, or ETFs, are simply diversified collections of stocks that are bought and sold as a single unit. All of the brokers I’ve covered here include ETF trading and most of them come without a commission.

The popularity of ETFs has skyrocketed in recent years, which means that most investment platforms have a pretty good handle on them. If you want to get started with ETF trading, you should be in good hands with any of the brokers covered here.

How do I buy stocks online for the first time?

Here are the steps you can take to buy stocks online:

  1. Find a brokerage and open an account
  2. Fund your investment account
  3. Research and pick which stocks to invest in
  4. Decide on a dollar amount or number of shares
  5. Choose between a market, limit, or stop order
  6. Place your order

Can I buy stocks without a broker?

You don’t necessarily need a broker, as in a living breathing financial advisor to invest in stocks. However, you do need an online brokerage to buy and sell stocks. Online stock brokers are appealing for beginners because they typically don’t charge commissions and account fees.

How do you start stock investing with $100?

If you have $100 to invest, you can start out with a micro-investing app like Acorns that rounds up purchases or buy fractional shares of stocks with Robinhood.

Which is The Best Online Stock Broker for You?

No matter who you are or what your background is, you can and should get started investing in the stock market right now. You don’t need a complex market strategy — you just need a smartphone, a little starter cash, and a willingness to learn.

If you feel like you’re falling behind in your investment knowledge, don’t worry. Wherever you are in your personal finance journey, there’s no better time to brush up on your investing knowledge than right now. By taking the time to seek out the best online stock brokers for beginners to jumpstart your portfolio, you’re already well on your way to making a splash in the markets.

As long as you keep a learner’s mindset and your eyes on the prize, you won’t feel like a beginner for long.

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