Best Online Brokers and Stock Trading Platforms of December 2022

The majority of investors trade stocks through online brokers. In the race for new customers, investment brokers compete fiercely with one another. Not only do they offer many of the same services, but they’re also matching one another in fees – which are now usually zero.

So choosing the best brokerage accounts for stock trading will now depend on what type of trading you plan to do.

Some trading platforms provide a more general investment approach. Others build niches to focus on options trading or more advanced investing. You should choose the broker that best matches your investment style.

My list of the best online brokers and stock trading platforms, below, includes those that excel with specific types of trading. Each broker is “the best” at something; we’ll leave it to you to choose which will work best for you.

16 Best Online Brokers for Stock Trading

Here are the best online brokers for stock trading in 2022:

  1. Fidelity
  2. Public
  3. TD Ameritrade
  4. Webull
  5. Charles Schwab
  6. Ally Invest
  7. E*TRADE
  8. Tradestation
  9. Merrill Edge
  10. M1 Finance
  11. Interactive Brokers
  12. Robinhood
  13. Axos SDI
  14. JP Morgan SDI
  15. etoro
  16. Tastyworks

1. Fidelity

  • Best For: All-Around
  • Minimum Investment:$0
  • Trading Fees: $0 on US Stocks, ETFs & Options (+$0.65 per contract)

Fidelity is our top pick overall, with something to offer long-term seasoned investors and beginners alike. It’s a full-service broker with a broad range of investment tools, low costs, and an extensive trading library that includes fractional shares. And Fidelity’s top-notch customer service makes it an even more appealing pick.

Pros:

  • Dependable order execution
  • Top-tier trading tools and in-depth research
  • No account fees or minimum
  • No stock or ETF commissions
  • Fee-free mutual funds

Cons:

  • No forex, futures, or cryptocurrency trading
  • Steep fee for broker-assisted trades
  • Higher options fees than some competitors

2. Public

  • Best For: Alternative Assets
  • Minimum Deposit: $0
  • Trading Fees: $0 on Stocks, ETFs, or crypto

We like Public’s versatile line of alternative assets. Beyond standards like stocks and ETFs, you can add crypto, fine art, luxury goods, and collectibles to your portfolio. And Public lets you invest in stocks and crypto with as little as $1.

Public is also suitable for beginners and experienced investors, with community investment advice, webinars, powerful analytical tools, third-party research, and learning resources.

Pros:

  • Offers fractional shares
  • Community insights
  • Advanced data tools
  • Direct crypto trades
  • Intuitive platform

Cons:

  • Limited account types
  • No options, mutual funds, or bonds
  • No crypto transfers to another wallet

 

3. TD Ameritrade

  • Best For: User Experience
  • Minimum Investment:$0
  • Trading Fees: $0 on Stocks, ETFs, and Options (+ $0.65 per contract)

We’re big fans of TD Ameritrade’s overall user experience. TD Ameritrade is a good fit for beginners looking to learn the basics and for professionals looking for a powerful platform to execute their trades.

Its educational resources, sleek mobile app, and trading technology make it hard to beat. The company also prioritizes customer service, with 24/7 support through several channels.

Pros:

  • Extensive research and education library
  • An impressive lineup of securities
  • Thousands of NTF mutual funds
  • 2 apps for casual and professional investors
  • Numerous account types

Cons:

  • No fractional shares
  • Higher fees for some actions
  • No direct crypto trading

4. Webull

  • Best For: Mobile App and Stock Trading
  • Minimum Investment: $0
  • Trading Fees: $0 on Stocks, ETFs & Options (no per contract fee)

Webull offers an intuitive mobile app with real-time data and advanced analytical tools so you can trade on the go.

You can buy fractional shares with as little as $5 and score bonus shares just for signing up. It’s a solid pick for intermediate stock traders who know the ropes and want a sleek mobile experience.

Pros:

  • User-friendly app
  • Low costs
  • Crypto trading
  • Access to traditional, Roth, and rollover IRAs
  • Bonus stocks

Cons:

  • No mutual funds
  • Limited educational resources
  • No live chat tool

5. Charles Schwab

  • Best For: Beginners
  • Minimum Investment:$0
  • Trading Fees: $0 on Stocks, ETFs, and Options (+ $0.65 per contract)

Schwab is our pick for beginners. It’s packed with educational resources through Schwab Trading Services and has accessible customer support online and in-person, with hundreds of branches nationwide.

With no commissions and a large fund lineup, it’s also a sound choice for active and experienced investors.

Pros:

  • Over 4,300 NTF mutual funds
  • No account minimum
  • Extensive research tools
  • Fractional shares
  • 24/7 customer support

Cons:

  • No forex or direct crypto trading
  • No fractional shares of ETFs
  • Average margin rates

6. Ally Invest

  • Best For: Investing & High Yield Savings
  • Minimum Investment:$0
  • Trading Fees: $0 on US Stocks, ETFs, and Options (+ $0.50 per contract)

Ally Invest is a great pick if you want to house your investments and online savings in one place. We like Ally for its ease of use across devices and versatile investment options.

You can actively invest using all of Ally’s trading tools as a DIY investor or opt into a managed portfolio with no advisory fees.

Pros:

  • No commissions on stocks, ETFs, and options
  • Excellent online platform
  • Integration with Ally bank accounts
  • Customer service
  • Competitive bonus

Cons:

  • No NTF (no-transaction-fee) mutual funds
  • No fractional shares
  •  $100 minimum deposit for managed portfolios

7. E*TRADE

  • Best For: Options Trading
  • Minimum Investment:$0
  • Trading Fees: $0 on Stocks, ETFs, and Options (+ $0.65 per contract)

E*Trade wins the prize for best options trading, with no commissions, customizable options chains, and other advanced options trading tools. It’s a great pick all around for active traders who want educational resources, data, and a user-friendly platform with low costs.

With Power E*Trade for pros and the more simplified E*Trade Web, investors at every level can get the resources they need.

Pros:

  • Offers futures trading
  • Commission-free stock, ETF, and options trades
  • Highly rated mobile app
  • Automated investing option
  • Two mobile apps for pros and beginners

Cons:

  • No direct crypto trading
  • No fractional shares for active investing
  • Transfer out fees

8. TradeStation

  • Best For: Advanced Trading Tools
  • Minimum Investment: $0
  • Trading Fees: $0 on Individual Stocks, ETF trades, Options ($0.50 per contract), Futures, or Cryptocurrency (Mutual Fund trade commissions are $14.95)

TradeStation packs a punch with its advanced tools and intuitive trading platform. Experienced investors can make the most of a powerful investment simulator to test out strategies, enjoy lightning-fast order execution, and use a range of complex trading tools.

With no commissions on stocks or ETFs and a long lineup of assets (including crypto) to invest in, TradeStation may be worth a look for casual traders, too.

Pros:

  • Top-notch trading execution
  • Intuitive platform
  • Simulated trading tool
  • Commission-free stocks, ETFs, and options
  • A long lineup of securities

Cons:

  • Learning curve
  • No NTF mutual funds
  • Account minimum to avoid inactivity fees

 

9. Merrill Edge

  • Best For: Investment Research
  • Minimum Investment:$0
  • Trading Fees: $2.95 on Stocks, ETFs, and Options (+ $0.65 per contract) ($0 per trade for Bank of America Preferred Rewards Members)

Merrill Edge brings its A-game with research tools, from basic educational resources for new investors to the MarketPro trading platform for advanced traders that features data from Morningstar and Lipper.

Merrill Edge is also integrated with Bank of America, so members can instantly transfer funds from BofA accounts, tap into rewards, and access financial advisors at their local bank branch.

Pros:

  • Bank of America integration
  • Comprehensive research tools
  • Excellent customer support
  • Versatile account types
  • Managed portfolios and self-directed trading accounts

Cons:

  • Limited investment selection
  • Less intuitive website
  • High Robo-advisor fees

10. M1 Finance

  • Best For: Managed Stock / ETF Portfolios
  • Minimum Deposit: $0
  • Trading Fees: $0 Stocks and ETFs (does not offer mutual funds)

M1 Finance is our top pick for managed stock and ETF portfolios with a twist. Investors can choose from over 60 expertly pre-made portfolios, called pies, or make their own.

Then they can set their account on auto-pilot. M1 Finance investors also get access to a cash management account with a debit card and other perks.

Pros:

  • Automated investing
  • Customizable pies
  • Automatic transfers
  • Accessible margin loans
  • No commissions or account management fees

Cons:

  • No automatic rebalancing
  • No advisors or financial planning
  • Limited trading tools

 

11. Interactive Brokers

  • Best For: Active Traders
  • Minimum Deposit: $0
  • Trading Fees: $0 on US Stocks & ETFs; 4,200+ no-fee mutual funds

Interactive Brokers is one of the best platforms on the market for active traders. It offers a powerful trading platform, access to 135 global markets in dozens of countries, and extensive research capabilities.

The IBKR platform adds a ton of value for active traders, with minimal fees and commissions across the board and notably competitive margin interest rates.

Pros:

  • Powerful desktop, computer, and mobile platforms
  • Extensive news, research, and data tools
  • Low-margin interest rates
  • Unmatched lineup of assets
  • International trading available

Cons:

  • Can be complicated for new investors
  • Confusing pricing
  • Mediocre phone support

12. Robinhood

  • Best For: Cryptocurrencies / Stocks / ETFs
  • Minimum Deposit: $0
  • Trading Fees: $0 on Stocks, ETFs & Options (no per contract fee)

If you want a simple app that lets you trade a mix of crypto, stocks, and ETFs, Robinhood is our top recommendation. It’s an excellent starting point for new investors who want to actively trade, letting you buy fractional shares for just a dollar.

We’re also fans of Robinhood’s user experience. The Robinhood app is clean and user-friendly, and the paid version comes with additional data from Morningstar and Nasdaq.

Pros:

  • No commissions or account minimums
  • Straightforward trading experience
  • Fractional shares trading
  • Crypto trading and storage
  • Cash management account

Cons:

  • No mutual funds
  • Limited customer support
  • Limited research for free users

 

13. Axos SDI

  • Best For: Banking and Investing
  • Minimum Deposit: $0
  • Trading Fees: $0 on Stocks & ETFs; $1 per Options contract

The Axos Self-Directed Investing Account is worth considering if you prioritize simplicity and want to bank and invest in one spot. Axos SDI offers basic commission-free trading on a user-friendly platform, with an optional premium version featuring advanced data and research tools.

The biggest asset of the account is that it’s linked to your checking and savings accounts, so you can manage all of your personal finances in one succinct dashboard.

Pros:

  • Axos Bank integration
  • Individual, joint, and IRA accounts
  • Commission-free trades
  • An extensive lineup of NTF or low-cost mutual funds
  • Options and margin trading

Cons:

  • Fewer assets to invest in
  • Mediocre educational tools
  • Limited trading tools in the free version

14. JP Morgan SDI

  • Best For: Casual traders
  • Minimum Deposit: $0
  • Trading Fees: $0 on Stocks & ETFs; $0.65 per Options contract

The JP Morgan Self-directed investing account is an impressive pick for casual investors who want a simple platform for executing trades. Like the Axos SDI account, this account also lets you manage your bank and investment accounts in one place.

The platform is easy to use and it provides enough tools to satisfy newer investors looking to learn on the go, like a Portfolio Builder tool and Wealth Plan dashboard.

Pros:

  • Chase integration
  • User-friendly trading platform
  • Also offers robo-advising
  • Minimal fees
  • Signup bonuses

Cons:

  • Limited access to third-party research
  • No fractional shares investing
  • Doesn’t offer crypto, forex, or future trading

15. Etoro

  • Best For: Social Investing
  • Minimum Deposit: $10
  • Trading Fees: $0 on stocks, ETFs, or options; 1% crypto

Etoro is our pick for social investors who want to build connections and learn from other investors around the globe as they make trades and manage their portfolios. One of Etoro’s more innovative features, CopyTrader, lets you replicate other investors’ moves in real-time. Etoro is also a solid choice for crypto investors, even though US investors won’t have access to Etoro’s full crypto library.

Pros:

  • User-friendly interface
  • Thematic portfolios
  • Ability to copy trades
  • Offers crypto trading
  • Advanced trading tools and research

Cons:

  • Higher fees than competitors
  • Minimum deposit requirement
  • Crypto isn’t available in NY, HI, MN, or NV

16. Tastyworks

  • Best For: Budget-minded Active Traders
  • Minimum Deposit: $0
  • Trading Fees: $0 on stocks and ETFs; $1 to buy options (capped at $10 per leg), $0 to sell

If you’re a cost-conscious active investor, Tastyworks might be the right platform for you. Tastyworks is best suited for options investors, with a rewarding commission structure that’s hard to beat.

While the Tastyworks platform and its tools are mostly centered around options, it’s also a great platform for trading stocks, ETFs, futures, and crypto, though it lacks mutual funds.

Pros:

  • Educational content
  • Competitive options commissions
  • Crypto trading
  • Advanced options trading tools
  • Customizable platform

Cons:

  • Average margin interest rates
  • No mutual funds are available
  • No fractional shares investing

Which Is The Best Online Brokerage for Beginners?

If you are looking for the best brokerage for beginner investors, we have a tie between Charles Schwab and Fidelity.

Not only are the two the largest, full-service investment brokerage firms in the industry – which provides the stability beginners need – but there’s a long list of tangible benefits to make any new investor happy:

  • No Minimum to Invest: Neither Fidelity nor Charles Schwab requires an initial account minimum to invest. Though you will certainly need to have funds in your account to begin investing, you can open your account with no money at all, then make periodic additions until you have enough funds to begin investing.
  • No Fees on Trades: Then there’s the fact that neither firm charges fees on stock trades, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), or even options trading. Since beginning investors will likely start out with small portfolios – maybe just a few hundred dollars – the last thing they need are trading fees eating into their accounts and their profits.
  • 24/7 Customer Support: Both platforms provide round-the-clock customer service. You can reach a live representative by phone or live chat, and if you prefer face-to-face, each company has an extensive network of local branch offices.
  • Tools: Charles Schwab and Fidelity offer a wealth of trading tools and investment research to help beginning investors up their game and get the knowledge needed to become experienced investors. (Note that Schwab does not currently provide forex trading.)
  • Robo-Advisors: Another benefit offered by Fidelity and Schwab is managed portfolio options. Each platform offers its own Robo-advisor. Robo-advisors are automated investment platforms that provide full portfolio management for a very low annual fee. With a robo-advisor option, both Charles Schwab and Fidelity offer beginning investors an opportunity to have some or all of their portfolios professionally managed.

Who Is The Cheapest Online Brokerage?

In this category, we have a nine-way tie! That is, nine of the 16 brokers we’ve included on our list are also some of the best brokers that charge no fees for trading stocks, ETFs, options, and often mutual funds.

Here Are Nine Low-cost Brokers:

  1. Webull
  2. TradeStation
  3. TD Ameritrade
  4. Interactive Brokers
  5. E*TRADE
  6. Fidelity
  7. Charles Schwab
  8. Robinhood
  9. Tastyworks

If you’re looking for low-cost, you can’t go wrong with any of the platforms in this list.

Trading fees going, going, (almost) gone in the investment brokerage industry. Commission-free trades and commission-free ETFs aren’t just the waves of the future. They’re the wave of the present for almost all the leading trading platforms.

We can thank the Internet for that. Online trading has changed the entire process, automating tasks your human broker once had to do manually. Robinhood and the pioneering robo-advisors Wealthfront and Betterment were among the first “discount brokers,” though they’ve never offered a full-service approach.

Now, the success of this business model has forced most of the major, full-service brokerage firms to follow suit and offer investment accounts with mobile trading, commission-free trades, and no minimum deposits to open accounts.

So what does this mean to a beginning investor? It means fees don’t have to be a major determining factor when you compare brokers. This frees you up to look into other features such as fractional shares, real-time trades, and highly rated mobile apps.

You could even choose a brokerage account based on how well you like its website or customer support!

Which Online Broker’s Website Is Best?

We have another tie between Fidelity and Charles Schwab. While neither of these giants may be the absolute leader in any single category (except for beginner investing), each is near the top in virtually every category.

And the proof is that the two are the largest diversified investment brokers in the industry.

What’s The Best Broker For Retirement Accounts?

Choosing the best broker is a noble goal when you’re ready to start investing for retirement (and you should start now if you haven’t already). But coming up with the answer has gotten more difficult — or a lot easier depending on your point of view.

Online competition has flattened out these fee structures, making full-service brokers resemble discount brokers.

So when you open your IRA (or any other kind of new account) you can just about ignore trading fees and commissions since they’re almost always going to be $0.

Instead, you can compare:

  • account types
  • customer service availability
  • ease of use on a broker’s mobile app
  • whether or not a human advisor is available

Once again, my nod goes to Fidelity or Charles Schwab. If you’re a new investor I’d give a slight edge to Fidelity because of its educational resources. It pulls in expert guidance from a wide variety of sources to give you a broad view of the securities you’re considering.

While you could open an IRA within your Robo-advisor like Betterment, do this only if you really do want a hands-off approach and don’t plan to self-direct or have a conversation about your retirement accounts with a human advisor.

And one more piece of advice: Watch out for IRA closing fees if you want to change brokers in the future.

Which Online Stock Broker is Best For You?

It’s always tempting to rank all the major brokerage firms to create a top-10 list (or a top 16 list in my case.) But it’s impossible to come up with a concise ranking system for each.

Five years ago I would have done it. But now with so much standardization between these platforms it’s a lot harder to come up with a way to measure.

For example, while two or three years ago, free trading was a novelty offered by only one or two firms, it’s increasingly becoming standard practice by all brokers.

What might be the best brokerage firm for one person may be completely unsatisfactory for another. It really comes down to the various nuances that make each firm specialize in a certain niche.

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