NerdWallet offers financial tools and advice to help people understand their options and make the best possible decisions. The guidance we offer and info we provide are deeply researched, objective and independent. We spent over hours reviewing the top online brokers before selecting the best for our readers. One note before you begin: Learn the basics with our guide to how day trading works. These brokers are our best overall picks because of their competitive pricing and strong trading platforms and tools.
TD Ameritrade and Interactive Brokers have that powerful combination that every trader wants: Low commissions paired with advanced trading tools and platforms. These brokers offer some of the most powerful trading platforms available, with no minimums or fees. TD Ameritrade offers what may be the best trading platform available, thinkorswim , along with Trade Architect , a second platform designed for simplicity.
Charles Schwab also offers two excellent platforms: TradeStation is for seriously committed traders: In March the company eliminated monthly service fees for its desktop, mobile and web-trading apps for non-professional subscribers on the per-trade pricing plan.
The setup extends to all devices, including mobile and tablet. The broker charges a blended rate based on account balance, but features a calculator on its website to help investors quickly do the math. As noted above, Interactive Brokers does impose monthly trade minimums. Both brokers charge very competitive commissions for stock and options trades.
Best platforms for day trading: Day trading is buying and selling stocks within a short time frame, often inside a day. The goal is to capitalize on stocks with rapid and frequent price fluctuations. To learn more, read our primer on day trading. Day trading, defined by the SEC, is buying and selling or short-selling and buying the same security on the same day. Our guide to how to day trade gets into advice for minimizing risk, but as a quick synopsis: In other words, treat day trading like gambling, not long-term investing.
Beyond that, be sure to do your research before you jump in, and establish an exit plan. Many brokers offer virtual trading accounts that essentially let you test the waters with Monopoly money. We highly recommend testing out your trades on a virtual platform before putting your money on the line.
Most day traders trade stocks, though you can day trade bonds, currencies or commodities, too. Generally, you want to look for securities that are:. Here are other suggestions for how to invest. Ally invest Best for options trading Interactive Brokers Best for lowest margin rates. Learn more about day trading before diving in What is day trading? How much money do you need to day trade? How do you learn how to day trade?
What securities are best suited for day trading? Generally, you want to look for securities that are: Highly liquid, with large trade volume. You want frequent price changes, which allows you to make a profit quickly. Many day traders trade only a few specific stocks, developing expertise in those companies and narrowing their focus.
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