Our goal is to help you find the best stock broker for your needs. To that end, our team has spent over hours reviewing the top online brokerages. NerdWallet does not have relationships with every brokerage listed, and our recommendations are completely independent of any partnerships. The first step in choosing an investment account is understanding your investing strategy. Investors who trade individual stocks and advanced securities like options are looking for exposure to specific companies or trading strategies.
Mutual funds and ETFs are typically best suited to investing for long-term goals that are at least 5 years away, like retirement, a far-off home purchase or college.
Beginners and long term investors often look to get exposure to whole markets and don't have a preference on which type of securities to trade. Some brokers have minimum deposit requirements, while others may require a minimum balance to access certain advanced features or trading platforms. If a broker is offering a new account promotion, there may be a minimum initial deposit requirement to qualify. Like most things, when it comes to stock brokers, you often get what you pay for — which means there may be a trade off between price and quality.
Some brokers charge more per trade but offer access to a high-quality platform and premium research for free. Others have lower commissions, but offer fewer tools and services or charge to access certain tools. If you're trading frequently — more than weekly — you'll want an advanced broker that has powerful platforms, innovative tools, high-quality research and low commissions. Those who trade monthly or yearly will want a well-rounded broker with a user-friendly interface, helpful customer support and competitive pricing.
Yes, it's true — you don't have to manage your own investments. In fact, these days it's not only possible, but inexpensive to get the kind of management that was previously only available to investors with very high balances read: These services use algorithms to build and manage investor portfolios.
For a very low fee, they'll create a portfolio of ETFs based on your investing goals and risk tolerance, then rebalance it as needed. Many also offer tax-loss harvesting for taxable accounts. If that sounds too hands-off for you and you want to manage your own investments , choose a self-directed account at an online broker. Mutual fund and ETF investors want access to funds without commissions or transaction fees; stock or options traders want low commissions and no added fees for inactivity, tools or research.
If you plan to trade frequently, you likely know what kind of tools you'll use most and what you want out of a platform. Website and tools should be intuitive and easy to navigate. Investing, particularly frequent trading, requires analysis. The broker should provide extensive information to help you select the investments for your portfolio.
This shouldn't be your primary concern, but it might be a tie breaker if you're stuck between two options. Find the Best Stock Broker Our goal is to help you find the best stock broker for your needs. What do you want to invest in? How much will you deposit to open the account? How often will you trade? At least once a week Every month or so A few times a year. Who will manage your investments? What is most important to you?
Recommended stock brokers for you. Breadth of research from other providers and own offering. Open an account on Merrill Edge's secure website. Impressive platform and research depth; low commissions. Open an account on Ally Invest's secure website. Top research; two powerful trade platforms; educational content. Open an account on TD Ameritrade's secure website. Large selection; reasonable commissions and fees. Open an account on Etrade's secure website.
Large number of no-trading-fee mutual funds; extensive research. No account minimum; free research and education; retirement planning tools. Free management on small balances; hands-off approach for IRA investors. Open an account on Wealthfront's secure website. Low commissions; No IRA annual fee; no account minimum. Breadth of research; low commissions; customer service. Dedicated financial advisors; customized portfolios.
Open an account on Personal Capital's secure website. Multiple trading platforms; extensive customer support.
Open an account on Scottrade's secure website. Low-cost funds; strong customer service. Open an account on Vanguard Brokerage's secure website. Socially responsible investments; free tax-loss harvesting.
Open an account on Wealthsimple's secure website. Low account minimum and fees; portfolio-building tools. Open an account on Capital One Investing's secure website. Standout and free retirement planning tools; no-transaction-fee mutual funds. Open an account on T. Rowe Price's secure website. Sophisticated platform; exceptional research and analytical tools.
Open an account on TradeStation's secure website. We want to hear from you and encourage a lively discussion among our users.
Please help us keep our site clean and safe by following our posting guidelines , and avoid disclosing personal or sensitive information such as bank account or phone numbers. Any comments posted under NerdWallet's official account are not reviewed or endorsed by representatives of financial institutions affiliated with the reviewed products, unless explicitly stated otherwise. Merrill Edge Show Details. Ally Invest Show Details.
TD Ameritrade Show Details. Current Offers 60 days of commission-free trades with a qualifying deposit. Personal Capital Show Details. Current Offers None no promotion available at this time.
Vanguard Brokerage Show Details. Capital One Investing Show Details. Rowe Price Show Details.More...