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In the old days, the best way to make a stock trade was to call a broker over the phone and ask them to place an order for you. These days, there are plenty of ways to buy and sell stocks and other securities online.
Working with an online stockbroker makes investing and managing your portfolio much easier. However, different stockbrokers are better at different things. Additionally, each broker can charge differing fees and offer contrasting user experiences. If you’re trying to choose the best stockbroker to work with, here are some of the best brokers we recommend.
Best Online Stockbrokers of 2023
Best Overall : Fidelity
Get $100 when you open a new, eligible Fidelity account with $50 or more. Use code FIDELITY100. Limited time offer. Terms apply. Offer Disclosure .
Why We Chose It
Fidelity, one of the largest financial companies in the world, managing more than $10 trillion in investors’ assets, is our choice for the best overall stockbroker for a few reasons.
One is that Fidelity makes it easy to execute trades from your computer or a mobile phone. You can view and manage your portfolio from anywhere with little friction.
Fidelity is also an ideal choice for newer investors. There are no minimum balance requirements and no minimum amount to start investing in Fidelity’s mutual funds . You can even use as little as $1 to start buying stocks and ETFs, thanks to the option to buy fractional shares of thousands of securities.
Because of its low fees and lack of commissions, Fidelity is also our winner for best broker for low costs. The company even offers zero expense-ratio index mutual funds, meaning you truly pay no fees to invest.
An expense ratio is an annual fee, expressed as a percentage of your invested assets, that a mutual fund charges.
Fidelity can serve as a one-stop shop for your investing needs. It offers every type of investment account you might need including traditional brokerage, retirement, and education accounts.
- Many account types
- No minimum balance requirements
- Can invest in fractional shares
- Low costs
Minimal research tools
Best for Beginners and Mobile : TD Ameritrade
Why We Chose It
TD Ameritrade is our choice of best stockbroker for beginner investors and mobile users. The primary reason for this is that TD Ameritrade offers one of the simplest apps to use, with a clean interface and inviting user experience. You can quickly and easily view your portfolio and make trades from your phone or your computer.
Charles Schwab acquired TD Ameritrade in 2019 and will merge TD Ameritrade accounts into its existing ones; Schwab will keep the thinkorswim platform.
TD Ameritrade also keeps costs low by avoiding commissions or other fees when you make most types of trades.
Newer investors will benefit from the learning materials included in the app. You’ll have free access to online courses and educational tools that you can use to learn about both beginner and advanced investing concepts.
- Simple interface
- Free learning materials
- No minimums
- No commission
Best Broker for Options : tastyworks
- Minimum Deposit : $0
- Fees : None for stocks or ETFs, $1 per options contract to open (max $10 per transaction) none to close, $1.25 per contract for futures, 1% for crypto ($10 max per transaction)
- Account Types : Standard, retirement, trust
Why We Chose It
Tastyworks is a stockbroker built with day traders and other active investors in mind. Derivatives like options are a popular tool for day traders, giving them a way to leverage their portfolios and earn large returns (or losses) from smaller movements in a stock’s price.
Tastyworks shines when it comes to options because it keeps costs incredibly low. Many brokers charge a per-contract fee for options trades but Tastyworks limits the maximum fee for a single trade to $10. This means you can enter or exit large positions without having to worry about fees eating into your returns.
While Tastyworks shines with options, it also lets investors buy and sell other securities, like stocks and futures. In addition, you can use it to invest in crypto, making it a promising choice for investors who want multiple ways to invest and a broker that is prepared for active trading.
- Low commissions
- Many types of derivatives available
- Trade cryptocurrencies
Designed for advanced investors, not beginners
Best Broker for Advanced Traders and International Trading : Interactive Brokers
Why We Chose It
InteractiveBrokers is a stockbroker designed with advanced traders in mind. It offers tools that more advanced investors will appreciate, such as support for more than 100 different order types that they can use when opening or closing positions.
The company is also the top broker for traders looking to buy and sell on international stock markets. InteractiveBrokers is active in 150 different markets across 33 countries and in 25 different currencies. You can trade stocks, bonds, futures, options, and currencies from a single account.
Advanced investors will also appreciate the powerful trading and stock screening tools that the broker offers as well as the transparent pricing structure with a maximum commission of 1% per trade.
- Access to global markets
- Powerful research tools
- Designed for active traders
Aimed at advanced investors, not beginners
Best Broker for ETFs : Charles Schwab
- Minimum Deposit : $0
- Fees : None
- Account Types : Traditional brokerage, retirement, trust, robo-advisor, 529 plans
Why We Chose It
Charles Schwab is one of the largest brokers on the market.
Schwab is our winner for the best broker for ETFs because it offers more than 25 ETFs that it manages and charges some of the lowest expense ratios in the industry. If you’d rather use another broker’s ETFs, that’s also an option, and Schwab charges no commission for ETF trades.
Schwab offers a variety of account types beyond the typical brokerage account. You can use the broker to save for retirement or your child’s education, making it easy to do all your investing in one place.
Schwab’s mobile app is also well-designed, making it easy to monitor your portfolio and make trades while on the go.
- No minimum balance
- No commissions for stocks, bonds, and ETFs
- Variety of account types
- Buy fractional shares of S&P 500 businesses
- High fees for some trades, including derivatives
Online stockbrokers make it easy to buy and sell stocks and other investments. Because investing is an essential part of preparing for the future, it’s important to find the right one for your needs. Consider basic things like each broker’s minimum balances and fees while also looking at the unique tools they offer that will be most useful for your investing style.
Compare the Best Online Stockbrokers
|Company||Account Minimum||Fees||Account Types|
|Fidelity Investments Best Overall||$0||None for stocks, ETFs, and mutual funds, 65 cents per contract for options||Standard, retirement, education, trusts, managed portfolios, margin|
|TD Ameritrade Best for Beginners and Mobile||$0||None for stock, ETF, and mutual fund trades, 65 cents per contract for options||Standard, retirement, education, trusts, managed portfolios, margin|
|tastyworks Best Broker for Options||$0||None for stocks or ETFs, $1 per options contract to open (max $10 per transaction) none to close, $1.25 per contract for futures, 1% for crypto ($10 max per transaction)||Standard, retirement, trust|
|InteractiveBrokers Best Broker for Advance Traders and International Trading||$0||Varies - None to 0.005 cent per share||Standard, retirement|
|Charles Schwab Best Broker for ETFs||$0||None||Traditional brokerage, retirement, trust, robo-advisor, 529 plans|
How Does an Online Stockbroker Work?
Online stockbrokers work by helping to facilitate the purchase and sale of stocks and other investments. You can log in to your online stockbroker’s account and place orders to buy or sell securities and other assets for your investment portfolio.
Most also let you trade other securities, and many manage their own mutual funds or ETFs, making it easy for investors to build diversified portfolios.
How Much Money Do I Need To Use an Online Stockbroker?
The amount of money you need to use an online stockbroker will vary from broker to broker. Many will let you open an account with no minimum balance, but you’ll still need enough cash to buy shares in different stocks or funds.
A few online brokers will let you purchase fractions of shares, instead of full shares in companies, meaning you can get started with just a few dollars.
How Should You Choose the Best Online Stockbroker?
When choosing an online stockbroker, think about how much you’ll pay for the service, including account minimums, trade commissions , and other fees. Fees can have a big impact on your overall investing performance.
Also consider what other tools they offer, such as stock screeners or research, that can help you make investment decisions.
Are Online Stockbrokers Safe To Use?
Yes, online stockbrokers are safe to use. They use industry-standard technology to keep your information and money safe and they are insured by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) , which protects up to $500,000 in your assets if your broker has financial issues.
We are dedicated to providing readers with unbiased, comprehensive reviews and ratings of online brokers. Our reviews are the result of months of evaluating all aspects of an online broker’s platform, including the user experience, the quality of trade executions, the products available on its platforms, costs and fees, security, the mobile experience, and customer service. A rating scale was established based on these criteria, collecting thousands of data points that were weighed into a scoring system.
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Options trading entails significant risk and is not appropriate for all investors. Certain complex options strategies carry additional risk. Before trading options, please read Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options . Supporting documentation for any claims, if applicable, will be furnished upon request.
There is an Options Regulatory Fee that applies to both option buy and sell transactions. The fee is subject to change. See Fidelity.com/commissions for details.
Charles Schwab. " The Charles Schwab Corporation to Acquire TD Ameritrade ."
Market Capitalization. " Charles Schwab (SCHW) - Market capitalization ."
SIPC. “ Investors With Multiple Accounts .”