TOP Online Stock Trading

1
Fidelity Product Image

Fidelity

  • Intuitive design
  • Large knowledgebase
  • Mobile App
  • Low fees

Fidelity is one of the most reliable, easy to use online stock trading platforms we looked at. It comes with more than 60 fully customizable charts you can use on the platform or in the mobile app. The company’s fees are below the industry average, but you need a minimum balance of $2500 to open an account. With a large learning center and a branch network covering most of the US, Fidelity is among our top choices for the best online stock trading solutions.

9.9

BEST!

2
Scottrade Product Image

Scottrade

  • No maintenance or inactivity fee
  • Four different platforms

Scottrade offers four different trading platforms designed to maximize trading on any level. All four platforms are highly customizable and well optimized. Scottrade is a well-known online broker that has fair pricing and a full range of tools needed for successful trading. Its broker-assisted trade fee is a bit high but the company doesn’t have a maintenance and inactivity fee that most other services charge for. Scottrade’s education center is well stocked with different level tutorials and guides and they also hold free webinars and other real-time learning events.

9.9

Outstanding

3
Charles Schwab Product Image

Charles Schwab

  • Good customer support
  • Large branch network across the US

Charles Schwab is one of the best online stock trading solutions for traders of any expertise. It has all the essential tools investors and traders find useful for successful online trading. The company’s pricing, although not the cheapest in our review, is still very affordable with flat fees and a lower than usual broker-assisted trade fee. Charles Schwab’s platform also comes in a mobile app with most of the functionality of the desktop version.

9.8

Outstanding

4
ETRADE Financial Product Image

ETRADE Financial

  • Three trading platforms
  • Allows for simulated trading
  • Mobile App

E*TRADE Financial is a reliable, well-known online stock trading company that offers three different trading platforms suitable for professional and beginner users. Although they are mostly the same, the platforms differ in the number of advanced features and tools traders can use. It’s important to note that all features are also available on iOS and Android devices. All services are reasonably priced, with a further reduction for more active traders.

9.5

Outstanding

5
OptionsHouse Product Image

OptionsHouse

  • Lowest trading costs and fees
  • Easily accessible
  • Dozens of useful tools and features
  • A demo account

OptionsHouse is an excellent online stock trading platform that features an intuitive interface and a large knowledgebase for users of any proficiency. Their pricing is transparent and quite simple to understand. Upon sign up, you gain access to a demo account you can use to make “practice” transactions and perfect your strategies. With many unique features and tools, great design and accessibility, OptionsHouse is one of the best online trading platforms on the market today.

9.4

Outstanding

6
Ally Invest Product Image

Ally Invest

  • Fixed fee
  • Featured Rookie Strategy feature
  • Mobile App

Ally Invest is among the best online stock trading companies you can choose. It offers transparent pricing with fixed rate fees so you never have to worry about being overcharged. Although it doesn’t have a simulated trading option, its education center offers an admirable number of useful guides, tutorials, how-to videos and a FAQ. The Featured Rookie Strategy is a great opportunity for novice traders to learn more about investing. Ally Invest has many tools and features optimized to suit both seasoned and new traders.

9.3

Outstanding

7
TD Ameritrade Product Image

TD Ameritrade

  • No minimum deposit required
  • Mobile App
  • Great for beginners
  • Rich education center

TD Ameritrade is one of the most reliable and experienced online stock trading companies in the industry. It offers great stock opportunities on a well-designed intuitive platform that is equally accessible by beginner and professional users. Its learning center offers many different ways you can learn more about using your new account, configuring new strategies, making charts and doing different types of research. The platform also offers a simulated trading account beginner users can use to hone their skills before using their own, real funds.

9.3

Outstanding

8
TradeStation Product Image

TradeStation

  • TradeStation Labs
  • Mobile App
  • Low fees

TradeStation is a serious online stock trading solution with a lot to offer. It has many different tools both professional, and beginner users find useful. Its TradeStation University and Labs are a great trove of knowledge about the platform, analytics and the basics of trade and investment.

9.2

Outstanding

9
Firstrade Product Image

Firstrade

  • Extended trading hours
  • Mobile App
  • Many help solutions

We decided to include Firstrade in our top ten online stock trading companies because it’s reliable and it has a good platform suitable for users of any expertise. It has competitive pricing and an excellent education center where you can learn everything you need to know about the platform and other essential information for successful trading. Firstrade offers extended trading hours which brings an added convenience of letting you be the first to spot an alluring opportunity. Its mobile app is compatible with Apple and Android devices.

9.0

Very Good

10
optionsXpress Product Image

optionsXpress

  • Free broker assistance trades
  • No minimum balance required
  • No maintenance fees

OptionsXpress has a well optimized, intuitive platform, suitable for users of any online stock trading proficiency. The platform lets you trade in stocks, futures, options, forex and more. Although it’s not as customizable as some other solutions in our review, optionsXpress offers all the tools (including a mobile app) and features you will need to successfully trade and invest. This online stock trading company has reasonable prices and it comes with a learning center if you need any guidance.

8.0

Good

Last updated April 15, 2024

All About Online Stock Trading

Online Stock Trading

Stock trading used to be reserved almost exclusively for Wall Street, but the development of new technologies, and primarily the Internet, has made it available for anyone to become a stock trader. Today, you can set up an account, make trades and configure your online portfolio without leaving your desk. Although most online stock trading platforms require you to have at least some prior trading knowledge, a lot of them have very informative education centers you can use to educate yourself about anything you might not fully understand. So, you’ve decided to start investing but you’ve found yourself with a choice of a couple of dozen online trading services and you’re not sure which one’s the right one for you. Like in any market, there are many companies offering similar services, but under very different conditions, and finding the one that is just right for you, can be time consuming. So instead of finding out what’s best through a painstaking process of trial and error, let us give you a few tips.

Although it might not always be a safe bet, the stock market is the fastest most profitable way to turn your money around. Investing can be tricky and there are different aspects of it you need to master, but once you get it all down, it’s going to be more than worth it. There are different kinds of investments you can make. For example, if you decide to buy stocks, what you’re essentially doing is buying shares in a company. Your shares’ value rises with the company's, but it also falls with it as well. In order to make a purchase on the stock market, you have to employ a broker. A broker is a mediator between you, and the stock market. When you decide which investment you want to complete, you consult your broker and he takes it to the market to finalize it. This is where an online stock trading platform comes in.

Stock trading has changed drastically over the years. Since its shift to online trading, it’s become more widely accessible and therefore more affordable for the common people. We’ve reviewed some of the best online stock brokers on the market and analyzed their pricing models. Although trading itself doesn’t cost that much, there are certain charges and fees you should have in mind. There are almost no services that allow you to trade for free, all of them have at least a symbolic fee (commission) for stock or options trades. When you decide on a broker, it’s important to look into how much they require you to deposit initially. Many of the online brokers we looked at for our review don’t require an initial deposit, but there were those that asked for up to $5000 up front. And while some brokers will allow you to bypass this step, they will ask for a certain amount to be added to your account before giving you access to some premium features.

Once you’ve set up an account and figured out the basics, you’re going to want to start thinking about where to invest your money. Investing is closely tied with risk. Your final balance depends largely on how big of a risk taker you are. Riskier investments, those that look more unlikely to succeed, carry larger profits, but also make greater losses as well. One way of making sure you don’t spread yourself too thin on the very start is by diversifying. Invest in a variety of different stocks and bonds to make sure you’re not hit too hard if any of them turn out to be bust. A very important thing to remember is that making investments influences your taxes. Anything you make off of online trading has to get taxed in some way. There are several ways you can invest online, one of the particularly risky being penny stocks. These are low value (under $5) stocks that aren’t traded directly on the stock market but rather through Pink Sheets or Bulletin Boards. Because there’s no real oversight, since they’re not traded on the stock market, these types of investments are often scams. The reason penny stocks seem alluring to buyers is that there are stories going around about large companies (e.g. Microsoft) that started off with selling penny stocks, but these stories are misconceptions, and investing in penny stocks today carries more risks than potential gain.

Knowing when to buy and sell can be crucial to actually making a profit from online stock trading. There are a few tips we can give you that can help you make the most out of your trading experience. Like we mentioned before in the article, one of the best ways to protect yourself from overly risky investments is to diversify and spread out your money evenly into stocks of different risk levels. There are several different investment types and they all carry different risk levels with them. For example, forex and day trading are considered very risky since they often experience severe value fluctuations. However, if you decide to embark on any of these risky investments, you can set up a stop-loss feature that would automatically sell your investments in case their value fell under what you specified.

Timing is one of the most important aspects of online stock trading. If you’re looking to buy a certain company’s stocks, you’re going to want to put in a lot of research into finding out just the right moment when to enter the market. Of course, you can always just buy the stock if the price seems good to you, or you can research the market for some undervalued investment opportunities as well. Hardcore investors spend hours researching the specific company’s financials before buying. Buying a stock at a great price can be a great feeling, but knowing when to sell it is where the professional and rookie traders differ. Traditionally, traders with more experience tend to be more accurate at assessing just the right time to sell their investments, before it falls under a certain amount when it’s no longer viable.

Online stock trading has never been easier than today. With hundreds of online platforms offering you different conditions and commodities, investing is just a few clicks away.

Online Stock Trading - What To Look For

Online Stock Trading

Although investing can be a bit scary for someone without a trading background, it’s important to know online stock trading is easier now than ever. There are hundreds of websites dedicated to educating you on the basics and more advanced aspects of investing. All online investment platforms we reviewed offer extensive educational resources you can use to perfect your skills. The best companies in our review offer free online courses, webinars and guides for beginner traders. Aside from the how-to guides and tutorials teaching you how to fully master the platform you’re going to be working on, the education center usually focuses on teaching you how to make solid investments by showing you all the necessary details that go into it. Some companies like E*TRADE even go so far as to have tests at the end of the courses so you can have a clear overview of your progress to that point. You should make it a point to check out the learning/education center of any potential online stock broker you’re considering.

One exceptionally educational tool beginner users really benefit from is the trade simulator. Paper trading, as it’s sometimes called, is a safe, virtual environment you can use to test different strategies without worrying about spending any money. This simulator lets you try out all the tools the platform has to offer and it allows you to gain better control over all its features before you start trading with real money. Although most companies in our review offer this feature, optionsXpress has by far the most elaborate one. In their trade simulator you can try out the forecasting features or see how risk vs. reward analysis works. The results will lead you to conclude which strategies are the most suited for your type of trading. The company gives you $25000 of virtual currency to spend on pretend investments.

Aside from the basic knowledge about investments and online stock trading, there are a few things you should keep an eye out on when starting your investment venture. Although most companies today are transparent with their fees and commissions, you should make it a priority to check for any hidden fees or mandatory deposits you might not be aware of at the start. Then, you should check out how many platforms the company offers and whether or not, this particular solution is something you could work with. Some companies offer a few different online platforms depending on the trader’s expertise and investment type. If you’re just starting in the investment world, you’re probably going to want to be able to access your online account anywhere. This is why another thing to keep an eye out for is a good mobile app. E*TRADE has one of the best mobile apps in our review. Their app gives you the freedom to use almost all the commodities of an online platform, on any of your Apple or Android devices. For example, you can use the app to make trades, top up your funds, create watch lists or make other changes to your account. Any changes you make in the app will automatically sync with the platform, so if you’ve created any new watch lists or alerts, they will show the next time you log in on your computer.

These are just a few tips on what to look for when you’re in the market for an online stock trading company. Investment is closely tied with taking risks and doing painstaking research. We’ve tried to point out the most important aspects every online broker should have, but you should also do your own research and see what seems more, or less important, specifically for you.

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