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10 Best Day Trading Platforms: Low Trade Commissions and Fees

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Brave souls with the means and risk tolerance to day trade need a different strategy than buy-and-hold investors do. In addition to focusing on fees — which can really add up when you’re making hundreds of trades each day — day traders also need fast and reliable trading networks to respond to split-second shifts in equity prices. For the Best Brokers of 2019-2020 rankings, GOBankingRates determined the Best Day Trading Platforms to help you choose the right one for your needs.

Best Day Trading Platforms of 2019-2020 Guide:

Best Day Trading Platforms at a Glance

Refer to this table to quickly compare the Best Day Trading Platforms:

Best Day Trading Platforms of 2019-2020
Broker Trade Commission Minimum Deposit/Balance Fees
Interactive Brokers $0 stock trades for U.S.-listed stocks and ETFs with IBKR Lite; minimum $0.35 for IBKR Pro $0
  • $0 in opening and maintenance fees
  • Options trades are tiered based on volume
  • Starting commissions for North American options traders are $1 plus $0.25 per contract for monthly volumes under 10,000
Merrill Edge $2.95 $0
  • $0 account minimum
  • Options trades: $2.95 + $0.65 per contract
  • Broker-assisted trades: $29.95 + a transaction fee of between $0.01 and $0.03 per $1,000 of principal
  • Additional options transaction fees ranging from $0.01 to $0.03 per $1,000 in principal
TD Ameritrade $0 $0
  • $0 in opening and maintenance fees
  • Options trades: $0 + $0.65 per contract
Fidelity $0 $0
  • $0 in opening and maintenance fees
  • $0 + $0.65 per contract for options trades
  • Margin rates as low as 5%
Charles Schwab $0 $0
  • $0 in opening and maintenance fees
  • Options trades: $0.65 per contract
  • Broker-assisted trade: $25 service charge
  • Automated phone trade: $5 service charge
  • Online Schwab ETF trades: $0
TradeStation $0 up to 10,000 trades made via mobile app or web $500
  • Options trades: $0 + $0.50 per contract with TS GO or $0 + $0.60 per contract with TS Select
  • $50 annual fee for accounts with an average monthly balance below $2,000 or that place fewer than 5 trades in the preceding 12 months
eOption $0 per stock or ETF trade; $1.99 option trade + $0.10 per option contract $500
  • $0 in opening and maintenance fees
  • $50 annual inactivity fee for accounts that either fail to maintain a $10,000 minimum balance or place less than 2 trades over the last year
SogoTrade $2.88-$4.88 $0
  • $4.88 per trade when making under 150 trades per quarter
  • Prepaid trades available at $2.88 or $3.88 each for those falling under 150 trades per quarter
  • Options trades: $4.88 + $0.50 per contract; falls to $2.88 + $0.50 per contract if trades exceed 150 per quarter
T. Rowe Price $19.95; $9.95 for accounts with 30 or more trades per year and for Select Client Services clients; some $0 commission ETFs $2,500
  • $30 annual service fee for brokerage accounts with fewer than 5 trades in last 12 months, less than $50,000 in mutual fund account; waived for Select Client Services clients
  • $50 close-out fee
  • Options trades: $19.95 plus $1 per contract
Firstrade $0 $0
  • Margin rates vary based on base rate — which is subject to change — and size of loan; rates as of 12/5/19 range from 5.00% to 9.25%
  • As of 9/3/19, the aggregate rate for options is $0.0381 per contract

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See: What Is a Brokerage Account?

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In-Depth Look at the Best Day Trading Platforms

Investors considering day trading — whether as a hobby or a profession — should understand the risk. The practice requires time, money, patience and a significant amount of research — first, on the best broker for day trading, and then on the best stocks and securities to trade. This Best Day Trading Platform list will get you started on the former.

Interactive Brokers

Founded more than 40 years ago, Interactive Brokers has a proven track record for day trading software in a world full of new imitators. The Interactive Brokers Group and its affiliates average more than 859,000 trades per day.

Why It’s a Best Day Trading Platform: Interactive Brokers offers a great low-cost investment platform for new and advanced traders. New investors can use their simulated trading system to get comfortable with day trading, and courses are available for individuals looking to expand their trading skills. Traders can use options, exchange-traded funds, futures, forex and bonds.

Pros:

Building Wealth

Cons

Promotions: Earn up to $100 in share credits by playing simulated sports betting

Cost and Fees: $0 per stock and ETF trade; options trade $1 plus $0.25 per options contract

Account Minimum: $0

To learn more about Interactive Brokers, visit its website.

Don’t Miss: How To Invest Your Money in 2019

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Merrill Edge

Merrill Lynch’s famous brokerage services merged with Bank of America’s retail banking services in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. Today, BAML has evolved into a powerhouse financial institution that provides a robust day trading platform for investors.

Pros: 

Building Wealth

Cons:

Promotions: Get up to $600 when you invest in a Merrill Edge self-directed account using the promo code 600ME.

Costs and Fees: $2.95 per trade plus $0.65 per options contract; $29.95 per broker-assisted trade plus $0.65 per options contract and $0.01-$0.03 transaction fee per $1,000 in principal

Account Minimum: None, but some customers with qualifying account balances above $20,000 get free trades

To learn more about Merrill Edge, visit its website.

Discover: What Is a Money Market Mutual Fund?

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TD Ameritrade

Founded in 1975, TD Ameritrade is a public online brokerage that processes 500,000 trades each day and houses more than $1 trillion in client assets. Widely considered one of the top trading platforms, it provides access to advanced research and custom charts with straightforward pricing.

Building Wealth

Pros: 

Cons:

Promotions: New account holders can earn cash bonuses from $100 to $600 depending on the deposit size.

Costs and Fees: $0 per trade plus $0.65 per options contract

Account Minimum: None

To learn more about TD Ameritrade, visit its website.

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Fidelity

Best known for its mutual funds, Fidelity’s Active Trader Pro uses advanced real-time analytics to help traders identify new opportunities, define entry/exit strategies and measure risk and reward in an instant. The platform allows Active Trader Pro users to create and save up to 50 orders to place when they are ready to execute a trade.

Building Wealth

Pros: 

Cons:

Promotions: Get $20-$30 off various tax preparation programs, such as TurboTax and TaxAct.

Costs and Fees: $0 per trade plus $0.65 per options contract; margin rates begin at 5%

Account Minimum: None

To learn more about Fidelity, visit its website.

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Charles Schwab

Schwab Trading Services is a robust trading platform with a deep bench of research providers, access to real-time streaming data and more than 300 articles, videos and guides for traders of any experience level.

Why It’s a Best Day Trading Platform: Charles Schwab offers a reliable platform for beginner investors while still catering to individuals who are seeking ETFs and index funds.

Pros: 

Cons:

Building Wealth

Promotions: None

Costs and Fees: Free Schwab ETF trades, but otherwise, $0 per trade plus $0.65 per options contract; additional $5 service charge per automated phone trade; additional $25 service charge per broker-assisted trade

Account Minimum: None

To learn more about Charles Schwab, visit its website.

Keep Reading: Best Day Trading Strategies

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TradeStation

TradeStation is a top day trading platform for traders who like data, visualization and customization. The platform includes trading tools like Tools Matrix, RadarScreen and Option Station Pro.

Pros: 

Cons:

Promotions:

Costs and Fees: $0 per trade up to 10,000 trades using mobile app or web plus $0.50 per options contract with TS GO or $0.60 per contract with TS Select

Account Minimum: $500

To learn more about TradeStation, visit its website.

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eOption

If you’re an options trader, eOption is geared toward you. Opening shop in 2007, the platform touts low commissions, free access to its eOption Trader Platform and expertise in handling options traders among its biggest draws.

Why It’s a Best Day Trading Platform: The $1.99 plus $0.10 per contract isn’t among the better rates for options contracts you’ll find currently, but eOption scored well for excellent educational and research tools, including content on options strategies provided by the Options Industry Council.

Pros:

Cons:

Promotions: None

Costs and Fees: $0 per stock or ETF trade; $1.99 + $0.10 per contract on options trades

Account Minimum: $500

To learn more about eOption, visit its website.

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SogoTrade

In business since 1986, SogoTrade is a cost-effective option for active traders. It offers prepaid trades, allowing you to lock in a better price if you’re ready to buy in bulk upfront — something that is relatively unique in the current market.

Pros:

Cons:

Promotions: None

Costs and Fees: $2.88 per trade for frequent traders; $4.88 for accounts with under 150 trades per quarter

Account Minimum: $0

To learn more about SogoTrade, visit its website.

Check Out: 7 Best Ways To Invest $100,000

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T. Rowe Price

A storied Wall Street institution, T. Rowe Price brings more than 80 years of experience to the table for its clients. Account features include a wealth of potential resources, from its research tools to options for trading over the phone.

Pros: 

Cons:

Promotions: None

Costs and Fees: $19.95 per trade, falls to $9.95 for accounts with 30 or more trades in the last year or that qualify for Select Client Services

Account Minimum: $2,500

To earn more about T. Rowe Price, visit its website.

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Firstrade: Best for Low Fees

Founded in 1985, Firstrade offers free trading and no account minimums, making it one of the best low-cost options out there. The company’s profits all come from the interest charged on its margin accounts and by using routing venues to fill orders.

Pros: 

Cons:

Promotions:

Costs and Fees: $0

Account Minimum: $0

To learn more about Firstrade, visit its website.

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How We Picked the Best Day Trading Platforms

GOBankingRates determined the Best Day Trading Platforms by analyzing 23 of the largest and up-and-coming online brokers, using the following criteria:

Each broker was scored based on these individual categories, which were then summed up for a final score. Because these day trading platforms are for experienced investors with high trading volume, the cost to trade and research tools were weighted double for the final scoring, while 24/7 phone customer service and live chat were weighted a quarter.

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Day Trading Platforms FAQs

Although day trading can be highly lucrative for the lucky few, most people lose money. Increase your chance of trading profitably by arming yourself with information before you jump in.

What Is Day Trading?

Day trading is the polar opposite of the usual investing advice that says to hold onto your equities over the long term. With day trading, the investor looks to earn a profit in a very short time — perhaps just seconds, but by definition, always within the same day, using the same brokerage platform.

Day traders can earn a profit in one of two ways — by purchasing equity at a low price and selling at a higher one or by selling short to profit from a price decline. The latter is particularly risky because it involves trading borrowed shares that must be returned regardless of whether the investor makes or loses money on the deal.

How Do I Learn How To Day Trade?

Learning to day trade is a commitment that requires an extensive understanding of terminology as well as fundamental and technical analysis and research. Consider using educational tools like videos and other tutorials provided by an online brokerage.

A large number of “financial experts” on the internet sell day trading courses and investment advice. Do your research on their track record and examine their backgrounds before buying any trading course or research.

Who Regulates Day Trading?

Day trading is regulated by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. FINRA sets rules on margins and deposits to protect the other party from risks associated with the day trader’s transactions.

Is It Illegal To Day Trade?

It is not illegal to day trade. But FINRA requires that brokerage customers maintain a minimum balance of $25,000. Day traders also need a margin account to serve as collateral to ensure that any losses are properly covered while a trade closes.

Does Day Trading Work?

Although day trading is tempting, it is considered extremely difficult. Ninety percent of traders lose money, according to ElliottWave International. And 80% of day traders quit within two years. Therefore, day trading is not advised for people who are trying to save for retirement, unless they have a suitable nest egg.

What Are the Risks of Day Trading?

Day traders can lose a lot of money quickly. Many challenges day traders face stem from a lack of risk-management strategies. Traders should also beware of slippage — an event in which you get a price for different security than the one you intended to buy or sell.

How Much Money Do I Need To Day Trade?

You’re required to have a balance of $25,000 on the days you partake in purchases and sales occurring on the same day.

How Do I Choose a Day Trading Platform?

Day traders should examine GOBankingRates’ Best Day Trading Platforms and consider their own experience trading stocks, options and other securities.

What Are the Best Strategies for Day Trading?

Day trading strategies that can give investors an edge include a trend-based scalping strategy called momentum trading as well as news trading — making trading decisions based on economic news reports — and breakout trading based on movement outside of expected pricing and volume. Day traders should manage risk by using rules like stop-losses and capping tradeable capital at 1% per position.

What Is a Margin?

Margin is money you put aside as collateral for buying and trading in a single session using the money borrowed from your brokerage. This capital is used to cover a deposit and mitigate the other party’s risk while a transaction is being processed.

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More Best Brokers of 2019-2020

Garrett Baldwin is a former editor of Futures Magazine, a Chicago-based publication for active investors. He has an MBA in finance from the University of Indiana.

Joel Anderson contributed to the reporting for this article; he has been writing about investing topics for over a decade. His work has been featured on a number of investing sites, including CNBC, MSN and Equities.com.

Andrew DePietro contributed to the reporting for this article. He was the lead researcher for GOBankingRates and a finance writer with years of experience covering investing, taxation, Social Security, entrepreneurship, real estate and housing markets.

Methodology: To determine the Best Brokers of 2019-2020, GOBankingRates analyzed 47 active U.S. brokerages and investment companies across eight categories: (1) Best Online Brokerages, (2) Best Online Stockbrokers for Beginners, (3) Best Robo-Advisors, (4) Best Investment Apps, (5) Best IRA Providers, (6) Best Roth IRA Providers, (7) Best Brokers for Day Traders, (8) Best 401(k) Companies.

Data for Best Brokers was compiled from and verified against the individual institutions’ websites between July 1, 2019, and Aug. 2, 2019. That data has been updated as of Dec. 7, 2019, but the rankings are based on the original data. Costs, terms and conditions are subject to change at the discretion of the individual financial institutions. Some information might reflect short-term or promotional offers only, and it is possible additional terms and conditions must be met in order to obtain any benefits mentioned. Availability might vary by region, minimum investment amounts and other factors. Please verify the terms and conditions before opening an account.

GOBankingRates is a personal finance website owned by ConsumerTrack Inc., an online marketing company serving top-tier banks, credit unions and other financial services organizations. Some brokerages mentioned in Best Brokers are clients of ConsumerTrack Inc., which serves more than 100 national, local and online financial institutions. Rankings are completely objective, and no institution, client or otherwise, paid for inclusion or specific placement. For more information, see the complete methodology for the rankings