Best Online Brokerages of 2019-2020

Take your pick of the best online brokerage from this list.
Best Online Brokerages of 2019-2020

Everyone wants to invest with the best broker, but how do you decide which brokers qualify for that title? In its Best Brokers of 2019-2020 rankings, GOBankingRates identified the Best Online Brokerages to help you choose the right online broker for you.

Best Online Brokerages of 2019-2020 Guide:

Best Online Brokerages at a Glance

Here’s a table so you can quickly compare the Best Online Brokerages’ fees, minimums and promotions:

Best Online Brokerages of 2019-2020
E-TradeStock: $6.95; Mutual Fund: $0-$49.99$500
  • Up to $600 plus 60 days of commission-free trades
TD AmeritradeTD AmeritradeStock: $6.95; Mutual Fund: $0-$49.95$0
  • To receive $100 bonus, account must be funded with $25,000-$99,999
  • To receive $300 bonus, account must be funded with $100,000-249,999
  • To receive $600 bonus, account must be funded with $250,000 or more
  • Trade commission-free for 60 days when you deposit $3,000 or more
FidelityStock: $4.95; Mutual Fund: $0-$49.95$0
  • Up to $30 off TaxAct
  • Up to $20 off H&R Block
  • Up to $20 off TurboTax
Interactive BrokersStock: $1; Mutual Fund: $14.95$0
  • Up to $1,000 of commission credits for the first 1 million new customers
charles schwab logoCharles SchwabStock: $4.95; Mutual Fund: $0-$49.95$0
  • 500 commission-free online equity and options trades, good for two years
Merrill EdgeStock: $6.95; Mutual Fund: $0-$19.95$0
  • Up to $600 when you invest in a new Merrill Edge self-directed account
  • Up to $200 in transfer fee rebates when you switch to Firstrade from another broker
  • $25 wire transfer fee rebate when you wire funds from your bank
  • $50 for each friend you refer to Firstrade
TradeStationStock: $5; Mutual Fund: $14.95$500
  • Open and fund a new TradeStation account by Aug. 31 and trade commission-free through Dec. 31, 2019 if you place six or more trades per month.
Wells Fargo logo 2017Wells FargoStock: $5.95; Mutual Fund: $0-$35$0
  • Discounted rate of $2.95 per online trade when you link your Wells Fargo Advisors WellsTrade brokerage account to your Portfolio by Wells Fargo program.
SogoTradeStock: $2.88; Mutual Fund: $25$0
  • None currently

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Tips To Help You Start: How To Find a Broker and Start Investing

In-Depth Look at the Best Online Brokerages

Overall, most of these firms have excellent trading capabilities, service and low costs. Many also run promotions offering free trades, cash bonuses or discounted products and services. Keep reading to learn details on each.


E-Trade was one of the pioneers of online trading, and it scores high across all reviewed categories, making it a top online broker for 2019-2020.

Why It’s a Best Online Brokerage: At E-Trade, you can buy or sell stocks, bonds, options, futures, exchange-traded funds and mutual funds, and you can open regular brokerage, retirement, managed or college-oriented accounts. E-Trade requires $500 to open an account and charges $6.95 per equity trade, which are not the lowest in the industry. You can, however, drop your commission charges to just $4.95 if you make 30 or more trades per quarter.


  • Extensive account options and trading capabilities
  • User-friendly online and mobile interfaces
  • Access to financial advisors and other products beyond online trading


  • Relatively expensive compared with some others on a per-trade basis

Promotions: Deposit at least $10,000 into new account to unlock up to 500 free trades; larger deposits also qualify for cash bonus.

Costs and Fees: $6.95 per trade — $4.95 if you make at least 30 trades per quarter

Account Minimum: $500

To learn more about E-Trade, visit its website.

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TD Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade, one of the largest online brokers, acquired rival broker Scottrade in 2017.

TD AmeritradeWhy It’s a Best Online Brokerage: Commissions for online stock trades remain higher than typical at $6.95, but there are no account minimums or trade minimums. One of the key advantages the firm provides is access to more than 550 exchange-traded funds on a commission-free trading basis. The firm also has multiple trading platforms customers can choose from based on their level of experience with trading. TD Ameritrade is also one of the few online brokers that provides access to cryptocurrency trading.


  • Commission-free ETFs
  • Crypto trading available
  • Multiple trading platforms for varying levels of experience
  • No account minimums
  • Extensive network of branches across America


  • Comparatively high trading commissions

Promotions: Get 60 days of commission-free trading for minimum deposits totaling $3,000; deposits of $250,000-plus also eligible for $600 cash bonus.

Costs and Fees: $6.95 per trade

Account Minimum: None

To learn more about TD Ameritrade, visit its website.

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Fidelity has long been known for its line of mutual funds, but the firm is also one of the best overall online brokers in the business.

Why It’s a Best Online Brokerage: One of the Fidelity’s newest offerings is its zero-expense-ratio index mutual funds. The firm tops the charts for individual retirement account investors, as it offers those retirement accounts with no minimums and no maintenance fees. Overall, Fidelity has low fees, as it doesn’t charge anything for transferring out your account or having insufficient funds. Fidelity’s $4.95 fee for standard equity trades isn’t as low as some other discount brokers offer — but it isn’t as expensive as some other firms, either.


  • No account fees or minimums
  • Strong individual retirement account provider
  • Zero-expense-ratio index funds
  • Limited fees
  • No cost to buy Fidelity funds and hundreds of other additional funds


  • Fees for add-on services, like account management, can get high

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

Costs and Fees: $4.95 per trade

Account Minimum: None

To learn more about Fidelity, visit its website.

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Interactive Brokers

Interactive Brokers has always been known for its advanced trading platform for experienced traders, but you don’t have to be an expert to use it.

Why It’s a Best Online Brokerage: Interactive Brokers’ commissions are as low as $0.005 per trade, with a minimum of $1 and a maximum of 1% of the trade value. Interactive isn’t just a stock trading platform, either — it also has its own roster of commission-free ETFs from varying fund families.


  • Advanced trading platform well-suited to experienced traders
  • Very low commission costs
  • Excellent research tools


  • Inactivity fee

Promotions: Up to $1,000 of commission credits for the first 1 million new customers as of July 1, 2019

Costs and Fees: $1 minimum, up to 1% of the trade value

Account minimum: $0

To learn more about Interactive Brokers, visit its website.

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Charles Schwab

Charles Schwab offers many client-forward services, including self-directed online trading, an automated investing platform and access to financial advisors.

charles schwab logoWhy It’s a Best Online Brokerage: Charles Schwab tops the field if you’re looking for a Roth IRA. The firm has no minimums, no maintenance fees and offers six investment options. For all accounts, customers enjoy a $0 minimum balance requirement and a $4.95 trade commission. Customers also have access to no-load, no-transaction mutual funds and over 500 commission-free ETFs.



  • Top Roth IRA provider
  • Commission-free ETFs and mutual funds
  • Free trading bonus offer
  • Well-regarded automated investing platform


  • Trade commissions are not the lowest available

Promotions: 500 commission-free online stock or option trades over two years with $100,000 deposit

Costs and Fees: $4.95 per trade

Account Minimum: None

To learn more about Charles Schwab, visit its website.

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Merrill Edge

Merrill Edge is the online brokerage side of venerable Merrill Lynch, now a Bank of America company.

Why It’s a Best Online Brokerage: Although fees aren’t the cheapest of the online brokers, there is no account minimum. The firm’s Merrill Edge account offers the top-rated robo-advisor platform, which charges low fees and has excellent customer service. All clients using Merrill Edge have access to extensive financial education programs, both online and via a financial advisor if desired.



  • Backing of two of America’s most prestigious financial firms — Merrill Lynch and Bank of America
  • Top-rated robo-advisor
  • Cash sign-up bonus
  • Up to 100 commission-free trades per month with Preferred Rewards


  • No commission-free ETFs

Promotions: Up to a $600 bonus for new Merrill Edge customers; $20,000 deposit qualifies for a $100 bonus

Costs and Fees: $6.95 per trade

Account Minimum: None

To learn more about Merrill Edge, visit its website.

Learn More: What Is a Brokerage Firm?

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Firstrade isn’t as large as some of the other firms on the list, but its top-notch features and benefits make it a solid contender for the Best Online Brokerages list.

Why It’s a Best Online Brokerage: There are no account minimums at Firstrade. Plus, unlike many of the larger, better-known brokers, there are no stock commissions, either. Featuring both a user-friendly website and a mobile app, Firstrade lets customers buy and sell stocks, options, fixed-income securities, ETFs and over 11,000 mutual funds for no charge. The firm also provides research from noted industry experts like Morningstar.


  • Commission-free trading
  • Access to high-grade research
  • Slick mobile app interface


  • No professional management or robo-advisor options

Promotions: Earn a bonus of up to $200 for account transfer from another broker.

Costs and Fees: None

Account Minimum: None

To learn more about Firstrade, visit its website.

Also See: How To Buy Stocks Online

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TradeStation was originally designed for professional traders, but its platform is now open to novice investors as well.

Why It’s a Best Online Brokerage: You’ll need $500 minimum to open an account, and trades cost $5 each to execute. However, you might find that TradeStation’s trading tools and market research are well worth the cost. The online broker aslo provides many educational services with its TradeStation University. Whether you’re a rookie or advanced investor, the company provides content that can help you master your investing skills.


  • Advanced mobile and online trading tools for active investors
  • Free trading promo
  • Free market research and insights


  • No commission-free mutual fund or ETF trading

Promotions: No commissions through end of 2019 for opening a TradeStation account and making at least six trades per month

Costs and Fees: $5 per trade

Account Minimum: $500

To learn more about TradeStation, visit its website.

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Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo is a well-known traditional bank, but it also offers online brokerage services of an outstanding caliber.

wells fargo logoWhy It’s a Best Online Brokerage: There are no minimums at Wells Fargo’s online brokerage division, although individual stock commissions are $5.95. One of Wells Fargo’s main strengths is its comprehensive roster of products and services, as befitting one of the largest banks in the country. Educational tools include market commentary and insights, along with mutual fund screeners and other investor resources.


  • Extensive research and financial information
  • No account minimums
  • Access to Wells Fargo financial advisors for additional assistance


  • Can be expensive for frequent traders

Promotions: $2.95 per online trade when Wells Fargo Advisors WellsTrade brokerage account is linked to your Portfolio by Wells Fargo program

Costs and Fees: $5.96 per trade

Account Minimum: None

To learn more about Wells Fargo, visit its website.

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SogoTrade is one of the cheaper options on the Best Online Brokerages list.

Why It’s a Best Online Brokerage: Commissions start at just $2.88 per trade, although you’ll have to deposit or transfer in $10,000 to qualify for that rate. SogoTrade also has no account minimums, and its various trading platforms can be customized based on your own personal trading skills and needs.



  • Relatively inexpensive to trade
  • Free trading sign-up bonus
  • Advanced web and mobile platforms


  • Can be more complicated for newer traders
  • No commission-free ETFs

Promotions: No commission for first 100 trades when you place an order within 30 days of opening new account

Costs and Fees: From $2.88 per trade

Account Minimum: None

To learn more about SogoTrade, visit its website.

Also Consider: How To Invest in Stocks — A Beginner’s Guide

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How We Picked the Best Online Brokerages

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

  • Cost to trade equities, such as stocks and ETFs
  • Cost to trade options
  • Number of account types available, including basic brokerage account, retirement account, managed or guided account, and college education investing account
  • Number of different investment vehicles available, including stocks, futures, options, ETFs, mutual funds, bonds and, if available, cryptocurrency, which was counted as an additional point rather than as a point against brokers
  • Opening minimum investment requirement
  • Available promotional offers
  • Access to financial advisor
  • 24/7 phone customer service
  • Live chat with human representative
  • Mobile app availability
  • Educational resources, such as webinars, blogs, and courses that teach investing and trading
  • Research and tools, such as multiple trading platforms, in-depth market analysis, and screener tools for stocks, ETFs and bonds

Each broker was scored based on these individual categories, which were then summed up for a final score. Available promotional offers, 24/7 phone customer service, live chat and mobile availability were weighted by a quarter while all other categories were weighted in full.

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Tips for Choosing the Best Online Brokerage

Now that you have a list of the 10 Best Online Brokerages, you’re armed with information to choose the right one for you. The final step is to match your investment needs and experience with the services and capabilities of each individual broker. For example, frequent traders might gravitate toward a broker with extensive research capabilities, advanced trading programs and low or no commissions. But a novice investor might need an online broker that provides access to financial advisors and educational tools, excellent customer service and professional management capabilities.

Never assume that any broker — even one on the top 10 list — has all the features you’ll need. For example, some firms might allow cryptocurrency trades, whereas many do not. A firm might offer free IRAs, charge for those accounts or not even offer them. Do a thorough review of both the costs of using a particular broker and the benefits before making your choice.

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Online Broker FAQs

What Is an Online Broker?

An online broker provides its services through either a web-based or mobile interface.

Related: What Is a Broker?

How Much Money Do You Need To Invest With an Online Broker?

Account minimums can vary from $0 to $10,000 or more.

Are Online Brokers Safe?

Legitimate online brokers are as safe as traditional firms, but confirm that yours is registered with the Securities Investor Protection Corporation before you deposit any money. All the brokers on this list are SIPC-registered.

Do Online Brokers Have Hidden Fees Due to Low Commissions?

Most online brokerages are low-cost, but some charge higher fees for additional services. For example, many firms charge fees for transferring out or closing an account — or for other banking services such as sending wire transfers.

What Is a Robo-Advisor?

A robo-advisor is an automated portfolio management program that allocates your funds according to your chosen investment objectives and risk tolerance. Funds are typically spread across a number of broad segments of the market using ETFs and are rebalanced regularly.

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More Best Brokers of 2019-2020

John Csiszar worked in the financial services industry for 18 years as a registered investment adviser and Certified Financial Planner, first for a major Wall Street firm and then as the owner-operator of a boutique investment firm. He now serves as an investment writer for various major publications.

Andrew DePietro contributed to the reporting for this article. He is 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 Stock Brokers 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. 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 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