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Beginning Investors, These Are the 10 Best Online Stockbrokers for You

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Choosing the right stockbroker can put new investors on the fast track to creating wealth and financial security. For this second annual Best Brokers rankings, GOBankingRates determined the Best Online Stockbrokers for Beginners. The list is tailored toward newer investors, so brokerages that focus on advanced trading support might not have scored as highly as those providing better educational tools for novices.

Best Online Stockbrokers for Beginners 2019-2020 Guide:

Best Online Stockbrokers for Beginners at a Glance

Refer to this table to quickly compare the Best Online Stockbrokers’ fees, minimums and promotions:

Best Online Stockbrokers for Beginners 2019-2020
Broker Cost To Trade Account Minimum Promotions
Merrill Edge $0 $0
  • Up to $600 when you invest in a new Merrill Edge self-directed account
  • Save up to $15 on TurboTax federal products
E-Trade $0
  • $0 for standard brokerage account
  • $500 for Core Portfolio account
  • $100 cash credit for transfer or deposit of $5,000-$24,999
  • $200 cash credit for transfer or deposit of $25,000-$99,999
  • $300 cash credit for transfer or deposit of $100,000-$249,999
  • $600 cash credit for transfer or deposit of $250,000-$499,999
  • $1,200 cash credit for transfer or deposit of $500,000-$999,999
  • $2,500 cash credit for transfer or deposit of at least $1 million
Charles Schwab $0 $0
  • None currently
Fidelity $0 $0
  • Up to $30 off TaxAct or up to $20 off H&R Block or TurboTax software
TD Ameritrade $0 $0
  • $100 bonus when you fund your account with $25,000-$99,999
  • $300 bonus when you fund your account with $100,000-$249,999
  • $600 bonus when you fund your account with $250,000-$999,999
Interactive Brokers $0 for IBKR Lite $0
  • Free trial offer includes access to all platforms, market data and trading tools
  • Get a chance to win $1,000 in commission credits for trying Interactive Brokers’ simulated sports betting game
Firstrade $0 $0
  • Up to $200 in transfer fee rebates when switching to Firstrade from another broker
  • $25 wire transfer fee rebate when wiring funds from your bank
  • One free stock for each friend referral to Firstrade
TradeStation $0
  • $0 for TS GO accounts
  • $2,000 for TS Select accounts
  • Active and retired military personnel get free and discounted scholarships to Online Trading Academy
  • Earn interest on your account balance with a qualifying account minimum
  • Earn interest on long stock positions via TradeStation’s Fully Paid Stock Program
Wells Fargo $0 $0
  • Waive the $30 annual fee a number of ways, including enrolling in electronic delivery for statements and other communication
SogoTrade $2.88-$4.88 $0
  • $100 automated customer account transfer fee rebate with qualified account transfer
  • 100 free trades with a new account
  • 25 free trades when you refer a friend or family member who opens a qualifying account

Building Wealth

Up Next: Do You Need a Broker To Buy Stocks?

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In-Depth Look at Best Online Stockbrokers for Beginners

The Best Online Stockbrokers for Beginners have low trading fees and commissions. All 10 listed here have low or no account minimums, so that you can get started with very little money. Special incentives make trading even more affordable.

Explore: What Is a Brokerage Account?

Merrill Edge

Merrill Edge is the self-directed investment platform of Merrill Lynch, which is now a Bank of America company.

Why It’s a Best Online Broker for Beginners: Although the Merrill Edge account is self-directed, customers still have access to extensive financial education programs, both online and via a financial advisor.

Pros:

Cons:

Promotions: 

Building Wealth

Fees and Costs: $0 per trade

Account Minimum: None

To learn more about Merrill Edge, visit its website.

Find Out: Pros and Cons of Online Trading

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E-Trade

E-Trade is one of the pioneers of online trading.

Why It’s a Best Online Broker for Beginners: E-Trade’s easy-to-use online interface and two mobile apps make it a top online broker for beginners. E-Trade charges $0 per trade, and although you’ll need $500 to open a Core Portfolio automated investing account, standard brokerage accounts have no minimum deposit.

Pros:

Cons:

Promotions:

Fees and Costs: $0 per trade

Account Minimum: $500 for Core Portfolio account; $0 for standard brokerage account

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

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Charles Schwab

Charles Schwab lands on this list of online stockbrokers based on the strength of a $0 minimum balance requirement and a $0 trade commission.

Building Wealth

Pros:

Cons:

Promotions: None currently

Fees and Costs: $0 per trade

Account Minimum: None

To learn more about Charles Schwab, visit its website.

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See: What Is a Money Market Mutual Fund?

Fidelity

Fidelity is one of the oldest and most well-established firms on Wall Street.

Building Wealth

Pros:

Cons:

Promotions:

Fees and Costs: $0 per trade

Account Minimum: None

To learn more about Fidelity, visit its website.

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Related: Best Stocks For Beginners

TD Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade, one of the largest online brokers, acquired Scottrade in 2017, making a formidable combination.

Pros:

Cons:

Building Wealth

Promotions:

Costs and Fees: $0 per trade

Account Minimum: None

To learn more about TD Ameritrade, visit its website.

Learn More: Vanguard Investing Review

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Interactive Brokers

Interactive Brokers has an advanced trading platform for experienced traders, but it also offers advantages for beginners.

Pros:

Cons:

Promotions:

Costs and Fees: $0 for IBKR Lite accounts

Building Wealth

Account Minimum: $0

To learn more about Interactive Brokers, visit its website.

Understand: What Is a Stock Brokerage Fee?

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Firstrade: Best for Low Fees

Firstrade might not be a household name when it comes to online brokerages, but that could be changing.

Pros:

Cons:

Promotions:

Costs and Fees: None

Account Minimum: None

To learn more about Firstrade, visit its website.

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TradeStation

Originally designed for professional traders, TradeStation’s platform is now open to investors of all levels of experience.

Pros:

Cons:

Promotions:

Costs and Fees: $0 per trade

Account Minimum: $0 for TS GO accounts; $2,000 for TS Select accounts

To learn more about TradeStation, visit its website.

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Wells Fargo

Although Wells Fargo is a stalwart of the traditional banking industry, it’s also at the forefront of the online brokerage movement.

Pros:

Cons:

Promotions:

Costs and Fees: $0 per trade

Account Minimum: None

To learn more about Wells Fargo, visit its website.

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SogoTrade

SogoTrade’s relative affordability earns it a spot in the Best Online Brokers for Beginners list.

Pros:

Cons:

Promotions:

Costs and Fees: $4.88 per trade; $3.88 per trade with the purchase of a multitrade bundle; $2.88 if you make at least 150 trades per quarter

Account Minimum: None

To learn more about SogoTrade, visit its website.

Related: How To Find a Broker and Start Investing

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How We Picked the Best Online Stockbrokers for Beginners

GOBankingRates determined the Best Online Stockbrokers for Beginners 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 online brokers are meant for beginners, the cost to trade, minimum opening investment requirement, educational resources and research tools were weighted double for the final scoring.

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Online Stockbrokers FAQs

Here a few questions that are common around the topic of online stockbrokers — and answers to them:

What Is a Stockbroker?

A stockbroker is a person or a company that buys and sells securities such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds and other investments on behalf of clients.

Do You Need a Lot of Money To Use a Stockbroker?

No. Some brokers have a $0 account minimum, and many even offer free trades.

What Do You Need To Open a Brokerage Account?

Although requirements vary from firm to firm, at the very least, you should expect to provide identification and basic personal and financial information like your name, address, date of birth, Social Security number, employment status, annual income, net worth, investment profile and a trusted contact person.

What Are Brokerage Account Fees?

Brokerages can charge fees like commissions on trades, mutual fund sales loads and account transfer fees, among others. The best brokers charge minimal fees.

Is My Money Safe in a Brokerage Account?

All legitimate brokerage firms are members of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation, or SIPC, which insures customer accounts up to $500,000 if a firm fails. Of that $500,000 in protection, up to $250,000 in cash is insured.

Can You Cash Out a Stock Brokerage Account?

You can cash out a brokerage account at any time, but you might have to pay commissions to sell your securities, plus a fee to transfer the money out. These terms vary from broker to broker.

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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 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 in this article as of Dec. 5, 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