GOBankingRates

Best IRA Providers of 2019-2020

With so many choices for where to keep your individual retirement account, it can be hard to decide what’s best for you. To make it easier for you to choose, GOBankingRates determined the Best IRA Providers in its second annual Best Brokers rankings. Each account offers varying features and advantages, so review each one carefully to find the top account that most closely matches your individual needs.

Best IRA Providers of 2019-2020 Guide:

Best IRA Providers at a Glance

Quickly compare the Best IRA Providers by referring to this chart:

Best IRA Providers of 2019-2020
Broker Cost To Trade Minimum Opening Investment Fees
Fidelity $4.95 $0
  • $0 account opening and annual maintenance fees
TD Ameritrade $0 $0
  • $0 service fees
  • $25 per broker-assisted trade
Charles Schwab $0 $0
  • $5 per automated phone online trade
  • $25 per broker-assisted online trade
Firstrade $0 $0
  • $0 service fees
  • $19.95 broker-assisted stock and options orders
E-Trade $0 $0, $500 for Core account
  • $25 per broker-assisted trade
  • $25 excess contribution removal
  • $25 recharacterizations
Merrill Edge $6.95 $0
  • $0 service fees
  • Merrill Edge waives its commission fee for:
    • 10 monthly online stock & ETF trades for Gold tier clients
    • 30 monthly online stock & ETF trades for Platinum tier clients
    • 100 monthly online stock & ETF trades for Platinum Honors tier clients
  • $29.95 per representative-assisted trade
Wells Fargo $5.95 $0
  • $30 annual IRA custodial fee
  • $25 per agent-assisted trade
US Bank $4.95 $0
  • $40 annual IRA fee
  • $25 brokerage associate service fee
You Invest by J.P. Morgan $2.95 $0
  • $25 per broker-assisted trade
TradingBlock $5 minimum $500
  • $45 IRA custodial fee

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In-Depth Look at the Best IRA Brokers

The Best IRAs of 2019-2020 have several things in common. In addition to low rates and fees, they offer a good choice of investments plus access to research to help you decide which ones best suit your investment goals.

Fidelity

Fidelity is one of the major retirement account administrators in the United States. Although most services are provided online, it also has physical locations to serve investors who prefer a personal touch.

Why It’s a Best IRA: Fidelity IRAs provide account holders with access to a dizzying array of mutual funds and exchange-traded funds. Even better, there are no trading fees. With a Fidelity IRA, you can access more than 10,000 mutual funds, over 3,500 of which have no transaction fee. In addition to all the investment options, you get access to a variety of reports and educational materials to help you make wise decisions.

Pros:

Cons:

Promotions:

Costs and Fees:

Account Minimum: None

To learn more about Fidelity, visit its website.

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TD Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade is affiliated with TD Bank and has served customers for over 40 years. It offers a robust digital platform and also has over 275 branches nationwide.

Why It’s a Best IRA: TD Ameritrade IRAs are good for just about anyone, whether you’re a financial neophyte or have a wealth of experience on investment options and know exactly where you want to direct your money. You have access to a wealth of third-party research to help you with self-directed choices, or you can let TD Ameritrade professionals handle your portfolio.

Pros:

Cons:

Promotions: Trade commission-free for 60 days with a $3,000 deposit, and get a bonus of up to $600, depending on the amount with which you fund your account.

Costs and Fees:

Account Minimum: None

To learn more about TD Ameritrade, visit its website.

Don’t Miss: Expert Tips To Get the Best IRA for Your Retirement

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Charles Schwab

Charles Schwab is a major brokerage that won the 2019 J.D. Power award for “Highest in Investor Satisfaction with DIY Self-Directed Services,” in addition to achieving high scores in areas such as commissions, fees and product offerings.

Why It’s a Best IRA: Charles Schwab IRAs come with 24-hour support and a wide variety of resources and tools to help you create your financial plan. If you’re new to investing, you’ll get the guidance you need. Seasoned investors enjoy the lack of a trading fee and maintenance fees.

Pros:

Cons:

Promotions: Get 500 commission-free online equity and options trades in your first two years with a qualifying deposit.

Costs and Fees:

Account Minimum: None

To learn more about Charles Schwab, visit its website.

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Firstrade: Best for Low Fees

Firstrade is a brokerage firm aimed at those looking for the best deal. It touts $0 fees and sweetens the pot with special offers to people who open IRAs with the firm.

Why It’s a Best IRA: If you hate fees, Firstrade’s IRA might be the right choice for you. Firstrade is one of the few companies that doesn’t charge annual fees or impose fees for maintenance or just for opening an account.

Pros:

Cons:

Promotions:

Costs and Fees:

Account Minimum: None

To learn more about Firstrade, visit its website.

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E-Trade

E-Trade dates back to the 1980s, at the dawn of online trading, and today it has morphed into a major online brokerage site. It allows investors to handle their own money without the need for a human broker.

Why It’s a Best IRA: E-Trade IRAs are backed by a company with a strong history that dates back farther than any other online brokerage. The firm’s extensive array of investment options means you’ll always find an investment that’s just right for you if you’re the kind of person who enjoys directing your funds.

Pros:

Cons:

Promotions: Get up to 500 commission-free trades with a $10,000 deposit, plus $200-$600 cash credit when you fund a new account with $25,000-$250,000.

Costs and Fees:

Account Minimum: None

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

Learn More: How To Use Your IRA as a Last-Minute Tax Deduction

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Merrill Edge

Merrill Edge is part of Bank of America, which lets you combine your Bank of America and Merrill account balances to get free trades. A combined balance of $50,000 gets you 30 commission-free trades each month, and that jumps to 100 trades if the total of your balances is at least $100,000.

Why It’s a Best IRA: Individual retirement account holders benefit from Merrill’s association with Bank of America, the second-most valuable banking brand in America. And although Merrill Edge doesn’t have the fanciest platform for managing your IRA, it’s useable for a broad range of investors, from those with experience to newbies who are just starting to learn how to manage their funds.

Pros:

Cons:

Promotions: Get up to $600 when you invest in a new Merrill Edge account

Fees:

Account Minimum: None

To learn more about Merrill Edge, visit its website.

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Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo dates back to 1852, expanding from its roots in California to other Western, Midwestern and Eastern states and launching online services. Its investment services include the WellsTrade IRA for retirement savings.

Why It’s a Best IRA: The WellsTrade IRA is easy to manage online or on your phone, and if you’re a Wells Fargo customer, you’ll save nearly half on your trade fees. In the event you want to take a stab at managing your own funds but aren’t sure where to start, WellsTrade gives you access to a variety of resources.

Pros:

Cons:

Promotions: Get a discounted rate of $2.95 per online trade when you link your Wells Fargo Advisors WellsTrade brokerage account to your Wells Fargo Bank Portfolio by Wells Fargo program.

Costs and Fees:

Account Minimum: None

To learn more about Wells Fargo, visit its website.

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US Bank

U.S. Bank is partnered with U.S. Bancorp Investments. It offers wealth management services and puts an emphasis on digital security and strong customer service.

Why It’s a Best IRA: U.S. Bank truly has an IRA option for everyone. Its Automated Investor account handles everything for you and allows you to speak to financial professionals if you need expert advice. U.S. Bank’s self-directed brokerage account puts things in your hands, or you can opt to work entirely through a financial professional.

Pros:

Cons:

Promotions: Get 100 free trades when you enroll in paperless delivery and have a U.S. Bank Platinum or Gold Checking package.

Costs and Fees:

Account Minimum: None

To learn more about U.S. Bank, visit its website.

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J.P. Morgan

J.P. Morgan is part of Chase Bank. The brokerage offers IRAs through the Chase You Invest platform, which lets you perform research and do trades online. Chase Premier Plus customers can leverage that relationship for 100 commission-free trades every year the account is active.

Why It’s a Best IRA: Many investors prefer apps to websites, and You Invest plays right into this preference. Even though it’s not the most full-featured app, it lets you manage your IRA right from your phone, allowing you to do transactions as well as review educational material. Investors who meet the qualifications for additional free trades through their relationship with J.P. Morgan or Chase Bank can save a lot of money.

Pros:

Cons:

Promotions: Make 100 commission-free online stock and ETF trades in your first year.

Costs and Fees:

Account Minimum: None

To learn more about You Invest by J.P. Morgan, visit its website.

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TradingBlock

TradingBlock is a brokerage firm that refers to its clients as “blockheads” and states its goal as providing a simpler online investing experience. IRAs are among its many offerings, and the website offers educational materials, including webcasts, that are available to everyone, regardless of whether you’re a client.

Why It’s a Best IRA: Although not the cheapest option, TradingBlock’s IRA fees are reasonable and its profile customization will appeal to those who are comfortable controlling their own finances.

Pros:

Cons:

Promotions: There are no current promotions for opening IRAs.

Costs and Fees:

Account Minimum: $500

To learn more about TradingBlock, visit its website.

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How We Picked the Best IRA Providers

GOBankingRates determined the Best IRA Providers by analyzing 18 of the largest and up-and-coming online brokers that offer IRA brokerage accounts, using the following criteria:

Each IRA provider was scored based on these individual categories, which were then summed up for a final score. In the final scoring, 24/7 phone customer service, live chat and mobile app availability were weighted a quarter while all other categories were weighted in full.

 

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IRA Providers FAQs

Find the answers to some of the most common questions about IRA providers here:

What Is an IRA?

IRA stands for individual retirement account. The U.S. government introduced IRAs in 1974 as a way for individuals to put away long-term savings for their retirement.

Roth vs. Traditional IRA: What Are the Key Differences?

The main difference between a Roth IRA and a traditional IRA is the tax benefits offered by each. Traditional IRAs are focused on tax-deferred growth potential, whereas Roth IRAs offer tax-free growth potential. Roth funds are distributed tax-free once you meet the qualifications. You pay taxes on traditional IRA funds at the time they’re distributed.

What’s the Best Way To Manage an IRA?

You can manage your IRA yourself if you’re confident in your abilities. Depending on the account you choose, you’ll have options to let your IRA be managed by a robo-advisor or a professional financial advisor.

How Do You Open an IRA?

The way to open an account depends on the specific IRA provider you choose. The brokerage will provide instructions, but typically, you’ll need your driver’s license or another photo ID, your Social Security number and the account number and bank routing number for the savings or checking account from which you’ll fund the IRA.

How Do I Choose the Best IRA?

The best IRA for you depends on your individual needs, but some common factors to consider include fees, risks and level of support. For example, are you comfortable directing your own investments, or do you prefer the assistance of a robo-advisor or professional financial advisor? Select an IRA from a brokerage whose services most closely match your needs.

How Should I Invest the Money in My IRA?

The investments you choose for your IRA are up to you, but you’ll be able to choose from options such as stocks, bonds, ETFs and mutual funds.

Can I Lose My Money in an IRA?

An IRA is a type of investment in instruments like stocks and mutual funds. As with any other such investment, you run the risk of losing that money.

How Do I Prevent Losing Money in an IRA?

Although you face risks any time you invest money, you reduce that risk by diversifying your investments. Make sure your IRA funds are diversified or consult a financial advisor to help you do so.

How Much Can I Contribute To an IRA?

In 2019, the contribution limit is $6,000 if you’re under age 50. Individuals age 50 or older can put in an additional $1,000 catch-up contribution in each tax year.

How Easily Can I Access the Money in an IRA?

As an individual retirement account, an IRA is meant to be a holding place for money until you retire. You can access funds early, but that comes with a 10% income tax penalty except under limited circumstances like disability or eligible medical expenses.

More Best Brokers of 2019-2020

Barb Nefer has written about financial topics for over a decade and given webinars on various money-related topics.

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. That data in this article has been updated as of Oct. 3, 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.