Best Online Brokers and Trading Platforms for Day Trading - NerdWallet
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Best Online Brokers and Trading Platforms for Day Trading


If you’re an active trader ready to beat the market, you need to find the lowest-priced account that maximizes the premium features you’ll actually use so that fees don’t add up quickly over time. But some active traders aren’t just in it for the lowest prices or fanciest data — they also want the best trading that technology can provide. Below, we’ve selected the best online brokers for every kind of trader.

The best online brokers for day trading

These providers have competitive prices coupled with the most powerful trading platforms.

OptionsHouse logo
  • Commission: $4.95
  • Account fees: $75 outgoing transfer fee
  • Promotion: Trade free for your first 60 days (up to 100 trades). Must use code 60FREE.
  • Learn more about OptionsHouse>
Get started
Interactive Brokers logo
  • Commission: $0.005 per share. $1 minimum per order; 0.5% of trade value maximum per order.
  • Account fee: Monthly commission minimums between $3 to $20.
  • Learn more about Interactive Brokers>
Get started

The trade commissions at both OptionsHouse and Interactive Brokers are some of the lowest you’ll see, and despite that, both brokers also offer advanced trading platforms that will make any active, experienced investor happy.

The best automated trading platforms

These platforms combine ease with good pricing and strong automated trading technology.

TradeStation logo
  • Commission: $4.99 to $9.99 per trade, based on trade volume
  • Account fees: $99.95 minimum monthly activity fee (waived under certain conditions)
  • Promotion: Get up to $500 in free commissions.
  • Learn more about TradeStation>
Get started
TD Ameritrade logo
  • Commission: $9.99
  • Account fees: $75 outbound transfer fee (waived for Apex accounts)
  • Promotion: Open a new account to get up to $600, plus trade commission-free for 60 days.
  • Learn more about TD Ameritrade>
Get started

The automated features from both TradeStation and TD Ameritrade shine, allowing investors access to fast trade execution without the delays that come from manual entry.

The best online brokers with
the lowest margin rates

These brokers have the most competitive margin rates with reasonable account minimum requirements.

Interactive Brokers logo
Get started
eOption logo
Get started

No one beats Interactive Brokers when it comes to margin rates — in fact, most brokers don’t even come close. The broker’s rates are low enough that advanced traders will forgive its faults, namely minimal research tools and a somewhat clunky platform. eOption isn’t the most user-friendly or advanced platform, but its low account minimums and competitive margin rates put it on our list here.

The best options trading platform

These providers are the best all around when it comes to prices and features for options trading.

TD Ameritrade logo
  • Commission per options trade: $9.99 + $0.75 per contract
  • Current promotion: Open a new account to get up to $600, plus trade commission-free for 60 days.
  • Learn more about TD Ameritrade>
Get started
OptionsHouse logo
Get started

TD Ameritrade shines again here with its Trade Architect and Thinkorswim platforms that offer access to professional-grade research, customizable tools, and competitive pricing, with no minimum trade. OptionsHouse makes a strong showing with even lower prices.

Finding the right broker

If you’re an advanced trader and already know exactly what you need, you can plug your preferences into NerdWallet’s free brokerage comparison tool to compute your total trading costs and find the best priced account for you. These brokerage accounts offer the best all-around prices and features for options trading.

You can compare and contrast pricing at all online brokerages available to make sure you’ve found the best price available.

Updated Aug. 3, 2015

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  • Trade Alerts

    TDAmeritrade is awesome, pricey but thinkorswim is pretty cool. cheers

  • Mich

    >.< I don't see merrill edge… Must have picked a bad platform.

  • rjshap

    AutoShares offers a great selection of autotrading services and online trading accounts

  • Jonathan

    Merrill Edge MANUALLY REVIEWS YOUR TRADES (did it to me again just now and that’s why I’m closing all my accounts with them and not bringing in my wife’s $). They have made me miss trades 2 times now, costing me $ and time. These guys are toaster salesmen compared to real brokers.

  • Jen

    Hi, what do you think of the program, Call and Put? Not sure if i should go ahead with this.

  • Jason

    Are these reccomendations still current? I see the comments on this page are 1 year old, so i’m assuming the reccomendations/promos are 1 year old or more also.

  • Clifford Stephens

    Before going to a day trading platform, one should focus on the commonly day-traded financial instruments like stocks, options, currencies, and a host of futures contracts such as equity index futures, interest rate futures, and commodity futures.

  • Mary

    I am experiencing 2 purchases of stock per month for my divided reinvesting with a full service company I feel they are riping me off. What do you think? Example ford will show on Oct. 25 4 shares purchased and then on Oct. 26 1 share will be purchased why not make 1 purchase?

  • gallivantcollarbone

    I would like to ask all binary option traders out there, to try ANDY LANK CASH FLOW and do yourself a favor. You definitely need it. I know. And why wouldn’t you? Don’t you want to boost your business? Don’t you want lucrative returns? Wouldn’t you like to take a stroll and get some sleep, while someone does your work for you and does it better?

  • golfertaste

    See ANDY LANK TOOLS . I am using this product since 3 weeks and i am getting good profit.

  • windyelf

    Well…there is a good news. Finally there is ANDY LANK CASH FLOW that makes you insane cash and guess what the best part is? It’s fully accredited by an international regulator so you KNOW the profits are real.?

  • mixheaven

    Let me briefly catch you up so that you don’t miss out on this phenomenal opportunity. I am sharing with you a ANDY LANK TOOLS Technology

  • Jason Angel

    I use ANDY LANK CASH FLOW system for best results, and my favorite is BdB

  • rickochey

    STAY AWAY FROM OPTIONHOUSE/MONSTER…. Platform freezes and the customer service is horrid!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Pete Kuzda

    Quick Q: I want one broker for everything from e-mini to stocks, some forex and I don’t want to be limited. I trade a lot of diff markets but TDAm is killing me in fees. Is there one reasonable broker? I was thinking tradeking…..Id love input.

  • nin

    hi i am poor and stupid i just read up on a new company selling at pennies on the dollar i want to invest anywhere from $50-$100 but i cant afford $2,000 or $25,000 is there a way for a poor moron such as myself to invest in this company or shall i remain poor for good?

  • mussadiq azam

    I want to start on line trading of currencies and gold
    which broker and plateform is best please advice
    thanks take care

    • Fdsa Desa


    • Wen Lin

      Td ameritrade has the thinkorswim platform and it lets you trade currencies futures and options, but make sure you get approval to trade them first before you transfer your money over.

      • liliUS

        What do you mean by ‘get an approval’?
        From whom and why would anyone need an approval from the broker in what to trade?

        • Wen Lin

          They don’t want to give less experienced traders the ability to trade futures because it involves a lot of leverage and a lot of risk. A bigger account doesn’t mean a trader is more experienced but that’s how the brokers judge a person’s experience.

    • Anuj Sharma

      There is lot of stock broker in online stock market but i will introduce you with My Value Trade, which is a single trading platform, that provides Rs.10 per trade only even you want to trade currencies and gold. Here is some features:
      * No Hidden Charge
      * Funds Transfer Facility with 45 Banks
      * Provides per executed order and fixed brokerage trading
      * Unlimited trading plan in fixed Rs.1000 per month
      * Unlimited trading plan in fixed Rs.10000 per year

  • zaeraiphel

    I have an optionshouse account. I recently found out they have a 3 day hold on funds after selling your shares. If you want to day trade you will be very disappointed with optionshouse!

    • Joe

      Really, I have never had that issue with OptionsHouse. Every time I sell I can turn around and use the money for another position.

  • daddi

    read read read technical analysis, paper trade, know where it is coming from, know the news about it then buy the cheapest stick to pick it up or whack it

  • Steven

    Best info I have found is at Investopedia great resource for new traders chauck full of very useful info.

  • Derrick Jarvis

    Why are you yelling lol.

  • Maxime Rieman

    Note: Robert Shapiro (rjshap) is an employee of AutoShares

  • netrider

    Nice save Maxime….

  • Chris

    I got away from ML because I had the chance to buy Google ipo and they kept telling me no and its a bad idea and such. Then later I wanted to do a diff situation and they told me its probably not a good idea as I have strong assets.

  • oscar pender

    Caution: Stay away! Merrill Edge-Bank of America is a sad joke, which would be funny, if they we’re dealing with your money.

  • Maxime Rieman

    Call and Put is a binary options trading website. Binary options trading is highly risky, and we generally suggest that people avoid it. If you want to learn more, here are a few resources:

  • Sam

    Have you tried to negotiate commissions with TDA? They do work with you. I get decent rates for options, stocks and futures.

  • Larry

    TDAmeritrade has a ton of features, all modifiable the way you want and their cust. serv. is 24/7 and friendly but knowledge is uneven. When I funded my account and bought my first simple, single leg put, I got a message that I was making an “ILLEGAL” trade. When I called to find out what was illegal about my option trade, I got two different answers from two different people. One said I could only trade covered calls & puts and would have to apply to trade basic calls & puts. Another said I had to wait three working days for my funds to clear. Also their ThinkorSwim platform resembles a Boeing 747, most of it overkill unless you like pushing buttons and drop down menus under more drop down menus and finding the basics of how to use everything is not easy. Lots of strategy ideas but not many basic explanations. They have live programs supposedly showing you how various platform features work, but much of it revolves around how great a certain moderator is and how fast he can talk. Did not like it when he was rambling on about strategies 90 MPH and came to “iron condor” and said, “Everybody knows what an Iron Condor is and if you don’t look it up on Google.” I have a general knowledge of I.C.’s but not enough to know when or how to place them, costs, risks, benefits etc.
    I’m trying out Options House which has a clean platform and very good options tools but no level II for stocks which I’ve been told might be coming soon through an acquisition. Won’t hold my breath on that one. Also it takes a while for them to answer the phone, but so far, it’s not that long a wait and they’ve been very helpful and don’t make me feel like an idiot even when I ask a basic question. But their big draw is the price. If you have a small account, $4.95 is a boon compared to $9.95 especially if you plan on “shave trading” or any active type of trading. For instance – if you trade for a $25 profit – at TDAmeritrade you end up with $5. With Optionshouse (and a few others) you end up with $15.

  • Mike

    It’s so stupid that these idiot brokers babysit people by limiting what they can trade. Is there ANY broker out there that will let a guy trade options without having to have a ton of money to begin with?

  • Maxime Rieman

    Hi Mike, every broker has to comply with certain account rules determined by FINRA and the SEC. Depending on the types of trades you’re trying to make, you may be required to use a margin account, which has a legal minimum of a $2,000 balance. You may also be considered a day trader, which requires you to maintain a balance of $25,000 in each account and use a margin account. Additionally, brokers want to limit their risk, which is why they may require certain account balances based upon your investment. As an example, you can see here how the margin requirements for TradeStation change based upon your position:

  • Story P

    When you set up your trade make sure you select AON (All or Nothing) which means they have to place all shares/options or none at all. If the price is moving fast you might get locked out.

  • Gail Strumberger

    Yes Mary, the All or Nothing setting is true. Otherwise, you’re competing with other Buyers/Sellers to get in at the price you want and may not get all of (or any) of your position filled. This isn’t the brokerage ripping you off, it’s what goes on behind the scenes. Also, if you’re (or whoever is doing the transacting for you) setting up a Buy or Sell Limit order, to get into a trade at a price other than Current, it remains an Order until it’s filled and becomes a Position. Which is why you saw one number of shares in queue on the 25th and another on the 26th.

  • Gail Strumberger

    It is very important to get the information regarding what constitutes a Day Trader! Many people want to open an account and just trade away. But, a broker may label you a Day Trader (versus just a casual trader) if you transact 4 or more STOCK trades in 5 rolling business days. If this happens, you’d be required to have a minimum of $25K on deposit. It is an SEC rule. You can visit the SEC’s website to get the full details.

  • Calvin Wilburn

    4 round trip transactions in a 5 day period… correct? My understanding is you can make as many buy trades as you want but you can only enter and exit stocks 4 times in that 5 day period

  • Kingscairn

    people get confused because they don’t acknowledge the ‘full rule’ – The rules adopt the term “pattern day trader,” which includes any >margin customer>buys then sells or sells short then buys the >same security< on the same day<< four or more times in five business days< …

  • Oscar Pender

    Caution: Stay away! Merrill Edge-Bank of America is a sad joke, which would be funny, if they we’re dealing with your money.

  • manolive

    3 times. The 4th time you’re out and you can’t make any more trades unless to exit a position.

  • Tony Berg

    the fellow forgot to pull out his ear plugs