The 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.

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.

OptionsHouse logo
  • Commission: $4.95
  • Account minimum: $2,000 with margin; $0 without
  • Account fees: $75 outgoing transfer fee
  • Promotion: New accounts funded with $5,000 within 30 days of opening get 100 commission-free trades for stock or options executed within 60 days of funding. Must use code 60FREE. Referral rewards: $150 Amazon gift card or 30 commission-free trades when friends use your referral link and fund account with $1,000 within 30 days of opening.
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Interactive Brokers logo
  • Commission: $0.005 per share. $1 minimum per order; 0.5% of trade value maximum per order.
  • Account minimum: $10,000
  • Account fee: Monthly commission minimums apply; if not met, the difference is assessed as a monthly fee that can total between $3 and $20.
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The best automated trading platforms

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

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.

TradeStation logo
  • Commission: $4.99 to $9.99 per trade, based on trade volume
  • Account minimum: $5,000 for non-day-trading accounts; $30,000 for pattern day-trading accounts that place four-day trades in a five-trading-day period.
  • Account fees: $99.95 minimum activity fee per month if minimums are not met or account balance is under $100,000.
  • Promotion: Open and fund a TradeStation account and get up to $500 in commission rebates.
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TD Ameritrade logo
  • Commission: $9.99
  • Account minimum: $0
  • Account fees: $75 account transfer fee. Waived for clients who either average five or more trades per month in their account or have a total account value of $100,000 or more.
  • Promotion: Open a new account with $3,000 or more and get up to $600, plus trade commission-free for 60 days. $600 on $250,000+; $300 on $100,000 to $249,999; and $100 on $25,000 to $99,999.
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The best online brokers with
the lowest margin rates

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

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.

Interactive Brokers logo
  • Maximum margin rate: 1.63%
  • Account minimum: $10,000
  • Account fees: Monthly commission minimums apply; if not met, the difference is assessed as a monthly fee that can total $3 to $20.
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eOption logo
  • Maximum margin rate: 5%
  • Account minimum: $2,000 with margin
  • Account fees: $50 annual inactivity fee on accounts with less than 2 trades in the past 12 months or balances of less than $10,000. $60 full transfer out fee.
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The best options trading platform

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

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.

TD Ameritrade logo
  • Commission per options trade: $9.99 + $0.75 per contract
  • Account minimum: $2,000 with margin; $0 without
  • Account fees: $75 account transfer fee. Waived for clients who either average five or more trades per month in their account or have a total account value of $100,000 or more.
  • Current promotion: Open a new account with $3,000 or more and get up to $600, plus trade commission-free for 60 days. $600 on $250,000+; $300 on $100,000 to $249,999; and $100 on $25,000 to $99,999.
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OptionsHouse logo
  • Commission per options trade: $4.95 + $0.50
  • Account minimum: $2,000 with margin; $0 without
  • Account fees: $75 outgoing transfer fee
  • Current promotion:New accounts funded with $5,000 within 30 days of opening get 100 commission-free trades for stock or options executed within 60 days of funding. Must use code 60FREE. Referral rewards: $150 Amazon gift card or 30 commission-free trades when friends use your referral link and fund account with $1,000 within 30 days of opening.
  • Learn more >
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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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