Best Online Brokers and Trading Platforms for Day Trading - NerdWallet

Best Online Brokers and Trading Platforms for Day Trading

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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
5.0_stars
  • 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
4.5_stars
  • 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
5.0_stars
  • 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
5.0_stars
  • 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
4.5_stars
Get started
eOption logo
4.5_stars
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
5.0_stars
  • 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
5.0_stars
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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  • A LITTLE HELP PLEASE?

    HELLO, AS AN IND. BEGINNING STOCK TRADER, I’M SEEKING A TOP RATED ONLINE BROKERAGE/ADVISOR, THAT MAINLY DISPLAYS CURRENT BEST BUY TARGETS. AS I’M WILLING TO RELY ON THEIR MUCH GREATER TRADING KNOWLEDGE. PLEASE REFER YOUR RECOMMENDATIONS TO ME AT WALTS2013@hotmail.com. THANK YOU VERY MUCH !

  • 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.

  • http://www.hybrid-solutions.com/ 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

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  • 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

      suretrader

    • 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.

      • Ricardo F

        I heard it doesn’t do good for shorting stocks and day trading,

    • 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

  • 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

      suretrader

    • 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.

      • Ricardo F

        I didn’t even used their money but, I traded 4 day trades in a week, and my account got limited.

        • Digitalhax

          That’s due to the PDT(Pattern Day Trader) rule. If you have less than $25,000 in your brokerage account then you are limited to 3 day trades per 5 day week. If you hit 4 day trades then you are labeled a PATTERN DAY TRADER and your account will be limited for ~90 days, or until you put in $25,000. I believe this was a rule created by the SEC to help prevent people from losing money, but in actuality it makes it a lot harder to MAKE money as a daytrader.

          • Sabbie

            This rule is for margin accounts, you should be able to day trade all you want in cash.

  • 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.

  • Matt H

    I would avoid TradeKing as their platform is too risky and they have frequent system hiccups that can result in huge losses. The low commission costs come at a price. Be prepared that if you suffer huge losses using their platform due to ‘tech issue’ (i.e. system failing to close positions), they will not compensate you. What happened to me was I opened five different positions and out of the five I opened I was only able to close two, three failed with an error saying ‘I do not own the position I am trying to close’ and I had to call in which took 25min to actually get through to someone – at which I time I went from a gain, to a substantial loss. In such events, tradeking will NOT take responsibility.

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  • Armando Lamovida

    What about Plus500? It’s been strongly advertised in Europe for non-american traders. I’ve give it a try and even though they advertise no commisions they take a price differential beforehand of 2-5 pips which in a slow trading environment makes it impossible for you to make a profit.