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Best Roth IRA Account Providers

Once you’ve made the decision to contribute to a Roth IRA, how do you go about selecting the best Roth IRA account provider? What are the most important things to consider? There are several features that any IRA account you open should have, regardless of how experienced an investor you are:

  • Low cost, commission-free mutual funds and/or ETFs
  • Reasonable account minimums (below $1,000)
  • Basic banking products (check writing and debit cards)
  • No account inactivity fees

All of our IRA account recommendations at the bare minimum have these features. To determine which IRA provider is best for you should depend on what kind of investor you are. We have broken down the most common categories that people fall under below:

Best Overall IRA Accounts

Variety of low cost and commission-free mutual funds and ETFs, comprehensive research and analytics tools, useful educational tools and local branches

  • Mutual Funds & ETFs: 3,100+ no transaction fee mutual funds but no commission-free ETFs
  • Customer Service: 500+ local branches, 24/7 phone & e-mail
  • Account Fees: $75 for a full account transfer from Scottrade to another broker
  • Account Minimum: $0
  • Stock Commissions: $7.00
  • Learn more about Scottrade
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  • Mutual Funds & ETFs: 1,300+ no transaction fee mutual funds and over 90 commission-free ETFs
  • Customer Service: 28 local branches, weekday phone support and 24/7 online chat
  • Account Fees: $60 account closing fee
  • Account Minimum: None
  • Stock Commissions: $9.99
  • Learn more about E*Trade
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If you are opening your very first retirement account, the most important things to consider are: 1) the availability of index funds or ETFs with low fees, and 2) quality customer service that can guide you through the process of opening and managing your account. Scottrade and E*Trade provide both of these. They also offer complete online education centers with in-depth tutorials on basic investing topics.

Scottrade is a better option for those who want accessible in-person interaction and quality customer service. Scottrade’s customer service is consistently well-reviewed, and was recently voted as having the highest rate of customer satisfaction by a JD Power & Associates survey. E*Trade has better research offerings than Scottrade, as it provides access to S&P, Credit Suisse, and Morningstar research reports.

Roth IRA Accounts For Active Investors

Cheap commissions for frequent traders plus research & data tools

  • Mutual Funds: $20 to buy/sell
  • Customer Service: Available 7am-7pm CT on weekdays only
  • Account Fees: $75 account closing fee
  • Account Minimum: None
  • Stock and ETF Commissions: $4.95
  • Mutual Fund Commissions: $20
  • Learn more about Optionshouse
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  • Mutual Funds: $9.95 to buy/sell
  • Customer Service: Available business hours on weekdays only
  • Account Fees: $50 to close and/or transfer funds out of your account
  • Account Minimum: None
  • Stock and ETF Commissions: $4.95
  • Mutual Fund Commissions: $9.95
  • Learn more about TradeKing
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For those who want to trade frequently, both TradeKing and OptionsHouse offer low commissions, customizable trading platforms, and tools such as stock screeners and volatility charts. OptionsHouse is a niche options brokerage, and if you are simply looking for a platform to inexpensively trade stocks and options, OptionsHouse can be a good choice. OptionsHouse does provide access to thousands of mutual funds, but does not offer no-transaction fee mutual funds. Also, mutual fund trades can only be phoned in, making Optionshouse a poor choice for those who want to invest in mutual funds and more appropriate as a side account for stock and options trading.

TradeKing has broader appeal than OptionsHouse and supports a similar number of mutual funds, but allows trades to be executed online. It also offers an investor community forum, no transaction fee mutual funds, and comprehensive educational resources. TradeKing’s tools, such as its stock, ETF, and mutual fund screener, are better designed for investors who trade across a variety of asset classes.

Roth IRA Account For Index Funds

Best selection of low-cost index funds

  • Mutual Funds & ETFs: 120 Vanguard mutual funds and 52 Vanguard ETFs
  • Customer Service: Available business hours daily
  • Account Fees: None (If account balance exceeds $10,000 OR you are signed up for electronic documentation)
  • Account Minimum: $3,000 ($1,000 for any Vanguard Target Retirement Funds or for Vanguard STAR Fund)
  • Stock Commissions: $20.00
  • Sign up for Vanguard
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Vanguard is credited with creating the first index fund for individual investors. The Vanguard 500 Index Fund provides an extremely low-cost way to gain diversified exposure to the U.S. equity market. Their expense ratio of 0.17% is 84% lower than the industry average. For retirement investors who want to simply hold onto a few low-cost stock or bond index funds, Vanguard is a great choice. That said, Vanguard does charge a $20 commission on stock trades, so it is not appropriate for those who want to trade stocks.

If you’re opening a traditional IRA account, check out our list here:

Best IRA account providers >