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5 Best Brokers for Paper Trading of April 2024

These brokers offer free paper trading accounts, several types of assets to practice with and $100,000 or more in fake cash.

Alana Benson
By Alana Benson 
Edited by Chris Davis

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.


The investing information provided on this page is for educational purposes only. NerdWallet, Inc. does not offer advisory or brokerage services, nor does it recommend or advise investors to buy or sell particular stocks, securities or other investments.


Why you can trust NerdWallet's picks: Our writers and editors together have more than 50 years of experience writing about finance, and follow strict guidelines to maintain editorial integrity. We do a deep, independent analysis of dozens of investment firms, sorting through the details to find and evaluate the information investors want when choosing an investing account. To see our full methodology and learn more about our process, read our criteria for evaluating online brokers.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Paper trading is great for both beginners and advanced traders: Beginners can get comfortable with market fluctuations and advanced traders can hone their options and futures trading strategies.

Best Brokers for Paper Trading

NerdWallet rating 

5.0

/5
Interactive Brokers IBKR Lite
Learn more

on Interactive Brokers' website

Fees

$0

per trade

Account minimum

$0

Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

NerdWallet rating 

4.9

/5
Charles Schwab
Learn more

on Charles Schwab's website

Fees

$0

per online equity trade

Account minimum

$0

Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

NerdWallet rating 

4.4

/5
E*TRADE
Learn more

on E*TRADE's website

Fees

$0

per trade. Other fees apply.

Account minimum

$0

Promotion

Get up to $1,000

when you open and fund an E*TRADE account

NerdWallet rating 

5.0

/5
Webull
Learn more

on Webull's website

Fees

$0

per trade

Account minimum

$0

Promotion

Get up to 75 free fractional shares (valued up to $3,000)

when you open and fund an account with Webull.

NerdWallet rating 

3.9

/5
TradeStation
Learn more

on TradeStation's website

Fees

$0

per trade

Account minimum

$500

Promotion

Qualify for up to $5,000

when you open and fund a new TradeStation account. Offer Code: NERDAFJO.

What is paper trading?

Paper trading is essentially practice investing: You get to try buying and selling investments with fake money. Paper trading platforms, also known as stock simulators, are great for beginners who want to get comfortable with the process of investing, but they’re also helpful for experienced traders looking to try out new strategies.

The best paper trading platforms are free, offer a good amount of fake cash to play with, and give you access to a wide range of investments. Some trading platforms allow you to practice with riskier types of assets such as futures and options in addition to stocks. Note that the scores below show the broker's overall score, but brokers are included on this list for their paper trading offering.

How does paper trading work?

Paper trading works the same way regular investing works: You open an account and select your investments from there. The only difference is that with paper trading there is no real money at stake. Paper trading allows you to act like you purchased a stock (or other investment) and see what happens to your investment over time. It's also a great way to get comfortable using a platform before there is any real money on the line.

What is the best platform for paper trading?

This year, the broker with the best paper trading platform is TradeStation. TradeStation offers users unlimited cash and the ability to practice with stocks, options and futures. Schwab and Interactive Brokers also give you access to a wide range of practice assets, but with less initial practice cash. If you don't need access to the more advanced assets such as options and futures, Webull and E*TRADE make for good options as well. None of these brokers charge anything to open a paper trading account.

Can I paper trade for free?

Yes, you can paper trade for free. You will have to open an account to do it, but all the brokers listed here allow you to open an account for free.

Can you make money paper trading?

No, because the money you're "investing" with isn't real. But paper trading is a great way to learn and get comfortable with the process of buying and selling assets.

Is paper trading legal?

Yes, paper trading is legal. But since it's fake investing, you won't make any money from it.

Last updated on April 1, 2024

Methodology

NerdWallet’s comprehensive review process evaluates and ranks the largest U.S. brokerage firms by assets under management, along with emerging industry players. Our aim is to provide an independent assessment of providers to help arm you with information to make sound, informed judgements on which ones will best meet your needs. We adhere to strict guidelines for editorial integrity.

We collect data directly from providers through detailed questionnaires, and conduct first-hand testing and observation through provider demonstrations. The questionnaire answers, combined with demonstrations, interviews of personnel at the providers and our specialists’ hands-on research, fuel our proprietary assessment process that scores each provider’s performance across more than 20 factors. The final output produces star ratings from poor (one star) to excellent (five stars).

For more details about the categories considered when rating brokers and our process, read our full methodology.

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Best Brokers for Paper Trading of April 2024