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11 Best Online Stock Brokers for Beginners of May 2022

New to investing? Our list of the best brokers for beginners cuts through the noise and offers a curated selection of brokers with low fees, low account minimums and helpful educational resources.

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

When you’re a beginner investor, the right broker can be so much more than simply a platform for placing trades. It can help you build a solid investing foundation — functioning as a teacher, advisor and investment analyst — and serve as a lifelong portfolio co-pilot as your skills and strategy mature.

What are stock brokers?

Stock brokers are people or firms licensed to buy and sell stocks and other securities via the stock market exchanges. Back in the day, the only way for individuals to invest directly in stocks was to hire stock brokers to place trades on their behalf. But what was once a clunky, costly transaction conducted on landline telephones now takes place in seconds through online brokers. Better still, those brokers cost a fraction of what full-service brokers used to charge for the service; many online brokerage accounts, including the ones below, offer commission-free stock trades. (A little lost? Check out our explainers on what a broker isbrokerage accounts and buying stocks.)

Merrill Edge
Learn more

on Merrill Edge's website

Merrill Edge

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Merrill Edge

Fees

$0

per trade

Account minimum

$0

Promotion

Up to $600

when you invest in a new Merrill Edge® Self-Directed account.

Learn more

on Merrill Edge's website


Promotion

Up to $600

when you invest in a new Merrill Edge® Self-Directed account.

Why we like it

Merrill Edge offers high-quality customer service, robust research and low fees. Customers of parent company Bank of America will love the seamless, thoughtful integration, with a single login to access both accounts.

Pros

  • Robust third-party research.

  • Integrated with Bank of America.

Cons

  • Advanced traders may find fewer securities on offer.

Read Full Review
Vanguard
Learn more

on Vanguard's website

Vanguard

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
Vanguard

Fees

$0

per trade

Account minimum

$0

Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

Learn more

on Vanguard's website


Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

Why we like it

Vanguard is the king of low-cost investing, making it ideal for buy-and-hold and retirement investors. But active traders will find the broker falls short despite its $0 trade commission, due to the lack of a strong trading platform.

Pros

  • Large mutual fund selection.

  • Commission-free stock, options and ETF trades.

  • Leader in low-cost funds.

Cons

  • Basic trading platform only.

  • Limited research and data.

Read Full Review
Fidelity
Learn more

on Fidelity's website

Fidelity

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Fidelity

Fees

$0

per trade for online U.S. stocks and ETFs

Account minimum

$0

Promotion

Get $100

when you open a new, eligible Fidelity account with $50 or more. Use code FIDELITY100. Limited time offer. Terms apply.

Learn more

on Fidelity's website


Promotion

Get $100

when you open a new, eligible Fidelity account with $50 or more. Use code FIDELITY100. Limited time offer. Terms apply.

Why we like it

Fidelity offers $0 trading commissions, a selection of more than 3,700 no-transaction-fee mutual funds and top-notch research tools and trading platform. Its zero-fee index funds and strong customer service reputation are just icing on the cake.

Pros

  • Commission-free stock, ETF and options trades.

  • Large selection of research providers.

  • Strong customer service.

  • Expense-ratio-free index funds.

  • Highly rated mobile app.

Cons

  • Relatively high broker-assisted trade fee.

Read Full Review
E*TRADE
Learn more

on E*TRADE's website

E*TRADE

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
E*TRADE

Fees

$0

per trade

Account minimum

$0

Promotion

Get up to $600 or more

when you open and fund an E*TRADE account

Learn more

on E*TRADE's website


Promotion

Get up to $600 or more

when you open and fund an E*TRADE account

Why we like it

E*TRADE has long been one of the most popular online brokers. The company's $0 commissions and strong trading platforms appeal to active traders, while beginner investors benefit from a large library of educational resources.

Pros

  • Easy-to-use tools.

  • Large investment selection.

  • Excellent customer support.

  • Access to extensive research.

  • Advanced mobile app.

  • Commission-free stock, options and ETF trades.

Cons

  • Website can be difficult to navigate.

Read Full Review
Interactive Brokers IBKR Lite
Learn more

on Interactive Brokers's website

Interactive Brokers IBKR Lite

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Interactive Brokers IBKR Lite

Fees

$0

per trade

Account minimum

$0

Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

Learn more

on Interactive Brokers's website


Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

Why we like it

Interactive Brokers' IBKR Lite is a strong option for frequent traders: The broker offers international trade capabilities, no stock-trading commission and a quality trading platform.

Pros

  • Large investment selection.

  • Strong research and tools.

  • Over 17,000 no-transaction-fee mutual funds.

  • NerdWallet users who sign up for IBKR Pro get a 0.25 percentage point discount on margin rates.

Cons

  • Website is difficult to navigate.

Read Full Review
TD Ameritrade
Learn more

on TD Ameritrade's website

TD Ameritrade

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
TD Ameritrade

Fees

$0

per trade

Account minimum

$0

Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

Learn more

on TD Ameritrade's website


Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

Why we like it

TD Ameritrade meets the needs of both active traders and beginner investors with quality trading platforms; $0 commissions on online stock and ETF trades; and a large selection of mutual funds.

Pros

  • Commission-free stock and ETF trades.

  • Free research.

  • High-quality trading platforms.

  • No account minimum.

  • Good customer support.

  • Large investment selection.

Cons

  • No fractional shares.

Read Full Review
Ally Invest
Learn more

on Ally Invest's website

Ally Invest

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Ally Invest

Fees

$0

per trade (on eligible US securities)

Account minimum

$0

Promotion

$100-$3,000

in cash bonus with qualifying deposit.

Learn more

on Ally Invest's website


Promotion

$100-$3,000

in cash bonus with qualifying deposit.

Why we like it

Ally Invest’s robust trading platform and lineup of free research, charting, data and analytical tools make it a good choice for active traders. But it’s also appropriate for beginning investors who will appreciate that there is no account minimum and no annual fees.

Pros

  • Commission-free trades on eligible U.S. stocks, options and ETFs.

  • No account minimum.

  • Strong web-based platform.

  • Robust research and tools.

Cons

  • No no-transaction-fee mutual funds.

  • No branches.

Read Full Review
Webull
Learn more

on Webull's website

Webull

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Webull

Fees

$0

per trade

Account minimum

$0

Promotion

Get 6 free stocks

when you open and fund an account with Webull. Promotion ends 6/9/2022.

Learn more

on Webull's website


Promotion

Get 6 free stocks

when you open and fund an account with Webull. Promotion ends 6/9/2022.

Why we like it

Webull will appeal to the mobile-first generation of casual investors with its slick interface for desktop and mobile apps, but the brokerage also delivers an impressive array of tools for active traders. However, its relatively weak educational content may leave true beginners in the lurch, and it lacks access to a few common asset classes.

Pros

  • Low costs.

  • Easy-to-use platform.

  • Advanced tools.

  • Access to cryptocurrency.

Cons

  • No mutual funds.

  • Thin educational support.

Read Full Review
Robinhood
Learn more

on Robinhood's website

Robinhood

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
Robinhood

Fees

$0

per trade

Account minimum

$0

Promotion

1 Free Stock

after linking your bank account (stock value range $2.50-$225)

Learn more

on Robinhood's website


Promotion

1 Free Stock

after linking your bank account (stock value range $2.50-$225)

Why we like it

Robinhood provides free stock, options, ETF and cryptocurrency trades, and its account minimum is $0, too. Mutual funds and bonds aren't offered, and only taxable investment accounts are available. Still, if you're looking to limit costs or trade crypto, Robinhood is a solid choice.

Pros

  • No account minimum.

  • Streamlined interface.

  • Cryptocurrency trading.

Cons

  • No retirement accounts.

  • No mutual funds or bonds.

  • Limited customer support.

Read Full Review

Want to compare more options? Here are our other top picks:

Customer support ratings for the best trading platforms for beginners

The star ratings above represent the provider's overall score across various categories. In this section, we've included more detail about how we rated these providers specifically for their customer support options, which are key for many new investors. Our overall customer support rating below takes into account website transparency (a measure of how easily we can find key details), educational resources, customer service availability and the cost of broker-assisted trading. Here's how each provider stacks up.

Merrill Edge

Merrill Edge scores high points for its customer support. Clients have plenty of options to get in touch, including 24/7 phone support, chat, email and the ability to request an in-person appointment at a nearby Bank of America. As for Merrill’s educational resources, the broker offers top-tier content in many formats — from podcasts to webinars and even a robust content library of over 150 articles. Additional tools include calculators for retirement planning, investing, and personal finance mapping.

Merrill Edge’s customer support options: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Vanguard

Vanguard’s primary support options are via phone (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern time) and email, making the broker a good fit for those who can do without in-person or on-demand support. Beginner investors have access to educational resources by way of news articles, research papers, videos and webcasts. And like many other brokers on this list, Vanguard offers high-quality calculators and tools that can help clients with their retirement goals or aid in decisions about Roth conversions.

Vanguard’s customer support options: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Fidelity

Hands-on learners will enjoy plenty of human support options from Fidelity. The broker’s customer support network includes 24/7 phone, chat and email assistance — and over 200 branches for in-person support. Fidelity’s educational resources are also standouts among competitor offerings. The Online Learning Center provides clients with custom educational materials keyed to their investment interests and behavior. And the broker also offers plenty of seminars, workshops and videos for traders to take advantage of.

Fidelity’s customer support options: 4.5 out of 5 stars

E*TRADE

E*TRADE’s customer service options receive high marks across the board. Clients can take advantage of 24/7 phone, email and chat support. And for those who prefer a personal approach, the broker has 30 local branches for in-person help. Like other big-name competitors, E*TRADE offers plenty of educational resources to guide new investors along, including live and on-demand webinars, online courses from Morningstar, and articles on E*TRADE's Knowledge blog.

E*TRADE’s customer support options: 4 out of 5 stars

Interactive Brokers

Customers can get in touch with Interactive Brokers’ customer support team by phone, email or chat 24 hours a day, six days a week. Like a few others on this list, the broker does not have any physical locations. When it comes to educational resources, beginner traders have a lot to be excited about — especially if they have a penchant for guided learning. Interactive Brokers offers its own IBKR campus, with online classes available to anyone, a Trader’s Academy, which features 55 in-depth online courses, and plenty of learning labs and webinars on a variety of investing topics.

Interactive Brokers' customer support options: 4 out of 5 stars

TD Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade makes it virtually impossible not to get in touch. Clients can reach out 24/7 via phone, text, fax, live chat and email. TD also offers social media direct messaging and mobile screen-sharing. Those who need in-person help can schedule a meeting at a local branch. New investors also have plenty of resources to tap into, from educational webcasts to workshops to 150 live events at branches each year.

TD Ameritrade’s customer support options: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Ally Invest

When it comes to customer support, Ally Invest falls in line with competitor offerings. Clients can take advantage of 24/7 email, phone and chat help. The broker does not offer in-person assistance at this time. When it comes to education, Ally extends some interesting perks. For example, if you’re a visual learner, the broker serves up biweekly digital content on its YouTube channel. And for those who prefer more traditional resources, there’s access to live webinars, quarterly digital conferences, and plenty of educational content in the form of articles and blog posts.

Ally Invest’s customer support options: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Webull

Much like other online-only brokers, Webull provides clients with customer support 24/7 by phone and email. New investors can access learning resources on the broker’s website or in the Webull app, where they'll also find a variety of videos and lessons on topics such as investment basics and an intro to cryptocurrency.

Webull’s customer support options: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Robinhood

Robinhood rolled out a 24/7 call-back feature in 2021, through which clients can request to speak with a representative. The in-app experience guarantees a return call within 30 minutes of the request. You can also reach out to the company by email. Robinhood Learn, the broker’s online learning page, features over 800 articles on a wide range of investing topics. Additional resources come in the form of email newsletters, a podcast and an in-app learning module.

Robinhood’s customer support options: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Firstrade

When it comes to customer service, Firstrade clients can access help by phone and email Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time. The broker does not offer 24/7 assistance, nor does it offer in-person assistance at this time. New traders can access educational resources in several ways: Firstrade offers instructional videos, primers on basic investing strategies and terms, courses on options, and a weekly newsletter.

Firstrade’s customer support options: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Charles Schwab

Charles Schwab offers a wealth of customer support options, including 24/7 assistance by phone, email or online chat. Clients can get more help in person by visiting a Charles Schwab branch. There are more than 400 locations, and some are even open on Saturdays. Schwab also offers a wide selection of educational tools for the novice investor — both online and in person. Clients can take advantage of educational workshops and webcasts, trading events, and a robust knowledge center on the provider’s website.

Charles Schwab’s customer support options: 4.5 out of 5 stars

More resources for new investors

Last updated on May 9, 2022

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People often identify opening a savings account as their next money move.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs Online Savings Account

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Marcus by Goldman Sachs Online Savings Account

APY

0.70%

With $0 min. balance for APY

at Marcus by Goldman Sachs, Member FDIC

Discover Bank Online Savings

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Discover Bank Online Savings

APY

0.60%

With $0 min. balance for APY

Bonus

$200

Requirements to qualify

at Discover Bank, Member FDIC

American Express® High Yield Savings Account

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
American Express® High Yield Savings Account

APY

0.60%

With $1 min. balance for APY

at American Express National Bank, Member FDIC

Methodology

NerdWallet’s comprehensive review process evaluates and ranks the largest U.S. brokers 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). Ratings are rounded to the nearest half-star.

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

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Best Online Stock Brokers for Beginners of May 2022

Frequently asked questions