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11 Best Online Stock Brokers for Beginners of August 2020

Kevin VoigtAugust 10, 2020

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When you’re a beginner investor, the right brokerage account 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 via landline telephones now takes place online in seconds, for a fraction of what full-service brokers used to charge for the service. Today, most investors place their trades through an online brokerage account. (A little lost? Check out our explainers on brokerage accounts and buying stocks.)

Summary of Best Online Stock Brokers for Beginners of August 2020

BrokerNerdWallet Rating CommissionsPromotionAccount MinimumLearn More
Interactive Brokers IBKR Lite

Interactive Brokers IBKR Lite

on Interactive Brokers's website

$0

per trade

None

no promotion available at this time

$0

on Interactive Brokers's website

You Invest by J.P.Morgan

You Invest by J.P.Morgan

on You Invest by J.P.Morgan's website

$0

per trade

Up to $725

when you open and fund a You Invest Trade account with qualifying new money

$0

on You Invest by J.P.Morgan's website

SoFi Active Investing

SoFi Active Investing

on SoFi Invest's website

$0

per trade

Free

career counseling plus loan discounts with qualifying deposit

$0

on SoFi Invest's website

Merrill Edge

Merrill Edge

on Merrill Edge's website

$0

per trade

Up to $600

cash credit with qualifying deposit

$0

on Merrill Edge's website

Firstrade

Firstrade

$0

per trade

Up to $200

in Transfer Fee Rebates

$0

Read review
Interactive Brokers IBKR Lite

on Interactive Brokers's website

Interactive Brokers IBKR Lite

Interactive Brokers IBKR Lite

Fees

$0

per trade

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

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 4,300 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.

  • Inactivity fees on IBKR Pro.

Read Full Review
You Invest by J.P.Morgan

on You Invest by J.P.Morgan's website

You Invest by J.P.Morgan

You Invest by J.P.Morgan

Fees

$0

per trade

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

Up to $725

when you open and fund a You Invest Trade account with qualifying new money

on You Invest by J.P.Morgan's website


Promotion

Up to $725

when you open and fund a You Invest Trade account with qualifying new money

Why we like it

You Invest Trade is a clear-cut investment platform that is great for beginners looking to learn how to buy and sell investments. More advanced investors, however, may find it lacking in terms of available assets, tools and research. INVESTMENT PRODUCTS: NOT A DEPOSIT • NOT FDIC INSURED • NO BANK GUARANTEE • MAY LOSE VALUE

Pros

  • Easy-to-use platform.

  • $0 commissions.

  • App connects all Chase accounts.

  • No account minimum.

Cons

  • Limited tools and research.

  • Portfolio Builder tool requires $2,500 balance.

Read Full Review
SoFi Active Investing

on SoFi Invest's website

SoFi Active Investing

SoFi Active Investing

Fees

$0

per trade

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

Free

career counseling plus loan discounts with qualifying deposit

on SoFi Invest's website


Promotion

Free

career counseling plus loan discounts with qualifying deposit

Why we like it

SoFi Active Investing's $0 trading commission and $0 account minimum is attractive to new investors, but a lack of investment choices such as mutual funds and bonds is a drawback for those saving for retirement.

Pros

  • Commission-free stock and ETF trades.

  • Cryptocurrency trading.

  • Fractional shares available.

  • No account minimum.

  • Free financial counseling.

Cons

  • Small selection of tradable securities.

  • Limited track record.

Read Full Review
Merrill Edge

on Merrill Edge's website

Merrill Edge

Merrill Edge

Fees

$0

per trade

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

Up to $600

cash credit with qualifying deposit

on Merrill Edge's website


Promotion

Up to $600

cash credit with qualifying deposit

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

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

More resources for new investors

Last updated on August 10, 2020

Methodology

NerdWallet's ratings for brokers and robo-advisors are weighted averages of several categories, including investment selection, customer support, account fees, account minimum, trading costs and more. Our survey of brokers and robo-advisors includes the largest U.S. providers by assets under management, plus notable and/or emerging players in the industry. Factors we consider, depending on the category, include advisory fees, branch access, user-facing technology, customer service and mobile features. The stars represent ratings from poor (one star) to excellent (five stars). Ratings are rounded to the nearest half-star.

Frequently asked questions