BEST OF

11 Best Online Brokers for Stock Trading of December 2020

Arielle O'SheaNovember 30, 2020
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Want to trade stocks? You’re going to need an online broker, and that broker should offer a reasonable investment minimum, high-quality trading tools, robust access to customer service and no hidden account fees. On these measures, the brokerage firms below earned their place on our list of the best online brokers for stock trading.

We evaluated brokerage firms and investment companies on the services that matter most to different types of investors. For example, for active traders, we've noted online brokers with low or no commissions and robust mobile trading platforms. For people venturing into investing for the first time, we've included the best online brokers for educational resources (including webinars, video tutorials and in-person seminars) and on-call chat or phone support.

Read on to see our picks for the best brokers, alongside links to our investing experts' in-depth reviews on each.

Summary of Best Online Brokers for Stock Trading of December 2020

Merrill Edge

on Merrill Edge's website

Merrill Edge

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
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
Robinhood

on Robinhood's website

Robinhood

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Robinhood

Fees

$0

per trade

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

on Robinhood's website


Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

Why we like it

Robinhood is truly free: There are no hidden costs here. You’ll give up a few things in exchange for free trades — trading tools, research, education, investment options beyond stocks and ETFs — but if limiting costs is your No. 1 concern, 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
E*TRADE

on E*TRADE's website

E*TRADE

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
E*TRADE

Fees

$0

per trade

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

$50 or more

when opening an account, with code: WINTER21

on E*TRADE's website


Promotion

$50 or more

when opening an account, with code: WINTER21

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
TD Ameritrade

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

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, options and ETF trades and a large selection of mutual funds.

Pros

  • Commission-free stock, ETF and options trades.

  • Free research.

  • High-quality trading platforms.

  • No account minimum.

  • Good customer support.

  • Large investment selection.

Cons

  • No fractional shares.

Read Full Review
Interactive Brokers IBKR Lite

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

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
TradeStation

on TradeStation's website

TradeStation

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
TradeStation

Fees

$0

per trade

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

Up to $5,000

cash credit with a qualifying deposit

on TradeStation's website


Promotion

Up to $5,000

cash credit with a qualifying deposit

Why we like it

TradeStation is a strong choice for active stock, options and futures investors who rely on the broker’s high-octane trading platform, reams of research and sophisticated analytical tools. Trades of up to 10,000 shares are commission-free.

Pros

  • High-quality trading platforms.

  • Comprehensive research.

  • Commission-free stock, ETF and options trades.

  • Advanced tools.

  • Active trader community.

Cons

  • Free trading on advanced platform requires TS Select.

  • No transaction-fee-free mutual funds.

  • Plans and pricing can be confusing.

Read Full Review
Zacks Trade

on Zacks Trade's website

Zacks Trade

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Zacks Trade

Fees

$0.01

per share

Account Minimum

$2,500

Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

on Zacks Trade's website


Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

Why we like it

Zacks is a great choice for experienced and active investors who would appreciate a little extra support from a representative, but trades cost more than at competitors.

Pros

  • Ample research offerings.

  • Robust trading platform.

  • Access to international exchanges.

Cons

  • Trails competitors on commissions.

  • High account minimum.

Read Full Review

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

Last updated on November 30, 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.

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Best Online Brokers for Stock Trading of December 2020

Frequently asked questions