BEST OF

11 Best Online Brokers for Stock Trading of December 2021

In our analysis, these brokers stood out for stock trading due to their low fees, strong trading platforms and tools and quality customer support.

Kevin VoigtNov 18, 2021

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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 2021

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
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 $600 or more

when you open and fund an E*TRADE account with code: BONUS21

Learn more

on E*TRADE's website


Promotion

Get $600 or more

when you open and fund an E*TRADE account with code: BONUS21

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
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
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, 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
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 7,000 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
Webull
Learn more

on Webull's website

Webull

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Webull

Fees

$0

per trade

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

$5 SHIB and 2 free stocks worth up to $2,300

after opening a Webull account, activating crypto trading, and completing 1 crypto trade before 11/22/21.

Learn more

on Webull's website


Promotion

$5 SHIB and 2 free stocks worth up to $2,300

after opening a Webull account, activating crypto trading, and completing 1 crypto trade before 11/22/21.

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
TradeStation
Learn more

on TradeStation's website

TradeStation

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
TradeStation

Fees

$0

per trade

Account Minimum

$500

Promotion

$50 - $5,000

cash credit with a minimum deposit of $5,000

Learn more

on TradeStation's website


Promotion

$50 - $5,000

cash credit with a minimum deposit of $5,000

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
Learn more

on Zacks Trade's website

Zacks Trade

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
Zacks Trade

Fees

$0.01

per share

Account Minimum

$2,500

Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

Learn more

on Zacks Trade's website


Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

Why we like it

Zacks Trade is an online brokerage firm committed to active traders and investors, offering penny-per-share trades and a robust trading platform. Unusual in the world of discount brokers, Zacks offers free broker-assisted trades, so if you're at all likely to seek help making a trade, Zacks could be a good choice.

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:

Disclosure: The author held no positions in the aforementioned securities at the time of publication.

Last updated on November 18, 2021

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American Express® High Yield Savings Account

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
American Express® High Yield Savings Account

APY

0.40%

With $1 minimum balance

Bonus

N/A

at American Express National Bank, Member FDIC

Axos Bank® High Yield Savings

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Axos Bank® High Yield Savings

APY

0.61%

With $0 minimum balance

Bonus

N/A

at Axos Bank®, Member FDIC

Nationwide My Savings

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
Nationwide My Savings

APY

0.30%

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Bonus

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at Nationwide

Methodology

NerdWallet’s comprehensive review process evaluates and ranks the largest U.S. brokers and robo-advisors by assets under management, along with emerging industry players, using a multifaceted and iterative approach. Our aim is to provide an independent assessment of providers to help arm you with information to make sound, informed judgments on which ones will best meet your needs.

DATA COLLECTION AND REVIEW PROCESS

We collect data directly from providers, and conduct first-hand testing and observation through provider demonstrations. Our process starts by sending detailed questionnaires to providers to complete. The questionnaires are structured to equally elicit both favorable and unfavorable responses from providers. They are not designed or prepared to produce any predetermined results. The questionnaire answers, combined with product 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.

RATING FACTORS

Evaluations vary by provider type, but in each case are based upon the weighted averages of factors that include but are not limited to: advisory and account fees, account minimums and types, investment selection, investment expense ratios, trading costs, access to human financial advisors, educational resources and tools, rebalancing and tax minimization options, and customer support including branch access, user-facing technology and mobile platforms.

Each factor can involve evaluating various sub-factors. For instance, when gauging the investment selections offered by robo-advisors, 80% of the score is based on the potential for diversification (how well-diversified a resulting portfolio of investments could be) combined with the availability of specialty portfolios and level of customization for investors. Expense ratios form an additional 10% of the score, and low or no management fee the remaining 10%.

FACTOR WEIGHTINGS

The weighting of each factor is based on our team’s assessment of which features are the most important to consumers and which ones impact the consumer experience in the most meaningful way. The factors considered, and how those factors are weighted, change depending upon the category of providers reviewed.

Provider categories include: Best Brokers for Stock Trading, Best Brokers for Beginners, Best Brokers for Day Trading, Best Brokers for Options Trading, Best Discount Brokers, Best Brokers for Free Trading, Best Investment Apps, Best Brokers for Penny Stocks, Best IRA Brokers, Best Robo-Advisors, Best Financial Advisors, Best Real Estate Platforms, Best Brokers for ETFs and Best Brokers for Mutual Funds.

INFORMATION UPDATES

Writers and editors conduct our broker and robo-advisor reviews on an annual basis but continually make updates throughout the year. We maintain frequent contact with providers and highlight any changes in offerings.

THE REVIEW TEAM

The review team comprises seasoned writers, researchers and editors who cover stocks, bonds, mutual funds, index funds, exchange-traded funds, alternative investments, socially responsible investing, financial advisors, retirement and investment strategy on a daily basis. In addition to NerdWallet, the work of our team members has been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Forbes, USA Today, Bloomberg News, Nasdaq, MSN, MarketWatch, Yahoo! Finance and other national and regional media outlets.

The combined expertise of our Investing team is infused into our review process to ensure thoughtful evaluations of provider products and services from the customer perspective. Our writers and editors combine to have more than 70 years of deep experience in finance, ranging from a former Wall Street Journal reporter to a former senior financial advisor at Merrill Lynch.

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

While NerdWallet does have partnerships with many of the reviewed providers, we manage potential conflicts of interest by maintaining a wall between our content and business operations. This wall is designed to prevent our writers and the review process from being influenced or impacted by our business partnerships. This way, all reviews can provide an unbiased review that serves the interests of our users. For more information, see NerdWallet’s editorial guidelines.

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Best Online Brokers for Stock Trading of December 2021

Frequently asked questions