Advertiser Disclosure

The Best Online Brokers for Day Trading and Trading Platforms — 2014

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence 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.

For the latest broker recommendations, check out our updated roundup.

If you’re an active trader ready to beat the market, you need to find the lowest priced account that maximizes the premium features you’ll actually use so that fees don’t add up quickly over time. Some active traders aren’t just in it for the lowest prices or fanciest data — they want the best trading technology can provide.

The Best Automated Trading Platforms

Combine ease with good pricing and fast trade execution.

Commission per trade: $9.99
Account Minimum: $500
Promotion: Fund an account with $10,000, receive 60 days of free trades and up to $500
Commission per trade: $9.99
Account Minimum: $5,000
Promotion: No platform fees if you trade over 60,000 shares a year or have over $1 million in the account
Get started
Get started
Why We Love Them
Etrade’s open XML-based API lets you trade automatically with your own custom solutions. You can also use ready-made apps from third party services. Learn more … With TradeStation’s Chart Analysis and RadarScreen, you can easily set your strategy or indicator to automate your trading thus reducing the delays that occur in discretionary manual market entry and exit. Learn more … 

NerdWallet’s Picks: Day Trading

Least expensive prices coupled with the most powerful trading platforms.

Commission per trade: $4.95
Annual Fee: $0
Promotion: Trade commission-free for your first 60 days (with promotion code 60FREE and $5,000 account balance. Maximum 100 trades)
Commission per share: $0.0035
Annual Fee: $120
Promotion: No platform fees if you trade over 60,000 shares a year or have over $1 million in the account
Get started
Get started
Why We Love Them
Advanced trading platform with a flat commission for high-volume traders. Learn more … The most affordable trading platform for the most active traders. Learn more … 

NerdWallet’s Picks: Lowest Margin Rates

Most competitive margin rates with the lowest account minimum requirements.

Maximum Margin Rate: 3.50%
Account Minimum: $2,000
Annual Fee: None
Promotion: Trade free for 60 days when you open a new account
Maximum Margin Rate: 1.64%
Account Minimum: $10,000
Annual Fee: $120
Promotion: No platform fees if you trade over 60,000 shares a year or have over $1 million in the account
Get started
Get started
Why We Love Them
Best overall user experience and customer service. Learn more … The lowest margin rates for large trade volumes. Learn more … 

NerdWallet’s Picks: Best for Options Trading

Best all around prices and features for options trading.

Commission per contract: $0.60
Account Minimum: $10,000
Promotion: 30 days of unlimited free options trading when you open an account
Commission: $4.95 + $0.50 per contract
Annual Fee: $0
Promotion: Trade commission-free for your first 60 days (with promotion code 60FREE and $5,000 account balance. Maximum 100 trades)
Get started
Get started
Why We Love Them
The most advanced, complex options trading platform. Learn more … Browser-based tools specifically designed with options traders in mind. Learn more …

Finding the Right Broker

If you’re an advanced trader and already know exactly what you need, you can plug your preferences into NerdWallet’s free brokerage comparison tool to compute your total trading costs and find the best priced account for you.  These brokerage accounts offer the best all around prices and features for options trading.

You can compare and contrast pricing at all online brokerages available to make sure you’ve found the best price available.