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Best Discount Brokers 2019

Jan. 2, 2019
Brokers, Investing
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A discount broker is an online broker with rock-bottom pricing. Here, we’ve sorted through our top online brokers to surface the ones with the lowest possible commissions and fees for trading stocks, mutual funds and exchange-traded funds. These discount brokerages will help you keep transaction costs down without hindering your trading capabilities.

NerdWallet’s top picks for discount brokerages

NerdWallet rating

Fees

$4.95

per trade

Account minimum

$0

Promotion

Up to $3,500

in cash bonus with a qualifying deposit

The bottom line

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.

Show pros & cons

Pros

  • Low commissions.

  • No account minimum.

  • Strong web-based platform.

  • Robust research and tools.

Cons

  • No no-transaction-fee mutual funds.

  • No branches.

Read full review
NerdWallet rating

Fees

$6.95

per trade

Account minimum

$0

Promotion

60

days of commission-free trades with qualifying deposit

The bottom line

TD Ameritrade makes up for higher-than-average trading commissions with better-than-average service, research and trading tools that will make everyone from beginner investors to active traders happy.

Show pros & cons

Pros

  • Large investment selection.

  • Free research.

  • High-quality trading platforms.

  • No account minimum.

  • Good customer support.

Cons

  • Higher trade commission.

  • Costly broker-assisted trades.

  • High short-term ETF trading fee.

Read full review
NerdWallet rating

Fees

$0.00

per trade

Account minimum

$0

Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

The bottom line

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.

Show pros & cons

Pros

  • No commissions on stock trades.

  • No account minimum.

  • Streamlined interface.

Cons

  • No retirement accounts.

  • No mutual funds or bonds.

  • Limited customer support.

Read full review
NerdWallet rating

Fees

$4.95

per trade

Account minimum

$0

Promotion

$100

cash bonus with a qualifying deposit

The bottom line

Charles Schwab has earned its strong reputation: The broker offers high-quality customer service, two robust trading platforms and a wide selection of commission-free ETFs and no-transaction-fee mutual funds.

Show pros & cons

Pros

  • No inactivity fees.

  • Two platforms with no minimum or fees.

  • Above-average mobile app.

  • Extensive research.

  • Strong customer support.

Cons

  • Higher trade commissions.

Read full review
NerdWallet rating

Fees

$0.01

per share

Account minimum

$0

Promotion

None

No promotion available at this time

The bottom line

Interactive Brokers is a strong option for advanced, frequent traders: The broker offers international trade capabilities, low commissions and a quality trading platform. New traders might be turned off by inactivity fees, high balance requirements and a lack of educational resources.

Show pros & cons

Pros

  • Low commissions.

  • Quality trading platform.

  • Advanced tools.

  • Low margin rates.

  • Wide investment selection.

Cons

  • Inactivity fees.

  • High minimum balance requirement.

  • Complex pricing.

  • Minimal educational resources.

Read full review
NerdWallet rating

Fees

$4.95

per share

Account minimum

$0

Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

The bottom line

Motif is great for socially conscious investors or buying fractional shares — not for beginners.

Show pros & cons

Pros

  • Fractional shares.

  • Portfolio trades of up to 30 stocks or ETFs.

  • Theme- and values-based guidance.

Cons

  • No dividend reinvestment.

  • Minimal trading tools.

Read full review

Summary: Best discount brokers

Broker
Best
for
Highlights
Commiss-
ions
Promotion
Account minimum
Start investing

Ally Invest

Ally
Frequent traders
Impressive platform and research; low commissions
$4.95
per trade
Up to $3500 cash bonus with qualifying deposit
$0

TD Ameritrade

No minimum; mutual funds, ETFs
Large selection of commission-free ETFs and funds
$6.95
per trade
Up to $600
cash bonus
$0

Robinhood

Robinhood
Free trading
No-frills, free trading app for beginners
$0
per trade
None
$0

Charles Schwab

Charles Schwab
Overall; no minimum; mutual funds and ETFs
Large selection of commission-free ETFs and funds
$4.95
per trade
$100 cash bonus for qualifying deposit
$0

Interactive Brokers

Frequent traders; options traders
Discounts for frequent traders; among best platforms
$0.005
per share;
min. $1, max. 0.5% of trade value
None
$0

Motif Investing

Free trading (for next-day trades)
Free next-day trades; socially conscious investing
$4.95 per trader ($0
next day)
None
$0

 

Best Discount Brokers

  • Charles Schwab: Best overall, no minimum and for mutual funds & ETFs
  • Interactive Brokers: Best overall and for frequent traders
  • Robinhood: Best for free trading and for options tradings
  • Motif Investing: Best for free trading (for next day trades)
  • TD Ameritrade: No minimum and mutual funds & ETFs
  • Ally Invest: Frequent traders

 
» Need more guidance? Here’s how to open a brokerage account

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