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Best Discount Brokers 2017

Brokers, Investing

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 best tools, platforms and investment selection for the lowest possible commissions and fees. These discount brokerages will help you keep transaction costs down without hindering your trade capabilities.

NerdWallet’s top picks for discount brokerages

NerdWallet rating
Fees
$4.95
per trade
Account minimum
$0
Promotion
$200in 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 commission-free ETFs.
  • No no-transaction-fee mutual funds.
Read full review

NerdWallet rating
Fees
$6.95
per trade
Account minimum
$0
Promotion
$100-$600 in cash bonus with a 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
$4.95
per trade
Account minimum
$2.5K
Promotion
300commission-free trades with a qualifying deposit

The bottom line

Fidelity may be known for its retirement accounts, but active traders shouldn’t overlook the brokerage’s low trade commissions, wide investment selection, large scope of research and strong trading platform. It’s a well-rounded broker suitable for nearly all investors.

Show pros & cons

Pros

  • Low commissions
  • Large selection of research providers
  • Strong customer service

Cons

  • High account minimum
  • Trade minimum for active trading platform
Read full review

NerdWallet rating
Fees
$4.95
per trade
Account minimum
$1K
Promotion
$100cash 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.
  • Higher account minimum.
Read full review

NerdWallet rating
Fees
$0
per trade
Account minimum
$0
Promotion
Noneno 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 web trading platform
Read full review

NerdWallet rating
Fees
$0.005
per share
Account minimum
$10K
Promotion
None available

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

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
None at this time
$0

TD Ameritrade

Mutual funds, ETFs
Large selection of commission-free ETFs and funds
$6.95
per trade
Up to $600
cash bonus
$0

Fidelity

Fidelity
Overall
Low commissions, quality research
$4.95
per trade
300 commission-free trades
$2,500

Robinhood

Robinhood
Free trading
No-frills, free trading app for beginners
$0
per trade
n/a
$0

EOption

Options traders
Very low cost options trades
$3 + $0.15/ contract
n/a
$500

Charles Schwab

Charles Schwab
Overall; mutual funds and ETFs
Large selection of commission-free ETFs and funds
$4.95
per trade
$100 referral award for first-time clients
$1,000

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
Lower min. activity and balance limits for clients ≤25
$10,000
($5,000 for IRAs)

Arielle O’Shea is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: aoshea@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @arioshea.

Updated June 30, 2017.