Online Brokerage Comparison

Use our online brokerage comparison tool to find the right stock broker for your needs. Our team has spent more than 300 hours comparing leading online brokers. We’ve evaluated each on more than 15 criteria before assigning a rating. Our selections include top online brokers, which offer DIY investors low costs and convenience, and the top robo-advisors, which offer portfolio management at a fraction of the cost of human advisors.

At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

Select Your Preferences

Tell us about your investing preferences and we’ll show you the best brokerage options that might fit your needs.

What do you want to invest in?

The first step in choosing an investment account is understanding your investing strategy.

Investors who trade individual stocks and advanced securities like options are looking for exposure to specific companies or trading strategies.

Mutual funds and ETFs are typically best suited to investing for long-term goals that are at least 5 years away, like retirement, a far-off home purchase or college.

Beginners and long term investors often look to get exposure to whole markets and don't have a preference on which type of securities to trade.

How much will you deposit to open the account?

Some brokers have minimum deposit requirements, while others may require a minimum balance to access certain advanced features or trading platforms.

If a broker is offering a new account promotion, there may be a minimum initial deposit requirement to qualify.

How often will you trade?

Like most things, when it comes to stock brokers, you often get what you pay for — which means there may be a trade off between price and quality.

Some brokers charge more per trade but offer access to a high-quality platform and premium research for free. Others have lower commissions, but offer fewer tools and services or charge to access certain tools.

If you're trading frequently — more than weekly — you'll want an advanced broker that has powerful platforms, innovative tools, high-quality research and low commissions.

Those who trade monthly or yearly will want a well-rounded broker with a user-friendly interface, helpful customer support and competitive pricing.

Who will manage your investments?

Yes, it's true — you don't have to manage your own investments. In fact, these days it's not only possible, but inexpensive to get the kind of management that was previously only available to investors with very high balances (read: mostly millionaires).

Thank the robo-advisor: These services use algorithms to build and manage investor portfolios. For a very low fee, they'll create a portfolio of ETFs based on your investing goals and risk tolerance, then rebalance it as needed. Many also offer tax-loss harvesting for taxable accounts.

If that sounds too hands-off for you and you want to manage your own investments, choose a self-directed account at an online broker.

What is most important to you?

Low Cost: Mutual fund and ETF investors want access to funds without commissions or transaction fees; stock or options traders want low commissions and no added fees for inactivity, tools or research.

Platform and tools: If you plan to trade frequently, you likely know what kind of tools you'll use most and what you want out of a platform.

User interface: Website and tools should be intuitive and easy to navigate.

Premium research: Investing, particularly frequent trading, requires analysis. The broker should provide extensive information to help you select the investments for your portfolio.

Promotions: This shouldn't be your primary concern, but it might be a tie breaker if you're stuck between two options.

Recommended stock brokers for you

Broker

Highlights

Commissions

Account Minimum

Current Offers

Start Investing

Merrill Edge

Merrill Edge

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Breadth of research from other providers and own offering

Commissions

$6.95

per trade

Current Offers

300

$0 online stock and ETF trades, no minimum deposit required

on Merrill Edge's secure website

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Wealthfront

Wealthfront

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Free management of first $5,000 (for NerdWallet readers); advanced tax optimization strategies.

Commissions

0.25%

management fee

Current Offers

$5,000

amount of assets managed for free

on Wealthfront's secure website

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Betterment

Betterment

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Offers access to human advisors for additional fee.

Commissions

0.25%

management fee

Current Offers

Up to 1 year

of free management with a qualifying deposit

on Betterment's secure website

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E-Trade

E-Trade

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Large selection; low fees

Commissions

$0

per trade

Current Offers

Up to $600

cash credit with a qualifying deposit

on E-Trade's secure website

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TD Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade

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Top research; two powerful trade platforms; educational content

Commissions

$0

per trade

Current Offers

Up to $600

cash credit with qualifying deposit

on TD Ameritrade's secure website

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Zacks Trade

Zacks Trade

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Per-share pricing; strong trading platform.

Commissions

$0.01

per share

Current Offers

$1

minimum trade cost

on Zacks Trade's secure website

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Ellevest

Ellevest

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Targets 70% chance of hitting investing goal and shows trade-offs among investing goals.

Commissions

0.25%

management fee

Current Offers

Up to $750

cash bonus with qualifying deposit

on Ellevest's secure website

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Sofi Wealth

Sofi Wealth

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Low costs across the board, free access to certified financial planners

Commissions

0%

management fee

Current Offers

Free

career counseling plus loan discounts with qualifying deposit

on Sofi Wealth's secure website

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Ally Invest

Ally Invest

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Ally Invest Managed Portfolios is best for retirement accounts and loyal Ally customers.

Commissions

0.0%

with Cash-Enhanced Managed Portfolio; 0.3% otherwise

Current Offers

None

on Ally Invest's secure website

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Personal Capital

Personal Capital

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Dedicated financial advisors; customized portfolios.

Commissions

0.49% - 0.89%

management fee

Current Offers

2 Free Months

of financial advisory services for NerdWallet users

on Personal Capital's secure website

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TradeStation

TradeStation

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Sophisticated platform; exceptional research and analytical tools

Commissions

$0

per trade

Current Offers

Up to $2,500

cash credit with a qualifying deposit

on TradeStation's secure website

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