INVESTING
WINNERS for 2021

Whether you’re dipping your toe into investing or looking for a less hands-on approach, our list of winners can help you find the best options for your money goals. And while many of the winners are our partners, this did not influence our decisions or opinions. Our opinions are our own.

Best-Of Awards > Investing

Best Online Broker for Stock Trading Platform and Research

TD Ameritrade

on TD Ameritrade's website

on TD Ameritrade's website

Fees

$0

per trade

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

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
Fees

$0

per trade

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

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
Why this broker made the list

TD Ameritrade offers free access to research from over a dozen high-quality sources as well as a downloadable or web-based professional-level trading platform.

Read our methodology

Best Online Broker for Beginning Investors

Fidelity

on Fidelity's website

on Fidelity's website

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.

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
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.

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
Why this Broker made the list

Fidelity offers $0 trading commissions, more than 3,500 no-transaction-fee mutual funds, and earns high marks for customer service and investor education.

Read our methodology

Best App for Investing

Fidelity

on Fidelity's website

on Fidelity's website

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.

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
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.

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
Why this Broker made the list

Aside from an all-star lineup of trading tools and investment research, Fidelity’s mobile apps have the highest average user rating of companies we reviewed.

Read our methodology

Best Robo-Advisor for Low-Cost Investing

Vanguard Digital Advisor

on Vanguard's website

Fees

0.15%

per year (approximately)

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

No advisory fees

your first 90 days of Vanguard Digital Advisor investment management (Enrollment requires a Vanguard account with a minimum of $3,000)

Pros

  • Access to Vanguard’s investing expertise and ETFs.
  • Low management fee relative to competitors.
  • Low investment expense ratios and no additional account fees.

Cons

  • Limited portfolio options and customization.
  • No tax-loss harvesting for tax minimization.
Read full review
Fees

0.15%

per year (approximately)

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

No advisory fees

your first 90 days of Vanguard Digital Advisor investment management (Enrollment requires a Vanguard account with a minimum of $3,000)

Pros

  • Access to Vanguard’s investing expertise and ETFs.
  • Low management fee relative to competitors.
  • Low investment expense ratios and no additional account fees.

Cons

  • Limited portfolio options and customization.
  • No tax-loss harvesting for tax minimization.
Read full review
Why this Robo-advisor made the list

Vanguard Digital Advisor is an affordable way to invest for retirement with low management fees, low investment expense ratios and no additional account fees.

Read our methodology

Best Robo-Advisor for Cash Management

Axos Managed Portfolios

on Axos Invest's website

on Axos Invest's website

Fees

0.24%

management fee

Account Minimum

$500

Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

Pros

  • Low account management costs.
  • Customizable portfolios.
  • Goal-based planning tools.

Cons

  • Limited account selection.
Read full review
Fees

0.24%

management fee

Account Minimum

$500

Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

Pros

  • Low account management costs.
  • Customizable portfolios.
  • Goal-based planning tools.

Cons

  • Limited account selection.
Read full review
Why this Robo-advisor made the list

Axos Invest offers goal-based investing with an impressive amount of personalization. Its affiliate company, Axos Bank, offered the highest APY in our analysis.

Read our methodology

Best Online Broker for IRA Investing

Fees

$0

per trade

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

Pros

  • Three platforms with no minimum or fees.
  • Above-average mobile app.
  • Extensive research.
  • Large fund selection.
  • Commission-free stock, options and ETF trades.

Cons

  • Low default cash sweep rate.
Read full review
Fees

$0

per trade

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

Pros

  • Three platforms with no minimum or fees.
  • Above-average mobile app.
  • Extensive research.
  • Large fund selection.
  • Commission-free stock, options and ETF trades.

Cons

  • Low default cash sweep rate.
Read full review
Why this broker made the list

Schwab’s impressive suite of retirement planning tools and deep well of free research and data are packaged in an easy-to-use platform fit for anyone.

Read our methodology

Best Robo-Advisor for IRA Investing

Ellevest

on Ellevest's website

on Ellevest's website

Fees

$1 - $9

per month

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

2 months free

with promo code "nerdwallet"

Pros

  • No account minimum.
  • Goal-focused investing approach.
  • Portfolio mix that factors women’s needs.
  • A la carte sessions with coaches and CFPs.

Cons

  • IRA access for Plus and Executive members only.
  • No tax-loss harvesting.
Read full review
Fees

$1 - $9

per month

Account Minimum

$0

Promotion

2 months free

with promo code "nerdwallet"

Pros

  • No account minimum.
  • Goal-focused investing approach.
  • Portfolio mix that factors women’s needs.
  • A la carte sessions with coaches and CFPs.

Cons

  • IRA access for Plus and Executive members only.
  • No tax-loss harvesting.
Read full review
Why this Robo-advisor made the list

Ellevest considers how external factors such as life span affect retirement investors, particularly women. The a la carte advisor access makes it a standout.

Read our methodology

Best Online Financial Advisor

Betterment Premium

on Betterment's website

on Betterment's website

Fees

0.40%

management fee

Account Minimum

$100,000

Promotion

Up to 1 year

of free management with a qualifying deposit

Pros

  • Unlimited access to a team of certified financial planners.
  • Low management fee.
  • Innovative savings and retirement planning tools.

Cons

  • Clients don't receive a dedicated advisor.
  • Advisors available by phone and email only.
  • High account minimum.
Read full review
Fees

0.40%

management fee

Account Minimum

$100,000

Promotion

Up to 1 year

of free management with a qualifying deposit

Pros

  • Unlimited access to a team of certified financial planners.
  • Low management fee.
  • Innovative savings and retirement planning tools.

Cons

  • Clients don't receive a dedicated advisor.
  • Advisors available by phone and email only.
  • High account minimum.
Read full review
Why this online financial advisor made the list

Betterment Premium provides a well-rounded service with many features, including unlimited phone access to CFPs for a 0.40% fee and $100,000 account minimum.

Read our methodology

Best Robo-Advisor for Portfolio Options

Fees

0%

management fee

Account Minimum

$5,000

Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

Pros

  • No management fee.
  • Wide ETF selection.
  • Automatic rebalancing.
  • Customizable portfolio.

Cons

  • High account minimum.
  • Large cash allocation.
  • Tax-loss harvesting only available on balances of $50,000 or more.
Read full review
Fees

0%

management fee

Account Minimum

$5,000

Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

Pros

  • No management fee.
  • Wide ETF selection.
  • Automatic rebalancing.
  • Customizable portfolio.

Cons

  • High account minimum.
  • Large cash allocation.
  • Tax-loss harvesting only available on balances of $50,000 or more.
Read full review
Why this Robo-advisor made the list

Schwab Intelligent Portfolios offers 81 portfolios, including Global, U.S. Focused and Income Focused portfolios. Clients can also exclude up to three ETFs.

Read our methodology

Best Real Estate Crowdfunding Investment Platform

Fundrise

on Fundrise's website

on Fundrise's website

Fees

1%

other fees may apply

Account Minimum

$10

Promotion

Advisory fee waiver

for 12 months

Pros

  • Low minimum investment.
  • Open to all investors.
  • Easy-to-use website.
  • IRA accounts available.

Cons

  • Highly illiquid investment.
  • Fees can be difficult to understand.
  • Complex investments that require investor due diligence.
Read full review
Fees

1%

other fees may apply

Account Minimum

$10

Promotion

Advisory fee waiver

for 12 months

Pros

  • Low minimum investment.
  • Open to all investors.
  • Easy-to-use website.
  • IRA accounts available.

Cons

  • Highly illiquid investment.
  • Fees can be difficult to understand.
  • Complex investments that require investor due diligence.
Read full review
Why this real estate platform made the list

With Fundrise, nonaccredited investors can access private commercial and residential real estate deals with minimum investment tiers suitable for anyone.

Read our methodology

DISCLAIMER

NerdWallet is not an investment advisor and does not provide investment advice. The list provides information and education for potential investors. NerdWallet does not offer advisory or brokerage services, nor does it recommend or advise investors to buy or sell particular stocks or securities.

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