10 Best Online Brokers & Trading Platforms of May 2024 The Motley Fool

IBKR’s latest product innovation is IBKR Desktop, a next-generation platform that combines a simple user interface with many of the company’s powerful trading solutions. It features innovations like Option Lattice, a graphical options chain display highlighting potential outliers in key metrics, and MultiSort, which enables users to sort data using multiple factors simultaneously. In an industry full of innovative companies competing for the attention of an incredibly diverse universe of traders and investors, Fidelity delivers the most well-rounded product offering to suit the needs of nearly every investor. Headquartered in Boston, Fidelity’s storied history began with its founding in 1946. With $4.9 trillion in discretionary assets as of December 2023, the company ranks among the top brokerage firms in terms of assets under management. Hargreaves Lansdown is a leading financial services company based in the UK.

Best for Advanced Traders

Our highest-rated brokerages generally include low fees, a diverse range of assets and account types, and useful platform features. The SIPC does not protect against losses that result from declines in the market value of securities. While Vanguard meets the standard $0 commission stock and ETF trading, where it really shines is in its mutual fund offerings. Its own suite https://www.trading-market.org/ of Vanguard mutual funds offer some of the lowest expense ratios on the market, as well as thousands of no-transaction-fee funds from other firms. Robinhood was designed to be a mobile-first, no-frills investing platform. With $0 commissions and a whole suite of fractional share options, it’s one of the best broker accounts for folks looking for low-cost trading.

Fidelity Investments: Best Overall, Best for ETFs, Best for Low Costs, Best for Cash Management

For example, Merrill Edge® Self-Directed is the discount brokerage arm of the full-service brokerage Merrill Lynch. Here at The Motley Fool, we believe in long-term investing as a proven strategy for investors to build wealth over time. That means we believe in buying and holding stocks for at least five years. Because a buy-and-hold strategy ignores short-term volatility in the market and makes the most of the long-term potential of investing. Fortunately for everyday investors, the brokerage industry has changed dramatically over the past couple of decades.

Best for Cryptocurrency Trading

  1. To view the latest Economic Optimism Index, Presidential Leadership Index and other polls by IBD/TIPP, a collaboration between Investor’s Business Daily and TechnoMetrica, visit /ibdtipp.
  2. Fidelity has long been an industry leader when it comes to lower fees, and its transparent and compelling fee schedule is the reason why, for the third year running, it wins for low costs.
  3. The online app operated by the company even provides a cash credit of up to $5,000 if there’s a qualifying deposit.
  4. As part of our review process, all brokers had the opportunity to provide updates and key milestones in a live meeting that took place in the fall.

To collect the data, we sent a digital survey with 110 questions to each of the 26 companies we included in our rubric. Additionally, our team of researchers verified the survey responses and collected any missing data points through online research and conversations with each company directly. Through our exhaustive research, we found that Fidelity not only outshines the competition when it comes to ETF investing, low costs, and cash management features, but it is also the best online brokerage platform overall. To begin with, many of the alternative investments offered on the platform are highly illiquid and speculative, and come with high transaction costs. Next, Public does not engage in payment for order flow (PFOF), but it charges an assortment of fees for things like inactivity and instant withdrawals.

How to choose the best trading platform

It is also the only option in our list which requires an account minimum, which is $2,500. According to the company’s website, Fidelity had $13.7 trillion in customer assets as of May 18, 2024, with more than 50 million individual investors. Below is a short analysis of each brokerage’s products, services, and fee structures as of May 2024.

A firm might offer free IRAs, charge for those accounts or not even offer them. Do a thorough review of both the costs of using a particular broker and the benefits before making your choice. Overall, most of these firms have excellent trading capabilities, service largest online brokers and low costs. Many also run promotions offering free trades, cash bonuses or discounted products and services. Vanguard made its name in index investing for a reason — the company’s index funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) really can’t be beat.

Fidelity provides a wealth of research and is highly regarded for its snappy customer support, too. The broker offers commission-free trading on stocks and ETFs and throws in thousands of mutual funds without a transaction fee, too. The best online brokerages offer portfolio diversification, great customer support, low fees, and account flexibility.

To open an account, then, you’ll need to provide information so the broker knows who you are and how much experience you have investing. Traditional full-service stock brokers do more than assist with the buying and selling of stocks or bonds. They often offer a wide array of services and products, including financial and retirement planning, investing and tax advice and regular portfolio updates. But they can charge substantial fees and transaction costs that can erode long-term investment gains. To begin investing, you will need enough money to purchase the investments you choose. Stock share prices can vary widely, but some brokers allow you to purchase fractional shares, which are a smaller slice of a stock.

The design is focused primarily on performance over the long term and the balance of your holdings. Unlike many other brokerages on this list, Vanguard doesn’t offer real-time streaming news or advanced charting tools, as buy-and-hold investors may not benefit from those like active traders would. Active traders may find this limiting, but for investors who align with Vanguard’s strategy, it’s a simple and easy-to-use platform. We believe it’s one of the best stock brokers because it’s one of the only brokers that offers $0 commissions on all mutual funds, not just a subset of no-transaction-fee funds.

So if you’re relatively new to investing and don’t plan to monitor your account regularly, it’s typically best to stick with a cash account. Impulse trading, especially amid market volatility, is a key risk for do-it-yourself investors who trade through an online broker. But you can defend yourself by taking advantage of an online broker’s educational resources and research tools, then maintaining your discipline. You can buy stocks without a broker by using a dividend reinvestment plan, by investing in a direct stock purchase plan or by using a trading app on your smartphone.

They also can custom-tailor your financial plan, including individual investments, to your individual needs and goals. But full-service brokerage costs customarily are much higher, meaning that an online broker is cost-wise safer if you’re willing to do a lot of your own research and planning. Vanguard is one of the most popular full-service stock brokerages for investing in mutual funds and exchange traded funds (ETFs). It wasn’t included in the earlier data sets because the asset and client information it provides aren’t as detailed as what other brokers offer. It has a high-quality web platform and app with quite a few investment options.

Today’s fund behemoth dates from 1946, giving Fidelity nearly 80 years of experience. An early adopter of new investing products, Fidelity provides fractional share trading for over 7,000 U.S. stocks and ETFs. Rival Charles Schwab only provides fractional shares for S&P 500 stocks. To help you make the right choice, Forbes Advisor evaluated leading online brokers to identify the best of the best.

Mercedes Barba is a seasoned editorial leader and video producer, with an Emmy nomination to her credit. Presently, she is the senior investing editor at Bankrate, leading the team’s coverage of all things investments and retirement. Selecting a broker requires you to think about your needs, because the deciding factor is not always about price. If you’re a buy-and-hold ETF investor, you’ll probably need something different than if you’re an active trader.

Interactive Brokers is an ideal choice for investors focused on keeping costs to a minimum. Active traders using the Pro platform will pay $1 minimum commission (or a half-cent per share above 200 shares), while users in the Lite tier won’t pay commission on stocks or ETFs. You’ll also have access to about 19,000 no-fee mutual funds, tops in the industry, and you won’t have to worry about annoying account or transfer fees.