Best Discount Brokerage Reviews – Online Stock Trading Made Easy

by Ryan Guina

The online brokerage community has grown by leaps and bounds in the last few years, which is great for investors who like to participate in online stock trading. The competition has forced innovation, cheap online stock trades, and additional features such as educational and training centers, articles, videos, free webinars, chat rooms and forums, social networking, free tax software to track gains and losses, and more. Not all of these features are available at all discount brokerage firms, and some stock brokers offer better value than others.

Best Discount Brokerage Reviews

You don’t need to work on the Stock Exchange to trade stocks.

Our goal is to show you some of the best values in the discount brokerage space, and show you some of the top features they offer. We have focused on the more popular firms that consistently appear in the industry awards reviews, including those by SmartMoney and Kiplinger’s. This brokerage comparison chart will give you some basic information on pricing structures, and below the comparison chart are some unique features about each of these online brokerage firms. Hopefully you can use this information to find the discount online brokerage that is best for your needs.

Best Online Discount Brokerages

Discount Brokerage FirmCost Per
Stock Trade
Cost Per
Options Trade
Review
TradeKing$4.95$4.95 + $0.65TradeKing Review
OptionsHouse$4.95$4.95 + $0.50OptionsHouse Review
TD Ameritrade$9.99$9.99 + $0.75TD Ameritrade Review
Firstrade$6.95$6.95 + $0.75Firstrade Review
Scottrade$7.00 $7.00 + $1.25Scottrade Review
E*TRADE$9.99$9.99 + $0.75E*TRADE Review
OptionsXpress$8.95$12.95 minimum; $1.25 per contract,
for more than 10 (active trader rates,
see site for other pricing).
OptionsXpress Review
Capital One Investing
(formerly ShareBuilder)
$6.95$6.95 + $0.75ShareBuilder Review

Discount Brokerage Features

Each of these brokers has some features that set it apart from the others. Check out these overviews for more information.

Open a TradeKing account todayTradeKing: TradeKing is a personal favorite of mine. They have a slick and easy to use interface, cheap stock trades, an exceptional learning center, free webinars, free access to Maxit Tax Manager to track your gains and losses, and more. TradeKing’s pricing structure is among the best in the business for discount stock trades, including for investors who prefer to trade options. TradeKing also offers to reimburse new customers up to $150 to transfer their assets to TradeKing. For more information, or to open a TradeKing account, visit http://www.tradeking.com/.


E*TRADE Discount BrokerageE*TRADE: E*TRADE is offers a full-service brokerage firm and an online bank which makes it easy to link accounts and transfer funds to and from. E*TRADE has won numerous awards for both their brokerage services and their online savings accounts. While their trades are not the cheapest of the listed brokerages, they offer a wide array of services and features not found with many other online discount brokerages. New customers can get free stock trades for 60 days when they open a new account and fund it with a $10,000 minimum deposit within 60 days. Trade Free for 60 Days and Get up to $600 when you open an E*TRADE AccountE*TRADE!


100 Free Trades. Visit OptionsHouse.com TodayOptionsHouse. Options House offers the lowest prices for a standard online stock trade out of the brokerages listed in this review. A standard stock trade only costs $4.95 and options trades that are among the best in the industry (see OptionsHouse review for more details). OptionsHouse was rated #1 by Barron’s in user experience. This is a great brokerage for investors who are concerned with cost per trade. While options traders may be able to find a lower average cost based on their trading habits, OptionsHouse scores points for their user interface, software, and other features, making them a solid option for investors of all types. OptionsHouse boasts no maintenance fees, volume requirements, or monthly minimums. For more information or to open an account, visit: http://www.optionshouse.com/.


tda_general_value_general_general_marketoffer600caTD Ameritrade: TD Ameritrade is among the top-ranked online brokers, according to third party ratings by Barron’s and Kiplinger’s. Stock trades aren’t the cheapest at TD Ameritrade, but you get one of the industry’s top education and training platforms, and one of the top rated research platforms. Add in no account minimums, no monthly maintenance fees, and the ability to make trades online, on your mobile phone, or at one of over 100 physical locations, and you have a winning combination. For more information, or to open a TD Ameritrade account, visit https://www.tdameritrade.com/.


Get 250 Free Trades and more at Firstrade!Firstrade: Founded in 1985, Firstrade.com has one of the longest legacies of the discount brokerage firms. Firstrade gives stock traders and investors low commissions, low margin rates and a three second execution guarantee. Firstrade offers regular brokerage accounts, retirement accounts, and Education Savings Accounts with no minimum initial deposit and no maintenance or inactivity fees. Firstrade has access to over 10,000 mutual funds and offers new customers up to 100 free trades. The standard rate is $6.95 per trade, making them one of the lowest priced options out there. For more information, or to open a Firstrade account, visit http://www.firstrade.com/.


Scottrade: Scottrade has 25 years of experience and one of the best reputations in the brokerage industry. The $7 trades are right in the middle of the price range out of these online brokers, but Scottrade is the only discount brokerage on this list featuring brick and mortar offices where you can visit a broker for face to face meetings. No maintenance or inactivity fees, low stock trades, free online workshops, the Scottrade community, research and educational tools and tax tracking software make Scottrade a great fit for day traders and the casual investor alike. Scottrade will reimburse new customers up to $100 to transfer their holdings to Scottrade. For more information, or to open a Scottrade account, visit Scottrade’s website.


OptionsXpress - Best discount brokerage firmOptionsXpress by Charles Schwab. OptionsXpress has a flat fee of $8.95 per trade for all standard US based stock trades. There is an Active Trader Rate for options which kicks in when you makes 35 or more option trades per quarter. OptionsXpress has no inactivity or maintenance fees regardless of how much you have in your account, and does not charge for streaming quotes or standard withdrawals. OptionsXpress offers free webinars, free trading tools, free advanced research and the option of a personal coaching program. For a limited time, you can also get a $1o0 sign up bonus when you open a new account and fund it with a minimum of $500 and make a minimum of 3 trades in the first 12 months
of enrollment. For more information, or to open an OptionsXpress account, visit http://www.optionsxpress.com/.


ShareBuilder - Welcome pageCapital One Investing (formerly ShareBuilder). Capital One Investing used to be known as ShareBuilder, which was part of the ING Direct brand that was purchased by Capital One after the financial crisis in 2008. Capital One rebranded the brokerage and made a few important changes, many of which appear to bring their trading platform more in line with the competition. Where ShareBuider was designed around low-cost automatic investments, Capital One Investing is a more traditional brokerage firm with low-cost real time trades, the ability to make options trades, and much more. You can invest with a small starting investment, as there are no minimum requirements to open an account, no inactivity fees, and no minimum trade requirements. Capital One Investing also offers an educational and training center and a variety of premium features. To top it off, you can easily link your Capital One 360 account to make money transfers in or out fast and easy. For more information, or to open a an account, visit www.capitaloneinvesting.com.

Which Investment Firm is Best?

As you can see by the above comparison chart, there is a wide range of prices and features with these brokerages, which should cover just about anyone. I recommend reading the section below to help you learn how to compare the different brokerages and determine which online discount brokerage is the best for your needs. We also have a list of prominent IRA providers if you are considering opening an IRA.

How to Compare Online Brokers

Not all online brokerages are created equal. Here are some of the major areas to consider when comparing online brokerages

Commissions and Other Trading Related Expenses

One of the first features many investors look at first is cost. While lower is generally better, the overall cost per trade may not be the most important factor if you are not a frequent trader. Saving a $1 per trade on less than 10 trades per year won’t have a major impact on your bottom line. On the other hand, day traders and other high-volume investors will want to look for the lowest commission per trade, and will also want to compare other expenses, discounts for high volume traders, etc.

Here are some of the different factors to consider when comparing commission costs between online brokerages:

  • Commissions for Market or Limit Trades
  • Options Trades
  • Automatic Investing or Reinvesting
  • Cost of Buying No Load Mutual Funds
  • ETF trade fees
  • Cost of trading on margin

Other common costs to compare:

Assisted Trades: Some brokerages charge extra if you need personal assistance when making a trade. Most platforms are easy enough to manage without this added feature, so you won’t need it or every trade. Just be sure to understand what the trading fee will be so you don’t have any surprises (and be sure to check with the broker’s online knowledge base or customer service before placing a broker assisted trade – you can usually handle most trades on your own).

Account Minimums & Inactivity Fees: Some brokerages require customers to maintain a minimum balance to avoid fees, while others may charge customers for inactivity if they don’t make a certain number of trades within a set time frame. I am primarily a buy & hold investor, so my personal preference is to avoid brokerages that nickel and dime customers with these types of fees. Most discount brokerage firms don’t charge these fees, but be aware that some brokers do.

Differential Pricing for Commissions: Many brokerages charge a flat fee per trade, while others offer differential pricing. This is most common for accounts that maintain a certain minimum account balance, or for accounts that exceed a set number of trades per month, quarter, or year. For example, E*TRADE charges $9.99 per trade, or $7.99 when you make at least 150 trades per quarter.

Investment Availability

Most brokerage firms allow investors to trade just about any stock held in the major US markets. But there are some different types of investments you may wish to trade that may or may not be available at every brokerage firm. Good examples include certain mutual funds and ETFs. Here are some more factors to consider when comparing discount brokerages.

Mutual Fund and ETF Availability: Not all mutual funds and ETFs are available at all brokerages. Many of the major mutual fund and ETF families are widely available, but be sure to check with your brokerage before assuming you will have access to everything.

Dividend Reinvestment Plans: Many investors prefer to automatically reinvest their dividends so they can continue having their money work for them without having to think about it. However, not all brokerages make it easy to do this. If you want to automatically reinvest your dividends, then look for brokerage companies that offer free Dividend Reinvestment Plans (DRIPS). These plans allow investors to automatically reinvest their dividends without being charged another commission. Be sure to look for brokers that allow investors to purchase fractional shares of companies, otherwise you won’t be able to put your entire dividend to use.

Automatic Investment Plans: Some investors prefer to automatically invest the same amount of money each month in the same stock, bond, or mutual fund. This is very similar to investing in your 401k at work. This works best for investors who regularly have a little extra cash to invest each month. This feature allows investors to create their own investment schedule and stick to it. Look for n investment firm that doesn’t charge for this feature.

Tools & Services

Evaluate online brokers - compare online discount brokeragesThis is perhaps the most exciting area that separates the different online brokerages. Many firms offer a variety of online tools and services, including educational and training resources, webinars, advanced stock filters and research tools, real time quotes, advanced analysis, cost-basis tracking for tax purposes, and much more.

Full service, banking, and other features. Some brokerage firms are willing to hold your hand, while others expect you to be able to handle everything more or less on your own. Some brokerages offer full-service banking. This can be convenient, as you can keep all your savings, checking, and investments under one roof.

Mobile Trading Platforms & Apps. Most brokerages now offer apps for your smartphone or tablet. Not everyone wants to trade on the go, but having that flexibility can help you avoid being trapped behind a desk and give you the ability to take advantage of market movements when you’re out and about.

Promotional Offers and Sign Up Bonuses

The brokerage community is very competitive, and many brokerage firms are willing to give new customers some form of bonus for opening a new brokerage account. Common promotions include:

  • Free stock trades – usually limited to a certain number or time frame,
  • Cash bonus – often a flat rate for a new funded account, or a tiered bonuses based on the amount of the initial deposit
  • Other bonus – I’ve seen promotional offers that include free iPads or Kindles, free GPS units, computers and computer monitors, and more.
  • Transfer fee reimbursement – most brokerages charge an ACAT Transfer fee to transfer your assets out of their brokerage. ACAT transfer fee refunds are a popular sign up bonus because it removes a barrier to moving funds to a new brokerage.

Here are some brokerage coupon and promo codes that can get you some free trades or free bonus money when you open a new account.

tradeking-150-transfer-offer

TradeKing will reimburse new customers up to $150 to transfer their assets to TradeKing. Be sure to visit the the TradeKing site for more information about the TradeKing Asset Transfer program, or click the picture below for more information.

Customer Service and User Reviews

Don’t overlook customer service. Many brokerage companies offer 24-7 customer service, while others may have more limited hours. You should also consider whether they offer phone support, chat, email, or other forms of service.

Individual reviews are also important. We do our best to review a variety of products and services on this website. But our use and needs may differ from yours. It’s generally a good idea to consider multiple sources. And if possible, give the brokerage a test drive before committing all your investments to their service. One way to do this is to see if the brokerage firm offers a “play” account, where you can open an account and make stock trades with play money while you learn how their platform operates. Many firms offer these types of accounts for free. Another option is to open an account and test the waters before making actual live trades. Again, the purpose is to give yourself familiarity with the platform before moving the bulk of your investments to that company.

Choose Your Brokerage Base on Your Needs

Investing is personal. And every investor may have different needs. The high volume trader may value certain features or commission structures, while the buy and hold investor may prefer a brokerage that offers other features, such as full-service banking. The above feature lists should give you a good starting point to consider which features are important to you. Use your personal feature list to narrow down your choice to the best option for your needs. All the mentioned brokerage firms on this page should also be a good starting point, as they all offer something unique.

Do You Have More Than One Brokerage Account?

Many investors have more than one brokerage account. There can be good reasons for this, including specialized trading needs, taking advantage of lower trading costs, utilizing premium features or services through a different broker, avoiding the expense or time involved with consolidating accounts, or other reasons.

Having multiple trading accounts can have benefits, but it can also complicate your finances. For example, it’s one more account to look at when calculating your net worth, one more set of investments to deal with when rebalancing your assets, more sets of tax forms, etc. I can’t help you with the taxes, but I can help you with the first two problems.

Personal Capital DashboardIf you are dealing with multiple accounts, then it’s highly recommended to link your investment and other financial accounts to an account aggregator. These software programs will link all your assets to automatically show you your net worth and other valuable information. Some of them will even show you your asset allocation and make recommendations on how and where to rebalance your portfolio. We have a list of some free online tools to help you do this. But I’ll skip to the punch line and just recommend the one I use – Personal Capital.

Personal Capital is free, easy to use, and will help you understand your total financial picture, including your net worth, asset allocation, how much you pay in fees, and where you can rebalance to get your portfolio in shape. It’s 100% online and uses bank-level security features to track your investments.

Visit the Personal Capital website to learn more or to open a FREE account.

Personal Capital

Photo credit: Alex E. Proimos.


Published or updated September 13, 2016.
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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

1 frugalcpa

Great breakdown! When I have money to invest, I need to refer back to this to help me decide which online service to use. In the past I invested through Edward Jones, but I’m definitely going to bypass the middleman going forward.

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2 Brad

I recommend brokerages like Interactive Brokers or ThinkOrSwim who charge far less per transaction and you can truly manage your portfolio.

I trade with TOS and get $1 equity trades, $1.25 options, $2.50 futures. They have an outstanding software platform you can download or you can manage it online like rest of the companies out there. In addition, you get an internet rebate with 40 trades, 3 free mutual fund trades if that’s your thing, they cover $100 ACAT fees if transferring, etc., etc.

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3 Joe

I signed up with interactive brokers and they said they’re not running any promotions where they cover a ACAT fee

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4 Ryan

frugalcpa: If you know what you are doing, you can save a lot of money by eliminating the middle man. A professional advisor can benefit you though, because they will know certain things you won’t – such as allocation, tax laws, different places to invest, etc.

Just be careful you don’t let them sell you something you don’t need! 😉

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5 Ryan

Brad: Thanks for the info. I have not had much exposure to TOS, which is why I did not mention them.

Am I missing something regarding the fees? You mentioned you pay $1 equity trades, but the TOS price sheet states that shares are $0.015 per share, with a $5 minimum, a $10 flat rate.

Per Share Commission*
$.015 per share ($5.00 minimum)
OR
Flat Fee Trading**
$9.95 per trade (market or limit orders; 5,000 shares maximum)

There are other good benefits at TOS – the three free mutual fund trades per month is nice, as are a few other features.

I guess I’m just curious to hear more info.

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6 Steve

Thanks for the comparisons. I just opened a Sharebuilder account for a $90 bonus through Costco. As I don’t really have any extra money to invest right now, I will most likely wait until TradeKing does some sort of bonus. The comparisons were very helpful though.

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7 Ryan

Thanks, Steve. From what I understand, TradeKing usually does a giveaway offer about once a year. They did it in October and November of last year, so it may be awhile before they do it again. but I agree with waiting. No need to open an account that you won’t use! 🙂

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8 Chad

Why nobody talks about sogotrade? This is still the best website for only 3 dollars a trade/option. Sogotrade is not as good as tradeking, but it’s better than zecco. OK! zecco’s used to have a good interface, but its no good now due to a new change that makes it a little bit confusing. Sogotrade web interface is not really good, but you can get used to it because if you trade a lot like me. Sogotrade is not a nobody like zecco, it comes from a big broker and not a broken bank underinvestigation by the us gov. Tradeking requires little document to open an account there, but it has a fun interface. At the end, all cheap one line trade brokers are fast. Choose the one that you like. I chose Sogotrade!

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9 Ryan

Chad: I have never used SoGoTrade, which is why I cannot compare them to TradeKing, Zecco, or ShareBuilder – three online brokerage accounts I have used before.

Zecco received so much attention and press because they offered free trades to virtually everyone – though that is not the case anymore. Of the three I mentioned, TradeKing is my favorite because of the interface, free tools and education, and the low prices.

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10 DDFD at DivorcedDadFrugalDad

Nice analysis!

My view is that if you know your style it will help you choose wisely, are you a daytrader or a buy and hold kind of guy or gal?

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11 My Journey

I used to use SogoTrade cause they were the cheapest and allowed for Dividend Reinvestment and Fractional shares….and boom they decided to stop so now I have everything at TradeKing.

Make sure of the features a site has in conjunction with the price per trade.

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12 Wojciech @ Fiscal Fizzle

I use Schwab almost exclusively now, although I’ve had accounts at most of the other brokerages at some point in the last 10 years. I invest primarily in no-fee funds, so costs were not that much of an issue for me – the choice of funds was.

One thing I found particularly helpful when deciding on a brokerage were Consumer Reports ratings. They were pretty much in line with my own experience of the various companies.

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13 Ryan

Thanks for the tips, Wojciech! I haven’t checked out Consumer Reports for brokerages yet, but I did some online research on blogs and forums. I curerntly use Zecco and TradeKing, but prefer TradeKing overall.

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14 Philly

How can you leave out Firstrade from this comparison? $6.95 trades and free dividend reinvestment.

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15 Alan

I am in the process of closing my TradeKing and Zecco accounts. I don’t believe the $5 you save trading with them is work the lack of services.

There were a couple things that really bothered me with TradeKing. A wire transfer is cash money. However, if you wire money into TradeKing, and then need to get part of it back, they will not let you take out your money until after 10 days have passed from the time they received your wire. They are simply holding onto your clear cash to float your money and that is pretty crappy of them to do that. The second thing that I didn’t know when I opened my account with them is that they do not let you margin the leveraged ETF shares. That was a big surprise and a deal breaker for me. That is what lead to the surprise of them holding onto my cash that I wired to them for 1o days until I could get it back! That is crazy and for that policy alone I would not trade with them ever again.

If you really must save $5 per trade over better options, and you are going to decide between TradeKing and Zecco, I’d say TradeKing is the better choice of the two evils. Zecco is really bare bones; no pre or after hours trading allowed, no way to trade on mobile platforms, no service after hours, and a poor trading platform without any advanced order entry options. For example, you can’t enter an order triggers order with Zecco. (Say you want to automatically put in a stop order once your buy order is filled, you can’t do that with Zecco.) I had a bad experience trading a very leveraged ETF on 4x margin where the system would not let me enter my stop order. It could have been very serious if the market moved against me while I repeatedly tried to get the system to accept my order.

I’ve moved both my Zecco and TradeKing accounts over to TD Waterhouse. They charge $10 instead of about $5 that TradeKing and Zecco charges. If $5 per trade is going to make or break you, I don’t think you should be trading. I suggest you download the ThinkorSwim software (free) and check it out. It will blow you away. You can paper trade with a $100,000 account to try out the trading platform. For me the advanced real time streaming charts and advanced order capabilities at TD Waterhouse is way worth the extra $5 a trade. I’m really surprised the ThinkorSwim software is free. It blows away the streaming charts at TradeKing. At TradeKing you have to have a minimum of 25 trades per month to use their real time streaming charts. Try ThinkorSwim, you’ll love it. I run it with dual monitors and it gives me a very nice package of charts, news, and very advanced trade entry options. ThinkorSwim was the #1 rated internet broker and they have now merged with TD Waterhouse which was the #1 rated discount broker. Can’t go wrong with that combo.

I was drawn to the lower commissions at Zecco and then moved to TradeKing because of the extremely limited trading platform at Zecco. But it quickly became apparent that you get what you pay for and the extra $5 a trade at TD Ameritrade is well worth it for all the free tools, advanced orders, and real time streaming charts you get. With them you can even put in orders like “If the DOW falls by 3% buy TZA at market.”

PS – Just saw the post from Brad. TOS stands for ThinkorSwim. I agree 100% with him. Zecco and TradeKing is really amateur hour stuff.

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16 Dan

Just read your post Alan, Why not just have a TD Ameritrade / Think or Swim account with a small amount of money in it so that you can use all the free tools. TD Ameritrade has no yearly fees. Then use TradeKing for your actual trades.

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17 Ryan

That’s a great idea, Dan. I can see why some people would prefer not to do that – for example, if they don’t trade often or prefer to have as few open accounts as possible. But otherwise this idea could save money in the long run.

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18 Jeremy

I think SOGOTRADE is pretty good. It only cost $3 to make a trade (unlimited shares). They have good online and phone support, quick execution and a good inventory of shares that you can short! Oh and you only need $500 to open your account. You also get 100 free trades when you open your account. Can’t beat that.

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19 Tee

Hey Ryan, I wanted to find out if you know any good online broker that can be used to buy commodities (oil, cocoa, etc). Do most brokerages trade mutual funds or only single stocks? Thank for the great website.

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20 Ryan

Tee, Zecco and most discount broker offer a wide variety of mutual funds. I’m not sure which (if any) discount brokers offer commodities. However, you may find they offer ETFs or mutual funds based on commodities.

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21 Sim

another thing that makes tradeking more attractive than zecco because they have a full fledged iphone and blackberry app. something thats going to be more & more of an utmost necessity in coming days .. very less brokerages in the same price range has that.. something very notable… seriously thinking about moving to tradeking from zecco..

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22 Ryan

Sim, I moved from Zecco to TradeKing. The individual trades are slightly more expensive, but not enough that it made a difference for me. I prefer TradeKing’s tools and interface. That said, investing is a very personal matter, and both companies offer investors a great product and a ton of value. I can’t imagine what it would have cost to get these types of tools 5 or 10 years ago (if they even could have been done!).

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23 Jtrader

I disagree. In my opinion there are 3 things that matter in todays competitive ‘daytrading’ or ‘swingtrading’ world.
1) Customer Service
2) low costs (low commissions with no fees, hidden or otherwise)
3) fast execution.

From the moment I opened my account at Lightspeed the customer service has been outstanding. The customer service rep, Jhoel, responded (and continues to respond) to every email, usually within minutes! Not only that, but I believe he is ‘assigned’ to my account. This means that I don’t have to explain or re-explain the issue to a new customer service rep each time. He is polite, knowledgeable and efficient. This means you have a rep who works with you in an ongoing basis, understands issues and develops a rapport with the customer. This should be an industry standard and Lightspeed does this for free. Yes, Web Trader IS a no frills platform, but there are also NO fees of any kind except the occasional SEC fee (to date I have paid just 5 cents on some transactions!) – no ‘maintenance’ fees, no ‘minimum trades per quarter’ (inactivity) fees, no platform fees, only a small minimum balance is required to avoid any fees (I think $5000?) and no BS! They also charge $3 per trade. Hello? I am an active trader, sometimes I don’t trade for a week or two, other times when conditions are ripe I may make 20 trades in 1 day. The fact that there is no pressure to trade (no fees at ALL) as well as some of the lowest per trade costs makes this a no brainer. I make appx 1000 trades a year, so lets do simple math. If I go with a company that calls itself a discount broker with no inactivity, maintenance or other fees like Firstrade for example (which also has no kind of fees, but has the WORST customer service I’ve ever seen, and lousy executions), they charge ‘ONLY’ 6.95 per trade. This means at year’s end I would spend $6,950 in commission with them, and pay only $3,000 with Lightspeed. This is simple math; a savings of $3950 a year, or over $329 per month, and if I trade more, I will save even more. That’s untaxed money added to your net profit.

As far as the ACH, I have been able to transfer in money with no problem, and while I am in the middle of setting up the ACH withdrawal (I mailed in their form), it can be done if you simply mail in the form and follow the instructions provided. I have not actually done an ACH withdrawal yet, but based on my experience with customer service (which in my experience has been the BEST I have ever experienced at any broker, and I’ve been with a few), I’m sure it will be no problem. By the way, did I mention they even have a live chat with operators who can see your account and answer questions in LIVE TIME? Yes Web Trader doesn’t have flashy graphics, and I think they need to improve by making a real time balance and begin pre/after hours trading abilities, but if I want flashy graphics I’ll play video games. If your a grown up and want to have REAL customer service, some of the lowest rates on trades, fast execution and a way to make it easier to make money, I recommend Lightspeed WebTrader and the team of people over there!

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24 Bryce @ Save and Conquer

I learned my lesson years ago that I am not a stock trader, or a trader of any kind of investment vehicle. I am a buy and hold investor. Given that, I still want to have the lowest transaction costs as well as lowest recurring fees while holding a fund or ETF. Vanguard low-cost index funds are hard to beat, but a couple Schwab ETFs cost less for purchasing and holding their Vanguard-comparable total stock market (SCHB) and total bond market (SCHZ). The ETFs are free to buy through a Schwab account, and the annual expense ratios are 0.04% and 0.05%, respectively.

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25 Ryan Guina

I’m in the same boat, Bryce – I’m a buy and hold person. I have Vanguard for most of my investments, simply because I have been with them for so long and they offer everything I need. Schwab, Fidelity, and several other companies also offer wonderful alternatives to Vanguard. I don’t think you can go wrong with any of them. Just look for the one that best meets your needs.

But if you do like to trade individual stocks, the discount brokers are often better options as they tend to offer lower cost trades, more tools, and a better interface for trading.

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