Best Online Brokers 2020
TD Ameritrade – Best for overall and beginners
Fidelity – Best research experience
Charles Schwab – Best for IRA accounts
E*TRADE – Best web platform
Interactive Brokers – Best for professionals
Merrill Edge – Best rewards program
TradeStation – Best platform technology
1. TD Ameritrade
TD Ameritrade delivers the ultimate package for investors, including $0 trades, fantastic trading platforms, excellent market research, industry-leading education for beginners, and reliable customer service. This outstanding all-round experience makes TD Ameritrade our top overall broker in 2020.
Why Choose TD Ameritrade:
Excellent trading platform thinkorswim. After spending hundreds of hours testing desktop platforms, I give thinkorswim my top recommendation, thanks to its modern feel and outstanding trader tools. That includes the mobile app, which is my favorite for active traders.
Great for beginner investors. TD Ameritrade has the largest selection of educational materials in the industry by far, with over 200 instructional videos covering every investment topic imaginable. Furthermore, the whole learning center is gamified, tracking your progress as you go with quizzes bringing concepts together at the end of each course.
Robust research. TD Ameritrade provides customers access to its own TV Network and trader magazine. Depth is across the board, as TD Ameritrade also uses proprietary data to analyze millions of tweets to power its Social Signals tool.
Industry-leading technology. TD Ameritrade is the only broker to offer customers the ability to access their accounts from Twitter, Apple Chat, Facebook, and Alexa. Technology and innovation are core parts of TD Ameritrade’s DNA.
Fidelity is a value-driven online broker offering $0 stock trades, industry-leading research, excellent trading tools, an easy-to-use mobile app, and comprehensive retirement services. Serving over 30 million customers, Fidelity is a winner for everyday investors.
Why Choose Fidelity:
Terrific for investment research. Research at Fidelity stands out for its 16 equity research reports, excellent in-house market analysis, and quotes experience that is meticulously crafted for maximum usability.
Great for new investors. Behind TD Ameritrade, Fidelity is my second broker recommendation for beginner stock traders. Fidelity offers investors the perfect blend of ease of use, excellent research tools, as well as a great education center.
Excellent mobile app for everyday investors. The Fidelity mobile app is a winner for investors because it is easy to use, packed full of market research, and includes a wide variety of trading tools.
3. Charles Schwab
Founded in 1973, Charles Schwab is a full-service brokerage with over $3 trillion in total client assets. As a low-cost leader offering $0 stock trades, Charles Schwab provides investors excellent stock research, quality trade tools, and professional planning for the future.
Why Choose Charles Schwab:
Excellent market research. Schwab boasts a full lineup of 26 in-house experts who provide numerous articles, known as Schwab Insights, on a variety of market topics throughout each week.
Leader in retirement services. Charles Schwab shines with its Schwab Intelligent Portfolios (robo-advisor) and Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Premium (human advisor) services.
Founded in 1982 as one of the first online brokerages in the United States, E*TRADE understands what investors need to succeed in the market. E*TRADE highlights include $0 trades, two excellent mobile apps, and the Power E*TRADE platform, which is great for options trading.
Why Choose E*TRADE:
Excellent web platform that is a winner for options trading. Our favorite web-platform again this year, Power E*TRADE, combines the best of both worlds: ease of use with fantastic trading tools. While just decent for stock trading, Power E*TRADE is terrific for options trading.
Full-featured mobile apps. Among all the online brokers we track on StockBrokers.com, E*TRADE offers the most mobile app features in a well-designed, easy to use experience.
5. Interactive Brokers
Exclusive Offer: New clients that open an account today receive a special margin rate.
While Interactive Brokers is not well known for its casual investor offering, it leads the industry with low-cost trading for professionals. Through the Trader Workstation (TWS) platform, Interactive Brokers offers excellent tools and an extensive selection of tradeable securities.
Why Choose Interactive Brokers:
Excellent for professional traders. Interactive Brokers offers customers an arsenal of 63 different order types, the most in the industry by a landslide. Margin rates are also the lowest in the industry, across the board.
Great for day trading. Interactive Brokers does not accept payment for order flow (IBKR Pro only). This makes it’s already low pricing even better because there are no hidden execution costs.
Global access. The most diverse offering by a landslide, Interactive Brokers offers trading in 26 countries and over 135 market centers.
6. Merrill Edge
Backed by parent company Bank of America, Merrill Edge delivers $0 stock and ETF trades with fantastic research and customer service. Better yet, for current banking customers, Merrill Edge’s Preferred Rewards program offers the best rewards benefits across the industry.
Why Choose Merrill Edge:
Preferred Rewards. To open an account with Merrill Edge, you do not have to be a Bank of America customer. That said, it is far easier to reach the minimum combined account balance to earn all sorts of perks under the Preferred Rewards program. Here’s a list.
Excellent ESG (environmental, social, and governance) research. Merrill Edge offers Stock Story, Fund Story, and Portfolio Story, which makes conducting market research both educational and insightful. Full ESG Reports are also included.
Great customer service. In our national testing, Merrill Edge consistently delivered agent connection times under one minute.
As a trading technology leader, TradeStation supports casual traders through its web-based platform and active traders through its award-winning desktop platform, all with $0 stock and ETF trades.
Why Choose TradeStation:
Excellent trading platform. TradeStation 10 is a desktop-based, downloadable trading platform for online trading that is robust and full of trading tools. In our testing, TradeStation 10 is rivaled only by TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim platform.
Great mobile app for stocks and options trading. From monitoring multiple watch lists and setting price alerts, to analyzing stock charts and placing trades, TradeStation Mobile provides a fantastic all-around experience for traders.