Best Brokerages

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Best Online Stock Brokerages

Nowadays, buy stock online or sell stock through online brokerage has been very straightforward. In 1980s and 1990s, most of these trading were done using automated or broker-assisted phone line. The following list will provide online discount brokers rates or commissions, charges, other fees, trading platform, and comments.

Top 30 Best Online Stock Brokerages Review

To find a great brokerage, investor or trader should looks into the following criteria:
    Top 30 Brokerages
  • The brokerage offers low commission fees to trade stock or option.
  • It has variety of products like stocks, mutual funds, etf, bonds, treasury, etc
  • The brokerage offers variety of trading platform especially online web based platform. Software platform may be useful as well.
  • It offers variety of services such as option, future, stock, forex trading, etc
  • It has excellent and responsive customer service representative. Investor can contact CS using several ways such as phone, email, and online chat.
  • The brokerage should be member of SIPC and FINRA. It offers protection (insurance) to customer asset through self clearing or third party clearing.

Lightspeed Trading

Lightspeed TradingLightspeed has consistently provided with the best commission rates for trader and investor. Recently, they change its commission from $0.00395 per share to $0.00450 per share. It also introduced the new $4.50 per trade with no shares limit this early 2011 (for market order and limit order). Lightspeed was also awarded 4.5 stars out of 5 stars in best for frequent trader category by Barron.

Top Online Brokerage

  • Products Offering: Stocks, Options, Future, Forex
  • Platform: Web based (Lightspeed Web Trader), Software (Lightspeed Trader)
  • Stock Orders: $3.00 per trade
  • OTCBB and PINK sheet Stocks: $10 per trade
  • Options: $0.60/contract ($3 min)
  • Futures: $0.60/contract ($1 min)
  • Phone Order: $20 per order + Regular commission
  • Minimum fund to Open: $10,000 (Lightspeed Trader) & $1,000 (Web Trader)
  • Account Inactivity Fee: $0.00 
  • Other Fees: Wire Fee: $20.00 (domestic) ACAT Out: $50.00. 
  • Margin Account (Yes/No): Yes
  • Clearing firm / Custodial firm: Penson Financial Services (main), Wedbush Securities, Electronic Transaction Clearing Inc (ETC), and Goldman Sachs

Interactive Brokers (IB)

Interactive Brokers (IB)Interactive Brokers, also known as IB, is another online discount brokerage with low commission rate. It almost has comparable rates as Lightspeed. Barron also awards IB with 4.5 stars out of 5 stars in Low Cost category.
  • Products: Stocks, bonds, mutual funds, options, Forex, future, foreign investments
  • Platform: Web based and desktop software
  • Stock Orders: $0.005 per shares ($1.00 minimum) or 0.5% trade value
  • Broker-Assisted Orders: $0.01 per shares ($100.00 min) – Trade Desk
  • Mutual Funds: $14.95 per trade
  • Options: $0.70 per contract
  • Futures: $0.85 per contract
  • Minimum to Open: $10,000 for US-based accounts; varied for foreign accounts
  • Account Maintenance Fee: $10.00 - $20.00
  • IRA maintenance Fee: $7.50 per quarter
  • Some Other Fees: Wire Transfer outgoing: $10.00 per transfer. ACH: $1.00 per transfer. 
  • Margin Account (Yes/No): Yes
  • Clearing firm: Interactive Broker (self clearing)

Just2trade

One of the best things with Just2trade is its flat rate commission. To trade stock in this best brokerage, you will be charge only $2.50 per trade. The platform is rather basic but can be very useful. It also offer level 2 quote through web based java platform (J2Trader) for free. It also offer special stock orders MOC (market on close) and MOO (market on open) through its online web based trading platform. It also offers logical order or conditional order.
  • Products: Stocks, options, mutual funds
  • Platform: Web based only
  • Stock Orders: $2.50 per trade
  • OTCBB and PINK sheet Stocks: $2.50 per trade
  • Broker-Assisted Orders: $20 per order
  • Mutual Funds: $2.50 per trade
  • Options: $2.50 per trade + $0.50 per contract
  • Minimum to Open: $2,500
  • Account Inactivity Fee: $0.00 
  • IRA Annual Fee: $35.00 per year (waived with over $25,000 account asset)
  • Some Other Fees: ACAT: $50; e-statement: free
  • Margin Account (Yes/No): Yes
  • Clearing firm: Legent Clearing LLC

eOption

eOption is another new online brokerage which offer a low commission for trading. It is also well known in trading option with complex option execution. It also provides free IRA accounts with no account maintenance fee.
    eOption
  • Products: Stocks, ETF, options, mutual funds, bond
  • Platform: Web based 
  • Stock Orders: $3.00 per trade
  • OTCBB and PINK sheet Stocks: $3.00 per trade (limit order only)
  • Broker-Assisted Orders: $9 per order
  • Mutual Funds: $14.95 per trade or $5.00 per trade for periodic trade
  • Options: $3.00 per trade + $0.10 per contract
  • Bonds: $5.00 per bond
  • Minimum to Open: $0 (domestic account), $5,000 (international account)
  • Account Inactivity Fee: $0.00 
  • IRA Annual Fee: $0.00
  • Some Other Fees: ACAT: $50; Option Exercise and Assignment: $9.00
  • Margin Account (Yes/No): Yes
  • Clearing firm: Penson Financial Services

SogoTrade

As part of online retail division of Genesis Securities llc, Sogotrade is offering advance online trading, fast trading, complex research tools, etc. It also offers $3 flat online trade commission which is important for cost conscious trader or investor.
  • Products: Stocks, ETF, options, mutual fund
  • Platform: Web based 
  • Stock Orders: $3.00 per trade or $3.00 + 0.5% principal (stock <$1) 
  • Broker-Assisted Orders: $25 per order
  • Mutual Funds: $0 (No Load, NTF), $15 (No load, non NTF)
  • Options: $5.00 per trade + $0.50 per contract
  • Minimum to Open: $500
  • Account Inactivity Fee: $0.00 
  • Abandoned Account fee: $10 / month
  • Some Other Fees: ACAT: $50; Option Exercise and Assignment: $9.00
  • Margin Account (Yes/No): Yes
  • Clearing firm: Genesis Securities llc

OptionsHouse

Top Stock BrokersCreated by PEAK6 Investment, OptionsHouse is an online discount brokerage which offers stock trades, option trades, mutual fund trades, and bonds. Although there is no future trades and forex trades, OptionsHouse provides variety of trading tools such as streaming charts and news, risk reviewer, probability calculator, volatility chart, etc. There is also no yearly or quarterly IRA maintenance fee with OptionsHouse IRA account. For new trader, you can try free virtual trading.
  • Products: Stocks, ETF, options, mutual fund, bond
  • Platform: Web based 
  • Stock Orders: $3.95 per trade
  • OTCBB and PINK sheet Stocks: $3.95 per trade + $0.005 per share
  • Broker-Assisted Orders: $3.95 per trade
  • Mutual Funds: $9.95 per trade
  • Options: $5.00 per trade (up to 5 contracts) or $8.50 + $0.15 per contract (over 10 contracts)
  • Minimum to Open: $1,000
  • Account Inactivity Fee: $0.00
  • IRA maintenance fee: $0.00
  • IRA closing Fee: $20
  • Some Other Fees: ACAT: $50; Wire fees (domestic): $15.00
  • Margin Account (Yes/No): Yes
  • Clearing firm: Penson Financial Services, Inc
  • Note: No extra fee for broker assisted trades

Zecco Trading Review 2012

Known for its Zero Commission trading fees, Zecco has recently changed its commission fees or pricing in 2011. There are no more free stock trades under new pricing. Investor will be charge $4.95 per trade. Zecco also have a great online ZeccoShare community on their website. Opening a new account is easy and straightforward.

New investor can fill the application through its online web application. It doesn’t offer future trades currently. It also offers several premium services for fee such as GainsKeeper ($24.99 per 6 months) and QuoteStream II ($20 per month). There are other free services such as Zecco Zap Trade, Zecco Mobile Lite, Zecco Streamer, Stock Screener, Option Strategy Builder, etc. For forex services, it offers 2 pricings such as Zecco Forex Plus and Zecco Forex Pro.
  • Products: Stocks, ETF, options, mutual fund, bond, CD, Forex, Precious Metals
  • Platform: Web based 
  • Stock Orders: $4.95 per trade or $6.95 per trade (stocks or ETFs under $1.00)
  • Broker-Assisted Orders: $19.95 per trade
  • Options: $4.95 per trade + $0.65 per contract
  • Mutual Funds: $10.00 per trade (No Load)
  • Bonds: $4.50 per bond ($22.50 min per transaction / $24.50 per treasury transaction)
  • Forex: check website for details
  • Minimum to Open: $0
  • Account Inactivity Fee: $0 (No fee)
  • IRA maintenance fee: $30 per year
  • IRA Closing Fee: $30
  • Some Other Fees: ACAT: $50; Wire fees: $15.00 (domestic) / $50 (international)
  • Margin Account (Yes/No): Yes
  • Clearing firm: Penson Financial Services, Inc
Note: OTCBB and Pink sheet stocks can be traded as well.

TradeKing

TradeKingTradeKing is another popular online discount brokerage. Investors or traders can buy or sell stock for $4.95 per trade (flat commission). Another advantage of using TradeKing platform is there is no additional fee for broker-assisted trades (i.e. it is $4.95 per trade as well). TradeKing Community, TradeKing Trader Network, is also very popular among its clients.

Stock Trader

It also offers cash management capability such as check writing, debit card, etc for a fee (i.e. gold package is $50 per year). There is no Forex trading and Future trading. It offers mobile apps for iphone or Android phone or Blackberry.
  • Products: Stocks, ETF, options, mutual fund, bond, CD
  • Platform: Web based and Java (TradeKing LIVE)
  • Stock Orders: $4.95 per trade or $6.95 per trade (stocks or ETFs under $1.00)
  • Broker-Assisted Orders: $4.95 per trade
  • OTCBB and Pink sheet: $4.95 per trade or $4.95 + $0.01 per share (Stock <$1) 
  • Options: $4.95 per trade + $0.65 per contract (<9 contracts) or $8.95 base + $0.15 / contract (>8 contracts)
  • Mutual Funds: $14.95 per trade (No Load) or $0 per trade (Load)
  • Bonds: $4.95 per bond ($14.95 min per transaction / $24.50 per treasury transaction)
  • Certificate of Deposit (CD): $24.95 per trade
  • Minimum to Open: $0
  • Account Inactivity Fee: None
  • IRA maintenance fee: None
  • IRA Closure Fee: $50
  • Some Other Fees: ACAT: $50; Wire fees: $30.00 (outgoing domestic)
  • Margin Account (Yes/No): Yes
  • Clearing firm: Penson Financial Services, Inc
  • Note: No IRA maintenance fee, and no extra broker-assisted trade fee. Minimum investment of $100 per order in OTCBB and Pink Sheet stocks.

MB Trading

MB TradingFounded in 1999, MB Trading is well known as the best brokers for frequent traders and international traders by Barron’s in 2011. MB Trading, also known as MBT, provide variety of platforms to its investor or trader clients. Some of trading platforms include MBT Desktop, MBT Desktop Pro, MBT Mobile, MBT MetaTrader 4, MBT Web, and MBT Lightwave. It offers 2 stock commissions: MBTR and MBTX. Opening an account can be done through its online web application.
  • Products: Stocks, ETF, options, future, Forex, mutual fund, bond
  • Platform: Web based and desktop software (MBT Desktop & MBT Desktop Pro)
  • Stock Orders: $4.95 per trade (MBTR) or $0.0075 per share with $4.95 min (MBTX)
  • Broker-Assisted Orders: $4.95 per trade
  • OTCBB and Pink sheet: $8.95 per trade 
  • Options: $0.95 per contract 
  • Mutual Funds: $12.95 per trade 
  • Bonds: $12.95 per trade
  • Future order: $0.95 per contract + exchange fees
  • Forex order: $1.95 per 100k credit for limits or $2.95 per 100k fee for markets
  • Minimum to Open: $1,000
  • Account Inactivity Fee: None
  • IRA maintenance fee: $30 per year
  • IRA Closure Fee: $20
  • Some Other Fees: ACAT: $50; Wire fees: $15.00 (outgoing domestic)
  • Margin Account (Yes/No): Yes
  • Clearing firm: Penson Financial Services, Inc

LowTrades Review

As division of Success Trade Securities, LowTrades is one of online discount brokerages with flat rate commission of $4.95 per trade. There is no extra fee to trade penny stocks. You can place the following order with LowTrades: limit order, market order, stop order, trailing stop, stop limit order, and logical orders.

There is a semiannual inactivity fee of $50. Investor or trader can avoid this fee by executing trade during two trading periods (January-June and July-December). There is no forex trading and no future trading. You will need $2,000 to open an account. It also offers level 2 quotes for extra fee under Trading Desk platform. LowTrades also offers extended hours trading.
  • Products: Stocks, ETF, options, mutual fund
  • Platform: Web based and Java (Trading Desk Level 2)
  • Stock Orders: $4.95 per trade
  • OTCBB and Pink sheet: $4.95 per trade 
  • Broker-Assisted Orders: $25.00 per trade
  • Options: $4.95/ trade + $0.60 per contract
  • Mutual Funds: $25.00 per trade (broker assisted only)
  • Minimum to Open: $2,000
  • Account Inactivity Fee: $50 per 6 months
  • IRA maintenance fee: $35 per year
  • IRA Closing Fee: $75
  • Some Other Fees: ACAT: $50; Wire fees: $25.00 (outgoing domestic)
  • Margin Account (Yes/No): Yes
  • Clearing firm: Legent Clearing LLC

Canadian Online Brokerage

Questrade Review

Questrade is one of the Canadian online discount brokerage which offers the best commissions in Canada with 1 cent per share ($4.95 min / $ 9.95 max). It also offers variety of trading platforms for its investors or traders such as QuestraderWeb, QuestraderPro, QuestradeELITE, QuestradeFX, QuestradeFX PRO. Clients can open account online or offline. For online application, you can fill the application form instantly through Questrade’s website. Currently, it is only available to Canadian Resident.
  • Products: Stocks, ETF, options, Forex, Gold, mutual fund, bonds, GICs
  • Platform: Web based and Software
  • Stock Orders: $4.95 - $9.95 per trade ($0.01 / share)
  • Options: $9.95/ trade + $1.00 per contract
  • Mutual Funds: $9.95 per trade
  • Forex Trades: depends on Tiers (tier 1 and tier 2)
  • Broker-Assisted Orders: $25.00 surchages + regular commission
  • Minimum to Open: $0
  • Account Inactivity Fee: $0 for registered account
  • Margin Account (Yes/No): Yes
  • Clearing firm: Penson Financial Services Canada Inc
  • Note: No support for IRA, but support RESP (Canadian IRA)
More review and details in near future
NoBroker100 shares500 shares1000 sharesMinimum BalanceNote
1Lightspeed Trading$1.00 $2.25 $4.50 $10,000
2Interactive Brokers$1.00 $2.50 $5.00 $10,000 free etfs
3Just2trade$2.50 $2.50 $2.50 $2,500
4eOption$3.00 $3.00 $3.00 $0
5SogoTrade$3.00 $3.00 $3.00 $500
6OptionsHouse$3.95 $3.95 $3.95 $1,000
7Zecco$4.95 $4.95 $4.95 $0
8TradeKing$4.95 $4.95 $4.95 $0
9MB Trading$4.95 $4.95 $4.95 $1,000
10LowTrades$4.95 $4.95 $4.95 $2,000
11Questrade$4.95 $5.00 $9.95 $1,000
12Choicetrade$5.00 $5.00 $5.00 $0
13ThinkOrSwim (TOS)$5.00 $7.50 $9.95 $3,500
14Firstrade$6.95 $6.95 $6.95 $0
15Scottrade$7.00 $7.00 $7.00 $500
16tradeMONSTER$7.50 $7.50 $7.50 $2,000
17Fidelity$7.95 $7.95 $7.95 $2,500 free etfs
18Noble Trading$7.95 $7.95 $7.95 $500
19Charles Schwab$8.95 $8.95 $8.95 $1,000 free etfs
20Bank of America / Merrill Edge$8.95 $8.95 $8.95 $2,000 30 free trades / month
21ShareBuilder$9.95 $9.95 $9.95 $0
22TD Ameritrade$9.99 $9.99 $9.99 $2,500 free etfs
23E*TRADE$9.99 $9.99 $9.99 $500
24TradeStation$9.99 $9.99 $9.99 $5,000
25optionsXpress$14.95 $14.95 $14.95 $0
26Muriel Siebert$14.95 $14.95 $14.95 $0
27WellsTrade$19.95 $19.95 $19.95 $1,000 100 free trades / year
28Vanguard$20.00 $20.00 $20.00 $0 free etfs

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