How to choose an online brokerage

How do I choose an online brokerage?

Want to buy shares of stocks like Apple (AAPL), Facebook (FB), Disney (DIS), or Uber (UBER)? If so, you will need an online broker account.

Choosing an online stock broker is one of the most important decisions you will make as an investor. This guide aims to introduce online trading and break down the best online brokers available today.

As a previous full-time trader turned hobby enthusiast, since 2001, I have completed over 1,000 trades in my personal portfolio, finishing 2019 with a total 2,574 individual buys and sells.

While the markets are anything but certain, you can feel confident BrokersReview.online has your back in 2020 to help you choose the best broker.

When selecting a new online broker, the first step is to read reviews and see what features matter most to you. Are low-cost trade commissions most important? What about customer service, the trading platform, mobile app, investment research, ease of use, or education? With many brokers specializing in different areas, it is crucial to evaluate all categories by reading full-length broker reviews.

How do I assess trading costs?

When trading stocks online, it is essential to understand what the costs are to buy and sell shares. Fortunately, today in 2020, most online brokers charge $0 to trade shares of stocks. That said, if day trading, additional costs come into play, including routing fees, market data fees, and platform fees.

What trading tools do online brokers offer?

To trade stocks online successfully, some stock traders rely purely on their trading tools. Trading platforms come in one of three forms: desktop, web (browser), or mobile. Advanced charting, scanning, hotkeys, virtual trading, watch lists, ladder trading, Level II quotes, and backtesting are just a sampling of the features some brokers offer. To compare trading platform features, use the online brokerage comparison tool.

Do online brokers offer more than just stocks and options trading?

Are you only trading stocks online, or are you interested in ETFs, mutual funds, options, futures, and forex too? Different regulations are required for brokers who support more complex asset classes. For example, stocks, ETFs, and options are the most commonly offered, while forex trading is the least commonly offered.

Does every online broker provide a mobile app?

While every online broker offers a mobile app, quality varies widely. Managing a stock brokerage account on the go is certainly important for investors who travel and frequently use their smartphones. To find the best app for stock trading, we scored broker apps on 42 individual features.

Should I care about customer service?

It depends. 24/7 support is essential to some investors, while others may be completely fine using online chat during regular market hours or receiving an email back within one business day. That said, most investors neglect to think about a market crisis like a flash crash. In our experience, it certainly doesn't hurt to have reliable customer service available for whenever the need may arise.

How important is stock research?

There are two types of stock research: fundamental and technical. Fundamental research explores company metrics such as earnings growth, earnings per share (EPS), debt, sales growth, and market capitalization. Meanwhile, technical analysis is all about learning how to read a stock chart and use historical price performance to help you predict future price direction. The best online brokerages offer tools to cover both types thoroughly, and we checked for 54 individual features during our 2020 Review. To compare research features, use the online brokerage comparison tool.

Do online brokerages also offer banking services?

Many online brokerages do not limit their customers to just online stock trading. Full-service brokerages offer banking services including checking accounts, savings accounts, credit cards, mortgages, and more with deposits of up to $250,000 backed by the FDIC.

With $0 trades, how important is order execution?

It is important to understand how your orders are routed and executed. There is a wide variation between quality and poor order execution. Unfortunately, most online stock traders can't tell the difference. To help investors out, we tested brokers and wrote a complete guide to understanding order execution.

Can I trade internationally with my online broker?

While most online brokers do not offer international trading, some do. However, if you want to buy physical shares of an international company, then you need to do your research.

Still aren't sure which online broker to choose?

Still aren't sure which online broker to choose?

Email us a question! Whether you are a beginner investor learning the ropes or a professional trader, we are here to help. Email us your online broker specific question and we will respond within one business day.

All pricing data was obtained from a published web site as of 01/20/2020 and is believed to be accurate, but is not guaranteed. For stock trade rates, advertised pricing is for a standard order size of 500 shares of stock priced at $30 per share. For options orders, an options regulatory fee per contract may apply.

$10.00 commission applies to online U.S. equity trades, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and options (+ $0.65 per contract fee) in a Fidelity retail account only for Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC retail clients. Sell orders are subject to an activity assessment fee (from $0.01 to $0.03 per $1,000 of principal). There is an Options Regulatory Fee (from $0.03 to $0.05 per contract), which applies to both option buy and sell transactions. The fee is subject to change. Other exclusions and conditions may apply.

Options trading entails significant risk and is not appropriate for all investors. Certain complex options strategies carry additional risk. Before trading options, please read Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options. Supporting documentation for any claims, if applicable, will be furnished upon request.