Note: We receive a commission for purchases made through the links on this site. Our sponsors, however, do not influence our editorial content in any way.
An online brokerage account allows you to invest in stocks, certificates of deposit, bonds, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, and more. Whether you’re just getting started or are an experienced trader, an online brokerage account offers convenience and flexibility. Since you can do everything online, you won’t need to meet with a broker when you want to purchase stock or make a trade.
Online brokerage accounts put you in control of your investments. With a multitude of online brokerage accounts all advertising competitive fees and different benefits, it’s tough to know which one to choose. But there are some key factors to consider that can make deciding a little easier.
Online brokers generally charge a flat-rate fee per transaction. Some brokerage accounts may advertise exceptionally low trading fees for an introductory or promotional period, but tack on annual or account maintenance fees. Rates from most companies vary from $0 to $40 per trade. Read the brokerage account’s full fee schedule to uncover any hidden fees before signing up for an account. Fees are often higher for limit orders, options and trades placed over the phone.
While some companies have no minimum deposit required to get started, others require as much as $10,000. Generally, most companies require between $1,000 and $2,500 to get started. If you don’t have that much to invest, the minimum deposit may be one of the first features you’ll want to compare when choosing a brokerage account.
As of 2015, some of the most popular and highest-rated online brokerage accounts include OptionsHouse, TD Ameritrade, Ally Invest, Betterment, TradeMonster and E*Trade. If you are looking for a cryptocurrency brokerage, check out our best cryptocurrency app reviews.