Nowadays, many people are choosing online stock broking as an option to make money online. Having the best stock broker to serve individual needs is very important for any investor. For example, cheap trades most often come at the expense of less research tools and a more simplified trade platform.
Investors should know the best online brokers to trade with. There are some online stock brokers who are known for their award-winning customer service while others are known for inexpensive stock trades or powerful trading tools. This guide will highlight some of the best brokers available today with tips and advice for choosing a broker.
Given are some pointers to help compare all stock brokers and ultimately find the best broker to suit your needs and demands in the stock market.
There are many questions that new stock traders think before investing in market. To keep it simple, look for brokers that offer flat-fee trades, ie charging a flat rate regardless of the type, price of the stock, or size of the order.
When picking up the phone or emailing a broker, is a well trained customer service representative ready to assist? How any investor is treated as a client is more important to some than others. But, even for those that do not rely on customer support that often, to know that they have award winning service there when they need it is comforting.
Trading successfully is a lot easier when investors have great tools at their disposal. A top stock broker should offer access to a wide variety of trade tools to help make the most of each and every trade. From real-time streaming quotes to last sale tickers, quality stock scanners, mobile trading apps, and level II quotes to name a few. Strong tools are essential for active investors.
Some brokers allow you to open an account with no minimum deposit while others may require several thousand dollars. Also know that some brokers require higher minimums to gain access to premium platforms, functionality, and personalized support.
A good online broker will provide a variety of market research tools. The rule of thumb here is simple: the more you pay per trade, the better the market research which are both fundamental and technical, that is provided.
A online stock broker should offer access to not only trading stocks, but also a strong selection of no load mutual funds, commission free ETFs, and complex options. Other unique investment offerings to look for could include direct market routing, conditional orders, futures trading, and forex trading.
Fees beyond trade commissions include inactivity fees which are common with active trading brokers such as Interactive Brokers, Lightspeed, and TradeStation and IRA fees for having a retirement account. While most brokers do not charge predatory fees, it is still important to do your due diligence. Just like a bank account, stock brokers also make a portion of their profits off miscellaneous fees.
Funding a IRA, Roth IRA, or other retirement account with no annual fees is an extra perk many online brokers offer. There is no reason why you should pay an annual fee to have an retirement account. If managing your own portfolio is not of interest, all full-service brokers offer optional advisory services as well. Furthermore, robo-advisors such as Betterment are growing in popularity. Once again, the experience at larger established brokers is going to be superior to smaller brokers.
Larger online brokers offer banking and other financial services. This goes beyond money market accounts and CDs. Checking accounts, mortgages, debit cards, and credit cards can also be offered. The leader in this space is, hands down, Bank of America Merrill Edge.
Because of the web today, all online brokers invest heavily into account security. SSL websites are used by most brokers and some are now even offering two-factor authentication which are using your phone to confirm a code before logging in. Just like shopping online and choosing a trustworthy website to purchase from, the best bet is to choose a well-known, established broker for your portfolio.
Speed and Order Execution
For the active trader, execution speed and fill price are very important. People have tested many of these brokers and there can be noticeable differences in trade execution times and quality. For the majority of investors, saving a penny per share on a 100 shares order isn’t the end of the world, but for active traders it is something to look into. To understand Order Execution, read this guide.
For investors in the United States this is not a problem but for investors living outside the US, when comparing brokers it is important to make sure they offer service in your country. Here’s a good list of international brokers to start with.