By Rob Berger 32 Comments I‘ve been investing nearly 25 years, long before online brokers came on the scene.
Based on that experience and a lot of research, I’ve complied this list of the top options. Second, while on the surface they can all seem similar, when you dig deep into what these brokers offer, you’ll find big differences. And the third thing I’ve learned is that the cost of these discount firms can be tricky to understand, and in the end, may not be the most important factor.
All of the firms make a point to advertise how much you pay to buy or sell stocks, mutual funds, options, or other equities. Because these fees vary among discount brokers, the starting point is to understand how you will use your stock trading account.
You can get more information in our Scottrade review or open an account by visiting Scottrade. E*Trade was ranked first among discount stock brokers by Smart Money’s 2009 Broker Survey. TradeKing is one of the lowest cost discount brokers, with both market or limit stock trades costing $4.95.
Would you please provide a recommendation of a discount broker that facilitates stock trades on foreign exchanges, specifically Toronto, Australia, and Hong Kong?
Bill, there are several alternatives for discount brokers that enable you to buy stocks on foreign exchanges. Scottrade: Scottrade has foreign exchange trades and offer separate commission schedules for Canadian Orders versus other foreign stocks. E*Trade: Etrade offers a global trading platform that covers exchanges in Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan and the UK. If you choose to open an account with scottrade, you can get three free online trades (worth $21).
As far as bonds go, I made the mistake of puchasing bonds through Scottrade, and then found a bond broker, Hennion & Walsh(no-I do not work for them). I’m looking for a brokerage firm which allow me to trade stocks listed in the Hong Kong Stock Exchange with my IRA account. Just wanted to let you know, this Page(s) of information is the best I’ve ever come across to help me find solid, valid solutions to the problem of where to go to start investing my own money with Security, Expertise and Economy. Lyn, I’ve been with Scottrade now for about 3 years and have been very happy with them, too. I have managed to save pretty well, and the thought of investing have stayed on the back burner for some time.

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Note that I have accounts at each of these firms and have personally tested their trading platforms, research, and other tools.
But with OptionsXpress, you can trade just about anything including stocks and futures contracts. E*TRade scored high marks across the board in categories ranging from customer service to research to banking services. We were speaking with a friendly representative within 20 seconds when we called on a busy Monday morning for the stock market. Through the Trader Network, you can connect with other traders, share strategies and trading tips, and see the hottest trades of the day.
When I did my research, I also chose Scottrade as my top choice for both an IRA and trading account. One feature that makes them high on the list is their no fee list of ETFs where you can purchase as little as one share for no cost. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, or other advertiser, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the advertiser.
With some you can’t buy mutual funds, while others offer more mutual funds than most. The key to remember, however, is that many of these firms charge additional fees, depending on how you use your account. So what are the factors besides cost that we should consider when selecting a discount stock broker? While I expect the vast majority of my transactions will be online, it’s good to know that I can talk to a person face to face if I need to.
While it ranked as one of the best in just two categories (banking services and Research), it scored consistently high in all categories.
I’d like to use E*trade or Scottrade as you recommend to save a few bucks (and encourage the CBA to be a bit more competitive). They have good online and phone support, quick execution and a good inventory of shares that you can short! If you would like to try them out you can get 3 free trades just to see if you like them They have a good streamer..

For those who trade at most occasionally, however, the trading costs are not the most important factor.
These additional fees may include fees for large buy or sell orders, fees to buy or sell stocks trading at less than $1, account maintenance fees, account inactivity fees, and of course interest if you buy on margin. There are several, and they include ease of use, customer service, types of accounts offered, investing tools, type of investments you intend to buy, and account minimums. The cost to trade stocks is a flat $4.95, making it one of the lowest cost stock trading alternatives. With OptionsXpress, however, there is no additional cost for broker-assisted transactions, which makes it a good option for those that want some help with their trades.
E*Trade’s research resources including portfolio management and analysis, stock and fund screeners, independent research, and risk analyzer.
You can also contact TradeKing representatives via instant messaging (only Schwab, E*Trade, Siebert and Scottrade lack the IM function on their Web sites). But how can I transfer the trades I’ve already made in comsec to a new online account?
The answers to these questions will help you narrow the selection and ultimately pick the best broker for you investing needs. I’ve highlighted these and other factors below in the summary of the best online discount brokers. But just like cost, it’s important to know your investing goals when you evaluate your options. Its one downside according to Smart Money is its banking services, but I’m not going to be using its banking services.
According to OptionsHouse, it offers a professional-grade trading platform backed by PEAK6 Investments, one of the largest options trading firms in the world. In addition, E*Trade is offering free trades for 60 days and up to $600 for new accounts, the details of which you can find on E*Trade’s website. For example, account minimums may be a non-issue for you if you plan to invest a significant amount of money. The tools fall into three categories, designed to help traders find investing opportunities, analyze those opportunities, and finally to execute trades.
Likewise, if you are looking for a specific account time (like an IRA), you can quickly eliminate those discount stock brokers that do not offer that account type.

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