Other brokers tested
In addition to our top five trading platforms for banking in 2022, we reviewed 10 others: E*TRADE, Firstrade, Interactive Brokers, SoFi Invest, TD Ameritrade, TradeStation, Tradier, Robinhood, Vanguard and Webull. To dive deeper, read our reviews.
Is a brokerage account the same as a bank account?
No. A brokerage account is used to buy and sell securities (stocks, ETFs, bonds, mutual funds, and other assets) and is SIPC insured, protecting up to $500,000 per customer account. A bank account is used for banking (e.g., savings, checking, bill payments) and is FDIC insured, providing up to $250,000 in protection per individual.
Which bank broker is best?
When it comes to banking and brokerage, Merrill Edge — part of Bank of America — takes the crown, thanks to $0 trades, 4,300 retail locations, seamless universal account management and its Preferred Rewards program, which offers the best rewards of any bank broker we tested.
What is a bank brokerage?
A bank broker provides both banking services (FDIC insured) as well as stock brokerage services (SIPC protected). This combination allows you to easily move money between accounts and consolidate your finances with a single provider.
Besides investing capabilities, when you open a bank brokerage account you have the benefits of a brokerage checking account and other banking capabilities, such as money transfers and debit cards.
What banks offer brokerage accounts?
Many of the largest banks in the U.S. offer online brokerage accounts. For example, Bank of America offers online trading through Merrill Edge, J.P. Morgan Chase offers online trading through J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing, and Ally offers online investments through Ally Invest.
Which bank has the best brokerage account?
Based on our research, Bank of America has the best brokerage account offering, with Merrill Edge. Merrill Edge offers $0 stock and ETF trades, excellent bank broker universal account management, the best rewards program, and outstanding customer service.
Can you use a brokerage account as a checking account?
Yes, a brokerage checking account allows you to write checks and deposit checks. There are a growing number of banks with brokerage accounts offered that provide check-writing capabilities.
More details: If you decide to write checks from your brokerage account, be sure to monitor your account balance to maintain a proper cash allocation. As an alternative, open a separate cash management account so you do not risk overdrawing. Most brokers offer instant transfers between accounts for convenience.
What is the difference between a brokerage account and a cash management account?
Think of a cash management account like a brokerage account with a debit card. The cash management feature enables you to use a debit card to spend non-invested cash in your brokerage account. Your debit card can be used for everyday purchases such as groceries, dining, entertainment, and leisure.
Is a brokerage account better than a bank account?
One is not better than the other; they are simply different vehicles for your money. A brokerage account is necessary for investing and trading in stocks, ETFs, options and futures, whereas a bank account is meant for handling your day-to-day saving and spending.
Is a brokerage account safer than a bank account?
Both your brokerage account and your bank account typically carry insurance, the former through the SIPC and the latter through the FDIC. In that sense, both are safe. But investing or trading through a brokerage account carries market risk: Losses due to market movement are not protected by insurance.
Can I buy stocks through my bank?
Banks do not offer the ability to buy and sell stocks in checking or savings accounts. However, many large banks offer online trading through their brokerage arm. For example, Bank of America offers online trading through its discount brokerage, Merrill Edge.
Can I get a debit card for my brokerage account?
Brokerages that offer banking services often include use of a debit card with your associated banking product, such as a cash management account or checking account. Our top pick this year among brokerages with banking services is Merrill Edge, which is affiliated with Bank of America and offers B of A's full suite of bank accounts and features.
Can you buy stocks with a debit card?
No, you cannot use a debit card to buy stocks. To buy stocks, open and fund an online brokerage account, go to the order ticket, type in the company's stock symbol, then place the trade.
Bank Broker Pricing and Features Comparison
Broker Banking Features List
On a feature by feature basis, our top five finishers this year offer a combination of the following features to their banking customers.
||Member of the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) - fdic.gov.
||Offers formal checking accounts and checking services. To qualify, checking services must be marketed on the website as a client service. Basic checking through the clearing firm does not count.
||Offers savings accounts.
||Offers debit cards as part of a formal banking service.
||Offers credit cards.
||Offers mortgage loans.
|Mobile Check Deposit
||Check deposits can be made through the mobile app.
|Online Bill Pay
||Ability for clients to add and pay bills using the website.
|Mobile Bill Pay
||Ability for clients to add and pay bills using the mobile app.
|ATM Fee Reimbursement
||Are debit card ATM fees reimbursed?
|No Fee Banking
||Offers no fee banking. Requirements: no minimum balance required, no monthly maintenance fees, no debit card fees, no annual fees.
||Total retail locations. Company HQ or similar corporate offices do not count. Must be a formally branded, publicly accessible branch office marketed on the public website.
StockBrokers.com 2022 Overall Ranking
Here are the Overall rankings for the 15 online brokers who participated in our 2022 Review, sorted by Overall ranking.
Explore our other online trading guides:
For the StockBrokers.com 12th Annual Review published in January 2022, a total of 3,075 data points were collected over three months and used to score 15 top brokers. This makes StockBrokers.com home to the largest independent database on the web covering the online broker industry.
As a rapidly expanding area of brokerage services, banking features have grown in importance to stock traders who value ease of money transfer and keeping their investing and banking under one roof. Our research team evaluates each broker’s offerings, such as cash management tools, debit cards and credit cards, traditional bank accounts, mobile deposits, no-fee banking and branch accessibility. Additionally, we evaluate the commissions and fees charged by the brokerage for many popular features. In total, we evaluate more than 200 variables for each broker.
As part of our annual review process, all brokers had the opportunity to provide updates and key milestones and complete an in-depth data profile, which we hand-checked for accuracy. Brokers also were offered the opportunity to provide executive time for an annual update meeting.
Our rigorous data validation process yields an error rate of less than .001% each year, providing site visitors quality data they can trust. Learn more about how we test.
About the Author
1 Fidelity Sell orders are subject to an activity assessment fee from $0.01 to $0.03 per $1,000 of principal. 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.
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