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The best stock trading brokers for beginners offer three essential benefits. The first, and most important, is a user-friendly website and platform. Second, they provide a strong variety of educational materials. Third, they provide access to quality research.
In our assessment and ranking of online broker offerings for rookie investors, we spent endless hours navigating research portals, testing website usability, watching videos and webinars, and even reading client magazines to find a true champion.
Best Online Brokers for Beginner Stock Traders
Our picks for the best online stock brokers for beginners:
- TD Ameritrade - Best overall for beginners
- Fidelity - Great education and research
- E*TRADE - Best web-based platform
- Charles Schwab - Well-rounded experience
- Robinhood - Easy to use but no tools
Based on 1,820 data points, our top pick for beginners is TD Ameritrade. New investors have access to a user-friendly website, hundreds of monthly webinars, videos, and free premium courses and quizzes. TD Ameritrade is the only broker to gamify the entire learning experience, offering customers a points system tied to progress tracking, and even badges to encourage continued learning. Oh, and customers can practice trading with fake money. Read full review
Our second pick, Fidelity Investments offers new investors an easy-to-use website and quality on-site education. While Fidelity's learning center is impressive, the broker does a fantastic job with its in-house market research and financial educational articles, Fidelity Viewpoints. Of all the brokers, I share and bookmark Fidelity Viewpoint articles the most. As far as subject matter goes, the broker's retirement education is exceptional. Read full review
In third place, earning a recommendation based on its platform alone, is E*TRADE. E*TRADE's web-based trading platform, Power E*TRADE, is a great environment for any beginner stock trader. It's easy to navigate, fast, and includes usability upgrades perfect for new investors like paper (practice) trading. Use E*TRADE's website to conduct research, watch educational videos, and read a large selection of articles covering the full spectrum of investment-related topics. Read full review
Fees and Features Comparison
Taken from our online brokerage comparison tool, here's a comparison of the fees and features for the most popular beginner brokers.
To view current offers and 150+ features, Compare TD Ameritrade vs Fidelity vs ETRADE vs Charles Schwab vs Robinhood
What is a Stock Broker?
When it comes to investing in stocks, you can either buy and sell shares yourself (self-directed investing) or you can use an advisor and have your money managed for you (managed investing). Way back when (early 1900s), you had to use a licensed professional known as a stock broker to place stock trades on your behalf. Thanks to the Internet, investors around the globe now invest for themselves using an online brokerage account. Today, "stock broker" is just another name for an online brokerage account.
Which online broker is best for beginners? TD Ameritrade is the best all-around choice for beginners because it provides the best combination of ease of use, educational content, and research tools new investors need to succeed. TD Ameritrade is more expensive ($6.95 per trade), but when it comes to new investors, you pay for what you get.
Which trading platform is best for beginners? My favorite trading platform for beginners is Power E*TRADE. It is web-based, meaning it runs in the browser, and strikes the right balance between ease of use and offering a rich selection of trading tools.
Which brokerage offers the best educational videos? TD Ameritrade, hands down. TD Ameritrade's educational video library is made entirely in-house and provides hundreds of videos covering every investment topic imaginable, from stocks to ETFs, mutual funds, options, bonds, and even retirement. Progress tracking is also part of the learning experience.
Which broker offers the best education in a mobile app? For beginners looking to learn through their mobile app, I'd recommend Fidelity or TD Ameritrade. Fidelity has done an excellent job integrating mini-courses into its app, which include quizzes too. Meanwhile, TD Ameritrade does a great job making its video library available with simple filtering by topic. Compare TD Ameritrade vs Fidelity.
Which brokers offer virtual trading to practice with fake money? Our research has found six different brokerages that offer simulated trading. Of those best suited to beginners, I recommend the TD Ameritrade thinkorswim platform and TradeStation's desktop platform. Compare TD Ameritrade vs TradeStation.
Which brokerage offers the most webinars? TD Ameritrade offers the most webinars each month, several hundred in fact, thanks to its offering of daily swim lessons and its own TV Network. Next to TD Ameritrade, Charles Schwab offers around 50 per month and TradeStation around 30.
Do any brokers offer interactive learning, such as quizzes or similar? TD Ameritrade and Fidelity are both outstanding for providing unique, handcrafted courses that include individual lessons and roadmaps for learning about the markets. Quizzes to test your knowledge are scored and even tracked so you know if you've completed them or not. No other brokers come close to challenging TD Ameritrade and Fidelity in terms of interactive learning.
Best Brokers for Beginners Summary
|Online Broker||Best For||Minimum Deposit||Commissions||Beginner Rating|
|TD Ameritrade||Best overall for beginners||$0||$6.95||5 Stars|
|Fidelity||Great education and research||$0||$4.95||5 Stars|
|E*TRADE||Best web-based platform||$500||$6.95||4.5 Stars|
|Charles Schwab||Well-rounded experience||$0||$4.95||4.5 Stars|
|Robinhood||Easy to use but no tools||$0||$0||4.5 Stars|
For the StockBrokers.com ninth annual review published in February 2019, a total of 4,544 data points were collected over six months and used to score brokers. Each broker completed an in-depth data profile and provided executive time (live in person or over the web) for an annual update meeting. Learn more about how we test.