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Best Stock Brokers for June 2024

Sam Levine, CFA, CMT

Written by Sam Levine, CFA, CMT
Edited by Carolyn Kimball
Fact-checked by Steven Hatzakis
Reviewed by Blain Reinkensmeyer

March 25, 2024

To buy shares of stocks like Apple (AAPL), Nvidia (NVDA), or Microsoft (MSFT), you'll need to set up an account with an online broker. Online brokers not only enable you to trade stocks online; they also provide trading tools, market research, and education to help you make smart investing choices.

Zero-commission stock trading commissions are standard and minimum deposits and monthly fees are rare among U.S. stock brokers. Though there are still some price differences, they mainly battle it out through their features, data, design, and content. I opened personal test accounts at all these brokers and checked pricing to find the very best. Here are my top trading platform picks for online stock trading.

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Since 2009, we've helped over 20 million visitors research, compare, and choose an online broker. Our writers have collectively placed thousands of trades over their careers. Here's how we test.

Best Online Brokers of 2024

Here are the best online brokers for 2024, based on over 3,000 data points.

  • Fidelity - Best overall
  • E*TRADE
    - Best for mobile trading
  • Charles Schwab - Best desktop stock trading platform
  • Merrill Edge - Best research experience
  • Interactive Brokers
    - Best for professional traders
  • Firstrade - Best for Chinese-speaking clients
  • tastytrade
    - Best desktop options trading platform
Fidelity
5/5 Stars 5.0 Overall

Best overall

Minimum Deposit$0.00
Stock Trades$0.00
Options (Per Contract)$0.65

Fidelity is a value-driven online broker offering $0 trades, industry-leading research, excellent trading tools and an easy-to-use mobile app. Read full review

Pros
  • Excellent research and mobile app
  • Top-notch education
  • Decades of reliable client service
Cons
  • No dedicated mobile app for active trading
E*TRADE
5/5 Stars 5.0 Overall

Best for mobile trading

Minimum Deposit$0.00
Stock Trades$0.00
Options (Per Contract)$0.65

E*TRADE is a top-performing broker whose highlights include $0 trades, two excellent mobile apps and the Power E*TRADE platform. Crypto, however, is not available. Read full review

Pros
  • Watch lists are the best in the business
  • Smooth mobile navigation
  • High-quality high-net-worth Morgan Stanley proprietary research
Cons
  • Cryptocurrencies not currently available
  • Margin rates are high compared to other brokers
Visit Site

Open and fund & get up to $1,000.

Charles Schwab
5/5 Stars 5.0 Overall

Best desktop stock trading platform

Minimum Deposit$0.00
Stock Trades$0.00
Options (Per Contract)$0.65

With the addition of TD Ameritrade's thinkorswim platforms and the enhancement of several features, Schwab is now a vigorous competitor with thought-provoking research and commentary and a client experience to fit any preference. Read full review

Pros
  • TD Ameritrade’s excellent thinkorswim trading platforms now available
  • Trading-friendly app and browser enhancements
  • Exceptional high net worth services
Cons
  • No cryptocurrency trading
  • Mutual fund fees are complex
Merrill Edge
4.5/5 Stars 4.5 Overall

Best research experience

Minimum Deposit$0.00
Stock Trades$0.00
Options (Per Contract)$0.65

Merrill Edge and its parent, Bank of America, make for a well-rounded offering, with $0 trades, robust research, reliable customer service; and its Stock Stories and Fund Stories are an industry standout. There are some gaps in investment offerings, including crypto and futures. Read full review

Pros
  • Portfolio Story, Dynamic Insights, and the Stock and Fund Stories are groundbreaking features
  • High-quality proprietary research
Cons
  • Some site elements slow to load
  • No crypto, futures, forex or penny stocks
Interactive Brokers
4.5/5 Stars 4.5 Overall

Best for professional traders

Minimum Deposit$0.00
Stock Trades$0.00
Options (Per Contract)$0.65

Interactive Brokers is a go-to choice for professionals because of its institutional-grade desktop trading platform, high-quality trade executions and rock-bottom margin rates. Read full review

Pros
  • Astounding array of customizable tools
  • Allows trading in foreign markets
  • Convenient apps for individual investors
Cons
  • Restrictive trading permissions
  • Main platforms might feel cold
Visit Site

New clients, special margin rates.

Firstrade
4.5/5 Stars 4.5 Overall

Best for Chinese-speaking clients

Minimum Deposit$0.00
Stock Trades$0.00
Options (Per Contract)$0.00

Firstrade scored well for penny stock trading in our 2024 Annual Awards, and is a great choice for Chinese-speaking investors. However, it lags behind the competition in certain areas, especially platforms, tools and education. Read full review

Pros
  • Excellent for Chinese-speaking investors
  • Has bolstered its options education and trading capabilities
  • Easy-to-use mobile app
Cons
  • Trading platform and tools trail industry leaders
  • Investor education is thin
tastytrade
4/5 Stars 4.0 Overall

Best desktop options trading platform

Minimum Deposit$0.00
Stock Trades$0.00
Options (Per Contract)$0.50 info

Tastytrade isn’t for every investor, but its platform is ideal for frequent options and futures traders, offering efficient workflow, useful risk management tools, killer design, and online content that make you feel like you’re on a trading desk. Read full review

Pros
  • Excellent layout
  • Clear expertise with active trading
  • Great stock options pricing
Cons
  • Maverick approach makes initial learning curve a bit steep
  • Few choices for long-term investing
Visit Site

Open and fund & earn up to $4,000*

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Winners Summary

Best overall - Fidelity

Company Minimum Deposit Stock Trades Options (Per Contract) Offers Visit Site
Fidelity logoFidelity $0.00 $0.00 $0.65 Read Review

Fidelity is a broker I use almost every day. It’s also StockBrokers.com’s Best Overall thanks to its industry-leading research, convenient trading tools, and an easy-to-use mobile app. All essential features are clearly labeled and easily understood by everyday investors.

Fidelity provides a ton of news and market commentary, along with extensive education on a wide array of investment options. If you’re new to investing, you’ll appreciate a huge library of helpful articles, too. Read full review.

Fidelity Mobile app gallery

Fidelity research gallery

Best for mobile trading - E*TRADE

Company Minimum Deposit Stock Trades Options (Per Contract) Offers Visit Site
E*TRADE logoE*TRADE $0.00 $0.00 $0.65 Open and fund & get up to $1,000. Visit Site

E*TRADE won StockBrokers.com’s No. 1 awards for Investor App and Web Trading Platform in 2024. Offering not one but two apps, my takeaway is that E*TRADE Mobile provides usability and depth for what matters most to casual investors: portfolio management, quotes, watch lists, market research. Power E*TRADE hits the sweet spot for beginning to intermediate traders. I found it to have just enough tools to be useful without it being so bogged down with features that it was confusing. Tools such as Live Action Scanner are top-notch. Read full review.

E*TRADE Mobile apps gallery


E*TRADE Mobile, one of two strong apps the broker offers. Press play for a tour of its features.


Best desktop stock trading platform - Charles Schwab

Company Minimum Deposit Stock Trades Options (Per Contract) Offers Visit Site
Charles Schwab logoCharles Schwab $0.00 $0.00 $0.65 Read Review

Whether you are day trading, options trading or futures trading, I found Charles Schwab's trading platform thinkorswim to be a winner in StockBrokers.com’s comparison testing. I prefer thinkorswim desktop for monitoring huge watch lists, charting, and watching streaming market news. Meanwhile, for casual investors, thinkorswim web gives traders an easy way to quickly manage their account while accessing essential trading features. Read full review .

thinkorswim gallery

Best online brokers comparison

Company Overall Minimum Deposit Stock Trades Options (Per Contract) Offers Visit Site
Fidelity logoFidelity 5/5 Stars $0.00 $0.00 $0.65 Read Review
E*TRADE logoE*TRADE 5/5 Stars $0.00 $0.00 $0.65 Open and fund & get up to $1,000. Visit Site
Charles Schwab logoCharles Schwab 5/5 Stars $0.00 $0.00 $0.65 Read Review
Merrill Edge logoMerrill Edge 4.5/5 Stars $0.00 $0.00 $0.65 Read Review
Interactive Brokers logoInteractive Brokers 4.5/5 Stars $0.00 $0.00 $0.65 New clients, special margin rates. Visit Site
Firstrade logoFirstrade 4.5/5 Stars $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 Read Review
tastytrade logotastytrade 4/5 Stars $0.00 $0.00 $0.50 info Open and fund & earn up to $4,000* Visit Site

FAQs

What is a trading platform and how does it work?

A trading platform, otherwise known as an online broker, lets you buy and sell investments on your computer or mobile device. The brokerage firm holds your investments and any cash you deposit or have on hand and it also provides activity reports and account statements. It also credits your account with interest and dividends.

To open an online broker account in the United States, you will need a Social Security number, and you’ll be required to enter basic information such as your name, birthdate, address, and phone number. They are also required to ask about your financials, risk tolerance, and trading experience.

How much money do you need to start investing?

Most trading platforms in the United States don’t require minimum account balances. Now you can open an account, fund it with a few dollars, and buy a fraction of a share of stock. You can also practice investing with no money at all at a broker that offers virtual trading, also called paper trading. See our top broker picks for paper trading.

Are brokerage accounts FDIC insured?

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation does not insure brokerage accounts. Brokerage accounts are protected for up to $250,000 in cash/$500,000 per customer against a broker’s insolvency by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC). Unlike the FDIC, the SIPC is not backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government.

Can I buy stocks without a broker?

There are two types of stock brokers. Online stock brokers, meaning companies like E*TRADE and Fidelity, allow you to buy and sell stocks. Traditional stock brokers — individuals who pass a series of exams and work at brokerages — buy and sell stocks on behalf of clients. Traditional stock brokers often work for corporations and may earn commissions on the products they sell you (they are salespeople), and that may affect their advice.

If you are looking to buy and sell stocks on your own, you are looking for an online broker. When you open an account with a regulated brokerage, you can deposit money and make investments in the stock market.

If you want someone to manage your money for you, you will want to hire a financial advisor. We prefer registered investment advisors who are paid a predictable fee over registered representatives who charge commissions. To get started finding a registered investment advisor, search our sister site, investor.com.

What is the best online broker?

The brokerage testing team at StockBrokers.com maintained live accounts at 17 brokers in 2024 and used them to evaluate each broker’s tools, ease of use, data, design, and content. Here are the five top-scoring brokerage firms and the accolades won in the StockBrokers.com Annual Awards for 2024:

  • Fidelity – Best Overall, Best for Customer Service, Best for Education, Best for Beginners, Best for Penny Stock Trading, Best for IRA Accounts. Fidelity also won awards for #1 Innovation and #1 Phone Support.
  • E*TRADE – Industry awards for #1 Investor App and #1 Web Trading Platform.
  • Charles Schwab – Best for Research, Best for High Net Worth Investors. Schwab also won industry awards for #1 Trader App, #1 Bond Research, and #1 Desktop Stock Trading Platform.
  • Merrill Edge – Best Bank Brokerage and industry awards for #1 Overall Client Experience, and #1 Client Dashboard
  • Interactive Brokers – Best Platforms and Tools, Best Mobile Trading Apps, Best Investment Options, and Best (for) Day Trading. It also won industry awards for #1 International Trading, #1 Platform Technology, #1 ESG Investing, #1 Professional Trading, #1 Fractional Shares, #1 Sentiment Investing, and #1 Bond Trading.

Who are the top 10 brokerage firms?

Here are the top 10 scorers in our rankings for 2024, based on extensive hands-on testing:

  • Fidelity
  • E*TRADE
  • Charles Schwab
  • Merrill Edge
  • Interactive Brokers
  • Firstrade
  • tastytrade
  • Ally
  • Webull
  • Robinhood

What are some tips for choosing a stock broker?

  1. Consider your experience and knowledge. Do you want a broker that focuses on tools and features, or would you prefer a broker that is easy to use?
  2. Know what you want to invest in. Some brokers do not offer mutual funds or cryptocurrencies, while others allow global trading.
  3. Consider whether you want a practice account. Some brokers let you practice with paper trading.
  4. Read online broker reviews by experts and compare brokers’ features and pricing side by side.
  5. Make an informed decision.

Our Research

Why you should trust us

Sam Levine, CFA, CMT, the lead writer for StockBrokers.com, has over 30 years of investing experience and actively trades stocks, ETFs, options, futures, and options on futures. He's held roles as a portfolio manager, financial consultant, investment strategist and journalist. He holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and the Chartered Market Technician (CMT) designations and served on the board of directors of the CMT Association.

Blain Reinkensmeyer, head of research at StockBrokers.com, has been investing and trading for over 25 years. After having placed over 2,000 trades in his late teens and early 20s, he became one of the first in digital media to review online brokerages. Blain created the original scoring rubric for StockBrokers.com and oversees all testing and rating methodologies.

For this guide:

  • Whenever possible, we used our own brokerage accounts for testing. For several brokers, we used a test account that was provided to us.
  • We collected more than three thousand data points (196 per broker).
  • We tested each online broker's website, browser-based trading platform (where applicable), downloadable desktop trading platform (where applicable), and of course, the mobile app (or apps in the case of several brokers).
  • We met with the product teams of nine online brokers.

How we tested

To analyze trading platforms for this guide, our writers maintained active, funded online brokerage accounts for testing. In certain circumstances, a demo account was provided by the broker.

StockBrokers.com uses a variety of computing devices to evaluate trading platforms. Our reviews were conducted using the following devices: iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 15 Pro Max, MacBook Pro M1 with 8 GB RAM running the current MacOS, and a Dell Vostro 5402 laptop i5 with 8 GB RAM running Windows 11 Pro. In testing platforms and apps, our reviewers place actual trades for a variety of instruments.

As part of our data check process, we sent a data profile link to each broker summarizing the data we had on file and the data they provided us last year, with a field for entering any data that had since changed. For the brokers that filled out these profiles, we audited the information for any discrepancies between our data and the broker’s data to ensure accuracy.

As part of our review process, all brokers had the opportunity to provide updates and key milestones in a live meeting that took place in the fall. Meetings with broker teams also took place throughout the year as new products rolled out. Insights gathered from these calls helped steer our testing efforts to ensure every feature and tool was assessed.

Once our data collection, auditing, and trading platform testing was completed, we entered our final 1-10 opinion scores of each broker's key areas (Commissions & Fees, Platforms & Tools, Research, Mobile Trading, Education, and Ease of Use). We then ran all the collected data through our proprietary scoring engine to determine each broker's Overall percent score and rating.

Trading platforms tested

We tested 17 online trading platforms for this guide:

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About the Editorial Team

Sam Levine, CFA, CMT
Sam Levine, CFA, CMT

Sam Levine has over 30 years of experience in the investing field as a portfolio manager, financial consultant, investment strategist and writer. He also taught investing as an adjunct professor of finance at Wayne State University. Sam holds the Chartered Financial Analyst and the Chartered Market Technician designations and is pursuing a master's in personal financial planning at the College for Financial Planning. Previously, he was a contributing editor at BetterInvesting Magazine and a contributor to The Penny Hoarder and other media outlets.

Carolyn Kimball
Carolyn Kimball

Carolyn Kimball is managing editor for Reink Media and the lead editor for the StockBrokers.com Annual Review. Carolyn has more than 20 years of writing and editing experience at major media outlets including NerdWallet, the Los Angeles Times and the San Jose Mercury News. She specializes in coverage of personal financial products and services, wielding her editing skills to clarify complex (some might say befuddling) topics to help consumers make informed decisions about their money.

Steven Hatzakis
Steven Hatzakis

Steven Hatzakis is the Global Director of Research for ForexBrokers.com. Steven previously served as an Editor for Finance Magnates, where he authored over 1,000 published articles about the online finance industry. Steven is an active fintech and crypto industry researcher and advises blockchain companies at the board level. Over the past 20 years, Steven has held numerous positions within the international forex markets, from writing to consulting to serving as a registered commodity futures representative.

Blain Reinkensmeyer
Blain Reinkensmeyer

Blain Reinkensmeyer has 20 years of trading experience with over 2,500 trades placed during that time. He heads research for all U.S.-based brokerages on StockBrokers.com and is respected by executives as the leading expert covering the online broker industry. Blain’s insights have been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and the Chicago Tribune, among other media outlets.

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