Online broker stock options
Get up to free trades for 2 years. Fidelity is best known for its value driven customer experience. Beyond cost and ease of use, Fidelity also finished 1 for research tools. OptionsHouse has been rated the 1 platform for Options Trading the past seven years. Merrill Edge is the online broker of Bank of America and is available to all investors, regardless if they are a current BofA customer. Like TD Ameritrade and ETRADE, Merrill Edge is well-rounded; however, it has a huge advantage over all other brokers thanks to its Preferred Rewards program where customers can earn free trades, credit cards bonus cash back, priority customer service, and more.
I have personally been using the program since it launched in With its competitive commission rates for stocks and options trading, investors who have previous market experience will find themselves right at home. However, unless you are already an Ally customer, you will find that there are better offerings available.
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. Consider these 12 key factors to help compare all stock brokers and ultimately find the best broker to suite your needs. Trade Commissions What does it cost to buy shares of stock?
Does the fee change based on the type of order or size of order? 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. Customer Service 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.
Trading Tools 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. Account Minimums 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. Market Research A good online broker will provide a variety of market research tools.
The cheapest broker is unlikely to be the best broker as ultimately you do tend to get what you pay for. If you are comparing two brokers and one offers everything you want from a broker but is a bit more expensive than the other one, which lacks some of what you want, then the extra cost is almost certainly going to be worth it. You should also be sure to look a little deeper than simply the headline commission rate that a broker advertises.
There may be terms and conditions you have to comply with to get the advertised rate, such as a minimum number of trades or having a certain level of funds in your account at all times. You may also find that only certain types of orders qualify for the advertised commission rate, and other orders may be more expensive. You really need to check these sorts of things out when you are selecting your online options broker. It should also be noted that commission charges aren't the only costs that you might incur while using a broker.
Some brokers add fees for a whole range of different things: Some might even charge you a fee if your account is dormant for any length of time. If you aren't careful, these fees can potentially add up to quite a significant sum.
So you should make sure you know exactly what the deal is before going ahead and signing up with a broker. This might seem pretty obvious, as any trader or investor should recognize the importance of putting their money to good use at all times. However, in this context we are making a specific point.
It isn't necessarily one of huge significance, but it is nonetheless something that is worthy of consideration. A lot of traders do tend to have some unused capital in their account most of the time and a little bit of extra return is always welcome, so it's worth checking to see if a broker does offer these interest payments.
While the level of customer service you receive is unlikely to have a direct impact on your success as a trader, good customer service can certainly make your life easier. The best online services, such as those that we recommend, will provide quality customer service and be on hand to assist in you such instances. When you are looking at different options, you might want to take a look at whether there are alternative ways to contact customer service that suit your requirements.
Admittedly it's rarely an ideal solution, because there are obvious advantages to doing all of your trading with just the one broker, but it's not something that should be ruled out. Remember, though, a lot of brokers require minimum deposits so this is something you might need to take into account if you are splitting your capital across two accounts.
The key to finding a good online options broker is basically just to do your research. You should have a clear idea about what is important to you and what it is you are looking for, so it really is as simple as checking out some different brokers and determining which one is the best fit for you.
This is one of the reasons why we have provided our readers with recommendations of services that we believe are of a particularly high quality.