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5 Best Online Stock Brokers

To trade or invest in stocks stocks online, one needs to have an account with a stock broker. Here are the 5 best online stock brokers for 2020.

1. TD Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade has always been among the top online stock brokers, and this year is no different. I have been using TD Ameritrade for a couple of years now since it acquired Scottrade where I had my account for 10 years. I must say I'm pretty impressed on what TD Ameritrade has to offer.

Free Trade - TD Ameritrade used to charge $6.95 per trade and it was reduced to $0 since Oct 2019 for stocks, options and ETFs. This is great news for day traders and swing traders as they can now save thousands on commissions each year. You can't beat the price of free. If you trade options, there is a $0.65 fee per contract. Best of all, there is no minimum required to open an account.

Trading Platform - TD Ameritrade has an excellent platform that you execute your trades. You can buy and sell stocks on your computer or using your phone, so you can easily buy stocks on the go. For day traders, the TD Ameritrade's thinkorswim desktop software is useful in monitoring your stocks, following the news, or viewing stock charts.

Research Platform - Are you new to the investing world? TD Ameritrade is a beginner friendly platform. It packs with tons of powerful research tools that you can use to help you find stocks to trade or invest.

Stock Screener - TD Ameritrade has one of the best stock screeners for fundamental analysis and technical analysis, and it is the only real time screener that is free of charge.

Charting Platform - charting platform that is highly customizable with fundamental and technical inputs, on time news about the general market, sectors and industries, as well as analyst reports. The charting platform is available online, as an app for your phone, or as a desktop software.

2. Fidelity

Fidelity is another great online stock broker that offers $0 commission trades. It is the broker where I have my IRA retirement account with.

Free Trade - Same as TD Ameritrade, Fidelity charges no commission fees for trading stocks, options and ETFs. With options trading, there is a $0.65 fee for each contract. The minimum required to open an account is $0.

Trading Platform - The Fidelity trading platform is awesome where you can execute your trade smoothly either through online, mobile or their desktop trading software called the Active Trader Pro.

Research Platform - Fidelity offers extensive research tools that you can utilize. The research platform is useful for investors of any level. You will find general market information about stocks, options, mutual funds, quotes, IPOs and much more.

Stock Screener - Fidelity has a stock screener that is mostly based on fundamental analysis which is useful for long term investors. Short term traders and day traders may not find it very useful as they have only a limited set of screens for technical data. One unique feature of the screener is its ability to scan stocks based on analyst opinions from major analyst companies on Wall Street.

Charting Platform - Fidelity also has a powerful charting platform that you can view various technical indicators on a chart and it offers different choices of chart types.

3. E*Trade

E*Trade has been one of the most popular online stock brokers for many years. It is best known for its powerful trading platform which is great for option traders.

Free Trade - Just like the other stock brokers, E*Trade no longer charge commissions for stock, options and ETF trades. The contract fee is $0.65 per contract for options trading.

Trading Platform - E*Trade has a Power E*TRADE platform that allows you to execute trades on your computer and as a mobile app. The Power E*TRADE is designed to help traders to trade options, stocks, futures, and ETFs with ease and speed. You will get streaming quotes on options, stocks and futures and be able to perform technical analysis with their stock charts.

Charting Platform - Through Power E*TRADE, you can use interactive charts with lots of useful inputs. The technical pattern recognition tool is particularly useful which is able to automatically add technical patterns on charts and allow technical traders to find potential trades quickly.

Stock Screener - You can scan for stocks with unusual options activity or equities with outsized volatility as well as ratings from third-party research companies.

4. Charles Schwab

Charles Schwab comes in 4th place in our list of top stock brokers, and they offer a variety of investing solutions for customers.

Free Trade - Charles Schwab offers free trades with $0 commission for stocks, options and ETFs. For options trading, there is a $0.65 per contract fees which is in line with other major online brokers.

Trading Platform - You can execute trades on their web based platform, mobile app, or through their premier desktop software called the StreetSmart Edge. All three platform allows you to trade stocks, options ETFs, or futures easily.

Research Platform - Charles Schwab offers comprehensive research information that you can use about the general market or individual stocks. If you are just starting out in the stock market, you may be overwhelmed by how much research data you can get from Charles Schwab.

Charting Platform - You get charting from all three platforms, web based, mobile app, and their desktop software which is the most powerful one of the three. Through StreetSmart Edge, you can create custom real time charts with a robust number of styles and technical data. You will also get intraday pattern-based strategy ideas to help you make decisions which is perfect for day traders and swing traders.

5. Ally Invest

Ally Invest is well known for low cost $0 trading commissions and quality customer service.

Free Trade - Ally Invest is now commission free for stocks, options and ETF trading. The cost is $0.50 per contract for options. There is no account minimum to open an account with Ally Invest.

Trading Platform - Ally Invest offers a trading platform with free screening tools, customizable stock charting, research and real-time data. The trading platform is web-based so no downloads is required.

Research and Trading tools - This is where Ally shines as they offer access to professional financial advisors without paying a premium. Ally's tools are rated among the "Best for Options Traders" by Barron’s. Tools include Probability Calculator, Profit + Loss Calculator, Stock and Option Screeners, Technical Analysis Tools, and much more.

Ally Invest has a community where traders and investors can exchange ideas, share trading strategies, and get insights from others. Ally Invest is part of Ally Bank and the platform is highly integrated with Ally Bank. For those who already have an account with Ally Bank, they will enjoy the most benefits by associating their accounts with Ally Invest.

Final Words

You can't go wrong with any of the five online stock brokers listed here when you are trading stocks listed on the regular exchanges such as NYSE, NASDAQ and AMEX. However, if you are trading penny stocks from the OTCBB market, there are commissions with some of the brokers listed here. For example, TD Ameritrade charges a flat-rate of $6.95 per OTCBB / penny stock trade. We will make a new list of the top stock brokers for penny stocks trading in another post.

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