Best stock option trading service provider
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 rule of thumb here is simple: Investment Options A online stock broker should offer access to not only trading stocks, but also a strong selection of no load mutual funds, commission free ETFs, and complex options. Other unique investment offerings to look for could include direct market routing, conditional orders, futures trading, and forex trading.
Other Fees Fees beyond trade commissions include inactivity fees common with active trading brokers such as Interactive Brokers, Lightspeed, and TradeStation and IRA fees for having a retirement account. Just like a bank account, stock brokers also make a portion of their profits off miscellaneous fees. There is no reason why you should pay an annual fee to have an retirement account.
If managing your own portfolio is not of interest, all full-service brokers offer optional advisory services as well. Furthermore, robo-advisors such as Betterment are growing in popularity. Once again, the experience at larger established brokers is going to be superior to smaller brokers. Banking Larger online brokers offer banking and other financial services. This goes beyond money market accounts and CDs. Checking accounts, mortgages, debit cards, and credit cards can also be offered.
The leader in this space is, hands down, Bank of America Merrill Edge. Account Security Because of the web today, all online brokers invest heavily into account security. Just like shopping online and choosing a trustworthy website to purchase from, the best bet is to choose a well-known, established broker for your portfolio. To understand Order Execution, read this guide. International Trading For investors in the United States this is not a problem but for investors living outside the US, when comparing brokers it is important to make sure they offer service in your country.
If you need help deciding which broker to choose or have a broker specific question please feel free to email me and I will be happy to help. To view star ratings, summaries, screenshots, and more for these brokers, see our stock broker comparison tool. This took many dozens of hours to put together so I appreciate your support! Enter your email address. A broker that is a good choice for one trader may not necessarily be a good choice for another trader. As such, we would never recommend just one single broker to a broad audience, but would rather provide our readers with a range of suggestions and offer advice on how to select the most suitable.
This is why we have classified our recommendations into a number of different categories. When choosing a broker you need to think carefully about which aspects of a broker you need to be taking into consideration. For beginners and those looking to make relatively small trades, we believe that the following factors are particularly important and it's these that we suggest you look carefully at when deciding which online options broker to select.
Traditionally, brokers could easily be placed in one of two categories; they were either full service or discount. The advent of online brokers has made it somewhat more difficult to distinguish between the two as there tends to be a lot more flexibility in the services offered.
Strictly speaking, a full service broker is one that will provide you with professional advice and guidance in addition to transacting your orders for you while a discount broker will simply carry out your orders as instructed. For more details on this particular aspect of brokers, please visit Full Service Brokers vs. These days a number of brokers can effectively be placed in either, or both, of the categories as they offer a choice of service to their customers.
What you must decide is whether you want the additional services that are on offer, such as receiving expert advice on potential trades and investments, or whether you prefer to have a broker that simply acts upon your instructions. It won't surprise you to know that using the additional services is the more expensive option, and you will pay much less in commissions and fees when using discount services.
There's an idea floating around that suggests beginners are better off using a full service broker while they are still learning and benefitting from having a professional guide them as necessary.
There are certainly benefits in that course of action, however we suggest that even beginner options traders should use a discount service.
If a different form of investment was involved, such as investing in stocks and shares using a buy and hold strategy, then the arguments for using a full service broker would be stronger because there are real benefits in having an expert help you to plan your investments, find suitable investment opportunities, and monitor your portfolio. However, options trading is a unique form of trading and there is so much more involved than simply selecting stocks that are going to go up in value in the long term.
In our opinion, it's much better to be hands on from the very beginning, learning how to identify your own trading opportunities, and decide which options trading strategies to use. As such, we would advise beginner traders to stick to discount services primarily for the reasons listed above, but also because of the additional costs involved in using a full service broker.
The higher commission charges can really eat into any returns that you make, particularly if you are making fairly small trades, which can make it very difficult to be profitable in the long run. This is also why discount services are better for small traders, whether beginners or not, as the extra costs effectively have a bigger impact when trade values are low.
The commissions and fees charged by an online broker are, somewhat obviously, something that any type of options trader needs to take into consideration. It's particularly important for small traders to use a broker with competitive commission because as we have touched on above; high commissions can be a real problem when making low value trades. Bearing in mind that most beginners will typically start out with fairly low value trades too. Beginners options traders also should be looking to keep commission charges as low as possible.
You should also be looking for commission and fee structures that are nice and straightforward.