13 Best Online Brokers to Invest or Trade Stocks, Forex, Cryptocurrency & More

Observer Content Studio is a unit of Observer’s branded content department. Observer’s editorial staff is not involved in the creation of this content. Observer and/or sponsor may collect a portion of sales if you purchase products through these links.

Are you looking for an online broker but have no idea which one to choose? Honestly, we get it. It can be a daunting task since there are so many options available. But no worries! We can help you find the right broker for you as we’ve done the heavy lifting and put together a list of the best online brokers. 

No matter if you’re looking for low minimum deposit requirements, low trading fees, spreads, or perhaps even some cool features like copy trading, we’ve got you covered. 

Want to learn more? Get aboard with us!

13 Best Online Stock Trading Brokers: First Look

  1. All-round best stock broker site – TDAmeriTrade
  2. Best for IRA accounts – Schwab
  3. Strong online trading platforms – Etrade
  4. Best for active traders – Fidelity
  5. Best for international trading – Interactive Brokers
  6. Best copy trading software – Etoro
  7. Best for financial advice – Sofi
  8. Cheap online stock trading – Ally Invest
  9. Best free online brokerage – Robinhood
  10. Best innovative trader tools – Prime XBT
  11. Best for cryptocurrency – Kraken
  12. Best for CFDs – IQ Option
  13. Solid interface for executing trades – Plus500

1. TD AmeriTrade – All-Round Best Stock Broker Site

Features

  • Fees: ETF, free stock, and per-leg options trading commissions (U.S)
  • Account min: $0
  • Asset classes: stocks, options, mutual funds, ETFs, forex, futures
  • Mobile app
  • Detailed learning resources

Downsides

  • Too many tools and features
  • Trading penny stocks isn’t free

If you’re just getting started trading securities, you might want to give TD AmeriTrade a shot. This 1975 platform boasts comprehensive learning resources – from courses with quizzes to videos with progress tracking – for the newbies looking to get into the game.

TD AmeriTrade supports all account types as far as trading goes. You might want to experiment with everything: stocks, currency, options, and futures. The listed securities are only either US or Canadian, though.

With low fees and Thinkorswim – an intuitive desktop trading platform, TD Ameritrade is potentially the best brokerage platform on the market. Not to mention, their customer support team is usually fast on their feet, providing relevant and helpful information. 

Among other things, this firm might be the place to be when it comes to ease of use and market research. They offer commission free stock trades, too. Penny stocks, however, go for a flat rate.

2. Schwab – Best Online Trading for IRA Accounts

Features

  • Fees: $0
  • Account min: $0
  • Asset classes: stocks, bonds, commodities, and cash investments
  • Robust trading platforms
  • Free penny stock trades

Downsides

  • High fees for some mutual funds
  • US and Canada markers only

For the senior citizens seeking to enjoy tax benefits with the best IRA accounts, Schwab might be worth a try. This full-service brokerage has a variety of investment choices for your pick. The firm offers robust trading platforms for casual and professional traders alike. You won’t find any real-time streaming quotes on the mobile app, though.

Schwab’s market research is extensive and boasts a reliable in-house market commentary. This might be appealing if you’d like to stay informed as far as market updates go.

Because this firm doesn’t charge a thing to trade penny stocks, it might be impressive if you’re looking to trade the asset. Stock and ETF trades are free as well. Meanwhile, options trades go for $0.65 a contract.

3. Etrade – Strong Online Trading Platforms

Features

  • Fees: ETF trades, regular stock ($0), options trades ($0 + $.65 per contract)
  • Account min: $0
  • Asset classes: stocks, options, futures, ETFs, mutual funds, bonds & CDs
  • A wide range of trading tools
  • Easy to use

Downsides

  • Limited learning resources
  • Slow live chat

If you don’t want to go through the hassle of downloading and installing a trading port, Etrade might not disappoint. Their trading corner is web-based, and they offer stock, ETF, and mutual fund trades, among other options.

This firm’s Power Etrade platform is fast, easy to use, and comes with several different tools for your pick. It’s also available in desktop and mobile versions, so you can switch to whichever one suits your needs accordingly.

The trading port might be a good fit if you’re into futures and options trades, too, especially when it comes to managing your trading positions seamlessly. Etrade’s education isn’t as thorough, though.

Charting boasts a decent number of technical indicators and drawing tools. This might make for hassle-free stock analysis, technically, for the professionals. Although, you may find it’s challenging to run multiple charts simultaneously here.

4. Fidelity – Best Online Stock Trading for Active Traders

Features

  • Fees: stock/ETF trades ($0), options trades ($0 + $.65 per contract)
  • Account min: $0
  • Asset classes: stocks, ETFs, option trades
  • Data-rich screeners
  • Comprehensive market commentary

Downsides

  • No third party reports for mutual funds
  • Higher broker-assisted trade fees

Active traders seeking brokerage accounts, where are you? Fidelity might be the place to get yourself a seat. Their Active Trader Pro port caters to active trading, and you have access to four mutual funds.

Like most entries on this list, this platform doesn’t charge a cent for stock and ETF trades. Moreover, you won’t pay a thing for trading penny stocks, unlike most of the competition that charges a commission for the same.

When it comes to market research, Fidelity might not disappoint. Their in-house market commentary is especially comprehensive, and you might want to count on it for daily updates. This firm doesn’t offer third-party reports for mutual funds, though.

5. InteractiveBrokers – Best Broker for International Trading

Features

  • Fees: per Pro platform share ($0.005 or trade value of 1%), IBKR Lite ($0)
  • Account min: $0
  • Asset classes: stocks, options, futures, currencies, metals, and more
  • Robust trading platform
  • User-friendly interface

Downsides

  • No push notifications via the mobile app
  • High forex fees

With an extensive international reach (135+ market destinations), Interactive Brokers might be a good fit for traders looking to trade across global platforms hassle-free. The firm offers rock-bottom margin rates, too.

This brokerage’s main trading port is desktop-based and supports almost all the financial instruments under the sun. Interactive Brokers have a mobile app, which might be helpful if you’re looking to trade on-the-go. You won’t get stock alerts via push notifications here, though, only email.

The best online brokers provide learning materials, and Interactive Brokers may know it only too well. Their educational options include courses, webinars, videos, articles, and quizzes. 

6. Etoro – Best Copy Trading Software

Features

  • Fees: stocks (0.70%), cryptocurrencies (0.75%-5.0%)
  • Account min: $50
  • Asset classes: stocks, crypto assets, commodities, currencies
  • Embraces copy (social) trading
  • Free withdrawals (for US clients)

Downsides

  • Copy-trading has high minimums
  • Wide spreads for cryptocurrency trades
  • US clients can only trade cryptocurrency

If you have a basic understanding of forex and cryptos, you might want to give Etoro a try. One area this 2007 broker excels in is social trading, aka copy trading: mimicking others’ trades and strategies.

So, if you’re a beginner or don’t have the time to analyze your favorite financial assets, you might want to copy the most successful traders on the platform.

Most traders require that you copy their trades with a minimum of 200$ per trade. But don’t let this put you off. Considering you get to choose and copy from the best traders on the entire platform with zero effort, it’s a great deal. 

Of course, copy trading doesn’t 100% guarantee any gains. If the trades you’re copying gain, you gain and vice versa. Still, it’s a fantastic feature if you’d like to get a hands-off experience, sit back and watch how other traders do the heavy-lifting. 

Moreover, while US clients are currently only allowed to trade cryptocurrencies here, non-US citizens can trade a wide range of asset classes, including cryptos, stocks, commodities, ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds), CFDs (Contract for Differences), and currency pairs.

7. Sofi – Best Online Broker for Financial Advice

Features

  • Fees: stocks ($0), cryptocurrencies (1.25%)
  • Account min: $1
  • Asset classes: stocks, cryptocurrencies, ETFs
  • Automatic account rebalancing
  • A wide range of low-cost investments

Downsides

  • No tax-loss harvesting
  • Limited account types
  • No stop-loss orders

Maybe you need financial advice to make better personal-finance decisions? You might want to try Sofi. Alongside career coaching, they give you (unlimited) access to a squad of certified financial planners, all for free.

For the active traders, you might want to take advantage of the active stock-trading accounts with fractional shares – as well as cryptos. And if you’d rather trade passively, the firm’s automated brokerage accounts might be a good fit.

Thanks to account rebalancing, any cash inflows or outflows signals Sofi that your account is ready for some adjustments. They not only rebalance your portfolio but also monitor it daily.

Flipping the coin, Sofi doesn’t offer tax-loss harvesting, and you might have to pay (in full) the taxes owed on your investment gains.

8. Ally Invest – Cheap Online Stock Trading

Features

  • Fees: per stock trade ($0)
  • Account min: $0
  • Asset classes: equities, mutual funds, fixed income, options
  • Comprehensive educational resources
  • Easy-to-use trading portals

Downsides

  • Limited mobile-trading experience
  • Caters to US markets only

If you want to link your investment account to your banking account, Ally Invest might be a good fit for you. One of the firm’s trading platforms is more or less banking friendly, which might make for seamless account consolidation.

This firm’s InvestLIVE trading port is user-friendly. It boasts less customizable options for setting trade defaults, though. You might find the mobile experience is limited, too, as you can’t trade all of the available financial assets via it.

When it comes to educational resources, Ally Invest might not disappoint. From quarterly digital conferences to live webinars with in-house experts and a learning section on a sister site, they are well-armed.

9. Robinhood – Best Free Online Brokerage

Features

  • Fees: per trade ($0)
  • Account min: $0
  • Asset classes: bonds, royalty trusts, OTC equities, trackings stocks
  • Dividend reinvestment feature
  • Optimized for beginners

Downsides

  • Limited customer support
  • Market research is lacking

Where are those looking to trade assets for free? Robinhood might have a seat for you. The broker doesn’t charge a thing on stocks, options, cryptocurrency, and ETFs trades.

The firm has a tool that lets you invest a fixed sum of money periodically, say, weekly. And, if you want, you can reinvest any earned dividends automatically.

Yet, besides their newsletter and podcast, with daily market summaries in easy-to-digest formats, Robinhood’s market research is comparatively lacking.

10. Prime XBT – Best Innovative Trader Tools

Features

  • Fees: trading fees (0.05%)
  • Account min: 0.001 BTC
  • Asset classes: forex, commodities, indices, cryptocurrencies
  • Suitable for new and professional traders
  • Customer care 24/7

Downsides

  • No demo accounts
  • Doesn’t accept US clients
  • No dedicated phone support

If you’re seeking a spot that is both an exchange and brokerage, Prime XBT might be worth a try. They offer a range of asset classes, including cryptocurrency, commodities, indices, and forex, for your pick.

While Prime XBT has a single trading platform, the port is feature-rich with 90+ indicators, which might come in handy for technical analysis. There’s no demo account offered here, though, and beginners might have a hard time acquainting themselves with the real platform.

This Seychelles firm offers competitive leverage (up to 100x) on crypto assets. Forex and commodity assets come with a leverage of up to 1,000x.

11. Kraken – Best Online Broker for Cryptocurrency

Features

  • Fees: per trade (0%-0.26%)
  • Account min: see here
  • Asset classes: futures, OTC, indices,
  • Customer support 24/7
  • A wide range of tradable assets

Downsides

  • Fees might be somewhat confusing
  • No dedicated phone or email support

Any cryptocurrency aficionados in the house? Kraken could have a spot for you. This US-based cryptocurrency exchange lets you trade coins and tokens hassle-free, so you might never have to look elsewhere. If you are a forex trader, among other things, they might have a seat for you as well.

Unlike most brokerages with a flat-rate fee schedule, Kraken offers a variable maker-taker fee schedule, resulting in lower fees. Beginners might find it’s somewhat confusing, though.

Kraken understands you might want some questions answered and concerns addressed. Their customer desk is open 24/7. They don’t offer phone and email support, though, only chat sessions.

12. IQ Option – Best Online Brokerage Site for CFDs

Features

  • Fees: swap fees (0.1%-0.5%), charges vary
  • Account min: $10
  • Asset classes: forex, crypto, digital options, stocks
  • Demo accounts available
  • Reliable customer support

Downsides

  • No fixed-spread accounts
  • No US customers
  • Restricted leverage for beginners

A broker with an intuitive platform, IQ Option might be a good fit if you’re into CFDs. However, the firm doesn’t currently accept US traders.

This 2013 platform offers CFDs on popular financial assets, including forex, stocks, ETFs, digital options, and cryptocurrencies. It boasts an easy-to-navigate trading port with a whole load of tools, including screeners, economic calendars, market updates, and volatility alerts. There are no fixed-spread accounts here, though.

A standard brokerage account attracts a low minimum deposit, which might be something of interest if you’re a beginner. And with a demo account integrated, you might want to use it for practice before hopping onto a live account.

Professional traders might want to use it (demo account) alongside a real account to test various trading strategies without risking their account balance.

13. Plus500 – Solid Interface for Executing Trades

Features

  • Fees: inactivity fees, overnight financing costs, spread costs
  • Account min: 100 units of the base currency
  • Asset classes: forex, options, crypto, shares, commodities
  • 2,000+ financial instruments
  • Guaranteed stop-loss orders

Downsides

  • No US customers
  • Limited learning resources
  • Inactivity fees

If you’re seeking the best brokerage with competitive spreads, you might want to look no further than Plus500. Some of the financial instruments here have a guaranteed stop-loss order, too, helping guard your finances against market risk gaps.

This firm boasts quite a product line – forex, indices, cryptocurrency, stocks, commodities, etc. – with well over 2,000 assets for your pick. And you might never lose more than your account’s initial balance, thanks to the broker’s negative-balance protection.

Plus500’s trading platform, WebTrader, is easy to navigate and lets you do more than execute a trade: analyze charts and create watchlists. Only it’s missing the back-testing functionality. The firm offers little in the way of education and market research, too.

Best Online Brokerage Firms: Your Questions Answered

What Should I Consider When Choosing an Online Broker?

Firstly, do you want to trade or invest? These two are different. The ormer means purchasing and selling an asset after holding it over a short period. Investing, meanwhile, means buying and holding assets for a long time before selling them.

Secondly, what assets do you want to buy? Most online stock brokers offer various assets (and their classes), from stocks to currency and indices. So, decide before taking the plunge.

Then, consider your (investment) needs: Are you new to investing? Seek a broker with reliable educational resources. Do you have limited finances? Use a broker with small minimum balances. And are you constantly on-the-go? Look for a broker with a reliable mobile app.

Discount Brokers vs. Full-Service Brokers

Generally, discount stock brokers provide fewer services, allowing you to just buy and sell stocks, nothing more. This probably explains why they charge reduced commission rates.

Full-service brokers, meanwhile, do more than let you trade stocks. They provide a whole load of client support, including investment advice and stock analysis. Consequently, they charge higher fees than their counterparts. Our stockbrokers above are the full-service type.

How Much Money Do I Need to Start Trading?

If a brokerage firm has no account minimum, all you need to get started is just enough money to cover the number of stocks you want to acquire. If, for instance, Facebook stocks cost $84 each, it’s what you’ll need to have to purchase a single Facebook stock.

Most of our online brokers offer commission free trades. But if a potential brokerage company does, you’ll need to add it to the stocks’ cost.

Best Online Brokerage Firms: The Takeaway

Phew! That was a lot of info! But we hope it helps you make informed investment choices. The rule of thumb remains the same: never invest more than you can afford to lose.

Our winner is TDAmeriTrade: With courses, educational videos, and support for all account types, TD AmeriTrade is a solid choice both for newbies and experienced traders. 

Our first and second runners-ups are Schwab and Etrade. The former is a full-service brokerage platform suited for both casual and professional traders, while the latter is a great option if you’re into futures and option trades. 

All of our top picks boast something worth shouting about. Etoro, for instance, lets beginners mimic the trades and strategies of professional traders. 

Online investing might not be for everyone, but it doesn’t have to be complicated, either. You may want to open an account with one of our online stock brokers above and get the ball rolling! 13 Best Online Brokers to Invest or Trade Stocks, Forex, Cryptocurrency & More