This article/post contains references to products or services from one or more of our advertisers or partners. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products or services.

The Best Online Stock Trading Sites for Beginners 2020

You can trust the integrity of our balanced, independent financial advice. We may, however, receive compensation from the issuers of some products mentioned in this article. Opinions are the authors alone, and this content has not been provided by, reviewed, approved or endorsed by any advertiser.

With the rising popularity of index fund investing androbo-advisors, it may seem the trading of individual stocks is fast becoming a lost art. But tens of millions of investors continue to trade individual stocks and other securities, and thats why its important to do so using the best online stock trading sites.

hether it has to do with trading commissions, broker assistance, trading tools, or educational resources, finding the online stock trading site that will work best for you can improve your investment returns by thousands of dollars over the years. In this article, thats exactly what were trying to help you do.

In determining the best online stock trading sites, we looked at 10 popular investment brokerages. We narrowed the list down to the five that provide the broadest range of services, as well as the most attractive pricing. After all, this is a list of stock trading sites, so fees matter.

Overall, we used the following criteria to determine the best online stock trading sites:

Each of the five stock trading sites on this list excel in each of these categories. It came down to relative levels of strength in each, as well as exemplary performance in one or more areas.

They offer trading in stocks, bonds, options, Forex and futures. You can also trade in thousands of mutual funds and ETFs.

Ally Invest is particularly well-suited to active traders, due to its almost non-existent commission schedule. All stock trades carry with them a $0 commission cost and options trades are also $0 each, but with a fee of $0.50 per contract.

They also have the advantage of the tie-in with Ally Bank, which offers some of the highest interest rates paid ononline savings accountsmoney market accountsandcertificates of deposit. You can use bank assets as a high yield and totally safe allocation to go with your equity investments.

Ally Invest is also recognized for having one of the top trading platforms in the industry, as well as 24/7 customer service by both phone and live chat.

TD Ameritrademight just have the best overall trading platform in the industry. It also has more than 360 branch locations in major metropolitan areas around the country.

TD Ameritrade is particularly strong with their trading platform. They offer overnight trading, on a 24/5 basis trading 24 hours a day, five days per week. Their thinkorswim feature provides professional level trading technology, streaming real-time data, customizable charts and integrated one-click trading. They also offerAdvanced Trading, investor education tools, and Technical Analysis (with more than 400 technical studies).

But perhaps most interesting is the TD AmeritradepaperMoneytool. Its a virtual trading account that lets you test trading strategies before going live. It gives you two accounts, a virtual margin account in a virtual IRA, each with $100,000. Its perfect either for a beginner or an advanced trader to test various investment strategies without the possibility of losing money in the process.

TD Ameritrade is simply one of the least expensive of the investment brokerage range, with a fee of $0 per trade for stocks and ETFs, and $0 per trade for options, plus $0.65 per contract. Theres free trading of load mutual funds, and $49.99 per trade for no-load funds.

Advertising disclosure is partnered with TD Ameritrade and we may receive compensation from them depending on your action. All opinions are ours and not influenced by any advertiser.

E*TRADEis another investment broker thats coming up fast. E*TRADE made a deep plunge into options trading with the 2017 acquisition of OptionsHouse, a platform that specialized in that investment niche. In fact, E*TRADE has largely kept the OptionsHouse platform intact, while adding its own specific services to the mix.

Much like other investment brokerage firms on this list, you can hold the widest variety of investments through E*TRADE. And while options are their strong suit, theyre also a major force with funds, offering more than 9,000 mutual funds, including more than 4,400 no-load funds with no transaction fees. They also offer a wide variety of target date mutual funds.

With fees, E*TRADE is about the best you can do when compared to the major investment brokerages. They charge $0 per trade for stocks and ETFs, and $19.99 per trade for mutual funds. For options, they charge the base fee of $0 per trade, plus $0.65 per contract.

Customer service is available on a 24/7 basis, by phone, email and live chat. They also have more than 30 local branches in major metropolitan areas around the country.

The trading platform is one of the best in the industry, particularly in regard to options trading:

Charles Schwabvirtually invented the discount investment brokerage concept back in the 1970s. But they steadily added services to the point where they are a full-service broker, while still providing discount prices.

Charles Schwab offers everything Fidelity does, and is an even larger firm based on assets under management. But we gave Fidelity the nod due to their stronger position in mutual funds.

But Schwab has plenty of strengths of their own. Their training tools and broker support are second to none in the industry. Their fees are comparable to Fidelitys, and so is their investment selection.

If youre a trader, and especially a new trader, they offer some of the best educational and training resources on the web. They also offer the full range of investment products, including stocks, bonds, options, mutual funds and ETFs. At $4.95 per trade, their commissions are at the low end of the investment broker range. They are however high on mutual fund commissions, at $76 per trade.

But one of the factors making Schwab one of the top firms in the industry is their robo-advisor platform. These days, virtually every major brokerage has one. But what makes theirSchwab Intelligent Portfoliosrobo-advisor stand out is that its offered atno fee.The service invests your money in up to 20 different asset classes, including commodities and real estate. Its a perfect option for a new trader who may want to keep some of his or her money in a professionally managed account, while breaking into self-directed trading at the same time. Thats a big advantage for any investor, but particularly anew investor. And even though were primarily evaluating stock trading sites based on actual trading features, its always a plus to have a good managed option as well.And one thats free is even better!

But one area of particular benefit to new traders is customer service. Schwab has it available on a 24/7 basis, and it consistently gets high ratings from major financial media outlets. For example, in 2017, Charles Schwab was rated 1 in customer service by investors Business Daily.

They offer a wealth of investment tools, includingSchwab Proprietary Research, which provides access to stock ratings, fundamental research, custom screeners, and much more:

Wed like to say this was an easy choice, but it was anything but. Its a matter of choosing between fivevery good investment brokerages,and Fidelity won the top spot by no more than a nose.

Fidelityis one of the worlds largest investment brokerage firms, with nearly $2.5 trillion in assets under management. The company started out as a mutual fund family, which is still one of its specializations. But it branched out into general brokerage services, and we feel its become the best in the business.

The platform offers something for every investor. You can trade virtually any type of investment, but perhaps what Fidelity is best known for is funds, particularly their own Fidelity Funds. They have some of the best known and establishedmutual fundsin the industry, including the $100 billion-plus Fidelity Contra Fund. And in addition to the Fidelity Funds, they offer thousands more from other fund families.

With the popularity of fund investingand the fact that Fidelity is the second largest fund provider (afterVanguard)gives them the nod over the competition.

They also offer all those investment options with trading fees that are at the lower end of the entire industry.Their basic trading fees for stocks, options andETFsare at the lower end of the investment brokerage fee range, at $4.95 per trade. Mutual fund commissions are $49.95 per trade, but they offer hundreds of funds commission-free.

TheirActive Trader Protrading platform is one of the best in the industry, and they provide abundant trading tools and educational resources.Fidelity also provides specific tools for mutual fund investors. TheSearch and Screen by Fund Familytool provides an entire list of all funds available, broken down by fund family. It lists fund performance for one, three, five and 10 years, as well as expense ratios and MorningStar ratings:

Fidelity also enables you to choose funds by specific sector, and provides a list of the highest (four and five star) funds, as rated by MorningStar.

They offer 24/7 customer service, as well as more than 140 brick and mortar branches around the country, a rarity in what is increasingly an online broker universe. As well, Fidelity consistently rates highly among popular financial publications, like Barrons, Kiplinger, and Investors Business Daily.

Related: ReadFidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card Review

Every one of the five brokerage firms on this list is one of the best in the industry, and worthy of investigation, or even as the destination foryour investment portfolio. Each is good on multiple fronts. But weve identified specific categories where each stands out above the rest.

Here are the categories in which we believe each broker is very likely the best in the industry:

There are a lot of good investment brokerage firms available, including every company on this list. But no matter what you hear about a particular platform, the most important consideration is working with one that best suits your needs as an investor.

If you primarily invest in funds, selecting an investment broker with a wide selection of funds will be more important than choosing the broker who has the lowest trading fees.

Similarly, if youre mostly a buy-and-hold investor, specific investment analysis tools may be more important to you than choosing the broker with the lowest fees.

If youre a new investor, you might want to go with a firm that offers a combination of strong educational and training tools, excellent customer service, and a virtual trading account that will allow you to learn the ropes without using real money.

If youre an active trader, commission fees will be very important, since they will affect the net return on your trading activities. As well, youll need a trading platform that will facilitate high-frequency trading.

For options traders, look closely at the features and tools available at a brokerage specifically for options trading. A platform thats considered best-in-class based on individual stocks, funds or even low fees may not be your best choice.

Final thoughts on the Best Online Trading Sites

Though weve specifically designed this article to discuss the best online trading sites, any of the five would also be suitable for just about any other investment related purpose. Use this list as a starting point for your search.

All great options, and some I highly recommend to new investors. I also agree that new investors should highly consider choosing a firm that offers them education. You dont want to be stuck as a newbie investor forever.

You should also review places like M1 which I love. Also Robin Hood, who do not charge you at all for investing. M1 also has expert pies that you can choose according to your objective.

FIRSTRADE-Horrible customer service. Logs you off every two hours ready OR not. Will hold up your trades at their on discretion.