Stock Trading Sites – Top Ten

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Of all the ways the Internet has changed our lives, one of the most profound is the ability to do stock trading online. Not only is this convenient it also enables even the smallest investor to get started. With the ease involved setting up a retirement plan and getting on track has never been easier. The following 10 websites are for stock brokerages that have online trading capabilities along with a host of other tools to aid investors. They are listed in order of their Alexa traffic count rating. Note that all fees given are as of January, 2014 when this was written.


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1. Fidelity Investments:  

Global Alexa Rating: 1,023

Fidelity is one of the most popular stock trading websites. They offer low commissions and fees, as well as 10 sector ETF’s that offer the lowest expense ratios in the industry. The website is easy to use and offers the ability to have an instant message with a representative to get help opening an account or discussing investment options. The website includes all the tools for managing a portfolio, including trading, transferring money and more. The news & insights section is invaluable in keeping up-to-date with information critical to investing decisions. The research section has many tools including a watchlist and alerts. The guidance & retirement section also has investment guidance, retirement planning, wealth management, estate planning, calculators and tons of tools. A section on investment products clearly explains investments such as mutual funds, stocks, options, IRAs, annuities and sector investing. Their fees are disclosed on the site with most online trades costing just $7.95 per trade.


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 2. Charles Schwab:

Global Alexa Rating: 1,781

Charles Schwab offers many different types of accounts, including IRAs, small business retirement accounts, college savings accounts, trust accounts, global accounts and more. An account can be open online in about 10 minutes. Their standard brokerage account requires a minimum opening deposit of $1,000 unless the investor sets up an automatic $100/month deposit or opens a Schwab Bank high-yield investor checking account linked to the brokerage account. There are no monthly service fees and online equity trades cost $8.95 regardless of the account balance, how often there is trading or how many shares are traded. The website has a live chat option for assistance. They also offer a mobile app for those interested.


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3. E*TRADE:   

Global Alexa Rating: 2,432

E*TRADE is another popular online trading option. Stock and option trades cost $9.99 or less. At this time they are also offering a special – when an investor rolls over their old 401(k) or opens an IRA of $10,000 or more all trades for 60 days are free. E*TRADE has been an industry leader for more than 25 years. They offer easy, intuitive online and mobile technology. They also offer a full range of investment choices, including stocks, options, futures, Forex, mutual funds, bonds and securities from 77 international markets. A useful tool on their site is a retirement planning calculator that creates a retirement action plan in about 15 minutes. They also offer E*TRADE Pro Elite for active traders. The site also offers free research and on-demand education.


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4. Scottrade:   

Global Alexa Rating: 2,690

Scottrade makes it easy to open an account or transfer an account from another brokerage quickly and easily. The benefit of Scottrade is their pricing, which is just $7.00 per trade and requires only a $500 initial deposit. They also have over 500 branch offices nationwide which are helpful when one-on-one assistance is desired. Even if there isn’t an office close by they also offer in-depth, one-on-one support online. Another benefit is their referral program in which investors can earn free online trades for themselves and their friends. They also offer mobile trading. There is a tool on the website so users can compare them to other brokerages.


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 5. TD Ameritrade:

Global Alexa Rating: 5,965

TD Ameritrade offers free, powerful trading platforms. They have a number of powerful tools for technical analysis with their Think or Swim platform. They also offer virtual, practice trading in historical and current markets with their Paper Money feature. Investors have access to real time streaming quotes and access to level II quotes. Qualified investors can use options and futures to manage risk within an IRA. They also offer discounted access to industry-leading educational affiliate Investools. Online equity trades cost $9.99 and there is no minimum opening deposit except for those desiring margin/options which requires a $2,000 minimum opening deposit. They offer more investment options than most online brokerages, including Forex trading.


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6. OptionsXpress by Charles Schwab:

Global Alexa Rating: 11,486

OptionsXpress is a part of Charles Schwab and offers the ability to trade stocks, options, futures and Forex on one platform. Their trading technology allows investors to work from home, from work or even on the go with their mobile app. Some of their trading tools include a strategy scan, virtual trade account, trade & probability calculator, and all-in-one trade ticket. There are also tools for building trading skills, including live events, daily newsletters and on-demand training. Investors can easily get their questions answered quickly, even after the markets are closed. Stock trading costs $8.95 flat fee per trade, options are $1.25 per contract with a $12.95 minimum, futures cost $3.50 per contract, bonds cost $9.95 minimum order/$5.00 per bond and there are no fees or commissions for Forex trading.


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7. TradeKing:

Global Alexa Rating: 12,756

TradeKing was founded in 2005 making it one of the newest options. One of the advantages of this online brokerage is that stock trades cost just $4.95 and options are the same $4.95 plus $.65 per contract. There are no account minimums. Opening an account gives immediate access to an award-winning suite of research and trading tools, including their MarketGrader Research Reports, Maxit Tax Manager, Probability Calculator, Profit and Loss Calculator, Stock and Options Screeners, Technical Analysis Tools and their new active trading platform, TradeKing LIVE. One of the key benefits is their trader network, which enables investors to interact with fellow stock and option traders to share experiences, ideas and strategies.


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8. OptionsHouse:

Global Alexa Rating: 17,618

OptionsHouse is another example of a brokerage with lower fees. At just $4.75 per stock trade they are one of the lowest. They offer a trading platform, mobile trading and virtual trading. The website offers videos showing how to open an account, an overview of the mobile app, an overview of account management, overview of customizable features, overview of the tools and technology, charting overview and an overview of trading. They offer AgileRouting technology that improves speed which can ensure better quality fills. Their research section includes a blog and webinars. Live help is also available.


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 9. Merrill Edge:

Global Alexa Rating: 28,476

Merrill Edge offers the ability to simplify one’s financial life with the investment insights of Merrill Lynch and the convenience of Bank of America. A video on the website allows investors to preview what the site is about including a description of all the benefits. They offer simple, flat pricing of just $6.95 per online equity and ETF trade. This is an ideal platform for those that have bank accounts with Bank of America as they can view and transfer funds in real-time between their investment account and their other bank accounts. They offer many easy-to-use tools and a wide range of investment offerings.


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10. Firstrade:

Global Alexa Rating: 55,819

One of the first things one will notice on the Firstrade welcome page is that they offer extended hours trading that go from 8:05 to 9:25 AM and 4:05 to 5:25 PM. One will also see a very well-organized, easy to navigate website. Their pricing is $6.95 for online market orders and limit orders for stocks and $6.95 plus $.75 per contract for online market orders and limit orders for options. The rest of their fees are laid out on the website. Firstrade has been a leading online investment firm since 1985 with a full line of investment products and tools designed to help investors take control of their financial future. They are currently running a special that will rebate your account transfer fee up to $200 when completing an account transfer of $10,000 or more.


It used to be that investors needed to take intensive courses to learn how to make wise and educated decisions in the stock market or they had to trust the expertise of a stockbroker and pay sometimes hefty fees for doing so. With online stock trading that is no longer the case. Most of the above websites offer tons of free training, advice and tools. Probably the greatest thing about a few of them is the ability to test the waters with a virtual account, thereby not putting any real money on the line. This can be a marvellous tool both for new investors and for ones wanting to test a theory. Each brokerage firm operates a little differently so deciding which one is best may take testing more than one.







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