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Investing in stocks have never been easier. You no longer need to get on the phone with your stock broker. All you need to do now is log online and open an account with a discount online brokerage. So that means gone are the days when you have a personal stock advisor or a stock broker on retainer—you can invest in stocks immediately and cheaply. So if you are looking to start investing your money in stocks, here are the 10 best online stock investing sites for the individual stock investor:
1) Options House
Options House (affiliate link) is known all over the country for its outrageously low rates, starting at $3.95 per stock trade. Despite the affordability of its fees, Option House’s services are on a par with those of other online discount brokerage firms that charge more. Like other firms, it also offers a number of trading tools and free streaming quotes. One of its commitments is to provide its customers utmost convenience: you can access your account easily even if you are on the go as Option House has applications for iPad, iPhone, Android devices, and Kindle Fire. Best of all, Options House does not charge anything for inactivity, maintenance and extended hours. It is because the firm’s rates are already inclusive of maintenance and trading costs.
2) Charles Schwab
Known as the pioneer in online discount brokering, the Charles Schwab Corporation was the first company to provide brokering services at lower rates. Opened in March 1975, the company has grown by leaps and bounds, as it now consists of 300 American offices and 2 international hubs. It boasts a near perfect score in the banking category. Apart from its 2,263 no-load funds, the Charles Schwab Corporation also offers annuities, mortgages, savings, checking accounts, and bond trading. The services can be easily accessed through 2 channels: by phone or through the company website.
With the goal to serve its clients better, Schwab has made it easier for them to pay bills and deposit checks–through its innovative phone application. It is also currently developing the photo-deposit feature of its iPad application.
When it comes to automatic investing, ShareBuilder is the top contender. It offers recurring scheduled investment purchases, so you can save money effectively and build your wealth for the future. Its other services include stocks, mutual funds and exchange-traded funds. The fees are very affordable as well, at $4 per trade. Market, limit and option trades, on the other hand, cost $9. ShareBuilder also boasts its flexibility to provide less complicated and fuss-free services. With its easy-to-use platform and excellent customer service, there is no more efficient way you can build your wealth than with ShareBuilder.
4) Trade King
Looking for excellent customer service? You can expect this – and more – with Trade King. Heralded as the best in customer service by the Wall Street Journal, Trade King also offers cheap flat rates, starting at $4.95 per stock. Its merger with Zecco Trading has greatly helped in the upgrading of the company’s service. Now, you can access watch lists and quotes with your smartphone. Add to that, you can educate yourself with the fundamentals of investing with the help of Trade King’s learning center.
In terms of feesth, the Scottrade offers one of the lowest in the market. Apart from its “no transaction fee” services, Scottrade only asks for $7 per stock or ETF transaction and $17 for mutual funds. There are no charges for ATM withdrawals and checking services. Scottrade, however, has extra fees that one should be cautious of. Make sure to read the fine print before clicking the “OK” button to avoid these inconveniences. Nevertheless, with Scottrade’s 500+ accessible branches and adept customer support system, they sure have an edge over their competitors.
E*Trade isn’t the lowest-cost firm at a charge rate of $9.99 per transaction. Nonetheless, its high scores, as far as investment choices, user experience, and research and tools are concerned, have propelled it to the top of the list. E*trade also assures its customers access to more than 50,000 bond issues, and provides access to trading on 40 foreign currency exchanges, including Austria to South Africa. That definitely is more than the typical 20 or so with other online brokers. E*Trade also allows you to trade 92 exchange-traded funds without having to pay a commission.
If you want a wide variety of options, then Firstrade should be among your top considerations. It offers as much as 10,000 mutual, agency, and municipal bonds. Their fee starts at a modest $6.95. The company has numerous investment tools and easy-to-use trading platform, making it totally hassle-free and enjoyable for its customers. As an added bonus, there is no minimum amount required for you to start an account.
When it comes to research and tools, Fidelity wins the race. The firm offers 36 savings, tax and retirement calculators, and provides stock research from 12 firms like Ned Davis and Ford Equity Research. It also offers 31 no-fee exchange-traded funds, and 1,710 no-fee mutual funds. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg: Fidelity also earned commendations for its banking services despite its absence of bank affiliation. However, its fees have brought the firm slight notoriety. It charges its customers a whacking $75 to be able to purchase shares in a mutual fund that is not covered by the its very own no-transaction-fee programs.
9) TD Ameritrade
This online discount brokerage company is considered an excellent option when it comes to ETF and mutual funds. With 101 ETF offers and 1881 mutual fund choices under TD Ameritrade’s belt, you do not have to worry about a single cent whenever you decide to take hold of any of these investments. Although their transaction fee of $9.99 is slightly more expensive than that of other discount brokerages, TD’s numerous stock researches from 12 firms make it all worth it.
The Optionsxpress Company is a subsidiary of the renowned Charles Schwab Company, which is why it has earned the trust and patronage of many investors. If you’re a first-timer, then you’re in good hands with this online brokerage firm. It features a variety of tools that can help you become an expert in no time. Although the fee for each stock trade is $9.95, there are many advantages that you can enjoy with Optionsxpress. Apart from its no minimum balance requirement, the company offers its investors flat-rate fees and absolute convenience with its mobile program. With its goal to provide innovative services, you can now view their stocks on your handheld device.