Курсы валют

USD
USD
   62,44      0,18
EUR
EUR
   73,24      0,45
Источник: ЦБ РФ

Best Online Stock Trading Brokers for 2017

I’ve had an online stock trading account since I was 13 years old. I’ve used at least a dozen of the best online stock trading platforms in real practice and in testing over the past 4 years. I’ve gained a few “learning experiences” from managing my own account and working as a day trader for a firm in Chicago for several years. Using my knowledge of the platforms and experience as a trader, I worked to uncover the top picks and identify who or what each product is best for.

What Matters When You Trade Stocks on Your Own?

Managing your own money can be a stressful endeavor. To minimize this, and to minimize information overload that tends to come from watching the markets 24/7, there are a few must haves that I look for in an online broker.

Clean interface. When I trade, I want to be able to easily find my order entry ticket. I don’t want it buried under a number of drop downs. This interface should have intuitive access to see your balance, available cash, positions with real time P/L and all be easily navigated.

Quick access to basic charting. A chart tells me where the stock has been recently. I don’t trade minute to minute anymore, so I don’t need complex tools like stochastics or retracement lines. All that’s important is that I have a basic chart on a yearly, monthly, weekly, daily and intra day time period. I use a chart to see current price relative to those time periods, mainly to avoid purchasing at a bad price.

Low fees. Self explanatory.

There are over 50 online brokerages where you can open an account. Beyond the my three rules above, best online brokerage accounts aren’t just for trading stocks. Sure, many of them started as online stock trading accounts, but now they’re full-fledged trading, saving, investing, retirement planning, and banking machines.

This industry is more complex than the average person thinks. You shouldn’t just pick any online broker and sign up for an account. The best online broker for one person is often completely different for the next person. Use this resource as a guide to your decision process. Figure out what features are best for you, and make your selection.

What Makes a Great Online Broker?

I analyzed a number of elements to come to my decision on which brokers are the best. Later in this post, I provide full details on how I selected the best online brokerages.

When you take all the features, resources, trading platforms, and technology into account (while also considering every type of trader), the full-service brokers, like E*TRADE and TD Ameritrade are the best for the largest number of people.

For those simply looking to make cheap trades, I would recommend going with OptionsHouse.

If you’re a very advanced trader, high-volume trader, or a professional who manages money, I recommend going with Interactive Brokers. However, I didn’t include Interactive Brokers on my list because they’re best for a very small group of traders and the platform is very complex.

Top Qualities of Standout Online Trading Platforms

Quality trading tools and technology

Multiple trading platforms for all levels of traders

Excellent mobile trading features

Solid navigation that displays the relevant information where you want it

Quality educational resources and research for trader development

There’s more to selecting an online broker than price. You have to consider the resources you’re getting for the cost you pay per trade.

For example, my colleague, who is also an ex-trader, likes to use a combination of stock and options trade in his longer-term trading. He recently switched over to Fidelity because he really liked the cash management features, but was very disappointed by complex order entry, sub-par options execution and frustrating navigation. He’s currently making the switch to one of the brokers I profile here.

Analysis of the Best Online Brokers

OptionsHouse Best Discount Broker

When it comes to getting a deal on a stock or options trade, it’s tough to beat OptionsHouse. Along with the low costs and fees, you’ll also have access to proprietary tools and technology. OptionsHouse isn’t a “full-service” broker like TD Ameritrade, which means you won’t find the same comprehensive financial resources and access to every investment product. OptionsHouse is good at what they do — providing very affordable trading prices, low margin rates, and unique tools for stock and options traders.

NOTE: OptionsHouse was acquired by E*Trade at the end of 2016, but no changes are expected to OptionsHouse pricing or trading platforms, according to this statement released by its CEO.

Scottrade Best Support and Service

For years, Scottrade has been known as the best online brokerage for customer service. Scottrade doesn’t just let you open an account and ignore you. They thrive on building relationships with their clients, which is pretty rare these days. Scottrade is behind the times with some of their features, but they also don’t charge as much money per trade as the other full-service brokerages. If you’re a new trader or you just like being taken care of regardless of how much money is in your account, I don’t think you can do better than Scottrade.

Another reason to consider Scottrade: They were recently acquired by TD Ameritrade. The deal is expected to close by fall of 2017 and a full conversion to TD Amertrade’s systems by 2018. You’ll be well-served with Scottrade’s amazing service for beginning traders and TD Ameritrade’s breadth of offerings for traders of all levels.

E*TRADE Best Trader Resources

E*TRADE is right there with TD Ameritrade and Scottrade if you’re looking for the all-around best online brokerage. What’s interesting about this comparison is that E*TRADE excels in several different areas compared to TD Ameritrade and Scottrade, but also has many similar offerings. E*TRADE’s web-based platform is incredibly advanced and a breeze to use, as is their mobile app. However, you have to pay for these features because E*TRADE is just as pricey as TD Ameritrade and requires a $500 deposit to open an account (TD Ameritrade is free).

TD Ameritrade Best For Developing Traders

I’ve actually had a TD Ameritrade account for over 15 years now. Back in the day, it was TD Waterhouse and then it merged with Ameritrade to form one company. TD Ameritrade is one of the all-around best online brokers because any level of trader can be satisfied here. While the costs and fees are on the high end of the industry, you get access to comprehensive research materials (both third-party and in-house) as well as education resources that can help you advance as a trader.

Choosing the Best Online Brokerage Accounts

Choosing the best online brokers is no easy task. There’s so much variation in this industry from company to company, and then you have to factor in the type of trader or investor who’s opening the brokerage account.

Here’s how I got started:

I conducted research to compile a list of every online broker.

I narrowed the list down to just under 50 brokers by eliminating those that did not allow U.S. stock trading.

I individually researched each broker, visited their websites, and analyzed rankings and reviews across the web.

I concluded that there were 15 online stock brokers worth digging into.

My next step was to come up with measurable data to compare these brokers.

I had to be aware that comparing a full-service broker to a discount broker or options broker was going to be difficult. I didn’t want to penalize companies for specializing, but I also needed to reward the full-service firms for offering additional resources.

These were my next steps:

I came up with 10 important categories of features to measure each company.

Some of these features included costs and fees, access to investment products, research, education, trading technology, and financial resources.

I compared each of the 15 online brokers across these features.

Once this comparison was complete, I was left with four of the best online brokers that excelled in specific areas. These four online brokerage firms cover the spectrum for anyone who would sign up for an investment account. I knew I could recommend one of them to a specific group of investors or traders.

Here are the final steps I took:

I tested out each of the top four brokers (I actually tested several in the top 15) and simulated the trading experience.

I analyzed the unmeasurable aspects of each broker that the data could not account for, like usability and functionality, and downloaded all the mobile apps.

I looked for additional features unique to each online broker that I also did not capture in the data.

Investment Calculator

To help you determine what to expect from your investment, we’ve created this investment calculator. Simply enter your investment details and our calculator will let you know if your goals are achievable and if it’s not, how far you are from it.

A Valuable Lesson at 14

When I was 13, I had about $1,000 worth of stock in a company called Superconductor Technologies, Inc. The company still exists today and trades under the ticker SCON.

This was the time of the first technology boom from 1999-2000. By the time I was 14, my $1,000 worth of SCON (I purchased 50 shares at $20/share) was sitting at $480/share and worth $24,000. The stock eventually went up to nearly double that and then crashed with the rest of the tech market. Being 14 years old and thinking this stock was going to go up forever, I rode the wave up and all the way back down — down to nothing.

Check out the chart of SCON below and feel my pain. You can see that the stock took two major spikes up and crashes back down (I was involved in the first one). Today, the company trades for under $3/share.

I tell this story because I learned three great lessons about stock trading:

Stay disciplined

Have a plan

Entries AND exits matter

Some people liken online stock trading to gambling (this can be true if you have no clue what you’re doing), but it’s really all about risk and reward.

Staying disciplined can keep you from losing money and ensure you lock in your gains. By discipline, I mean picking your prices — where you get in and get out ahead of time — and sticking to them. Always risk less on the downside than you’re willing to make on the upside.

The good news about many of the best online brokerage accounts is that you can start by trading virtually before you risk your money. You can practice strategies and track your gains and losses without having to invest a dime using the same software the broker offers for real money.

By applying what you learn and maintaining discipline, you have the potential to earn a decent side income if you’re willing to invest the time.

Becoming a Day Trader

I’ve been told several times that “trading is the hardest way to make an easy living.” That’s the truth. The best traders in the world are extremely disciplined and always on top of the latest research and trends in the market. I worked with several of these people and witnessed it firsthand on a daily basis.

I spent just under three years trading S&P futures, oil markets, foreign currencies, and other markets as an employee of a day-trading firm. The same principles I learned from making that big $24,000 mistake in my teens carried over to that job. The amount of money I would make on my biggest winning days was significantly more in comparison to the amount I would lose on my worst losing days.

I’m telling you all of this because I don’t want you to sign up for one of the online brokers I’m recommending and lose a bunch of your money. If you’re interested in trading, I want you to find a way to build a substantial income on the side and grow your money slowly.

I eventually quit trading because it wasn’t my calling. Once I figured out what I wanted to do with my career, enduring the daily stress of watching money come and go just wasn’t worth the massive upside. However, I can say with confidence that trading was the greatest education I’ve ever received.

Now, I’m able to leverage my trading experience and knowledge of online trading to thoroughly review each of the best online brokers to help you set up the right account. The experience was well worth it.

Recap: Best Online Brokerages

My recommendation to most of you is to open an account with a full-service broker. There are different scenarios in which you should choose each of these brokers I reviewed.

You should sign up with Scottrade if you put a high value on getting help, but you don’t want to pay $9.99 per trade.

If you’re a new trader looking to advance up the ranks and absorb knowledge but still want to make trades on one of the best trading platforms around, try TD Ameritrade.

If you’re simply looking to make cheap stock and options trades, open an account with OptionsHouse.

For those of you who want access to every investment product and a great mobile trading platform, go with E*TRADE.