New to investment? Want to find a new broker? Thinking about an online account?

In this section, we will try to offer useful information about some of the key online brokers. If you have an opinion on one of these firms, or you think we have left a good one off the list, let us know. We are not affiliated with these brokers and only offer our comments to help our members make a well informed choice.

The one area that all the brokers emphasize is their cheap trading commissions. That is important because keeping your costs low will help you keep more of your money compounding over the years. However, it is important to recognize that the difference between $7 and $10 per trade is not a significant factor for most investors. Rather than price alone, one should also consider other features which will add or detract from the investment experience over time.

In alphabetical order:

Features E*Trade Fidelity Interactive Schwab Scottrade Sharebuilder TD Ameritrade
Trading
Online – Market/Limit $7.99-$9.99 $7.95 0.5c per share $8.95 $7 $9.95 $9.99
Online – Automatic $1-$4
Phone – Market/Limit $13.95 $17 $19.95 $34.99
Free ETF Trading 25 iShare ETFs 8 Schwab ETFs
Account Minimums
Cash Account $1000 $2500 $1000 $500 $0 $2000
Margin Account $2000 $1000 $2000 $2000 $2000
Retirement Account $0 $1000 $0 $0 $1000
Other Services
Mutual Funds 1000 No Load 175 No Load 2000 No Load 3000 No Load 70 No Load 100+ No Load
Mutual Fund Fees $49.99/90 days $75/180 days $45/90 days $17/90 days $49.95/90 days $49.95/180 days
Options $9.99+0.75/contract $7.95+0.75/contract $8.95+0.75/contract $7+1.25/contract $9.95+1.5/contract $9.99+0.75/contract
Dividend Reinvestment Yes Yes Yes
Global Trading 6 Non-US Yes
Mobile Trading Yes Yes Yes
Online Banking Full Full Full
Credit/Debit Cards Debit Visa