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Best brokers for bonds in the US

To help you to find the best online broker for bonds in 2020, we went ahead and did the research for you. First, we selected more than 71 quality online brokers, then we checked and compared their fees, products, trading platform, deposit and withdrawal and more. We went deep, so you won’t have to.

5 made it to the top in the US. We highly recommend all 5 to you. And now, without further ado...

Our top 5 picks for the best online brokers for bond investors in the US:

  1. Fidelity is the best online broker in 2020. Solid research tools. Great web trading platform. US and international stocks.
  2. TD Ameritrade in the second place. Low trading fees (free stock and ETF trading). Superb desktop trading platform. Great customer support.
  3. Charles Schwab rounded out the top three. Free stock and ETF trading. Outstanding research. Great customer service.
  4. E*TRADE, numero quatro. Low trading fees (free stock and ETF trading). User-friendly mobile trading platform. Great research tools.
  5. Ally Invest. Low trading and non-trading fees. Easy and fully digital account opening. Great education. Just made it to the list with being number five.
Best online brokers for bonds in 2020
Broker Info Bond fee class # of available bonds
#1 Fidelity US stockbroker Low 108,000
#2 TD Ameritrade US-based stockbroker Low 40,000
#3 Charles Schwab US discount broker Low 60,000
#4 E*TRADE US stockbroker Low 88,000
#5 Ally Invest US stockbroker Low 221,000

All 5 brokers are considered safe. They are regulated by at least one top-tier financial regulator.

What makes a good online broker for bond investing? First, they need to offer fair bond fees. Second, they should also offer access to a lot of bond markets.. It’s also important that the inactivity fee shouldn’t be high and we also look at the broker’s overall score as well. Easy to list, but hard to figure it out. We are testing brokers along ~300 criteria with real accounts and real money. We know what's up.

We should also mention that an alternative to buying bonds directly is buying a bond ETF. For example if you buy an ‘Emerging markets bond ETF’ you’ll get exposure to lots of bonds issued by several governments that are considered emerging markets.

To learn more about ETFs, be sure to check our article: How to buy ETFs online?.

Not sure which broker? For a tailored recommendation, check out the broker finder tool. You can enter your country and it will show only the relevant brokers. Want more details? Compare brokers with this detailed comparison table.

If you want to learn more about bonds, make sure to check our article What is a bond?.

And now, let's see the best bond brokers in the US one by one, starting with the winner, Fidelity.

Fidelity Logo

#1 Best online broker
Fidelity

4.8

Fidelity is a US stockbroker founded in 1946. It is regulated by top-tier authorities like the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

Fidelity is considered safe because it has a long track record and is regulated by top-tier financial authorities.

Pros Cons
Solid research tools Not fully digital account opening
Great web trading platform High mutual fund fees
US and international stocks High financing rates

Open account

#1 Fidelity
Fees

Fidelity has low fees when it comes to buying and selling bonds.
Fidelity bond fees
Fidelity TD Ameritrade Charles Schwab E*TRADE Ally Invest
Bond fee class Low Low Low Low Low
US Treasury bond $0.0 $0.0 $0.0 $0.0 $10.0
EU government bond - - - - -
Inactivity fee No No No No No

Open account More

#1 Fidelity
Markets and products

At Fidelity you have access to around 108000 bonds, which is higher than the industry average.
Fidelity markets and products
Fidelity TD Ameritrade Charles Schwab E*TRADE Ally Invest
Bonds (#) 108,000 40,000 60,000 88,000 221,000
Fidelity other products, besides bonds
Fidelity TD Ameritrade Charles Schwab E*TRADE Ally Invest
Stock Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
ETF Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Forex No Yes No No No
Fund Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Options Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Futures No Yes Yes Yes No
CFD No No No No No
Crypto No No No No No

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#1 Fidelity
Verdict

Fidelity is one of the biggest US stockbrokers regulated by top-tier authorities.

Fidelity's research is outstanding and covers many tools, including trading ideas and detailed fundamental data. The web trading platform is easy to use and offers advanced order types. The offered range of products includes international stock exchanges in addition to the US market, which is not common among US brokers.

Fidelity has some drawbacks, though. The account opening is not fully digital, fees for mutual funds are quite high, as is the financing rate.

Its research tools are great, the web trading platform is user-friendly, and no inactivity fee is charged, so feel free to try Fidelity.

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TD Ameritrade Logo

#2 Best online broker
TD Ameritrade

4.9

TD Ameritrade was founded in 1975 and is one of the biggest US-based stockbrokers. It is regulated by top-tier authorities like the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

TD Ameritrade is considered a safe broker since it has a long track record, is listed on a stock exchange, has a banking background, discloses its financials, and is overseen by top-tier regulators.

Pros Cons
Low trading fees (free stock and ETF trading) You can trade only on US markets
Superb desktop trading platform Accounts mostly limited to US residents
Great customer support No credit/debit cards and electronic wallets for money transfer

Open account

#2 TD Ameritrade
Fees

TD Ameritrade has low fees when it comes to buying and selling bonds.
TD Ameritrade bond fees
Fidelity TD Ameritrade Charles Schwab E*TRADE Ally Invest
Bond fee class Low Low Low Low Low
US Treasury bond $0.0 $0.0 $0.0 $0.0 $10.0
EU government bond - - - - -
Inactivity fee No No No No No

Open account More

#2 TD Ameritrade
Markets and products

At TD Ameritrade you have access to around 40000 bonds, which is higher than the industry average.
TD Ameritrade markets and products
Fidelity TD Ameritrade Charles Schwab E*TRADE Ally Invest
Bonds (#) 108,000 40,000 60,000 88,000 221,000
TD Ameritrade other products, besides bonds
Fidelity TD Ameritrade Charles Schwab E*TRADE Ally Invest
Stock Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
ETF Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Forex No Yes No No No
Fund Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Options Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Futures No Yes Yes Yes No
CFD No No No No No
Crypto No No No No No

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#2 TD Ameritrade
Verdict

TD Ameritrade is one of the biggest US online brokers. Joining the hot trend of introducing commission-free trading at the end of 2019, TD Ameritrade now charges no commission on stock and ETF trades.

Research and education are outstanding at TD Ameritrade, offering you many useful tools. The Thinkorswim desktop trading platform is one of the best on the marketCustomer service is great, you will get relevant answers within a short time.

TD Ameritrade has some drawbacks though. It charges high financing (margin) rates and it doesn't accept credit/debit cards and electronic wallets for money transfers. Furthermore, the product portfolio covers only the US market.

As TD Ameritrade offers great education tools including a demo account, we encourage you to try it.

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Charles Schwab Logo

#3 Best online broker
Charles Schwab

4.9

Charles Schwab was founded in 1971 and it is a US discount broker listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

It is regulated by several top-tier financial authorities, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Pros Cons
Free stock and ETF trading High fees for some mutual funds
Outstanding research Product selection covers only the US market
Great customer service Not well-structured educational platform

Open account

#3 Charles Schwab
Fees

Charles Schwab has low fees when it comes to buying and selling bonds.
Charles Schwab bond fees
Fidelity TD Ameritrade Charles Schwab E*TRADE Ally Invest
Bond fee class Low Low Low Low Low
US Treasury bond $0.0 $0.0 $0.0 $0.0 $10.0
EU government bond - - - - -
Inactivity fee No No No No No

Open account More

#3 Charles Schwab
Markets and products

At Charles Schwab you have access to around 60000 bonds, which is higher than the industry average.
Charles Schwab markets and products
Fidelity TD Ameritrade Charles Schwab E*TRADE Ally Invest
Bonds (#) 108,000 40,000 60,000 88,000 221,000
Charles Schwab other products, besides bonds
Fidelity TD Ameritrade Charles Schwab E*TRADE Ally Invest
Stock Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
ETF Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Forex No Yes No No No
Fund Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Options Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Futures No Yes Yes Yes No
CFD No No No No No
Crypto No No No No No

Open account More

#3 Charles Schwab
Verdict

Charles Schwab is one of the biggest discount US brokers regulated by top-tier regulators.

Reflecting the wave of introducing commission-free trading at the end of 2019, Charles Schwab charges no commission for stock and ETF tradesIts research is outstanding and covers many tools, including trading ideas and detailed fundamental data. The customer service is great, you will get relevant answers within a short time.

It has some drawbacks though. It charges high fees for some mutual funds and the product portfolio covers only US markets. Lastly, the educational platform is not well-structured. 

As the trading and non-trading fees are generally low, research tools are great and the account opening is seamless, feel free to try it.

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E*TRADE Logo

#4 Best online broker
E*TRADE

4.7

E*TRADE is a US-based stockbroker founded in 1982. It is regulated by top-tier regulators like the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

E*TRADE is considered safe because it has a long track record, is listed on a stock exchange, has a banking background, discloses its financials and is regulated by top-tier, US regulators.

In February 2020, E*TRADE was acquired by Morgan Stanley. In case you are curious, we have written an article about this in which you can find the reasons behind the acquisition.

Pros Cons
Low trading fees (free stock and ETF trading) Only US markets covered
User-friendly mobile trading platform Slow account verification
Great research tools No forex

Open account

#4 E*TRADE
Fees

E*TRADE has low fees when it comes to buying and selling bonds.
E*TRADE bond fees
Fidelity TD Ameritrade Charles Schwab E*TRADE Ally Invest
Bond fee class Low Low Low Low Low
US Treasury bond $0.0 $0.0 $0.0 $0.0 $10.0
EU government bond - - - - -
Inactivity fee No No No No No

Open account More

#4 E*TRADE
Markets and products

At E*TRADE you have access to around 88000 bonds, which is higher than the industry average.
E*TRADE markets and products
Fidelity TD Ameritrade Charles Schwab E*TRADE Ally Invest
Bonds (#) 108,000 40,000 60,000 88,000 221,000
E*TRADE other products, besides bonds
Fidelity TD Ameritrade Charles Schwab E*TRADE Ally Invest
Stock Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
ETF Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Forex No Yes No No No
Fund Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Options Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Futures No Yes Yes Yes No
CFD No No No No No
Crypto No No No No No

Open account More

#4 E*TRADE
Verdict

E*TRADE is one of the biggest US stockbrokers regulated by top-tier regulators. 

At the end of 2019, riding the commission-free trading trend in the USA E*TRADE introduced zero commission on stock and ETF trades. E*TADE's research functions are high-quality and channel a lot of tools, including trading ideas, and strategy builders as well. We liked the easy handling and the personalizable features of the mobile trading platform

It has some drawbacks though. E*TRADE doesn't provide credit/debit cards and electronic wallets for money transfers and the product portfolio covers only US markets. In addition, the account verification process is slow. 

As the trading fees are generally low, the research tools are great and no inactivity fee is charged, feel free to try E*TRADE.

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Ally Invest Logo

#5 Best online broker
Ally Invest

4.6

Ally Invest is a US stockbroker regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Its parent company, Ally Financial Inc. dates back to 1911 as the former company, General Motors Acceptance Corporation (GMAC) was founded then. Ally Financial Inc. is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and has a banking subsidiary, called Ally Bank.

Ally Invest is considered safe because it has a long track record and is regulated by top-tier financial authorities.

Pros Cons
Low trading and non-trading fees You can trade only on US markets
Easy and fully digital account opening Forex trading is available through a separate account
Great education High financing (margin) rates

Open account

#5 Ally Invest
Fees

Ally Invest has low fees when it comes to buying and selling bonds.
Ally Invest bond fees
Fidelity TD Ameritrade Charles Schwab E*TRADE Ally Invest
Bond fee class Low Low Low Low Low
US Treasury bond $0.0 $0.0 $0.0 $0.0 $10.0
EU government bond - - - - -
Inactivity fee No No No No No

Open account More

#5 Ally Invest
Markets and products

At Ally Invest you have access to around 221000 bonds, which is higher than the industry average.
Ally Invest markets and products
Fidelity TD Ameritrade Charles Schwab E*TRADE Ally Invest
Bonds (#) 108,000 40,000 60,000 88,000 221,000
Ally Invest other products, besides bonds
Fidelity TD Ameritrade Charles Schwab E*TRADE Ally Invest
Stock Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
ETF Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Forex No Yes No No No
Fund Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Options Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Futures No Yes Yes Yes No
CFD No No No No No
Crypto No No No No No

Open account More

#5 Ally Invest
Verdict

Ally Invest is one of the biggest US stockbrokers regulated by top-tier regulators.

Ally Invest has low trading and non-trading fees and offers a good product range in the US. The account opening is easy and fully digital. We also liked the quality of the educational tools.

It has some drawbacks though. You can trade only on US exchanges and margin rates are high. Forex trading is available only through a separate Ally Forex account provided by GAIN Capital (Forex.com).

As the trading fees are low and no inactivity fee is charged, feel free to try Ally Invest.

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Best online brokers for bonds in the US
How did we pick the best brokers for bonds?

We tested brokers based on more than 300 criteria. Below, we will show you the 4 important criteria we took into account.

4 important criteria for the best brokers for bonds in the US
Bond fees The commission for buying and selling bonds is typically a low %age (0.10-0.30%), but minimum fees tend to be high, in some cases as high as $80-$100
Number of available bonds Most brokers will offer you to trade US Treasuries, but what if you want to buy a corporate bond of a specific company? Some brokers simply don’t have them. Check the product coverage before opening an account.
Inactivity fee Bonds are very often used by buy and hold investors. You buy it, collect coupon payments and kind of forget about it. But what if your broker starts charging high inactivity fees because you didn’t trade for a while?
Overall score Brokers with a good platform, payments and customer service will have a better overall score, so it’s something to consider

Are these brokers safe?

Bonds are typically seen as a less risky investment, so you certainly don’t want to add an extra risk by using a less reputable broker. These brokers are all considered safe. You can be sure none of them is a scam. They are regulated by at least one top-tier regulator. Some of them are also listed on an exchange, and some have a banking background.

Best online brokers for bonds in the US
Bottom line

You saw the details, now let's zoom out. Here are the best online brokers in 2020:

Best online brokers for bonds in the US for 2020
Fidelity TD Ameritrade Charles Schwab E*TRADE Ally Invest
Bond fee class Low Low Low Low Low
Bonds (#) 108,000 40,000 60,000 88,000 221,000
Inactivity fee No No No No No
Open account Open account Open account Open account Open account

Fidelity is our winner, the best online broker for bonds in the US. Solid research tools. Great web trading platform. US and international stocks.
All are considered safe, and a great choice. Pick the winner, or any runner-up and take the next step in your investment journey. Let us know what you think in the comment section.
Still unsure? Use the broker finder and find the best online broker for you or learn more about investing in bonds.

Author of this article

Gergely Korpos

Author of this article

Gergely is the co-founder and CPO of Brokerchooser. His aim is to make personal investing crystal clear for everybody. Gergely has 10 years of experience in the financial markets. He concluded thousands of trades as a commodity trader and equity portfolio manager.

Gergely Korpos

Co-founder, CPO

Gergely is the co-founder and CPO of Brokerchooser. His aim is to make personal investing crystal clear for everybody. Gergely has 10 years of experience in the financial markets. He concluded thousands of trades as a commodity trader and equity portfolio manager.

Everything you find on BrokerChooser is based on reliable data and unbiased information. We combine our 10+ years finance experience with readers feedback. Read more about our methodology

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