Advertisement

To help you to find the best online brokers in 2021, we went ahead and did the research for you. First, we selected 86 quality online brokers, then checked and compared basically every aspect of their offering: fees, available markets and products, trading platforms, deposit and withdrawal options and more. To be selected best online broker, service providers had to prove their excellence in multiple areas. We dug deep, so you won't have to.

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

The top 5 picks for the best online brokers in 2021:

  1. Interactive Brokers is the best online broker in 2021. Low trading fees. Wide range of products. Many great research tools.
  2. TD Ameritrade takes second place. Low trading fees (free stock and ETF trading). Superb desktop trading platform. Great customer support.
  3. E*TRADE rounds out the top three. Low trading fees (free stock and ETF trading). User-friendly mobile trading platform. Great research tools.
  4. Fidelity, numero quattro. Commission-free US stocks and ETFs. Great trading platforms and research. US and international stocks.
  5. Charles Schwab just made it to the list at number five. Free stock and ETF trading. Outstanding research. Great customer service.
Best online brokers in 2021
Broker Accepts clients from Score Best in
#1 Interactive Brokers Globally 4.9 Best online broker
#2 TD Ameritrade US, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, Canada (through TD Direct Investing) 4.9
#3 E*TRADE US 4.9 Best broker for bonds
#4 Fidelity US 4.9 Best broker for ESG
#5 Charles Schwab US 4.8

What makes a good online broker? Surely, they need to provide great services in all areas. First of all, they need to offer fair fees and have a good safety score. Opening an account and depositing money should also be user-friendly processes. They need to provide access to a wide range of products and have a great platform.

These features are easy to list, but hard to figure out. We are testing brokers based on more than ~300 criteria with real accounts and real money. We know what's up. You can find all the ranking criteria in our methodology.

Not sure which broker to choose? For a tailored recommendation, check out our broker finder tool. If you enter the name of your country, it will show only the relevant brokers. Want more details? Compare brokers with our in-depth comparison table.

And now, let's see the best online brokers in 2021 one by one, starting with the winner, Interactive Brokers.

Interactive Brokers Logo

#1 Best online broker
Interactive Brokers

4.9

Interactive Brokers was founded in 1978 and is one of the biggest US-based discount brokers. The broker is regulated by several financial authorities globally, including top-tier ones like the UK's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

As it has licenses from multiple top-tier regulators, Interactive Brokers is considered safe. Having a long track record and publicly disclosed financials while being listed on a stock exchange are also great signs for its safety.

Recommended for traders looking for low fees and a professional trading environment

Pros Cons
Low trading fees Complicated account opening process
Wide range of products Complex desktop trading platform
Many great research tools High forex fees

Visit broker

#1 Interactive Brokers
Fees
4.2

Interactive Brokers has low trading fees; for US clients, stock and ETF trading is free. On the negative side, there is a high inactivity fee for non-US clients.
Pros Cons
Low trading fees Inactivity fee
Free stock and ETF trading for US clients
Low margin rates
Interactive Brokers fees
Interactive Brokers TD Ameritrade E*TRADE Fidelity Charles Schwab
US stock $1.0 $0.0 $0.0 $0.0 $0.0
UK stock $7.8 - - $11.7 -
EURUSD benchmark fee $7.4 $7.0 - - -
Mutual fund $15.0 $50.0 $20.0 $37.5 $24.8
US stock index options $6.5 $6.5 $6.5 $6.5 $6.5
US micro e-mini stock index futures $2.5 $22.5 $15.0 - $15.0

All spreads, commissions and financing rates (if applicable) for opening a position, holding for a week, and closing.

Visit broker More

#1 Interactive Brokers
Account opening
3.4

IB's account opening process is fully digital and the required minimum deposit is low. On the negative side, the process is complicated, and account verification takes relatively long.
Pros Cons
Fully digital Not user-friendly
No minimum deposit for most account types Confusing messages throughout the process
Interactive Brokers minimum deposit and time to open an account
Interactive Brokers TD Ameritrade E*TRADE Fidelity Charles Schwab
Minimum deposit $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Time to open account 1-3 days 1-3 days 1-3 days 1-3 days 1 day

Visit broker More

#1 Interactive Brokers
Deposit and withdrawal
3.5

Interactive Brokers offers many account base currency options and one free withdrawal per month. The main drawback is that you can only use bank transfer.
Pros Cons
No deposit fee Credit/Debit card not available
Several account base currencies
First withdrawal each month free
Interactive Brokers withdrawal fee and options
Interactive Brokers TD Ameritrade E*TRADE Fidelity Charles Schwab
Bank transfer Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Credit/debit card No No No No No
Electronic wallets No No No Yes No
Withdrawal fee $0 $0 $0 $0 $0

Visit broker More

#1 Interactive Brokers
Markets and products
5.0

Through Interactive Brokers, you can access an extremely wide range of markets, and all product types are available.
Interactive Brokers markets and products
Interactive Brokers TD Ameritrade E*TRADE Fidelity Charles Schwab
Stock Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
ETF Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Forex Yes Yes No No No
Fund Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Bond Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Options Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Futures Yes Yes Yes No Yes
CFD Yes No No No No
Crypto Yes Yes Yes No Yes

Visit broker More

#1 Interactive Brokers
Web trading platform
4.5

Interactive Brokers's web platform is simple and easy to use, even for beginners.
Pros Cons
User-friendly None
Clear fee report
Two-step (safer) login
Best online brokers - Interactive Brokers trading platform
Interactive Brokers trading platforms
Interactive Brokers TD Ameritrade E*TRADE Fidelity Charles Schwab
Web platform score 4.5 stars 4.3 stars 4.5 stars 4.5 stars 4.3 stars
Mobile platform score 3.8 stars 4.8 stars 4.5 stars 4.5 stars 4.2 stars
Desktop platform score 3.0 stars 4.5 stars - 3.8 stars 4.0 stars

Visit broker More

#1 Interactive Brokers
Verdict

Interactive Brokers is one of the biggest US-based discount brokers, regulated by several top-tier regulators globally. We recommend this broker mainly for advanced traders.

On the plus side, IB has low fees, a vast range of available markets and products, and diverse research tools

There are some drawbacks, though: there is a high forex fees, and the account opening process is complicated. The desktop platform is complex and hard to get a handle on, especially for beginners.

If you have experience navigating complex platforms and enjoy transparent, low-cost trading, Interactive Brokers could be a great fit for you.

Below you can find links to all aspects of Interactive Brokers in this comprehensive collection.

Lower fees, lower costs?

We detailed this in our Interactive Brokers fees article.

What about the minimum deposit?

Our ultimate guide to the Interactive Brokers minimum deposit is updated regularly.

How to start your Interactive Brokers account?

Look no further than our evaluation of the Interactive Brokers account opening.

How's their trading app?

Here's our expert view after checking the Interactive Brokers trading app.

Is the quality of customer service satisfactory?

All you need to know about the Interactive Brokers customer service.

Legit or scam?

Is Interactive Brokers legit features all the key aspects you need to look at to see if a broker is safe and legit.

Free or premium? Or both?

A glance at actual costs and whether Interactive Brokers is really free.

Is this broker good for beginners?

We checked it in Is Interactive Brokers good for beginners.

Should you buy your silver bullets on Interactive Brokers?

Research for silver bugs in the Silver buy on Interactive Brokers guide

I want to trade options, are they available at Interactive Brokers?

We explored the topic in Can you trade options on Interactive Brokers?

Interactive Brokers
Summary Interactive Brokers is a US discount broker. It is listed on a stock exchange and regulated by several authorities, including top-tier ones like the FCA and the SEC.
Fees score 4.2 stars
Recommended for Traders looking for low fees and a professional trading environment

Visit broker More

#2 Best online broker
TD Ameritrade

4.9

This TD Ameritrade Review concludes that it is recommended for investors and experienced traders looking for solid research and a well-equipped desktop trading platform, the Thinkorswim platform.

It is one of the biggest US-based stockbrokers founded in 1975. As an online broker 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).

It is considered to be a safe broker as 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.

Recommended for investors and traders looking for solid research and a well-equipped desktop trading platform

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

Read review

#2 TD Ameritrade
Fees
4.3

TD Ameritrade offers free stock and ETF trading, while forex, bond and options fees are also low. On the other hand, it charges high fees for futures.
Pros Cons
Low trading fees High fund fees
Low non-trading fees
Free stocks and ETFs
TD Ameritrade fees
Interactive Brokers TD Ameritrade E*TRADE Fidelity Charles Schwab
US stock $1.0 $0.0 $0.0 $0.0 $0.0
UK stock $7.8 - - $11.7 -
EURUSD benchmark fee $7.4 $7.0 - - -
Mutual fund $15.0 $50.0 $20.0 $37.5 $24.8
US stock index options $6.5 $6.5 $6.5 $6.5 $6.5
US micro e-mini stock index futures $2.5 $22.5 $15.0 - $15.0

All spreads, commissions and financing rates (if applicable) for opening a position, holding for a week, and closing.

Read review

#2 TD Ameritrade
Account opening
3.6

Pros Cons
Fully digital None
No minimum deposit
Many account types
TD Ameritrade minimum deposit and time to open an account
Interactive Brokers TD Ameritrade E*TRADE Fidelity Charles Schwab
Minimum deposit $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Time to open account 1-3 days 1-3 days 1-3 days 1-3 days 1 day

Read review

#2 TD Ameritrade
Deposit and withdrawal
2.2

The account funding is user-friendly with no deposit fees, but USD is the only available base currency, and wire transfers incur a high fee.
Pros Cons
Free withdrawal Credit/Debit card not available
No deposit fee Only one account base currency
User-friendly High withdrawal fee for wire transfers
TD Ameritrade withdrawal fee and options
Interactive Brokers TD Ameritrade E*TRADE Fidelity Charles Schwab
Bank transfer Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Credit/debit card No No No No No
Electronic wallets No No No Yes No
Withdrawal fee $0 $0 $0 $0 $0

Read review

#2 TD Ameritrade
Markets and products
4.0

You can trade many asset classes, from stocks to futures and forex, while nice extras include social trading and robo-advisory. On the other hand, only the US market is covered.
TD Ameritrade markets and products
Interactive Brokers TD Ameritrade E*TRADE Fidelity Charles Schwab
Stock Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
ETF Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Forex Yes Yes No No No
Fund Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Bond Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Options Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Futures Yes Yes Yes No Yes
CFD Yes No No No No
Crypto Yes Yes Yes No Yes

Read review

#2 TD Ameritrade
Web trading platform
4.3

Pros Cons
User-friendly Limited customizability (for charts, workspace)
Two-step (safer) login
Good variety of order types
Best online brokers - TD Ameritrade trading platform
TD Ameritrade trading platforms
Interactive Brokers TD Ameritrade E*TRADE Fidelity Charles Schwab
Web platform score 4.5 stars 4.3 stars 4.5 stars 4.5 stars 4.3 stars
Mobile platform score 3.8 stars 4.8 stars 4.5 stars 4.5 stars 4.2 stars
Desktop platform score 3.0 stars 4.5 stars - 3.8 stars 4.0 stars

Read review

#2 TD Ameritrade
Verdict

It is one of the biggest US online brokers. It charges no commission on stock and ETFs.

Research and education are outstanding, the Thinkorswim desktop platform is one of the best on the market. Customer service is great.

The drawbacks are that 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 markets.

We definitely recommend giving it a try, especially as their education tools include a demo as well.

Below you can find links to all aspects of TD Ameritrade in this comprehensive collection.

Lower fees, lower costs?

We detailed this in our TD Ameritrade fees article.

What about the minimum deposit?

Our ultimate guide to the TD Ameritrade minimum deposit is updated regularly.

How to start your TD Ameritrade account?

Look no further than our evaluation of the TD Ameritrade account opening.

How's their trading app?

Here's our expert view after checking the TD Ameritrade trading app.

Is the quality of customer service satisfactory?

All you need to know about the TD Ameritrade customer service.

Legit or scam?

Is TD Ameritrade legit features all the key aspects you need to look at to see if a broker is safe and legit.

Free or premium? Or both?

A glance at actual costs and whether TD Ameritrade is really free.

Is this broker good for beginners?

We checked it in Is TD Ameritrade good for beginners.

Should you buy your silver bullets on TD Ameritrade?

Research for silver bugs in the Silver buy on TD Ameritrade guide

I want to trade options, are they available at TD Ameritrade?

We explored the topic in Can you trade options on TD Ameritrade?

TD Ameritrade
Summary TD Ameritrade is a US stockbroker regulated by top-tier authorities SEC and FINRA. The company is listed on NASDAQ and has a banking background as part of the TD Group.
Fees score 4.3 stars
Recommended for Investors and traders looking for solid research and a well-equipped desktop trading platform

Read review

E*TRADE Logo

#3 Best online broker
E*TRADE

4.9

E*TRADE is a US-based stockbroker founded in 1982. It is regulated by top-tier financial authorities 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 overseen by top-tier US regulators.

In February 2020, E*TRADE was acquired by Morgan Stanley. To find out more about the motives behind the acquisition and about the wider market context, check out this article we wrote about the deal.

Recommended for investors and traders looking for solid research and a great mobile trading platform

Pros Cons
Low trading fees (free stock and ETF trading) Only US markets, no forex
User-friendly mobile trading platform Only bank transfer
Great research tools Slow live chat

Visit broker

#3 E*TRADE
Fees
4.4

E*TRADE offers free trading of stocks, ETFs, and some bonds and mutual funds. Non-trading fees are also low. On the negative side, fees for mutual funds that aren't free are high.
Pros Cons
Free stock and ETF trading High fees for non-free mutual funds
Some mutual funds and bonds are free
Low non-trading fees
E*TRADE fees
Interactive Brokers TD Ameritrade E*TRADE Fidelity Charles Schwab
US stock $1.0 $0.0 $0.0 $0.0 $0.0
UK stock $7.8 - - $11.7 -
EURUSD benchmark fee $7.4 $7.0 - - -
Mutual fund $15.0 $50.0 $20.0 $37.5 $24.8
US stock index options $6.5 $6.5 $6.5 $6.5 $6.5
US micro e-mini stock index futures $2.5 $22.5 $15.0 - $15.0

All spreads, commissions and financing rates (if applicable) for opening a position, holding for a week, and closing.

Visit broker More

#3 E*TRADE
Account opening
4.4

Account opening at E*TRADE (only available for US clients) is fully digital and user-friendly, but the account verification process is slow.
Pros Cons
Fully digital Slow account verification
No minimum deposit
User-friendly
E*TRADE minimum deposit and time to open an account
Interactive Brokers TD Ameritrade E*TRADE Fidelity Charles Schwab
Minimum deposit $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Time to open account 1-3 days 1-3 days 1-3 days 1-3 days 1 day

Visit broker More

#3 E*TRADE
Deposit and withdrawal
2.2

E*TRADE charges no deposit fees, and transferring money is easy. On the flip side, you can only use bank transfer, and a high fee is charged for wire transfer withdrawals.
Pros Cons
No deposit fee Credit/Debit card not available
User-friendly High fee for wire transfer withdrawal
E*TRADE withdrawal fee and options
Interactive Brokers TD Ameritrade E*TRADE Fidelity Charles Schwab
Bank transfer Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Credit/debit card No No No No No
Electronic wallets No No No Yes No
Withdrawal fee $0 $0 $0 $0 $0

Visit broker More

#3 E*TRADE
Markets and products
3.1

You can trade plenty of asset classes at E*TRADE from stocks to futures, but only on the US market; in addition, forex trading is not available.
E*TRADE markets and products
Interactive Brokers TD Ameritrade E*TRADE Fidelity Charles Schwab
Stock Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
ETF Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Forex Yes Yes No No No
Fund Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Bond Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Options Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Futures Yes Yes Yes No Yes
CFD Yes No No No No
Crypto Yes Yes Yes No Yes

Visit broker More

#3 E*TRADE
Web trading platform
4.5

E*TRADE has a great, user-friendly web trading platform, offering a clear fee report among others. On the negative side, it cannot be customized.
Pros Cons
User-friendly Limited customizability (for charts, workspace)
Clear fee report
Two-step (safer) login
Best online brokers - E*TRADE trading platform
E*TRADE trading platforms
Interactive Brokers TD Ameritrade E*TRADE Fidelity Charles Schwab
Web platform score 4.5 stars 4.3 stars 4.5 stars 4.5 stars 4.3 stars
Mobile platform score 3.8 stars 4.8 stars 4.5 stars 4.5 stars 4.2 stars
Desktop platform score 3.0 stars 4.5 stars - 3.8 stars 4.0 stars

Visit broker More

#3 E*TRADE
Verdict

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

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

E*TRADE has some drawbacks though. It doesn't accept credit/debit cards and electronic wallets for money transfers, and its product portfolio covers only US markets. In addition, live chat support is slow.

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

Below you can find links to all aspects of E*TRADE in this comprehensive collection.

Lower fees, lower costs?

We detailed this in our E*TRADE fees article.

What about the minimum deposit?

Our ultimate guide to the E*TRADE minimum deposit is updated regularly.

How to start your E*TRADE account?

Look no further than our evaluation of the E*TRADE account opening.

How's their trading app?

Here's our expert view after checking the E*TRADE trading app.

Is the quality of customer service satisfactory?

All you need to know about the E*TRADE customer service.

Legit or scam?

Is E*TRADE legit features all the key aspects you need to look at to see if a broker is safe and legit.

Free or premium? Or both?

A glance at actual costs and whether E*TRADE is really free.

Is this broker good for beginners?

We checked it in Is E*TRADE good for beginners.

Should you buy your silver bullets on E*TRADE?

Research for silver bugs in the Silver buy on E*TRADE guide

I want to trade options, are they available at E*TRADE?

We explored the topic in Can you trade options on E*TRADE?

E*TRADE
Summary E*TRADE is a US stockbroker regulated by top-tier authorities SEC and FINRA. The company is listed on NASDAQ and has a banking background.
Fees score 4.4 stars
Recommended for Investors and traders looking for solid research and a great mobile trading platform

Visit broker More

#4 Best online broker
Fidelity

4.9

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.

Recommended for investors and traders looking for solid research and great trading platforms

Pros Cons
Commission-free US stocks and ETFs High mutual fund fees and margin rates
Great trading platforms and research Slower account verification
US and international stocks Slow live chat

Read review

#4 Fidelity
Fees
4.2

Fidelity has low trading and non-trading fees, including commission-free stock trading. On the negative side, margin rates and fees for some mutual funds can be high.
Pros Cons
Free stock and ETF trading High fees for non-free mutual funds
Low bond fees High margin fees
No inactivity fee
Fidelity fees
Interactive Brokers TD Ameritrade E*TRADE Fidelity Charles Schwab
US stock $1.0 $0.0 $0.0 $0.0 $0.0
UK stock $7.8 - - $11.7 -
EURUSD benchmark fee $7.4 $7.0 - - -
Mutual fund $15.0 $50.0 $20.0 $37.5 $24.8
US stock index options $6.5 $6.5 $6.5 $6.5 $6.5
US micro e-mini stock index futures $2.5 $22.5 $15.0 - $15.0

All spreads, commissions and financing rates (if applicable) for opening a position, holding for a week, and closing.

Read review

#4 Fidelity
Account opening
3.6

Opening an account at Fidelity is easy and there is no minimum deposit. You can also choose among many account types. However, account verification is a bit slow.
Pros Cons
No minimum deposit Slower account verification
User-friendly Not fully digital in some cases
Many account types
Fidelity minimum deposit and time to open an account
Interactive Brokers TD Ameritrade E*TRADE Fidelity Charles Schwab
Minimum deposit $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Time to open account 1-3 days 1-3 days 1-3 days 1-3 days 1 day

Read review

#4 Fidelity
Deposit and withdrawal
3.8

Fidelity offers an exceptionally wide range of base currencies. On the negative side, credit/debit cards are not accepted.
Pros Cons
Free withdrawal Credit/Debit card not available
No deposit fee
Several account base currencies
Fidelity withdrawal fee and options
Interactive Brokers TD Ameritrade E*TRADE Fidelity Charles Schwab
Bank transfer Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Credit/debit card No No No No No
Electronic wallets No No No Yes No
Withdrawal fee $0 $0 $0 $0 $0

Read review

#4 Fidelity
Markets and products
3.9

Fidelity offers a lot of different trading products, from stocks to options, including international stocks. However, forex and futures trading is not available.
Fidelity markets and products
Interactive Brokers TD Ameritrade E*TRADE Fidelity Charles Schwab
Stock Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
ETF Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Forex Yes Yes No No No
Fund Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Bond Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Options Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Futures Yes Yes Yes No Yes
CFD Yes No No No No
Crypto Yes Yes Yes No Yes

Read review

#4 Fidelity
Web trading platform
4.5

Fidelity's web platform is easy to use, has many order types and provides two-step authentication. On the negative side, it is not customizable.
Pros Cons
User-friendly Limited customizability (for charts, workspace)
Clear fee report
Two-step (safer) login
Best online brokers - Fidelity trading platform
Fidelity trading platforms
Interactive Brokers TD Ameritrade E*TRADE Fidelity Charles Schwab
Web platform score 4.5 stars 4.3 stars 4.5 stars 4.5 stars 4.3 stars
Mobile platform score 3.8 stars 4.8 stars 4.5 stars 4.5 stars 4.2 stars
Desktop platform score 3.0 stars 4.5 stars - 3.8 stars 4.0 stars

Read review

#4 Fidelity
Verdict

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

Fidelity offers commission-free US stocks and ETFs. The trading platforms and research are outstanding, with many tools including trading ideas and detailed fundamental data. 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. Some mutual funds have high fees, and the margin rates are high as well. The account verification process and live chat support are both a bit slow. 

As it has great research tools, a user-friendly web trading platform, and charges no inactivity fee, feel free to try Fidelity's services.

Below you can find links to all aspects of Fidelity in this comprehensive collection.

Lower fees, lower costs?

We detailed this in our Fidelity fees article.

What about the minimum deposit?

Our ultimate guide to the Fidelity minimum deposit is updated regularly.

How to start your Fidelity account?

Look no further than our evaluation of the Fidelity account opening.

How's their trading app?

Here's our expert view after checking the Fidelity trading app.

Is the quality of customer service satisfactory?

All you need to know about the Fidelity customer service.

Legit or scam?

Is Fidelity legit features all the key aspects you need to look at to see if a broker is safe and legit.

Free or premium? Or both?

A glance at actual costs and whether Fidelity is really free.

Is this broker good for beginners?

We checked it in Is Fidelity good for beginners.

Should you buy your silver bullets on Fidelity?

Research for silver bugs in the Silver buy on Fidelity guide

I want to trade options, are they available at Fidelity?

We explored the topic in Can you trade options on Fidelity?

Fidelity
Summary Fidelity is a US stockbroker. It is regulated by top-tier authorities SEC and FINRA.
Fees score 4.2 stars
Recommended for Investors and traders looking for solid research and great trading platforms

Read review

#5 Best online broker
Charles Schwab

4.8

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

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

Recommended for investors and traders looking for solid research, low fees and great customer service

Pros Cons
Free stock and ETF trading High fees for some mutual funds
Outstanding research Only US/Canada markets available
Great customer service Poorly-structured educational platform

Read review

#5 Charles Schwab
Fees
4.4

Charles Schwab offers free stock and ETF trading, some mutual funds and bonds are also free, while non-trading fees are low. On the negative side, some mutual fund fees are high.
Pros Cons
Free stock/ETF trading High fees for non-free mutual funds
Some mutual funds and bonds are free
Low non-trading fees
Charles Schwab fees
Interactive Brokers TD Ameritrade E*TRADE Fidelity Charles Schwab
US stock $1.0 $0.0 $0.0 $0.0 $0.0
UK stock $7.8 - - $11.7 -
EURUSD benchmark fee $7.4 $7.0 - - -
Mutual fund $15.0 $50.0 $20.0 $37.5 $24.8
US stock index options $6.5 $6.5 $6.5 $6.5 $6.5
US micro e-mini stock index futures $2.5 $22.5 $15.0 - $15.0

All spreads, commissions and financing rates (if applicable) for opening a position, holding for a week, and closing.

Read review

#5 Charles Schwab
Account opening
4.4

Opening an account at Charles Schwab is easy, fast and fully digital. There is no minimum deposit for US clients, but other clients have to transfer a $25,000 minimum to start.
Pros Cons
Fast $25,000 minimum deposit for non-US clients
Fully digital
No minimum deposit
Charles Schwab minimum deposit and time to open an account
Interactive Brokers TD Ameritrade E*TRADE Fidelity Charles Schwab
Minimum deposit $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Time to open account 1-3 days 1-3 days 1-3 days 1-3 days 1 day

Read review

#5 Charles Schwab
Deposit and withdrawal
2.2

Funding your account is easy and user-friendly at Charles Schwab and there is no deposit fee. However, you can only use bank transfer and there is a high fee for wire withdrawals.
Pros Cons
No deposit fee High fee for wire (bank transfer) withdrawals
User-friendly
Charles Schwab withdrawal fee and options
Interactive Brokers TD Ameritrade E*TRADE Fidelity Charles Schwab
Bank transfer Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Credit/debit card No No No No No
Electronic wallets No No No Yes No
Withdrawal fee $0 $0 $0 $0 $0

Read review

#5 Charles Schwab
Markets and products
3.3

At Charles Schwab, you can trade a lot of different asset classes, from stocks to futures. Unfortunately, the product portfolio covers only US and Canadian markets.
Charles Schwab markets and products
Interactive Brokers TD Ameritrade E*TRADE Fidelity Charles Schwab
Stock Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
ETF Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Forex Yes Yes No No No
Fund Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Bond Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Options Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Futures Yes Yes Yes No Yes
CFD Yes No No No No
Crypto Yes Yes Yes No Yes

Read review

#5 Charles Schwab
Web trading platform
4.3

Charles Schwab offers a good web-based trading platform with a clean design. On the negative side, the platform is not customizable.
Pros Cons
User-friendly Limited customizability (for charts, workspace)
Clear fee report
Price alerts
Best online brokers - Charles Schwab trading platform
Charles Schwab trading platforms
Interactive Brokers TD Ameritrade E*TRADE Fidelity Charles Schwab
Web platform score 4.5 stars 4.3 stars 4.5 stars 4.5 stars 4.3 stars
Mobile platform score 3.8 stars 4.8 stars 4.5 stars 4.5 stars 4.2 stars
Desktop platform score 3.0 stars 4.5 stars - 3.8 stars 4.0 stars

Read review

#5 Charles Schwab
Verdict

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

It was one of the first brokers, starting in late 2019, to charge no commissions for stock and ETF trades. Its research is outstanding, covering many tools, including trading ideas, Morgan Stanley analyst reports on equities, and detailed fundamental data. Customer service is great, providing relevant answers within a short time.

It does have some drawbacks, though. Except for the around 4,000 mutual funds that are free to trade, mutual fund costs are high and the product portfolio covers only US and Canadian markets. Lastly, the educational platform is not well-structured.

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

Below you can find links to all aspects of Charles Schwab in this comprehensive collection.

Lower fees, lower costs?

We detailed this in our Charles Schwab fees article.

What about the minimum deposit?

Our ultimate guide to the Charles Schwab minimum deposit is updated regularly.

How to start your Charles Schwab account?

Look no further than our evaluation of the Charles Schwab account opening.

How's their trading app?

Here's our expert view after checking the Charles Schwab trading app.

Is the quality of customer service satisfactory?

All you need to know about the Charles Schwab customer service.

Legit or scam?

Is Charles Schwab legit features all the key aspects you need to look at to see if a broker is safe and legit.

Free or premium? Or both?

A glance at actual costs and whether Charles Schwab is really free.

Is this broker good for beginners?

We checked it in Is Charles Schwab good for beginners.

Should you buy your silver bullets on Charles Schwab?

Research for silver bugs in the Silver buy on Charles Schwab guide

I want to trade options, are they available at Charles Schwab?

We explored the topic in Can you trade options on Charles Schwab?

Charles Schwab
Summary Charles Schwab is a US discount broker, regulated by top-tier US authorities the SEC and FINRA. The company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and holds a banking license.
Fees score 4.4 stars
Recommended for Investors and traders looking for solid research, low fees and great customer service

Read review

Best online brokers
What makes a good online broker

Now that you know the top 5, you are probably curious how we came up with this list. Let's go through a few points quickly. What is an online broker? Why do we think these brokers are safe? What are the most important factors when selecting the best online brokers?

What is an online broker?

Thirty years ago, if you wanted to buy a stock, you had to pick up the phone and call your broker, who executed the transaction in return for a commission. Brokers back then were very much like the characters in the movie 'Wolf of Wall Street'. They were constantly monitoring stock prices while holding the phone and shouting. The Internet changed all that. Nowadays, if you want to invest in Apple shares, you open an online account, deposit money, and create an order on the brokers' online platform. These platforms are the online brokers. Online brokers help you buy and sell securities like stocks and ETFs. After setting up your order, the online broker executes it immediately. The entire process happens online.

Are these brokers safe?

Each broker on our list is considered safe. You can be sure none of them is a scam. They are all regulated by at least one top-tier regulator.

However, brokerage companies can also go bust. Remember the collapse of Lehman Brothers? In such cases, it is important to know what happens with your securities and cash. Your funds are usually held in segregated accounts, so even if your broker goes bankrupt, your funds are safe.

If all goes wrong, and for example, the broker can\'t pay your back your money, then you have a last resort, the compensation fund of the country where the broker is regulated.

How did BrokerChooser pick the best online brokers?

At BrokerChooser, we test online brokers based on more than ~300 criteria, with real accounts and real money. We don't want to overwhelm you, so we will list only the five top criteria.

5 most important criteria for the best online brokers in 2021
1. Fees The trading fees of a typical US equity trade can be 50 times higher at one online broker compared to another. It's definitely worth checking these fees.
2. Account opening Some online brokers require a minimum deposit to start investing while others don't ask for a fix first-time deposit. Check these requirements at the best online brokers.
3. Deposit and withdrawal At some online brokers, funding and withdrawing funds can take 5 times longer and be much more expensive than at others.
5. Trading platform A user-friendly and well-equipped trading platform can significantly increase your trading comfort.
4. Markets and products Want to invest in Amazon or trade Bitcoin? They might not be available. Check the product lineup before opening an account.

Best online brokers
Bottom line

These were the details, now let's zoom out. Here are the best online brokers in 2021:

Best online brokers in 2021
Interactive Brokers TD Ameritrade E*TRADE Fidelity Charles Schwab
Overall score 4.9 4.9 4.9 4.9 4.8
Best in Best online broker Best broker for bonds Best broker for ESG
Fees score 4.2 stars 4.3 stars 4.4 stars 4.2 stars 4.4 stars
Account opening score 3.4 stars 3.6 stars 4.4 stars 3.6 stars 4.4 stars
Deposit and withdrawal score 3.5 stars 2.2 stars 2.2 stars 3.8 stars 2.2 stars
Markets and products score 5.0 stars 4.0 stars 3.1 stars 3.9 stars 3.3 stars
Web platform score 4.5 stars 4.3 stars 4.5 stars 4.5 stars 4.3 stars
Mobile platform score 3.8 stars 4.8 stars 4.5 stars 4.5 stars 4.2 stars
Visit broker Read review Visit broker Read review Read review

Interactive Brokers is our winner, having been selected the best online broker in 2021. Low trading fees. Wide range of products. Many great research tools.
All of these brokers are considered safe and a great choice. Pick the winner, or any of the runners-up, and take the next step in your trading journey. Let us know what you think in the comments section.
Still unsure? For a tailored recommendation, check out our broker finder tool. If you enter the name of your country, it will show only the brokers that are relevant to you. Want more details? Compare brokers with the help of this detailed comparison table.

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

Share

Comments

×