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To help you to find the best online brokers for buy-and-hold strategies in the US, we went ahead and did the research for you. First, we looked at 78 quality online brokers, then we checked and compared their fees, products, trading platforms, deposit and withdrawal conditions and more. We dug deep, so you won't have to.

In the end, 5 brokers 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 buy-and-hold investors in the US:

  1. Zacks Trade is the winner. Low fees. Extensive stock and ETF selection. Great customer service.
  2. Fidelity takes second place. Commission-free US stocks and ETFs. Great trading platforms and research. US and international stocks.
  3. Ally Invest rounds out the top three. Low trading and non-trading fees. Easy and fully digital account opening. Great education.
  4. E*TRADE came in at number four. Low trading fees (free stock and ETF trading). User-friendly mobile trading platform. Great research tools.
  5. Firstrade just made it to the list, at number five. Free stock, ETF, fund and options trading. Solid research tools. Quality educational tools.
Best online brokers for buy-and-hold investors in the US
Broker Description Overall score Award
#1 Zacks Trade US discount broker 4.6 Best broker for investing
#2 Fidelity US stockbroker 4.9 Best broker for ESG
#3 Ally Invest US stockbroker 4.7
#4 E*TRADE US stockbroker 4.9 Best broker for bonds
#5 Firstrade US discount broker 4.4 Best IRA broker

All of these 5 brokers are considered safe, as they are all regulated by top-tier financial authorities.

What makes a good online broker for long-term investing? First, they need to offer fair fees for stock and ETF trading, while mutual fund and bond fees are also relevant. Second, the inactivity fee shouldn't be high. Finally, we rated it as a positive if the broker provides a wide range of products to trade.

All that is easy to list, but hard to figure out. That's why we are testing brokers along more than 300 criteria, using real accounts and real money. So we know what's up.

Not sure which broker is best for you? For a tailored recommendation, check out our broker finder tool. You can enter your country and it will narrow down the list of brokers to those that are available where you live. Want more details? Compare brokers with our in-depth comparison tool.

And now, let's see the best stock brokers in the US one by one, starting with the winner, Zacks Trade.

Zacks Trade Logo

#1 Best online broker for investors
Zacks Trade

4.6

Zacks Trade is a US-based discount broker and a division of LBMZ Securities. LBMZ Securities was founded in 1978 and is regulated by the top-tier US financial authorities SEC and FINRA.

LBMZ Securities's clearing and execution services are provided through Interactive Brokers, a global stockbroker regulated by many top-tier financial authorities globally.

If you're familiar with the services of Interactive Brokers, you might notice that many of Zacks Trade's services are the same. To sum up:

  • Zacks Trade has its own, different fee structure, product selection, educational tools and customer support.
  • The account opening and deposit/withdrawal processes, trading platforms and research tools are the same as at Interactive Brokers.

Zacks Trade is considered safe because it has a long track record and is overseen by top-tier regulators. 

Recommended for traders and investors looking for comprehensive research tools, a wide product selection and low fees

Pros Cons
Low fees Complex desktop platform and research tools
Extensive stock and ETF selection Slow and complicated account opening
Great customer service Limited educational tools

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#1 Zacks Trade
Fees

Zacks Trade has low trading and non-trading fees. Its stock, ETF and bond trading fees are especially low, while mutual fund fees are quite high.
Pros Cons
Low stock and ETF fees High fund fees
No withdrawal fee
No inactivity fee
Zacks Trade fees
Zacks Trade Fidelity Ally Invest E*TRADE Firstrade
Stock and ETF fee scores 4.6 stars 4.8 stars 5.0 stars 5.0 stars 5.0 stars
Mutual fund fee scores 1.4 stars 0.1 stars 3.7 stars 2.4 stars 5.0 stars
Bond fee scores 4.4 stars 5.0 stars 4.4 stars 5.0 stars 5.0 stars
US stock fee* $1.0 $0.0 $0.0 $0.0 $0.0
Inactivity fee No inactivity fee No inactivity fee No inactivity fee No inactivity fee No inactivity fee

*Commissions for opening/closing a $2,000 stock/ETF position

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#1 Zacks Trade
Markets and products
3.8

Zacks Trade offers international stocks, ETFs and bonds, which is fairly unique for a US broker, as well as US funds and options. However, you cannot trade futures or forex.
Zacks Trade stock, ETF, bond and mutual funds selection
Zacks Trade Fidelity Ally Invest E*TRADE Firstrade
Stock markets (#) 72 22 5 5 5
ETFs (#) 13,000 80 2,300 2,300 2,300
Fund providers (#) 260 550 600 520 450
Bonds (#) 60,000 108,000 221,000 88,000 38,500
Zacks Trade other product offering
Zacks Trade Fidelity Ally Invest E*TRADE Firstrade
Forex No No No No No
Options Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Futures No No No Yes No
CFD No No No No No
Crypto No No No Yes No

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#1 Zacks Trade
Account opening
2.8

Zacks Trade has a fully digital account opening for clients all over the world, and there is no minimum deposit. On the negative side, we found the process slow and hard to navigate.
Pros Cons
Fully digital Slow
No minimum deposit Not user-friendly
Zacks Trade minimum deposit and time to open an account
Zacks Trade Fidelity Ally Invest E*TRADE Firstrade
Minimum deposit $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Time to open account >3 days 1-3 days 1-3 days 1-3 days 1-3 days

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#1 Zacks Trade
Deposit and withdrawal
3.5

Zacks Trade offers one free withdrawal per month for nearly all base currencies. However, you cannot use credit/debit cards or electronic wallets to deposit or withdraw funds.
Pros Cons
Free withdrawal Credit/Debit card not available
No deposit fee
Several account base currencies
Zacks Trade withdrawal fee and options
Zacks Trade Fidelity Ally Invest E*TRADE Firstrade
Bank transfer Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Credit/debit card No No No No No
Electronic wallets No Yes No No No
Withdrawal fee $0 $0 $0 $0 $0

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#1 Zacks Trade
Verdict

Zacks Trade is a great US discount broker. It is a division of LBMZ Securities, which is regulated by the SEC and FINRA.

On the plus side, Zacks Trade has low fees, outstanding stock and ETF selections and great customer service.

There are some drawbacks though, as its desktop trading platform and research tools are quite complex. The account opening is complicated and slow. Lastly, we missed some useful educational tools.

As Zacks Trade provides a demo account and doesn't require any minimum deposit, feel free to try it.

Zacks Trade
Summary Zacks Trade is a US discount broker that also allows international clients to open an account. Zacks Trade is a division of LBMZ Securities, which is regulated by SEC and FINRA. Customers are protected by the SIPC scheme, up to $500,000 (including a $250,000 limit for cash).
Overall score 4.6
Recommended for Traders and investors looking for comprehensive research tools, a wide product selection and low fees

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Fidelity Logo

#2 Best online broker for investors
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

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#2 Fidelity
Fees

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
Zacks Trade Fidelity Ally Invest E*TRADE Firstrade
Stock and ETF fee scores 4.6 stars 4.8 stars 5.0 stars 5.0 stars 5.0 stars
Mutual fund fee scores 1.4 stars 0.1 stars 3.7 stars 2.4 stars 5.0 stars
Bond fee scores 4.4 stars 5.0 stars 4.4 stars 5.0 stars 5.0 stars
US stock fee* $1.0 $0.0 $0.0 $0.0 $0.0
Inactivity fee No inactivity fee No inactivity fee No inactivity fee No inactivity fee No inactivity fee

*Commissions for opening/closing a $2,000 stock/ETF position

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#2 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 stock, ETF, bond and mutual funds selection
Zacks Trade Fidelity Ally Invest E*TRADE Firstrade
Stock markets (#) 72 22 5 5 5
ETFs (#) 13,000 80 2,300 2,300 2,300
Fund providers (#) 260 550 600 520 450
Bonds (#) 60,000 108,000 221,000 88,000 38,500
Fidelity other product offering
Zacks Trade Fidelity Ally Invest E*TRADE Firstrade
Forex No No No No No
Options Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Futures No No No Yes No
CFD No No No No No
Crypto No No No Yes No

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#2 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
Zacks Trade Fidelity Ally Invest E*TRADE Firstrade
Minimum deposit $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Time to open account >3 days 1-3 days 1-3 days 1-3 days 1-3 days

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#2 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
Zacks Trade Fidelity Ally Invest E*TRADE Firstrade
Bank transfer Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Credit/debit card No No No No No
Electronic wallets No Yes No No No
Withdrawal fee $0 $0 $0 $0 $0

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#2 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.

Fidelity
Summary Fidelity is a US stockbroker. It is regulated by top-tier authorities the SEC and FINRA.
Overall score 4.9
Recommended for Investors and traders looking for solid research and great trading platforms

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Ally Invest Logo

#3 Best online broker for investors
Ally Invest

4.7

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

Ally Invest 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 low fees and focusing on the us market

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 Lack of proper 2-step authentication

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#3 Ally Invest
Fees

Ally Invest has low trading fees and non-trading fees, including zero base commission on most stocks and ETFs. On the negative side, margin rates are quite high.
Pros Cons
Low trading fees Margin rates could be lower
Low non-trading fees
Zero commission on most stocks and ETFs
Ally Invest fees
Zacks Trade Fidelity Ally Invest E*TRADE Firstrade
Stock and ETF fee scores 4.6 stars 4.8 stars 5.0 stars 5.0 stars 5.0 stars
Mutual fund fee scores 1.4 stars 0.1 stars 3.7 stars 2.4 stars 5.0 stars
Bond fee scores 4.4 stars 5.0 stars 4.4 stars 5.0 stars 5.0 stars
US stock fee* $1.0 $0.0 $0.0 $0.0 $0.0
Inactivity fee No inactivity fee No inactivity fee No inactivity fee No inactivity fee No inactivity fee

*Commissions for opening/closing a $2,000 stock/ETF position

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#3 Ally Invest
Markets and products
2.9

At Ally Invest you can trade various asset classes from stocks to options. On the negative side, it covers only the US market, and futures or forex trading is not possible.
Ally Invest stock, ETF, bond and mutual funds selection
Zacks Trade Fidelity Ally Invest E*TRADE Firstrade
Stock markets (#) 72 22 5 5 5
ETFs (#) 13,000 80 2,300 2,300 2,300
Fund providers (#) 260 550 600 520 450
Bonds (#) 60,000 108,000 221,000 88,000 38,500
Ally Invest other product offering
Zacks Trade Fidelity Ally Invest E*TRADE Firstrade
Forex No No No No No
Options Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Futures No No No Yes No
CFD No No No No No
Crypto No No No Yes No

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#3 Ally Invest
Account opening
4.4

Account opening is fully digital and user-friendly, and involves no minimum deposit in most cases. On the other hand, account verification takes relatively long.
Pros Cons
Fully digital Slow account verification
Low minimum deposit
Ally Invest minimum deposit and time to open an account
Zacks Trade Fidelity Ally Invest E*TRADE Firstrade
Minimum deposit $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Time to open account >3 days 1-3 days 1-3 days 1-3 days 1-3 days

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#3 Ally Invest
Deposit and withdrawal
2.6

Ally Invest doesn't charge a deposit fee, and transferring money is easy. On the other hand, you can use only bank transfer, and wire transfer withdrawals are expensive.
Pros Cons
No deposit fee Credit/Debit card not available
User-friendly High outgoing wire transfer fee
Free ACH withdrawal
Ally Invest withdrawal fee and options
Zacks Trade Fidelity Ally Invest E*TRADE Firstrade
Bank transfer Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Credit/debit card No No No No No
Electronic wallets No Yes No No No
Withdrawal fee $0 $0 $0 $0 $0

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#3 Ally Invest
Verdict

Ally Invest is one of the biggest US stockbrokers and is overseen by top-tier regulators. Retail clients of Ally Bank will appreciate that its banking and brokerage platforms are very well integrated - so it's very easy to move cash between those accounts.

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

Ally Invest has some drawbacks though. You can trade only on US exchanges. Forex trading is available only through a separate Ally Forex account provided by GAIN Capital (Forex.com). Lastly, there is no option to turn on two-factor authentication for added security.

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

Ally Invest
Summary Ally Invest is a US stockbroker, regulated by top-tier authorities the SEC and FINRA. The company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and has a banking background.
Overall score 4.7
Recommended for Investors and traders looking for low fees and focusing on the US market

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E*TRADE Logo

#4 Best online broker for investors
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

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#4 E*TRADE
Fees

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
Zacks Trade Fidelity Ally Invest E*TRADE Firstrade
Stock and ETF fee scores 4.6 stars 4.8 stars 5.0 stars 5.0 stars 5.0 stars
Mutual fund fee scores 1.4 stars 0.1 stars 3.7 stars 2.4 stars 5.0 stars
Bond fee scores 4.4 stars 5.0 stars 4.4 stars 5.0 stars 5.0 stars
US stock fee* $1.0 $0.0 $0.0 $0.0 $0.0
Inactivity fee No inactivity fee No inactivity fee No inactivity fee No inactivity fee No inactivity fee

*Commissions for opening/closing a $2,000 stock/ETF position

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#4 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 stock, ETF, bond and mutual funds selection
Zacks Trade Fidelity Ally Invest E*TRADE Firstrade
Stock markets (#) 72 22 5 5 5
ETFs (#) 13,000 80 2,300 2,300 2,300
Fund providers (#) 260 550 600 520 450
Bonds (#) 60,000 108,000 221,000 88,000 38,500
E*TRADE other product offering
Zacks Trade Fidelity Ally Invest E*TRADE Firstrade
Forex No No No No No
Options Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Futures No No No Yes No
CFD No No No No No
Crypto No No No Yes No

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#4 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
Zacks Trade Fidelity Ally Invest E*TRADE Firstrade
Minimum deposit $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Time to open account >3 days 1-3 days 1-3 days 1-3 days 1-3 days

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#4 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
Zacks Trade Fidelity Ally Invest E*TRADE Firstrade
Bank transfer Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Credit/debit card No No No No No
Electronic wallets No Yes No No No
Withdrawal fee $0 $0 $0 $0 $0

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#4 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.

E*TRADE
Summary E*TRADE is a US stockbroker, regulated by top-tier authorities the SEC and FINRA. The company is listed on NASDAQ and has a banking background.
Overall score 4.9
Recommended for Investors and traders looking for solid research and a great mobile trading platform

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Firstrade Logo

#5 Best online broker for investors
Firstrade

4.4

Firstrade is a US discount stockbroker regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). The company was founded in 1985 under the name of First Flushing Securities.

Firstrade is considered safe because it has a long track record and is overseen by top-tier regulators.

Recommended for beginners and investors looking for zero-commission trading, focusing on the us market

Pros Cons
Free stock, ETF, fund and options trading No credit/debit cards and electronic wallets for money transfer
Solid research tools You can trade only on US markets
Quality educational tools No live chat or 24/7 availability

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#5 Firstrade
Fees

Firstrade has low fees. It offers free stock, ETF, funds, and options trading with low non-trading fees. However, margin rates are high.
Pros Cons
Low trading fees High margin rates
Low non-trading fees
Free stock, ETF, fund and options trading
Firstrade fees
Zacks Trade Fidelity Ally Invest E*TRADE Firstrade
Stock and ETF fee scores 4.6 stars 4.8 stars 5.0 stars 5.0 stars 5.0 stars
Mutual fund fee scores 1.4 stars 0.1 stars 3.7 stars 2.4 stars 5.0 stars
Bond fee scores 4.4 stars 5.0 stars 4.4 stars 5.0 stars 5.0 stars
US stock fee* $1.0 $0.0 $0.0 $0.0 $0.0
Inactivity fee No inactivity fee No inactivity fee No inactivity fee No inactivity fee No inactivity fee

*Commissions for opening/closing a $2,000 stock/ETF position

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#5 Firstrade
Markets and products
2.8

Firstrade offers a good variety of asset classes, from stocks to options. However, the products cover only the US market and you cannot trade with futures or forex.
Firstrade stock, ETF, bond and mutual funds selection
Zacks Trade Fidelity Ally Invest E*TRADE Firstrade
Stock markets (#) 72 22 5 5 5
ETFs (#) 13,000 80 2,300 2,300 2,300
Fund providers (#) 260 550 600 520 450
Bonds (#) 60,000 108,000 221,000 88,000 38,500
Firstrade other product offering
Zacks Trade Fidelity Ally Invest E*TRADE Firstrade
Forex No No No No No
Options Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Futures No No No Yes No
CFD No No No No No
Crypto No No No Yes No

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#5 Firstrade
Account opening
4.4

Account opening is fully digital and user-friendly. Firstrade is available for international customers. On the flip side, account opening was slow, it took almost 3 business days for us.
Pros Cons
Fully digital Slow account verification
No minimum deposit
Low minimum deposit
Firstrade minimum deposit and time to open an account
Zacks Trade Fidelity Ally Invest E*TRADE Firstrade
Minimum deposit $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Time to open account >3 days 1-3 days 1-3 days 1-3 days 1-3 days

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#5 Firstrade
Deposit and withdrawal
2.0

We liked Firstrade's user-friendly deposit and withdrawal process. There is no deposit fee and transferring money is easy. At the same time, there is still room for improvement: you can use only bank transfers and a high fee is charged for wire transfer withdrawals.
Pros Cons
No deposit fee Credit/Debit card not available
User-friendly Only one account base currency
High outgoing wire transfer fee
Firstrade withdrawal fee and options
Zacks Trade Fidelity Ally Invest E*TRADE Firstrade
Bank transfer Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Credit/debit card No No No No No
Electronic wallets No Yes No No No
Withdrawal fee $0 $0 $0 $0 $0

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#5 Firstrade
Verdict

Firstrade is one of the biggest discount US stockbrokers regulated by top-tier regulators.

Firstrade offers free stock, ETF, mutual funds, and options trading. It doesn't charge inactivity and account fees, and there are lots of quality research and educational tools you can use.

There are some drawbacks, though. Firstrade doesn't accept credit/debit cards and electronic wallets for money tranfer. The product portfolio covers only the US market. Customer service is only available 24/5 and you can't contact them via live chat. 

As it has low fees and no inactivity fee is charged, feel free to try Firstrade.

Firstrade
Summary Firstrade is a US discount broker regulated by the top-tier SEC and FINRA.
Overall score 4.4
Recommended for Beginners and investors looking for zero-commission trading, focusing on the US market

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Best online brokers for buy-and-hold investors in the US
What makes a good online broker

Now you know the top 5 online brokers for buy-and-hold strategies. You're probably curious about how we put together this list, so let's go through a few points quickly. What is an online broker? Why do we believe these brokers are safe? What were our 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 were like in the movie "The Wolf of Wall Street": constantly checking stocks prices while holding a phone and shouting. Everything changed after the internet appeared. Nowadays if you want to buy Apple shares, you open an account online, deposit money and place the order through the broker's online platform. These brokers are the online brokers. Online brokers help you to buy and sell securities like stocks. After placing your order, the online broker executes it immediately. Everything is done online.

Are these brokers safe?

Yes, all of these brokers are considered safe. You can be sure none of them is a scam. They are regulated by top-tier financial authorities. Some of them are also listed on an exchange, and some have a banking background.

However, brokerage companies can also go bust. Remember Lehman Brothers? In these cases, it is important to know what happens with your securities and cash. They are usually held in segregated accounts, so even in case of a broker bankruptcy, your money is safe.

If a worst-case scenario happens and, for example, the broker steals your assets, then you have a last resort: the compensation fund of the country where the broker is regulated.

How did BrokerChooser pick the best international online brokers for citizens in the US?

At BrokerChooser we test online brokers along more than 300 criteria, with a real account and real money. In order not to overwhelm you, here are just the five most important criteria for online brokers:

5 most important criteria for the best international online brokers
1. Fees The trading fee of a typical US stock trade can be 50 times higher at one online broker compared to another. So it's worth checking the fees closely.
2. Products and markets You want to invest in Amazon stocks and Bitcoin? They might not be available everywhere. Check the broker's product coverage before opening an account.
3. Account opening Some online brokers require a minimum first-time deposit, others don't. Check out the conditions of the best online brokers.
4. Deposit and withdrawal Transferring money in and out of your account can be 5 times longer and more expensive at one online broker than at another.
5. Trading platform A user-friendly and well-equipped trading platform can significantly increase your comfort with trading.

Best online brokers for buy-and-hold investors in the US
Bottom line

You've seen the details, now let's zoom out. Here are once again the best online brokers for buy-and-hold investors in the US:

Best online brokers for buy-and-hold investors in the US
Zacks Trade Fidelity Ally Invest E*TRADE Firstrade
Overall score 4.6 4.9 4.7 4.9 4.4
Award Best broker for investing Best broker for ESG Best broker for bonds Best IRA broker
Stock fee class Low Low Low Low Low
Fund fee class High High Low High Low
Bond fee class Low Low Low Low Low
Markets and products score 3.8 stars 3.9 stars 2.9 stars 3.1 stars 2.8 stars
Account opening score 2.8 stars 3.6 stars 4.4 stars 4.4 stars 4.4 stars
Deposit and withdrawal score 3.5 stars 3.8 stars 2.6 stars 2.2 stars 2.0 stars
Web platform score 4.5 stars 4.5 stars 3.5 stars 4.5 stars 4.3 stars
Visit broker Visit broker Visit broker Visit broker Visit broker

Zacks Trade is our winner, the best online broker for long-term investing in the US. Low fees. Extensive stock and ETF selection. Great customer service.

All the other brokers in the top five are considered great choices as well. Pick any of them and take the next step in your investment journey. Let us know what you think in the comment section.

Still unsure? Use our broker finder to find the best online broker for you or learn more about investing your money.

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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