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Best online brokers for long-term investing in the US
Interactive Brokers logo
Zacks Trade logo
Ally Invest logo
E*TRADE logo
Charles Schwab logo

To help you to find the best online brokers for long-term investing in the US in 2022, we went ahead and did the research for you. First, we looked at the 101 quality online brokers we cover, 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.

And now, let's see the winners!

Our top 5 picks for the best online brokers for long-term investing in the US in 2022:

  1. Interactive Brokers is the winner. Low trading fees. Wide range of products. Many great research tools.
  2. Zacks Trade takes second place. Low fees. Extensive stock and ETF selection. Great customer service.
  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 fourth. Low trading fees (free stock and ETF trading). User-friendly mobile trading platform. Great research tools.
  5. Charles Schwab just made it to the list, in fifth place. Free stock and ETF trading. Outstanding research. Great customer service.
Best online brokers for long-term investing in the US
Broker Description Overall score Minimum deposit Other awards
#1 Interactive Brokers International broker providing all asset classes 4.9 $0 Best online broker
#2 Zacks Trade US discount broker 4.4 $0
#3 Ally Invest US stockbroker 4.6 $0
#4 E*TRADE US stockbroker 4.7 $0 Best IRA broker
#5 Charles Schwab US discount broker 4.7 $0

All of these 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 close to 500 criteria, using real accounts and real money.

Not sure which broker is best for you? For a tailored recommendation, check out our broker finder tool. Just select 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 brokers for long-term investing in the US one by one, starting with the winner, Interactive Brokers.

Interactive Brokers Logo

#1 Best online broker for investors
Interactive Brokers

4.9

Interactive Brokers, one of the biggest US-based discount brokers, was founded in 1977. 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).

Given that the broker has licenses from multiple top-tier regulators, Interactive Brokers is considered safe. The fact that it has a long track record and publicly disclosed financials while being listed on a stock exchange all point to IB being a safe service provider.

Interactive Brokers recently launched a new app for global stock trading: read our review of IBKR GlobalTrader.

In addition, Interactive Brokers also has an app you can use for ESG investing: read our review of IMPACT by Interactive Brokers.

Recommended for traders looking for broad market access 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 Understaffed customer service

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#1 Interactive Brokers
Fees

Interactive Brokers has low trading fees and the best margin rates in the industry. For US clients, stock and ETF trading is free if they choose the Lite plan.
Pros Cons
Low trading fees None
Free stock and ETF trading for US clients
Low margin rates
Interactive Brokers fees
Interactive Brokers Zacks Trade Ally Invest E*TRADE Charles Schwab
Stock and ETF fee scores 4.8 stars 4.5 stars 5.0 stars 5.0 stars 5.0 stars
Mutual fund fee scores 2.9 stars 1.1 stars 3.6 stars 2.2 stars 1.5 stars
Bond fee scores 4.8 stars 4.5 stars 4.5 stars 5.0 stars 5.0 stars
US stock fee* $1.0 $1.0 $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 Interactive Brokers
Markets and products
5.0

At Interactive Brokers, you have access to an extremely wide range of markets and all product types are available.
Interactive Brokers stock, ETF, bond and mutual funds selection
Interactive Brokers Zacks Trade Ally Invest E*TRADE Charles Schwab
Stock markets (#) 83 78 5 5 4
ETFs (#) 13,000 13,000 2,300 2,300 2,300
Fund providers (#) 400 260 600 600 600
Bonds (#) 1,065,000 60,000 221,000 88,000 60,000

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#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 both for advanced traders and for everyday investors who want to have access to many stock markets.

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

There are some drawbacks, though. We weren't satisfied with the quaity of the customer service and the account opening process is complicated. Unlike the web and mobile platforms, 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 is a great fit for you.

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.
Overall score 4.9
Recommended for Traders looking for broad market access and a professional trading environment

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Zacks Trade Logo

#2 Best online broker for investors
Zacks Trade

4.4

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. Unlike at Interactive Brokers, trading forex, CFDs and futures is not supported.
  • 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.

Since Zacks is more expensive than IB, why would anyone favor Zacks over Interactive Brokers? We found two possible reasons:

  • Zacks falls under SEC regulation and users have SIPC protection, no matter where they live
  • Zacks provides free broker-assisted trading

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 No futures and forex

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#2 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 / Free stock trading High fund fees
No withdrawal fee
No inactivity fee
Zacks Trade fees
Interactive Brokers Zacks Trade Ally Invest E*TRADE Charles Schwab
Stock and ETF fee scores 4.8 stars 4.5 stars 5.0 stars 5.0 stars 5.0 stars
Mutual fund fee scores 2.9 stars 1.1 stars 3.6 stars 2.2 stars 1.5 stars
Bond fee scores 4.8 stars 4.5 stars 4.5 stars 5.0 stars 5.0 stars
US stock fee* $1.0 $1.0 $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 Zacks Trade
Markets and products
3.5

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
Interactive Brokers Zacks Trade Ally Invest E*TRADE Charles Schwab
Stock markets (#) 83 78 5 5 4
ETFs (#) 13,000 13,000 2,300 2,300 2,300
Fund providers (#) 400 260 600 600 600
Bonds (#) 1,065,000 60,000 221,000 88,000 60,000

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#2 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. Unlike Interactive Brokers, Zacks doesn't support trading CFDs, futures and cryptos.

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 4.4
Recommended for Traders and investors looking for comprehensive research tools, a wide product selection and low fees

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Ally Invest Logo

#3 Best online broker for investors
Ally Invest

4.6

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 stock and ETF trades
Ally Invest fees
Interactive Brokers Zacks Trade Ally Invest E*TRADE Charles Schwab
Stock and ETF fee scores 4.8 stars 4.5 stars 5.0 stars 5.0 stars 5.0 stars
Mutual fund fee scores 2.9 stars 1.1 stars 3.6 stars 2.2 stars 1.5 stars
Bond fee scores 4.8 stars 4.5 stars 4.5 stars 5.0 stars 5.0 stars
US stock fee* $1.0 $1.0 $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
2.5

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 trading is not available.
Ally Invest stock, ETF, bond and mutual funds selection
Interactive Brokers Zacks Trade Ally Invest E*TRADE Charles Schwab
Stock markets (#) 83 78 5 5 4
ETFs (#) 13,000 13,000 2,300 2,300 2,300
Fund providers (#) 400 260 600 600 600
Bonds (#) 1,065,000 60,000 221,000 88,000 60,000

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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 4.6
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

4.7

E*TRADE is a US-based stockbroker founded in 1982. It is regulated by top-tier financial authorities such as 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 stock and ETFs tradies; some bonds and mutual funds are also free to trade. Non-trading fees are 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 Zacks Trade Ally Invest E*TRADE Charles Schwab
Stock and ETF fee scores 4.8 stars 4.5 stars 5.0 stars 5.0 stars 5.0 stars
Mutual fund fee scores 2.9 stars 1.1 stars 3.6 stars 2.2 stars 1.5 stars
Bond fee scores 4.8 stars 4.5 stars 4.5 stars 5.0 stars 5.0 stars
US stock fee* $1.0 $1.0 $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
2.8

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
Interactive Brokers Zacks Trade Ally Invest E*TRADE Charles Schwab
Stock markets (#) 83 78 5 5 4
ETFs (#) 13,000 13,000 2,300 2,300 2,300
Fund providers (#) 400 260 600 600 600
Bonds (#) 1,065,000 60,000 221,000 88,000 60,000

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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 scrapped the 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, the live chat support is slow.

As trading fees are generally low, research tools are great and no inactivity fee is charged, feel free to try 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.
Overall score 4.7
Recommended for Investors and traders looking for solid research and a great mobile trading platform

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Charles Schwab Logo

#5 Best online broker for investors
Charles Schwab

4.7

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) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

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

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#5 Charles Schwab
Fees

Charles Schwab offers free trading for stocks and ETFs, as well as some mutual funds and bonds, while non-trading fees are low. On the negative side, some fund fees are high.
Pros Cons
Free stock/ETF trading High fees for non-free mutual funds
Free trading for some funds/bonds
Low non-trading fees
Charles Schwab fees
Interactive Brokers Zacks Trade Ally Invest E*TRADE Charles Schwab
Stock and ETF fee scores 4.8 stars 4.5 stars 5.0 stars 5.0 stars 5.0 stars
Mutual fund fee scores 2.9 stars 1.1 stars 3.6 stars 2.2 stars 1.5 stars
Bond fee scores 4.8 stars 4.5 stars 4.5 stars 5.0 stars 5.0 stars
US stock fee* $1.0 $1.0 $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 Charles Schwab
Markets and products
3.0

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 stock, ETF, bond and mutual funds selection
Interactive Brokers Zacks Trade Ally Invest E*TRADE Charles Schwab
Stock markets (#) 83 78 5 5 4
ETFs (#) 13,000 13,000 2,300 2,300 2,300
Fund providers (#) 400 260 600 600 600
Bonds (#) 1,065,000 60,000 221,000 88,000 60,000

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#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 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.
Overall score 4.7
Recommended for Investors and traders looking for solid research, low fees and great customer service

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Best online brokers for long-term investing in the US in 2022
Bottom line

You've seen the details, now let's zoom out. Here are once again the best online brokers for long-term investing in the US:

Best online brokers for long-term investing in the US
Interactive Brokers Zacks Trade Ally Invest E*TRADE Charles Schwab
Overall score 4.9 4.4 4.6 4.7 4.7
Award Best online broker Best IRA broker
Stock fee class Low Low Low Low Low
Fund fee class Average High Low High High
Bond fee class Low Low Low Low Low
Markets and products score 5.0 stars 3.5 stars 2.5 stars 2.8 stars 3.0 stars
Account opening score 3.2 stars 2.5 stars 4.2 stars 4.2 stars 4.3 stars
Deposit and withdrawal score 3.0 stars 3.5 stars 2.6 stars 2.2 stars 2.2 stars
Web platform score 4.0 stars 4.0 stars 3.5 stars 4.5 stars 4.3 stars
Visit broker Visit broker Visit broker Visit broker Visit broker

Interactive Brokers is our winner, the best online broker for long-term investing in the US. Low trading fees. Wide range of products. Many great research tools.

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 tool to find the best online broker for you or learn more about investing your money.

Author of this article

Gyula Lencsés, CFA

Author of this article

Gyula Lencsés, CFA has more than 10 years of experience in the financial industry. He spent most of his career in the wealth management business as a portfolio manager of mutual funds. He has a trading experience in a wide range of asset classes, including stocks, ETFs, bonds, commodities, forex and derivatives markets.

Gyula Lencsés, CFA

Head of content

Gyula Lencsés, CFA has more than 10 years of experience in the financial industry. He spent most of his career in the wealth management business as a portfolio manager of mutual funds. He has a trading experience in a wide range of asset classes, including stocks, ETFs, bonds, commodities, forex and derivatives markets.

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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