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Stock trading at a glance

Buying and selling stocks is probably the most common form of investment and given the explosion in the number of online brokers over the past years, nearly everyone can invest in stocks. You don’t need a large amount of money to start investing in a company; everyday investors do it with $100 or less.

Alpaca Trading clients have access to real stocks, meaning they can buy and sell shares at this online broker. Follow these easy steps to start buying stocks at Alpaca Trading:

  1. Open an investment account at Alpaca Trading
  2. Transfer money to your account
  3. Find a stock or ETF that you want to buy on the trading platform
  4. Buy the stock(s) or ETF(s)
  5. Review your positions regularly
  6. Sell as you see fit

Alpaca Trading stocks: an in-depth guide to stock trading
What stocks can you trade at Alpaca Trading?

Alpaca Trading gives access to 5 stock exchanges for trading real stocks.

The following table contains an estimated number of stocks available at Alpaca Trading and its closest competitors. Some brokers that offer access to the NYSE and Nasdaq focus on the biggest names and may not list some smaller companies. Other brokers allow you to trade all stocks listed on the respective exchange, giving you more flexibility in setting up your investment portfolio.

Snapshot of stock market and stock availability
Alpaca Trading moomoo Webull
Number of stock markets 5 5 5
Approx. number of stocks 5,000 19,000 10,200

Check out the following table for details about US stock trading at Alpaca Trading.

Due to limited trading activity, stocks usually have greater price fluctuation and wider bid-ask spreads during extended hours compared to standard market hours.

Alpaca Trading US stock market details
Alpaca Trading moomoo Webull
Number of stock markets 5 5 5
Number of stocks - - -

Alpaca Trading stocks: an in-depth guide to stock trading
Trading costs at Alpaca Trading

Trading stocks comes with a range of brokerage fees, which can be divided into trading and non-trading fees. Trading fees are directly tied to a trade and usually include commissions, spreads, financing rates and conversion fees. Non-trading fees are charges not directly related to trading, such as withdrawal fees or inactivity fees. When you are trading stocks, the most important fees are commissions. For a more detailed breakdown of costs related to investing, check out our in-depth guide to brokerage fees.

When it comes to trading real stocks at Alpaca Trading, commissions are Low when compared with all brokers we’ve reviewed at Brokerchooser. The following tables contain the most important charges related to stock trading and the fees levied by the competitors of Alpaca Trading.

We’ve calculated the fees for an imaginary trade of $2,000 worth of shares on American, British, Hong Kong and German stock exchanges. We’ve converted the GBP, HKD and EUR trading fees to USD for better comparison.

Alpaca Trading stock and ETF commission for a $2,000 trade
Alpaca Trading moomoo Webull
$2000 trade on the NYSE/NASDAQ $0.0 $0.0 $0.0
$2000 trade on the LSE - - -
$2000 trade on a German stock exchange - - -
$2000 trade on the Hong Kong stock exchange - $0.6 $0.4

Alpaca Trading is a zero-commission broker, so trading US stocks at Alpaca Trading is free of charge. Bear in mind, however, that there is no such thing as a free lunch. Although free trading sounds especially advantageous for active traders, it may not be the best solution for everyone. The payment-for-order-flow model, which is used by some zero-commission brokers to generate income (rather than relying on commissions), could potentially create a conflict of interest between you and your broker. This could result in trade execution (like routing your orders to specific market makers) that may be unfavorable for you under certain market conditions, especially when using market orders (as opposed to limit orders, which seem to be less affected). Note that non-trading fees may and probably will still apply.

Now let’s take a look at non-trading fees. Most online brokers don’t charge an account fee, nor deposit fees, but inactivity fees and withdrawal fees are more common.

Alpaca Trading fee snapshot for non-trading fees
Alpaca Trading moomoo Webull
Account fee No No No
Inactivity fee No No No
Deposit fee $0 $0 $0
Withdrawal fee $0 $0 $0

Alpaca Trading stocks: an in-depth guide to stock trading
Minimum deposit for trading stocks at Alpaca Trading

The minimum deposit to open a brokerage account with Alpaca Trading is $0. This is a great benefit as there are brokers that require as much as a couple thousand dollars.

Minimum amount required to open an account at Alpaca Trading vs its competitors
Alpaca Trading moomoo Webull
Minimum deposit $0 $0 $0

Alpaca Trading stocks: an in-depth guide to stock trading
Margin vs cash accounts at Alpaca Trading

Clients can open a margin account with Alpaca Trading. These accounts allow you to borrow money from the broker and buy more stocks than what your actual cash balance would cover. You’ll need a margin account if you want to short individual stocks or ETFs (i.e. bet on price decline). Margin accounts require a minimum balance. If you decide to use this feature, you’ll have to pay the following margin interest on your negative cash balance.

Alpaca Trading annual margin interest rates
Alpaca Trading moomoo Webull
USD margin rate 3.8% 4.8% 7.0%
EUR margin rate - - -
GBP margin rate - - -

Alpaca Trading stocks: an in-depth guide to stock trading
Pattern Day Trading at Alpaca Trading

The Pattern Day Trading (PTD) Rule applies at Alpaca Trading. According to FINRA rules, you are a day trader if you execute at least four day trades within five business days. Pattern Day Traders have to maintain a minimum account balance of $25,000 in their margin accounts. This will allow them to engage in unlimited day trading. Brokers are free to impose a higher minimum requirement, which is often called a “house requirement.” If the account balance drops below the set minimum, traders are not permitted to day trade until the minimum level is restored. If the account balance is less than $25,000, a maximum four day trades are allowed in five business days.

Alpaca Trading stocks: an in-depth guide to stock trading
Bottom line

While buying stocks and ETFs may prove one of the best long-term investments, it also carries a number of risks. In addition to unpredictable market movements, the most common risks include choosing the wrong broker, not diversifying your portfolio and investing in lousy stocks. To avoid some of these pitfalls, check out our guide about managing risks related to trading stocks.

We recommend only quality brokers, so you can be sure that none of the online brokers listed here are scams. In order to be sure, we check roughly 20 safety-related criteria, such as regulation, investor protection amount and the transparency of the broker’s financials. Lastly, at least one top-tier financial authority regulates all the brokers you can find on BrokerChooser.

If you want to read our full review of Alpaca Trading, including fees, deposit options and platform reviews (like web and desktop), visit Alpaca Trading review.

Author of this article

András Iván

Author of this article

Andras has over 5 years of experience in investing and trading equities, options and bonds. He believes that active trading and a more passive investing approach both have merits and everyone can find a strategy that fits their needs. He's eager to help identify the characteristics of specific brokers, so the best match can be found for each client.

András Iván

Broker Analyst

Andras has over 5 years of experience in investing and trading equities, options and bonds. He believes that active trading and a more passive investing approach both have merits and everyone can find a strategy that fits their needs. He's eager to help identify the characteristics of specific brokers, so the best match can be found for each client.

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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