Online Brokers & Trading Platforms in the United States in 2022

To help you to find the online brokers & trading platforms in the United States in 2022, we went ahead and did the research for you. We collected all data you need to know about account opening, trading performance and fees of the best investment providers in the United States.

Online Brokers & Trading Platforms in the United States in 2022
Best online brokers in the United States

Top 5 Online Brokers & Trading Platforms in the United States in 2022:

  1. Interactive Brokers is the best online broker and trading platform in 2022. Low trading fees. Wide range of products. Many great research tools.
  2. eToro takes second place. Free stock and ETF trading. Seamless account opening. Social trading.
  3. TD Ameritrade rounds out the top three. Low trading fees (free stock and ETF trading). Superb desktop trading platform. Great customer support.
  4. Charles Schwab is numero quattro. Free stock and ETF trading. Outstanding research. Great customer service.
  5. Merrill Edge just made it to the list at number five. Low trading fees. Easy and seamless account opening. Strong parent company.
Brokers and trading accounts available in the United States
Broker Score Fee score Minimum deposit
#1 Interactive Brokers 4.9 4.5 stars $0
#2 eToro 4.8 4.4 stars $10
#3 TD Ameritrade 4.7 4.2 stars $0
#4 Charles Schwab 4.7 4.3 stars $0
#5 Merrill Edge 4.7 4.3 stars $0

Ideally, after reading our research you should feel more secure about opening a trading account that fits you best. When selecting a broker remember to focus on the following aspects:

  • Account opening time
  • Account opening complexity (user-friendliness)
  • Whether hard copies of your documents are needed
  • Trading and non-trading fees
  • Selection of available products

 

For detailed information see the following articles:

 

Online Brokers & Trading Platforms in the United States in 2022
Stock trading fees in the United States

Now let's check in detail the trading and non-trading fees charged by the best brokers for investing in stocks from the United States. All spreads, commissions and financing rates are for opening a position, holding for a week, and closing.

Stock trading and non-trading fees in the United States
Interactive Brokers eToro TD Ameritrade Charles Schwab Merrill Edge
US stock $1.0 $0.0 $0.0 $0.0 $0.0
UK stock $4.2 $0.0 - - -
German stock $3.6 $0.0 - - -
Withdrawal fee $0 $5 $0 $0 $0
Inactivity fee No Yes No No No
Visit broker Visit broker Visit broker Visit broker Visit broker
More More More More More

Online Brokers & Trading Platforms in the United States in 2022
How to invest in stocks from the United States

There are many safe and high-quality online brokers that offer their services for clients in the United States. Among these, you can find providers that offer stocks from the United States, but if you're looking to invest in other global markets, your possibilities open up even more.

Top brokers for investing in stocks

We have compiled a list of safe brokers that are available in the United States and are great for investing in stocks. We recommend that you pick one of the following brokers:

  1. Interactive Brokers, International broker providing all asset classes
  2. eToro, Global social trading broker
  3. TD Ameritrade, US-based stockbroker
  4. Charles Schwab, US discount broker
  5. Merrill Edge, US discount broker

Are you ready to start?

1. Find an online broker

First, you need to make sure that the broker you're looking at is available in the United States.

Would you like to speed up your search?

Our broker finder tool will help you narrow down your choices, showing only those brokers that are available in your country and are suitable for your investment goals and habits. And if you want a detailed, side-by-side comparison of these alternatives, check out our broker comparison table.

Top brokers for investing in stocks from the United States
Interactive Brokers eToro TD Ameritrade Charles Schwab Merrill Edge
Stock and ETF fee scores 4.8 stars 5.0 stars 5.0 stars 5.0 stars 5.0 stars
Web platform score 4.0 stars 4.4 stars 4.3 stars 4.3 stars 4.3 stars
Mobile platform score 3.5 stars 4.7 stars 4.8 stars 4.2 stars 4.8 stars
Stock markets (#) 83 17 4 4 4

Here at BrokerChooser, we only recommend brokers that are regulated by at least one top-tier financial authority. Please note that some global brokers operate via several legal entities, each regulated by a local authority – so for example, US clients would be overseen by a US regulator, and UK clients by a UK financial authority. Some regulators also run investor protection schemes, making you eligible for compensation if your broker goes bankrupt.

If you want to invest in stocks from the US, you may want to go with a broker that is overseen by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and/or the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). This will come with coverage by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC). Under the SIPC protection scheme, your assets will be protected up to $500,000, including a $250,000 limit for cash if your broker defaults.

2. Open your account

Opening an account at an online broker is usually easy and straightforward, and takes place fully online. Most of the time, you just need to provide your name, address and other basic information, and maybe answer some questions about your wealth/income status, financial knowledge or trading experience.

Make sure you have your documents at hand, as

  • copies of a photo ID
  • some recent bank statements
  • or utility bills

are usually required to verify your identity and residency.

Many brokers offer several account types to choose from, such as individual or joint accounts, or various tax-free savings accounts. As a stock investor, you'll be especially interested in the latter.

If you're planning to invest in stocks in order to save for retirement, an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) may be ideal for you. IRAs are tax-deductible or tax-free retirement accounts available for any US citizen with an earned income. There are various types of IRAs. Some allow you to deduct contributions to the account from your taxes; others don't, but instead offer tax-free payouts once you reach retirement; still others cater to self-employed persons or business owners. Click here for a more detailed explanation of IRAs. Sounds like just what you need? Then make sure you choose a broker that offers IRAs.

Those thinking in the short term or willing to take more risk may consider opening a margin account. A margin account will allow you to trade with leverage, meaning that you borrow money from your broker to trade. This can amplify your gains, but also your losses! While a regular brokerage account (also referred to as a cash account) often involves no minimum deposit, opening a margin account requires a minimum deposit of $2,000. To learn more about margin trading and its potential risks, read this article.

If you are looking at an even shorter horizon and planning to engage in day trading (i.e. buying and selling a stock within the same day), please note that US regulations on so-called pattern day trading stipulate that you must have an equity balance of at least $25,000 in your margin account.

3. Fund your account

So your trading account has been verified; the next step is to fund it – in other words, to deposit money that you will then use for buying stocks. Some brokers require a minimum deposit when you open your account, but most brokers do not have such a requirement, allowing you to take your time before committing any funds.

All brokers will allow you to deposit or withdraw funds via bank transfer; an easy, usually free, though not always super-fast method. Withdrawing money to your bank account can take as long as three days.

Many brokers also let you deposit (though not withdraw) funds using credit or debit cards. A few will also accept so-called electronic wallets such as PayPal, Apple Pay, Skrill or Neteller. The biggest benefit of cards and e-wallets is that transactions take place instantly, allowing you to start investing – or reap the proceeds of a successful stock sale – right away.

4. Find and buy stocks

You may already know which stock(s) you want to buy; if not, it's worth checking out the research section of your broker, which often includes trading ideas and recommendations by in-house experts or third-party analysts. Alternatively, you can do a bit of research on your own, and check the selected stock's earnings multiples, or read up on industry news.

Once you have settled on a stock, it's easy – just

  • select it from the broker's search menu
  • enter the number of shares you want to buy
  • press "Buy"

Most trading platforms will offer several order types - such as a "Market" order to buy at the current price, or a "Limit" order to buy later at a specific price. To learn more about various order types, read this article.

Online Brokers & Trading Platforms in the United States in 2022
Trading account from the United States

How to open a trading account from the United States?

There are several factors to consider when opening a trading account, including the user-friendliness of the platform or the minimum deposit amount. Let's deep dive into these.

The time it takes to open an account typically ranges from a few minutes to a few weeks. The identity verification that marks the end of the process differs at various brokers. The account opening process is fully online in most cases, but there are brokers that require customers to mail a copy of their documents. The documents you usually have to upload and/or send (a copy) are of the following:

  • Proof of identity: national ID, passport, driving license, etc.
  • Proof of address: bank statements, utility bills, etc.

There are brokers that require a minimum deposit to authorize your trading account. The minimum deposit is usually $0 or a low amount, but some brokers demand a couple of thousands dollars/euros.

Account opening at brokers available from the United States
Interactive Brokers eToro TD Ameritrade Charles Schwab Merrill Edge
Broker intro International broker providing all asset classes Global social trading broker US-based stockbroker US discount broker US discount broker
Time to open account 1-3 days 1 day 1-3 days 1 day 1 day
Account opening fully online Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Account opening user-friendliness No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Minimum deposit $0 $10 $0 $0 $0

Broker fees in the United States

Undoubtedly, fees are a crucial factor when selecting a broker. Below you can check the asset classes that individual brokers provide and whether their fees are classified as high, low, or average. This classification is based on how the fees compare to those charged by all the brokers reviewed by us.

Trading fee classification at brokers in the United States
Interactive Brokers eToro TD Ameritrade Charles Schwab Merrill Edge
Stock fee class Low Low Low Low Low
Forex fee class Average Low Low - -
Fund fee class Average - High High High
Bond fee class Low - Low Low Low
Options fee class Average - Low Low Average
Futures fee class Low - Low Low -
CFD fee class Average -

Non-trading fees are just as important as trading fees. Non-trading fees include charges not directly related to trading, such as withdrawal or inactivity fees.

Non-trading fees at brokers in the United States
Interactive Brokers eToro TD Ameritrade Charles Schwab Merrill Edge
Account fee No No No No No
Inactivity fee No Yes No No No
Deposit fee $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Withdrawal fee $0 $5 $0 $0 $0

 

Check out the investment landscape in other countries as well

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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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