12 Best Online Stock Brokers for Beginners 2024

Investing in stocks online has never been more simple and cost-effective. But with so many options to choose from, knowing which broker to sign up with can be confusing.

In this guide, we review the 12 best online stock brokers for 2024. We reveal the leading regulated brokers that offer plenty of stocks, low fees, small account minimums, and great customer service.

The Best Online Brokerage Accounts for Beginners Ranked

The 12 best online stock brokers for 2024 can be found on the list below:

  1. eToro: The best online stock broker for beginners and advanced traders, featuring an easy to use trading platform that provides access to over 5,000 assets, including stocks, ETFs and indices, via a desktop platform and a highly-rated mobile app. Also offers a trading academy with educational resources.
  2. XTB: A 0% commission stock broker that supports multiple exchanges in Europe, the UK and the US. The minimum stock investment is just $10. XTB allows you to invest via its native web platform, desktop software, and mobile app. There’s no minimum deposit requirement at this broker.
  3. Libertex: If you’re based outside the US, Libertex is a great option. You can trade stocks with leverage and even short-sell. There is no commission to pay and the minimum deposit is just $10. You can trade forex, commodities, and indices across markets in the US, UK, and Europe.
  4. Hargreaves Lansdown: An established UK-based broker, it supports many UK and international markets, including the US, Canada, and Europe. Although it charges high commissions, it offers top-rated customer service and industry-leading analysis reports.
  5. Trade Nation: An international broker that specializes in financial derivatives. You can trade stock CFDs, plus commodities, forex, bonds, and indices. This is a 0% commission broker, so you’ll only need to cover the spread. It also offers spread betting exclusively to UK investors.
  6. AvaTrade: This global trading platform is licensed in nine jurisdictions, highlighting its commitment to regulation. AvaTrade supports CFDs on stocks, ETFs, bonds, indices, and commodities. You can trade shares here without paying any commissions and spreads start from 0.13%.
  7. Interactive Brokers: Popular online broker offering US clients 0% commission trading on domestic stocks. It also offers fractional shares from just $1. It’s also available outside the US, but with a different pricing model. This broker offers an advanced trading suite packed with analysis tools.
  8. Fidelity: A leading online broker offering stocks, fixed-income securities, ETFs, funds, options, futures, and cryptocurrencies. You can trade on a DIY basis or open a managed investment account. Fidelity is also popular for its research tools, which include news and stock market insights.
  9. Skilling: Another CFD stock broker on this list offering 0% commission on all supported markets. This includes stocks from the US, UK, and Europe. You can also trade commodities, forex, and indices. It has its own trading platform that’s ideal for beginners. It also supports MT4 and cTrader.
  10. Robinhood: A commission-free broker that’s popular with casual US investors. You can buy and sell US stocks from just $1. It allows fractional investments in cryptocurrencies, ETFs, and options. It doesn’t charge platform fees, but if you upgrade to a gold account you’ll earn 4.9% interest on uninvested cash balances. Without gold, it’s just 1.5%.
  11. Webull: A trusted US-centric commission-free stock broker. It supports thousands of US stocks and the minimum investment is just $5. It also offers cryptocurrencies, options, and ETFs. It’s a good option for a retirement account; it supports traditional, Roth, and rollover IRAs.
  12. E*TRADE: Backed by Morgan Stanley, the US brokerage firm offers commission-free trading on US-listed stocks, ETFs, options, and mutual funds. You can also trade futures and bonds by paying a small commission. While there’s no minimum deposit, it doesn’t support fractional shares.

Best Online Stock Brokers Reviewed

Online stock brokers come in many shapes and sizes. In addition to supported markets, commissions, and minimum investments – you should consider usability, customer service, and safety.

Read on to learn more about the 12 online stock brokers we picked.

1. eToro – Overall Best Online Stock Broker with Over 5,000 Assets Across Multiple Markets

Regulated by leading bodies in the US, UK and Europe, eToro is the online broker of choice for beginners for many reasons. It features a competitive minimum deposit of $100. Its CopyTrading and social trading features, demo accounts as well as the availability of its platforms for Android and iOS make eToro a highly-rated cross functional investment platform. Users can also trade stocks and ETFs with 0% commission (just pay the spread difference) making eToro one of the most competitive and available platforms on the market.

Stock indices on eToro cover over 20 of the world’s biggest markets, while users looking to invest in some of the hottest stocks will not be disappointed, with over 4,000 stocks to choose from including the likes of Tesla, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Nvidia, Meta and Alphabet.

Those who are new to trading can take advantage of eToro’s extensive Academy, which provides educational resources for traders and investors of all levels. They can then test out their knowledge and trading skills in a demo account before committing real capital in the markets.

Finally, eToro is also the best broker for social trading features, where users can view the sentiments and analysis of the other 30+ million traders who use the platform. There are also CopyTrading and Smart Portfolio features which allow users to automatically copy the trading strategy of some of the platforms’ most successful traders or easily invest in particular asset categories.

Supported Markets Pricing System Fee to Invest in Amazon Stock Min. Deposit Top Features
  • Stocks
  • ETFs, Commodities
  • Forex
  • Indices
  • Cryptocurrencies
  • Commission free trades (pay the spread)
  • Commission-free
  • $100 depending on country
  • Social Trading
  • CopyTrading
  • Extensive Academy of educational resources
    and demo account
  • Low minimums
  • No commissions on stocks and ETFs
  • Over 5,000 assets supported

Pros pros

  • Over 5,000 assets
  • Social trading features
  • No trading commission on stock and ETF trades
  • Large Academy of educational resources
  • Demo accounts

Cons cons

  • Withdrawal fees of $5

CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 80% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.

2. XTB – Overall Best Online Stock Broker Offering Traditional Stocks and Leveraged CFDs 

XTB is a regulated global broker that supports thousands of markets. This includes more than 3,000 stocks from 16 exchanges. In the US, you’ll be able to invest in popular stocks like Apple, Netflix, Palantir, Amazon, and Alphabet. You can also gain exposure to large-cap UK companies, including HSBC and AstraZeneca. XTB also supports more than a dozen European exchanges.

This includes everywhere from France and Sweden to Germany, Norway, and Portugal. The main drawback is that XTB doesn’t support Asian markets, such as Singapore and Japan. Nevertheless, you can invest in stocks from just $10. What’s more, XTB offers a 0% commission service. So, whether you want to invest in ABB from Switzerland or Aston Martin in the UK; you won’t pay anything other than the spread.

XTB review

XTB also supports hundreds of ETFs – the minimum investment is just $1. These are backed by popular ETF providers like iShares, WisdomTree, Invesco, and First Trust. Just like stocks, XTB doesn’t charge commissions when investing in ETFs. If you’re more of a short-term trader, you’ll also find leveraged CFDs on XTB. Depending on your country of residence, you can trade CFDs with leverage of up to 1:500.

Supported CFD markets include stocks, ETFs, indices, forex, and commodities. XTB is also one of the best day-trading platforms for beginners. There’s no minimum deposit and you can get started with a free demo account. Moreover, it offers plenty of educational resources and explainers. XTB is a safe online broker; it’s regulated by the FCA (UK), CySEC (Cyprus), and other licensing bodies. XTB is publicly listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange.

Supported Markets Pricing System Fee to Invest in Amazon Stock Min. Deposit Top Features
  • Stocks
  • ETFs
  • Forex
  • Indices
  • Commodities
  • All supported markets can be traded commission-free
  • Commission-free
  • No minimum deposit
 
  • Publicly listed regulated  broker
  • 0% commission on thousands of stocks and ETFs
  • Supports 16 global stock exchanges
  • Eligible clients can trade with leverage of up to 1:500

Pros pros

  • Invest in 3,000+ stocks and ETFs commission-free
  • Supports 16 global exchanges, including the US, UK, and Germany
  • Fractional investments of just $1 (ETFs) and $10 (stocks)
  • No trading commissions to pay
  • Also supports leverage of up to 1:500

Cons cons

  • Does not accept clients from the US

CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 80% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.

3. Libertex – Global Trading Platform Supporting Micro-Lot Stocks   

Libertex is a hugely popular trading platform. It boasts over three million clients and it’s been operating since 1997. Libertex offers two different brokerage accounts. First, you’ve got the ‘Libertex Portfolio’. This enables you to invest in stocks and ETFs from multiple markets. There are no trading commissions to pay and best of all, you can buy stocks from just 0.01 units. This will appeal to long-term investors who only want to risk small amounts.

For example, suppose you’re investing in Tesla shares at $270 each. At 0.01 units, you would only need to meet a $2.70 minimum. Therefore, you can buy all of your favorite stocks and ETFs without breaking the bank. The second account type is ‘Libertex CFD’. This account allows you to trade a wide range of CFD markets. This includes stocks, ETFs, cryptocurrencies, metals, energies, forex, and indices.

Libertex review

Depending on your location, you’ll be able to apply leverage of up to 1:999 on this account type. This high-risk strategy would allow you to trade with nearly $10,000 for every $10 you deposit.  We also like that Libertex supports three different trading platforms. This includes its proprietary platform, available online and as a stock trading app.

It also supports MT4 and MT5, which are aimed at technical traders. Libertex also offers a free demo account. This is only available when trading CFDs and not real assets. We also like that Libertex is offering a welcome package to new users. You’ll have your first deposit matched by 100% up to $10,000. The bonus will be released in small chunks as your trading volume increases.

Supported Markets Pricing System Fee to Invest in Amazon Stock Min. Deposit Top Features
  • Stocks
  • ETFs
  • Forex
  • Indices
  • Commodities
  • All supported markets can be traded commission-free
  • Commission-free
  • $10
 
  • Founded in 1997 and over three million users
  • 0% commission trading across two different brokerage  accounts
  • Minimum stock investment of just 0.001 units
  • One of the best MT5 brokers

Pros pros

  • 0% commission stock investments from just 0.001 units
  • Minimum deposit requirement of $10
  • Also supports CFDs with a maximum leverage of 1:999
  • Has been in the brokerage space since 1993
  • Also supports forex, commodities, and indices

Cons cons

  • US clients are not eligible to join
  • Limited market insights

74.91% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.

4. Hargreaves Lansdown – Popular UK Stock Broker Supporting Thousands of Investments               

Hargreaves Lansdown is a popular UK stock broker. If you’re based in the UK and want to build a diversified portfolio, Hargreaves Lansdown has you covered. You’ll find thousands of shares from multiple markets – including the UK, Canada, the US, and several European exchanges. Commissions on all supported stocks start at £11.95.

This is reduced to £9.95 if you trade between 10-19 times in the previous month. 20 or more trades will reduce the commission to £5.95. When you invest in non-UK stocks, you’ll pay a 1% FX fee. This is gradually reduced as you increase your trading volume. However, you’ll need to invest at least £5,000 to bring it down to 0.75%.

Hargreaves Lansdown review

In addition to stocks, Hargreaves Lansdown also offers a comprehensive range of funds and investment trusts via investment accounts. Bonds are supported too, including UK gilts. UK investors can also open a specialized brokerage account, such as Stocks and Shares, Lifetime, and Junior ISAs. SIPP retirement account, annuities, and pensions are also available. Hargreaves Lansdown also has an extensive research department – including stock analysis, market insights, and financial news where you can find investment advice.

Supported Markets Pricing System Fee to Invest in Amazon Stock Min. Deposit Top Features
  • Stocks
  • ETFs/Funds
  • Investment Trusts
  • Bonds/gilts
  • £11.95 per trade. Reduced to £8.95 when trading 10 times in the previous month
  • 0.45% annual charge on ISAs 
  • £11.95 commission
  • You’ll also pay an FX fee of up to 1%

 

  • £1
 
  • Supports thousands of markets, including stocks, bonds, and trusts
  • Deposit just £1 to open an account
  • Supports recurring investments via direct debit

Pros pros

  • Popular online broker for UK investors
  • Requires just £1 to open an account
  • Offers thousands of markets – including stocks, ETFs, trusts, and bonds
  • Established in 1981 and regulated by the FCA
  • Offers retirement-specific accounts – including SIPPs

Cons cons

  • Only available to UK residents
  • One of the highest commission structures in the industry

5. Trade Nation – Trade Leveraged Stocks on a Spread-Only Basis              

Trade Nation is another stock broker that’s aimed at short-term traders. It specializes in CFD markets, so you’ll be able to trade stocks with leverage. At Trade Nation, the maximum leverage available is 1:500, but limits will depend on your country of residence. For example, European traders are capped at 1:5 on stock CFDs. This is also the case with traders from the UK and Australia.

Nonetheless, Trade Nation offers a spread-only pricing model. Spreads vary depending on the stock market you want to trade. For example, you can trade European and South African stocks at a spread of 0.2%. UK stocks are slightly more competitive, as spreads are reduced to 0.10%. When trading US stocks at Trade Nation, you’ll pay a spread of $0.02.

Trade Nation review

Not only are these spreads competitive, but they’re fixed. This means that you always know exactly what you’re paying to trade. Trade Nation also supports other markets, including bonds, ETFs, indices, forex, and commodities. You won’t need to meet a minimum deposit requirement at Trade Nation. After opening an account, you can deposit funds instantly with a debit/credit card.

Supported Markets Pricing System Fee to Trade  Amazon Stock Min. Deposit Top Features
  • Stocks
  • ETFs
  • Bonds
  • Forex
  • Indices
  • Commodities
  • Spread-only trading on all markets. Spreads are fixed
  • Fixed spread of $0.02 per slide

 

  • No minimum deposit
 
  • Fixed spreads, so you always know what you’re paying
  • Leverage of up to 1:500 for eligible clients
  • Regulated in multiple jurisdictions

Pros pros

  • Competitive fixed spreads of $0.02 when trading US stocks
  • Also supports stocks in the UK, South Africa, and Europe
  • No trading commissions
  • Get started without meeting a minimum deposit requirement
  • Leverage of up to 1:500

Cons cons

  • Telephone support has a Seychelles toll number
  • High overnight financing fees

6. AvaTrade – Trade Over 600+ Stocks With a Margin Requirement of Just 10%   

If you’re looking to trade with a lot more than you have in your account, AvaTrade could be the best stock broker for you. Put simply, this popular CFD platform has a margin requirement of just 10% on stocks. This means you’ll need to put up just $10 for every $100 traded. While AvaTrade supports just 600 stocks, this includes the most traded companies globally.

For example, you’ll find many S&P 500 constituents, such as Apple, Microsoft, American Express, JPMorgan Chase, and IBM. AvaTrade also supports stocks from the UK and European markets. We like that all supported stocks can be traded commission-free. We found that stock trading spreads are competitive too. This ranges from 0.13% to 0.19%. The only exception is the NASDAQ-listed Groupon, which has a spread of 0.36%.

AvaTrade review

AvaTrade is also suitable if you’re looking for exposure to other assets. For example, it supports some of the best cryptocurrencies to trade, including Bitcoin, Stellar, Ethereum, and Litecoin, along with educational resources AvaTrade also supports ETFs, indices, options, bonds, and commodities. We also like that AvaTrade is heavily regulated; it holds brokerage licensing in nine jurisdictions.

Supported Markets Pricing System Fee to Trade Amazon Stock Min. Deposit Top Features
  • Stocks
  • ETFs
  • Forex
  • Indices
  • Commodities
  • Bonds
  • Options
  • All supported markets can be traded commission-free
  • Commission-free
  • $100
 
  • Trade stocks with a margin requirement of 10%
  • Super-competitive spreads starting from 0.13%
  • Holds nine brokerage licenses

Pros pros

  • Best stock trading platform for beginners seeking margin accounts
  • Trade stocks by putting up a margin of just 10%
  • Stock spreads range from 0.13% to 0.36%
  • Quality customer support via live chat
  • Accepts debit/credit cards and e-wallets – including Neteller and PayPal

Cons cons

  • Supports just over 600 stocks

76% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.

7. Interactive Brokers – Invest in US-Listed Stocks, ETFs, and Mutual Funds Commission-Free   

Interactive Brokers is one of the largest online stock brokers globally. It offers US-based clients commission-free access to multiple markets. This includes US-listed stocks, ETFs, and selected mutual funds. Interactive Brokers supports fractional shares from just $1. Not only on selected US stocks but those in Canada and Europe too.

Interactive Brokers also supports other popular asset classes. For example, you can trade options and futures from just $0.15 and $0.25 per contract, respectively. Bonds can also be traded from 10 basis points of their face value. Other markets on Interactive Brokers include metals, spot currencies, and cryptocurrencies.

Interactive Brokers review

For monthly volumes below $100,000, cryptocurrency commissions amount to 0.18%. We also like that Interactive Brokers doesn’t have a minimum deposit requirement on its standard brokerage accounts. However, if you’re looking to open a margin account or opt for its managed portfolios, account minimums will apply. Finally, although Interactive Brokers is available outside of the US, this doesn’t include any commission-free markets.

Supported Markets Pricing System Fee to Invest in Amazon Stock Min. Deposit Top Features
  • Stocks
  • ETFs
  • Mutual Funds
  • Spot Currencies
  • Options
  • Futures
  • Metals
  • Bonds
  • Cryptocurrencies
  • US clients can invest in US-listed stocks, ETFs, and selected mutual funds at 0% commission
  • Commissions charged on international markets and other asset classes
  • Commission-free for US clients
  • No minimum deposit
 
  • One of the largest stock brokers globally
  • US clients have access to commission-free markets
  • No minimum deposit requirements on standard accounts

Pros pros

  • Trusted US-based brokerage with industry-leading liquidity
  • US clients can invest in NYSE and NASDAQ stocks commission-free
  • Fractional investments from $1 on US, Canadian, and European stocks
  • Supports more than 48,000 mutual funds

Cons cons

  • Commission-free pricing is only available for US clients
  • Some mutual funds attract a commission of 3%

The risk of loss in online trading of stocks, options, futures, currencies, foreign equities, and fixed Income can be substantial

8. Fidelity – Competitive Margin Rates and Extensive Research Tools     

Fidelity is one of the most comprehensive online stock brokers around. It offers an account type for all needs, including IRAs, sustainable investing, managed portfolios, and financial advice. That said, most investors will open a standard online brokerage account, which doesn’t require a minimum deposit. Moreover, this account type offers commission-free trading.

This includes US-listed stocks, ETFs, and options. Fidelity-backed mutual funds and new bond issues – including US Treasuries, are also commission-free. Fidelity is also popular for trading on margin. It offers some of the best margin rates in the market, starting from just 9.25%. We also found that Fidelity is great for research tools.

Fidelity review

For example, it imports financial news in real-time from leading publishers – including Reuters, the Financial Times, and Barron’s. Its in-house analysts also offer market insights and trading ideas. You’ll also find quarterly sector updates and ratings across thousands of stocks.

Supported Markets Pricing System Fee to Invest in Amazon Stock Min. Deposit Top Features
  • Stocks
  • ETFs
  • Mutual Funds
  • Options
  • Futures
  • Bonds
  • Cryptocurrencies
  • 0% commission on US-listed stocks, ETFs, options, Fidelity-backed mutual funds, and new bond issues.
  • Other assets and markets attract a commission.
  • Commission-free for US clients
  • No minimum deposit
 
  • Competitive margin rates
  • Huge range of US-listed markets can be traded at 0% commission

Pros pros

  • Supports thousands of markets from the US and overseas
  • All US-listed stocks and ETFs are available commission-free
  • No commissions on new bond issues or Fidelity-backed mutual funds
  • Margin rates start from just 9.25%
  • Extensive research tools – including market insights

Cons cons

  • Fractional shares are only available for US-listed stocks
  • $49.95  commission on non-Fidelity mutual funds

Keep in mind that investing involves risk. The value of your investment will fluctuate over time, and you may gain or lose money.

9. Skilling – Stock CFD Trading Platform With a User-Friendly Interface      

Skilling is a CFD trading platform that offers leverage on all supported markets. This includes over 700 stocks from the US, UK, and Europe. Retail clients are capped at 1:5 on leveraged stocks. Nonetheless, this will boost your trading capital by five times. If you’re a professional client, you’ll get much higher limits. All stocks on Skilling can be traded at 0% commission.

Skilling also supports forex, indices, and commodities. You can also trade Bitcoin and some of the best altcoins, such as Ethereum, Litecoin, Cardano, BNB, and XRP. Although Skilling supports MT4 and cTrader, beginners might prefer its native platform. It’s user-friendly and available online and via an iOS/Android app.

Skilling review

Skilling also offers a copy trading service. This covers more than 400 trading strategies and it enables you to trade passively. We also like that Skilling offers a risk-free demo account. This comes pre-loaded with $10,000 in virtual funds. Real money accounts require a minimum deposit of $100. Accepted payment methods include debit/credit cards and e-wallets, such as Skrill and Neteller.

Supported Markets Pricing System Fee to Trade Amazon Stock Min. Deposit Top Features
  • Stocks
  • ETFs
  • Indices
  • Forex
  • Commodities
  • Cryptocurrencies
  • All supported markets can be traded commission-free
  • Commission-free
  • $100
 
  • Copy trading tool with over
  • Demo account with $10,000 in virtual funds

Pros pros

  • Trade over 700 stocks at 0% commission
  • Retail clients can trade stocks with leverage of up to 1:5
  • Native trading platform is very user-friendly
  • Also supports MT4 and cTrader
  • Trade passively via the Skilling copy trading feature

Cons cons

  • Does not support real investments – CFDs only
  • High minimum deposit requirement of $100

71% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.

10. Robinhood – Invest in US-Listed Stocks From Just $1      

Robinhood is one of the best online stock brokers for beginners. Its fractional investment tool requires a minimum trade size of just $1. So, by depositing just $20 you could invest in 20 different companies. That said, there’s no minimum deposit requirement at Robinhood, so you can get started with any amount.

In addition to stocks, Robinhood also offers fractional ETFs and cryptocurrencies. The latter includes Bitcoin, Dogecoin, Shiba Inu, and many other popular altcoins. You can also trade US-listed stock options. All assets on Robinhood can be traded at 0% commission. Moreover, Robinhood does charge any deposit fees.

Robinhood review

If you’re an active investor, you might consider upgrading to the Robinhood gold account. It costs just $5 per month and comes with many benefits. For example, you’ll earn 4.9% interest on uninvested cash (1.5% on the standard account. You’ll also get lower margin rates and be able to make larger instant deposits. Gold accounts also get a 3% match on IRA contributions.

Supported Markets Pricing System Fee to Invest in Amazon Stock Min. Deposit Top Features
  • Stocks
  • ETFs
  • Cryptocurrencies
  • Options
  • All supported markets can be traded commission-free
  • Commission-free
  • No minimum deposit
 
  • Earn up to 4.9% on uninvested cash
  • 3% deposit match on IRA contributions

Pros pros

  • 0% commission on all supported markets
  • Minimum trade size of just $1
  • Earn up to 4.9% on uninvested cash as a gold member
  • Also one of the best crypto exchanges for US investors

Cons cons

  • Market spreads are often wide
  • Interest of just 1.5% on the standard account

All investing involves risk.

11. Webull – Commission-Free Stock Broker With Three IRAs to Choose From       

Webull is one of the best brokers to save for your retirement years. It offers three IRAs – traditional, Roth, and rollover. Best of all, Webull doesn’t charge any opening, closing, or annual fees on its IRAs. We also like that you’ll have thousands of US-listed stocks and ETFs to choose from – all at 0% commission. Webull also supports commission-free cryptocurrencies and options.

If you’re on a budget, you’ll be pleased to know that Webull supports fractional investments of just $5. Webull is also popular for its free demo account. This allows you to trade risk-free and it comes with $1 million in virtual funds. If you’re a technical trader, you’ll like Webull’s proprietary trading suite.

Webull review

It comes packed with advanced drawing tools and technical indicators – plus stock screeners and fundamental data. Webull’s trading platform is available as desktop software and a mobile app. You can also trade via your web browser. There is no minimum deposit requirement at Webull and ACH transfers are fee-free.

Supported Markets Pricing System Fee to Invest in Amazon Stock Min. Deposit Top Features
  • Stocks
  • ETFs
  • Cryptocurrencies
  • Options
  • All supported markets can be traded commission-free
  • Commission-free
  • No minimum deposit
 
  • No fees on IRAs
  • Free demo account with $1 million in virtual funds

Pros pros

  • One of the best stock brokers for IRAs
  • Supports traditional, Roth, and rollover IRA without annual fees
  • No commissions on US-listed stocks, ETFs, options, and cryptocurrencies
  • Top-rated trading tools – including technical indicators and stock screeners

Cons cons

  • 1% spread on cryptocurrencies
  • $8 deposit fee on domestic wire transfers

Please ensure that you fully understand the risks involved before trading

12. E*TRADE – Invest in Pre-Built Portfolios for a Passive Trading Experience       

E*TRADE is one of the best online stock trading platforms for passive investing. It offers pre-built investment portfolios across multiple strategies. If you’re happy to focus on mutual funds, you’ll only need to invest $500. If you want exposure to ETFs, the minimum increases to $2,500. Either way, you’ll get to choose from four risk profiles; Conservative, moderate, aggressive, and income-generating.

That being said, E*TRADE is also one of the best brokers for DIY investing. It supports thousands of US-listed stocks and ETFs at 0% commission. No-load mutual funds and stock options can also be traded commission-free. Bonds are competitively priced too. You’ll pay just $1 for each bond you purchase (minimum $10).

E*TRADE review

However, the main drawback of E*TRADE is that fractional investments aren’t supported. So, if you’re only looking to trade with a few dollars, E*TRADE won’t be suitable. Another drawback is that E*TRADE has very high margin rates. If your margin balance is below $10,000, you’ll pay 14.20%.

Supported Markets Pricing System Fee to Invest in Amazon Stock Min. Deposit Top Features
  • Stocks
  • ETFs
  • Cryptocurrencies
  • Options
  • Futures
  • Bonds
  • 0% commission on US-listed stocks, ETFs, options, and no-load mutual funds.
  • $1 commission for each bond traded ($10 minimum)
  • Commission-free
  • No minimum deposit
 
  • Invest in pre-built portfolios from $500
  • Trade stock options at 0% commission

Pros pros

  • Reputable stock broker backed by Morgan Stanley
  • Invest in US-listed stocks without paying commission
  • No minimum deposit requirements
  • Very user-friendly investment account dashboard

Cons cons

  • Does not support fractional shares
  • Only no-load mutual funds are commission-free

Investing in securities involves risk, including possible loss of principal.

Online Stock Brokers Explained

An online broker is an intermediary between investors and the financial markets. Put otherwise, if you want to buy and sell stocks, you’ll need to go through an online broker. Your chosen broker will have access to various stock markets, such as the NYSE, NASDAQ, or London Stock Exchange.

Online brokers must be regulated in the country that they operate in. For example, brokers accepting US clients – such as Webull, are regulated by FINRA. In the UK, the FCA oversees online brokers, while in Australia, it’s ASIC.

Let’s take a close look at how online stock brokers work in 2024:

Facilitate Trades for Investors

The primary service provided by an online broker is to match buyers and sellers.

So, suppose you want to buy Apple stocks – which are listed on the NASDAQ. In order to buy Apple stocks, somebody needs to sell them to you. Market participants go through liquidity providers, which connect to online stock brokers. This means that you can buy Apple stocks without needing to know who the seller is.

In terms of the price paid by the buyer, this isn’t determined by the online broker. On the contrary, stock prices are dictated by market forces. For example, the ‘bid’ price is what the markets are prepared to pay for a stock. And the ‘ask’ price of what sellers are prepared to accept.

The difference between these two prices is known as the spread, which we cover shortly. Nonetheless, your chosen broker connects you with bid and ask prices, enabling you to buy or sell stocks seamlessly.

How Stock Brokers Make Money

Stock brokers make money in various ways. Traditionally, this centered on a trading commission – which brokers charged on buy and sell orders. This means that you would pay a fee to invest in stocks and again when you sell. However, most online brokers offer a 0% commission service. As such, brokers need to make money through other revenue streams.

One way they do this is through the spread. For instance, we mentioned above that stock brokers will show you a ‘bid’ and ‘ask’ price. The difference between the two prices is the spread, which ensures the broker makes money on the trade.

  • Suppose you’re trading Amazon stock
  • On your brokerage platform, you see that the ‘bid’ price on Amazon stock is $141.30
  • And the ‘ask’ price is  $141.16

This means when you buy Amazon stock, you’re paying a spread of $0.14 for each share purchased. So, if you buy 10 shares, the broker makes $1.40 from the spread. In other words, brokers charge a markup on the actual bid and ask prices available in the market.

And again, when you sell your 10 shares, the broker will also make $1.40 from your trade (assuming the spread hasn’t changed). While this might not seem like a lot, the best online brokers have millions of active clients.

Another way that online brokers make money is through ‘payments for order flow’. Put simply, the broker routes your stock trades to selected market makers for a fee. If you choose a broker that profits from payments for order flow, you could be getting a less favorable price on your stock trade.

In addition, some online brokers make money by lending your stocks to short-sellers. The short-seller pays interest for as long as they hold the stocks. Whether or not you receive a slice of this fee varies from one broker to the next.

The Investment Process

As an investor, you’ll find that buying and selling stocks online is very simple. While much goes on behind the scenes, the only thing you need to do is choose which stocks to invest in.

But before you can invest, you’ll need to open an account with your chosen broker. As per anti-money laundering laws, the broker will need to verify your identity. This is known as a KYC process and it entails providing personal information, contact details, and verification documents.

This includes a government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license or passport. Most KYC processes also require a document that shows proof of residency. This is often just a bank statement or utility bill that shows your name and residential address. While this might sound cumbersome, brokers like XTB have automated the KYC process – meaning your documents are usually verified instantly.

After you’ve opened an account and verified your identity, the broker will enable you to deposit some investment funds. If you’re using a US broker like Robinhood or Webull, you’ll need to do an ACH or bank wire transfer. Once you’ve got some investment funds in your brokerage account, you can then buy stocks.

The best online stock brokers support thousands of markets, and you often buy a small slice of one share. This is known as fractional investing. After you’ve purchased a stock, the shares remain in your brokerage account.

When you want to sell the shares, you can also do this through your online broker. The broker will add the proceeds to your account balance after the sale is completed.

The Investment Process

As an investor, you’ll find that buying and selling stocks online is very simple. While much goes on behind the scenes, the only thing you need to do is choose which stocks to invest in.

But before you can invest, you’ll need to open an account with your chosen broker. As per anti-money laundering laws, the broker will need to verify your identity. This is known as a KYC process and it entails providing personal information, contact details, and verification documents.

This includes a government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license or passport. Most KYC processes also require a document that shows proof of residency. This is often just a bank statement or utility bill that shows your name and residential address. While this might sound cumbersome, brokers like XTB have automated the KYC process – meaning your documents are usually verified instantly.

After you’ve opened an account and verified your identity, the broker will enable you to deposit some investment funds. If you’re using a US broker like Robinhood or Webull, you’ll need to do an ACH or bank wire transfer. Once you’ve got some investment funds in your brokerage account, you can then buy stocks.

The best online stock brokers support thousands of markets, and you often buy a small slice of one share. This is known as fractional investing. After you’ve purchased a stock, the shares remain in your brokerage account.

When you want to sell the shares, you can also do this through your online broker. The broker will add the proceeds to your account balance after the sale is completed.

How Long Does it Take to Buy Stocks Online?

  • It generally takes a matter of seconds to carry out a trade online.
  • Once you’ve set up an investment account and deposited some funds, you simply need to search for your chosen stock.
  • After entering your investment amount and confirming the trade, the broker will execute it near-instantly.
  • Unless you opted for a limit order, you’ll receive the stocks at the next-best available price. The process works the same when selling stocks but in reverse.
  • Note that if the stock market is closed, you’ll likely need to wait for it to reopen before your trade is executed. That said, some brokers offer extended market trading.

How to Pick the Right Online Brokerage Account for You

There are hundreds of online brokerage accounts to choose from. It’s important that you do some research when selecting a provider, as no two brokers are the same.

In this section, you’ll discover what to check when searching for the best online brokerage accounts for beginners.

Regulation and Investor Protections

It’s very important to check the regulatory status of an online broker before proceeding. That said, the specifics will vary depending on where you live.

US Clients

For example, if you’re a US-based client, your chosen online broker should be regulated by FINRA. If it isn’t, and it serves US clients, it’s likely doing so illegally. The best brokers discussed on this page – including Webull, Robinhood, and E*TRADE – are approved and regulated by FINRA.

In addition, there are two other metrics for US clients to check when selecting an online broker.

First, there’s the Securities Investor Protection Corporation, or SIPC. The SIPC covers US clients in the event of a brokerage collapse. In in unlikely event your broker does go bust, the SIPC covers up to $500,000 per client, with cash balances limited to $250,000.

Second, the best brokerage accounts are covered by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, or FDIC. Put simply, the FDIC covers cash balances of up to $250,000, should the broker go bankrupt. As such, if your broker is covered by both the SIPC and FDIC, you should have no concerns. Of course, if you’re investing more than the limits provide, you should spread your investments across multiple brokers.

What Happens if my Broker Goes Bust?

  • If your stock broker runs into financial trouble – you shouldn’t panic. As long as it’s adequately regulated, your investments are safe.
  • As explained by FINRA, your stocks will likely be transferred to another regulated broker.
  • If you have uninvested cash, you’ll be protected by the SIPC and/or the FDIC. However, you’ll need to ensure your chosen broker is a member of these protection schemes – as not all are.
  • If you’re based outside of the US, you’ll need to check what protections are offered by the respective licensing body.

UK Clients

If you’re based in the UK, then you’ll need to choose an online broker that’s authorized and regulated by the FCA. XTB are two examples of trusted FCA brokers.

The FCA is responsible for overseeing the broader UK financial markets, but it also covers individual brokers. One of its core guidelines is client fund segregation. This means that FCA brokers must keep client money in bank accounts separate from their own. It can’t access the cash for its own operations, such as paying creditors.

Similar to the SIPC, FCA-regulated brokers can become members of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, or FSCS. The FSCS covers investments up to £85,000 if the broker goes bankrupt. These are much lower limits than the SIPC offers, so large investments should be split across several brokers.

European Clients

In Europe, regulation takes a slightly different approach to the US and the UK. This is because the European Union consists of many different jurisdictions.

According to the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), stock brokers offering services to EU clients must be licensed by an EU-based regulator. In other words, it should be regulated in one of the 27 member states.

In the vast majority of cases, the best stock brokers in Europe are licensed by CySEC. This is a tier-one licensing body based in Cyprus, and it regulates hundreds of online brokers. This includes XTB, and Libertex.

European clients falling under the remit of CySEC are limited to investor protections of just €20,000. So, if you were investing €100,000, you’d want to split this across at least five different brokers.

Other Clients

If you’re based outside of the US, UK, or Europe, then you will likely fall within the remit of another licensing body. You should check this before opening an account with the broker.

In addition, you should evaluate the reputation of the licensing body and whether it offers any investor protection.

Range of Stocks

If you’re looking to invest in a particular stock, or group of stocks, make sure the broker supports them. All of the online brokers discussed today support stocks on the NYSE and NASDAQ. However, while some support all US-listed stocks, some only offer a selection. For instance, you might find that your broker supports large-caps like Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft, but not small-caps.

Additionally, you might also want to invest in stocks from outside of the US. If you’re using a broker like Webull or Robinhood, you’ll have limited access to international markets. These brokers support American depositary receipts (ADRs), but only on selected companies.

What are American Depositary Receipts?

  • American depositary receipts, or ADRs, are financial instruments that allow US residents to invest in foreign-listed companies.
  • ADRs are usually issued by investment banks and they replicate the share value of the respective company.
  • ADRs trade on US exchanges, which makes it convenient to invest in foreign stocks.
  • If you buy an ADR, you won’t be a shareholder in the company. Moreover, the number of ADRs available is very limited, so you won’t have many foreign-listed companies to choose from.

A much better alternative to ADRs is to use an online broker that has access to international exchanges.

Other Assets

Stocks are just one type of financial asset that online brokers support. If you’re looking to create a well-balanced portfolio, you might also consider other asset classes.

For example, the best stock trading platforms also support ETFs. These allow you to invest in index funds, such as the S&P 500, Dow Jones, or Russell 2000. ETFs also offer exposure to niche markets, like dividend stocks or growth stocks.

You might also consider a broker that supports mutual funds. These are professionally managed and they aim to outperform the market, rather than replicate it.

Fractional Shares

The best brokers support ‘fractional’ investments. Unless you’re looking to invest a significant amount, you should choose a broker that supports this product.

In a nutshell, fractional investing allows you to buy a small ‘fraction’ of a stock. This means that you only need to invest a small amount of money – often just a few dollars.

  • For example, some brokers allow you to buy stocks from just $10 per trade.
  • Suppose you wanted to invest in Meta Platforms, which has a stock price of $301
  • If you invest just $10, you would own about 3.3% of one Meta Platforms stock

Fractional stocks are ideal for creating diversified portfolios on a budget. They’re also great for dollar-cost averaging. With the exception of E*TRADE and Hargreaves Lansdown, all of the brokers reviewed on this page support fractional trading.

Stock Broker Fees

Broker fees will vary widely, so you’ll need to assess what charges apply before opening an account.

Let’s break the most common charges down by trading and non-trading fees.

Trading Fees

If you’re using a US-based broker, you can normally buy US-listed stocks without paying a commission. However, if you’re buying non-US stocks, then a commission will likely be charged. The commission will usually vary depending on the exchange you want to access.

For example, if you’re on a fixed account with Interactive Brokers, you’ll pay a 0.10% commission to invest in UK stocks. If you’re buying German stocks, you’ll pay up to 0.12%. Canadian stocks are charged a commission of up to $0.01 per share.

IBKR fees

As mentioned earlier, you’ll also need to cover the spread when buying and selling stocks. Some brokers do not display the spread, which means it’s a hidden fee. Moreover, most stock market brokers use variable spreads. This means spreads change based on market conditions.

Let’s look at an example so you know what to look for when assessing the spread.

  • Suppose the bid price on Amazon stock is currently $331.73
  • The ask price is $331.17
  • The difference between the two prices is $0.56
  • So, if you purchased one Amazon stock, you’d pay a spread of $0.56.
  • Based on the bid price of $331.73, the spread amounts to just 0.16%.

When trading small-cap stocks, you’ll likely find the spread is much wider. This means that you’re paying higher fees to enter and exit the market.

Non-Trading Fees

Non-trading fees also need to be considered when choosing a stock broker. This includes fees to deposit and withdraw funds. Although many online brokers offer fee-free payments, this isn’t always the case.

For example, Webull offers fee-free ACH payments but charges $8 on domestic wire deposits. When withdrawing via a domestic wire, Webull charges $25.

In addition to payments, you should check whether the broker charges ongoing platform fees. Although rare, some brokers charge monthly fees for keeping your account open.

Minimum Deposit

Most online brokers are catered to retail clients, meaning they accept small deposits. In fact, many brokers do not have a minimum deposit at all. This includes XTB, Interactive Brokers, Robinhood, and Webull.

That said, AvaTrade and Skilling require at least $100 to open an account. At other brokers, the minimum is even higher. Minimums can also depend on the type of account you want to open. For example, if you’re opening a margin account in the US, you usually need to deposit at least $2,000.

Demo Account

If you’re a complete novice stock trader, choose a broker that offers a demo account. This will enable you to practice trade risk-free but in live market conditions.

XTB offers the best demo account in the market, as it comes pre-loaded with $100,000 in virtual funds and you can test your knowledge by trading over 2,000 CFDs for Forex, stocks, ETFs and more.

Demo accounts are also suitable if you want to test a new investment strategy. For example, if you’re moving from a long-term buy-and-hold strategy to day trading.

Mobile App

Online brokers are capitalizing on the growth of mobile trading. You’ll find that most online brokers now offer an iOS and Android app. This will appeal to investors who want to buy and sell stocks on their smartphones.

You simply need to open the app, log in, and trade as you would online. That said, you’ll need to ensure the mobile app has been optimized correctly and that it offers a smooth trading experience.

Payment Methods

The majority of brokers in the US only support traditional bank payments. You’ll likely get to choose from ACH or a domestic wire. Either way, these payment methods are not always instant – so you might need to wait for the funds to be credited before you can trade.

If you’re looking to invest in stocks instantly, choose a broker that supports debit/credit cards or e-wallets.

Customer Service 

Some brokers have a global presence, so you check what times their customer service team operates. We found that this is usually 24/5 – meaning Monday to Friday.

The stock markets are closed over the weekend, so you’ll likely need to wait for Monday morning to receive assistance on your account.

Additionally, you should avoid online stock brokers that only offer email support; you’ll be waiting around for a reply. Instead, we prefer brokers that offer live chat – as you can speak with an agent in real-time.

How We Test Stock Trading Platforms

While there are hundreds of online brokers in the market, this guide has ranked the top 11 providers for 2024. We have a strict and impartial methodology that ensures our ranking system is fair and accurate. We have many data points that we cover and some are more important than others. And hence, we weight our pointing system based on the importance of each metric.

Regulation and client safety is the most important metric when rating brokers. For example, we look for US brokers that are FINRA-regulated and covered by the SIPC and FDIC. If it’s a UK broker, we look for FCA regulation and FSCS protection. In addition, we also score brokers highly when they offer competitive and transparent fees.

This includes low or zero commissions and tight spreads. Not to mention fee-free deposits and withdrawals. Other important metrics include account minimums, fractional investing, and a well-optimized mobile app. We’ll also test each brokerage account for usability. For instance, whether the broker is suitable for beginners, experienced pros, or a combination of both.

Ultimately, we leave no stone unturned when testing and reviewing the top brokers and their trading platforms. This ensures that you can make an informed decision when selecting a provider. However, you are still advised to do your own research and due diligence.

Conclusion 

The best online stock brokers for 2024 have been ranked and reviewed. Our overall top pick is eToro – which lets you invest in stocks from $100. Moreover, there’s 0% commission service for US and international stocks.

CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 80% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.

References 

FAQs 

Which online stock broker is best in 2024?

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Kane Pepi
Editor
Kane Pepi
Editor

Kane Pepi is an accomplished financial and cryptocurrency writer who has an extensive portfolio of over 2,000 articles, guides, and market insights. With his expertise in specialized subjects such as asset valuation and analysis, portfolio management, and financial crime prevention, Kane has built a reputation for providing clear explanations of complex financial topics. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Finance and a Master's Degree in Financial Crime, and is currently pursuing his Doctorate degree, which focuses on investigating the complexities of money laundering in the cryptocurrency and blockchain technology sectors. Kane's wealth of knowledge and experience in the field make…