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When you’re just starting out with investing, the stock market can seem like an intimidating place. Especially nowadays, when there are so many options online it’s hard to figure out the best brokers for beginners.
What’s the best and safest way to start investing? Fortunately, there are a ton of platforms out there that can help you get in the game.
With a focus on low fees, ease of use, and educational resources, I’ve compiled a list of the best brokers available for beginners. But before we jump into it, let’s quickly review exactly what a stockbroker is.
What Is a Stockbroker?
Traditionally, stockbrokers were individuals you would hire to make market trades on your behalf. This practice was costly and time-consuming and gave you little control over your own portfolio.
The good news is that, in the digital age, you have plenty of other options at your disposal.
Individual stockbrokers are still out there. But you also have the flexibility to make online trades in seconds through digital firms, apps, and even fully automated platforms.
With so many options, it’s easier than ever to start investing. Building up a foundation of investment knowledge is crucial to your long-term financial growth, and you can get started without breaking the bank.
13 Best Brokers for Beginners
To get started on your journey to financial freedom, here are the thirteen best brokers for beginners to check out.
- 🏆 E*TRADE: Best Overall Broker for Beginners
- SoFi Invest: Best Fintech
- Robinhood: Best App
- Ally Invest: Best for Automated Investing
- Webull: Best Sign-Up Bonus
- Acorns: Best Robo-Advisor
- TD Ameritrade: Best Educational Resources
- Fidelity Investments: Best Customer Support
- Charles Schwab: Best In-person Support
- Merrill Edge: Best for BoA Customers
- Vanguard: Best for Retirement
- InteractiveBrokers: Best for Forex
- Zacks Trade: Best Under the Radar
1. 🏆 E*TRADE: Best Overall Broker for Beginners
- Account fees: No commission on U.S. stock/ETF trades; $0.50 to $1.50 per trade on options, bonds, and futures.
- Account minimum: $0
- Top features: Excellent mobile app, educational resources
With commission-free trading and a user-friendly platform, E*TRADE has been one of the most popular online brokers for a long time.
You can access your brokerage account from either the website or the mobile app, where you can make trades, access your funds, and set goals with intuitive investing tools.
For beginners, E*TRADE stands out because of its sheer volume of educational materials. The platform is set up for traders of all levels, and you can take advantage of videos, articles, and classes to help get you up to speed.
When you’re ready to jump in, you’ll be covered with real-time updates and commentary on the market. E*TRADE comes with access to free independent market research plus stock screeners that will help you narrow down your investment options.
2. SoFi Invest: Best Fintech
- Account fees: No commission on stock, ETF, or options trades; up to 1.25% fee on cryptocurrency trades
- Account minimum: $0
- Top features: IPO investing, fractional share trading, automated investing
Social Finance, Inc. — known as SoFi — is an online personal finance company that offers loans, deposit accounts, and of course, online brokerage accounts.
SoFi has two main options for how to manage your account: active investing or automated investing.
Active traders manage their own accounts with zero-commission stock trading and investment advice from SoFi’s investor community. With automated investing, you can put your portfolio on autopilot by setting a goal and letting SoFi automatically rebalance your investments over time.
One of SoFi’s newer features is the ability to invest in initial public offerings (IPOs). If you have an active account, you can get in at the ground floor of a newly public company, and there’s no minimum balance required to qualify.
3. Robinhood: Best App
- Account fees: No commission on stock, ETD, options trades; $5 per month for Robinhood Gold
- Account minimum: $0
- Top features: Fractional share trading, excellent mobile app, crypto trading
Founded in 2015, Robinhood is a relative newcomer on this list but has quickly turned into one of the best trading platforms in the United States. The mobile-based broker comes with no trading commissions, the option to purchase fractional shares, and IPO access.
Robinhood’s mobile platform is built around the idea of making investing accessible to anyone, meaning it’s a great option for beginners. The app is sleek and user-friendly and serves as a welcoming entry point to the world of investing with expert analysis and educational resources at the ready.
Since you can build a portfolio with as little as $1 to start, Robinhood is a great option if you don’t have a lot of cash to seed your account with. Not to worry: Robinhood even offers a free stock sign-up bonus to get you started.
4. Ally Invest: Best for Automated Investing
- Account fees: No commission on stock, ETF, or options trades; $0.50 per option contract
- Account minimum: $100 for robo-advisory, $0 for self-directed trading
- Top features: Excellent mobile app, seamless integration with Ally bank accounts
Ally is arguably the best-known online-only bank, but it also operates as a full-service broker through Ally Invest.
Like any digital financial product worth its weight, one of the main benefits of Ally is its seamless performance across all of your devices. Whether you’re on your desktop, smartphone, or tablet, you can quickly move between your accounts and execute trades.
When you sign up for Ally Invest, you’ll have two options. You can opt for Self-Directed Trading, which comes with plenty of research tools geared toward DIY investors. The other option is to open a Managed Portfolio, which will put your investment goals in the hands of a robo-advisor.
Managed Portfolios don’t have any advisory fees or annual charges, but you’ll need a minimum of $100 in your account to get started. Aside from your financial goals, you can also tailor your account toward investments that align with your values. Whether you want to focus on social responsibility or tax optimization, you can set your portfolio to match what you’re all about.
5. Webull: Best Sign-Up Bonus
- Account fees: No commission on stock, ETF, or options trades; $0 per options contract; minimum 6.99% annual margin rate
- Account minimum: $0 ($5 for sign-up bonus)
- Top Features: Free stock, crypto trading, excellent mobile app, fractional share trading
Webull is an online trading platform that gives investors a free stock just for signing up — plus another one when you deposit at least $5 into your account.
The app, which is owned by Fumi Technology, has been around since 2017 and offers desktop and mobile trading. Like most fintech platforms, Webull is easy to use and offers intuitive online tools to help you along the way.
You can purchase fractional shares for as little as $5, and you can invest in the most popular cryptocurrencies starting at $1. Webull comes loaded with real-time market data, customizable charts, and indicators to help you spot important trends.
As an added bonus, Webull also offers extended hours trading, which enables you to execute trades between 4 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.
6. Acorns: Best Robo-Advisor
- Account fees: $1 to $5 per month
- Account minimum: $0
- Top Features: Automated investing, bank account roundups
Of all the best brokers for beginners I’ve covered here, Acorns is the most hands-off. It’s a robo-advisor that takes your spare change and invests it for you automatically.
Here’s how it works: When you sign up, you’ll link all of your credit and debit cards to your Acorns account. Once that’s done, Acorns will round each transaction you make up to the nearest dollar and drop the remainder in your investment account.
You don’t need to make any minimum deposit to get started, but Acorns does come with a monthly fee. That said, the pricing is reasonable. You can choose from three account tiers: Lite, Personal, and Family.
Lite, which comes with all of the basics, costs $1 per month. If you upgrade to Personal for $3 per month, you’ll also get linked retirement and checking accounts, plus tailored advice and bonus investments.
The Acorns Family plan ($5 per month) allows you to open accounts for your kids alongside your personal investments.
7. TD Ameritrade: Best Educational Resources
- Account fees: No commission on U.S. stocks, ETFs, or options; $0.65 per options contract
- Account minimum: $0
- Top features: Educational resources, excellent customer support, practice trading platform
TD Ameritrade is one of the largest online brokerage firms and puts an emphasis on creating smarter investors.
With TD Ameritrade, everything starts with education, making it a great entry point for new traders. When you open a new account, you’ll have access to market trends, webcasts, immersive curriculums, and even a practice trading floor that’s built based on historical trends.
When you start making real trades, you can make sure you’re making informed decisions with data and insights from third-party researchers like Morningstar always a few clicks away.
Once you understand the lay of the land, you can upgrade to the professional-level thinkorswim platform, which comes with enhanced tools for experienced traders.
8. Fidelity Investments: Best Customer Support
- Account fees: No commission on U.S. stock, ETF, or option trades.
- Account minimum: $0
- Top features: Fractional share trading, excellent mobile app
Fidelity offers a full-featured, no-fee brokerage account that comes with commission-free stock, exchange-traded fund (ETF), and options trading. They also offer other investment options like mutual funds, bonds, and even precious metals.
New investors get access to detailed research from more than twenty independent providers, along with educational materials like live webinars, coaching sessions, and online classes.
With Stocks by the Slice, you can invest in stocks or ETFs for as little as $1, no matter the share price.
You can access your Fidelity account through the website or mobile app, which is highly rated on both iOS and Android. Fidelity also offers 24/7 customer support and you can even get help in person at one of its 150 brick-and-mortar locations.
9. Charles Schwab: Best In-person Support
- Account fees: No commission on stocks, ETFs, or options trades. $0.65 per option contract
- Account minimum: $0
- Top features: Excellent iOS app, 300+ physical locations, fractional share trading
Charles Schwab, commonly called Schwab, offers everything from investment services to retirement accounts and bank accounts.
For beginning investors, Schwab’s brokerage account allows for easy, low-cost trading on a user-friendly platform. You can manage your account balance from the website or mobile app and take advantage of intuitive trading tools to evaluate investments and come up with a plan.
All Schwab accounts come with free access to Schwab Trading Services, an online platform that’s loaded with trading education and dedicated specialist insights.
In addition to serving as one of the best online stock brokers, Schwab also runs more than 300 in-person investment centers nationwide. When you need a hand with your account, you’ll have 24/7 access to licensed professionals through live chat or over the phone.
10. Merrill Edge: Best for BoA Customers
- Account fees: No commission on stock, ETF, or options trades; $0.65 per option contract
- Account minimum: $0
- Top features: Connects with Bank of America accounts, excellent mobile app
Merrill Edge is the online investment wing of the New York-based financial giant Merrill, which is now owned by Bank of America (BoA). This is significant because, along with its online trading features, a Merrill account comes with full access to BoA’s nationwide network of in-person financial advisors.
You can opt to trade stocks on your own through self-directed investing or take advantage of Guided Investing, Merrill’s advisory program.
The Merrill app comes with access to both your portfolio and your BoA checking and savings accounts. This means you can quickly move money around when you need to. You can also review any open orders, browse through investing options, and check out expert analysis.
11. Vanguard: Best for Retirement
- Account fees: No commission on stock, ETF, or options trades; $1 per option contract
- Account minimum: $3,000 for mutual funds, cost of one share for ETFs, stocks, CDs, and bonds
- Top features: Expert investment guidance, advisory services, excellent customer service
Though it’s probably best known for retirement accounts and mutual funds, Vanguard is a great starting point for a comprehensive investment experience.
With the platform, you can choose to invest in Vanguard’s in-house mutual funds, ETFs, and ESG funds — or self-direct your account with outside trades.
Rather than focusing on quick wins, Vanguard’s entire online model is based around low-risk, long-term investment strategies to promote overall financial well-being.
Before you get started with trading, Vanguard offers a host of resources to help you set goals, understand strategies, and learn to diversify your assets.
For retirement, Vanguard offers traditional and Roth IRAs, SEPs, and 401(k)s.
12. InteractiveBrokers: Best for Forex
- Account fees: No commissions on stock and ETF trades; $0.65 per options contract
- Account minimum: $0
- Top Features: Global trading, educational resources
InteractiveBrokers (IBKR) is a low-cost, international trading platform. With IBKR, you’ll have global access to stocks, options, futures, and more from a single account.
An account also comes with IBKR Campus, a massive financial learning platform that can help hone your trading skills.
When you’re more experienced, you can move up to IBKR Pro, which comes with the IB SmartRouting system to help improve your returns.
The biggest downside of IBKR is its mobile app, which has a rating of just 3.3 stars (out of 5) in the Google Play Store and 3.1 stars (out of 5) in the App Store. If you’re someone who likes to trade on the go, you may be better off looking for a different solution.
13. Zacks Trade: Best Under the Radar
- Account fees: $0.01 commission on stock and ETF trades ($1 minimum); $1 per first options contract; $0.75 per additional contract
- Account minimum: $2,500
- Top features: Free broker-assisted trades, global trading, solid mobile app
If you’re new to the investing world, you might not be familiar with Zacks Trade. Although it doesn’t have the brand name of the others included in this list, Zacks Trade is a formidable option for new stock traders.
Zacks Trade aims to strike a balance between active, self-directed trading and expert-level guidance. You’ll have full control over managing your account, plus free subscriptions to more than twenty independent research firms.
For beginners, the best part about Zacks Trade is that it offers free broker-assisted trades. While most brokers garner a significant upcharge for stock tips, Zacks Trade doesn’t.
Here are the most frequently asked questions about the best brokers for beginners.
Which online broker is easiest to use?
In general, the easiest online brokers to start with are newer platforms designed for easy, everyday use. Apps like Robinhood and Webull were built with beginners in mind and aim to make trading accessible for anyone with any level of knowledge.
That said, it depends on what you need out of a broker. Bigger firms might seem more confusing to start but often come with a wider network of advisors, in-person help, and educational resources.
If you’re looking for ease in terms of time commitment, you might want to look into a robo-advisor. That said, while these algorithm-based platforms do the leg work for you, they often come with lower earning potential than self-directed trading.
What’s the best broker for forex?
If you’re looking to invest in foreign markets, you’ll want to find a broker that offers access but also specializes in investments outside the U.S.
Most of the bigger firms allow for international trading (with added fees). But online brokers like InteractiveBrokers have geared their entire platform toward a global trading experience.
If forex trading is what you have in mind, be sure to look into international trading fees for any broker that you’re considering.
What are the best brokers for ETFs?
Exchange-traded funds, or ETFs, are simply diversified collections of stocks that are bought and sold as a single unit. All of the brokers I’ve covered here include ETF trading and most of them come without a commission.
The popularity of ETFs has skyrocketed in recent years, which means that most investment platforms have a pretty good handle on them. If you want to get started with ETF trading, you should be in good hands with any of the brokers covered here.
The Bottom Line
No matter who you are or what your background is, you can and should get started investing in the stock market right now. You don’t need a complex market strategy — you just need a smartphone, a little starter cash, and a willingness to learn.
If you feel like you’re falling behind in your investment knowledge, don’t worry. Wherever you are in your personal finance journey, there’s no better time to brush up on your investing knowledge than right now. By taking the time to seek out the best brokers for beginners to jumpstart your portfolio, you’re already well on your way to making a splash in the markets.
As long as you keep a learner’s mindset and your eyes on the prize, I have full confidence that you won’t feel like a beginner for long.
Who knows? It might be only a matter of time before you make a life-changing investment. Whatever you choose to do, I’m rooting for you each step of the way.