The Best Online Trading Platform for Beginners

The Best Online Trading Platform for Beginners

If investing in the stock market is one of your New Year's resolutions, then finding the best broker is of foremost importance, especially if you're a novice. You should apply the following criteria while selecting the broker.

  • A secure and robust platform
  • A commission-free and low account minimum broker
  • Foolproof and well-structured trading platform
  • Quality education material and impeccable research
  • Exemplary customer support
  • Hassle-free fund transfer

Best Online Trading Brokers

  1. TD Ameritrade
  2. Fidelity Investments
  3. ETrade
  4. Charles Schwab
  5. Merrill Edge
  6. Ally Invest
  7. Webull
  8. TradeStation
  9. Firstrade
best trading platform for beginners

Interested on Dividend Investing? See - Best Brokers for Dividend Investing.

TD Ameritrade

As Strong as an Ox

td ameritrade

TD Ameritrade is a big name among the US stockbrokers. SEC and FINRA regulate its operations. Apart from this, TD Ameritrade is also an member of SIPC.

TD Ameritrade offers a wide range of products, starting from stocks and ETFs to Forex and IRA. It also provides portfolio management service as well as collateral lending programs. In short, TD Ameritrade is the best not only for the beginners but also for the experts who seek elite-level trading tools.

The TD Ameritrade Advantage

  • Commission-free trading on online stocks, ETFs (both US and Canadian), and options. However, broker-assisted trading attracts a colossal charge.
  • Doesn't charge for the platform, data, or maintenance
  • Neither account minimum nor inactivity fee is applicable
  • TD Ameritrade offers a web platform as well as mobile apps. Its Thinkorswim desktop platform is equipped with elite and superior quality features.

    If you are a client of TD Ameritrade, then you get access to all trading platforms without any extra cost, free access to streaming quotes, as well as level II quotes and access to practice trading platform using historical and current market data. All the platforms are easy to navigate and coherent.
  • Excellent customer support.
  • It offers an unparalleled and vast array of research and education materials. The charting package provides more than 400 technical indicators and drawing tools.
  • Deposits and withdrawals are reasonably user-friendly. Bank transfers are free while a wire transfer attracts a high transfer charge.

Fees Structure of TD Ameritrade

Fees Types Amount
Service Fees
Certificate Withdrawal $500
Checkbook Reorder Free/100,IRA-Free/20
Copy of Check $15
Outbound Full Account Transfer $75
Wire Transfers $25
Margin & Interest Fees
Dollar Range Effective Rate
Under $10,000 10.25%
$10,000 - $24,999.99 10.00%
$25,000-$49,999.99 9.75%
$50,000-$99,999.99 8.75%
$100,000-$249,999.99 8.50%
$250,000-$499,999.99 8.25%

Fidelity Investments

Strong Trading Capabilities and Sound Research


Fidelity is one of the oldest names among the US stockbrokers and is known for its high-quality trading tools. At the same time, it's the least expensive broker that offers premium quality services.

The product portfolio of Fidelity encompasses stocks, ETFs, options, mutual funds, bonds, CDs, etc. The top regulatory bodies of the country regulate this online broker, and the investments of its clients are protected under SIPC.

The Fidelity Advantage

  • Zero commission trading in stocks, ETFs, and options.
  • It offers no minimum initial investment for basic accounts, zero late settlement fees, and zero account fees.
  • A minimum deposit of $2000 is necessary for the margin accounts.
  • Lower inactivity fees
  • It provides web-based as well as a mobile app for regular traders and a desktop platform for the experts.
  • The web trading platform is extremely secure and foolproof. It allows advanced order types, while lags in terms of customization.
  • Active Trading Pro, a highly customizable desktop platform of Fidelity, provides real-time alerts and trading ideas to the active clients. It handles complex options strategies and can save up to 50 orders.
  • Fidelity provides research from more than 20 third party research providers.
  • The charting tools are implemented with 50 technical indicators, and the fundamental analysis is extensive.
  • The customer service of Fidelity is unmatched, and it assists its clients through phone calls, email, and live chat. Through its branches across the country, Fidelity conducts free seminars and provides in-person guidance to its clients.

Fees Structure of Fidelity

Fees Types Amount
Service Fees
Stock Certificate Transfer $100
Foreign Dividends and Reorganization 1% of principal
DTC Foreign Settlement Fee $50
Margin Liquidation $32.95
Margin & Interest Fees
$1M+ 5.00%
$500,000-$999,999 5.25%
$250,000-$499,999 7.58%
$100,000-$249,999 7.82%
$50,000-$99,999 7.88%
$25,000-$49,999 8.82%
$0-$24,999 9.32%


Best for Long-Term Investors


ETrade is a veteran of online brokers that offers zero commission for online US stocks, ETFs, and options. With the help of innovative technologies, ETrade offers a fabulous trading experience for the novices as well as the wizards.

ETrade is a member of both FINRA and SIPC.

The E*Trade Advantage

  • ETrade gives access to multiple trading platforms. These trading platforms are available to all the clients of ETrade. Power E*Trade, the web platform, offers more than 100 technical studies and 30+ drawing tools.
  • Power E*Trade app is a well-designed and well-structured trading platform that can be easily gauged by the traders of all levels. Power E*Trade app provides streaming news and quotes, interactive charts, customizable options chain, etc.
  • E*Trade web platform is suitable for the trading of different asset classes like stocks, ETFs, options, bonds, etc. It has a vast collection of educational materials that help neophytes to integrate with the new environment quickly. This web-based trading platform of ETrade gives real-time streaming quotes, news, stock ideas, and much more.
  • Along with trading activities, ETrade offers banking services, retirement planning, and portfolio management.
  • The customer service and support are exceptional. The clients of ETrade get 24/7 help through phone and live chat. It also extends support to clients through its branches.

Fees Structure of E*Trade

Fees Types Amount
Service Fees
Stock Certificate Request $500 per certificate
Foreign Stock Certificate Request $250 per certificate
Wire Transfers $25 (outgoing)
Account Transfers (outgoing) $25 for partial transfer; $75 for full transfer
Check Copies $15 per copy
Check Request $10 per request
Checkbook Reorder $8.25 for 75 checks
IRA Premature Distributions $25.00
Stop Payment Request $25.00
Margin & Interest Fees
Dollar Range Effective Rate
$1M+ 6.75%
$500,000-$999,999.99 7.75%
$250,000-$499,999.99 8.25%
$100,000-$249,999.99 8.75%
$50,000-$99,999.99 9.25%
$25,000-$49,999.99 9.75%
$10,000-$24,999.99 10.00%
Less Than $10,000 10.25%

Charles Schwab

One of the Least Expensive Brokers

charles schwab

Charles Schwab is one of the lowest charging brokers that offer various investment products. It's one of the best brokers for the beginners as well as active traders.

The Schwab Advantage

  • Free commission trading in stocks, ETFs, and options. Schwab charges no account minimum and $0 account maintenance fees.
  • You can trade with Schwab in the international markets in your local currency. Schwab offers a global account with no minimum balance, real-time quotes during foreign market hours, and much more.
  •, the web-based platform, is the best for beginners. It provides third party research, fundamental data, portfolio information, customizable screeners for stocks, ETFs and options, etc.
  • StreetSmart Edge, the premier trading platform of Schwab, is highly customizable and well-structured. It allows active traders to execute sophisticated strategies. It's available as downloadable software or online via the cloud. StreetSmart Edge gives advanced stock charting, streaming momentum indicators, in-depth fundamental research, live analysis and commentaries, streaming news, and the list goes on.
  • It provides round the clock support to the clients through phone and chats.
  • Charles Schwab is known for its world-class research content. In addition to in-house research, Schwab provides third-party insights.
  • Fund transfer is flawless and secure at Schwab. Bank transfers are free, while wire transfers attract a higher fee.

Merrill Edge

Perfect Brokerage and Baking Combination

merrill edge

Powered by Bank of America, Merrill Edge is the best place for people looking for brokerage and banking under one roof. Merrill Edge is known for its free trades and superior research reports.

The Merrill Edge Advantage

  • Merrill Edge makes banking and brokerage more accessible. If you're a client of Merrill Edge, then the integration of your brokerage account with Bank of America is just a click away. This integration provides instant money transfer from one account to another, and a full range of banking services. It also brings a lot of rewards and benefits in your way.
  • Merrill Edge offers a plethora of investment products like stocks, ETFs, options, mutual funds, etc. It provides unlimited commission-free trading in stocks and ETFs with no trade or account minimum.
  • Merrill Edge provides self-directed accounts as well as guided investing accounts.
  • Merrill Edge self-directed account holders enjoy no minimum investment facility. The self-direct account enables you to monitor the performance of your holdings. It also gives access to research and insights.
  • Merrill guided investing requires a minimum balance of $5,000 plus 0.45% annual fee. BofA Preferred Reward members get a discount on the annual fee. Guided investing clients enjoy a personalized investment strategy, portfolio management, customized dashboard, and industry-leading services.
  • Merrill Edge MarketPro, the crown-jewel of Merrill edge, helps in creating your watchlist and setting up alerts. This platform provides streaming news and quotes, real-time market analysis, and it also gives access to BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research. To get access to MarketPro, the clients should make at least 15 trades per quarter or keep a combined balance of $50,000 or more in your Bank of America and Merrill accounts.
  • Apart from its research, Merrill Edge provides third-party insights as well.
  • Merrill Edge provides unmatched customer service through various channels. Its clients also get in-person assistance through the branches of BofA.

Fees Structure of Merrill Edges

Fees Types Amount
Service Fees
Wire Transfer Fee $25
Return Deposit $20
Closeout Fee $50
Full Account Transfer Fee $50
Govt. Security Transfer Fee $125
Security Reorganization $30
Returned Check Fee $30
Returned ACH Debit Fee $30
Margin & Interest Fees
Dollar Range Effective Rate
$25,000 - $99,999 9.00%
Less than $25,000 10.12%

Ally Invest

A Distinctive Platform

ally invest

Powered by Ally Financial, Ally Invest is a low-cost broker whose trading tools provide a smooth experience to its clients.

The Ally Advantage

  • Commission-free trading in US stocks and ETFs.
  • A competitive contract pricing in options trading
  • A large number of investment choices and no account minimum.
  • Provides a combination of banking and brokerage services
  • No advisory fees and annual charges for portfolio management. It also offers free portfolio rebalancing.
  • The web-based trading platform has features like real-time streaming data and quotes, fast order execution, customizable dashboard, etc.
  • Ally Invest provides several technical analysis tools. There are 36 drawing tools, and more than a hundred chart studies.
  • Ally Invest offers superior 24/7 customer support through various channels like live chat, phone, and email.

Fees Structure of Ally Invest

Fees Types Amount
Service Fees
IRA Transfer Fee $50
IRA Closure Fee $25
Returned Check $30
Returned ACH $30
Returned Wires $30
Stock Certificate Processing Fee $300
Broker Assisted Trades $20
Foreign Stock Transaction Fee $50
Penny Stock $0.01 per share


Best for US Stocks and ETFs


Webull is a young name among the US stockbrokers. Incorporated in 2017, this discount broker offers commission-free trading in US stocks and ETFs.

Webull is a registered broker-dealer with SEC and, at the same time, a member of FINRA and SIPC. Apart from this, it has an additional insurance policy that protects cash and securities up to an aggregate of $150million, subjected to a maximum limit of $37.5million for a single client's securities and $900,000 in cash for a client.

The Webull Advantage

  • The essential features of Webull are zero commission, advances and intelligent trading tools and services, commission-free short selling, multi-platform accessibility, real-time quotes, etc. However, the product portfolio of Webull is limited.
  • Webull charges no inactivity fee and withdrawal fee if you opt for ACH.
  • It provides a trading simulator and limited educational content to help the beginners.
  • Bank transfer is one of the best ways for deposits and withdrawals as it's free. Webull charges a higher fee for wire transfers. ACH deposits and withdrawals are free.
  • The account opening is fully digital and swift. The margin account requires a minimum balance of $2,000. If your margin account has $25,000 or more in net equity, then you get access to unlimited day trades.
  • Webull also offers a variety of IRA accounts, which are traditional IRA, rollover IRA, and Roth IRA.

Fees Structure of Webull

Fees Types Amount
Service Fees
Deposits via Domestic Wire $8.00
Withdrawal via Domestic Wire $25.00
Deposits via International Wire $12.50
Withdrawal via International Wire $45.00
Transfer of Stocks from Webull $75.00
Margin & Interest Fees
Dollar Range Effective Rate
$0-$25,000 6.99%
$25,000-$100,000 6.49%
$100,000-$250,000 5.99%
$250,000-$500,000 5.49%
$500,000-$1,000,000 4.99%
$1,000,000-$3,000,000 4.49%
More than $3M 3.99%


A dependable Trading Platform


TradeStation is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Monex Group that has an extensive product portfolio. SEC and FINRA regulate TradeStation.

TradeStation is also a member of SIPC.

The TradeStation Advantage

  • Unlimited commission-free trading in stocks and ETFs.
  • TradeStation offers multiple pricing plans.
  • TradeStation is a paradise for penny stock traders as it charges zero commission for trading in penny stocks. But the commission-free trading in penny stocks has an upper limit.
  • TradeStation has multiple trading platforms. The desktop platform of TradeStation, its flagship trading platform, is executed with many advanced features and ample customization options. It's a perfect tool for wizards, and on the other hand, the beginners may find it a little bit confusing due to the advanced features.
  • The other striking features of TradeStation's desktop platform are (i) RadarScreen that monitors and ranks up to 1,000 symbols in real-time based on customizable technical and fundamental indicators, (ii) strategy backtesting, (iii) fast and reliable trade execution, and (iv) fully customizable charting.
  • The web trading platform is more user-friendly than the desktop one. It provides fast order placing, gives access to streaming news and market data, and allows monitoring portfolio position, balance as well as orders. It's a highly secure and customizable platform with dozens of technical studies.
  • The mobile app is well-designed and highly secure. This reliable platform gives real-time quotes, alerts on price and volume, etc. Most of the features are similar to its web-based trading platform.
  • TradeStation doesn't provide any learning material directly. It has collaboration with an educational electronic media publication.
  • The customer service of TradeStation is satisfactory with the fast response time. The assistance is available through phone, email, and live chat.

Fees Structure of TradeStation

Fees Types Amount
Service Fees
Inactivity Fee $50/ year
Account Service Fee $149.95/month
Certificate Transfer $500/certificate
Sending Wires $25.00
Sending Wires International Account $35.00
Outgoing Account Transfer $125.00
Trade Station IRA Account Annual Fee $35.00
Trade Station IRA Account Termination Fee $50.00
Broker Assisted Transactions $50.00
Margin & Interest Fees
Dollar Range Effective Rate
Less than $50,000 9.50%
$50,000-$499,999 8.75%
$500,000-$1,999,999 5.50%
$2,000,000 and above 3.50%


Best for Beginners


Firstrade is another discount broker known for the safe trading platform, long track record, and zero contract fee on options trades.

Firstrade is regulated by SEC and FINRA and is also a member of SIPC.

The Firstrade Advantage

  • Commission-free trading in stocks, ETFs, options, and mutual funds.
  • Firstrade doesn't charge an inactivity fee or account fee while it charges a low non-trading fee.
  • The basic account doesn't require a minimum deposit, while a margin account needs a minimum balance of $2,000.
  • Apart from the regular investing accounts, Firstrade provides retirement accounts as well as international accounts.
  • The account opening process is fully digital and smooth.
  • Firstrade provides multiple ways to trade- online, mobile app, and broker-assisted.
  • Its web trading tool, Firstrade Navigator, provides uncomplicated trading and smooth navigation. Account information and trading from one place, advanced charting, streaming market data, and real-time account data are a few other exciting features of this platform.
  • The research tool provides both fundamental and technical analysis with more than 50 technical indicators.
  • Firstrade's customer support is available in English and Chinese.

Fees Structure of Firstrade

Fees Types Amount
Service Fees
Domestic Wire Transfer $30
International Wire Transfer $50
Sell-Out/Buy-In Notice $25
Broker-assisted Stock & Options Trading $19,95+$0.50 (Contract Fee)
Overnight Check Fee $50.00
Foreign Security Transfer Fee $75.00
Margin & Interest Fees
Dollar Range Effective Rate
$1,000,000 5.00%
$500000 - $999,999 5.60%
$250000 - $499,999 7.50%
$100,000 - $249,999 7.75%
$50,000 - $99,999 8.25%
$25,000 - $49,999 8.75%
$10,000 - $24,999 9.00%
$0 - $9,999 9.25%

Trading Platform Fees Comparison

TD Ameritrade E*Trade Fidelity Charles Schwab Merrill Edge Ally Invest Webull Trade Station Firstrade
Stocks $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
ETFs $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Options $0+$0.65 (contract fee) $0+$0.65 (contract fee) $0+$0.65 (contract fee) $0+$0.65 (contract fee) $0+ $0.65 (contact fee) $0+ $0.50 (contract fee) - $0+$0.50 (contract fee) $0
Mutual Funds $49.99 for no-load funds $19.99 (transaction fee) $0 for Fidelity funds. For non-Fidelity funds $49.95 per purchase $49.95 $19.95 $9.95 per trade - - $0
Bonds On a net yield basis $1 per Bond $1 per Bond $1 per Bond $1 per bond $1 per Bond - - On net yield basis
CDs On a net yield basis - $1 per CD $1 per CD $1 per CD $24.95 per transactions - - On net yield basis
Futures $2.25 per contract $1.50 per contract - $1.50 per contract - - - $0+$0.85 (per contract, per side) -
Futures Micro E-Mini - - - - - - - $0.50(per contract, per side) -
Futures Options - - - - - - - $1.50 (per contract, per side) -

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