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Best online stock platforms for beginners to make money in the stock market
If you want to participate in the stock market using an online platform, the first thing you need is to decide on which is the best broker for you.
So, there are many platforms that allow you to buy, sell and hold stocks as a small DIY investor.
But which one is the best for you? That depends on your goals and needs. What things do you value the most in a stock broker platform?
Generally, these are some of the attributes investors value in an online investing platform.
- Research access
- Platform usability on mobiles
- Investment choices
- Minimum vs No minimums to open account
- Automated investing
Some investors prefer the platforms of companies that have been around for a while and have a good reputation, as supposed to newer ones.
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These 6 brokers are online platforms, not robo advisors. Some offer automatic investment features that you have to set up, if you want.
Best online platforms for stock investing
TD Ameritrade used to be TD Waterhouse and the two brokerage operations merged. This online platform has been around for a long time and it’s one of the largest for trading and investing in stocks.
This platform is a good fit for beginner investors because it’s easy to use and has low trading costs, right now at a flat $6.95 per trade. As a DIY investor, you can also have access to a lot of research on companies’ stocks, for free.
TD Ameritrade also is one of the best platform for individuals doing trading, buy and sell. It offers the trading tool Thinkorswin, a proprietary trading tool. This tool is used by traders to review advance trading signals, analysis and technicals.
You can trade stocks, ETFs, Options, Forex, Options on Forex with the tool Thinkorswim. There is a minimum account requirement to use this tool.
Interactive Broker is a an online investing platform focusing on advanced traders. This platform is not for the casual investor, buy and hold or casual trader. Its costs structure favors active trading.
The best features of Interactive Brokers work for the active trader. These include; per-share pricing, low margin rates, large selection of stocks, including Penny stocks and an advanced trading platform.
Interactive Brokers is also a good platform for international investors. It gives investors access to foreign stock exchanges. These include Canada, Japan, Singapore, Germany, Belgium, France, Mexico, United Kingdom and others.
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Ally Invest is the old TradeKing brokerage. Ally is also a large online bank, separate from its investing platform.
Ally investing platform works well for the DIY investor, buy and hold. It offers low commissions at $4.95 per trade, automated investments and no minimum account requirement. Also, it offers foreign currencies trading.
Ally Invest has a separate pricing structure for more active traders. It is $3.95 a trade for account holders who are more active and qualify.
Charles Schwab has a bit of everything for beginner and advanced investors. Schwab has low trading fees at $4.95, good research tools, good customer service.
For beginners, the best part of Charles Schwab is how easy it is to use the mobile apps and the website. Also attractive is the free commissions on ETFs trades and the availability of the funds from the company’s own Funds Family.
For the more advanced investor, Schwab has a wide range of product options. Also, advanced online trading system and tools.
E*Trade is one of the oldest online brokers, one of the first to make stock investing cheaper for the masses. This Broker is not the cheapest in online platforms, however it does offer volume discounts. The standard commission is $6.95 per trade. There are applicable discounts for volume.
Given E*Trades low fees, easy to use powerful platform and access to trading tools, like the Options House platform, it makes a good choice for buy and hold investors and for active traders.
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Vanguard is not a stock investing platform. However, I included it on this list because I feel is one of the best funds platforms for the individual investor.
Vanguard is well known and has a good reputation for serving the individual investor for a long time. Its specialties are Mutual Fund and ETFs investing. You can open a regular mutual fund account to buy and sell mutual funds and a Brokerage account for ETFs investing.
Vanguard’s online platform is good for the DIY Funds investor. Its easy to use and there are no commissions charged. Fees are charged on the Fund on a percentage basis, before the returns are calculated. Generally, Vanguard’s fees are very competitive, falling under 1%.
The option of automated investments is another great feature of Vanguard Individual Investor fund accounts. As a customer, you can set up automatic investments and withdrawals.
The main thing on Best Stock Investing platforms
There are many stock investing platforms offering similar services. Most platforms also charge very affordable commissions. To select the best platform for your needs, you should look into what you value the most and what you need to accomplish.
The features valuable to you should be part of the core offerings on the platform you go with. Features such as, volume discounts, research tools, margin rate, product availability and platform reputation.
For example, you’re an individual investor with a buy and hold investing philosophy. Then you should look into trading fee, research access, easy to navigate platform and apps and good customer service and reputation.
If you’re are an active trader or planning to be, then you should prioritize volume discounts, robust trading platform, low margin rates and availability of products like options and forex.
Ultimately, the best platform is not the one with the most bells and whistles. The best one for you, is the platform you feel the most comfortable using.
Best online stock brokers for beginners to make money in the stock market
- TD Ameritrade
- Interactive Broker
- Ally Invest
- Charles Schwab