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Best Online Brokers

Aug 28, 2008
When you are trying to decide the best online brokers for you, first determine your priorities and what type of investor you are. Other items to consider when you are choosing the best online brokers are commissions, fee structures, balance requirements and customer service.

E*TRADE is an inexpensive option for best online brokers for active traders who are experienced and don't need a lot of technical advice. You will need a minimum of $1,000.00 to open an account with E*TRADE. There is a $12.99 fee for both market and limit orders. Also, you are required to pay $40.00 per quarter to use their services.

Fidelity's commission fee for both limit and market orders is $19.95. The minimum amount of funds to open an online account with Fidelity is $2,500.00. There is no quarterly or annual fee to use Fidelity's services. This is the best online brokers for investors with a higher net worth who likes all the frills of a full service broker. Because Fidelity is considered a full service broker they provide a wide range of investment tools and calculators and are rated extremely high for customer service.

Scottrade only charges $7.00 per market and limit orders. The minimum opening balance is only $500.00. This is one of the best online brokers for being inexpensive. Because they are inexpensive they don't offer a lot of technical or research support, you are basically on your own. Scottrade does not charge a quarterly or annual fee. Scottrade does charge an additional fee of 0.5% of the total principal in addition to the $7.00 flat commission fee.

Charles Schwab might be considered by some as the pioneer in the discount broker world, but they are definitely not the cheapest of the best online brokers. Charles Schwab charges $19.95 for both limit and market orders and they also charge an additional $0.015 for all shares over 1,000. You will be charged a $45.00 per quarter service fee to use their brokerage services. You also need to be aware that if you purchase more than 5,000 shares, Charles Schwab will charge you $0.003 for every additional share.

TD Ameritrade was formed when TD Waterhouse and Ameritrade merged. TD Waterhouse was acquired by Ameritrade in 2005 and charges a flat fee of $9.99 for per trade for any amount of shares. There is no minimum account opening amount. According to current investors, TD Ameritrade rates very high for customer support and research tools in the best online broker's area.

Sharebuilder is one of the best online brokers for new investors. They provide a wide range of investment strategy support. Sharebuilder has no minimum opening account balance requirement. With Sharebuilder you can also set up automatic investments for buying and selling stocks online for only $4.00 per trade. Regular limit or market orders will cost you $15.95 each. As a side note, Sharebuilder is part of ING Direct.

Firstrade is a relatively unknown broker as far as best online brokers. It appears as if they charge $6.95 for market and limit order commissions with no quarterly or annual fees. Firstrade does not have a minimum opening funding requirement. However, as with most discount brokers you will receive little or no technical support.

Vanguard is considered more of a full service broker like Fidelity and Charles Schwab. Because you will receive additional services you will pay more than you would if you choose a discount broker as your best online brokers. Vanguard is going to charge you $25.00 per market or limit order trade. You will also have to pay a $30.00 annual service fee. The opening balance for Vanguard is $3,000.00.

This is only a small sampling of the best online brokers. Each online broker has different requirements for opening account balances, quarterly or annual fees and commission structures. You will need to decide which broker is going to fit your needs and goals.
About the Author
Jayme Hanson operates an information site about Learning How To Invest. Articles include information on Investing Money Advice, Online Brokerage Firms and Money Market Investing.
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