Trading platforms empower traders and investors to place buy and sell orders with their favorite online brokerage. Some trading platforms require an installation on a personal computer, while most work either web-based with a browser or as apps for iOS and Android. Below you find the best trading platforms, brokerage accounts and apps to enable you to make the best possible decision. Read further to find the top stock trading apps for investors, active traders and day traders on iOS, Android and PC.
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Best Trading Platform: Overview
- Cobra Trading: Best day trading platform for active traders
- Interactive Brokers: Best all-in-one trading platform for beginners
- SoFi: Best free U.S. stock trading app with automated investing
- Acorns: Best app for spare change savings and retailer kickbacks
- Stash: Best stock trading app for beginners to buy fractional shares
- Robinhood: Best stock trading app for beginners
- Webull: Best runner-up stock trading app for beginners
- TastyWorks: Best online trading platform for options trading
- TD Ameritrade: Best trading platform for beginners
- Trade Ideas: Best trading platform for automated trading
Table of Contents
1. Cobra Trading: Best Day Trading Platform for Active Traders
Cobra Trading is the best day trading platform and direct access broker offering sophisticated trading tools to enable you to capitalize on opportunities fast via direct order routing and instant trade executions.
Assets: Clients can trade equities and execute options trades via Cobra Trading.
Fees: Cobra Trading specializes in day trading, and client orders are routed directly to the preferred stock exchange or ECN. Unlike retail online brokers, where the broker defines where the order goes, at Cobra Trading, you ensure instant trade executions via direct order routing and pay commissions of $0.002 – $0.004 per share with a $1 minimum per order. Trading options costs between $0.30 and $0.50 per contract. The more frequently you trade, the lower the price.
Features: Cobra Trading offers three high-end day trading platforms with advanced order types, charting, basked trading, multi-account management, advanced analytics, level 2, hotkey trading and more. The platforms are DAS Trader Pro, Sterling Trader Pro and Cobra TraderPro.
Usability: The offered online trading platforms stand for exceptional speed and usability. Hotkey trading enables day traders to execute trades even faster, and using the platforms is intuitive. In addition, customer service is instantly available by phone and live chat, which makes a big difference to retail brokerages where you have long waiting times.
- Customer service is directly available via phone and live chat
- The technical advantage with high-end tools compared to retail brokerages
- Fast trade executions and competitive commission rates
- Best direct access broker and best broker for short selling
- Great selection of day trading platforms
- Only U.S. markets supported
- Here you get a 33% permanent commission discount with Cobra Trading (for life) (Bonus: 1 month of free access to DAS Trader and Sterling included).
2. Interactive Brokers: Best All-In-One Trading Platform for Beginners
Interactive Brokers perfectly builds the bridge between classic retail brokers such as TD Ameritrade and specialized direct market access brokers such as Cobra Trading, offering the best of both worlds for investors and traders.
Assets: Interactive Brokers offers access to over 150 markets in 33 countries. This includes stocks, options, ETFs, futures, FOPs, event contracts, spot currencies, major cryptocurrencies, metals, mutual funds and bonds.
Fees: Clients can trade all assets from a single unified platform and benefit from low commission rates. Many investors decide on the all-in-one fixed pricing with costs of $.005 per share and $0.85 per futures contract, but there are also tiered rates available to reduce the commissions with high trading frequency. Yet, due to the immense number of tradeable assets in different countries, it’s impossible to mention any combination here.
Features: Interactive Brokers’ flagship platform is the desktop solution called Trader Workstation. It supports multiple order types, charting, level 2, option chains, option simulations, hotkey trading and more. In addition, Client Portal, a web-based platform, the IBKR Mobile and IBKR GlobalTrader trading apps and sophisticated trading tools.
Usability: Trader Workstation (TWS) gets an excellent rating across leading review sites. It is an all-in-one solution with innovative features.
In addition, clients can earn up to USD 2.58% on idle cash balances and IBKR offers low margin loan rates. Interactive Brokers also stands for a high level of trust and security due to the excellent financial stability of the company. IB is listed on Nasdaq under the ticker IBKR and, therefore, is entirely transparent regarding the business.
- Over 150 markets in 33 countries supported
- Nearly all assets tradeable (stocks, options, futures, crypto, and more)
- Nasdaq-listed company with transparent quarterly reports about the financial strength
- Extensive API capabilities for automated trading and trading systems
- Multiple trading platforms
- Broker-assisted trades via phone are expensive
Click here for more details and to get started with Interactive Brokers
3. SoFi: Best Free U.S. Stock Trading App With Automated Investing
SoFi stands for Social Finance and offers an excellent investment app to handle banking, loans, and investments from one app.
Assets: SoFi offers all-in-one investing and trading for stocks, ETFs, cryptocurrencies and even participation in IPOs at IPO prices. Fractional shares from your favorite companies can also be bought to diversify the portfolio, even with smaller accounts.
Fees: You can start investing with SoFi via one-time investments or recurring investments with fractional shares if that works better for you. There is no management fee using SoFi automated investing features. In addition, active investors can trade and invest with a $0 commission, join a community with exclusive events, and receive news updates via the SoFi app. Roth and traditional IRA are also supported to help to grow your retirement savings.
Features: Automated investing is where SoFi is really strong. You can tackle multiple financial goals, use auto rebalancing functionalities to adjust your stock and bond funds quarterly and decide on an excellent diversification in your portfolio.
Usability: The SoFi app has more than 100,000 ratings in the Apple App Store and on Google Play, with average ratings of over 4.7/5. Users like the usability and simplicity of the app, and more than 2 million SoFi members use it for ETF trades, stock- and fractional share investing, retirement planning and more.
- Excellent app ratings for the iOS and Android app
- SoFi is listed on Nasdaq with a market cap of 13.88B
- FDIC insured up to $1.5m
- 24/7 account monitoring
- IPO-investing possible
- $0 fees for nearly everything
- Only U.S.-listed securities tradeable
- 1.25% markup for crypto transactions
4. Acorns: Best App for Spare Change Savings and Retailer Kickbacks
Acors is an excellent stock trading app for beginners. If you want to invest your spare change by using a robo-advisor, Acorns is a good option. The iOS and Android apps are easy-to-use and very mobile-friendly. Acorns’ motto is “invest, earn, grow, spend, later.”
Assets: With acorns, you automatically invest your spare change from a purchase like groceries and gas into one of their diversified ETF portfolios. This keeps your efforts low, and experts take care of the whole investment process. In addition, acorns introduced ESG investing built with iShares by BlackRock for the Acorns Sustainable Portfolios.
Fees: Acorns is a free stock trading app but maintaining an account costs between $1 and $5 per month. You start investing in a diversified expert portfolio to archive long-term money goals. The Lite plan for $1 per month enables the spare change to be invested with round-ups. The Personal plan for $3 per month adds to the retirement account and access to 55,000+ fee-free ATMs with the checking account. The Family plan for $5 per month adds investment accounts for kids, including family financial advice and potential tax savings.
Features: Portfolio rebalancing is an automated process within all Acorns accounts. Recurring investments on a weekly or monthly basis are possible to make the most of cost averaging. Custom financial literacy content is powered by CNBC and accessible to all users. Over 12,000 shops and brands are included, where you can earn exciting bonus investments while shopping in your favorite stores.
Usability: Over 9 million users and excellent ratings for the app confirm that Acorn prioritizes serving users with the best possible service. Everything is handled via one app in an easy-to-understand way, trusted by leading innovators and investors from CNBC to BlackRock, with 256-bit encryption to make bak smarter, earn more money and grow your knowledge.
- Excellent reputation
- Excellent app to save the spare change
- No account minimum
- Acorns Sustainable Portfolio offered
- Expense ratio for low-balance accounts in the highest Family plan is relatively high
- Only ETF-investments
Click here to get started with Acorns
5. Stash: Best Stock Trading App for Beginners to Buy Fractional Shares
If you want to start investing with as little as $5 by simply using one of the best stock trading apps, then Stash is a good option. Trusted by 5 million people, Stash offers automatic investing with fractional shares, a Stock-Back card, banking features, retirement investment and children investment accounts.
Assets: Investing in stocks and exchange-traded funds is possible using Stash. But Stash is primarily made for investors and not for traders, and it is an excellent investment app. Roth IRAs are also supported, which is great to save for your retirement.
Fees: Stash offers three types of accounts. The Stash Beginner account includes advice for beginner investing, a personal portfolio, banking and insurance access for $1 per month. Stash Growth goes a step further with advice for growing personal finances and combining the Smart Portfolio and Retirement Portfolio for $3 per month. Finally, stash+ is the highest-tier account with advice for family finances, market insights, two portfolios for kids in the custodial accounts, and a $10k life insurance offered by Avibra for $9 per month.
Features: Investing and Stash Banking account are the core elements that Stash offers. Everything is done via the mobile app available for Android and iOS. The factional shares are a cool feature that typical retail online brokers don’t provide. Another cool feature is the Stock-Back Card, where you earn stock in well-known brands while shopping with the card. With Stash, you pick a plan, add money to Stash, budget and create Goals, and then invest your way.
Usability: Stash scores high in terms of usability, making it one of the best stock apps for fractional share investing. Using the app is intuitive and there are loads of app store reviews you can check out for yourself.
- No account minimum for your Personal Portfolio
- Fractional share investing for over 3,000 stocks and ETFs
- Mobile app for Android and iOS
- Excellent educational resources on their website
- Subscription fee minimum of $1 per month
- Not suitable for active day traders
5. Robinhood: Best Stock Trading App for Beginners
Robinhood is the market leader for mobile stock trading and options trading in the United States. The monthly downloads are insanely high and peaked in February 2021, with over 400,000 app downloads in 24 hours. The app is great for stock research on your mobile device.
Assets: The range of tradeable assets is not as broad as some may think. The clear focus is on mobile access to the stock markets, with additional options like ETF investing and options trading. In addition, you can now tap into crypto-investing to buy HODL and sell cryptos like Bitcoin, Dogecoin, Ethereum etc., with Robinhood Crypto. However, trading futures and forex is not possible. Please, consider reading the article about the best futures trading platform.
Fees: Robinhood disrupted the whole industry when it introduced commission-free trading a decade ago. People were joking around about how long they will survive. Finally, these days Robinhood is the leader in the U.S. mobile trading app market, and all major brokerages now offer $0 commissions for U.S. listed stocks. Opening, maintaining and closing an account is free of charge. Keep in mind that their premium app Robinhood gold costs from $5 per month and comes with level 2 market data, investing on margin, plus some other benefits and is primarily beneficial for active traders.
Features: The Robinhood stock trading app is packed with solid functionalities with a clear focus on mobile investing via iOS and Android app. However, you should keep in mind that the app does not as feature-rich as some desktop apps.
Usability: Robinhood is optimized for mobile use to ensure the best stock trade and options trade executions from your mobile device. Basic charting, a trading interface, and buy and sell buttons are easy to access, and trades can be executed fast, even if you are a novice trader.
- Market leader in mobile investing and trading
- Easy-to-understand commission structure
- Robinhood Gold with extended features costs $5 per month
- Paper statements $5 each ($0 for electronic statements)
7. Webull: Best Runner-up Stock Trading App for Beginners
Webull is one of the best free stock trading apps and a direct competitor to Robinhood. Their business model also relies on payment for order flow to allow clients to trade commission-free.
Assets: Webull clients can trade thousands of stocks and options worldwide. Clients can also invest in fractional shares with as little as $5, invest in exchange traded funds, and invest in foreign companies via ADRs.
Fees: Webull offers commission-free trading of stocks, ETFs and options. They provide up to four times intraday buying power and two times overnight buying power when using their margin account with a minimum account size of $2,000. The interest rates range from 3.99% to 6.99%, depending on the debit balance.
Features: If you ask yourself how to get free stocks, Webull is the answer. Webull offers free stocks to new clients. Anyone opening an account with them right now will receive free shares worth up to $1,200. There is no general account minimum, but clients have to fund the account within 24 hours to get the free stocks. On average, the stock will have a value of about $10, but there is a chance to get the higher-priced stock.
Usability: Webull offers a desktop trading platform for Windows, Mac OS and Linux Ubuntu and a mobile app for Android, iOS and the browser view for all devices.
- zero-commission on all U.S. listed stocks, ETFs and stock options
- Pre-market and post-market trading possible
- One of the best stock trading apps with a broad range of functionalities
- User-friendly trading app for beginners
- $8 fees for U.S. bank account deposits and $12.5 for international deposits
- $25 per withdrawal to U.S. Bank Accounts and $45 for international withdrawals
8. TastyWorks: Best Online Trading Platform for Options Trading
Tastyworks is a brokerage from the brains behind tastytrade and was named the best online broker in America by Investors Business Daily. The Tastyworks trading app was specifically developed to make options trading attractive to retail traders, but is it the best options trading platform?
Assets: All types of assets can be traded from the Tastyworks account. It starts with options on stocks, ETFs, futures and micro futures, also includes classic investment assets such as stocks and ETFs, and finally, you can also trade futures, micro futures and futures. Plus, recently, Tastyworks added the ability to trade cryptocurrencies.
Fees: Tastyworks has one of the most competitive fee structures in the United States brokerage industry. Their innovative cost structure especially allows active traders to save money trading larger lot sizes. The more options contract traded with one order, the higher the savings. That’s because of a price cap on the fee structure. Trading stocks and ETFs is free of commissions for unlimited shares. Stock option trades cost $1 per contract for the opening and closing transaction, together with a cap of $10 per leg. Futures commissions range from $0.25 to $1.25 per contract and leg, while the fees for crypto-trading are 1% of the total transaction amount with a cap of $10 per trade.
Features: The Tastyworks mobile app is excellent for traders focusing on options trading. Tastyworks is also strong in education, which makes it also attractive for beginners.
Usability: Tastyworks offers a desktop trading app, a web-based trading interface, and a mobile trading app for iOS and Android to ensure high-speed trade executions from everywhere.
- Outstanding app for options traders with integrated curve analysis
- In-app trading inspiration
- Multiple trading apps and platforms
- Excellent commission structure
- Free ACH deposits and withdrawals
- Monthly paper statements cost $5 (electronic $0)
- Demo account not available
9. TD Ameritrade: Best Trading Platform for Beginners
TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim platform is one of the most popular stock tracking apps and trading solutions for retail investors in the U.S. It is also the best free stock software for stock analysis. What makes it the best stock trading platform for beginners? Let’s put it in perspective. Robinhood has a market cap of 40.2B, while Charles Schwab, which acquired TD Ameritrade, has a stunning market cap of 142.4B. Many don’t know that TD Ameritrade makes more money via payments for order flow than any other brokerage.
Assets: TD Ameritrade offers trading stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, options, fixed income products, futures and forex currency. This makes TD Ameritrade one of the best-positioned brokerages worldwide. Only crypto-trading is not possible right now.
Fees: TD Ameritrade offers $0 commissions for online stock and ETF trades. Broker-assisted trades are possible but cost $25. For options trading, you pay $0 commissions, plus a fee of $0.65 per contract. Futures trading is a bit pricy with $2.25 per contract plus exchange and regulatory fees. There is no minimum deposit required to open an account with them.
Features: TD Ameritrade offers three kinds of platforms. A web-based one for all devices, the excellent thinkorswim desktop platform, and the TD Ameritrade mobile trading app. All can be used for stock trades, options trades, and all other assets. However, the thinkorswim desktop solution is the best TD Ameritrade trading tool since it has many excellent functionalities and features.
Usability: All tools are free to use for anyone having a TD Ameritrade account. They are tailored for any level of investors with access to independent 3rd-party research, planning tools and educational resources, technical analysis features, market scans, and customization options. The mobile trading app supports even the Apple Watch.
- Financially strong company with 32,500 employees and excellent support
- thinkorswim is one of the best stock trading apps for desktop download
- Trading options, stocks, mutual funds, forex, fixed income products, and futures from one account
- Zero commissions for U.S.-listed stocks, ETFs and options
- Some users reported that it could take a while until you reach someone from customer support
- Not available to users in the European Union, UK, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Hong Kong, Canada and Australia
10. Trade Ideas: Best Trading Platform for Automated Trading
Trade Ideas was specifically developed for day traders. You can use the pre-configured market scans or define your own scanner criteria to find the trading setups once they occur. Trade Ideas alerts appear in real-time. You can manually trade based on the trade alerts or connect your brokerage account for fully automated trading. In addition, Trade Ideas is one of the best paper trading platforms and supports simulated trading, performance tracking, and backtesting.
Assets: Trade Ideas covers the whole U.S. stock market, including penny stocks and OTC stocks.
Fees: Trade Ideas offers two plans. The Premium Plan unlocks all features and is available for $2,268 annually or $228 via monthly payments. The Standard Plan includes all basic scanner features and is available for $1,068 per year or $118 per month. A discount for daytradingz.com readers is available for both plans.
Features: Both Trade Ideas plans include full access to real-time streaming trade ideas, charts, news, price alerts, real-time simulated trading with chart-based visual trade assistance and access to the live trading room. Premium unlocks the Artificial Intelligence features, one-click-trading, the backtest engine and automated trading functionalities via Brokerage Plus.
Usability: Usability is one of a kind. The downloadable software provides the best usability and performance, but you can also use the web-based version of Trade Ideas. In addition, the documentation is excellent, and various webinars take place every week where you can ask any question.
- Best stock screener for day traders
- Hundreds of possible trading strategies and scans
- Fast and reliable
- Risk-free simulated trading
- Automated trading
- Education and live-trading room
- Not the best usability from a mobile device
- Special Offer: 15% discount on all Trade Ideas Pro subscriptions with coupon code DAYTRADINGZ
How To Chose The Best Stock Trading Platform
Now that we have looked at the best apps for investors, day traders and active traders, you may still be uncertain which app to use. The following mini-guide provides additional guidance.
Define your investment approach
- First, you have to decide whether to go for buy-and-hold investing, swing-trading, or active trading.
Chose the type of asset you want to trade or invest in
- Some vendors are best for options trades, some for stock trades on a mobile app, and others are limited to investing in mutual funds or exchange traded funds. The better you specify the assets to trade, the easier it becomes to make the right decision.
Define the account size
- Some trading accounts require a minimum deposit, while others don’t have any specific minimum account balance requirements. However, keep in mind that you need more than $25,000 to day trade using U.S. trading accounts from online brokers like TD Ameritrade or Interactive Brokers.
Test multiple apps
- It might need some time to find the best investment app, commission-free stockbroker, or personal finance app that perfectly fits your requirements. And it is worth it to invest the time for testing. Especially when a stock app is free and when the minimum balance is $0, then it might be worth it to finally choose the best stock market app after testing your favorite ones.
Consider the risks
- Investing and trading involve risk. Contact your financial advisor if you have any finance-related questions. Do not listen to forums and gurus. Instead, use customer support whenever you have a question about your stock app or account.
Best Brokerage Account Guide
When you begin to start trading and investing, there are a lot of fundamental questions that online brokers don’t answer as clearly as you would like. Like any other industry, there is money to be made by selling to the newcomer. So the marketing aspect is too often the main focus. This guide is different.
What are the best brokerage accounts for advanced trading tactics, and what is the best online stock broker for beginners? Below you will find the top five brokerage account categories. Please choose the detailed guide of your choice. Also, in the second part of this article, please find a comprehensive FAQ-section about the best brokerage accounts.
A brokerage account is necessary to do any serious trading, although the clarity of where to go isn’t necessarily something people have. By looking into a few basic questions, you can answer some of the most critical topics when it comes to your newfound trading career.
What Is a Trading Platform?
A Trading Platform is a place where you execute orders in a marketplace. In order to place money into a market, you must be able to interface with that market. The most common example of this would be a brokerage account, where you open up an account to place money in.
Then eventually, you place an order, perhaps to buy stock in Apple, which gets facilitated through your brokerage account. They usually charge a small fee to execute that order through the stock exchange be it buy or sell orders.
Ultimately, think of it as a way to interface with various markets. Some brokerage accounts offer the ability to trade multiple markets, which would be extraordinarily difficult to do directly through the exchanges.
Why It Makes Sense to Have a Trading Platform
In short, comes down to money. You can become a member of certain exchanges, but it becomes extraordinarily expensive. For example, if you wanted to be a member of the CME, it cost several thousands of dollars.
Beyond that, what happens if you’re going to trade stocks as well? You need to then facilitate trading through the stock markets, which of course, is going to cost you also. By opening a brokerage account, you not only have the ability to trade and invest in multiple markets.
You get a certain amount of safety through the national or even international regulators with whom you deal with. In the end, it’s cheaper and much more convenient than trying to open up direct access to the markets. Brokerage accounts allow you to get a safe way to travel the world of finance.
By trying to open up markets on your own, you would be talking about thousands and thousands of dollars, and that’s before you even get started. Beyond that, you don’t have the same type of protection you have through a brokerage firm. Also, brokerage firms tend to offer extra such as education, news, and classes that are available. Today’s brokerage firms offer a multitude of extras with each account.
Which Trading Platform Should I Choose
Best Stock Trading Platforms for Investors
Investors want to use easy-to-understand stock trading apps to automate buy- and sell transactions, including portfolio rebalancing activities and investing small amounts in fractional shares for an optimized diversified portfolio. In addition, banking features and credit cards are often included to manage finance more easily from one app.
Stock Trading Platform for Day Traders
Is day trading from a mobile app a good idea? Most often, it is not. As a day trader, you need a high-speed internet connection, fast order routing capabilities and instant trade executions. Two trading apps serve day traders needs exceptionally well.
Trading Apps for Active Traders
Do you want to trade from your mobile with low account minimum requirements actively? Then the trading apps for active traders are a good choice. They build the bridge from traditional investing activities to day trading platforms by combining the best of both worlds.
What Type of Brokerage Accounts Are Available?
There are multiple types of brokerage accounts including cash, margin, and some subaccounts like Forex, CFD, or even all-inclusive accounts. With the cash account, you simply have the cash on hand to buy certain securities.
For example, if you have $10,000 in the cash account, you can buy $10,000 worth of stocks, bonds, or other financial securities depending on what is offered. With the margin account, the broker allows you to buy larger amounts than you have in the account.
So the same $10,000 account might be able to be levered up to give you something closer to $50,000 worth of buying power. Or perhaps even as high as several hundred thousand dollars in the Forex market. Margin varies from instrument class to instrument class, country to country, and broker to broker.
The problem with margin is that while it can help multiply your gains, it will also help multiply your losses. You simply put up a certain amount of margin to buy the position. An example might be that you wish to trade in the currency markets.
Your broker offers 1:100 leverage, meaning that if you want to trade $100,000 worth of currency, you need to put up $1000 worth of margin. Once the trade becomes $-1000, you then need to put up more margin. Typically, if you have more money in your account it will simply use that extra cash.
However, if you do not have the money in your account most brokers will liquidate you immediately. The alternative might be what they call a margin call, which was when brokers would call customers demanding that they deposit more money in the past.
However, this situation has become automated and you will become liquidated almost immediately under normal circumstances. In addition, there are Forex accounts, which allow you the ability to trade the foreign exchange markets, and CFD accounts which are “contract for difference” instruments available to trade and can be made to be almost anything.
There are CFD markets for stocks, commodities, currencies, bonds, cryptocurrencies, and just about anything that you can think of. You are not trading the underlying security, such as a share of AT&T, you are simply betting on the price going up or down.
There are all-inclusive brokerage accounts, such as Interactive Brokers, which allow you to trade in multiple assets. There are other brokerages out there that allow this as well, and your mileage may vary, so to speak.
With an all-inclusive brokerage account, you may have the ability to trade currencies, stocks in Germany, commodities in Japan, futures in Singapore, and so on. The all-inclusive brokerages tend to be cheaper, but they also tend to have a higher bar to entry, some with larger minimum deposits, although Interactive Brokers has recently dropped that.
What Are The Best Online Trading Platforms?
This is one of those questions that will have a unique answer for each person, but the simple answer to this question is probably “the cheapest one.” This is assuming that you know something about trading, or you are looking to place a longer-term trades and don’t have a need for a lot of bells and whistles.
If you are a more experienced trader, or as your experience grows, you may wish to trade multiple markets. In that sense, the all-inclusive type of brokerage firm tends to be one of the best. Execution costs are typically cheaper, but you will also usually pay for data from multiple exchanges, which can get expensive depending on how many markets you are talking about.
If you are looking to trade currencies only, then a Forex account is almost always going to be your best option because they specialize in that market, and therefore the execution is much cheaper, and of course, they tend to offer more in that realm.
If you are looking to trade options, then you may find certain options brokerages have better commission structures to suit your needs. In the end, it’s a unique situation for each person, but you must be aware of your trading costs.
What Type of Investments Can I Make?
Each brokerage firm will have a list of financial instruments you can trade, and it will, of course, be different. Ultimately, you need to figure out what you want to trade first and then start looking for the best price.
You will find that as long as the broker can execute your stock trade, currency trade, or whatever it is you’re trying to do, they all start to look the same in the long term. They either execute or they don’t.
As a general rule, the most common markets will be stock markets, options markets, futures markets, CFD markets, bonds, REITs, ETF markets, mutual funds, as well as some less known financial markets that would be considered to be “exotic”, such as currency swaps.
Decide what markets you wish to participate in, then start looking for brokers that offer those markets. After that list is compiled, then start looking for commission structure differences to maximize your profits.
The best trading platforms for investors provide access to all kind of financial markets, be it stocks and ETFs or mutual funds and leveraged products. A specialized trading account and trading tools can be beneficial if a specific trading style is demanded. For example, day traders prefer to have a high-end day trading platform with fast executions and not a retail online trading platform.
What Are the Limitations of a Brokerage Account?
Depending on where you live, there may be a certain amount of pattern day trading questions. If you are in the United States for example, you cannot become a day trader with less than $25,000 in a stock market account.
Other countries have various rules as well. Each brokerage firm will have its minimum deposit, some as low as $500, some even offering an account with no deposit, but at the end, that varies too widely to come up with a general rule.
As of late, most brokers have become very aggressive in trying to pick up retail clients, so barriers to entry are getting much lower. Again though, please look at the trading costs involved, because I cannot stress enough how much that can eat into your profit and how much it can cost you over the longer term.
Cost may not be the most important thing if you happen to be a “buy-and-hold trader” or a longer-term investor. However, if you are not, costs are the biggest barrier to profitability beyond your own trading decisions.
All brokers offer trading platforms to their clients. Those are either self-developed or 3rd-party tools. Before choosing a trading platform, it is crucial to analyze the costs involved. Even the best trading platforms are only of low value if the monthly costs are high, even if it is free to trade stocks with commission free trades.
How did we choose and rate the best stock trading apps?
We analyzed the usability, features, tradeable assets and fee structure of each stock trading app listed in this article. The three used categories make it easier to you to identify if the trading platform is suitable for investors, active traders and day traders.
How do I choose stock market apps?
First, define your investment approach, tradeable assets and your budget. Then look at the listed apps that suit you the best and finally download the app. The article explains the 5-step process in more detail.
Updated: November 13, 2022