Online Brokers

Online Broker Current Promotions Equity Commission Rate Option Rate / Margin Interest Rate Interest on Uninvested Cash
ETRADE

Reviews (13)

$2,500 in cash with the deposit of $1,000,000 in new assets.   $3,500 in cash with the deposit of $2,000,000 in new assets.   Active traders with over $1,000,000 or $2,000,000 in cash should regularly ask for annual bonuses. 

$0 online or interactive voice response (plus $25 if broker assisted). Over-the-counter equity trades involve an additional $6.95 fee.  Significant additional extended hours charges apply. ETrade also charges its own ADR fees (above any fees charged by the ADR custodian) and charges a $38 reorganization fee.  Learn more about ETrade's fees here.  

Option Rate:
Standard trade commission rate + $.65/contract ($19.99 for exercise or assignment)
Margin Interest Rate:
8.95% on all balances under $10,000.   Larger balances have a slightly slower rate.   5.45% on balances of $1 million or more.

0.00% APY on all balances.

Review: | Feb 5, 2022

I was just reviewing my transactions data from 2021 as I prepare my taxes. The fees are enormous. They are out of this world. I guess this is how they make their money now that they aren't getting anything from trading and are owned by Morgan Stanley. I've been a customer for many years and will be switching now.

TD Ameritrade

Reviews (9)

TD Ameritrade is offered $2,500 or deposits of $2 million or more.   They previously offered $800 in Apple gift cards with the deposit of $300,000 in new assets.

$0 online ($5 for voice response and $25 if broker assisted). No additional extended hours charges.  TD Ameritrade charges an additional $6.95 for over-the-counter issues.   It also has been known to charge so-called "regulatory fees" associated with each transaction ranging from $5 to $15 for initiating a transaction.

Option Rate:
Standard trade commission rate + $0.65/contract ($19.99 for exercise or assignment)
Margin Interest Rate:
9.5% on balances under $10,000. (graduates to 7.50% on balances over $250,000)

0.00% APY on all balances.

Review: | Jul 22, 2021

Put an extra share of many in position into account. I did not buy it. I wrote that the share did not belong to me. No response. Tried to sell the entire position to which it was added and got fined $100 for broker error.

Fidelity

Reviews (6)

N/A.  Fidelity has offered airline miles on Delta, United and American to attract new customers in the past.

$o for online trade.  An additional fee of $25 is charged for broker assistance (depending on number of trades and household assets).  No additional fees are charged for extended hours trades.  It is possible to trade foreign equities if you can find a broker who knows how to do it, but rates will be as high as 3% (this is really a service for financial institutions that pay as low as $4.90). Fidelity, like Schwab, charges significant fees for buying mutual funds, except the ones that they themselves offer which have high carrying charges

Option Rate:
Standard trade commission rate + $0.65 per contract. (Exercise or assignment charged at standard brokerage commission)
Margin Interest Rate:
8.325% under $25,000.  Rate is lower for larger balances.   4.00% over $1 MM.

0

Review: | Mar 7, 2017

Pros: lots of research, somewhat low commissions, some physical locations near major cities with nice reps. Cons: Promised me in writing twice that funding bonuses would be provided to me specifically yet were never granted after showing proof of promises. Approved for international trading online, to avoid costs of telephone trades, tried it and was required to telephone. Don't like being lied to very much.

Charles Schwab

Reviews (9)

No promotions.

$0 for online equity trades. An additional $5 for interactive voice response and $25 if broker assisted. Schwab charges significant fees for trades in mutual funds (except Schwab's own funds that may carry significant management fees), including online ETFs.  This is where they get most of their customers into their own products or charge them huge commissions.  

Option Rate:
Standard trade commission rate plus $0.65/contract. Standard trade commission rate applies to execution and assignment.
Margin Interest Rate:
8.325% for balances under $25,000.   Graduates slightly lower for larger balances.

Balances can be swept to a money market fund earning 0.01%.

Review: | Apr 12, 2022

good for beginners like me, and a good bank too. one drawback to the bank is that you cannot just walk in. you need to have an appointment due to covid.

Ally Invest

Reviews (9)

$3,000 for deposits of $2 MM or more.

$0 for US listed equity and no-load mutual fund transactions.

Option Rate:
$0.50/contract.
Margin Interest Rate:
9% on balances below $25,000.   Rate for larger margin balances declines.   6% on all balances over $1 MM.   Learn more here.

0.  However, you may move up to $250,000 instantly from on Ally Bank account to Ally Invest each day.

Review: | Jun 22, 2021

Just fine experiences with the trading side. Actually paid bonuses etc. as promised without having to be threatened with FINRA.

Interactive Brokers

Reviews (6)

Never a promotion.   Interactive Brokers is differentiated in that it is the only recognized US-based online broker that allows access to foreign currencies and foreign equity markets.   Due to this feature and lower margin rates, they never offer promotions. 

Equity commissions for everything other than IBKR Lite work according to a tiered structure but are never more than 1% for US listed equities.

Equity commissions on non-US listed issues may actually by higher (such as for Norwegian listed stocks).

Interactive Brokers complete commission structure on equities is listed here.

Option Rate:

Pricing is a tiered structure according to trades per month.   More active traders will pay as little as $0.25 per US contract, but others will pay $0.50 or $0.65.

Margin Interest Rate:

Interactive Brokers charges the benchmark rate plus 1.50% on margin under $100,000.

It charges the benchmark rate plus 1% on margin between $100,000 and $1 MM.

It charges the benchmark rate plus 0.5% on margin above $1 MM.

Margin rates in IBKR Lite are much higher.

Learn more here.

 

 

0.   In fact, Interactive Brokers is now charging to hold cash in currencies where the interest rate is below the US benchmark rate (basically every currency).

Review: | Jun 6, 2022

quietly suck small fees with no notice and no way to know why are your accounts are being depleted.

Merrill Edge

Reviews (1)

Receive up to $600 with a qualifying account over $200,000.

$0 equity trades, plus $29.95 if broker assisted.

Option Rate:

0.65%

Margin Interest Rate:

8.625% for margin less than $25,000.   7.50% for margin over $25,000.

0

Review: | Mar 28, 2022

Best when linked to BankofAmerica checking account. Pays asset gathering bonus, once, with investor reminders, easily. Beyond that I had to threaten with FINRA to get additional bonuses promised to me by name from its solicitations with delays of almost one year. Executions are usually at better prices than anyone else can get, a few cents better per share.

JP Morgan Online Trading

Reviews (2)

No promotions.

$0.   $25 for broker-assisted trades.   $20 for mutual funds. Foreign stocks and OTC stocks cannot be accessed.

Option Rate:

$0.65 per option contract.

Margin Interest Rate:

Not clear if margin lending is even available through the online product.

$0, but can be connected to your other accounts at Chase.

Review: | Dec 4, 2021

Chase is actually doing a better job with this and advertising all over the place. I've found execution to be quite good. The real drawback is that you cannot trade after hours so if you are going to invest in a stock that is prone to really bounce around, you probably want to do that in another account. But, I have found that this definitely makes sense for a small account with $150,000 in solid equities (Ford, Pfizer, ConEd-type issues) that I will not be selling for years. As the earlier comment mentions, that gets Private Client status. Private Client status with Chase might some value (free ATMs worldwide is the only value I see). Not yet ready to put more in here or transfer assets from other accounts.

Robinhood

Reviews (1)

No promotions, unless you are younger than 12.

$0.

Option Rate:

Not fully disclosed (at this point you should be wondering whether you want to be trading with these folks).

Margin Interest Rate:

This is also not fully disclosed in their literature, although they will also sell you crypto and gold at very high margin.   Seriously, find a broker that also works with adults and doesn't recklessly go out to cause children to kill themselves.

0.30%

Review: | Nov 19, 2021

I don't get the Robinhood thing. I am in my 60s and know lots of young people who trade actively. My young employees trade too actively. But, they aren't stupid shits, and they certainly aren't trading through these phonies. I shorted at 60 about 3 days after the IPO when I saw Jon Najarian hyping it. It is at 30 so we are part of the way there. As we get there, those using it will experience frustration in the first best case. Choose something else (just about anything else) from this list.

Interactive Brokers is Pathetic, but Americans Have No Choice

Interactive Brokers provides an awful level of service.   Their service is constantly failing – it goes down all the time these days locking traders out of access to their positions and costing them serious losses.   And, users of the web interface find that it sometimes logs them on and sometimes does not.   Apps are cumbersome and not designed around the Mac.  Phone representatives are helpful, but can only be reached by those who have balances large enough to be given a direct number.   Others will find themselves waiting on hold for hours.

The trading fees, as well, are completely out of line with ETrade or TDAmeritrade.  While they do offer a free product to compete with Robinhood (from which they also sell order flow), it is an entirely no frills product that will not work for most.

In fact, just about everything is frustrating compared to ETrade or TDAmeritrade.

However, there are a few undeniable realities:

First, the US market is seriously overvalued relative to European and Asian markets.  Americans should think about accessing these markets.   Americans should also think about holding currency outside of US dollars and crypto, such as the Euro, the British pound or the Japanese yen.

Second, we are now fully involved in a climate catastrophe.   US companies that are addressing this catastrophe and stand to benefit are few and far between (Tesla, GE, Ford?).  European companies are the ones building innovative solutions here.  The smaller European renewable companies are not listed at all in the US, and the larger ones (such as Orsted or Vestas) can be traded in the US only through unsponsored ADRs.  While Interactive Brokers doesn’t have full access to all markets, it does enable access to the largest markets where all of these companies trade.

It is quite extraordinary that Interactive Brokers in the only online brokerage that will enable Americans to easily trade on foreign markets and to hold foreign currencies.  It is equally extraordinary that they provide such a terrible level of service.  But, I think we are stuck.