Best Online Stock Brokers, February 2012

It’s not easy to find the best online stock broker with the many available choices out there.   For those invest in stocks, you want to find the least expensive option. The list below breaks down best of the best for online stock brokers with cheap discount stock trading, updated for February 2012.

Stock BrokerPer Trade CostReview
$3.95OptionsHouse Review
$4.00ShareBuilder Review
$4.95TradeKing Review
$6.95FIRSTRADE Review

$6.95TradeMonster Review
$7.99E*Trade Review
$9.95OptionsXpress Review

Best Online Discount Brokers, February 2012

Founded and owned by PEAK6 Investments, L.P., OptionsHouse is a broker dealer based in Chicago that offers a Web-based, near-professional trading platform specializing in trading options. It is currently running a FREE Dell 24? , 27?, 30? LCD Monitor Promotion with $5K, $100k, $250k funding, respectively. There is also an option to get 100 free commission trades in the first 60 days after you fund your account with a minimum of $3,000. More importantly, there is no maintenance fees, no minimum trade requirements, and trades are just $3.95 per trade. Highly ranked, the platform features a unique “trade center” design that allows traders to make trades quickly without changing screens. The interface screen is very clean and professional: the main screen consists of your account summary, quote look-up, order statuses, positions, and detailed information on particular securities. OptionsHouse Review


Sharebuilder, an online brokerage founded in 1996, is now offering a $50 bonus to join with offer code 50WSB4 valid through March 31, 2012. Part of ING Direct, Sharebuilder offers an online trading platform that is ideal for the novice investor; no minimum balance is required, and there are no maintenance or inactivity fees. They are best known for their investment strategies, including dollar cost averaging and free dividend reinvestment. These investment strategies area geared towards helping their clients make money and save money. Other services offered by Sharebuilder include free investment advice, retirement planning, access to research tools that have been extensively created, Fund Transfers, Taxes, Portfolio Builder, as well as trading in Margins, Stocks, Options, and ETF’s. ShareBuilder Review


With quite a few online brokerage to choose from these days, TradeKing is offering a nice incentive for traders to join: switch to TradeKing and get reimbursed up to $150 in transfer fees. In order to qualify for this offer, new accounts must be opened and funded with $2,500 or more within 30 days of account opening, and three trades must be executed within 180 days of account opening, for account to qualify. Note- this is open to US residents only. TradeKing Review


Firstrade, a discount online brokerage serving investors for over 25 years, is now offering 250 free trades when you open an account and funded with at least $2,000 within 30 days of account open date . In addition to online stock trading, they also offer options, mutual funds, ETFs, bonds and more. Firstrades’ $6.95 flat rate per trade for stocks and ETFs commission is priced competitively; however, there is 1/2 cent per share surcharge for stocks under $2 or orders of over 5,000. They have no IRA setup and maintenance fees, no volume requirements, and no inactivity or account maintenance fees. Firstrade is a member of FINRA & SIPC, so you are protected and can feel secure investing with them. Firstrade Review


tradeMONSTER is an online trading platform that offers competitive rates, the latest online trading technology, and a full suite of trading tools, and in order to prove it to you, they are offering $250 to cover your old broker’s account transfer fees. Owned by optionMONSTER, a financial media company that publishes financial market analysis and commentary, tradeMONSTER has been around since October 2008 and is considered one of the newer competitors in the discount broker world. Known for their streaming customizable trading interface, tradeMONSTER offers commissions that are comprehensive and with no hidden fees, help is available 24 hours a day in their learning center and best of all, they stream free real-time quotes. TradeMonster Review


E*TRADE is a top-notch, innovative online discount brokerage that has pioneered the industry with their superior tools for investing and related banking solutions, outstanding customer service, and ease of use for investors. They are now offering free trades for 60 days and up to $500 in cash credit for signing up. Around since 1992, it is arguably one of the top players by offering a full suite of easy-to-use online brokering services delivered at a competitive price of $9.99 per trade ($7.99 if you are an active trader). Promising to empower individuals to take control of their financial futures, E*TRADE provides the effective products, intuitive tools, and professional services needed to meet your investing goals: a strong network of customer service representatives, investment professionals, and investment advisors who are available over the phone and-in person at their 28 E*TRADE branches. E*Trade Review


Founded in 2000, optionsXpress is a pioneer in online stock, options and futures brokerage service to the self-directed investor. Today, over 394,000 investors use optionsXpress to trade stocks, options, bonds, futures, mutual funds and ETFs– all in one account, which is free to open and requires no minimum balance. Each stock, ETF, bond, mutual fund trade- up to 1,000 shares per trade- costs $9.95 while options trade are $12.95 up to 10 contracts per trade. At first glance, OptionsXpress doesn’t appear to be the cheapest, but upon closer inspection, it is obvious they justify their marginally higher price with their education, tools and the overall quality of their platform. As a current promotion valid from now until December 31, 2011, optionsXpress is offering new U.S. customers a $100 bonus when you open an account and fund it with at least $500. OptionsXpress Review

Disclaimer: These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


  1. Victor says

    Which broker would you recommend for beginners? Will have about $10k to play around with and will trade about once a month for now.


    • says

      Hey Victor,

      I think you should go with either TradeKing or Optionshouse since they both got great promotions going on right now. Either $100 bonus with TradeKing or Optionshouse 100 free trades or free Dell LCD. They both have low cost per trade and great user interface. Click on the reviews to learn more.

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