Discount Brokerages: Investor Comments Requested

February 23rd, 2011
in contributors

by Steven Hansen

Econintersect has compiled a list of on-line brokerages which offer enough services at acceptable level to be considered for your on-line broker.

Econintersect encourages all readers to comment on their experiences with brokerages - and suggest additions or deletions.  This list will be maintained and revised from time to time.

Follow up:

What was interesting in the development of this list was that, depending on your specific circumstances and investing styles, any of these brokerages could be the best value.  Periodically a review of your investing costs and brokerages service needs might save money or provide more support for your investing style.

Econintersect's On-Line Discount Brokerages In Order of Stock Trade Costs

BrokerageWebsite Stated Costs for Internet Commissions
All stock trades $2.50, Options $2.50 plus $0.50 per contract.  $2.50 mutual funds fee.
All stock trades $3.95, Options $5 (5 contracts) , $1 per contract for every contract over five plus an additional $0.35 per contract on certain index products where the exchange charges fee.  Certain gifts on account opening. $9.95 mutual funds fee. Has check writing, but no real banking arm. - The best value in online trading Zecco $4.50 for all stock trades, $4.50 plus $0.50 per contract for all option trades.  10 free stock trades every month when you maintain a $25,000 balance or execute 25 stock trades each month.  HAS a FOREX trading platform.  $10 mutual fund commission.  No banking arm.
TradeKing $4.95 for all stock trades. $6.95 plus $0.75 per contract for all option trades.   $14.95 fee for mutual fund trades. Has banking with fees.
Get 250 Free Trades and more at Firstrade! $6.95 for all stock trades.  $4.95 plus $0.65 per   contract for all option trades.  Zero to $9.95 fee for mutual fund trades.  Has banking with fees.
Scottrade $7.00 for all stock and ETF trades.  $7.00 plus $1.25 per contract for all option trades.  $7.00 plus $1.25 per contract for all option trades.  From zero to $17.00 fee for mutual fund trades.  International investing in 20 countries at $7 per trade.  Has full service banking arm.

$7.50 for all online trades.  $0.50 per contract. $12.50 minimum.    $15.00 fee for mutual fund purchases. Free to sell.  No banking.
$7.95 for all stock trades.   $8.95 plus $0.75 per contract for all option trades.   $75 for online mutual fund trades. Some banking functions.
Charles Schwab
$8.95 for all stock trades.  $8.95 plus $0.75 per contract for all option trades.  Zero to $49.95 for online mutual fund trades.  International investing.  Full banking service.
$0.01 per share, $9.95 minimum for all stock  trades.   $1.25 per options contract. $12.95 minimum.  $9.95 fee for mutual fund trades. No banking services.
$9.95 for all stock trades. $1.25 per contract for all option trades. Zero to $19.95 fee for mutual fund trades. Full banking services.
$9.95 per transaction up to 1000 shares plus $0.01 per share over 1000 for all stock trades. $15.00 plus $1.25 per contract for all option trades.  Full banking services.
$9.99 for all stock trades.   $9.99 plus $0.75 per contract for all option trades.  Zero to $19.99 fee for mutual fund trades.  Complete Banking services.  Global Trading.  Futures trading.
$9.99 for all stock trades.  $9.99 plus $0.75 per contract for all option trades.  Zero to $49.99 fee for mutual fund trades.   Futures Trading.  Forex Trading.
$14.99 for the first 1000 shares + $0.01 per share for all  stock trades. $34 up under a complex pricing schedule for all option trades.  Zero to $35.00 fee for mutual fund trades.   Some banking functions.

Which is best - it depends on your style.  Smart Money in its most recent ranking showed:

  1. Fidelity
  2. E*Trade
  3. TD Ameritrade
  4. Charles Schwab
  5. TradeKing
  6. Scottrade
  7. Wallstreet-E
  8. Firstrade
  9. Just2Trade
  10. Muriel Siebert
  11. OptionsXpress
  12. Zecco

Barrons offered four different ways to view on-line brokers.  Note, Econintersect did not review on-line brokers who did not offer full service or did not meet a certain threshold in review ratings.

Unless an investor has gobs of money, there is a disadvantage in breaking your investing capital into multiple accounts - especially for options and margin players.  Most investors need to stay with one brokerage which will provide less-then-optimum support in some areas, and higher costs in others.  Depending on how many tools the individual investor needs from the brokerage - the selection of the brokerage itself may be cost or support driven.

There are costs and promotions not disclosed on the above list.

The Barrons or Smart Money rankings likely do not pertain to you.  Any of the above listed brokers on Econintersect's list may be best for your particular circumstance.  It is advantageous to review your brokerage against others from time to time to ensure it is optimum for your investing needs and budgets.

Disclosure: Author uses one of the above brokerages.     Econintersect has advertising and affiliate relationships with several brokerages on this list. 

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