My Favorite Discount Brokerages

There have been a lot of changes in the brokerage world since I last wrote about my favorite discount brokerages.  Most recently, Sharebuilder was acquired by Captial One.  As such, I thought it would be a good idea to share with you my two favorite brokerages, and why I like them, use them myself, and recommend them for others.

Both of these discount brokerages offer a variety of investing options, as well as robust trading features.  Here are my two favorites:

 

Scottrade

Favorite Brokerage ScottradeScottrade is my primary brokerage, and I’ve used them for at least 7 years.  I love Scottrade because they are simple and straight forward.  When I first opened an account, I found their interface very easy and intuitive to use.  Plus, their commissions are extremely straight forward: $7 per trade.  Nothing fancy or difficult.  I also really like Scottrade’s stock screener, as it offers a lot of different options to screen stocks with, which I find handy.

The only drawback has been the ability to withdraw money from the account.  I have a feeling they don’t like you to leave, so they make it hard to get your money.  To withdraw, you need to call them and they can send it to you.  Now, this may have changed (I haven’t withdrawn any money in several years from them), but the last time I did it was time consuming.

 

TD Ameritrade

ThinkorswimTD Ameritrade was never one of my original favorite discount brokerages, but they have grown on be due to their acquisition of Thinkorswim.  I’m a huge fan of the trading platform Thinkorswim, and if you’re looking to trade options, or want something more robust to trade with (that includes awesome stock charges and live feeds), Thinkorswim is for you.

I don’t use TD Ameritrade (or Thinkorswim) for stock trading, since their commissions are a little more at $9.99.  However, they are amazing at options trading, because, with Thinkorswim, they automatically place complex options trade (like butterflies or other multi-option trades) at once, and calculate your commission and break-even points for you.  They still charge $9.99 + $0.75 per contract, but the features you get for this extra $1 are priceless!

 

I use each of these brokers exclusively when trading in the stock market (except for my 401k, which is held by Hewitt Associates, and I can’t stand the options).  If you’re looking for a solid discount stock broker that offers a full range of services and products, check out these two companies.

Where do you invest?  Do you recommend them?

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  • http://www.frugalrules.com John S @ Frugal Rules

    I am not a fan of TD either. We use Scottrade and like the services they offer. I also recently opened an account with OptionsHouse. I like what I’ve seen so far. They’re light on a lot of stuff, but their prices are crazy low and I like that I can do some advanced options trading in my retirement account.

  • http://worksavelive.com Jason @ WSL

    I use Etrade simply because I started there and have never felt like moving. Furthermore, I only own mutual funds and don’t actively trade, so it’s not like I’m missing out on any features.

  • http://youthfulinvestor.com Scott @ Youthful Investor

    I have always held my discount brokerage account at Tradeking and have never had any problems. I really enjoy the interface and customer service has been absolutely incredible.

    I recently did a review on Just2Trade along with a corresponding interview with the CEO (a brokerage I had never heard of prior). I was surprised at the low commissions of $2.50 a trade but a bit turned off that they specifically state they only accept accounts from advanced to expert traders or investors. Not that I would consider myself a novice, far from it, but how would they keep tabs on that?

    • http://thecollegeinvestor.com Robert

      I wonder if they are looking for accredited investors only?

  • http://www.DollarVersity.com Eric J. Nisall – DollarVersity

    I have used both in the past, and have since moved on to E*Trade. The biggest things for me are the immediate availabilty of deposits for investing and the way the company handles dividend reinvestments. By simply checking a single box, all dividends are automatically reinvested without additional cost per trade, and any stock as far as I can tell is available to do so. I was with Ameritrade prior to the acquisition by TD Bank, and their method of reinvestment was unsatisfactory for me. I would have to first call in order to find out if it would even be possible to do so for a specific stock. In all honesty I can’t recall why I left Scottrade.

    • http://thecollegeinvestor.com Robert

      I’ve never had the reinvestment issue with either Scottrade or Thinkorswim. However, I usually don’t want to reinvest, so I haven’t been keeping an eye on it.

  • http://tightfistedmiser.com Andy Hough

    I’m with Zecco which will soon be Trade King. I haven’t been too impressed with Zecco but I’m staying with it since I think the Trade King platform will be better.