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 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 Now, this may have changed (I haven’t withdrawn any money in several years from them), but the last time I did it was time consuming.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 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?