The Top 6 Best Stock Brokers Review [In-Depth Analysis]

We have done the research so that you don’t have to.  This is an incredibly detailed review & analysis of the Best U.S. Stock Brokers.

Compare Firstrade vs Interactive Brokers vs SpeedTrader vs LightSpeed vs TC2000 Brokerage vs Ally Invest.

We have it all covered from the lowest commissions to the best trading platform, retirement planning and which broker is best for Day Trader or Investors.

Select your Broker Based on Simple Preference:

The Lowest Trading Commissions
The Biggest Selection of Commission-Free ETF’s
Best Selection of Stocks, Options, ETF’s, Mutual Funds, Futures, Forex & Bonds
Best Trading Platform for Stocks & Options
The Brokers Best for Day Traders
Best Brokers for Investing & Retirement Planning

Select Your Broker on Investing Style:

A Mid to Long-Term Investor seeking very low commissions on stocks and options & an industry leading 700 Commission-Free ETF’s. Full MorningStar Research access and 5-star customer satisfaction

An investor buying Stocks, Options & ETF’s directly from Charts using an Award-Winning Trading Platform with low commissions & incredibly low margin rates.

An Investor seeking low commissions, good execution on stocks, options, ETF’s, Futures, Bonds, Semi-Automated Portfolio Management & Banking & Credit Services with great customer satisfaction

A Day Trader wanting Direct Market Access & Lightning Execution for very low-cost Stock & Options trading.

An Active Investor / Day Trader, seeking the absolute lowest trading costs, direct market access for fast execution and best in class margin costs.

An Active Day Trader seeking fast execution & very low commissions for higher volumes. Seeking a broker with very good customer satisfaction score and a good suite of tools.

The Best Brokers for Lowest Stock & Options Commissions

  • Interactive Brokers – $1.00 Stock Trades, $1.00 Option Traders, Lowest Cost of Leverage
  • Firstrade – $2.95 Stock Trader, $2.95 + $0.60 per options contract
  • Lightspeed – $4.50 per Trade or $0.0045 per share, $0.60 per contract
  • SpeedTrader – $4.49 per Trader or $0.0044 per share, $2.95 + $0.40 per options contract
  • TC2000 Brokerage – $4.95 per stock trade, $2.95 + $0.50 per options contract
  • Ally Invest – $4.95 per stock trader, $4.95 + $0.50 per contract

The Brokers with the Best Selection of Commission-Free ETF’s

  • Interactive Brokers – 28+ Commission-Free ETF’s
  • Firstrade – 700+ Commission-Free ETF’s

The Brokers with the Best Selection of Stocks, Options, ETF’s, Mutual Funds, Futures, Forex & Bonds

  • Interactive Brokers – Stocks, Options, ETF’s, Mutual Funds, Futures, Forex & Bonds – Global Markets
  • Ally Invest – Stocks, Options, ETF’s, Mutual Funds, Futures, Forex & Bonds
  • Firstrade – Stocks, Options, ETF’s, Mutual Funds, Bonds
  • Lightspeed – Stocks, Options, ETF’s, Mutual Funds, Futures
  • TC2000 Brokerage – Stocks, Options, ETF’s – U.S. Markets
  • SpeedTrader – Stocks, Options

The Brokers with the Best Trading Platform for Stocks & Options

  • TC2000 Brokerage – Using TC2000 – Real-time Scanning, Trading off Charts
  • Interactive Brokers – Web Trader + Trader Workstation + 20 other products Free
  • Firstrade – Firstrade Navigator, Options Wizards & Real-time Watchlists
  • SpeedTrader – DAS Trader Active Web & PRO – $104 per month
  • Lightspeed – Great selection of Free & Paid Products
  • Ally Invest – Banking, Trading, Loans all in one place

The Brokers Best for Day Traders

  • SpeedTrader – DAS Trader  + Direct Market Access + per share commissions
  • Interactive Brokers – Lowest Commissions, TWS Trader, Algo Trader DMA
  • Lightspeed – Lightning Execution, Low Commissions for High Volume Traders
  • SureTrader – Best for Day Trading for non U.S. Residents

The Brokers Best for Investors & Retirement Planning

  • Firstrade – Retirement & Long-Term Investing Tools & Commission-Free ETF’s
  • Ally Invest – Self Directed & Guided Trading, Banking and Loans All-in-One
  • Interactive Brokers – IRA & Retirements Planning Tools
  • TD Ameritrade – Full Suite of Retirement Planning Tools – Commissions High
  • Fidelity – Great selection of Tools & Advisory Brokers but High Commissions

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Review - Winner

Firstrade Stock Broker Review

Firstrade: Recommended for Mid to Long Term Investors seeking super low commissions on stocks and options & an industry leading 700 commission Free ETF’s. Full MorningStar access and 5-star customer satisfaction mean Firstrade is a good choice.

Like Dislike
★ Very Low Commissions
★ 700+ Commission-Free ETF’s
★ Free MorningStar Research
★ Excellent Customer Satisfaction
✘ High Margin Rates

There is a lot to love about Firstrade.

Firstly they have very low commissions, one of only three brokers that have pushed their commissions per stock trade to below $3.-.  Their Options trades are also excellent and only $2.95 + $0.50 per contract.

What really stands out though is the unique offering of over 700 commission free Exchange Traded Funds (ETF’S) on offer.  That is over twice as many as the next best competitor TD Ameritrade.

You also get completely cost-free access to the suite of Morning Star research, only 3 other brokers offer free research of this quality.

The Firstrade Trading Platforms Firstrade Navigator, Options Wizards and Real-time Watchlists hold up well against the competition.

And finally a 5-Star Customer Satisfaction Rating rounds of the package, for an excellent Brokerage for mid to long-term investors.

p.s. did we mention the 700+ commission-free ETF’s!

Round 1 – Trades & Commissions – Winner

Firstrade is also very competitive in the commissions’ area with a $2.95 flat fee per trade and $2.95 + $0.50 per options contract.

But what really separates Firstrade from the pack is the 700+ commission-free Exchange Traded Funds on offer.  This is a huge selection, more than the total for all the other brokers reviewed in our Top 10 Brokers Review.

For those remaining ETF’s that not already commission free, you will pay between $2.50 and $4.50 which is extremely low also.

You can purchase Mutual Funds for $9.95 and Bond purchases are on a Net Yield Basis.

The only thing you cannot trade with Firstrade is Forex.

Finally, the Margin Commissions Percents are a higher than with Interactive Brokers or Worden2000 Brokerage.  If you are not buying on margin this is not a problem.

Round 2 – Trading Platform – Highly Recommended

Firstrade Stock Broker Review

Stock Broker Trading PlatformsFirstrade has completely rebuilt their trading platform from scratch, and the improvement is dramatic.  Gone are clunky java programs, replaced by a fast HTML 5.0 platform.  This platform is future proofed and highly scalable.  The user experience is clean, intuitive and easy to learn.

Also, what we like is its price – Free

The trading platform has a number of components.  The web-based platform is available for all clients and if you have an account balance over $10,000 you will have complimentary access to Firstrade Navigator a downloadable more powerful trading experience.

Web Trading Platform – Heatmap & Sector & Industries Tool

firstrade-heatmap
FirsTrade – HeatMap

To be able to find a potential opportunity to trade, you can start with the big picture view of the market and drill down from there.  The heatmap is designed for short-term traders who need to see where the price action and volatility is on any given day.

Alternatively, you can utilize the sectors and industries tool to evaluate past performance and select a sector to review in more depth.

Web Trading Platform – Advanced Screener, Fundamental Data & Event Calendar

No product set would be complete without the ability to scan and screen for stocks based on the fundamental data.  Firstrade attempt at this is pretty good.  It does not match the offerings from TradingView or TC2000, but it is adequate for most investors.

A new event calendar is also available, which is neatly broken into tabs for Earnings Announcements, Dividends, Ratings Changes, Economic Indicators, IPOs & Splits.

Web Trading – OptionsPlay

Firstrade put a lot of effort into the Options Trading Platform OptionsPlay.  A first-class platform which focuses first on what kind of options strategy you want to implement.  You can drill down through industries and sectors and you instantly get a technical analysis for the stock, the bullish or bearish score.  You can even sort your watchlist based on the bullish or bearish score.

Firstrade Optionsplay Ratings
Firstrade Optionsplay Ratings

The image to the right shows the OptionsPlay Bullish and Bearish Ratings based on three scenarios based on if you are feeling bullish or bearish about the stock or index.

  • Strategy 1 – Selling 100 Shares of the stock – A Bearish Strategy – Cost would be $6764 – with a mediocre score of 96 for the trade
  • Strategy 2 – Buy the June 9th Put Options – Bearish – Cost $185 – Low probability Rating of 74
  • Strategy 3 – Buy June 9th Put Vertical – Bearish – Cost $147 – High Probability Rating of 104

I really like the implementation here, simple and implementable.

Firstrade OptionsPlay Trading Platform Walk-through

See how the whole OptionsPlay functionality works in the image below to get an overview of the functionality.

Firstrade Optionsplay Dashboard
Firstrade Optionsplay Dashboard Walkthrough
  1. Immediate feedback into the 1 month and 6-month trend for the stock.
  2. This particular fund is has a rating of 88 for a bullish strategy, but only a 35 rating for a bullish options strategy.  The beauty of this is you can compare where you should buy the stock or utilize an options strategy.
  3. The ability to then sort your list on the strongest score is excellent functionality
  4. Finally, the Profit & Loss simulator is really good as it enables you to try to predict what your profits would be depending on how much you invest in the strategy.

Watch the “How to Trade Options Like A PRO” Video from Firstrade

See OptionsPlay in action in this detailed video

Desktop Trading Platform – Firstrade Navigator

Firstrade Navigator is a very nicely designed and relatively powerful system.

It is very customizable and also has a selection of widgets that you can embed into the dashboard.  Studies and indicators are included.

Firstrade Stock Broker Review - Firstrade Navigator
The Clean & Intuitive Design of Firstrade Navigator

This is relatively newly developed and I expect more and more functionality to be released in the near term.

Round 3 Winner – Customer Support

Firstrade Stock Broker ReviewBrokers Customer Service Review

Firstrade does very well in this round.  They provide a full email, chat and telephone coverage and are quick to answer.  They have also had zero negative tweets or negative TrustPilot reviews in the last 12 months.  Additionally, customers rave about the service which is unusual, this means a 5-star customer satisfaction rating.

What I also like is they throw into the mix free access to Zacks Research, Morningstar Research & Ratings, Breifing.com & Benzinga (although not the real-time Benzinga PRO version).  These third-party services are quite valuable and considering Firstrade offer very low commissions they also add value through these services.

Round 4 – Brokerage Regulation & Account MinimumStock Brokers Financial Regulations

Is the company well established, well funded and well regulated?  This is the main object of this round of comparisons.

Any U.S. based Broker should be a member of the following institutions.

Financial Industry Regulation Authority (FINRA) Membership.

FINRA is a nonprofit organization established to protect investors and ensure that the members are complying with the law and the Securities and Exchange commision rules.  They audit all members regularly.

Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) Membership.

The SIPC is there to protect and hopefully recover any money lost if a Brokerage firm fails.  Although Broker failure is rare, it can happen and SIPC membership ensures that your account is protected up to $500,000.

Firstrade has all the protection required in the U.S.A, they are fully registered in the FINRA Database and have SIPC insurance.

Open an Account with Firstrade

Firstrade Discount Broker Review USA – Master Data Sheet

BrokerageFirstrade Stock Broker Review
ResultReview Winner
Great for:Mid to Long Term Investors
Likes★ Very Low Commissions
★ 700+ Commission Free ETF's
★ Free MorningStar Research
★Excellent Customer Satisfaction
Dislike✘ High Margin Rates
Trades & Commissions
Direct Market Access DMA
Stock Trading
Stock Trading Fees$2.95
Per Share Trading Fees
Stock Trading Fees (Max)
Options
Options Trading Fees$2.95 + $0.50 per contract
Leverage Available
ETF Trades
Exchange Traded Funds (ETF)$2.50 to $4.50
Number of Commission Free ETF's700
Futures
Mutual Funds$9.95
Bond Purchase
BondsNet Yield
Forex Trading
Foreign Exchange (fx) Commission $ per 1,000
Margin Account Interest Charges4.75% to 9.%
Margin Costs Rating★★★
Trades & Commissions Score★★★★★
Trading Platform
Software ProviderFirstTrade
Trading Platform CostFree
Web Software
Desktop SoftwareFirsTrade Navigator
Options Wizard
Real-Time Watchlist
Mobile Software
LII Quotes
Indicators / Studies
Streaming Charts
Watchlists
Profit / Loss Graphs
Probability Calculators
Options Chains
Trading Platform Score★★★★
Customer Support & Research
Customer Support (Phone & Live Chat)
Customer Satisfaction Score*★★★★★
Research & Trade Ideas✔ MorningStar Free
News
Customer Support & Research Score★★★★★
Account & Company Details
Available for U.S. Citizens
Account Minimum$0
FINRA Member
SIPC Insurance - Assets
Regulated BySEC

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Review - Winner

TC2000 Brokerage - Award Winning Analysis Software

TC2000 Brokerage: Recommended for Investors buying Stocks, Options & ETF’s directly from Charts using award-winning TC2000.   Also, take advantage of incredibly low margin rates.

Like Dislike
★ Excellent Trading Platform
★ Low Commissions
★ Very Low Margin Rates
★ Excellent Customer Satisfaction
✘ Lack of News & Research
✘ No Futures, Forex

TC2000 Brokerage is a relatively new offering from Worden Brothers Inc.  This is a well-established company offering one of the best Stock Market Analysis Software Packages around.  The logical step for Worden Brothers was to expand into the Brokerage side of the business.

And boy they did a good job.  They offer Stock Trade commissions at $4.95, $2.- less than TD Ameritrade and Merrill Lynch and their options trade fare even better at $2.95 + $0.65 per contract.

They surprisingly lead the pack in Margin Interest Rates.  When you buy a stock with margin, it enables you to leverage that stock with borrowed money.  This is traditionally where brokerage firms make a lot of profit, through this lending.

However, TC2000 Brokerage does not take advantage of the client in this area and simply offers very low-interest rates of 3% to 4.2% on the margin loans.

The icing on the cake though is that you get to trade directly off the charts with TC2000.  TC2000 enables real-time fundamental and technical screening of the entire stock markets, including ETF’s and enables you to easily create indicators from market conditions.  Not only that the options trading in TC2000 is arguably the best in the industry.

TC2000 brokerage only offers trading in Stocks, Options and ETF’s, but is this is all you need then this is a first class operation that should meet your needs.

Open an Account with TC2000 Brokerage

 

Round 1 – Commissions & Trades – Highly Recommended

TC2000 Brokerage - Award Winning Analysis Software

If you only want to trade stocks, options and ETF’s and would like to utilize leverage to increase

Stock Brokerage Commissions

your buying power the TC2000 Brokerage could be ideal for you as they offer an incredibly low 3% to 4.2% margin costs.  These rates are available to those with smaller balances also.

Stock Trades are a flat fee of $4.95 and the Options Contracts are $2.95 + $0.65 which is at the median point across all brokers, so not the lowest but far from the highest also.

Lastly, ETF trades are $4.49.  There are no commissions free ETF’s available.  Outside Stocks, Options or ETF’s there is nothing else to trade.  If you are looking for a full-service broker offering everything including Bonds, Forex or Commodity Futures then it may be worth looking at Firstrade or others in our Top 10 Broker Review

Round 2 – Stock Trading Platform Winner

How do you find the stocks that are in-play, have high volatility and are in a strong trend?  This is the job of the trading platform.

TC2000 Brokerage - Award Winning Analysis Software

As you may have noticed in our Review of the Best Stock Market Analysis Software, TC2000 was one of the clear winners.

Worden TC2000 Review

Worden Brothers continue their winning ways, with very competitive pricing starting at only $10 per month for the Silver package.  I would recommend Gold to start with as you get a more powerful alerts engine and unlock the huge power of the Technical & Fundamental Scanning and Filtering that TC2000 is famous for.

TC2000 is aimed squarely at those trading Stocks, ETF’s, Mutual Funds and Options only, specifically on the U.S.A and Canadian Markets.

The software is first class, runs on PC, Mac and Tablets SmartPhones, and requires Zero complex configuration.

Support is excellent both on the forums or via the phone where you get to speak immediately with skilled personnel in the U.S.

If you trade U.S. Stocks, ETF’s or Mutual Funds, then this is a great solution.  Worden also provides regular live training seminars which are of a very high quality and also tour the U.S.A with free live training seminars for subscribers.

Worden Brothers make a clean sweep when it comes to trade management, with full Broker Integration (as long as you choose them as your broker).

Trading Menus on Chart
Trading Menus on Chart

TC2000 also offers fantastic Options trading and integration, you can scan and filter on hundreds of Options strategies and then execute and follow them directly from the charts.

Good Profit & Loss tracking & Analysis round off the package.

Industry Leading Options Trading Visualizations & Live Trading

Options Strategies

Use the Strategies button in the lower left of a chart to open option strategy tickets directly on the chart. The menu divides strategies into bullish, bearish and volatility categories. Strategies include single-leg, multi-leg, and combinations of underlying stock.

Multi-leg strategies open as a single trading ticket on the chart.

How to Use Option Charts & Chains with TC2000 Brokerage – Video


Fundamental Scanning and Screening

EasyScan Dashboards
EasyScanFundamental & Technical Screener Dashboards

Make no mistake about it, if you want fundamentals stock screeners in real-time layered with technical screens all integrated into live watch lists connected to your charts Telechart is a power player.

I selected TC2000 as my tool of choice back in the year 2000 because it offered back then, simply the best implementation of fundamental scanning, filtering and sorting available on the market.  17 years later, they are still a leader in this section.

They offer a huge selection of fundamentals to choose from, but what makes it unique is the fact you can, with a few clicks, create your own indicators based on the fundamentals.

You can then overlay the indicators directly on the charts, which opens up a whole new world and technical and fundamental analysis.  10 out of 10 for TC2000 again.

Read the Full TC2000 Trading Platform Review

Round 3 Customer Satisfaction Winner

TC2000 Brokerage - Award Winning Analysis Software

TC2000 has an avid following, I know I am a member of the forum and long-term member.

Brokers Customer Service Review

They receive a 5-star rating for customer satisfaction.

The support covers chat, phone, and email and I have been in contact with the support desk and they are skilled and effective operators who resolve issues immediately.

The only area in which they do not excel is in the research and news services included.  You can pay an extra $8 per month to get integrated MT Newswire, but the selection does not compare to the offering from Firstrade or Interactive Brokers.

Round 4 – Brokerage Regulation & Account Minimum

Is the company well established, well funded and well regulated?  This is the main object of this round of comparisons.

Stock Brokers Financial Regulations

Any U.S. based Broker should be a member of the following institutions.

Financial Industry Regulation Authority (FINRA) Membership.

FINRA is a nonprofit organization established to protect investors and ensure that the members are complying with the law and the Securities and Exchange commision rules.  They audit all members regularly.

Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) Membership.

The SIPC is there to protect and hopefully recover any money lost if a Brokerage firm fails.  Although Broker failure is rare, it can happen and SIPC membership ensures that your account is protected up to $500,000.

TC2000 has all the protection required in the U.S.A, they are fully registered in the FINRA Database and have SIPC insurance.

Open an Account with TC2000 Brokerage

Online Discount Stock Broker Comparison Master Table (Searchable)

Here you can find the table containing all the data in one place.  Use the search box to filter on a particular item you are looking to compare.  For example type “forex” or “margin” and you will get only the relevant rows to compare.

BrokerageTC2000 Brokerage - Award Winning Analysis Software
ResultReview Winner
Great for:Investors buying Stocks, & Options directly from Charts
Likes★ Excellent Trading Platform
★ Low Commissions
★ Very Low Margin Rates
★ Excellent Customer Satisfaction
Dislike✘ Lack of News & Research
✘ No Futures, Forex
Trades & Commissions
Direct Market Access DMA
Stock Trading
Stock Trading Fees$4.95
Per Share Trading Fees$0
Stock Trading Fees (Max)
Options
Options Trading Fees$2.95 + $0.65 per contract
Leverage Available
ETF Trades
Exchange Traded Funds (ETF)$4.49
Number of Commission Free ETF's
Futures
Mutual Funds
Bond Purchase
Bonds
Forex Trading
Foreign Exchange (fx) Commission $ per 1,000
Margin Account Interest Charges3% to 4.2%
Margin Costs Rating★★★★★
Trades & Commissions Score★★★★
Trading Platform
Software ProviderWorden Brothers
Trading Platform CostAdditional Cost
Web SoftwareTC2000
IB TWS
Desktop SoftwareTC2000 $9.95 per month
Mobile SoftwareTC2000
LII Quotes
Indicators / Studies
Streaming Charts
Watchlists
Profit / Loss Graphs
Probability Calculators
Options Chains
Trading Platform Score★★★★★
Customer Support & Research
Customer Support (Phone & Live Chat)
Customer Satisfaction Score*★★★★★
Research & Trade Ideas✔Extra cost
News✔Extra cost MT Newswire
Customer Support & Research Score★★★★
Account & Company Details
Available for U.S. Citizens
Account Minimum$2,500
FINRA Member
SIPC Insurance - Assets
Regulated BySEC

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Review - Winner
Interactive Brokers IB Review

Interactive Brokers: Ideal for Active Investors and Day Traders, seeking the absolute lowest trading costs, direct market access for fast execution and best in class margin costs.

Add to that a huge selection of bundled Market Research Reports & News Services and you have a very compelling offering. 

Interactive Brokers (IB) is the grandfather of online discount brokers.  Not only are they a long established company, they are also big in terms of market capitalization and financial stability.

Like Dislike
★ Industry Leading Low Commissions
★ Great Trading Platform
★ Direct Market Access
★ All Markets & Vehicles
★ Lowest Margin Rates
✘ Less than perfect Customer Satisfaction

IB has a very complete set of services, enabling your to trade practically anything on any market.

This includes Stocks, Options, ETF’s, Mutual Funds, Bonds, Foreign Exchange and even futures and commodities, they also claim any market anytime.

Usually, when a company is well established and large, it loses its competitive edge.  Not so with Interactive Brokers.

The industries lowest commissions on Stock Trades at $1,- and great commissions on Options demonstrate competitiveness.  They also have the lowest margin interest rate in the review, in fact probably in the industry.

When it comes to the trading platform there is no additional costs, Web Trader, and TWS are all free.

Interactive Brokers caters to the more professional investor, or at least those with a minimum account balance of $10,000.  Also, you will need to have a balance of $100,000 to be able to trade Forex.

Another huge bonus is that IB manages to throw into the package Zacks and Morning Star research for free, including real-time news.

IB manages to span the divide between Day Traders and Long-Term investors and that is not easy.  If you plan to span those worlds also IB is a natural choice.

Round 1 – Stock Brokers Commissions ComparisonStock Brokerage Commissions

Commissions are not the be all and end all, but low commissions do help to reduce slippage especially if you are an active investor or trader.

Some Brokers offer a flat fee regardless of how many shares are traded.  Some offer an optional “per share” commission structure, which can be beneficial for smaller traders.

Round 1 – Trading & Commissions – Winner

Interactive Brokers IB Review
When it comes to the lowest trading costs then Interactive Brokers comes out on top.  With a stock trading fee of $1 and even a per share trading fee of $0.005 you have flexibility and low slippage.

The options fee of $1,- is also best in class for this review.

Interactive Brokers does offer commission-free ETF’s but only 28 of them.  However, the commissions are all other ETF’s are so low it may not matter, as they charge only $1,- per trade.

Futures and Mutual Funds are also the lowest in the test at $0.85 and $1.- respectively.

The margin account interest rates are also the very best at only 2.2% to 3%.  This clearly makes IB the leader for commissions.

The icing on the cake is that with IB you will also get pain on your account cash balance up to 1.4%.  Most other Brokers offer 0% and maximum 0.25%.  So if you maintain a large cash holding Interactive Brokers makes a lot of sense.

Open an Account with Interactive Brokers

Round 2- Stock Brokerage – Trading Platform ComparisonStock Broker Trading Platforms

How do you find the stocks that are in-play, have high volatility and are in a strong trend?  This is the job of the trading platform.

You need your trading platform to be fast, intuitive and powerful.  In this section, we rate the brokers on their choice of trading platform.

Round 2 – Trading Platform Winner

Interactive Brokers IB Review

Interactive Brokers has a truly outstanding trading platform based on Trader Workstation (TWS).  It is free to download and use as a client

Interactive Brokers Trader Workstation TWS
Interactive Brokers Trader Workstation TWS

and it is the single place to be able to trade any and every one of the vehicles on offer from IB.  It caters to everything Stocks, Options, Futures, Forex, Bonds, Mutual Funds & ETF’s.

Not only that there are a huge number of add-on advanced tools that plug into TWS such as:

  • ChartTrader – for trading directly from charts
  • Continuous Futures – for commodity futures scanning and analysis
  • DepthTrader – for deep analysis of market liquidity
  • OptionTrader – deeper Options Analysis with specific Options strategies
  • ProbabilityLab – to test the Probability Distribution of a particular trade

In total there are 27 different advanced trading tools to suit every possible approach to the market.

Overview Video of Interactive Brokers – Trader Workstation (7 mins)

Round 3 – Stock Brokers – Customer Support & Research ComparisonBrokers Customer Service Review

In this round we compare:

  • Customer Support – we want to see all 3 options of Email, Messaging, and Phone
  • Customer Satisfaction Score – how many complaints or bad reviews within the last year on Twitter or TrustPilot (jump to methodology)
  • Research & Ideas – what services are provided free of charge to help you research a particular stock or sector.  Stand-alone research services can be costly, so free with an account is a big bonus.
  • News – Is a real-time news service available for free or an additionally paid upgrade

The table is results are sorted in order of:

  1. Customer Satisfaction Rating: ★★★★★ People actively praising the broker & Zero Negative Reviews. ★★★★ 4 is Zero Negative Reviews
  2. Research & Trade Ideas: Quality of the integrated and Zero Cost Research Sources

Round 3 Customer Support & Research Winner

Interactive Brokers IB Review

Interactive Brokers offers by far the best free services in the area of research.  Here is a snapshot of some of the services you will get for free.

  • IB Market Signals
  • IB Traders Insight
  • Morningstar equity ownership
  • Thomson Reuters (in 10 languages), stock reports, news, fundamentals
  • Zacks Investment Research
  • Real-time News Streaming

In terms of customer service, they offer the full package of telephone, chat & email contact so no issues there.

We could not find any evidence of negative tweets or reviews so IB has a very good customer satisfaction score, particularly since they have by far the largest twitter following of 233,000 people.

The only reason they are lower on the list of winners is that they do not have a history of people raving about there services.  Perhaps the more professional investors trading with IB are not focussing on praising them on twitter but trader making profits in the markets.

In any case, IB is a very high-quality company with the very best research included for free in your account.

Round 4 – Brokerage Regulation & Account MinimumStock Brokers Financial Regulations

Is the company well established, well funded and well regulated?  This is the main object of this round of comparisons.

Any U.S. based Broker should be a member of the following institutions.

Financial Industry Regulation Authority (FINRA) Membership.

FINRA is a nonprofit organization established to protect investors and ensure that the members are complying with the law and the Securities and Exchange commision rules.  They audit all members regularly.

Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) Membership.

The SIPC is there to protect and hopefully recover any money lost if a Brokerage firm fails.  Although Broker failure is rare, it can happen and SIPC membership ensures that your account is protected up to $500,000.

 

Interactive Brokers has all the protection required in the U.S.A, they are fully registered in the FINRA Database and have SIPC insurance.

Account minimums with Interactive Brokers are higher than with its competitors, as they are squarely going after clients with larger investment portfolios, higher net worth individuals or professional money managers.  The account minimum of $10,000 for normal trading and $100,000 for Foreign Exchange Trading will be a barrier to new investors.

Interactive Brokers – Stock Broker Master Table (Searchable)

Here you can find the table containing all the data in one place.  Use the search box to filter on a particular item you are looking to compare.  For example type “forex” or “margin” and you will get only the relevant rows to compare.

BrokerageInteractive Brokers IB Review
ResultReview Winner
Great for:Active Investors & Day Traders seeking lowest commissions
Likes★ Industry Leading Low Commissions
★ Great Trading Platform
★ Direct Market Access
★ All Markets & Vehicles
★ Lowest Margin Rates
Dislike✘ Less than perfect Customer Satisfaction
Trades & Commissions
Direct Market Access DMA
Stock Trading
Stock Trading Fees$1.00
Per Share Trading Fees$0.005
Stock Trading Fees (Max)1% of Trade
Options
Options Trading Fees$1.00
Leverage Available
ETF Trades
Exchange Traded Funds (ETF)$1.00
Number of Commission Free ETF's28
Futures$0.85
Mutual Funds$1.00
Bond Purchase
Bonds$1 + Net Yield
Forex Trading
Foreign Exchange (fx) Commission $ per 1,000$2.00
Margin Account Interest Charges2.2% to 3%
Margin Costs Rating★★★★★
Trades & Commissions Score★★★★★
Trading Platform
Software ProviderInteractive Brokers
Trading Platform CostFree
Web SoftwareWebTrader Free
Desktop SoftwareDesktop TWS - Free
Mobile SoftwareFree
LII Quotes
Indicators / Studies
Streaming Charts
Watchlists
Profit / Loss Graphs
Probability Calculators
Options Chains
Trading Platform Score★★★★★
Customer Support & Research
Customer Support (Phone & Live Chat)
Customer Satisfaction Score*★★★★
Research & Trade Ideas✔Zacks + MorningStar Free
NewsReal-Time
Customer Support & Research Score★★★★
Account & Company Details
Available for U.S. Citizens
Account Minimum$10,000
FINRA Member
SIPC Insurance - Assets
Regulated BySEC

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Review - Winner
SpeedTrader Stock Broker Review

SpeedTrader: Recommended for Day Traders wanting Direct Market Access & Lightning Execution for very Low-cost Stock & Options trading.

Add to the mix a 5-Star Customer Satisfaction Rating and you might have something special

Like Dislike
★ Direct Market Access
★ Fast Execution
★ Low Per Share Commissions
★ Great Customer Service
✘ Software Costs
✘ No Futures, Forex, ETF’s

SpeedTrader is one of the key brokers in the review targeting specifically Day Traders with their services.  So, what do day traders look for?

  • Direct Market Access (DMA)
  • Fast Order Execution
  • Low per Share Commissions Structures
  • Rock Solid Software
  • 1st Class Customer Service

Well, SpeedTrader has all of this and a little more.

 

The key service offering is Direct Market Access (DMA), meaning you do not go through a 3rd party market maker for your trades, you deal directly on the market itself, which means better visibility of prices and tighter spreads.

They also offer a very low “commissions per share” option as an alternative to fixed cost per trade.  The per share option comes in at $0.00044 per share, which is a significant cost saving for any trade under 10,000 shares.

Round 1 – Speed Trader Commissions & Trading

Commissions are not the be all and end all, but low commissions do help to reduce slippage especially if you are an active investor or trader.

Day Trading Broker

Some Brokers offer a flat fee regardless of how many shares are traded.  Some offer an optional “per share” commission structure, which can be beneficial for smaller traders.

Direct Market Access (DAM) is the name of the game when it comes to day trading the markets. All of the contenders in the Top 10 Best Stock Broker Review have this but the key is in the implementation, and from the rave customer feedback SpeedTrader get this right.

When it comes to commissions SpeedTrader offer a $4.49 flat fee per trade, but most interestingly, they offer a per share pricing structure of $0.0044, which beats Interactive Brokers, LightSpeed and SureTrader by the width of a cat’s whisker to be the best in our review.

Also when it comes to Options Trading Fees the offering of $1.99 + $0.40 per contract is the among the best of all 20 brokers reviewed.

Suffice to say, extremely competitive.  But that is where the competition ends as SpeedTrader does not offer Forex, ETF’s, Mutual Funds, Bonds or Commodities.

So, if you are into Stocks and Options Day Trading this is a good place to be.

 

Round 2- SpeedTrade – Trading Platform ReviewStock Broker Trading Platforms

How do you find the stocks that are in-play, have high volatility and are in a strong trend?  This is the job of the trading platform.

You need your trading platform to be fast, intuitive and powerful.  In this section, we rate the brokers on their choice of trading platform.

SpeedTrader Platform

SpeedTrader Stock Broker Review

SpeedTrader have white labeled the suite of products developed by Direct Access Software Inc. (DAS Trader).

And why not, it is a highly rated set of tools designed for day traders to enable fast screening analysis and order execution with direct market access.

Speedtrader Pro Trading Platform - DAS
Speedtrader Pro Trading Platform – Developed by DAS Inc.

Developing an in-house suite of trading apps is a huge job and incurs a lot of expense, so only the biggest companies can manage this.

For the smaller brokers using a third party is quick and efficient.

The only challenge is as a broker, is you have to pay for the software on behalf of your client, or pass the cost onto the client directly by making the client pay.

This is exactly the situation with SpeedTrader and most other Day-Trader Brokers.

I mention this because ultimately you will need to be making at least $25 to $104 per month in trading profit just to cover the cost of the software.

Speed Trader – Day Trader Platform Options

Speed Trader Active Web

SpeedTrader’s cost model means you will have pay for the Active Web version $25 per month.

However, for this price, you do get:

  • Real-time L1 Quotes
  • Live Streaming News
  • Real-Time Charts
  • Options Chains
  • Risk Management Tools

Watch this DAS Active Web Trader Video for more Insight

SpeedTrader (DAS TRADER) PRO

For the desktop based SpeedTrader Pro version, you will be out of pocket by $49 or $104 per month (depending on which version you go for) but at least the mobile version is free if you have the desktop Pro version.  But for this price you do get a serious upgrade:

  • Faster Trade Execution
  • Trading off the Charts
  • Level 2 Data
  • Most importantly Direct Access ECN Order Routing
Direct Access Software (DAS) PRO
SpeedTrader’s Direct Access Software (DAS) PRO

Get an Understanding of DAS Trader Pro – Watch this Level 2 Trade Execution Video

SpeedTrader Elite

The Elite service is squarely aimed at Proprietary Trading Firms (Prop Firms) and offer more benefits in terms of real-time market scanners and more advanced “Market Studies”.  This service starts at $120/month or free if you generate $700 or more in commissions.

Round 3 – Stock Brokers – Customer Support & Research ComparisonBrokers Customer Service Review

In this round we compare:

  • Customer Support – we want to see all 3 options of Email, Messaging, and Phone
  • Customer Satisfaction Score – how many complaints or bad reviews within the last year on Twitter or TrustPilot (jump to methodology)
  • Research & Ideas – what services are provided free of charge to help you research a particular stock or sector.  Stand-alone research services can be costly, so free with an account is a big bonus.
  • News – Is a real-time news service available for free or an additionally paid upgrade

The Customer Satisfaction Ratings are calculated like this:

  1. Customer Satisfaction Rating: ★★★★★ People actively praising the broker & Zero Negative Reviews. ★★★★ is Zero Negative Reviews
  2. Research & Trade Ideas: Quality of the integrated and Zero Cost Research Sources

Review - Winner

SpeedTrader Stock Broker Review

SpeedTrader has a lot of positive tweets and good reviews online.

The users seem to be very happy with the overall services and actively promote it, just do a google search or view their twitter stream to see.

SpeedTrade offers the full complement of email, chat and 24/7 phone support is implemented and effective.

SpeedTrader does have integrated research possibilities but they come at an extra cost like the DAS software.  No one ever said day trading was cheap, it costs money for real-time news and research service and someone has to foot the bill.

They have not made the step to include for free any news services on the active web version of the platform if you are interested in this take a look at Benzinga’s Real-Time PRO services as an add-on.

Round 4 – Brokerage Regulation & Account MinimumStock Brokers Financial Regulations

Is the company well established, well funded and well regulated?  This is the main object of this round of comparisons.

Any U.S. based Broker should be a member of the following institutions.

Financial Industry Regulation Authority (FINRA) Membership.

FINRA is a nonprofit organization established to protect investors and ensure that the members are complying with the law and the Securities and Exchange commision rules.  They audit all members regularly.

Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) Membership.

The SIPC is there to protect and hopefully recover any money lost if a Brokerage firm fails.  Although Broker failure is rare, it can happen and SIPC membership ensures that your account is protected up to $500,000.

SpeedTrader has all the protection required in the U.S.A, they are fully registered in the FINRA Database and have SIPC insurance.

 

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SpeedTrader Fact Sheet – Detailed DataPoint Table

BrokerageSpeedTrader Stock Broker Review
ResultReview Winner
Great for:Day Traders wanting Direct Market Access
Likes★ Direct Market Access
★ Fast Execution
★ Low Per Share Commissions
★ Great Customer Service
Dislike✘ Software Costs
✘ No Futures, Forex, ETF's
Trades & Commissions
Direct Market Access DMA
Stock Trading
Stock Trading Fees$4.49
Per Share Trading Fees$0.0044
Stock Trading Fees (Max)
Options
Options Trading Fees$1.99 + $0.40 per contract
Leverage Available
ETF Trades
Exchange Traded Funds (ETF)
Number of Commission Free ETF's
Futures
Mutual Funds
Bond Purchase
Bonds
Forex Trading
Foreign Exchange (fx) Commission $ per 1,000
Margin Account Interest ChargesCall for Quote
Margin Costs Rating
Trades & Commissions Score★★★★
Trading Platform
Software ProviderDAS Trader Inc
Trading Platform CostAdditional Cost
Web SoftwareActive Web $25 per month *
Desktop SoftwareSpeedTrader Pro
$104 per month*
Mobile SoftwareFree with Desktop Pro
LII Quotes
Indicators / Studies
Streaming Charts
Watchlists
Profit / Loss Graphs
Probability Calculators
Options Chains
Trading Platform Score★★★★
Customer Support & Research
Customer Support (Phone & Live Chat)
Customer Satisfaction Score*★★★★★
Research & Trade Ideas✔Extra cost
News✔ Real-Time
Customer Support & Research Score★★★★
Account & Company Details
Available for U.S. Citizens
Account Minimum$0
FINRA Member
SIPC Insurance - Assets
Regulated BySEC

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Lightspeed Stock Broker Review

Lightspeed: Perfect for Active Day Traders seeking fast execution & very low commissions for higher volumes.

A perfect customer satisfaction score and a great suite of tools make Lightspeed a good choice.

Like Dislike
★ Fast Execution
★ Very Low Commissions
★ Good Customer Satisfaction
★ Good Trading Platform
✘ Lack of Real-time News
✘ No In-house Research

Lightspeed is a division of Lime Brokerage a well-established and reputable broker.

They are clearly targeting active traders with their service offerings, specifically in the commissions, execution speed and trading platform area.

However, with a set of free and high-quality tools in their trading platform, investors are well catered to also.

 

Round 1 – Lightspeed Commissions ComparisonStock Brokerage Commissions

Commissions are not the be all and end all, but low commissions do help to reduce slippage especially if you are an active investor or trader.

Some Brokers offer a flat fee regardless of how many shares are traded.  Some offer an optional “per share” commission structure, which can be beneficial for smaller traders.

Lightspeed Stock Trade Commissions

With Lightspeed you can choose a per trade commission which starts at $4.50 per trade for under 250 trades per month.

But as you scale up your trading the costs go down to $2.50 per month which among the best of all the brokers we reviewed.

Alternatively, they offer a per share commission of $0.0045 per share scaling up to $0.0010.  I am a big fan of having the choice of rates, and Lightspeed’s rates are some of the best in the industry.

As with any direct market access broker, there are routing fees depending on which market you trade, but Lightspeed is very focused on keeping these extremely tight.

Lightspeed Option Trade Commissions

As with the super competitive stock trades, Lightspeed is also leading in this area and are the only broker to have Zero Fixed Fee per trade, there is only the option contract cost of $0.60 for under 500 contracts.  If you trade options contract at scale this can reduce to an incredible $0.20 for over 100,000 contracts.

Round 2- Lightspeed – Trading PlatformStock Broker Trading Platforms

How do you find the stocks that are in-play, have high volatility and are in a strong trend?  This is the job of the trading platform.

You need your trading platform to be fast, intuitive and powerful.  In this section, we rate the Lightspeed on their choice of trading platform.

LightSpeed has a very well thought out portfolio of integrated trading platforms to suit their customers.

Lightspeed Trading Software Targeted to Investors

For investors, who will typically have fewer trades and less demand for L2 quotes and tick by tick streaming charts, Lightspeed has a nice solution in LightSpeed Web / Mobile Trader and LiveVolX

LightSpeed Web & Mobile Trader Platform
LightSpeed Web & Mobile Trader Platform

For Web Trader and LivevolX, there are zero data fees & zero monthly costs, which is great.  As part of the free package you get:

  • Streaming L1 Quotes
  • Equities & Options Trading
  • After Hours Trading
  • Market Scanners
  • Customizable Charts & Studies
  • LiveVolX provides an advanced Options Trading Platform

So a solid platform offering for investors, but what about professional and active investors?

Lightspeed Trading Software Targeted to Active Investors

Lightspeed has a rounded portfolio of tools targeted at specifically professional traders.

Lightspeed Trader costs $100 per month, but if you generate $100 in commissions per month it will be free.

For this fee you get:

  • Streaming L2 quotes
  • Basket Order Entry
  • After Hours Trading
  • Streaming Charts & Studies
  • Direct Market Access
  • Research Reports

Obviously, the key here for professional traders is direct market access (DMA), basket orders and the L2 views.

Lightspeed offers also Sterling Trader which is targeted at Hedge Funds and Money Managers and is one of the most widely used professional grade trading platforms produced by Sterling Trading Tech.

This product will cost $140 to $170 per month, but it does open up more advanced Options and Futures trading possibilities.

Lightspeed Sterling Trader
Lightspeed Sterling Trader

Sterling Trader gives the additional benefits of:

  • Improved routing and direct market access globally
  • Powerful charting and studies
  • Exchange alerts & imbalances
  • Improved portfolio and position management
  • Support for futures trading including market depth and all CME & BOVESPA futures

Watch this 3 Minute Video of Sterling Trader

Lastly, Lightspeed offers RealTick Pro at $325 per month and RealTick Express at $125 per month

 

Round 3 – Lightspeed – Customer Support & Research Brokers Customer Service Review

In this round we compare:

  • Customer Support – we want to see all 3 options of Email, Messaging, and Phone
  • Customer Satisfaction Score – how many complaints or bad reviews within the last year on Twitter or TrustPilot (jump to methodology)
  • Research & Ideas – what services are provided free of charge to help you research a particular stock or sector.  Stand-alone research services can be costly, so free with an account is a big bonus.
  • News – Is a real-time news service available for free or an additionally paid upgrade?

Lightspeed Stock Broker ReviewReview - Winner

Lightspeed is a Winner in this Category

LightSpeed have a lot of positive tweets and good reviews all around the web.

The users seem to be very happy with the overall services, specifically, Twitter which is often used as a stage for complaints has a lot of people actually recommending and complimenting Lightspeed on the platform, execution, and support.

Lightspeed also has the full complement of email, chat and 24/7 phone support implemented and operating effectively.

LightSpeed could improve their offerings of real-time streaming news and provide at least some access to research services.  There is an attempt to provide some blogging on market topics but it is not really detailed and often enough.

Round 4 – Lightspeed Regulation & Account MinimumStock Brokers Financial Regulations

Is the company well established, well funded and well regulated?  This is the main object of this round of comparisons.

Any U.S. based Broker should be a member of the following institutions.

Financial Industry Regulation Authority (FINRA) Membership.

FINRA is a nonprofit organization established to protect investors and ensure that the members are complying with the law and the Securities and Exchange commision rules.  They audit all members regularly.

Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) Membership.

The SIPC is there to protect and hopefully recover any money lost if a Brokerage firm fails.  Although Broker failure is rare, it can happen and SIPC membership ensures that your account is protected up to $500,000.

Lightspeed has all the protection required in the U.S.A, they are fully registered in the FINRA Database and have SIPC insurance.

Lightspeed is targeting those who have larger trading volumes as the minimum account opening balance is $10,000.  For that $10,000 you get a broker with a great customer satisfaction ratings and fast execution at competitive commission rates.

Open an Account with Lightspeed

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Lightspeed Broker Review USA – Master Data Sheet

BrokerageLightspeed Stock Broker Review
ResultHighly Recommended
Great for:Active Day Traders seeking fast execution & low costs
Likes★ Fast Execution
★ Very Low Commissions
★ Good Customer Satisfaction
★ Good Trading Platform
Dislike✘ Lack of Real-time News
✘ No In-house Research
Trades & Commissions
Direct Market Access DMA
Stock Trading
Stock Trading Fees$2.50 to $4.50
Per Share Trading Fees$0.0045 per share
Stock Trading Fees (Max)$4.50
Options
Options Trading Fees$0.60 per contract
Leverage Available
ETF Trades
Exchange Traded Funds (ETF)
Number of Commission Free ETF's
Futures
Mutual Funds
Bond Purchase
Bonds
Forex Trading
Foreign Exchange (fx) Commission $ per 1,000
Margin Account Interest Charges5.5% to 8%
Margin Costs Rating★★★★
Trades & Commissions Score★★★★
Trading Platform
Software ProviderMultiple
Trading Platform Cost✔ - Extra Transaction Commission
Web SoftwareLightSpeed Web Mobile (Free)
Desktop SoftwareLightSpeed Trader $100/month
Sterling Trader $140/month
RealTick Pro $335/month
LiveVol X (Free)
Mobile SoftwareLightSpeed
LII Quotes
Indicators / Studies
Streaming Charts
Watchlists
Profit / Loss Graphs
Probability Calculators
Options Chains
Trading Platform Score★★★★
Customer Support & Research
Customer Support (Phone & Live Chat)
Customer Satisfaction Score*★★★★★
Research & Trade IdeasLimited
News
Customer Support & Research Score★★★★
Account & Company Details
Available for U.S. Citizens
Account Minimum$10,000
FINRA Member
SIPC Insurance - Assets
Regulated BySEC
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Ally Invest Broker Review

Ally Invest: Best match for Investors seeking low commissions, good execution on Stocks, Options, ETF’s, Futures, Bonds & Semi-Automated Portfolio Management.

Banking, Credit Services & Home Loans combined with a great customer service score means Ally could be a good choice for an All-in-One Service Provider.

Like Dislike
★ Competitive Commissions
★ Full Suite of Investing Vehicles
★ Banking
★ Great Customer Service
✘ Higher Margin Costs
✘ No News or Research Services

Ally is not just a broker, they are a financial institution offering banking, credit cards, home loans and auto finance and insurance.  After the acquisition of TradeKing in 2016 they branched into trading & brokerage services.

This acquisition seems to have worked well as they have a very competitive suite of investing services and excellent customer satisfaction scores.

Stock trading commissions weigh in at $4.95 per trade and for larger volume traders there are discounts available.  If you have a trading balance of $100,000 and or make more than $30 trades per month, the cost drops to $3.95.  Also, the Options trading costs drop from $4.95 +$0.65 per contract to $3.95 + $0.50 per contract, making them more competitive than TD Ameritrade, Fidelity & Merrill.

Ally also offers the full suite of vehicles such as Stocks, Options, Bonds, ETF’s, Forex and even Commodity Futures.

If you are looking for an institution to provide competitive rates across the full suite of investing and banking services the Ally could be a very good choice.

Round 1 – Stock Brokers Commissions ComparisonStock Brokerage Commissions

Commissions are not the be all and end all, but low commissions do help to reduce slippage especially if you are an active investor or trader.

Some Brokers offer a flat fee regardless of how many shares are traded.  Some offer an optional “per share” commission structure, which can be beneficial for smaller traders.

At Ally Financial, Stock trading commissions weigh in at $4.95 per trade and for larger volume traders there are discounts available.

If you have a trading balance of $100,000 and or make more than $30 trades per month, the cost drops to $3.95.  Also, the Options trading costs drop from $4.95 +$0.65 per contract to $3.95 + $0.50 per contract, making them a lot more competitive than TD Ameritrade, Fidelity & Merrill.

Ally also offers the full suite of vehicles such as Stocks, Options, Bonds, ETF’s, Forex and even Commodity Futures, which means you can easily balance your investments across different asset classes to suit your bullish or bearish outlook.

If you are looking for an institution to provide competitive rates across the full suite of investing and banking services the Ally could be a very good choice.

Round 2- Stock Brokerage – Trading Platform ComparisonStock Broker Trading Platforms

How do you find the stocks that are in-play, have high volatility and are in a strong trend?  This is the job of the trading platform.

You need your trading platform to be fast, intuitive and powerful.  In this section, we rate the brokers on their choice of trading platform.

Ally Invest does not have the strongest suite of tools available in our Top 10 US Stock Brokers Review.

If you favor being able to manage all your Ally Services in one place, over having powerful scanning and fundamental screening or a wealth of expert advisors or studies then Ally is for you.

Ally is not trying to be the leader as a dedicated brokerage with the most powerful tools, Ally is offering it’s banking and credit services customers the possibility to trade simply and cost-effectively as an extension of their current services.  Many dedicated banks will upsell brokerage services to clients at higher commissions costs because the client prefers to have all services under one roof.

Ally has launched it’s “Ally Invest Live” Html 5 trading application, but it still does not cover all trading vehicles and does not compare to competitors like Firstrade, TC2000 Brokerage or Interactive Brokers.

Ally Invest - Live Trader Review
Ally Invest – Live Trader Charts

Round 3 – Stock Brokers – Customer Support & Research ComparisonBrokers Customer Service Review

In this round we compare:

  • Customer Support – we want to see all 3 options of Email, Messaging, and Phone
  • Customer Satisfaction Score – how many complaints or bad reviews within the last year on Twitter or TrustPilot (jump to methodology)
  • Research & Ideas – what services are provided free of charge to help you research a particular stock or sector.  Stand-alone research services can be costly, so free with an account is a big bonus.
  • News – Is a real-time news service available for free or an additionally paid upgrade

Ally Invest has all the core requirements of good customer service in place. A 24/7 Support desk to handle customer calls and live chat and email services.  The company prides itself on good customer service and have also inherited the strong customer service from TradeKing who it purchased in 2016 to extend it’s brokerage services.

Because Ally it not a deep specialist broker, it has not yet added any deep Stock Market Research or real-time News Services into it’s product offering.

Round 4 – Brokerage Regulation & Account MinimumStock Brokers Financial Regulations

Is the company well established, well funded and well regulated?  This is the main object of this round of comparisons.

Any U.S. based Broker should be a member of the following institutions.

Financial Industry Regulation Authority (FINRA) Membership.

FINRA is a nonprofit organization established to protect investors and ensure that the members are complying with the law and the Securities and Exchange commision rules.  They audit all members regularly.

Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) Membership.

The SIPC is there to protect and hopefully recover any money lost if a Brokerage firm fails.  Although Broker failure is rare, it can happen and SIPC membership ensures that your account is protected up to $500,000.

Ally Financial has all the protection and oversight required in the U.S.A, they are fully registered in the FINRA Database and have SIPC insurance.

Ally Invest – Stock Broker Comparison Master Table (Searchable)

Here you can find the table containing all the data in one place.  Use the search box to filter on a particular item you are looking to compare.  For example type “forex” or “margin” and you will get only the relevant rows to compare.

BrokerageAlly Invest Broker Review
ResultHighly Recommended
Great for:Investors seeking low commissions & many services
Likes★ Competitive Commissions
★ Full Suite of Investing Vehicles
★ Banking
★ Great Customer Service
Dislike✘ Higher Margin Costs
✘ No News or Research Services
Trades & Commissions
Direct Market Access DMA
Stock Trading
Stock Trading Fees$4.95 & Volume Discounts Available
Per Share Trading Fees
Stock Trading Fees (Max)
Options
Options Trading Fees$4.95 + $0.50 per contract
>100 contracts $2.95 + $0.40 per contract
Leverage Available
ETF Trades
Exchange Traded Funds (ETF)$4.95
Number of Commission Free ETF's
Futures
Mutual Funds$9.95
Bond Purchase
Bonds$1 + Net Yield
Forex Trading
Foreign Exchange (fx) Commission $ per 1,000Spread
Margin Account Interest Charges4.75% to 9.25%
Margin Costs Rating★★★
Trades & Commissions Score★★★★
Trading Platform
Software ProviderAlly Financial
Trading Platform CostFree
Web Software
Desktop Software
Mobile Software
LII Quotes
Indicators / Studies100+
Streaming Charts
Watchlists
Profit / Loss Graphs
Probability Calculators
Options Chains
Trading Platform Score★★★
Brokerage
Customer Support & Research
Customer Support (Phone & Live Chat)
Customer Satisfaction Score*★★★★
Research & Trade Ideas
News
Customer Support & Research Score★★★★
Account & Company Details
Available for U.S. Citizens
Account Minimum$250
FINRA Member
SIPC Insurance - Assets
Regulated BySEC

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Notes on the Review

Customer Satisfaction Score (Star Ratings)

The customer satisfaction score was compiled using the following methodology.

The Twitter Accounts of the Brokers was scanned back for the 1 year for any negative feedback from customers.  Also, TrustPilot UK and USA were reviewed and any negative comments counted against the broker.  These two sources of information were combined to provide the star rating you see below.

★★★★★ – No Complaints & Positive Recommendations  (1 year)
★★★★ – No Complaints  (1 year)
★★★ – < 10 Complaints (1 year)
★★ – 10 to 20 Complaints (1 year)
★ – > 20 Complaints (1 year)

Partnerships & Special Bonus

How to Avoid the Next Stock Market Crash - eBook & Video Training
How to Avoid the Next Stock Market Crash - eBook & Video Training

Liberated Stock Trader has partnerships with most of the service providers in this review.  This means if you find the review useful and purchase any of the services mentioned we will receive a small payment which goes towards funding the research and work we do. 

As a thank you for using our reviews and purchasing any of the services mentioned we would like to offer you a special bonus of the highly rated Liberated Stock Trader "How to Avoid the Next Stock Market Crash" eBook and Video Course worth $29.-.  Simply contact us specifying which service you signed up for and we will send you your gift.

Review Methodology

Over 200 data points were collected during this review.  Brokers change services, terms, and commissions on a regular basis.  If you represent a Brokerage House or are a client and you spot an inaccuracy, please leave a comment or contact us here and we will endeavor to correct it.

 

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