Looking for a quick, online way to manage your stock portfolio? Sites are typically valued based on their fees (the fewer, the better) and how quickly they can process stock commands.
Of course, customer service and the available stock investment features are also important. Here are five excellent websites for pursuing online trading.
Scottrade is one of the more well-established stock trading centers. Not only does it offer a full trading website, but it also has more than 400 offices located around the US to offer help and advice.
Scottrade is designed to appeal to amateur and beginning investors. The prices reflect this, with only $7 per trade — one of the lowest options around. Because Scottrade focuses on the easier types of investments, their range of investment options is smaller than some of the other popular sites.
When it comes to the absolute lowest fees, TradeKing is probably the industry leader. The company charges only about $5 per trade (with slight, extra charges for options contracts to mitigate losses).
Like the other stock sites, it also provides a collection of tools to help you plan out your investments, calculate costs, view stock histories, and set alerts. Again, investment options tend to be simple, focused mostly on stocks and mutual funds. Bonds are an option, but more difficult.
ETrade is one of the largest trading sites and one of the first to offer such services to Internet investors. It’s more suitable for serious investors; ETrade offers better fees and prices for those willing to invest larger amounts of money. The site also features a wide variety of trade options (including literal options), which is ideal if you desire a more diversified portfolio.
OptionsXpress is a newer trading site and has used its late entry to adopt some of the latest Web tools to augment the experience for investors. You can find plenty of research tools and educational articles or notifications to help you make up your mind. Beginning traders looking for a simple interface and handy extras like smartphone compatibility will find this site ideal.
Fidelity has made its name with extra-fast order processing. While its fees are average, the company promises to execute trades within one second after they’re made. Otherwise, the trade is free of fees.
This site is more suited to active, daily investors who prefer stocks to fixed investments. There’s a $2,500 balance requirement to open an account, but thanks to Fidelity’s lengthy experience in banking, its customer service — both physical and digital — is top-notch.