Top 12 Online Brokers and Stock Trading Platforms in January 2024

In the dynamic world of finance, choosing the right online broker and stock trading platform is crucial for investors seeking optimal returns. As we step into the new year of 2024, let’s explore the top 12 online brokers and stock trading platforms that stand out in the ever-evolving landscape of financial technology.

Best for high APY on uninvested cash: Robinhood Gold

If you like Robinhood and want to take your investing to the next level, consider Robinhood Gold. For $5 per month after 30-day free trial, you’ll get access to a suite of premium tools and features, including lower margin rates, Level II market data from Nasdaq, and professional research from Morningstar. You’ll also earn 5.00% APY on univested cash (no cap, no withdrawal penalty) on your uninvested brokerage cash (it’s 1.50% without Gold)—a rate that’s competitive with some of the best high-yield savings accounts. Whether or not you’re a Gold subscriber, you can invest and trade commission-free on Robinhood.

Best for active traders: TradeStation

TradeStation is widely considered one of the top platforms for active, technical traders. It offers $0 stock and ETF trades, $0.60/contract options trades, and $1.50/contract futures trades. The robust TradeStation platform offers exceptional charting, fully customizable workspaces, 120+ technical indicators, a massive collection of historical data, and multiple order entry interfaces. You can also design, backtest, optimize, and automate your own strategies for equities, options, and futures trading.

Best for beginners: J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing

J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing is a solid option for beginners interested in learning how to buy and sell stocks, ETFs, options, bonds, and mutual funds. It offers $0 stock, ETF, and mutual fund trades, plus $0.65/contract options trades. You’ll find a user-friendly trading platform, plus an app that integrates seamlessly with other Chase products (including bank accounts and credit cards). For this reason, J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing may be especially attractive to existing Chase customers.

Best for alternative assets: Public

Public offers an unusual lineup of assets, including stocks, Treasuries, ETFs, crypto, art and collectibles, and music royalties—with more alternative assets coming soon (alternative assets tend to have a low correlation to traditional markets, so you can potentially use them to diversify your portfolio). Unlike many brokers, Public doesn’t participate in payment for order flow (PFOF). This means your orders are routed directly to the exchanges instead of to market makers, which helps Public execute orders at the best possible price.

Best for overall trading: Fidelity Investments

Fidelity Investments has topped numerous “best of” lists. It offers $0 stock and ETF trades, $0.65/contract options trades, $0 Fidelity mutual fund trades, and some 3,300 NTF mutual funds. Beginners and buy-and-hold investors will likely find all the tools they need within the web platform, including screeners, educational content, and in-house and third-party research. More advanced and frequent traders can use Fidelity’s Active Trader Pro platform, which offers more bells and whistles and a customizable layout.

Best for mobile trading: E*TRADE

E*TRADE was the first U.S. broker to offer online trading for retail investors and is now part of Morgan Stanley. It offers $0 stock and ETF trades, $0.65/contract options trades, $1.50/contract futures trades, and 6,500+ NTF mutual funds. E*TRADE offers several trading platforms to suit investors of various skill levels. The E*TRADE Web platform is ideal for beginners, while more active traders can use the robust Power E*TRADE platform. The highly rated E*TRADE Mobile app is feature rich and user-friendly, while Power E*TRADE Mobile is designed for more advanced trading.

Best for investor education: TD Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade is a popular choice for beginners due to its excellent research and educational tools. It offers $0 stock and ETF trades, $0.65/contract options trades, $2.25/contract futures trades, and 3,600+ NTF mutual funds. In addition to a robust library of content, TD Ameritrade hosts hundreds of webinars, virtual workshops, and in-person events each year, covering everything from stock investing basics to advanced options strategies.

Best for ETF research: Charles Schwab

Charles Schwab pioneered the discount brokerage business in 1974, offering low prices and fast, efficient order executions. Today, the company is the largest publicly traded investment services firm in the U.S., with about $7.65 trillion in client assets. It offers $0 stock and ETF trades, $0.65/contract options trades, $2.25/contract futures trades, and $0 OneSource mutual fund trades. Besides Schwab ETFs, you can access over 2,000 third-party, commission-free ETFs covering a broad range of asset classes—and its ETF screeners are best-in-class.

Best for low costs: Ally Invest

Ally Invest is our top pick for low costs with $0 stock, ETF, and mutual fund trades, $1 bond trades, and a low $0.50 (per contract) options trades for self-directed traders. And you can quickly move money from your brokerage account into an Ally savings account to earn a much higher rate than most brokers offer on uninvested cash (currently 4.25% APY). Ally also provides robo portfolios for hands-off investors, with zero advisory, rebalancing, and annual fees.

Best for low-cost options trading: SoFi Invest

SoFi has eliminated per-contract options fees, making it a budget-friendly choice for frequent options traders (by comparison, many brokers charge between $0.65 and $1 per contract). Its user-friendly options-trading platform has an educational content hub and an in-app trading guide to help beginners learn more about options trading. You’ll also have one-click access to helpful metrics like breakeven percentage, maximum profit and loss, and more.

Best for stock rewards: Stash

Stash lets you choose how to invest—whether you’re a self-directed DIY investor or prefer automated investing that removes the guesswork. Monthly plans cost $3 or $9, with no add-on transaction fees. You’ll have access to a personal brokerage account, a retirement account, and Smart Portfolio—a robo-advisor that builds a diversified portfolio based on your risk profile. You’ll also receive the Stock-Back debit card that earns up to 1% back in stock every time you use the card (excluding cash withdrawals, money orders, prepaid cards, and P2P payments).

Best for simple interface: Plynk

Plynk offers a brokerage account for investing in stocks and funds, and a crypto account for trading cryptocurrencies. It has $0 fees for stock, ETF, and mutual fund trades. There’s a $0.50 fee for crypto trades of $100 or less and 0.50% of the trade amount above that. The Plynk mobile app is intuitive and user-friendly, and you’ll find plenty of straightforward tips and how-tos to help you grow your investing knowledge.

Conclusion: Selecting the right online broker and stock trading platform is a pivotal decision for investors. As of January 2024, these top 12 platforms stand out for their unique features, competitive pricing, and commitment to providing a seamless trading experience. Whether you are a novice investor or an experienced trader, exploring these platforms can help you find the one that aligns with your financial goals and trading preferences. Stay informed, stay strategic, and let your investments thrive in the ever-evolving world of online trading.