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Top 10 Cheapest Online Discount Broker Brokerage Trade Account 2011

Updated on February 17, 2012

Introduction

Trying to find reliable brokerage can be a headache for regular investor or trader. With the current stock market, finding a good online discount brokerage or cheapest online trading broker is important. Another important thing is the trading fees or commissions whether the brokerage is one of the cheapest online discount brokerage to trade online either stocks or ETFs. As we know commission fee can reduce trader's trading profit. I will provide a summary of various online stock brokerages with their commissions and fees. I have been using multiple trading platforms such as Fidelity, Zecco, Vanguard, Lightspeed, and Just2trade. For me, the brokerage needs to provide:

  1. Low cost commission fees or cheap fees to trade or buy stocks, etfs, and mutual funds
  2. Reliable, can be access freely, stable trading platform
  3. Offer ACH electronic transfer
  4. Responsive and contactable customer service

Whether you buy stock online or buy option online, most trader should consider the trading fee. The cheaper is the better for buy or sell stock as well as etf.

brokerage logos
brokerage logos

The cheapest online discount brokerage account for trading

The following list is especially great for low balance (i.e. less than $2500 account balance) and non penny stock trader (i.e. >$5.00 per share). If you are a penny stock trader, you might want to check a flat rate commission brokerages such as Just2trade, OptionsHouse, eOption, etc. I’ll provide another article about this info in my next series. Please be advised, trading penny stock is a risky business. Please only trade penny stock if you are understand about the risk and are able to tolerate a big loss/gain. Whether you are active trader or long term investor, finding cheapest online stock trading is important. Getting the online broker rating is also another important thing. You can check my article from this brokerage individually from my link. Whether it is cheapest online trading or cheapest online brokerage, any investors should review their needs. With stock market in flux for this year, choosing the right stock brokers is essential.

lightspeed web trader view
lightspeed web trader view
Just2trade J2trader
Just2trade J2trader

Top Cheap Online Brokerage

To get the low commission fee, usually an investor or trader will need to sacrifice some investment tool such as good charting, tax tool, financial services, transfer capability etc. So don't be surprised about the barebone platform for this discount brokerage. You can essentially supplement the lack of features by open another account with full service brokerage such as Fidelity, Schwab, etc or you can just use internet service such as stockcharts & finviz for charting and filter.

Top 10 cheapest online discount stock brokers to trade stock or ETF are:

1. Lightspeed Trading

Lightspeed has been known by active trader or day trader with their fast execution through their Lightspeed Trader software platform. It is also known as one of the cheapest online stock broker as well as one of the top online brokers. Lightspeed offers stock, etf, option, forex and future for trading. The cost to buy stock online or trade is the cheapest discount brokerage as far as I know. To trade stock, you only pay for $0.0045 per shares with $1.00 per 100 shares. The minimum is $1.00 per trade. For Option, there is no ticket fee to buy option; it only costs $0.60 per option contract with $1.00 minimum. The minimum balance to open an account is only $1,000 for cash account and $2,000 for margin account using Lightspeed Web Trader. If you are using Lightspeed Trader which is software based platform, the minimum balance requirement is $10,000. For trade forex and trade future, please check the website for details.

Rate is updated on 1/1/2011

2. Interactive Brokers

Interactive Brokers (IB) offers stock, etf, option, mutual funds, forex and future. IB is another low commission brokerage. IB is famous broker amongst active traders and those seeking a varied rate commissions structure. To buy stock, it only costs $0.005 per share with $1.00 minimum per trade and a maximum of .5% of trade value. The fees structure is made to lower the commission fees for penny stock trader (i.e. less than $5.00 shares). There is no ticket fee to buy option; it only costs $0.70 per option contract. The minimum balance to open is rather high though, you will need $10,000 to open an account.

3. Just2trade

Just2trade offers stocks, etfs, options, and mutual funds. What I like about Just2trade is it offers a flat rate commission fee of $2.50 per trade. To buy stock, it only costs $2.50 regardless of shares quantities. To trade option, it will cost $2.50 and $0.50 / contract. The minimum balance to open an account is only $2,500. You also can trade on pre market and after market hours for extra fees. Just2trade also offers a level 2 quoting for free using J2trader.

4. OptionsHouse

OptionsHouse offers stock, etf, option, and mutual fund. OptionsHouse also offers a flat rate commission fee of $3.95 per trade. Whether you are buying stock or selling stock/ ETF, it will only cost you $3.95 per trade. There are 2 different commission structure of option tradings, the first plan is for less active traders and the other is for active trader. For less active trader, it will cost $5.00 for up to 5 contracts. Additional contract will cost $1.00 addition. While for active trader, it will cost $8.50 and $0.15 per contract. The minimum balance to open an account is only $1,000.

Note: OptionsHouse raised its commission structure for buying stocks on January 13th, 2011. The options trading is still the same. The current customer will enjoy the old commission fee of $2.95 per trade.

5. eOption

eOption offers stocks, etfs, options, and mutual funds. eOption also offers a flat rate commission fee of $3.00 to trade. eOption is especially famous for complex option trader. EOption slogan is Exercise Your Option to Save. To trade stock, you only pay $3.00 per trade. There is no limit of shares amount. To trade option, it will cost $3.00 and $0.10 per contract. There is no minimum balance to open an account. (i.e. minimum is $0.)

6. SogoTrade

SogoTrade offers stocks, etfs, and options. As a flat rate commission brokerage, SogoTrade offers to trade stock for $3.00 per trade. There is no limit of shares amount. To trade option, it will cost $5.00 and $0.65 per contract. The minimum balance to open an account is only $500. Also, you can trade on pre market and after market hours for extra fees.

zecco trading center
zecco trading center

7. Zecco trading

Zecco offers stocks, etfs, options, Forex, and mutual funds. To trade stock, it only costs $4.95 per trade. It is also one of the flat rate commission brokerage and there is no limit on shares amount. For stocks or ETFs with lower than $1.00 price, online trades are $6.95 per trade. To trade option, client will pay $4.95 plus $0.65 per contract. There is no minimum balance amount to open an account. Previously, Zecco trading offers 10 free trades. An account holder can qualify for 10 free trades per month if the account balance is $25,000. As of 31st, 2011 these free trades option will be phased out.

As of March 2011, Zecco doesn't offer any 10 free trades for any account balance. Current customer will have until March 31st, 2011 for free trades.

8. TradeKing

TradeKing offers stocks, etfs, options, and mutual funds. It is also another flat rate commission broker and there is no limit on shares amount. To trade stock, it will cost $4.95 per trade. If any stock under $1.00 per share, there is an additional $.01 per share is charged (max commission 5% of trade value). To trade option either buy or sell option, you will pay $4.95/trade plus $0.65 per contract. There is no minimum balance amount to open an account.

9. MB Trading

MB Trading has wide product offering selection. MB Trading offers stock, etf, option, future, Forex, and mutual fund. To trade stock, it only costs $4.95 per trade. It is also one of the flat rate commission fee brokerage and there is no limit on shares amount. To trade option, you will be charged $0.50 per contract. There is no option fee for trading option. The minimum balance to open an account is only $1,000.

10. Lowtrades

Lowtrades has the same management as Just2trade. Lowtrades also offers stocks, etfs, options, and mutual funds. To buy stock, you pay $4.95 regardless of shares quantities. To trade option, it will cost $4.95 fee and $0.60 per contract. The minimum balance to open an account is only $2,500. You also can trade on pre market and after market hours for extra fees. There is an inactivity fee of $50 for every 6 months.

Disclosure: I have no affiliation with any of above brokerages other than I use some of above brokerages for trading. Please do your own research for additional details. Please trade responsibly.

Other Brokerages

For reference I also provide the list of other brokerage for comparison such as ThinkOrSwim, Scottrade, Fidelity, E*Trade, Schwab, TD Ameritrade, WellsTrade, Vanguard and more.

Top 30 Cheapest Discount Brokerages

(click column header to sort results)
No  
Broker  
100 shares  
500 shares  
1000 shares  
Minimum Balance  
1
Lightspeed Trading
$1.00
$2.25
$4.50
$1,000
2
Interactive Brokers
$1.00
$2.50
$5.00
$10,000
3
Just2trade
$2.50
$2.50
$2.50
$2,500
4
eOption
$3.00
$3.00
$3.00
$0
5
SogoTrade
$3.00
$3.00
$3.00
$500
6
OptionsHouse
$3.95
$3.95
$3.95
$1,000
7
Zecco
$4.95
$4.95
$4.95
$0
8
TradeKing
$4.95
$4.95
$4.95
$0
9
MB Trading
$4.95
$4.95
$4.95
$1,000
10
LowTrades
$4.95
$4.95
$4.95
$2,000
11
Questrade
$4.95
$5.00
9.95
$1,000
12
Choicetrade
$5.00
$5.00
$5.00
$0
13
ThinkOrSwim (TOS)
$5.00
$7.50
$9.95
$3,500
14
Firstrade
$6.95
$6.95
$6.95
$0
15
Scottrade
$7.00
$7.00
$7.00
$500
16
tradeMONSTER
$7.50
$7.50
$7.50
$2,000
17
Fidelity
$7.95
$7.95
$7.95
$2,500
18
Noble Trading
$7.95
$7.95
$7.95
$500
19
Charles Schwab
$8.95
$8.95
$8.95
$1,000
20
Bank of America / Merrill Edge
$8.95
$8.95
$8.95
$2,000
21
ShareBuilder
$9.95
$9.95
$9.95
$0
22
TD Ameritrade
$9.99
$9.99
$9.99
$2,500
23
E*TRADE
$9.99
$9.99
$9.99
$500
24
TradeStation
$9.99
$9.99
$9.99
$5,000
25
optionsXpress
$14.95
$14.95
$14.95
$0
26
Muriel Siebert
$14.95
$14.95
$14.95
$0
27
WellsTrade
$19.95
$19.95
$19.95
$1,000
28
Vanguard
$20.00
$20.00
$20.00
$0
updated 2011

Update

  • 1/1/2011 - Lightspeed trading change its commission structure with $1.00 minimum per trade. The commission fee is $0.0045 per share.
  • 1/13/2011 - OptionsHouse will introduce new commission structure of $3.95 per trade. Current customer will be grandfathered with old commission rate of $2.95 per trade.
  • 3/1/2011 - Zecco will raise its base pricing for stock tradings and option tradings. For Stock Trades, it will cost $4.95 per trade. Stock under $1.00 will cost $6.95 per trade.

Updated 3/17/2011

Comments

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    • profile image

      terri 

      5 years ago

      i was given a new scottrade referral code: ATTJ8587 from scttrade.they said this new code will give anybody 3 free trades when they use this new code when anybody opens an account with the code.. they gave me this code yesterday. they said we can use this code in 2013 and 2014 year.

    • profile image

      Partha 

      5 years ago

      Great article.

      Maybe time to take another pass at it? I have a Lightspeed account, and for the Web interface, the rate is now $3, not $1. I also know of speedtrader.com, that charges $1 per trade - though there is an activity minimum of 15 trades per quarter. I also found that Interactive Brokers has an activity minimum of $10 in commisions per month.

      The activity minimum is an important factor. So, if you do update this page, please do consider looking into that as well.

      Thanks

      Partha.

    • profile image

      Lyn 

      7 years ago

      I use Scottrade and I have never hade "ANY" troubles with them or their site. Scottrade will still be here in 10 years. Stay with a brokerage that is solid. Don't chase after commission rates, chase after solid,dependable,honest and local brokerages.

      IF NEEDED. Referral code: IXFV9382 For 3 free trades.

      Stay with an old faithful brokerage that is solid. For example: Why would anybody go with ZECCO when they have changed their fees 3 times within the last 3 years. Doesn't make sense to me why someone wants to use a brokerage that changes their business model. Scottrade hasn't changed their fees or their business model since they started. That's what I want. A good "SOLID" brokerage and that name is "Scottrade". Enough said... I'll stay with Scottrade.

      Lyn

    • chan0512 profile imageAUTHOR

      chan0512 

      7 years ago from Camarillo, CA

      Thanks for stopping by. Check my other brokerages review as well.

    • profile image

      Option Trading, Trade Options, Trade Stocks 

      7 years ago

      Super Duper posting, whenever I come across a blog that really has some excellent unique content I always want to say thank you, there are so many blogs nowadays that are full of copied content.

    • chan0512 profile imageAUTHOR

      chan0512 

      7 years ago from Camarillo, CA

      Dusy7969,

      Thanks for stopping by! Hope you like my article about online brokerage account. Please check my other articles such as Fidelity, Vanguard, Schwab and more. Thanks!

    • dusy7969 profile image

      dusy7969 

      7 years ago from San Diego, California

      Knowledge can give you a real advantage. To make sure you're fully informed about Top 10 Cheapest Online Discount Broker Brokerage Trade Account and More, keep reading.

    • chan0512 profile imageAUTHOR

      chan0512 

      7 years ago from Camarillo, CA

      Medor,

      Thanks. I hope this information is useful!

      Jenny,

      Thanks for your kind words! Glad you like this info.

    • Jenny Calender profile image

      Jenny Calender 

      7 years ago

      Thanks! Printing out and pass this along to friends in need :) Santa will be happier this year :)

    • medor profile image

      medor 

      7 years ago from Michigan, USA

      You rock!! I shared this on my Facebook Page...

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