There are a huge number of online stock brokers and platforms on the market, so finding the best one for your strategy can be challenging. In this review, we cover the top 10 things traders should be looking for, including fees, online platforms, worldwide regulation and more. Use our guide to find the right stock broker for you.

Stock Brokers

Forex.com Logo

Forex.com offer access to over 220 US and UK stocks, with spreads of just 1 point. See why Forex.com are about more than just Forex…

Forex.com offer access to over 220 US and UK stocks, with spreads of just 1 point. See why Forex.com are about more than just Forex…

Regulator

CySEC, NFA, CFTC, FCA, FSA, IIROC and CIMA eToro Logo

eToro offer access to nearly 1000 stocks from all over Europe and the US.

eToro offer access to nearly 1000 stocks from all over Europe and the US.

Min. Deposit

$200 ($50 in US) Exinity Logo

Exinity clients can trade spot and CFD stocks in 30 major US companies.

Exinity clients can trade spot and CFD stocks in 30 major US companies.

Regulator

FSRA, FCA, FSC, CMA M1 Finance Logo

Trade over 6,000 stocks and shares on the NYSE, NASDAQ and more.

Trade over 6,000 stocks and shares on the NYSE, NASDAQ and more.

Bonus

$4,000 switching bonus Webull Logo

Webull offers trading on 5,000 US stocks and shares via a powerful mobile app.

Webull offers trading on 5,000 US stocks and shares via a powerful mobile app.

Bonus

Two free stocks joining bonus Quotex Logo

Trade digital options on 15 major indices, including the FSTE 100.

Trade digital options on 15 major indices, including the FSTE 100.

Bonus

Tiered deposit bonuses up to $105 EagleFX Logo

Trade on 11 well-known indices.

Trade on 11 well-known indices.

LQDFX Logo

Trade on 21 global stock indices.

Trade on 21 global stock indices.

Bonus

100% deposit bonus up to $20,000 ZacksTrade Logo

ZacksTrade: Built For The Active Trader. Stock & ETF Trades from $3, 75¢ Option Contracts and 5.63% Margin Rate (Lower on occasion)

ZacksTrade: Built For The Active Trader. Stock & ETF Trades from $3, 75¢ Option Contracts and 5.63% Margin Rate (Lower on occasion)

Interactive Brokers Logo

Interactive Brokers provide access to every major trading exchange in the world. Their range cannot be beaten.

Interactive Brokers provide access to every major trading exchange in the world. Their range cannot be beaten.

TD Ameritrade Logo

One of the largest discount brokers in the US, with a fixed trading commission and access to a large array of trading products and securities

One of the largest discount brokers in the US, with a fixed trading commission and access to a large array of trading products and securities

Bonus

60 days free trades when depositing $3k

Show All Brokers ⇩

What Are Online Stock Brokers?

Online stock brokers offer the ability to purchase company stocks and shares or related derivatives via the internet. Instead of talking to a trader who will sell you a stock they believe will do well, you typically do the research yourself. The brokers will have connections to the stock market and will purchase the stock on your behalf. Trades can be executed at the click of a button, in real-time via their online investing platforms.

Mobile Stock Trading

How To Compare Online Stock Brokers

No comparison of online stock brokers would be complete without considering the following criteria.

Fees

Almost all the highest rated online stock brokers will charge a fee for their service. Those that are free will usually make money through other means. For example, by offering stock at a price above the market rate.

When selecting an online broker, traders should look for those with relatively low fees to maximise profitability. Some stock broking platforms also offer discounts on charges for limited periods as a promotional technique. But the cheapest service isn’t always the best, so it’s important to consider several other factors in the selection process.

Fractional Shares

When institutional traders purchase shares on a stock exchange, the minimum order size is usually one share. However, for online traders looking to invest in the likes of Google or Amazon where the price of a single share is worth thousands of dollars, this can be difficult to achieve. To counter this issue, many of the largest online trading brokers offer fractional shares. This means a trader can purchase less than one share, at the value they’re comfortable with.

Stock platforms with fractional shares allow traders with low capital to diversify their portfolio.

Penny Stocks

Another option for traders with less capital is investing in penny stocks (also known as pink sheets or OTC stocks). Online penny stock brokers offer shares worth less than $1. OTC listings are for businesses that do not meet the strict requirements for floating on a stock exchange. These companies tend to be riskier than larger companies, but can also yield higher profit margins. They’re a great option for traders looking to build a diverse portfolio.

Stock Exchanges

Another important factor to consider when comparing online stock brokers is whether they offer access to global stock exchanges. Stock market trading is centralised, meaning that shares in most large companies are sold through national exchanges, such as the London Stock Exchange (LSE), New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), or NASDAQ. Companies will not be listed on all exchanges, therefore, traders should look for a broker with a global reach.

Platforms

To compare online stock brokers, investors should look for those offering a platform that suits their needs. There are several factors to consider:

  • Mobile app – Does the broker offer a mobile app or are you happy to trade exclusively via desktop? Many of the top providers now offer a top-tier mobile application offering direct market access and seamless integration with desktop terminals.
  • User interface – Is the platform intuitive? This is where you’ll be staking your investments, so it’s important to feel you can navigate it easily.
  • Charts, graphs and indicators – For day traders, a platform that offers enough charts and indicators for technical analysis is crucial. If you’re looking to hold stock over the long term, this may not be necessary.
  • Automated investing – For those interested in algorithmic trading, the functionality to support expert advisors (EAs) is vital. Some popular platforms, such as MetaTrader 4 (MT4) and MetaTrader 5 (MT5), provide a codebase with free and paid-for EAs to choose from.

Online Stock Trading

Leverage

Many of the top online stock brokers offer the ability to maximise positions using leverage. Leverage allows you to multiply the results of a trade. The leverage caps on stocks tend to be much lower than for forex, usually around 1:2 or 1:3. This is a great option for more experienced traders and those with a limited pool of capital.

Contracts For Difference (CFDs)

Most major online stock brokers will offer a mixture of products based on stocks. One of the most popular options is CFDs. CFDs are a derivative of stocks, meaning you do not own the underlying asset. Instead, you own a contract for the difference in value between the buy and sell price. This may have advantages. In some cases, fees may be lower and the tax implications on profits may be different. Consider whether this is what you’re looking for when selecting an online stock platform.

Deposits & Withdrawals

Most online stock brokers have minimum deposit requirements. For example, Interactive Brokers has a high minimum balance of 2,000 USD (or equivalent currency), whereas, for eToro, it is just 50 USD (or $200 for non-US residents). Some online stock brokers have no minimum deposits, so it can be useful to shop around. Select a platform that meets your requirements, rather than stretching your budget to meet a minimum account threshold.

Payment Methods

The best online stock market brokers accept a selection of payment methods. Traders should look out for the following popular options:

  • Credit/debit card
  • Bank wire transfer
  • E-wallets, e.g Neteller, Skrill
  • Payment service providers, e.g PayPal, Apple Pay

Some platforms also accept payment in cryptocurrency. However, this service is limited among those currently selling stocks and shares. It’s also worth looking out for online stock brokers offering instant deposits for same-day trading.

Regulation

The most reputable online stock brokers will be regulated by the relevant national authority. Before investing, traders should check the broker is authorised by one of the top regulators in the list below:

  • Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS)
  • Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK
  • Financial Markets Authority (FMA) in New Zealand
  • Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) in Canada
  • Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the USA
  • Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in Hong Kong
  • Dubai Financial Securities Authority (DFSA) in Dubai and UAE
  • Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) in Australia
  • Any European body, examples include Cyprus’ CySEC, BaFIN in Germany and MFSA in Malta. European Union laws mean that if a broker is regulated with one authority, they can typically operate across the whole of Europe. Therefore, if a broker is regulated by the CySEC, traders in Ireland, Greece, Netherlands and Norway etc will also be covered.
  • In most of Asia, brokers are not usually required to be regulated by their relevant authority, so traders in the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, India, and many other Asian countries, should look out for regulation in any reputable authority as an indication of legitimacy.
  • Similarly, in Africa, many of the regulatory authorities do not require brokers to be regulated with them. As a result, traders in African nations such as South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and Zimbabwe should look out for regulation with any respected authority.

Each regulator has its own set of rules that a broker must abide by. These are designed to protect retail investors from undue risk. This means that an online stock broker’s offering may differ around the globe. Examples of regulator rules that differ globally include:

  • Cash bonuses or prizes are restricted in the UK and Europe
  • Cryptocurrency trades are restricted by the SEC in the US
  • Cryptocurrency derivatives are restricted in the UK by the FCA
  • European brokers must display a risk warning to all traders when stock CFDs are offered
  • Negative balance protection is required on all regulated margin accounts in the UK, Europe and Australia
  • Leverage restrictions on different stock assets vary globally
  • Day trading is subject to restrictions in the US

Therefore, a stock platform may accept day trading clients in the UK, but not for US citizens. If you’re shopping around for a service that is restricted in your jurisdiction, you could end up selecting an unregulated broker.

Demo Accounts

The best online stock brokers for beginners will usually provide a demo account. These allow traders to practise and refine a strategy before investing real money. They simulate real-life market conditions, but any orders placed are with ‘paper money’.

Company History

A quick look at an online stock broker’s history can usually reveal a lot about their legitimacy. If there is no information about when a broker started, or it is linked in some way to a previously blacklisted company, this should serve as a red flag to traders. The top 5 online stock brokers will often have a strong presence on the web and will have filed tax returns with the relevant authority. Do your research on a company before buying through any stock platform.

Stock Broker Reviews

Reviews with services like Trustpilot can be useful when selecting a broker, but more often than not, they’re a red herring. Fake reviews on scam stock platforms are rife. On the other hand, with the top-rated brokers, the worst reviews are often from disgruntled traders whose strategies have not been profitable. It’s a murky world out there, so we’d advise you to look at reviews from reputable sources. If you are looking for advice from an interactive community, Reddit can be a good place to start searching for the best online stock brokers.

Use this table with reviews of the top stock brokers to compare all the online brokers we have ever reviewed. Note that some of these online stock brokers might not accept accounts being opened from your country.

If we can determine that a broker would not accept your location, it is marked in grey in the table.

Stock Broker Reviews

Broker Demo Min Dep. MT4 Bonus
101investing Yes $250 Yes No
12Trader Yes $500 No No
4xCube Yes $10 Yes No
5paisa No INR 450 No No
AAAFx Yes $300 Yes Yes
AccentForex Yes $50 Yes Yes
ActivTrades Yes $500 Yes Yes
Admiral Markets Yes $100 Yes No
AdroFX Yes $25 Yes Yes
ADS Securities Yes $100 Yes No
AETOS Yes $250 Yes Yes
Ally Invest No $0 No No
Alpho Yes $100 No No
Alvexo Yes 500 EUR/USD Yes No
Amana Capital Yes $50 Yes Yes
AMarkets Yes $100 Yes Yes
Angel Broking Yes $0 No No
ArgusFX No $0 Yes No
Arum Capital Yes $500 No No
AskoBID No €250 No No
ATC Brokers Yes $5,000 No No
Atiora Yes $1 Yes Yes
AvantGardeFX Yes $500 Yes No
Avatrade Yes $100 Yes No
Axes Yes $100 No No
Axiory Yes $10 Yes No
Ayondo Yes £1 Yes No
BCS Forex Yes $1 Yes Yes
BDSwiss Yes 100 $/€/£ Yes No
Binarium Yes $5 No No
Binary.com Yes $5 Yes No
BlackBull Markets Yes $200 Yes No
Blackwell Global Yes $250 Yes No
BMFN Yes $50 Yes No
BP Prime Yes $5,000 Yes No
Brokereo Yes $250 Yes No
Bulbrokers Yes $100 Yes No
BUX X Yes $50 No No
BUX Zero No $0 No Yes
Capex Yes $100 No Yes
Capital Index Yes $100 Yes Yes
Capital.com Yes £/$/€20 (Varies by payment method) Yes No
CGS-CIMB Yes 100 SGD Yes No
City Credit Capital Yes $500 Yes No
CityIndex Yes £/$100 Yes Yes
CIX Markets Yes $500 Yes No
CMC Markets Yes £ 0 Yes No
CMSTrader Yes $500 No No
CMTrading Yes $250 Yes No
Cobra Trading Yes $30,000 No No
Colmex Pro Yes $500 Yes No
CommSec No $500 No No
Core Spreads Yes $0 Yes No
Corsa Capital Yes $1 No Yes
CPT Markets Yes $100 Yes No
CrescoFX Yes $1,000 Yes No
Cryptobo No 0.0000001 BTC No Yes
Daniels Trading Yes $2,000 No No
Darwinex Yes $500 Yes No
Degiro No 0 $/€/£ No No
DeltaStock Yes $100 Yes Yes
DIF Broker Yes Undisclosed No No
DirectFX No $100 Yes No
DMM FX Yes Undisclosed Yes No
Dsdaq Yes 0.001 BTC/BCH/LTC No Yes
Dukascopy Yes $100 Yes Yes
E-Trade Yes $500 Yes Yes
EagleFX Yes $10 Yes No
Easy Markets Yes €100 Yes No
Eightcap Yes £/€/$100 Yes No
Equiti Yes $500 Yes No
ETFinance Yes $250 Yes No
eToro Yes $200 ($50 in US) No No
ETX Capital Yes £250 Yes No
EuropeFX Yes €200 Yes No
EuroTrader Yes $0 Yes No
EverFX Yes $250 Yes Yes
eXcentral No $250 Yes No
Exinity No $10,000 Yes No
EZ Invest Yes $500 Yes No
FBS Yes $1 Yes Yes
FCMarket Yes $500 Yes No
FIBO Group Yes $50 Yes No
Fidelity No £25 No Yes
Finalto Yes $100 Yes Yes
Financial Spreads Yes £250 No No
Financika No $200 No Yes
Finexo Yes $100 Yes No
Finotrade Yes $1,000 Yes No
Finq.com Yes $100 Yes No
Finspreads Yes £50 No No
Fondex Yes $0 No No
Forex.com Yes $100 Yes No
Forex4you Yes $0 Yes Yes
ForexChief Yes $10 Yes Yes
ForexMart Yes 1 EUR/USD Yes Yes
ForexTB Yes $250 Yes No
FortFS Yes $5 Yes Yes
Fortrade Yes $100 Yes No
FP Markets Yes $100 Yes No
Freetrade No $0 No No
FreshForex Yes $10 Yes Yes
FTX No $1 No No
Fullerton Markets Yes $100 Yes Yes
Fusion Markets Yes $0 Yes No
Futu Yes $1500 No No
FXCC Yes $0 Yes No
FXChoice Yes $100 Yes Yes
FXDD Yes $/£1 Yes No
FXFlat Yes €200 Yes No
FXGiants Yes $100 Yes Yes
FXGM No $200 No No
FxGrow Yes $100 No No
FxNet Yes $50 Yes No
FXPIG Yes $200 Yes No
FXPrimus Yes $100 Yes No
FXPro Yes $100 Yes No
FXTM Yes From $50 Yes Yes
FXTrading Yes $200 Yes Yes
GCI Yes $500 Yes Yes
GKFX Yes €100 Yes No
Global Market Index Yes $2,000 Yes No
Global Prime Yes AUD $200 Yes No
GO Markets Yes $200 Yes Yes
GoStreams Yes $100 Yes No
Grand Capital Yes $10 Yes Yes
Hantec Markets Yes $0 Yes No
HFTrading Yes $250 Yes No
HotForex Yes $100 Yes No
House Of Borse Yes $5,000 Yes No
HQBroker No $250 Yes No
Hugo’s Way Yes $50 Yes No
HYCM Yes $100 Yes Yes
ICM Brokers Yes $300 Yes No
ICM Capital Yes $200 Yes No
IFC Markets Yes 1 USD / 1 EUR / 100 JPY Yes Yes
IFGM Yes $200 Yes No
iFOREX Yes $100 No No
IG Group Yes £250 Yes No
Infinox Yes £1 Yes No
InstaForex Yes €1 to €1000 (Account choice dependent) Yes No
Interactive Brokers Yes $10000 No No
InterForex Yes $500 No Yes
Intertrader Yes $500 Yes Yes
IQ Option Yes $10 No No
IronFX Yes $100 Yes Yes
ITradeFX Yes $0 No No
JFD Bank Yes $500 Yes No
JP Markets Yes $0 Yes Yes
Juno Markets Yes $100 Yes Yes
Just2Trade Yes $100 Yes No
JustForex Yes $1 Yes Yes
Key To Markets Yes $100 Yes No
Khwezi Trade Yes R 2,000 Yes No
KLMFX Yes $250 No Yes
Larson & Holz Yes $250 No Yes
LBLV Yes $5,000 No Yes
LCG Yes 0 $/€/£ Yes No
LDC Yes $100 Yes No
LegacyFX Yes $500 No No
LH Crypto Yes €10 No No
Libertex Yes €100 Yes No
Lightspeed Trading Yes $10,000 No No
LiteForex Europe Yes $50 Yes No
LiteForex Investments Yes $50 Yes Yes
Livemarkets Yes $250 Yes No
LMFX Yes $100 Yes Yes
LQDFX Yes $20 Yes Yes
M1 Finance Yes $100 No Yes
M4Markets Yes $5 Yes Yes
Markets.com Yes $100 Yes No
Mega Trader FX Yes $0 Yes Yes
Mitto Markets Yes $0 Yes No
Moneta Markets Yes $200 Yes Yes
Moomoo Yes $0 No No
MTrading Yes $100 Yes Yes
MultiBank FX Yes $50 Yes Yes
Naga Yes $250 Yes No
NBH Markets Yes $100 Yes No
Noble Trading Yes $100 Yes Yes
NPBFX Yes $10 Yes Yes
NSFX Yes $300 Yes No
OBR Invest Yes $250 Yes No
OctaFX Yes $100 Yes Yes
Optimus Futures Yes $500 Yes No
Orbex Yes $200 Yes No
OspreyFX Yes $25 Yes No
Pacific Union Yes $50 Yes Yes
Passfolio No $1 No No
PaxForex Yes $10 Yes Yes
Plum No £2 No No
Plus500 Yes $100 No No
Pocket Option Yes $50 No Yes
Price Markets Yes $5,000 Yes No
PrimeXBT No 0.001 BTC No No
ProfitiX No $250 No No
Q8 Trade Yes $250 Yes Yes
Questrade Yes $1,000 No Yes
Quotex Yes $10 No Yes
Robinhood No $0 No No
RoboForex Yes $10 Yes Yes
RoboMarkets Yes $/£/€100 Yes No
ROInvesting Yes $250 Yes No
Sage FX Yes $10 Yes Yes
Saxo Bank Yes $10000 No No
Sharekhan No $0 No No
Sheer Markets Yes $200 Yes No
SimpleFX Yes $0 Yes Yes
Skilling.com Yes 100 £/€/$ or 1000 NOK, SEK Yes No
Smart Prime FX Yes $25,000 Yes No
SmartFX Yes Undisclosed No No
SpeedTrader Yes $30,000 No No
Spread Co Yes £200 No No
Spreadex No $1 No No
SquaredFinancial Yes $100 Yes No
Stratton Markets Yes £250 Yes No
Superforex Yes $1 Yes No
SVK Markets Yes $100 Yes No
Swissquote Yes $1,000 Yes No
SynergyFX Yes $50 Yes Yes
Tastyworks No $0 No No
TD Ameritrade Yes $0 No Yes
TeleTrade Yes 100 EUR/USD Yes No
TeraFX Yes $100 Yes No
ThinkMarkets Yes $0 Yes No
Tickmill Yes $100 Yes Yes
Tier1FX Yes $1,000 Yes No
Tiger Brokers Yes $0 No No
TIO Markets Yes $50 Yes No
TMS Brokers Yes $0 No No
TP Global FX Yes $200 Yes No
Trade Nation Yes $0 Yes Yes
Trade Pro Futures Yes $2,500 Yes No
Trade Republic No $0 No No
Trade.com Yes $100 Yes No
Trade12 No $250 Yes No
Trade360 Yes $250 No No
TradeStation Yes $500 Yes No
TradeTime Yes $500 Yes Yes
Tradeview Yes $100 Yes Yes
Trading212 Yes €/£/$1 No No
TrioMarkets Yes $500 Yes Yes
UFX Yes $100 Yes No
UOB Kay Hian No $3,000 No No
Upstox No INR 0 No No
Uptos No $250 No No
Valutrades Yes $0 Yes No
VantageFX Yes $200 Yes Yes
Varianse Yes $500 Yes No
Videforex Yes $250 No Yes
VT Markets Yes $200 Yes Yes
Webull Yes $0 No Yes
WH SelfInvest Yes €500 Yes No
Windsor Brokers Yes $100 Yes Yes
XGlobal Markets Yes $500 No No
XM Yes 5 $/€/£ Yes Yes
XTB Yes $0 No No
XTrade Yes $250 No No
ZacksTrade No $2500 No No
Zenfinex Yes $50 Yes No
Zero Markets Yes $200 Yes Yes
Zerodha No 0 No Yes

Scams

Unfortunately, there are some online stock brokers out there that are operating a service that is not in line with what they promise. And even worse, others are designed purely to scam investors. The good news is, it can be easy to tell which these are. Look out for the following red flags:

  • How did you find out about this broker? Were you cold-called or sent an email or text message out of the blue? These are not the marketing practices of legitimate brokers.
  • Offers of ‘making money fast’ or ‘passive income’ are often unrealistic promises. Making sensible investments takes research. These ‘get rich quick’ schemes should serve as a warning to stock traders. Consider why they would be selling their service to you if they have the secret to making money without a time commitment.
  • All good online stock brokers will be registered with some form of regulatory authority. They’ll provide you with a broker number (usually at the bottom of their homepage) which will allow you to verify this using the regulator’s register. You can also use the BrokerCheck from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). This reveals whether there are any outstanding legal actions against the firm.

Final Word On The Best Stock Brokers & Platforms

A thorough comparison of online stock brokers is a crucial step in creating a solid investment portfolio. Luckily, much of this research can be done via the internet, without having to talk to a broker face-to-face. Stock platforms that are regulated, with low fees and a solid selection of graphs and indicators are a great place to start. Traders with low capital should look for fractional shares or even penny stocks. While reading a review or ranking can be a useful start, selecting a broker is a personal choice based on your unique requirements.

FAQs

Are Online Stock Brokers Safe?

Online stock brokers can be safe to trade with, as long as you look out for some key capabilities. In particular, stockbrokers should be regulated with a reputable authority such as the SEC, ASIC or FCA. Technology advancements in recent years mean that retail traders can safely and easily enter the market, where previously this was exclusively reserved for institutional investors.

How Do Online Stock Brokers Make Money?

Online stock brokers make money through fees and commission. Many charge an annual account fee, for example, this might be 1% of your total investment value but is usually less. On top of this, there may be an initial charge on the purchase. Some brokers are also ‘market makers’ meaning they create liquidity by taking the other side of a trade. Sometimes, brokers can make money this way if a trader makes a loss.

How Do You Switch Online Stock Brokers?

Similar to switching banks, there’s a service that enables you to move your investments between brokers without selling. You’ll need to provide your new broker with your old account details (account number and type of investment, NOT passwords). Then fill out an Automated Customer Account Transfer (ACAT) form. Your new online stock broker will then guide you through the switching service.

What Should You Look For In An Online Stock Broker?

First and foremost, any online stock broker should be regulated by a reputable body. Traders should also look for those offering a service that meets their capital requirements. In particular, look at the fee structure, minimum account balance, option for fractional shares, and selection of derivatives.

What Are The Best Stock Platforms For Beginners?

The best online stock platforms for beginners are those that offer the option to practise on a demo account. This enables traders to test their strategies beforehand. Beginners may also want to consider fractional shares or ETFs.