3. Best online stock brokers

Charles Schwab – Best for General Investing

What makes it great: Charles Schwab is a tremendous all-around investment firm. It’s suitable for new and passive investors as well as highly active traders thanks to a combination of low pricing, a wide selection of investments, multiple trading platforms, and nearly any type of investment account you could want.

One standout product for new and passive investors is Schwab Intelligent Portfolios. This no-fee robo-advising platform handles your investments for you based on your investment profile and goals. It’s also noteworthy for offering both basic and professional-level trading platforms. The upcoming merger with TD Ameritrade is also good for Schwab users, as it comes with the highly-rated Thinkorswim investment apps.

Potential drawbacks: There are a few places where you might find Schwab doesn’t meet your needs. For example, while fractional shares are supported, the list is limited, and you can’t schedule recurring buys, like a weekly recurring purchase of a favorite stock or ETF. It also comes with meager interest rates for cash, including its otherwise excellent “high yield” online checking and savings accounts.

Commissions and fees: Most trades are commission-free, and most accounts have no recurring account fees. Options require a $0.65 cent per contract fee but no base commission. Schwab offers a vast list of mutual funds with no trading fees, but others require a commission. Over-the-counter (pink sheets or unlisted stocks) require a trading fee, and you’ll pay $25 extra per trade for broker assistance. There are some additional fees for other, less common activities.


  • Commission-free trades and no recurring fees for most accounts
  • Support for most investment asset types
  • Banking and investment accounts can meet most investor needs


  • Limited fractional share program
  • Low interest rates on cash
  • No cryptocurrency investments

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