Table of Contents
Affiliate Disclosure
Affiliate Disclosure adheres to strict guidelines to preserve editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Some of the reviews and content we feature on this site are supported by affiliate partnerships from which this website may receive money. This may impact how, where and which companies / services we review and write about. Our team of experts work to continually re-evaluate the reviews and information we provide on all the top Forex / CFD brokerages featured here. Our research focuses heavily on the broker’s custody of client deposits and the breadth of its client offering. Safety is evaluated by quality and length of the broker's track record, plus the scope of regulatory standing. Major factors in determining the quality of a broker’s offer include the cost of trading, the range of instruments available to trade, and general ease of use regarding execution and market information.

Best Online Brokerage Accounts for Stock Trading

As more and more brokers come to offer trading in individual stocks, our experts have selected the best 100 and then assessed them all in terms of the scope of their respective offerings. Then we narrowed the list down to the best 5 online stock trading brokers, which we present to you here.

The ratings shown on are determined by hours of research from our editorial team into over 10 factors, including account fees, deposit/withdrawal options, regulatory status, tradable assets, and more.
Best all around broker
High floating leverage + fast execution
The ratings shown on are determined by hours of research from our editorial team into over 10 factors, including account fees, deposit/withdrawal options, regulatory status, tradable assets, and more.
ECN-style trading
Daily market research and Autochartist access
The ratings shown on are determined by hours of research from our editorial team into over 10 factors, including account fees, deposit/withdrawal options, regulatory status, tradable assets, and more.
A well-balanced stock selection of 1,000+ CFDs.
Deep liquidity pools & ultra-fast NDD order execution.
The ratings shown on are determined by hours of research from our editorial team into over 10 factors, including account fees, deposit/withdrawal options, regulatory status, tradable assets, and more.
Trade 1,000+ financial instruments
Experience low, competitive spreads
The ratings shown on are determined by hours of research from our editorial team into over 10 factors, including account fees, deposit/withdrawal options, regulatory status, tradable assets, and more.
Solid broker for scalping and hedging
Institutional-style trading opportunities for retail traders
The ratings shown on are determined by hours of research from our editorial team into over 10 factors, including account fees, deposit/withdrawal options, regulatory status, tradable assets, and more.
Two bond CFDs & a dedicated educational section on bond trading.
Excellent multi-lingual customer support in 14 languages.

  • FXTM, Best all-around broker with high floating leverage and fast execution.
  • FP Markets, ECN trading with leverage up to 1:500.
  • Pepperstone, Great ECN execution on MT4 platform.
  • Eightcap, Competitive pricing + excellent daily videos.
  • BlackBull Markets, Best ECN trading environment, with scalping and hedging.


In Summary Best all-around broker with high floating leverage and fast execution

FXTM was founded in 2011 and is headquartered in the U.K., Cyprus, and Mauritius. It enjoys a very high level of regulation including by the regulatory authorities of both the U.K. and the European Union, so trader can feel like they enjoy a high level of security here. FXTM offers trading in Forex, commodities, equity indices, and of course individual stocks and shares. FXTM offer online stock broking for the top American shares in two different formats: a wide selection of over 120 stocks can be traded as certificates for deposit (CFDs), while 10 stocks can be bought and sold directly without any wrapping of legal ownership. Leverage as high as 10 to 1 is offered.

Read more on FXTM »
4.8/5 in this category

Pros & Cons

  • Excellent commission-based Forex pricing environment and transparency
  • Upgraded MT4/MT5 trading platforms plus proprietary mobile trading app
  • Quality market research and educational content for beginner traders
  • A highly regulated broker with a tier-1 license
  • No cryptocurrencies and limited choice of commodities

FP Markets

In Summary ECN trading with leverage up to 1:500

FP Markets, based in Australia, is one of the world’s most popular forex & CFD brokers. FPMarkets offers the MetaTrader 4 (MT4) as well as the MetaTrader 5 (MT5) trading platforms, alongside WebTrader and IRESS platforms, low forex fees and fast transaction turnarounds. In addition, clients can enjoy trading in over 10,000 different shares and stocks, as well as over 60 forex pairs and crosses, 5 cryptocurrencies, 11 equity indices, all of the major commodities, and a number of top publicly traded shares traded on both the Sydney and the Hong Kong stock exchanges. FPMarkets features multiple licensing through top regulators including the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) as well as the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC).

Read more on FP Markets »
4.8/5 in this category

Pros & Cons

  • Choice of trading platforms and auxiliary trading tools
  • Very competitive cost structure and excellent asset selection
  • Low minimum deposit requirement and leverage of up to 1:500
  • Well-regulated and trustworthy
  • Availability of Iress geographically restricted


In Summary Great ECN execution on MT4 platform

Pepperstone offers stock traders CFD trading with a maximum leverage of 1:20 and negative balance protection. Traders get EU equity CFDs listed in Germany, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Netherlands, Austria, and Italy. Pepperstone quotes 600+ CFDs and 100+ ETFs in the US, 100 UK CFDs, 200 CFDs in Australia, and numerous Hong Kong CFDs. It makes Pepperstone one of the best stock brokers on my listing.

Commissions start from 0.07% for Australian CFDs, 0.10% for EU and UK CFDs, 0.20% for Hong Kong CFDs, and $0.02 per share per side for US CFDs.

Read more on Pepperstone »
4.7/5 in this category

Pros & Cons

  • Excellent choice of trading platforms consisting of MT4/MT5, and cTrader
  • Market-leading MT4/MT5 upgrade package, Autochartist, and API trading
  • Social trading support via Myfxbook, MetaTrader Signals, and DupliTrade
  • Leverage of up to 1:30 and superb trade execution
  • Demo accounts have 30-day time limits


In Summary Competitive pricing + excellent daily videos

Top stockbrokers maintain a wide range of assets, covering various sectors and geographic locations. Eightcap ensures stock traders get a well-balanced asset selection, offering stock CFDs on the MT5 platform, which fully supports algorithmic and copy trading. Capitalise AI provides traders with a code-free environment to automatize trading strategies, and Eightcap connects to the TradingView community, one of the most active ones with 30M+ traders.

Eightcap offers long and short positions on blue chip stocks in the US, Australia, London, and Germany. Premium liquidity ensures tight spreads order execution at the specified price or better, which improves overall profitability.

Read more on Eightcap »
4.6/5 in this category

Pros & Cons

  • Low minimum deposit and high leverage of up to 1:500
  • Competitive cost structure
  • Excellent technology infrastructure and seasoned management team
  • Daily research and quality educational content
  • Limited leverage in some areas

BlackBull Markets

In Summary Best ECN trading environment, with scalping and hedging

BlackBull Markets was founded in 2014 in New Zealand. Like many antipodean Forex brokers, BlackBull Markets is an ECN broker, offering raw spreads and commissions. They are regulated in New Zealand by the Financial Services Providers Register (FSPR) and offer a maximum leverage on some Forex currency pairs as high as 500 to 1. In addition to their global headquarters in New Zealand, BlackBull Markets also has presences in the form of branch offices in New York and Malaysia. BlackBull Markets offers a relatively tight range of tradable assets: 27 Forex currency pairs and crosses, gold, silver, crude oil, natural gas, and 6 major equity indices. That should be sufficient for those traders with more focused strategies not requiring wide diversification.

Read more on BlackBull Markets »
4.5/5 in this category

Pros & Cons

  • ECN/NDD execution model with deep liquidity
  • Institution-grade pricing for retail traders via proprietary price aggregation
  • ZuluTrade and Myfxbook for social trading
  • Leverage of up to 1:500
  • Limited deposit options


In Summary Highly regulated, choice of fixed or floating spreads

AvaTrade, founded in 2006, is one of the true pioneers in the online brokerage space. AvaTrade allows trading in over 100 different stocks and shares listed on the NYSE, NASDAQ, FTSE, and certain other major exchanges. The stocks are traded wrapped as CFDs. Leverage of up to 20 to 1 is offered on stock trading. AvaTrade’s stock trading fees are low. Stocks offered are essentially focused on major market listings in traditional stock markets of interest such as the U.K. and U.S.A. but crucially, a wide enough selection is offered to ensure a reasonable level of diversification can be secured when required by the trader. AvaTrade has excellent trading tools, including an easy-to-use mobile trading app.

Read more on AvaTrade »
4.5/5 in this category

Pros & Cons

  • High quality educational offering via AvaAcademy
  • Excellent choice of trading platforms catering to various trading needs
  • Broad asset selection and cross-asset diversification opportunities
  • Well-regulated and trusted broker with oversight from a central bank
  • Trading costs competitive but nothing special

Best Stock Brokers Comparison

Year Established
Execution Type(s)
ECN/STP, Market MakerECN/STPNo Dealing Desk, NDDECN/STP, Market MakerECN/STP, No Dealing Desk
Minimum Deposit
Average Trading Cost EUR/USD
0.1 pips1.1 pips1.1 pips1.0 pips1.3 pips
Average Trading Cost GBP/USD
0.2 pips1.4 pips1.6 pips1.2 pips2.0 pips
Average Trading Cost Gold
$0.18 $0.21 $0.20 $0.12 $0.90
Trading Platform(s)
MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5, Proprietary platformMetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5, cTrader, Proprietary platform, Web-basedMetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5, cTrader, Trading ViewMetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5, Trading ViewMetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5, Trading View
Islamic Account
Negative Balance Protection

11 Tips to Consider When Choosing an Online Stockbroker

  • Account Security, i.e. the security of your deposit judged on the regulatory position and reputation of the stockbroker. You need to be sure you will get your money back if and when you ask for it.
  • Trading Fees (spreads, commissions) are not the only determining factor you should consider when choosing an online stock trading broker, but you should not be paying more than the industry average unless you are getting access to some service which gives you a special benefit.
  • Choice of stocks and shares to trade.
  • Account minimums – some brokers will not let you open an account without a minimum cash deposit. Can you afford the minimum deposit required by your first-choice stockbroker?
  • Other fees, such as overnight financing, inactivity fees, and withdrawal fees which may be charged. These are always worth checking.
  • Speed of order execution
  • Market research (not usually very important)
  • Customer service
  • Free trading tools
  • Retirement / investment account options (tax compliant)
  • Banking options

Top Features of the Best Stockbrokers for Beginners

In many ways, the best online stock trading brokers for beginners are the same as the best for everyone else – safety, regulation, and the cost of trading being basically the same for all clients. However, there are a few special issues which beginners would be wise to consider when choosing a broker:

  • Low fees / cost of trading may be especially helpful to beginners, as beginners usually need as much help to profit as possible. Beginners also tend to overtrade which can increase overall costs.
  • Does the broker offer truly good education and market research, or just a gimmick packaged to look like it?
  • Easy, intuitive trading platform.
  • Consistently reliable execution is more important than average execution speed.

Daily Forex’s Expert Recommendation for Advanced Traders

Advanced traders will probably be trading larger accounts and are likely to be trading in higher volumes too. More experienced traders will also probably be more interested in trading a wider variety of stocks and can benefit from the provision of advanced trading tools.

For these reasons, we think Plus500 is the most suitable broker for advanced traders looking for an online stock trading broker.

What is a Stockbroker?

A stockbroker is a business which sells and buys stock, or some instrument tied to the value of a stock, to its clients. Online stock trading brokers are a bit unique as they are effectively obliged to return the other side of any transaction initiated by a client once it has begun. This means that if you buy a stock from an online brokerage, they are obliged to let you sell it back to them, and if you sell a stock short, they are obliged to let you buy it back. The timing is up to the client, although online brokers are usually only open for trading in individual stocks during the hours the relevant stock exchanges are open.

Stockbrokers traditionally make their profit from spreads (small differences between the buy and sell price which tend to persist) and/or commissions. However, online retail stockbrokers may also profit from their client’s trading losses when they make the relevant market instead of acting as an exchange or intermediary.

How Much Money Do You Need to Start Investing?

When it comes to how much money you need to start trading with online stock trading brokers, there are two issues to consider.

Firstly, most stockbrokers have a minimum deposit requirement, so you are going to need at least that amount of money to start investing – mind the minimum deposit requirement. Secondly, ask yourself how much do you need to trade stocks successfully given the anticipated win rate of your trading strategy, as well as the minimum position size and margin requirements imposed by your stockbroker of choice?

For example, if you accept that you might have 20 losing trades in a row as a worst-case losing streak, and the minimum trade size accepted by your broker is $50, and you use maximum leverage at 20 to 1, and you will on average lose $20 per losing trade, you will need to plan for a potential loss of $400 (twenty times $20 stake per trade). If you want to aim for a worst-case maximum drawdown of 20%, then you will need to multiply that $400 by five to determine your overall starting account size.

Simply put, it is important to work out your worst-case scenario, decide the biggest account drawdown you are prepared to accept, and then apply that to the terms your broker imposes. It is a good idea when choosing an online stock trading broker to apply this data to each potential broker you are considering, as you will then see which broker is best suited to the amount of money you have available to deposit.

What Is an Online Brokerage Account and How Does it Work?

An online brokerage account is similar to a bank account, but its sole purpose is for trading and investing rather than day to day expenditure. Clients will open a brokerage account, verify their identity, and fund it with one of the supported payment solutions, which include bank wires and credit/debit cards.

The online brokerage account displays overall portfolio holdings and floating profits/losses related to open positions and allows investors to manage their investment activity. It also reflects all dividend payments and other corporate actions from their investments, like stock splits, mergers, acquisitions, and bankruptcies of the portfolio companies. Investors can transfer cash not used for open positions from their online brokerage account to their bank to use without restrictions.

Do Brokers Offer Mobile Platforms?

Almost all brokers offer mobile trading platforms. Most are from popular trading platform providers, like MT4, MT5, and cTrader, but some of the best stock trading brokers have developed their own proprietary mobile apps. They are ideal for copy trading strategies and managing portfolios on the go, but investors should consider their sole use as a sub-standard solution to conduct in-depth analytics when compared with desktop versions of the trading platform that include far more tools and information.

Usually, traditional stockbrokers only cater to manual traders, point and click type execution and are best therefore used for long term fundamental investment strategies, reading reports, research, and analytics. Mobile apps cater more to traders than investors and are widely available, allowing investors to buy and sell shares and track account values similar to their desktop or web-based counterparts.

Can I Buy Stocks Without a Broker?

Yes, investors can buy stocks without a broker, but the practice is increasingly rare and may soon become a relic of the financial system. Some publicly listed companies have direct stock purchase plans, allowing potential investors to purchase shares directly from the company. They were more common before the emergence of online brokers lowered the transaction costs. It allowed investors to save avoid commissions levied by bricks-and-mortar brokers and bank-brokers but has become mostly obsolete today.

Investors can contact companies and inquire about direct stock purchase plans, but many existing today are for employees only. Companies administer them according to internal rules. In rare cases, an investor may sell physical stock certificates in person to another investor, but the process is inefficient (you may have to pay local taxes too) and often costs more than buying shares with one of the best stock trading brokers.

The Difference Between Investing and Trading

The primary difference between investing and trading is that the former aims to generate wealth slowly over time, while the latter focuses on short-term profit generation. Investing in stocks can be an ideal approach for retirement purposes or passive income via dividend payments. Trading can benefit from the use of leverage if traders use it with prudent risk management. Most consider investing less risky than trading as it requires ‘lower touch’ management.

You might also be interested in reviewing the below top brokers:


Why do investors use discount brokers?


A discount broker is a brokerage which offers its clients the ability to trade assets such as stocks and shares, but which does not also offer ancillary services which are traditionally also provided by brokerages such as market research, investment advice, and estate or even tax planning. Investors use these brokerages because discount brokers can keep their costs down by dispensing with any requirement to finance the necessary cost of these activities, and hopefully pass the savings down to their clients in terms of lower spreads, commissions, and overall trading fees. This is especially logical for clients who feel they either do not require any of the aforementioned supplemental services or cannot afford them as “nice to haves” rather than as “must haves”. It comes down to economy.

How do I buy stocks online?


While it is possible in theory to buy stocks online from individuals who happen to own them, this is neither practical nor widespread, and potentially runs afoul of several regulatory issues, especially when the stocks being bought are stocks in publicly traded companies. The best way for an individual to buy stocks online is by opening an account with a regulated, registered online stock trading broker. Once the account is open, you can go about buying stocks online from your chosen broker. The broker takes care of ensuring underlying legal ownership is registered in the name of the customer and also all other necessary bureaucracy which is imposed upon any change in ownership in shares of a publicly traded company, with the exception of a few unlikely obligations which might theoretically fall upon the individual client – for example, many countries require special regulatory filings of information by any individual amassing control of over 10% of the entire issued stock of a public company, but this is not going to happen in the case of a private investor in trader who is not already extremely wealthy.

Can I earn interest on a brokerage account?


Yes, you can earn interest on a brokerage account, but this is usually only possible under certain restrictive conditions making it unlikely that most retail stock traders will benefit from it. It is usual for online stockbrokers to stipulate that they will pay interest only to an account which maintains an average positive balance above a certain amount, and then interest is paid only on that amount. For example, one stockbroker currently pays interest only on the amount of average positive balance above $10,000. An additional obstacle to receiving any meaningful interest on a brokerage account is that although interest rate environments can change from month to month or year to year, for the past several years all developed countries have been operating within a very low interest rate environment. This means that even banks will pay very low rates of interest on savings accounts. So, even if you do qualify to receive interest on a positive balance on your brokerage account, you will receive very little while low base interest rates are in force concerning the currency in which your account is denominated. Retail stock traders or investors should not be much concerned with earning interest from their brokerage account. Traders or investors looking to earn interest might consider investing in ETF bond funds which effectively pay an interest coupon every month, although this of course involves risk of the price of the underlying fund decreasing in value, so it is more risky than simply receiving interest on principal.

What is a stock trading fee?


A stock trading fee is any fee that a broker charges a client for trading in a stock: basically, this is any type of fee charged by a discount broker with the exception of account inactivity fees which may be levied by some after a specified length of time has elapsed without a client opening or closing any trades. It can be helpful for a client to look at the cost of all such fees together as a “cost of trading”, as it can then be seen more clearly whether the overall trading service is well-priced. Stock trading fees are typically made up of the following components: Commissions – these are usually flat percentages based upon the cash value of the trade, i.e. the total value of the stocks being bought or sold. Some brokers apply a sliding scale of commissions which decrease as the trade size increases, meaning that proportionately less commission is paid on larger trades. Spreads – brokers will usually offer to sell you something at a slightly higher price than what they will buy it back for you at, even if you sell it back to them immediately within a split second of buying it. This difference between the buy (known as a “bid”) and sell (known as an “ask”) prices is called the “spread” and along with commissions, is the staple basis of the income stream of brokerages. Overnight Financing Fees – with the exception of Islamic trading accounts, or accounts which allow clients to buy direct ownership of underlying stocks, almost every retail online stock brokerage will apply a charge overnight to every account which holds a trade open past the day’s New York close. The charge is essentially justified by the use of leverage, which is effectively borrowing, so you can think of it as an interest charge on money borrowed to buy stocks, where it applies to a long (bought) stock position. Alternatively, if you have sold stocks short, you have borrowed them from the broker and then sold them back to the broker, so you are paying daily interest on the value of the shares w

Is my money insured?


Clients depositing money with an online stock trading broker want to know if their deposit is insured in case the broker goes bankrupt and becomes unable to return client funds upon receiving a withdrawal request. The answer varies according to the country in which the broker is based. Generally, if a broker is regulated in a country with good regulation, the regulator is already working hard to ensure that brokers keep client funds strictly separate from their own funds, and to ensure that the broker maintains a minimum amount of capital deemed as likely to be necessary to prevent the broker from becoming bankrupt. Clients wanting to know whether the national regulator of a broker will insure their deposit or at least a part of their deposit should directly ask the broker about this, as well as whether the broker has arranged any insurance for clients themselves. In the U.S.A. depositors are typically insured to up to $500,000 on most assets, and many stockbrokers have their own excess insurance. Similar insurance is available in the European Union.

What type of brokerage account should I choose?


Some online stockbrokers offer different types of trading accounts, which typically require different minimum deposits, with the accounts requiring larger minimums usually offering lower trading fees or some advanced feature which may be useful. If you are offered such a choice of account types by your preferred broker, the correct decision for you is certainly going to depend upon your individual circumstances regarding what kind of stocks you want to trade and the anticipated size and frequency of your trades.

How quickly can I start trading?


Modern online stockbrokers are required to verify proof of identity and secure an initial deposit before allowing a new client to start trading. The good news is that onboarding processes have mostly become so streamlined that taking the first step to open a new account and making the first trade there can often happen in the same day.

Which broker is best for beginners?


The best stock trading brokers will often offer beginners in-depth educational content, which forms the backbone for a successful outcome. Since beginners often have less capital, fractional share dealing, and ETFs will provide the necessary diversification opportunities on a budget. Low trading costs and well-balanced asset selection with actionable research, in-house generated or sourced via a third party, are also characteristics of the best brokers for beginners.

Christopher Lewis
About Christopher Lewis

Christopher Lewis has been trading Forex for several years. He writes about Forex for many online publications, including his own site, aptly named The Trader Guy.