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Best Online Brokerages for Beginners (2021)

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Are you looking for online brokers to help you with investing?

Welcome to the phroogal 5, a series of the five best apps. We’ve done the work to narrow down the best choices. Want more options? Check the marketplace.

The two most common types of investment accounts are taxable brokerage accounts and retirement accounts such as 401(k) plans and IRAs.

In this article, you’ll learn the best online brokerage accounts for beginner investors to help you reach financial goals.

What are Online Brokerages?

A discount broker is a stockbroker that performs buy and sell orders at a reduced commission rate. Discount online brokerage firms enable regular people to invest in the stock market using a digital platform. They are not financial advisors that give investment advice. Most discount brokers offer online and mobile platforms. You can use the online trading platform for individual stocks and exchange-traded funds.

Best Online Brokerage for Beginners 2021

To reach your investment goals, start with these online brokers.

Public: Best Mobile Experience

Public is a zero-commission stock trading platform. It’s a good option for a beginner investor.

  • Invest in fractional shares of companies.
  • Access original ETFs from Vanguard, BlackRock, and others.
  • Follow other Public investors and view their investment portfolio.

Account Fees: $0
Investment minimum: $0
Trading Fees: $0

New Account Bonus: Get $10 worth of stock upon signup and deposit (any amount).

Read the Public review.

Webull: Best Research Tools

Webull is an online brokerage offering zero-commission trades. It’s best for frequent traders and experienced investors. The app provides a comprehensive toolset to help you make trades like a pro.

  • Advanced and intelligent trading tools such as advanced charting and options trading.
  • Free real-time quotes.
  • Community forum to chat with other retail investors.

Account Fees: $0
Investment minimum: $0
Trading Fees: $0

New Account Bonus: Get 2 free stocks for opening an account with $100.

Read the Webull review.

SoFi Active Investing: Best for Simplicity

SoFi Active Investing is an online brokerage enabling commission-free stocks trading. With SoFi, you access a range of investments such as fractional shares of stocks, ETFs, and crypto.

  • A commission-free online brokerage account.
  • Zero-trading commission
  • Get benefits of SoFi Membership that include educational content.

Account Fees: $0
Investment minimum: $1
Trading Fees: $0

New Account Bonus: Get $25 in stocks to start your portfolio when you fund your SoFi Invest account with at least $1,000.

Read SoFi Active Investing review.

M1 Invest: Best for Long-term

M1 Finance is a brokerage firm for beginners and passive investors with commission-free trading. With M1, you also get automated investment strategies to create your diversified portfolio. It’s best for long-term investors, not for frequent traders or advanced traders. 

  • Discover investment options.
  • Simple interface built for ETFs.
  • Robust and interactive investor educational materials.

Account Fees: $0
Investment minimum: $100
Trading Fees: None

New Account Bonus: Varies.

Read M1 Finance review.

Charles Schwab: Best Traditional Platform

Charles Schwab is one of the best-known online brokers. With Charles Schwab, you get access to online trading platforms and investment advisors.

  • Trade stocks, options, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs, and other financial products.
  • Get online tools to evaluate investments.
  • Access to Charles Schwab branches and professionals.

Account Fees: $0
Investment minimum: $0
Trading Fees: $0

New Account Bonus: Make a qualifying deposit and earn a bonus reward. Learn more here.

How to Get Started

As you start your investing journey, you’ll need an online brokerage account. There are many to choose from, and it can be daunting. Online brokers all offer similar services.

The following can help you decide which is best for you:

  • What are the minimum deposits requirement?
  • Is there a minimum balance?
  • Are there trading commission fees?
  • Are you looking to actively trade stocks?
  • Do you want to buy fractional shares of stocks?
  • What tools are offered? 

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