What’s the best discount broker for retail investors? That depends on your needs. We’ve narrowed the field down to top picks for retail investors with different priorities.



Robinhood logo

Asset Classes
Stocks, ETFs, Options, Bitcoin

Trading Fees

Account Minimum

Margin Rates
11.25% (7.25% with Robinhood Gold)

Robinhood is a mobile-first brokerage with mostly free trading, a straightforward interface, and the right amount of information available for newer investors. It’s a great place to start for newer investors, though regular day traders also like it for making quick trades on the go. Read More

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eToro logo

Asset Classes
Stocks, ETFs, Options, Cryptocurrencies

Trading Fees
Stocks, Options and ETFs Free, Crypto 1% Transaction Fee

Account Minimum

Margin Rates
Limited Access to Margin

eToro is a unique platform with a lot of resources for investors who want to learn how to trade like the pros. It has a virtual portfolio feature, a social network feature for trading tips, and Smart Portfolios for watching professionals allocate assets. It’s a great choice for investors who want to learn by example. Read More

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Webull logo

Asset Classes
Stocks, ETFs, Options, Crypto, ADRs, OTC

Trading Fees

Account Minimum

Margin Rates
5.49% to 9.49%

Webull is a user-friendly platform with a robust set of charting and analytical tools. It doesn’t offer the biggest range of tradable assets, but it does have completely fee-free trading (including options), reasonable margin rates, and free real-time in-app stock quotes. Read More

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Interactive Brokers

Interactive Brokers logo

Asset Classes
Stocks, ETFs, Options, Futures, Currencies, Bonds, Mutual Funds

Trading Fees
Free for US stocks and ETFs, Fixed/Tiered Pricing for Everything Else

Account Minimum

Margin Rates
5.42% to 6.08%

Interactive Brokers puts near institutional-quality tools and access to 150 global markets in the hands of regular retail investors. It has a wide range of trading tools, low margin costs, and a huge amount of research available on nearly every tradable security. The one downside is that it may be too complicated for newer traders. Read More

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Fidelity logo

Asset Classes
Stocks, ETFs, Options, Crypto, Bonds, ADRs, Fractional Stocks, Penny Stocks, Currencies

Trading Fees
Free for US stocks and ETFs, $0.65 for Options, Varying Fees for International Trades

Account Minimum

Margin Rates
8.5% to 12.825%

Fidelity is a highly-rated platform that offers a wide range of services, everything from retirement planning to trading penny stocks. You get access to global markets, a huge range of assets, and tons of research and analysis from in and outside of Fidelity itself. Read More

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The Best Discount Brokers for Retail Investors

We’re long past the age of calling your broker to make trades and paying steep commission fees. Nowadays, retail investors can take make trades using mobile and browser-based apps, and commission fees have almost completely gone away.

There are dozens of these discount brokerages that want your business. They can’t compete on price anymore, so every one of them has been forced to distinguish itself in other ways. Figuring out which one is the best can be a chore… but we’ve done all the legwork for you. Keep reading to find out more.

1. Robinhood

🏆 Best for Newbies and Mobile Users

Robinhood homepage

Robinhood is a great place for new investors to start learning the ropes. Part of that comes from all the tutorials and how-to guides on the platform, but there are thousands of YouTube videos out there that’ll teach you the same thing.

The real reason Robinhood is so great for newer investors is that it’s a mobile-first platform with one of the most streamlined interfaces of any brokerage. It doesn’t take long at all to get acquainted with the platform, and even the greenest users can figure out how to buy and sell stocks within an hour at most.

Many brokerages give you access to a staggering amount of information, research, and analysis on every stock: more than enough to intimidate or disorient newer users. Robinhood keeps it much simpler. You’ll find some fundamentals and some charts, maybe some news stories, and a report or two, but that’s about it.

All that dedication to simplicity is a double-edged sword, however. You can only trade stocks, options, some ETFs, and Bitcoin (BTC) on Robinhood, and the lack of analytical features may frustrate more numerically oriented traders. Still, it’s a great place to start, even if you don’t stay on the platform forever.

Asset Classes Trading Fees Account Minimums Margin Rates
Robinhood Stocks, ETFs, Options, Bitcoin $0 $0 11.25% (7.25% with Robinhood Gold)

➕ Pros:

  • Streamlined, easy-to-use mobile interface.
  • Premium subscription only costs $5/month.
  • Easily structure and trade complex options transactions.
  • Not overwhelming to newer investors.
  • New accounts come with free stock.

➖ Cons:

  • Limited to stocks, options, some ETFs, and BTC.
  • Primarily limited to US markets.
  • Very limited charting and analysis features.
  • Game-like features may encourage risky trades.

2. eToro

🏆 Best for Leveling Up

eToro homepage

eToro may seem similar to Robinhood at first blush, but it has a few features that set it apart. Sure, eToro is also limited to stocks, ETFs, crypto, and options, and it’s also primarily a mobile platform, but that’s where the similarities stop.

The biggest factor setting eToro apart from Robinhood and its other competitors is its focus on education and knowledge sharing. It starts with their pre-built Smart Portfolios, which give newer traders a look at how AI-assisted professionals manage portfolios of cryptocurrencies. You can follow the examples of certain traders on the platform by automatically copying (and learning from) their trades and more.

If you aren’t that interested in crypto, you can take advantage of eToro’s built-in social network to get trading ideas and advice from more experienced users. If learning by example is more your thing, eToro has a robust virtual portfolio feature that lets you test strategies without putting any of your money on the line. Add in all the tutorials, research, and analysis, and you’re basically looking at a Master’s level finance course worth of learning packed into one app.

Asset Classes Trading Fees Account Minimums Margin Rates
eToro Stocks, ETFs, Options, Crypto Stocks, Options and ETFs Free, Crypto 1% Transaction Fee $10 Limited Margin

➕ Pros:

  • Virtual portfolio for testing strategies.
  • Long list of tradable cryptocurrencies.
  • Social network feature for crowdsourcing advice, ideas, and general sentiment.
  • Smart Portfolios and CopyTrader features present both learning and profit-making opportunities.

➖ Cons:

  • Limited to stocks, options, ETFs, and cryptocurrencies.
  • Not as feature-rich as some other platforms.
  • Limited research and trading tools.

3. Webull

🏆 Best for Options Trading

Webull homepage

Webull is a great choice If you already know what you’re doing, don’t need much more instruction, and are ready to strike out on your own. The platform is straightforward and user friendly on both desktop and mobile, there are no minimum account balances or commission fees, and it has a lot of the same functionality as Robinhood, with some added features.

While Webull doesn’t let you trade every kind of security in existence, it does let you trade some things that Robinhood doesn’t. Webull has a much larger roster of tradable cryptocurrencies, for example, and it also lets you trade fractional shares and some over-the-counter securities. It also gives you the ability to participate in extended hours and pre-market trading.

All that’s great, but the real appeal here comes in the form of its completely fee-free options trading. Most other platforms still charge fees for options contract legs that interact with other firms. Webull waives all that. It’s no wonder that it’s such a popular destination for options traders.

Webull doesn’t have quite the same range of assets and features as some full-service brokers, though you probably won’t miss them. Webull has plenty of charting and analysis features, a simple interface, and all the free trades you can handle.

Asset Classes Trading Fees Account Minimums Margin Rates
Webull Stocks, ETFs, Options, Crypto, ADRs, OTC $0 $0 5.49% to 9.49%

➕ Pros:

  • Completely fee-free options trading.
  • Mobile, desktop, and browser-based versions.
  • Customizable trading interface (mainly on the workstation version).
  • Surprisingly robust charting capabilities.
  • Free, real-time stock quotes.
  • Can trade stocks, ETFs, options, ADRs, OTC, and crypto.

➖ Cons:

  • No bonds, futures, forex, mutual funds, or direct access to international markets   
  • No analyst reports or research.
  • Minimal portfolio management/analysis features.

4. Interactive Brokers

🏆 Best for International Trading

Interactive Brookers homepage

Interactive Brokers is a bit different than the brokerages we’ve listed so far. They cater to both retail and institutional investors, and institutional investors tend to demand more powerful tools than the average trader. Granted, you’ll have to sign up for the less feature-rich IBKR Lite plan (the Pro plan is only for the institutional folks), but you’ll still have access to a lot of impressive features.

Interactive Brokers’ platform – especially its signature IB Trader Workstation software – gives you way more information than the previous entries in this list. You can use their free trading tools to build strategies, calculate the best time to enter and exit positions, design and simulate model portfolios, and way, way more. Then there’s the advanced charting, portfolio analysis tools, research and analyst ratings, and all the other sources of information…it’s almost too much, really.

On top of all that, Interactive Brokers gives you access to over 150 different markets around the world. You can trade stocks, options, futures, ETFs, currencies, bonds, and mutual funds in pretty much any international market you can think of. The one downside is that there are fees associated with international trading.

Asset Classes Trading Fees Account Minimums Margin Rates
Interactive Brokers Stocks, ETFs, Options, Futures, Currencies, Bonds, Mutual Funds Free for US Stocks and ETFs, Fixed/Tiered Pricing for Everything Else $0 5.42% to 6.08%

➕ Pros:

  • Ability to trade all kinds of different assets and securities.
  • Access to over 150 global markets.
  • Wide range of charting, analysis, and trading tools.
  • Can use on mobile, desktop, browser, or special IB Trader Workstation software
  • Low margin costs.

➖ Cons:

  • Possible information overload.
  • The interface takes a while to figure out.
  • It can be difficult to figure out how much trades cost

5. Fidelity

🏆 Best for Long-Term Investing

Fidelity homepage

Fidelity is a lot of different things to a lot of different people. You can use it as a brokerage for self-directed investing, but they’re also more than happy to help you save money, plan for retirement, set up IRAs, and more.

Like Interactive Brokers, Fidelity gives you access to a ton of different assets on a ton of international markets. You can trade everything from mutual funds to penny stocks, all kinds of fixed-income products, currencies, fractional shares, ADRs, and more, usually without paying a dime in commission fees.

Fidelity’s app and browser-based platform both have a long list of features packed in. There are customizable screeners, first and third-party analyst ratings, advanced charting, an absolute deluge of research, and even tools for watching sentiments on social media.

Asset Classes Trading Fees Account Minimums Margin Rates
Fidelity Stocks, ETFs, Options, Crypto, Bonds, ADRs, Fractional Stocks, Penny Stocks, Currencies Free for US Stocks and ETFs, $0.65/Options, Varying Fees for International Trading $0 8.5% to 12.825%

➕ Pros:

  • A large list of tradable assets.
  • Access to international markets.
  • Lots of research and analyses are available.
  • Active Trader Pro software is great for day trading.
  • Highly versatile charts and screeners.

➖ Cons:

  • No cryptocurrency trading.
  • The mobile version lacks some features.


We decided to include these brokerages in this list based on a few different criteria:

  • Tradable securities
  • Usability/Interface
  • Research/Analytical Capabilities
  • Fees
  • Margin Rates

Tradable Securities

This one was simple enough and didn’t really have that much weight in the decision. It essentially boiled down to asking how many different asset classes the platform supports, how many entries are within each category, and how many markets the platform can access.


Brokerage platforms aren’t usually the most user-friendly programs out there. Some of the more intense platforms – like Interactive Brokers – just have too much going on for newer investors, though that can be a selling point in itself to some more seasoned traders. We tried to strike a balance between only recommending simpler platforms for newer users and more complicated platforms for more experienced users.

Research/Analytical Capabilities

Knowledge is power in investing. A good investor knows that you don’t click buy or sell until you know exactly what’s going on with the stock/bond/ETF in question, so part of the value of a good platform is the amount of relevant information it can give you without having to turn to Google. That means in-depth, customizable charts, built-in portfolio analytics, and much more.

Many investors prefer to do their research on an independent stock research platform. If you’re one of them, you won’t need extensive research capabilities on your trading platform.


This one’s pretty simple, too. A good discount brokerage should be giving you free or practically free trades on all the assets it offers. The entries on this list all meet at least the basic “free stock and ETF trades” requirement, even if some of them charge for options and international trades.

Margin Rates

Margin isn’t for everyone, but it is an important thing to consider for traders who know what they’re doing. Higher margin rates mean higher hurdles between you and profitability. We want you to make money, so we took those margin rates into consideration when making our decisions.

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