Top 5 Stock Trading Platforms
The stock market has always been a place for earning higher returns and profits. There are currently innumerable stockbrokers and stock exchanges available to investors, each flaunting their own features and benefits. To ensure that one receives the best returns from the stock market, it becomes absolutely crucial for an investor to choose an appropriate stock trading platform. As the world is going through a volatile phase where we deal with a global financial crisis, investors and traders need to make more informed decisions after a careful comparative analysis of different stock trading platforms.
How to Choose The Best Platform?
Below we have compiled 5 of the most popular stock trading platforms in existence today, evaluating them on the basis of certain factors.
About IBKR: IBKR or Interactive Brokers is one of the largest electronic trading platforms operating in the United States, on the basis of the number of daily average revenue trades.
IBKR Tradable markets: IBKR offers trading of Stocks, Bonds, Options, Mutual funds, ETFs, Metals, Foreign currency, and Futures on its platform. It lets traders tap into 125 markets spread across 31 countries.
IBKR Charting and Analysis Tool: IBKR provides numerous charts through its Technical Analysis Tools, Chart Trader, and other Analytical Tools. The Technical analysis tools provide Line, Candle Stick, and Bar chart types.
IBKR Special features, fees, and commissions: IBKR provides a huge selection of powerful trading and analytical tools including the tools for technical analysis. The minimum trade commission is $1 and the maximum is 1% of the total value of the trade.
IBKR Design and usability: The Platform’s design makes it faster and includes all the necessary standard features such as alerts, watch lists, monitoring tools, and a customisable account dashboard.
IBKR Customer Service/Reviews: IBKR provides email and chats support on a 24/6 basis. The platform has received mostly favourable reviews with many praising its cheaper volume pricing.
2. TD Ameritrade
About TD Ameritrade: TD Ameritrade is one of the largest electronic trading platforms operating in the United States, with an estimated 12 million client accounts under its platform. Charles Schwab acquired TD Ameritrade in November 2019.
TD Ameritrade Tradable Markets: The list of tradable securities includes Stocks, Mutual funds, Bonds, ETFs, Futures, Options, Foreign ADRs, Forex, and IPOs for qualified accounts.
TD Ameritrade Charting and Analysis Tool: TD Ameritrade provides tools for research which include a simple price chart for each stock selected, with multiple time frame options.
TD Ameritrade Special features, fees, and commissions: TD Ameritrade’s trading platform includes some useful and efficient tools such as news, research tools, a gains keeper tool for keeping track of capital gains, a portfolio planner as well as a separate desktop platform called “thinkorswim”. In 2019, TD Ameritrade waived off its trading commission which was previously at $6.95. Now there is no commission charged for the stock, options, and ETF trades.
TD Ameritrade Design and usability: TD Ameritrade has a simple design that caters to beginner traders. It provides a powerful Mobile trading platform as well, available for iOS users.
TD Ameritrade Customer Service/ Reviews: TD Ameritrade has an excellent customer support team spread across 300 branches, operating on a 24-hour basis. They have received several good reviews praising their high-quality research tools, tools for trading, and good portfolio guidance.
3. Ally Invest
About Ally Invest: Ally Invest is the rebranded name of TradeKing, a stock brokerage which Ally Financial acquired. It is an online broker that meets the requirements of both beginner and experienced stock traders.
Ally Invest Tradable Markets: Ally Invest provides trading of Bonds, stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, options, and foreign currencies.
Ally Invest Charting and Analysis Tool: Ally Invest provides six types of charts including mountain, line, bar, and candlestick charts. It also provides over 90 drawing tools and chart studies to analyse stock performances.
Ally Invest Special features, fees, and commissions: Ally Invest provides powerful tools for investing research as well as a host of other free tools provided by Recognia. Ally Invest has recently dropped its trading commissions. There are currently no trading commissions for the online stock, ETF trades, and options. The price for options traders is $0.50/ contract.
Ally Invest Design and Usability: Ally Invest offers a browser-based platform that supports smart and quick trading, real-time streaming data, and quotes, as well as a customisable dashboard and tools.
Ally Invest Customer Service/ Reviews: Ally Invest offers support through chat, phone, and email. It is available from 7 am to 10 pm all seven days of a week. Ally Invest has received many positive reviews for its helpful tools, easy, intuitive trading platform, and competitive pricing.
About Fidelity: Fidelity is a well-known stock brokerage arm that offers a swath of research tools, a user-friendly platform, and provides several no transaction fee funds including the Fidelity Zero Index Funds.
Fidelity Tradable Markets: Fidelity offers trading in stocks, bonds, ETFs, Mutual Funds, Options. It was one of the very first to bring market index funds with no expense ratios.
Fidelity Charting and Analysis Tools: Fidelity provides different types of charts such as Bar charts, mountain charts, and candlesticks. It lets users select a comparable index or security directly to the chart, as well as add several technical indicators.
Fidelity Special features, fees, and commissions: Some of the standout features for Fidelity include a high cash sweep rate, extended offerings of mutual funds, and an unmatched quality of resources for stock research. From October 2019, Fidelity completely eliminated commissions for ETFs, options, and stock trading, in addition to no account closure or transfer fees.
Fidelity Design and Usability: The design of Fidelity’s comprehensive online trading platform makes it easily navigable. It includes advanced screeners as well as strategy testing tools based on the last ten years’ worth of historical data.
Fidelity Customer Service/Reviews: Fidelity offers in-person guidance to its users, as well as free investor seminars. Fidelity has won praise from its users for its intuitive platform, research tools, as well as the no transaction fee funds, mentioned earlier.
5. Charles Schwab
About Charles Schwab: Charles Schwab if a full-service brokerage operating since 1973 and is a popular choice when it comes to stockbrokers. The company is worth over $3 trillion worth of client assets.
Charles Schwab Tradable Instruments: Tradable instruments at Charles Schwab include bonds, stocks, ETFs, Mutual Funds, Futures, and options.
Charles Schwab Charting and Analysis Tools: Charles Schwab provides charts for viewing markets, trends and for conducting comprehensive research and analysis. They provide line, bar, and candle stock charts.
Charles Schwab Special features, fees, and commissions: Charles Schwab offers multiple robust trading platforms for free. They provide a customisable platform through StreetSmart Edge which uses a cloud-based technology. Charles Schwab offers commission-free trades for options, ETFs and stocks. A contract fee for Options is $0.65/ contract.
Charles Schwab design and usability: The StreetSmart Edge platform has a design that matches any trader’s trading style, allowing a lot of room for customisation. They provide some robust charting tools as well. Some of the customisable features include the “Balance Bar” which provides an instant overview of the trader’s buying power and trading account.
Charles Schwab Customer Service/Reviews: Charles Schwab provides 24/7 live chat, email, and phone support. It has received numerous positive reviews because it equally caters to stock traders, fund investors as well as beginner traders.
The Bottom Line
With so many options for trading stocks, it becomes important for traders to pick the right stock trading platform. Traders should always look for a user-friendly interface, functionalities that meet their trading requirements and match their style, as well as the expenses involved in trading before they pick a particular platform.