We evaluate each residential online stock trading company with a strict quality ranking system based on various factors. Our system gives an overall ranking as to the health, price, and customer satisfaction of each company. We’ve found that our ranking system provides an accurate picture of each service in order to help you make a more confident choice. Below, we’ve outlined our ranking system so you can get further information about the factors that ultimately helps determine our ranking of each company.

How we rank for

13% Stock/ETF Fee Per Trade

The stock/ETF fee that these online trading brokers charge is one of the most varying points with our ranking criteria. Some companies will offer a higher trade fee but offer more tools to help you in your trading endeavors. On the other hand, some companies will offer low trade fees, even no trading fees. The companies that have lower prices are helping more people get into the game. We ran a survey to help us better understand what the most important factor was for consumers when considering an online broker. We found that commissions & fees was the most influential factor, therefore we have given it a fairly high weight.

 

Trading#1

6% Options Fee Per Trade

Options are a common instrument traded frequently in the online trading industry. They usually include a base/fixed fee similar to what the company’s stock/ETF fee per trade is plus, a fee per contract ranging anywhere from $0.50 to $1.50. Less weight has been given to this criterion than the stock/ETC point due to popularity in trading.

8% Monthly Price

A majority of these online brokers don’t require a monthly fee for their services and trading tools. However, there are companies emerging that require a monthly fee or percentage of what’s in your account. We took in consideration what those fees are. Obviously, the less you have to spend to trade, the better.

6% Mutual Funds

Mutual funds are also a common instrument offered by these online trading companies. Since there are so many different kinds of mutual funds available, we only looked to see if the trading broker offers mutual funds to invest in or to trade.

7% Minimum Deposit Required

The minimum deposit that some of these companies require acts as a barrier to entry for consumers that want to start investing. Companies that have decided to lower or eliminate this barrier to entry scored better than those requiring sometimes around $25,000 to use them.

6% Financial Advisors

Having the option available for consumers to be able to talk to a financial advisor can be comforting for those that are new to the game. There’s nothing quite like getting an expert’s opinion on a topic that you’re unfamiliar with.

12% Manual and Auto Investing

Manual Investing
This is the classic way of investing. We aren’t saying that auto investing is necessarily better than manual investing because of the weight difference between the two but manual investing is for the more traditional investor and will still be around for awhile.

Auto Investing
Auto or “robo” investing is a feature that is disrupting the online trading industry as we know it. This auto feature does more than just allow an investor to sync their bank account with the broker’s software. It’s a feature that automatically works with the investor’s money to provide the best results possible.

10% Manual and Auto Trading

Manual
Manual trading is the traditional way of trading stocks, ETFs, options, bonds, mutual funds, etc. An investor that is newer to trading may not want to be in control of every single decision with trading their assets whereas a more experienced trader will want to manage everything that happens with trading their assets.

Auto
Auto or “robo” trading is a feature where companies have created complicated algorithms to invest a client’s assets as best as the software possibly can. There is no interaction between the investor and the company because of the automation involved. Newer investors might prefer this way of trading more because of its more hands-off trading approach whereas traditional investors won’t.

7% Mobile App Ratings

A majority of these companies have created apps to allow investors to manage their trading from a mobile phone or tablet. We looked at how other consumers are rating these apps on and took the averages of the app running on android and iOS and combined the two for a total score out of 10.

10% Stability Score

We look at the legal history and financial stability of each company. This metric takes into consideration any bankruptcies, class action lawsuits, government lawsuits, or government investigations a company has had in the last five years.

15% User Score

Authentic user reviews are critical to what we’re doing at BestCompany.com. Because customer service is an important reflection of a company overall, nobody can provide better insights about a company’s performance than actual customers. Consequently, every company’s overall score is influenced, at least in part, by reviews submitted by customers.

For more information on how we moderate user reviews submitted to our site, you may refer to our Review Guidelines page.

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