Best Online Brokers for Beginners

Learn to navigate the ups and downs of the market

The best online brokers for beginners make it easy to start learning and get trading.
If you’re new to online stock trading, look for a company that offers a variety of learning materials and top-notch customer support. It also helps to choose a broker with low fees when you’re just starting out. Using this criteria as our guide, we selected three top companies that beginners should check out.

Our top picks for the best online brokers for beginners

Out of all of the top online stock trading services, the Reviews.com team found the best ones that are ideal for beginners.

Scottrade

Features

  • Excellent customer service: Contact Scottrade via live chat, phone, social media or at a retail location for assistance.
  • Low trading fees: Scottrade's fees are among the most affordable in the industry.
  • Learn online or in person: Scottrade offers local seminars for beginners, in addition to an online Knowledge Center.

Quick Facts

  • 24/7 support? No
  • Retail locations? Yes
  • Virtual trading? No

E*TRADE

Features

  • Multitude of educational resources: E*TRADE provides articles, webinars, and courses to help beginners learn.
  • Online trader community: Gain new insights by exploring E*TRADE's online trader community.
  • Nationwide retail locations: Visit an E*TRADE office and get advice from a real person.

Quick Facts

  • 24/7 support? Yes
  • Retail locations? Yes
  • Virtual trading? No

TD Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade

Features

  • Virtual trading: Trade with a virtual account to test out your strategies without using real money.
  • Education for all skill levels: TD Ameritrade offers resources for beginners and advanced traders alike.
  • 24/7 customer support: Call or chat with a representative at any time for advice or answers to your questions.

Quick Facts

  • 24/7 support? Yes
  • Retail locations? Yes
  • Virtual trading? Yes

What to look for to find best online brokers for beginners

Learning Materials

Learning materials are the resources the online broker provides to familiarize beginners with stock trading and their platform. Most commonly, this involves online courses, articles and webinars, but some companies go further with forums or live seminars. TD Ameritrade stands out in this category by offering virtual trading as well. This enables you to practice what you’ve learned without risking any of your own money.

Customer Support

Access to knowledgeable support representatives can significantly ease the learning curve when starting out in online trading. Look for a company with multiple support channels and 24/7 service. The best online brokers, including all three on this list, also have brick-and-mortar locations, so you can get help in person if this is more your style. Scottrade falls slightly behind the other two because they don’t offer 24/7 support, but they respond very quickly during their business hours.

Fees

When starting out, it’s best to choose a company with minimal fees. Scottrade offers some of the most affordable rates in the industry, but TD Ameritrade’s fees are above-average. With E*TRADE, many of their higher fees are charged at the more experienced level, so it shouldn’t be too expensive for beginners.

The Bottom Line

All three companies on this list are good choices if you’re new to online stock trading. We recommend E*TRADE, due to their variety of online learning resources and 24/7 support. However, if you’re interested in a certain feature, like virtual trading, TD Ameritrade may be better.