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Trading stocks means you can end up with a mixed bag of emotions. You might be excited at the prospect of watching your money grow, overwhelmed at the number of stock options available to you or even frustrated if you’re having trouble making your 1st buy.
You don’t want to pile on the feeling of being overcharged by your online trading platform. Commissions, account maintenance charges
Luckily, most brokerages have recognized this fear and created free options to help new traders save more money when getting started. Take a look at our top picks to compare services and find your match today.
Best Online Trading Platforms:
Compare Online Brokers
Take a look at our top picks for online stock brokers. Compare what each offers to find the right service for you.
Characteristics of a Successful Online Stock Trader
Though each trader has his own individual set of financial and personal goals, the most successful stock traders enter the market with the following 3 characteristics:
- Commitment to education. The most successful traders never buy stocks based on a “gut feeling.” They do their research, look at the history of the company and its leadership
andmake selections based on hard data and perspectives of industry experts.
They also stay up to date on political happenings both at home and abroad and they factor in how new laws and regulations affect the market. Looking to increase your knowledge of the stock market? Check out our list of the best low-cost day trading courses you can sign up for right now.
- Use of the right tools. The best stock traders use the right tools at their disposal.
- A realistic perspective. There are plenty of stock trading courses that teach traders the secrets that industry professionals “hide” from the general public and website pop-ups that say they the next Amazon or Bitcoin buy. The best traders know that these are over-exaggerated claims at best and downright scams at worst. Before you start trading, check your goals
andmake sure they are realistic—the stories of overnight millionaires are few and far between.
Things to Look for in an Online Trading Platform
Though most stock trading platforms charge account maintenance fees and commissions, you’ll find a number of brokers that will allow you to trade for free. Some characteristics that all reliable free trading platforms share include:
- An intuitive trading site. A brokerage firm isn’t very useful if you can’t understand how to get started. Watch a few YouTube tutorials or website overviews to get a feel for the platform before you commit desktop space and time to the broker. If the platform isn’t intuitive, check the brokerage’s customer service options. A responsive team of customer service professionals may be able to help you understand how to operate a more complicated platform.
- Clear and easy-to-understand free trading. Though some platforms will allow you to trade for free indefinitely, some may only allow commission-free trades within a limited window after opening an account. When you sign up for an account on a free trading platform, make sure you read the terms of service to understand how many free trades you are entitled to with your account. Brokerages that try to hide this information may make their money “tricking” users into thinking that trades are free indefinitely, only to stick them with high fees later on by hiding a clause in the fine print.
- Realistic claims. Trading platforms that make unrealistic claims (like promising a dollar amount of returns or claiming that they have “secrets” that other brokers hide) are more than likely just trying to take your money with a hidden fee or commission. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
The Best Online Trading Platforms
Based on the criteria above, we’ve compiled a list of the best online trading platforms to get started trading stocks for free.
TradeStation is for advanced traders who need a…