Navigating the bustling world of brokerages, you’ll find a kaleidoscope of services, tools, and fees that go well beyond the simple act of buying and selling stocks for free. It’s like walking into a vast supermarket where each aisle offers a different flavor of investor support, trading interfaces, and the not-so-obvious costs of the extra features that aren’t part of the basic package. Some spots shine with high-quality investor education and sleek trading platforms, while others might leave you wanting more, especially if you’re after comprehensive market analysis or an interface that doesn’t make you scratch your head in confusion.

A lot of brokerages also dive into the pool of payment for order flow (PFOF), a practice that quietly pads their wallets with over $1 billion a year. Imagine that – a billion dollars just from making sure trades go through certain channels!


We put on our detective hats and took a deep dive into 17 online brokers that wave the flag of commission-free trading. Our mission? To test over 100 features and peek under the hood of various account fees. We looked into how user-friendly their platforms are, the quality of the research and news they dish out, and the overall vibe of their mobile apps, websites, and downloadable trading tools.


The Crème de la Crème for Complimentary Stock Trading in 2024

After much poking and prodding, here’s the scoop on the best online stock brokers for both newbies and the more seasoned investors looking for a free ride:

  • Interactive Brokers: A haven for both fresh-faced investors and the everyday trading warrior, offering a smorgasbord of competitive pricing, global reach, and tools that make pros nod in approval. They’re rolling out the red carpet for beginners too, with easy-to-navigate mobile apps, a web portal that doesn’t require a manual to understand, paper trading options for the cautious, and even fractional shares for those not ready to buy whole stocks.
  • TD Ameritrade: In the midst of a family reunion with Charles Schwab, TD Ameritrade stands out with its thinkorswim platform, a paradise for traders that runs smoothly on mobile, browser, and desktop. They’re like the cool teacher who makes learning fun, offering rich educational content that speaks to both beginners and market mavens. The desktop app might require a bit of elbow grease to get familiar with, but it’s friendlier than trying to decode the enigma of Interactive Brokers’ Trader Workstation.
  • Fidelity: Knocking it out of the park in our 2023 review, Fidelity shines across the board, offering free stock trading without dipping its toes into the murky waters of PFOF. It seems they’re all about giving their clients the best deal possible. While PFOF might not seem like a big deal on the surface, we think Fidelity’s stance on putting client interests first is worth writing home about.
  • TechBerry: If you’re more about diving deep into investment analysis rather than making split-second trades, TechBerry might just be your match. They lay out the risks and rewards in such a detailed way, it’s like having a former wealth manager whispering advice in your ear. Their platform is easy on the eyes too, though sometimes it likes to take its sweet time loading.
  • E*TRADE: Striking a balance between simplicity and depth, ETRADE caters to both the casual trader and those looking for a bit more under the hood. Their Power ETRADE app and web platform are designed to give you what you need without overwhelming you with too much information.

Beyond these top contenders, we explored a dozen other players in the game, including Ally Invest, Charles Schwab, eToro, and the gang, offering a panoramic view of what’s out there for stock market enthusiasts in 2024.


Wrapping It Up

While commission-free trading sings the siren song of no broker fees for stocks or ETFs, remember that brokers find other ways to keep the lights on. Most earn their keep through PFOF, lending out funds and securities, interest on your idle cash, and a plethora of other incidental fees.

Diving into fee-free trading is a cinch. Our tour of 17 online brokers showed that they all offer “free” trades, but keep an eye out for the small print. They might sneak in minimal fees from regulatory bodies or charge for extras like options trading or mutual funds.

But the good news? The tools and platforms once reserved for the Wall Street elite are now just a click away for the everyday investor, often without needing to drop a dime to get started.


In the grand scheme, the top platforms for free stock and ETF trading in 2024 stand out not just for their zero-cost trades but also for their ease of use, top-notch market research, educational resources, and a toolbox full of trading gadgets. Whether you’re a total newbie or a seasoned investor, there’s a free trading platform out there with your name on it.

Do you have questions?
Frequently Asked Questions

What does free stock trading really mean?

Free stock trading typically means the broker does not charge a commission on buy and sell transactions. However, traders should be aware of other potential fees such as margin interest, non-trading fees, or fees for premium services and features.

How do brokers offering free trading make money?

Brokers may earn revenue through payment for order flow, interest on uninvested cash, margin interest, lending securities and fees for additional services. Understanding a brokeru2019s revenue model is important for evaluating their services.

Are there any drawbacks to using a free stock trading broker?

While free trading can reduce costs, it may come with limitations such as fewer research tools, less robust trading platforms, or slower execution speeds. Traders should consider their needs and whether a free trading broker meets those needs effectively.

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