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As an active trader, two considerations above all are most important when selecting a broker:
- Transaction Costs
- Execution Speed
Secondary, but also important, considerations include:
- Research Tools
- Screening Tools
- Strategy Tools
- Educational Webinars & Resources
- Customer support responsiveness and knowledge
- Wealth advisors
Based on those criteria, we have summarized the best online trading platforms for day trading as follows:
Best Online Trading Platforms For Day Trading
|Best For||Online Broker||Special||Commission Costs||Rating|
|Options Trading||$0 on closing trades||$5 for stocks
$1 for options
|Options Trading||thinkorswim®||Trade Free for 60 Days||$6.95 stocks $0.75 options||5/5|
|Options Trading||50 commission-free trades||$4.95||4/5|
|Options Trading||20% off trade commissions||$4.99-9.99||3.5/5|
|Stock Trading||$100-500 Cash bonus||$4.95||4.5/5|
|Stock Trading||TD Ameritrade||$100-600 Cash bonus||$6.95||5/5|
|Stock & Options Trading||$1,000 in commission-free trades||$4.95||4/5|
|Low Margin||Balance limits||$0.005 per share minimum. 0.5% of trade value||4/5|
Best online brokers for day trading
These are the best overall brokers based on price and executions as well as trading platform and tools.
TastyWorks began as a diamond in the rough when it comes to online trading platforms. They introduced a $0 closing trade cost which further commoditizes the stock broker competitive landscape to favor consumers.
thinkorswim® is a highly powerful platform for day traders who wish to customize screeners to personal trading preferences. OptionsXpress, acquired by Schwab, maintains excellent options trading execution but is higher priced than some of its options trading brokerage counterparts.
Interactive Brokers targets clients with at least $10,000 and has a $10 monthly commission minimum. It also facilitates trading on a wide range of securities, including Forex, Futures and precious metals.
OptionsHouse has no minimum balance requirement but does not offer Forex trading. It does have a good combination of advanced trading tools and low commissions.
What Are The Best Trading Platforms?
One of the best overall trading platforms is from TD Ameritrade. Under the TD Ameritrade company is thinkorswim®, which was acquired in 2009 for $606 million. Streetsmart.com and StreetSmart Edge from Charles Schwab are also top trading platforms with stellar charting. Minimum balance requirements are not a feature of either broker.
Best Online Options Trading Brokers
These brokers offer great execution, research tools at competitive prices.
Options traders know that when selling call and put options, the options may expire which avoids the transaction costs of closing trades. Buying call and put options will almost always require a closing transaction costs unless the options are exercised. TastyWorks exploits the fact that sold options that expire have no closing transaction cost by advertising a $0 commission on all closing trades, including put and call options purchased, and sold options that don’t expire. Their pricing is highly competitive, rivaling and even beating that of thinkorswim®. thinkorswim® pioneered fast execution, outstanding support, and competitive pricing in options trading, and remains true to its roots with extensive customizable research tools and charts.
Online Brokers with Low Margin Rates
These brokers are offer competitive margin rates.
The best online broker for competitive margin rates is Interactive Brokers, by far. Margin is attractive to traders seeking to amplify rates of return by borrowing capital at low rates. Depending on the capital amount traded, different rates apply, which are available quickly via Interactive Brokers’ website calculator. EOption may be a better online broker for traders wishing to avoid Interactive Brokers minimum monthly fees. EOption charges a $50 inactivity fee when balances fall below $10,000, or fewer than two trades have been placed in the prior 12 month period.