If you’re looking to embark on an investment journey by buying and selling stocks, crypto, and other assets in one safe place – you’ll need an account with a top-rated trading platform.

We find that the best online trading platforms offer competitive fees and commissions, lots of supported markets, a full suite of tools and features, and superb customer service.

In this guide, we help clear the mist by comparing the very best trading platforms in the market right now.

The Best Trading Platforms to Use in 2024 

A list of the best online trading platforms can be found below.

  1. Crypto.com – Traders looking for a dependable and feature-rich platform, Crypto.com is a market leader known for its broad selection of crypto options, cutting-edge trading tools, and strong security measures.
  2. XTB – With its wide selection of financial instruments, affordable pricing, and top-notch customer service, XTB is a well-known trading platform and a top pick for investors looking for dependability and a smooth trading experience.
  3. Webull – Webull is a well-known trading platform that offers traders access to pre-market and after-hours trading as well as commission-free trades, numerous research tools, and a user-friendly interface, making it a popular option for those searching for a reliable platform with a full range of features.
  4. Coinbase – An excellent option for traders looking for a dependable and user-friendly platform for buying, selling, and storing cryptocurrencies. As an established cryptocurrency exchange it provides an easy-to-use interface, an array of digital assets, fiat integration, and insured custodial solutions.
  5. Binance – A well-known cryptocurrency exchange that attracts traders looking for a dependable and flexible platform for trading cryptocurrencies thanks to its broad range of assets, sophisticated trading options, strong security measures, and user-friendly design.
  6. Interactive Brokers – An outstanding option for traders and investors seeking a dependable platform with a wide range of investment options and market-leading features. A highly regarded brokerage firm that offers a comprehensive trading platform with low-cost commissions, extensive global market access, cutting-edge trading tools, and robust analytical tools.
  7. E*TRADE – Popular trading platform E*TRADE is known for its fully-fledged online brokerage services, which include a variety of investment options, cutting-edge trading tools, and tailored portfolio management. This makes it a top choice for both individual traders and investors looking for all-encompassing financial solutions.
  8. Schwab – Charles Schwab is a well-known trading platform that is known for its extensive selection of investment products, first-rate customer service, and cutting-edge tools like the Schwab ETF OneSource and Schwab Intelligent Portfolios. This makes it a top choice for traders and investors looking for a full trading platform with a wide range of trading options.
  9. Fidelity – Fidelity is a well-known trading platform and investment firm. It is well-known for its broad range of investment options, which include Fidelity Funds, Fidelity ETFs, and the Fidelity Wealth Services. By combining a wide range of investment options, cutting-edge tools, and wealth management solutions, it is a top choice for traders and investors looking for a dependable and adaptable platform for their financial needs.
  10. TD Ameritrade – TD Ameritrade is a highly recognized trading platform and brokerage firm. It is well known for its extensive research tools, reliable learning resources, and Thinkorswim platform. The Thinkorswim platform, which provides sophisticated trading features and real-time data, is a preferred option for those who are seeking in-depth market insights and an effective trading environment.
  11. Robinhood – Robinhood is a renowned trading platform that has become known for its commission-free trades and easy to use mobile app. It offers access to a variety of investment options, including stocks and cryptocurrencies, and caters to traders who appreciate transparency, low-cost trading, and the convenience of investing on their mobile devices.
  12. Ally Invest – The Ally Invest platform, which offers real-time market data and customizable trading features, is a renowned trading platform that is celebrated for its affordable prices, comprehensive analysis tools

No two trading platforms are the same – so be sure to read our comprehensive reviews to ensure you choose the best option for you.

While not on our top 12 list, another popular trading platform worth considering is Capital.com. Read our in-depth Capital.com review for more details.

What are Online Trading Platforms?

Online trading platforms allow traders and investors to buy and sell a variety of financial instruments via the internet. These platforms grant access to the financial markets, enabling users to invest in assets such as stocks, bonds, commodities, options, and cryptocurrencies. Users can complete trades, keep an eye on market prices, access research and analysis tools, and manage their investment portfolios, all from the convenience of their computers or mobile devices.

These trading platforms usually provide real-time market information, useful charts, and other analytical tools to help traders build an investment strategy. They also help users execute orders by linking them to the exchanges or marketplaces where the assets are traded. To meet the different demands of traders, several online trading platforms offer extra features such as educational content, community-based investing or social trading, and configurable interfaces making for a personalized trading experience.

Robinhood rose to prominence due to its commission-free trading system and user-friendly smartphone app. TD Ameritrade provides extensive tools, research resources, and the cutting-edge Thinkorswim interface. Binance, one of the largest crypto exchanges in terms of liquidity and trading volume, offers a simple interface for purchasing, selling, and storing digital assets.

Overall, online trading platforms act as a bridge connecting retail traders to the financial markets, allowing anyone to trade and invest from the comfort of their own home. They have made it possible for traders of all levels of experience to participate in the world’s financial markets while managing their investments effectively.

How do Trading Platforms Work?

Trading platforms, in general, work as middlemen linking traders and investors to financial markets and provide the tools they need to purchase and sell various financial products. Here’s a quick rundown of how trading platforms work: 

Market Access: Trading platforms enable consumers to have unfettered access to the financial sector. They connect to the exchanges, brokers, or liquidity providers where the assets are exchanged. Users can access real-time market prices, gain access to order books, and conduct trades.

Order Entry and Execution: Investors and traders both use a trading platform’s interface to place orders to purchase or sell financial assets. They can specify the asset type, amount, price, and order type (for example, market order or limit order). Once an order is made, it is routed to the appropriate market or liquidity source for execution. The trade is performed when the order is matched with a counterparty prepared to carry out the transaction at the proposed terms.

Portfolio Management: Portfolio management features are typically available on trading platforms, allowing users to monitor and oversee their investments. Users can examine their holdings, track their performance over time, and check their trade history. These platforms may also include analytical tools, research resources, and market data to assist traders and investors in making sound decisions.

Stocks, ETFs (Exchange-Traded Funds), CFDs (Contract for Difference), commodities, cryptocurrencies, futures, indices, bonds, and other financial instruments are all supported by most trading platforms. Traders can use the platform’s interface to pick assets that suit their trading needs, and execute trades.

How we Picked the Best Online Trading Platforms

In the sections below, we explain how we rank and compare the best online trading platforms in the market. This will also enable you to find a platform that aligns with your trading goals.

Copy Trading & Passive Income Features

Copy trading and passive income strategies are key markers of a trading platform’s potential to help investors generate profits. Here are four reasons why these traits helped us to pick the best online trading platforms in 2024:

Copy trading enables investors to automatically reproduce successful traders’ deals within the platform. This feature is useful because it allows beginner investors to benefit from the expertise of more experienced traders, perhaps leading to successful results.

By picking and replicating top-performing traders’ transactions, investors can gain access to their techniques, market insights, and decision-making processes, increasing their chances of making profitable investments.

But this isn’t the only copy trading system out there, in fact there are dozens of them on the market with the most recent ThinkMarkets piloting a copy trading app ahead of its IPO via a reserve merger deal with FG Acquisition Corporation.

Diversification

Copy trading usually gives investors the opportunity to diversify their portfolios by copying the investment strategies of several experienced traders. Diversification is a risk management approach that entails spreading investments among multiple assets or traders in order to lessen the influence of any particular trade or individual’s performance. Investors can access a broader range of trading methods and diversify their risk by using copy trading, enhancing the potential for consistent returns.

You may have heard of diversification as not putting all your eggs into one basket. If the basket breaks then all the eggs are likely to smash. To mitigate the risks of losing money on investments that drop in value or suffer from volatility it’s best to broaden your investments across a wide range of financial vehicles each offering different levels of risk. This is known as diversification.

While there are many different approaches to diversification the main strategies can be broken down into 3 key areas.

  1. Individual asset diversification involves investing in a variety of assets within a single asset class. So you could invest in the Russell 2000 or the UK100 to gain exposure to a mixture of low and high-risk stocks that are represented in the indices.
  2. Investing in foreign markets. For country’s that are struggling economically and financially it may be useful to look to international markets to reduce risks and rebalance your portfolio. However, be aware that different countries have different regulations and standards for investing.
  3. Diversifying across asset classes. This means you invest in a wide range of asset classes such as safe haven commodities like gold bullion, to stocks, and even cryptocurrencies.

Passive Income techniques

For investors seeking long-term wealth accumulation, a trading platform that enables passive income strategies can be beneficial. Passive income solutions often entail generating revenue from investments with little to no continuous work. Platforms that provide features like dividend reinvestment, automated rebalancing, or the opportunity to invest in income-generating assets such as dividend stocks, bonds, or real estate investment trusts (REITs) can provide investors with continuous, passive income streams over both the short and long term.

Long-Term Wealth Creation

Trading platforms that promote copy trading and passive income strategies frequently align with those who have a goal for long-term financial growth. Investors can build a solid foundation for long-term wealth creation by combining the ability to copy seasoned traders with passive income tactics. These techniques promote a disciplined approach to investing, focusing on long-term goals rather than short-term speculation, and can be especially appealing to investors who want to generate wealth steadily over time.

Finally, copy trading and passive income strategies indicate a trading platform that prioritizes investor success and gives essential tools to assist investors in making money. These characteristics provide opportunities for knowledge sharing, risk mitigation through diversification, and the possibility of consistent profits, making them valuable considerations for investors looking for a trading platform to help them achieve their financial goals.

Regulations and Licensing Requirements

We only select brokers that are adequately licensed to offer brokerage services in the US. This typically comes in the form of regulation from the SEC and approval by FINRA.

Any trading platform that does not have the remit to operate in the US should be avoided for your safety. We also prefer trading platforms that have a long-standing track record in the space over newly launched providers.

An online trading platform that is regulated and licensed by top-tier financial agencies such as the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission), FCA (Financial Conduct Authority), and FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) is essential for various reasons.

For starters, legislation protects investors. Regulatory agencies establish and enforce norms and standards that trading platforms must follow, such as keeping customer funds separate and applying security measures. This oversight protects investors’ interests, lowers the chance of fraud, and encourages fair trading practices, establishing trust in the platform’s dependability.

Furthermore, being authorized by legitimate financial authorities indicates that you are in conformity with serious regulatory criteria. Financial audits and compliance evaluations are performed on platforms that are regulated by the SEC, FCA, or FINRA. This review strengthens the platform’s credibility and proves its commitment to operating within legal frameworks, lowering the possibility of wrongdoing or fraud.

As a whole, selecting an online trading platform that is regulated and certified by reputable financial authorities gives investors peace of mind, assures compliance to industry standards, and supports a safe and transparent trading environment. To avoid risks and preserve one’s investments, it is critical to check a trading platform’s regulatory status.

It’s important to monitor the SEC and other financial regulators as they’re constantly at work to ensure all providers are acting lawfully with investors’ money. Just recently the SEC filed 16 separate charges against the popular crypto exchange Binance. This consequently had a big impact on the crypto market as Bitcoin plummeted below the $26k mark; consequently its lowest level since April.

Selection of Markets

You might have noticed from our reviews that the best trading platforms in the market will offer a wide selection of asset classes. For example, some brokers give you access to US and foreign stocks, ETFs, cryptocurrencies, and more.

The likes of Fidelity and Schwab are great for mutual funds and index funds, as well as managed portfolios and financial advice.

Wide range of assets and markets

There are a few key reasons why a novice investor should look for a trading platform that offers a diverse choice of financial assets.

To begin, diversification is key for risk management. Users can spread their investments across multiple sectors, businesses, and asset classes by having access to a diverse range of financial assets. This diversity lessens the impact of a single investment’s performance on the total success of their portfolio. Beginners can develop a well-rounded portfolio and potentially decrease risk by using a platform that offers a variety of assets.

Second, a diverse selection of financial assets enables newcomers to look into numerous options for investment. Each asset has its own set of features, risk profiles, and potential returns. Beginners are able to gain exposure to numerous markets and capitalize on developing trends or opportunities in specific sectors by having access to stocks, cryptocurrencies, ETFs (Exchange-Traded Funds), commodities, and more. This adaptability allows them to modify their investment approach to their risk tolerance and investment objectives.

Finally, learning and education are critical for new investors. A trading platform with a diverse selection of financial assets provides an excellent learning environment. Beginners can conduct research and analysis on several asset classes, learn their fundamentals, and watch their performance. This exposure to a variety of assets assists beginners in developing a thorough understanding of the financial markets and refining their investment skills over time.

To summarize, a trading platform that offers a varied range of financial assets is advantageous for new traders since it allows for risk management through diversification, gives opportunities for exploration and growth, and fosters a conducive learning environment. Beginners can construct a well-diversified portfolio, capture investing opportunities, and broaden their financial knowledge and expertise by having access to a diverse selection of assets.

Minimum Deposits & Trade

Many trading platforms allow you to open an account without needing to meet a minimum deposit. This allows you to enter the financial markets for the first time without needing to risk too much money.

Don’t forget, if you wish to open a margin account, US clients are required to maintain a minimum balance of $2,000 at all times.

Some of the platforms discussed today require you to purchase full shares – such as Ally Invest and E*TRADE.

However, the best trading platforms that we reviewed – which is inclusive of Webull and Robinhood, allow you to invest in stocks with just a few dollars. This is known as fractional investing.

Fractional investing is the practice of purchasing and selling securities in fractional amounts rather than full units, such as stocks or exchange-traded funds (ETFs). 

It enables investors to buy a portion or fraction of a share, allowing them to invest in expensive equities with lower buying power. Instead of purchasing a whole share of a company’s stock, for example, fractional investing allows investors to own a percentage of that share according to their investment amount. 

This provides for more diverse portfolios and allows investors to participate in high-value assets that would otherwise be out of reach.

Keep an eye out for new taxes and regulations

Based on a report from the Telegraph, some Freetrade users could face tax charges on their ISAs after buying fractional shares.

The UK’s HMRC crack down on fractional shares has sparked outrage with the investing community as questions are raised about how retail investors can access the financial markets.

With this in mind, it’s important to regularly monitor reputable news outlets and regulatory press releases before picking a trading platform to ensure you’re up-to-date with the latest tax rules.

If fractional trading isn’t supported and you are on a budget, the platform might not be right for your requirements.

Trading Fees and Commissions

If you are buying stocks or ETFs that are listed in the US, all of the trading platforms discussed today allow you to invest at 0% commission. However, other assets – or stocks listed outside of the US, are typically charged at a premium.   

As such, this is something to check before opening an account. 

Trading Tools

If you are a complete beginner that seeks passive investment tools, you will likely find the copy trading feature and smart portfolios available at some brokers of interest.

If you are a seasoned pro that wishes to take full control over your investment decisions, then look for a platform that offers highly advanced features – such as economic and technical indicators, alongside chart drawing tools.

Demo Account

Demo accounts are useful for traders of all levels. If you wish to practice a new strategy or simply get to grips with a trading platform that you are looking to join – demo accounts are invaluable.

Demo trading accounts are useful for a number of reasons. For starters, they allow beginner traders to explore and become acquainted with the platform’s features and tools without incurring any financial risk.

Demo accounts allow individuals to practice trading techniques, execute trades, and build confidence by replicating real-time market conditions and offering paper funds or virtual cash.

Secondly, demo trading accounts allow users to test the user experience and interface of a trading platform. Traders can determine whether the platform suits their needs and trading style by trialing the platform’s UI, charting tools, order placement process, and other features.
This firsthand experience enables beginner investors to test drive the trading platform, thus allowing them to make an informed decision about whether it meets their requirements.

Finally, demo accounts allow you to explore the platform’s offerings of financial instruments and trading options.

Overall, demo trading accounts are essential when choosing a trading platform since they provide hands-on experience, allowing users to evaluate the platform’s functionality, user experience, and trading possibilities before committing any real funds.

Mobile App

The best online trading platforms also offer a mobile app that links to your account. The app should be fully optimized for Android and iOS and connect to your main trading account.

Mobile trading apps are an important criterion for newbie traders when choosing a trading platform Because of two factors: simplicity and accessibility.

Mobile apps allow users to access the platform and trade from anywhere, giving them flexibility and the opportunity to capitalize on trading opportunities while on the road.

This is especially useful for novices who may not always have access to a desktop or laptop. Mobile trading applications provide a straightforward and user-friendly experience.

Moreover, mobile trading apps typically offer a variety of educational resources, tutorials, and market research tools tailored exclusively for new traders.

These materials can assist beginners in understanding core ideas, learning about different trading tactics, and staying current on market developments.

Furthermore, mobile apps may include features such as price alerts and push notifications, which keep traders up to date on market moves and prospective trading opportunities. Beginner traders can gain expertise and confidence in their trading experience by utilizing these training tools and staying connected to the market via mobile apps.

Deposit Methods

We prefer trading platforms that offer instant and free deposit methods.

A variety of deposit methods is an important factor for newbie investors when picking a trading platform. When it comes to funding a trading account, novice investors may have specific preferences and constraints, so having numerous deposit options is something to look out for.

Platforms that accept many deposit methods, such as bank transfers, credit/debit cards, and e-wallets, enable newcomers to select the way that best suits their financial needs and preferences.

Some users may not have access to typical banking channels or may opt to pay using different methods. Trading platforms respond to the different needs of investors by providing a number of deposit options, allowing them to fund their trading accounts conveniently and safely.

Customer Service

We also like trading platforms that offer a seamless 360-degree customer experience. The best providers in this space offer customer support via live chat.

Customer service is an important factor to consider when selecting a trading platform because it ensures users receive quick and efficient support. Beginner investors may face a variety of difficulties or have questions about the platform’s functionality, account administration, or technical issues. 

A competent and attentive customer support team can give help, guiding users through any challenges they may have. Platforms with dependable customer support encourage a great user experience and assist newcomers in more efficiently navigating the complexity of trading.

For example, trading platforms such as TD Ameritrade and Interactive Brokers are well-known for their excellent customer service, with live chat, phone and email support available to answer questions around the clock

Likewise, customer service is critical in resolving potential problems with fund transfers, trade execution, or account security. In the event of a technical problem, a trade error, or unauthorized access, having a dependable customer support team is essential for minimizing any potential losses. 

For example, Robinhood has had service outages in the past, but the quality and speed of their customer care played a vital part in addressing user complaints and rebuilding trust.

Best Online Trading Platforms Reviewed

In the in-depth reviews below we discuss the overall best trading platforms to consider right now. Whether you’re looking for the best futures trading platforms, or the best place to invest in ETFs most of the brokers we’ve included in this review offer assets and trading features to suit all types of investing.

Each brokerage provider differs in terms of fees, supported markets, user-friendliness, and more – so there should be a platform to suit all requirements. 

1. Crypto.com – Best Crypto Trading Platform for Low Fees

crypto.com logoIf you’re looking for the best crypto trading platform for 2024 – you might want to check out Crypto.com. The platform offers over 250 digital currencies from a variety of blockchain networks and projects. You can easily open an account with Crypto.com in under 10 minutes.

And the platform allows you to deposit funds instantly with ACH on a fee-free basis. Debit and credit cards are also supported but you will be charged 2.99% of the transaction amount. What we also like about Crypto.com is that you can buy cryptocurrency and deposit the tokens into an interest-bearing account.

crypto.com review

You’ll have access to APRs of up to 14.5% – but specific interest rates do vary depending on the cryptocurrency. Furthermore, to maximize your interest, you will need to stake CRO tokens and opt for a 3-month term. Alternatively, flexible crypto interest accounts are also offered, albeit, at lower rates.

When it comes to fees, Crypto.com charges a variable commission. This starts at 0.4% per slide but does decrease as your trading volumes surpass certain milestones. Staking CRO tokens also gives you access to lower commissions. If you’re also looking to access non-fungible tokens, Crypto.com offers one of the best NFT marketplaces for this purpose.

Assets Crypto
Commissions Up to 0.40% perslide
Minimum Deposit $20
Minimum Trade No minimum stated

Pros

  • Over 250+ cryptocurrency markets
  • Low trading fees
  • Earn interest on your idle cryptocurrencies
  • NFT marketplace with no buyer fees
  • Great mobile app
  • Instant and free deposits via ACH

Cons

  • Does not offer other assets – crypto only

Cryptoassets are a highly volatile unregulated investment product.

2. XTB – CFD Trading Platform for Forex, Stocks, Crypto & More

xtb logo XTB is one of the best CFD brokers that offers trading on more than 2,100 markets around the globe. The selection of CFDs includes 48 major and minor forex pairs, more than 2,000 stocks from the US, Europe, and Asia, 10 of the most popular cryptocurrencies, commodities like oil and gold, and more.

XTB stands out because it doesn’t charge commissions and doesn’t require a minimum deposit to open a new trading account. Traders can also test out the platform for free with a demo account. XTB offers its own custom trading platform, called xStation 5, which operates on the web and mobile devices. xStation 5 is easy to use, offers advanced technical charting capabilities, and comes packed with technical indicators.

xtb homepage

The only fees that traders need to be aware of at XTB are spreads, and they’re very competitive across the board. XTB charges spreads starting from 0.1 pips for forex trading and spreads of around 0.3% for most stock CFD trades. Traders can apply margin up to 500:1 when trading forex, 10:1 when trading stocks, or 5:1 when trading cryptocurrencies.

Assets Stocks, crypto, ETFs, indices, forex, commodities
Commissions 0% on all CFDs
Minimum Deposit None
Minimum Trade 0.01 lot

Pros

  • Trade CFDs for stocks, crypto, forex, commodities, indices, and ETFs
  • Leverage up to 500:1 for forex trading
  • No commissions and no minimum deposit
  • User-friendly xStation 5 trading platform

Cons

  • No professional market analysis provided
  • Cannot buy stocks or crypto outright

Your capital is at risk. 76% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.

Webull allows you to trade stocks and crypto via one safe hub. Regarding the latter, the platform supports 37 cryptocurrencies – most of which are large-cap tokens. You can trade crypto here from just $1 and there are no commissions charged. Spreads start at 1% when trading Bitcoin and more on other digital currencies.

If you’re more interested in stocks, Webull offers thousands of US-listed markets – all on a commission-fee basis. The minimum stock trade requirement is just $5. Take note, Webull does not offer international shares other than a very modest selection of ADRs. Additionally, you can also trade options and ETFs.

webull platform screenshot

Another drawback with Webull is that domestic bank wires are charged at $8 per deposit. ACH, on the other hand, can be used fee-free. We also found that Webull is lacking when it comes to passive investment tools. Seasoned traders are catered for with a variety of charting features and technical indicators. More experienced and advanced traders may want to explore the best MT5 brokers for more advanced charting tools. There are also educational guides for newbies.

Assets Stocks, crypto, ETFs, options
Commissions 0% commission plus spreads
Minimum Deposit $0
Minimum Trade No minimum stated

Pros

  • No minimum deposit
  • Minimum stock investment is just $5

Cons

  • International stocks offered via ADRs only
  • No copy trading tools
  • Does not support debit/credit cards or e-wallets

Your capital is at risk.

4. Coinbase – Good Cryptocurrency Exchange for First-Time Investors

coinbase logo

While Coinbase certainly isn’t the best trading platform for cryptocurrency investments, it does offer a super-simple way for first-timers to gain exposure to this market. This is because beginners can open an account in a matter of minutes and then invest in cryptocurrency instantly with a credit or debit card.

However, Coinbase charges 3.99% on its instant buy feature, which is very expensive. Some US clients will instead opt to deposit funds with ACH and then begin trading crypto once the funds arrive. With that said, it can take up to three working days for ACH transfers to settle and you will still need to pay a commission of 1.49% per slide.

coinbase platform screenshot

Nonetheless, we like Coinbase for its simplicity and its strong commitment to security and safety. All accounts must set up two-factor authentication and this will be required when you log in or make a withdrawal request. 98% of client cryptocurrencies are stored in secure cold wallets too. The Coinbase crypto wallet is also highly rated.

Assets Crypto
Commissions 1.49% commission / 3.99% fee on debit/credit card purchases
Minimum Deposit $50 is recommended by the platform
Minimum Trade No minimum stated

Pros

  • Very simple interface
  • Supports debit and credit card investments

Cons

  • 3.99% charged on instant buy feature
  • Standard commission of 1.49% per slide
  • No support for XRP or BNB
  • Limited trading tools

Cryptoassets are a highly volatile unregulated investment product.

5. Binance – Advanced Cryptocurrency Platform With Low Commissions

binance logoBinance is another trading platform that specializes exclusively in cryptocurrencies. At this platform, you will have access to an abundance of trading tools that are designed for seasoned traders. There is integration with TradingView, which offers real-time data on volume and pricing.

Binance also offers a wide selection of order types, technical indicators, and chart drawing tools. We also like that Binance is home to the largest amount of liquidity and trading volume in this cryptocurrency industry. On the other hand, Binance also allows US clients to buy 80+ cryptocurrencies instantly with a debit or credit card.

binance review

This will cost you a fee of 4.5% alongside an instant buy premium of 0.5%. Although this is expensive, standard trading commissions are very competitive. You will initially pay 0.10% per slide when trading crypto, but fees can be reduced when holding BNB. Higher trading volumes also give you chance to lower your commissions.

Assets Crypto
Commissions Up to 0.10% commission / 4.5% + 0.5% fee on debit/credit card purchases
Minimum Deposit Depends on the payment method
Minimum Trade No minimum stated

Pros

  • Standard commission of 0.10%
  • More than 80+ cryptocurrencies supported

Cons

  • Huge fees when using a debit or credit card
  • US clients get access to significantly fewer markets
  • Not suitable for beginners
  • Regulatory status remains unclear

Cryptoassets are a highly volatile unregulated investment product.

6. Interactive Brokers – Established Trading Platform With Thousands of Markets

interactive brokers review

If you’re looking to build a diversified portfolio of traditional assets – Interactive Brokers is one of the best trading platforms for this purpose. Across thousands of US and intentional markets, Interactive Brokers offers everything from stocks and ETFs to fixed-rate bonds and funds.

You also make use of tailor-made financial advice and managed portfolios, as well as access upcoming IPOs. In terms of fees, Interactive Brokers charges nothing in commission when you buy and sell US-listed stocks and ETFs. Foreign equities and other asset classes are charged at a premium and this will depend on your account type and the respective market.

interactive brokers review

We also like Interactive Brokers for its fractional investment tool – which enables you to trade US-listed stocks from just $1. For a platform that historically catered to seasoned pros, this shows that Interactive Brokers is also looking to attract casual retail clients. Finally, Interactive Brokers offers top-rated customer support across a variety of channels.

Assets Stocks, crypto, ETFs, funds, IPOs, bonds, managed portfolios
Commissions 0% on US-listed stocks and ETFs / Variable fees on other markets
Minimum Deposit $0 on standard brokerage account
Minimum Trade $1 on US-listed stocks

Pros

  • Highly advanced trading platform
  • Thousands of stocks on offer
  • Best penny stock trading platform

Cons

  • Interntional stocks are charged at a premium
  • Perhaps not suitable for beginners
  • Specialist accounts come with high minimum deposit requirements

7. E*TRADE – Great Investment Platform for IRAs

E*TRADE review

E*TRADE is perhaps one of the best online trading platforms for long-term investors. You will be able to open an account without needing to meet a minimum deposit and in particular, E*TRADE stands out for its selection of IRAs.

There is a retirement account to suit all objectives – so this is a great way to invest in a tax-efficient way. When adding US-listed stocks and ETFs to your E*TRADE portfolio, no commissions will apply. Other assets are charged at various rates. Access to international stocks is limited here and there is no support for fractional shares.

E*TRADE review

With a requirement to purchase a minimum of one stock, this platform might not be suitable for casual investors. E*TRADE does, however, offer a trading platform that will suit intermediate and advanced traders. You will have access to plenty of research tools, especially when it comes to fundamental analysis. Accounts can take several days to open – so do bear this in mind.

Assets Stocks, ETFs, options, mutual funds, futures, bonds, prebuilt portfolios, IPOs
Commissions 0% on US-listed stocks and ETFs / Variable fees on other markets
Minimum Deposit $0 on standard brokerage account
Minimum Trade No fractional stock purchases

Pros

  • Great selection of retirement accounts
  • No minimum deposit

Cons

  • No fractional shares
  • Limited number of trading tools
  • Pre-built portfolios require a $500 investment

8. Schwab – Trade US-Listed Stocks and ETFs at 0% Commission

charles schwab reviewThe next broker to consider from our list of the best trading platforms for 2024 is Schwab. This platform services millions of clients in the US and it has been operational since 1971. As such, Schwab can be relied on for its long-standing reputation and heavy regulation.

In terms of markets, Schwab gives you access to all US-listed stocks, as well as OTC markets and IPOs. International stocks are only offered in the form of ADRs. There are no commissions charged on stocks listed on the NASDAQ and NYSE. If your chosen stock forms part of the S&P 500, you only need to invest $5.

charles schwab review

You can also trade a huge variety of other financial markets. This is inclusive of ETFs, index funds, options, bonds, money market funds, and much more. There is also financial advice on offer, but this requires a high minimum capital outlay. Schwab is also popular for its premium analysis tools and market insights. This also includes regular podcasts and workshops.

Assets Stocks, ETFs, options, mutual funds, bonds, money market funds
Commissions 0% on US-listed stocks / Variable fees on other markets
Minimum Deposit $0 on standard brokerage account
Minimum Trade $5 minimum on stocks listed on the S&P 500

Pros

  • Buy fractional shares from just $5
  • Top broker for creating automated portfolios

Cons

  • Fractional shares only available on S&P 500 companies
  • Non-US stocks come with high fees
  • Platform can be overbearing for newbies

9. Fidelity – Top Trading Platform for Long-Term Investments

fidelity reviewAlthough Fidelity offers a range of useful tools for short-term traders, the platform is perhaps best suited for long-term investments. You will find thousands of stocks and ETFs here, alongside index funds and mutual funds. You can also invest in fixed-rate bonds.

All of these products are ideal for buy-and-hold investors, especially if you are thinking about opening a retirement account. On this note, Fidelity offers a great selection of tools that can help you choose the best IRA for your requirements. You can also calculate your monthly cash flow based on your projected investments.

fidelity review

We also like that you can assess whether or not you are on track to meet your retirement objectives in under 60 seconds. If you decide to open a standard brokerage account, no minimum deposit requirements are in place. Moreover, this account type supports fractional stock investments from just $1. No commissions are charged on US-listed stocks.

Assets Stocks, ETFs, index funds, mutual funds, bonds
Commissions 0% on US-listed stocks / Variable fees on other markets
Minimum Deposit $0 on standard brokerage account
Minimum Trade $1 minimum on US-listed stocks

Pros

  • Stocks by the Slice tool allows you to buy shares from just $1
  • Thousands of financial instruments listed

Cons

  • Mobile app is a bit cumbersome for beginners
  • High-level research tools are best suited for experienced traders
  • Financial planning accounts come with high minimums

10. TD Ameritrade – Trusted Brokerage Offering Diverse Trading Markets

td ameritrade review

TD Ameritrade is yet another trading platform that offers a huge range of supported markets. With that said, what really sets this platform apart from the rest is its proprietary platform for advanced traders – thinkorswim. This can be accessed online or via downloadable desktop software.

Either way, thinkorswim provides high-level tools that allow you to outperform the markets consistently. For instance, this includes over 400,000 economic indicators, historical and real-time data, customizable charting screens, and the ability to deploy higher advanced orders. Many of the aforementioned tools can also be accessed via the thinkorswim mobile app.

td ameritrade review

In terms of the specifics, TD Ameritrade offers 0% commission trading on US-listed stocks. Additional fees will apply to non-US stocks and other asset classes. Moreover, when you trade US equities, there is no support for fractional ownership. As such, TD Ameritrade is better suited for those of you that are planning to trade with larger amounts.

Assets Stocks, options, ETFs, mutual funds, futures, forex, crypto, bonds, IPOs
Commissions 0% on US-listed stocks / Variable fees on other markets
Minimum Deposit $0 on standard brokerage account
Minimum Trade No support for fractional stocks

Pros

  • Highly advanced thinkorswim trading suite
  • Top-rated broker for seasoned investors

Cons

  • No fractional shares
  • Commission-free access to US-listed stocks online
  • Too advanced for beginners

11. Robinhood – User-Friendly Trading Platform for Beginners

Robinhood review

While this provider lacks advanced tools and features, Robinhood is perhaps the best trading platform for beginners. No minimum deposits are required to get started with Robinhood and the minimum stock trade is just $1. This is also the case with ETFs, crypto, and options.

Moreover, Robinhood is a 0% commission broker across all of its supported assets. US-listed stocks run into the thousands, but international equities are only offered via ADRs. Depositing funds into your Robinhood account can be cumbersome – not least because you will be capped to $1,000 in instant deposits.

Robinhood review

Furthermore, you can only deposit funds via ACH or a bank wire. If you want access to margin trading, you will need to open a gold account at $5 per month. The gold account also offers higher instant deposits. Robinhood is also ideal if you want access to educational materials. Finally, many users trade on the Robinhood mobile app – which is very user-friendly.

Assets Stocks, options, ETFs, crypto
Commissions 0% on all supported markets
Minimum Deposit $0 on standard brokerage account
Minimum Trade From just $1

Pros

  • Great option for first-time investors
  • No commissions are charged on US-listed stocks, options, ETFs, or cryptocurrencies

Cons

  • Only offers international shares via ADRs
  • Standard accounts limit instant deposits to $1,000
  • No passive investment tools

12. Ally Invest – Combine Investment and Banking Services via a Single Platform

Ally Invest review

If you find it a hassle to transfer funds back and forth between your bank and brokerage accounts, Ally Invest could be one of the best trading platforms for you. This is because Ally Invest offers a variety of financial services via a single hub.

In terms of banking, this is inclusive of checking and savings accounts, retirement plans, mortgages, auto financing, and personal loans. On the brokerage side of things, Ally Invest gives you access to stocks, bonds, funds, and options. Interestingly, there is no support for cryptocurrencies. Moreover, Ally Invest does not allow you to take fractional ownership of assets.

Ally Invest review

We do, however, like that Ally Invest offers thousands of US-listed stocks and ETFs at 0% commission. You can also get started with a standard brokerage account without needing to meet a minimum deposit. You can fund your account via ACH, a bank wire, or a check. The Ally Invest app connects to your main account – which allows you to trade while on the move.       

Assets Stocks, bonds, funds, options, ETFs
Commissions 0% on US-listed stocks and ETFs / Variable fees on other markets
Minimum Deposit $0 on standard brokerage account
Minimum Trade No support for fractional stocks

Pros

  • Very user-friendly – ideal for beginners
  • Offers 0% commission on US stocks

Cons

  • No support for international stocks
  • Too basic for seasoned investors
  • IPO allocation is limited

Top Trading Platforms Compared

For a quick summary of our findings when reviewing the best trading platforms for 2024 – check out the comparison table below:

Commissions Minimum Deposit Core Features
Crypto.com Up to 0.40% $20 Low fees, crypto interest accounts, NFT marketplace
XTB 0% plus spread None 0% commission, wide range of markets, no minimum deposit
Webull 0% plus spread $0 0% commission on all markets, $0 minimum balance, great app
Coinbase 1.49% / 3.99% on debit/credit cards $50 is recommended Simple way to buy crypto, debit/credit cards accepted, regulated
Binance 0.10% / 4.5% + 0.5% on debit/credit card Depends on payment method 0.10% commission, advanced trading tools, supports US dollars
Interactive Brokers 0% on US-listed stocks $0 Thousands of markets, trusted reputation, OTC markets
E*TRADE 0% on US-listed stocks $0 Great for IRAs, no account minimum, good selection of assets
Schwab 0% on S&P 500-listed stocks $0 $5 minimum on stocks, managed portfolios, financial advice
Fidelity 0% on US-listed stocks $0 Superb for long-term investments, retirement accounts, $0 account minimum
TD Ameritrade 0% on US-listed stocks $0 Thinkorswim platform, premium research tools, advanced trading app
Robinhood 0% on all markets $0 0% commission on all markets, beginner-friendly, $1 minimum trade
Ally Invest 0% on US-listed stocks $0 Banking and investment services, robo-advisors, low fees

Online Trading Platforms Fees Explained

When investing via a trading platform, you may come across a variety of trading fees. Here are some of the most common ones:

Commission fees

These costs are often set as a percentage of the total transaction value when you purchase or sell securities such as stocks or ETFs. For example, if a platform charges a 1% commission fee and you purchase $1,000 worth of Google stocks, you will be charged a $10 commission fee.

Certain securities or account types are eligible for zero-commission trading on some platforms.

Market spread

The spread is the difference between a security’s purchase (ask) and selling (bid) price. It is widely used in forex trading or when trading certain derivatives to represent the cost of executing a trade. For example, if a currency pair’s bid price is $1.1000 and the ask price is $1.1008, the spread is 8 pips. The spread functions as a commission paid to the platform or broker.

Exchange Fees

Exchange fees are levied by stock exchanges and other marketplaces where securities are traded. They are often incurred when purchasing or selling stocks, options, futures contracts, or other exchange-traded assets. Exchange costs vary according to the exchange and the security that is traded.

Overnight Fees

You may be charged an overnight fee, also known as a rollover fee, if you keep a CFD (Contract for Difference) position overnight. This is a minor cost that is typically set by most trading platforms that offer CFDs. It reflects the supply and demand fluctuations in financial markets and is designed to pay the costs of keeping your position open after the market closes for the day.

The cost is deducted from your available balance and varies depending on the value and direction (BUY or SELL) of your position. However, you may obtain an overnight refund, which means that your account is credited rather than debited.

For indices the calculation is: 

  • For BUY (long) positions: (Units * Price) * (3% + LIBOR)/365
  • For SELL (short) positions: (Units * Price) * (3% – LIBOR)/365

Inactivity Fees: 

Certain platforms can impose an inactivity fee if you fail to perform any trades or maintain a specific level of account activity for a set period of time. These fees, which may differ between platforms, incentivize regular trading.

How to avoid inactivity fees

Users can avoid incurring inactivity fees by placing at least one trade before the cut off period. This varies depending on the trading platform but it’s usually around the 12 month mark. 

Alternatively some inactive investors choose to close their trading account altogether. This means that for long term investors interested in HODLing a particular asset for an extended period need to factor in the inactivity fees to ensure they don’t face a monthly charge. 

Withdrawal or Transfer Fees: 

Some platforms may charge withdrawal or transfer fees when you remove funds from your trading account or transfer funds to another account. These fees may differ based on the platform and the manner of withdrawal or transfer used, such as bank transfers or wire transfers.

At Interactive Brokers there are no withdrawal fees. 

Deposit Fees

Trading platform deposit fees are fees levied by a trading platform when funds are deposited into your trading account. These fees are intended to cover the costs of processing and handling deposit transactions.

When you make a deposit into your trading account, the platform may charge you a deposit fee that is either a percentage of the deposited amount or a flat fee. This fee is collected from deposited funds prior to crediting them to your account balance. Deposit fee structures differ amongst trading platforms, thus it’s important to read the platform’s fee schedule or terms of service to understand the applicable charges. 

It’s worth mentioning that some trading platforms may provide promotions or waive deposit fees for specific financing methods or account types, so it’s a good idea to look into those options.

Types of Trading Platforms

While some trading platforms specialize in a specific asset class, others give you access to a wide range of markets.

Below we briefly explain the main type of trading platforms that you will have access to.

Crypto Trading Platforms

Cryptocurrency trading platforms are online marketplaces that allow users to purchase and trade various cryptocurrencies. These platforms serve as intermediaries, connecting traders to the market. 

They allow users to trade a wide variety of cryptocurrencies, including well-known ones such as Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Ripple (XRP), and Litecoin (LTC), as well as lesser-known or emerging cryptocurrencies. Crypto trading platforms provide the infrastructure and tools required for traders to conduct deals, track market movements, and oversee the coins they own.

Purchasing cryptocurrencies involves paying with fiat currency (such as USD, EUR, or GBP) or exchanging them for other cryptocurrencies. Traders can profit from price swings in the cryptocurrency market by purchasing cryptocurrencies at a lower price and subsequently selling them at a higher price. 

Selling cryptocurrencies, on the other hand, requires swapping them for conventional fiat money or other digital assets. Traders may decide to sell their cryptocurrency holdings in order to earn profits, control risks, or convert their holdings into other assets.

As well as buying and selling cryptocurrencies, users on crypto trading platforms can engage in additional trading activities. For instance:

  • Margin trading, in which investors borrow funds to amplify their buying power.
  • Futures trading, in which traders speculate on the future price movements of cryptocurrencies by entering into contracts, are examples of these activities. 

Some trading platforms also provide the possibility to engage in ICOs or trade tokens issued by decentralized finance (DeFi) platforms. 

Crypto Trading Platforms vs Crypto Exchanges

Ever wondered what the difference between a crypto broker and a crypto exchange is?

A crypto trading platform tends to be an online platform that offers a variety of tools and features that are specifically built for active cryptocurrency trading. Real-time market data, charting tools, order types, and other trading-specific features are available on these platforms. 

Crypto trading platforms frequently cater to active traders’ needs and sometimes provide advanced trading options such as margin trading or futures trading.

A cryptocurrency exchange, on the other hand, is a platform where users can buy, sell, and swap various cryptocurrencies. Exchanges act as digital markets, bringing buyers and sellers of cryptocurrencies together. They offer an order book in which users may place buy or sell orders at predetermined prices. 

Cryptocurrency exchanges typically provide a diverse selection of cryptocurrencies that can be exchanged against one another or against fiat currencies. A cryptocurrency exchange’s principle goal is to provide a safe and efficient platform for customers to trade one type of cryptocurrency for another or for fiat currency.

Stock and ETF Trading Platforms

A stock and ETF trading platform allows investors to buy and sell stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in the financial markets. These platforms give users access to a diverse choice of equities and ETFs that are traded on numerous stock exchanges.
Stock and ETF trading platforms provide features and tools intended exclusively for investing in equities and ETFs. They offer real-time market data, research resources, charting tools, and the ability to place orders.

Investors can use these tools to track stock prices, analyse market patterns, and make trades depending on their investing ideas. They may also include features like portfolio tracking, dividend reinvestment, and educational tools.

Forex Trading Platforms

Forex – which consists of exchanging currency pairs, is home to the largest trading scene globally. If you’re based in the US, you likely know that the forex trading industry is heavily regulated.

etoro forex trading

As such, you will need to meet a range of strict requirements – such as keeping a minimum amount of capital in your brokerage account. Nonetheless, the best forex trading platforms in the market offer plenty of currency pairs alongside tight spreads, particularly low spread forex brokers.

Options Trading Platforms

Options trading platforms are internet platforms which support the purchase and sale of option contracts. Options are financial derivatives that offer traders the right to buy or sell an underlying asset at a set price within a set timeframe.

Options trading platforms give traders the tools and features they need to engage in options trading, such as options chains, pricing models, and order execution features.

Options platforms can accommodate both novice and professional traders, but they usually require a certain amount of knowledge and awareness of options trading concepts.

Options trading can include sophisticated methods and risk considerations that are best suited to experienced traders with a thorough understanding of the options market.

Some options trading platforms, on the other hand, provide educational resources, tutorials, and support to assist newcomers in learning about options trading and gradually building their knowledge and skills. Beginners should approach options trading with caution, educate themselves, and begin with smaller positions until they develop more expertise.

Commodities Trading Platforms

A commodity trading platform is a web-based service that allows people to buy and sell commodities. Commodities are tradable raw resources or basic agricultural products such as gold, oil, natural gas, wheat, or coffee. Commodity trading platforms connect traders to multiple markets, enabling them to trade physical assets via derivatives, such as futures or options.

Commodity trading platforms work by facilitating the exchange of commodities between buyers and sellers. These platforms allow traders to examine real-time pricing, analyze market trends, and place trades on a variety of commodities.

These type of trading platforms often include tools and features such as price charts, technical indicators, and contract parameters. Futures contracts bind traders to purchase or sell a particular quantity of a commodity at a predetermined price and date in the future.

These contracts offer exposure to commodity price changes without requiring physical ownership of the underlying asset.

Some of the most traded commodities globally include oil, natural gas, gold, silver, and wheat. Once again, if you’re a retail client based in the US, you might find it difficult to trade these instruments.

Day Trading Platforms

The best day trading platforms in the market are suitable for those that wish to speculate on assets through a short-term strategy. You will look to place an order and close the position before the respective market closes on that day.

Take note of the pattern day trading rule in the US. If you are classed as a day trader, the rule states that you must hold at least $25,000 worth of equity in your brokerage account.

Is day trading safe?

To begin with, market volatility is a major concern because day traders seek to profit from short-term price swings

If trades are not executed quickly enough or market circumstances change abruptly, rapid market swings might result in unanticipated losses. Furthermore, leverage magnifies both potential benefits and losses, making risk management critical for loss mitigation.

Furthermore, operational risks can result from technological issues such as platform outages or connectivity issues, which can impede or delay transaction execution. 

Traders must also be vigilant about liquidity risk, which can affect their ability to enter or exit positions at desired prices, especially when trading lower-volume stocks or less liquid markets.

Likewise, emotional biases and psychological pressures might influence decision-making, resulting in rash trades and significant losses.

How to Pick a Safe and Trusted Trading Platform

Choosing a safe and licenced trading platform is critical for new traders and investors who want to protect their assets and have a dependable trading experience. Here are some important factors to consider while choosing a platform:

Research Regulatory Compliance:

It is critical that the trading platform you select is regulated by credible financial regulators. Look for platforms that are licensed and regulated by regulatory agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the US, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK, or the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) in Australia. Regulatory oversight ensures that the platform follows industry standards and protects investors’ interests

Evaluate Security Measures:

Platforms that prioritize strong security measures to protect your personal information and finances should be favored. Look for platforms that use encryption methods, two-factor authentication (2FA), and client accounts that are segregated. These safeguards strengthen the platform’s security and guard against unauthorized access or fraudulent activity.

Consider Reputation and Track Record:

Examine the platform’s industry reputation and track record. Look for platforms with a track record of dependable service and great user feedback. A platform with a solid reputation has effectively served clients and earned their trust over time.

Review Available Trading Instruments:

Examine the platform’s offering of trading instruments. Check that it gives you access to the financial markets and asset types you want to trade, such as stocks, cryptocurrency, or FX. A varied range of products helps you to diversify your investment portfolio and capitalize on market opportunities. 

Analyze Fees and Costs:

Assess the platform’s fee structure, which includes trading fees, deposit/withdrawal fees, and any other applicable charges. Compare the price schedules of various platforms to strike a balance between competitive pricing and service quality. 

Beginner traders and investors can select a safe and reputable trading platform that fulfills their needs while prioritizing security, regulation, reputation, and a varied selection of trading opportunities by considering these elements and completing extensive research.

Conclusion

This guide has compared the best trading platforms in the market today. We focused on platforms that offer access to a broad selection of markets at competitive fees, alongside suitable trading tools and top-rated customer service.

References:

https://www.fca.org.uk/firms/copy-trading

https://www.londonstockexchange.com/personal-investing/tools/direct-market-access

https://www.schwab.com/execution-quality/order-routing-process

https://www.bloomberg.com/professional/product/portfolio-risk-analytics/?utm_medium=Adwords_SEM&utm_source=pdsrch&utm_content=EMEA_PORT_2023&utm_campaign=745006&tactic=745006

https://www.financemagnates.com/forex/thinkmarkets-launches-copy-trading-app-ahead-of-listing/

https://online.hbs.edu/blog/post/how-to-diversify-your-portfolio

https://www.finra.org/about/firms-we-regulate

https://www.sec.gov/about/what-we-do

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2023-06-05/cryptocurrency-prices-sag-as-sec-files-charges-against-binance

https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2023-101

https://www.sec.gov/about/reports-publications/investor-publications/investor-pubs-asset-allocation

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/investing/isas/freetrade-isa-investors-fractional-shares-tax-bill/

https://www.barrons.com/articles/robinhood-settles-service-outage-dispute-16e80373

https://www.bitpanda.com/academy/en/lessons/the-difference-between-a-cryptocurrency-broker-and-an-exchange/

https://www.investor.gov/additional-resources/spotlight/directors-take/thinking-day-trading-know-risks

https://www.cnbc.com/select/best-brokerage-free-stock-trading/

https://www.sec.gov/about/laws/secrulesregs

https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/wp/2007/wp07259.pdf

https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/guidance/multi-factor-authentication-online-services

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