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7 Best Online Brokers for Investors

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Investors can pocket a few hundred bucks just by opening an account with an online broker these days. But don’t let a signing bonus sway you.

Low commissions to trade stocks or exchange-traded funds can save you more money in the long run. Whether you’re a stock jockey, a saver or a retiree, finding a firm that suits your needs is far more valuable than even a $600 bonus (Merrill Edge’s current inducement if you open an account with at least $200,000).

What makes for a first-rate broker? It depends on what you value. Low fees may be critical for active traders, but buy-and-hold types may want an array of no-transaction-fee mutual funds. Brokers with unbeatable prices may lack the retirement-planning tools or advisory services you need. We weighted the categories based on what our readers consider vital: commissions and fees, 15%; investment choices, 15%, tools, 15%; research 20%; 15% mobile; advisory, 10%.

Take a look at our reviews of seven of the biggest brokers in the industry to see which is the best fit for you.

To be included, firms had to offer online trading of stocks, ETFs, funds and individual bonds. Capital One, T. Rowe Price and USAA all declined to participate. We also excluded some brokers that focus primarily on active traders and lack a full suite of investment choices and services.

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