Do you feel like Goldilocks when you’re choosing an online brokerage? This one’s too expensive! This one’s too limited! This one has a $100,000 deposit requirement!
There are dozens of platforms for stock trading software on the internet. And that’s just the reputable ones. It’s a bit of a paradox, really: we like choices, but when we’re faced with too many we tend to not choose at all.
With your sanity in mind, we’ve put together a list of a few of the best sites offering stock trading software so you can get a head start on choosing one that will work for your portfolio.
Plus500 (Join here)
Plus500 is one of our favorites. This stock trading software is available to folks in the UK, and is comprehensive. With Plus500, you can trade shares, ETFs, indices, commodities and currencies, all within the same platform.
Plus500 is great if you’ve got a little experience with trading already. A lot of sites tend to barrage clients with current market news, scrolling tickers and blog opinions, but Plus500 has opted to keep the format simple. You’ll simply log into your account and begin trading.
Customer service is quite good, too. We performed a trial run, asking customer service (via their phone number) a few questions about opening an account. Our rep was knowledgeable and professional, and we hung up feeling confident about the program.
There are a few different types of accounts you can open with Plus500, including a free demo account for practice. But the minimum account balance to open any account is €100. Periodically, Plus500 will also offer a bonus after making your first deposit. You can trade with this bonus and you keep any profit. But you can’t withdraw the bonus itself.
Overall, we think that Plus500 is one of the best options for stock trading software on the market. It’s easy to use, customer service was excellent, and it offers a wide variety of products. You can find apps for Plus500 for iPhone and Android devices, adding to the convenience of the platform.
Trade.com (Join Here)
Trade.com ranks right up there with Plus500 in our list of the best stock trading software. Like Plus500, Trade.com is not open to US residents, but instead focuses its service to residents of the UK and other regions.
The minimum opening balance for Trade.com is $1000, but there are several membership tiers. The account tiers vary in the
features they offer access to, but they all come with video tutorials and a dedicated account manager.
We had a little bit of trouble with customer service on Trade.com. Initially, we asked several questions about the account types and were given prompt and accurate answers. But when we reached out to customer service again, we were immediately directed to the marketing department.
You can invest with Trade.com via their website, or you can use the mobile platform MetaTrader4, which is available on iPhone and Android. MetaTrader4 is a stock trading software which is used by quite a few brokers, but it’s fully integrated with your Trade.com portfolio.
We do recommend Trade.com for its ease of use, its wide variety of accounts and the free demo account it offers. But we would encourage you to gauge your own experience with customer service to formulate an opinion of your own.
eTrade has been around for a very long time – since 1982. eTrade was among the first companies to offer stock trading software, and it’s used that time to develop its business model into something more than just a brokerage.
We really like that eTrade offers security through its history and its brand. But we’re not impressed with the confusing
commission structure. Some online brokerages offer a flat fee per transaction. Ameritrade, for example, charges $6.95 to clients regardless of the account balance or number of shares. eTrade, on the other hand, has muddied up their structure. They charge a $6.95 fee for shareholders who make fewer than 30 trades each quarter. Trade more frequently? You’re charged $4.95. Then you’re charged an additional $.50 for options contracts. We like flat fees because even we can understand them, and eTrade doesn’t deliver.
What we love, though, is the diversity of products eTrade offers. Over the years, it’s taken advantage of the opportunity to expand its product offerings to include IRAs (both Roth and traditional), consulting services and managed portfolios. There’s nothing simpler than having all your financials in one place.
We mentioned TD Ameritrade’s flat rate commissions. But let’s look at this stock trading software a little more closely. Like eTrade, Ameritrade’s been around just about forever. They first set up shop in 1975 in the US, and have since expanded to serve 6 million client accounts.
Like eTrade, Ameritrade offers retirement accounts which are FDIC insured in addition to its investing platform. There are no minimum opening account balances, but if you choose to fund via direct deposit you’ll need to send over at least $50. To access margin or option privileges, you’ll need $2,000.
What’s most notable about TD Ameritrade is that it’s so versatile for investors. The company offers online trading via the web. Its software supports iPhone, Android and some tablets. But what stands out about the company is that they still offer brick and mortar locations. You can still just pop into an office and consult with an actual person about your portfolio, or manage your assets on a desk.
Overall, TD Ameritrade and eTrade are neck and neck for their diverse offerings, but we like the simple commission structure and the physical locations that TD Ameritrade provides.
So, Goldilocks, there are a few options to get you started in your search for the best stock market software. If we’re honest about it, most of these sites are similar in a lot of ways. If you’re looking to just trade stock in companies, you can go almost anywhere. But if you have specific needs regarding customer service, minimum account balances or even the ability to visit a store, this list will get you headed in the right direction.