If you are new to trading and feel that you’re at a crossroads, trying to decide which online broker you’re going to use, you’re not alone. For active day and swing traders, there are a plethora of options for you to choose from. This is by far one of the most important decisions you are going to make – so hopefully this quick article will help you.
Depending on your needs, you’re going to be looking for a trading platform that offers you solid trading tools, trading research, cheap or discounted commissions, powerful mobile trading apps for both iOS and Android, trading education, and ultimately excellent customer service.
Whatever you decide, there are some excellent choices in today’s day and age.
The best online trading brokers have the following characteristics:
Execution Speed and Stability
If you’re a day trader, especially if you’re trading penny stocks, or high frequency algorithmic trades, you’re going to need a online broker that has incredible speed and stability (i.e., latency). Because we have trading strategies for both active day and swing traders, we have varying needs ourselves – but generally speaking we highly value the ability to get into a trade quickly over more features. We’re always wanting faster execution to get in at our desired price, and we want to avoid software that is unstable to execute these important and timely trading opportunities.
Lower Brokerage Commissions
Having trader substantial volume, we are always looking for the best way to give ourselves additional edge – and one way to do that is with paying less commission. Commissions can absolutely destroy the new trader! The cost of trading can be high, and if you don’t go into this with your eyes wide open you can get hammered! If you’re trading a smaller account, you are susceptible to losing before you even start. You can be charged ECN fees, data fees, margin fees, phone call order fees, and commissions on your trades. These fees will absolutely affect your P&L!
New Customer Rebate Programs
When you open a new brokerage account with some online brokers, you can find some very nifty rebate programs that can help you save not only on commissions but also on the cost of your trading software or education. Not every online brokerage platform will offer these types of rebate programs, but those that do are certainly worth a look. If you’re new to retail stock trading, options trading, or futures trading you are going to want to look into these rebate programs to offset the overhead costs required to trade the markets.
The Right Broker for your Trading Style
Depending on what type of trading style you prefer, you’ll want to weigh that when you decide to open an online brokerage account. There are so many choices, but there’s really no one size fits all formula for choosing the right broker for you.
Do you trade stocks, options, binary options, futures/commodities, forex, or cryptocurrency? If access to trading these markets are important to you, then you need to make sure that whoever you pick offers what you’re looking for. The best thing to do is to decide what market you’re going to trade, and pick a brokerage firm that is focused on helping traders in that area.
Online Brokerage Customer Support
There’s no doubt that excellent customer service is of the utmost importance when it relates to your trading account. There are a lot of brokerage firms that quite frankly are horrible when it comes to this area. You don’t have to put up with that. It’s essential that you work with a brokerage firm that is there to support you at every level.
Our Top 4 Favorite Online Brokers
Based on all of the above-mentioned characteristics, we have ranked our top 4 best online trading brokers for active day and swing traders. Please note that all these brokerage firms are excellent, and in no particular order. We give each broker an equal weighting:
TradeStation Securities – For All Levels of Traders Trading Stocks, Options and Futures
TradeStation is an incredible award-winning trading platform. TradeStation’s powerful desktop trading platform delivers all the power, speed and flexibility active traders demand including: dynamic market-scanning tools, fully customizable charting, fast and reliable trade execution, advanced order management and fully automated strategy testing. It’s a professional-grade firepower platform for the retail trader.
TradeStation also participates in our special rebate program to lower commissions of our members. If you are a Base Camp Trading member or student, you can take advantage of their discounted commission rate by opening an account here.
Infinity Futures InfinityAT Trading Platform
InfinityAT is an online trading platform that provides futures traders around the world with incredibly fast and reliable access to the CME Group and EUREX markets. With features including: single click order entry and trade management, single and multi-target brackets, single and multi-trailing stops, breakout brackets, Level 11 Book Ten Tics Deep, Advanced OCO strategies, integrated Advanced Charting, Simultaneous Multi-Market Access, and PL TIC or $ Display. Some additional features of Infinity that are extremely powerful are the $0 platform fee, and the fact that they have the best spread margin for pairs (i.e. relative value/market neutral) trading not to mention top notch customer support.
Infinity Futures also participates in a unique special program for Base Camp Trading members and students. When you open a new account with Infinity, you can get access to the Base Camp Trading Ultimate Indicator Bundle by opening an account here.
TD Ameritrade ThinkorSwim – Excellent For Options Traders and Mac Users
ThinkorSwim (“TOS”) is an incredible online trading broker. We see a lot of traders that are using MACs use TOS due it’s powerful web-based application, as well as a lot of options traders that use TOS due to its incredible options analytics and research tools. The thinkorswim platform is free, but the commissions can be slightly higher at this broker.
NADEX – Binary Options Broker
Nadex is a very popular and growing online broker for traders that are trading binary options. Nadex stands for the North American Derivatives Exchange, and is the first and largest US-based exchange offering a limited risk, low cost, and legal way to trade binary options and spreads. You can also use our most popular options trading strategy – 11-Hour Options – on the Nadex platform.
Before You Choose Your Online Broker
I would recommend trying out a demo of the platform and researching the brokerage firm to ensure that you feel comfortable with both the trading platform, and you feel that it’s a safe place to custody your assets.
The best online trading broker is likely going to be different for traders based on their focus, and level of experience.
Let us know if you have any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org