Optimising trades with the best online brokers

Top On-line Brokers

Trading tools, low fees, and top-tier insights. We compare and contrast the best online brokerage firms so that you can trade at your best. We review an ever increasing number of variables and compare by region to provide the key information to allow you to make an informed decisions for which online  broker suits your needs.

Broker Overall rating Min deposit Fee Rating Customer service quality
74% of retail CFD accounts lose money
Between 74-89% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs.

The Increasing Adoption of Online Trading

Not so long ago, stock market trading was exclusive to those with high amounts of wealth and access to a registered broker. Online trading platforms have broken down this barrier and have made trading accessible to retail investors with smaller amounts of capital. The markets have now become possible to trade for anyone with access to a web browser or mobile. However, choosing the right online brokerage account is no easy decision to make. Factors such as trading tools, fees, and requirements to open account are all important considerations for traders to take into account. Balancing these along with comparing and contrasting between different brokers is no easy task. That’s why we have compiled a list of the top online brokers for you to consider before you venture into the world of online trading.

What are the best online brokers and why?

We compared and contrasted the best online brokers available to traders today. After our analysis, the three which made it to the top of our list were Interactive Brokers, Firstrade Securities, and TradeStation. The factors that made these companies the top considerations were the following:

  1. Regulated by stringent governmental bodies such as FINRA
  2. Highly competitive on fees
  3. Provide a wide variety of trading tools
  4. Provide access to a wide variety of markets
  5. Provide traders with small amounts of capital a fair opportunity to get involved in the markets
  6. Focus on educational tools
  7. Top tier customer service
  8. Accessible in a large number of countries globally

Interactive Brokers is one of the online trading brokers with the longest history of operating. The company was founded in 1977, far predating the rise in popularity of online trading. The company originated as a group of market makers trading on the American Stock Exchange (AMEX) and gradually developed into the largest electronic brokerage in terms of daily average revenue trades today. The company is now publicly listed after completing its IPO in 2007. The company complies with the rules of numerous regulatory bodies including the SEC, CFTC, and FINRA. The brokerage services are available in 31 countries globally. Interactive Brokers offers a wide variety of markets to clients which are typically expected from a high-quality online brokerage. This includes access to stocks, options, futures, forex, metals, bonds, ETFs, mutual funds, and CFDs. Interactive Brokers also facilitates access to markets which are not traditionally accessible through online brokerages. This includes both hedge fund investing for accredited investors and asset management portfolios with a mix of both passive and active options. In terms of fees, Interactive Brokers prides itself in competing with major brokerages such as E-Trade, Charles Schwab, and TD Ameritrade by charging significantly lower commissions. The trading platforms provided by Interactive Brokers are available on the web, desktop, and mobile. The trading tools provided include technical analysis software, an order book, and an interface which makes it easy for traders to speculate in several markets at once. News flow can also be integrated with the platform so that traders can monitor ongoing developments that may affect their positions or provide opportunities. As well as provide trading tools across a wide variety of markets, Interactive Brokers has a big emphasis on providing educational resources to traders. There is a wide variety of webinars and courses that traders can access on the platform. Interactive Brokers is considered the top online broker by a variety of traders and professionals. It ticks a lot of the important considerations for traders including competitive fees, a trading platform with a wide variety of tools, and accessibility on a number of platforms.

Go Markets is a highly reputable provider of online CFD trading services. Founded in 2006, the company is based in Melbourne, Australia, and is owned by GO Markets Pty Ltd. It is regulated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) under the AFSL No. 254963. Go Markets has built its reputation on reliability, compliance, excellent dedicated 24/5 client support, fast secure executions, and competitive and transparent pricing.

Operating since 1983, City Index is a broker that provides access to CFDs, forex, and spread betting. City Index is privately owned but is a subsidiary of the publicly listed Gain Capital which acquired it in 2014. Gain Capital provides online trading services to over 140 countries globally. Their services are mainly focused on forex and CFDs. City Index is just one segment of their overall service offering. Gain Capital is a public company listed on the New York Stock Exchange and therefore has to comply with high standards of corporate governance and financial reporting which in turn extends itself to City Index. They are also regulated in eight jurisdictions worldwide. Some of the other brands owned by Gain Capital include forex.com and saltinvest.com. City Index itself is headquartered in London and is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). City Index also has offices in Singapore, Dubai, and Australia.

First Prudential Markets (FP Markets) is an Australian brokerage firm founded relatively recently in 2005. The firm is regulated by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) and is a private company. FP Markets also operates in the UK, Europe, and China and is regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) in Europe and the UK. The European headquarters is located in the UK. There are also offices for FP Markets located in Beijing and Shanghai. The website is available in twelve different languages, catering for the major European regions that it operates in. The languages supported include Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese.

Pro's and Con's

Broker Pro's Con's
  • Around for more than four decades and offers its clients a wide range of assets
  • Ability to buy actual shares, in addition to FOREX trading and CFDs
  • Extremely low rates and fees, which are a big benefit to frequent traders
  • Bad reputation when it comes to customer service, especially with smaller accounts.
  • The trading platform that Interactive Brokers designed has been described as ‘unintuitive’.
  • Registered and regulated in Australia by the ASIC. Operating since 2006, offers most of the standard FOREX and commodity products
  • Offers a new kind of account that charges a flat rate of A$3.00 per trade, with no markup of the spread
  • Low trading and financing fees for all its accounts, low initial deposit of $200 USD
  • Limited number of options when it comes the trading platforms clients can use
  • The broker doesn’t offer Islamic accounts.
  • Founded 1983 and offers its clients an array of CFDs and spread betting instruments. Owned by GAIN Capital Holdings, and regulated in three major jurisdictions
  • Created numerous CFDs for cryptocurrencies, including cryptos other than Bitcoin.
  • Proprietary web trading index called ‘Advantage Web’ that gets good reviews from their clients
  • GAIN Capital Holdings also owns Forex.com, but if a trader wants to use both City Index and Forex.com, they are required to open two accounts
  • The spreads offered on MT4 are higher than other brokers
74% of retail CFD accounts lose money
  • Range of CFDs, options and more than 10,000 trading instruments. Regulated by Australia’s ASIC
  • Propriety IRESS trader built to be used with the MT4 platform, offering clients the ability to use their platform for both CFDs and share trading. There is a charge to use this platform, but a rebate is available for frequent traders
  • FP Markets offers Bitcoin trading
  • No inactivity fee
  • Depending on the account, initial funding fee can be much higher than other brokers
  • Charge funding fees to deposit money into an account. Depending on what kind of method is used, fees can be as high as 4%.
Between 74-89% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs.

Opting for Online Trading?

The proliferation of services transitioning online has democratized trading. Discount brokers now make trading accessible to even investors with small amounts of money to invest and trade with. However, this capability also comes with responsibility. By investing recklessly or choosing a subpar online brokerage, traders are putting themselves at huge risk. The services reviewed in this article are considered among the best online brokers because they help traders succeed in multiple ways. They provide important tools as well as educational resources on how to use these tools. The online brokerages covered also do not take advantage of the user in terms of fees. They are highly competitive with the average market fees and position the traders to have the highest chance of succeeding with their platform.