Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (2024)

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The past year has delivered an unprecedented series of interest rate hikes and surprising stock market strength. Did the best online stock brokers help their customers make the most of it or could they have done more?

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Our customer-driven rankings of the IBD Best Online Brokers for 2024 can help you decide. In our 12th annual survey, Investor's Business Daily and polling partner TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence asked thousands of investors to rate their online broker.

Out of eight major brokers included in the survey analysis, we recognize four as the best online brokers overall. We also recognize the top four brokers in 20 key performance categories that investors deemed important.

Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (1)The fab four at the top of this year's survey are Ally Invest, Fidelity Investments, Charles Schwab and Merrill Edge.

The other brokers that qualified for the survey analysis based on the number of their customers who provided ratings were E-Trade (part of Morgan Stanley (MS)), Vanguard, Interactive Brokers (IBKR) and Robinhood (HOOD).

IBD's Best Online Brokers List for 2024 is objective and the results are based solely on the data from our extensive customer survey. This independent special report is produced by the IBD editorial team. There is no sponsored content, nor are there any commission links.

Read Our Full Special Report On The Best Online Brokers

Check the lists to see how your online broker compares with others in the areas that matter to you. If it doesn't stack up, consider whether another broker in the study would better meet your needs. And to learn more, read our Best Online Brokers overview story for this year's report.

Best Online Brokers 2024: Best Overall Customer Experience

BrokerStrengths
Ally InvestAlly Invest, the brokerage arm of Ally Bank/Ally Financial (ALLY), leaped into the top group this year. Ally ranked at the top or very high for such attributes as website security, site performance, portfolio analysis, and incentives, discounts and pricing. Overall, Ally ranked at the top of 11 of our 20 attributes in this year's report, including categories customers said were of the greatest importance.

Check out Ally's profile to learn more about its newest features.

Fidelity Investments

Fidelity earns a top spot on our Best Online Brokers list for the 12th consecutive year — that's every year IBD has conducted this survey. For 2024, Fidelity scored the highest among survey respondents who said they were "very satisfied" with their broker. Fidelity also ranks No. 1 in eight of the attribute qualities, including availability of account types, choices for cash management, and customer service.

See our Fidelity profile for more information.

Charles SchwabCharles Schwab (SCHW), another long-standing member of the IBD Best Online Brokers list, ranked highly in IBD's 2024 special report for customer service, educational resources, customer service, and trade execution speed and price. Highlights for Schwab in 2023 include the integrations of TD Ameritrade into its business, including the well-regarded Thinkorswim trading platform.

Read more about Schwab in this year's profile.

Merrill EdgeMerrill's offerings for investment research and for portfolio analysis and reports are among the reasons it ranked highly in IBD's 12th annual Best Online Brokers survey. Merrill also was lauded in the categories of wealth management, trade ideas, and trade ideas in a down market. Merrill Edge Self-Directed is a personalized investing experience. Merrill is part of Bank of America (BAC).

Check out Merrill's profile to learn more.

Top Brokers In 20 Key Performance Categories

Best Online Brokers: Website Security

Protects clients' assets and personal data with strong password and user ID features; technologies and procedures prevent unauthorized account access.
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (2)Ally
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (3)Fidelity
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (4)Vanguard
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (5)Merrill

Best Online Brokers: Trade Execution Speed & Price

Broker routes orders quickly to trading platforms and gets you the best price possible.
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (6)Fidelity
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (7)Charles Schwab
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (8)Vanguard
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (9)Interactive Brokers

Best Online Brokers: Site Performance

Provides fast access to website; always available when you log in. Site is easy to use and navigate.
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (10)Ally
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (11)Fidelity
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (12)Merrill
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (13)Charles Schwab

Best Online Brokers: Equity Trading Platform

Easy to set up buy and sell trades, gauge position size and how much your account is on margin.
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (14)Fidelity
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (15)Charles Schwab
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (16)Ally
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (17)E-Trade

Best Online Brokers: Customer Service

Responds to questions and requests in a way that serves your needs; may include phone, email, chat, online FAQs or automated AI-driven tools. Short wait times.
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (18)Fidelity
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (19)Charles Schwab
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (20)Ally
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (21)Merrill

Best Online Brokers: Research Tools

Offers screening tools and data that let you find stocks, bonds, ETFs or mutual funds based on earnings, sales, yield, duration, investing style, performance, ESG rating, social community lists, etc.
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (22)Fidelity
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (23)Charles Schwab
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (24)Ally
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (25)Merrill

Best Online Brokers: Investment Research

Offers information that helps you understand and select investments, such as analyst stock research reports, profit forecasts, buy and sell ratings, or research on ETFs, mutual funds, options, etc.
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (26)Fidelity
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (27)Merrill
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (28)Ally
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (29)Charles Schwab

Best Online Brokers: Portfolio Analysis & Reports

Provides tools and information for you to stay on top of your portfolio, such as monthly/quarterly reports that show gains and losses, asset allocation, and performance vs. the broad market.
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (30)Ally
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (31)Merrill
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (32)Fidelity
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (33)Charles Schwab

Best Online Brokers: Timely Information On Market Shifts

Provides information on trends driving stock market shifts.
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (34)Ally
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (35)Merrill
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (36)Fidelity
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (37)Charles Schwab

Best Online Brokers: Incentives/Discounts/Pricing

Broker may offer discounts, cash rewards or other incentives. Also considers various other fees that you may pay.
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (38)Ally
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (39)Vanguard
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (40)Fidelity
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (41)Charles Schwab

Best Online Brokers: Trade Ideas

Provides buy and sell ideas such as analyst recommendations, access to investor forums and watchlists.
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (42)Ally
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (43)Merrill
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (44)Robinhood
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (45)Fidelity

Best Online Brokers: Choices For Cash Management

Provides attractive interest-bearing vehicles to hold uninvested cash.
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (46)Fidelity
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (47)Vanguard
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (48)Ally
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (49)Robinhood

Best Online Brokers: Availability Of Account Types

Provides access to various types of accounts from which an investor can trade, such as Roth, 529s, Coverdell, UTMA, HSAs, charitable accounts, etc.
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (50)Fidelity
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (51)Vanguard
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (52)Ally
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (53)Charles Schwab

Best Online Brokers: Mobile Trading Platforms/Apps

Mobile website and apps provide a convenient way to conduct trades, perform research, track holdings and access news, with data security you trust.
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (54)Robinhood
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (55)Ally
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (56)Fidelity
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (57)Charles Schwab

Best Online Brokers: Coverage Of Pre-Market and After-Hours Trading

Allows investors to make trades on certain securities that are tradeable after hours.
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (58)Ally
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (59)Robinhood
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (60)Interactive Brokers
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (61)E-Trade

Best Online Brokers: Educational Resources

Assistance in learning how to invest via articles, tutorials, web tools, downloadable software, webinars and consultations with advisors or videos.
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (62)Fidelity
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (63)Charles Schwab
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (64)Ally
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (65)Merrill

Best Online Brokers: Key Inflation/Other Data

Helps investors stay up to date on and understand key market-influencing statistics.
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (66)Ally
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (67)Fidelity
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (68)Charles Schwab
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (69)Merrill

Best Online Brokers: Trade Ideas For A Down Market

Offers information and ideas that help investors select investments in a down market.
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (70)Ally
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (71)Merrill
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (72)Fidelity
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (73)Vanguard

Best Online Brokers: Options Trading Platform

Provides breadth of tools to find ideas, set up complex trades, test strategies, measure risk/reward and meet your educational needs.
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (74)Ally
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (75)Charles Schwab
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (76)Interactive Brokers
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (77)Robinhood

Best Online Brokers: Wealth Management

Investment advisory services, usually at an additional fee; may include creating investment portfolios, estate planning, tax, retirement and accounting services.
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (78)Ally
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (79)Merrill
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (80)Fidelity
Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (81)Vanguard
Results are based on a two-phase study conducted by Investor's Business Daily and TechnoMetrica. For Phase 1, an online survey of 501 visitors to IBD's Investors.com website and a Barron's research panel between Aug. 31, 2023, and Oct. 23, 2023, was used to determine which online broker features and services investors consider most important. In phase 2, conducted from Oct. 12 to Nov. 20, 2023, 2,775 investors ranked their primary broker on the 20 attributes listed above.

Licensing & Reprints

The 2024 Best Online Brokers logo and accolades are available for licensing through IBD's partner, The YGS Group, at [emailprotected] or 800-290-5460.

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As a financial expert with a comprehensive understanding of the dynamics of the stock market and online brokerage, I've closely followed the recent developments in interest rate hikes and the surprising strength in the stock market. The past year has presented a unique landscape for investors, and it's crucial to evaluate the role of online stock brokers in assisting customers during these times. With a knowledge base rooted in financial markets, investment strategies, and brokerage operations, I am well-equipped to analyze and interpret the information presented in the article.

The article discusses the results of the 12th annual survey conducted by Investor's Business Daily and TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence, aiming to identify the best online brokers for 2024 based on customer-driven rankings. The survey included eight major brokers, and four were recognized as the best overall: Ally Invest, Fidelity Investments, Charles Schwab, and Merrill Edge.

Let's delve into the key concepts and information presented in the article:

  1. Survey Methodology:

    • The survey involved thousands of investors rating their online brokers.
    • Two phases were conducted: an online survey of visitors to IBD's Investors.com website and a Barron's research panel in Phase 1, followed by a ranking phase in Phase 2.
  2. Best Overall Online Brokers:

    • The top four brokers for 2024 are Ally Invest, Fidelity Investments, Charles Schwab, and Merrill Edge.
    • These brokers excelled in various performance categories deemed important by investors.
  3. Attributes Evaluated:

    • The survey analyzed 20 key performance categories, including website security, trade execution speed and price, site performance, equity trading platform, customer service, research tools, investment research, portfolio analysis, timely information on market shifts, incentives/discounts/pricing, trade ideas, choices for cash management, availability of account types, mobile trading platforms/apps, coverage of pre-market and after-hours trading, educational resources, key inflation/other data, trade ideas for a down market, options trading platform, and wealth management.
  4. Top Brokers in Specific Categories:

    • The article highlights specific brokers that excelled in certain categories, such as Ally leading in website security, Fidelity in customer satisfaction, Charles Schwab in customer service and trade execution speed, and Merrill Edge in investment research and portfolio analysis.
  5. Objective Ranking:

    • The rankings are emphasized as objective, based solely on data from the customer survey, and the report is independent without any sponsored content or commission links.
  6. Broker Profiles:

    • Each recognized broker has a detailed profile outlining its strengths and specific features. Investors are encouraged to compare these profiles to determine the best fit for their needs.
  7. Mobile Trading Platforms and Apps:

    • A specific mention is made about brokers providing a convenient way to conduct trades, perform research, track holdings, and access news through mobile trading platforms and apps.

In conclusion, this article provides valuable insights into the best online brokers for 2024 based on customer feedback and an extensive survey. It covers a range of attributes, allowing investors to make informed decisions tailored to their specific requirements.

Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (2024)

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