It’s amazing how technology has allowed investing to become much easier. For the newbie, however, the outrageous fees and commissions in buying stocks can be a reason to look away from the many investment opportunities. Let’s get one thing straight: you can actually buy stocks online completely free of charge. You can quickly learn how to start investing through online stocks.
Often you see will ads from firms encouraging people to start with a few a few dollars, but even a little amount of money can go way up since you end up getting charged with ridiculously high fees as a percentage of your investment. This dishonesty in the world of investments is rampant, but there’s hope for beginners out there.
While building a cost-effective ETF portfolio is highly recommended, buying individual stocks has become everybody’s first step these days. For most people, this is fine, but note that it may not be the best option for you.
If you’re adamant in buying individual stocks anyway, we’ve compiled places where you can have a good start for free.
Where to Buy Stocks Online for Free
On the surface, these companies may appear similar, but digging deeper into what these brokers offer will make you realize that there are actually differences. For example, not all companies offer the same types of accounts. There are some wherein mutual funds are mostly offered, while others don’t allow you to buy mutual funds at all. Moreover, the tools used in stock trading may also vary from one broker to the next.
As of writing, there are not a lot of ways to buy stocks online for free. However, trust in technology to make things cheaper as years go by. In a few years, we’ll be seeing more companies compete to beat the lowest price. It’s possible that the cost of buying stocks online will definitely drop in the near future.
OUR TOP PICK
M1 Finance is fairly new to the scene, but already, they are starting to be favored because they offer commission-free investments. This means is that you can invest in ETFs and stocks free of charge.
What makes M1 Finance extremely attractive really is that they allow fractional share investments, so you don’t have to have the full share price to invest. It allows people to create their own “pie” and actually invest into this pie. This investment pie could have a bowl of 100 stacks or have a single stock, but when you add money, it will be deposited into your pie to balance it out.
If you want to build an impressive portfolio, M1 Finance is definitely a top and popular choice.
A longtime favorite in the investing community, Vanguard has some of the best ETFs and mutual funds available at low expense ratios. This means that ongoing fees aren’t at all that high. Unless you invest in Vanguard products, however, expect to invest some high commissions, which usually start at $7 but can go all the way up to $20 if you regularly trade.
The good news though is, the company has started to offer more nearly 2,000 ETFs and Mutual Funds for free. These include the funds from competing companies like iShares, Schwab, Blackrock, etc.
If you don’t want to stop at Vanguard alone, you can invest in those as well — of course, for free.
Fidelity is considered one of the best online brokers for a lot of reasons. For one, it’s full-service brokerage. The company welcomes all types of investment on every type of account, has superb customer support, and they currently running a promotion that offers a two-year free investment.
If you need professional help, they have offices around the US, and they make it easier to do transactions online and on mobile. Additionally, they offer a large amount of ETFs free of commission and they offer no minimum IRAs as well.
Even if you don’t want any of Fidelity’s free products, you can still buy stocks online and invest for free. Even after the promotion ends, the company still has one of the lowest commission rates at just $4.95 per trade.
If you’re interested in a long-term brokerage to invest, Fidelity is highly recommended.
Robinhood is actually an app that allows people to trade stocks on iOS and Android devices for free. It is well-liked because it allows for free trades — it’s that simple.
What you should take note of in Robinhood is that your tools may be limited. They don’t have a desktop version of the app as well, and there is a limited amount of investments available on the app We talk about the advantages of and what the best stock app available is right now in another article. Also, some people have complained that getting a tax form at the end of the year is also quite a challenge.
But who says no to something offered for free anyway? A study by TD Ameritrade says that active traders, on average, trade nearly 18 times per year. So if you are charged $5 for each commission, you’re going to end up spending $90 more per year if you don’t invest on Robinhood.
Low-Cost Investment Options
The options mentioned above offer ways to freely invest and buy stocks online, but there are also companies worth mentioning that offer partially free or low-cost investments.
WiseBanyan is actually a roboadvisor, but it is free. Their baseline product allows free investments, but they offer up-sells as well wherein you can pay for automation and other things.
As with most roboadvisors, you have to set up an account on WiseBanyan, fill in some answers, and they will handle the rest. Once you’re done with the deposit, they will the rest of what’s needed for you.
This is another broker that offers many options when it comes to mutual funds and commission-free ETFs. E*Trade is one of the few companies that allows its users to invest in Vanguard funds, aside from Vanguard itself, without a cost at all.
Albeit not completely free, the company’s selection of investments and free funds are amazing. If you’re looking to open a Solo 401k, E*Trade makes a great option.
At Charles Schwab, you also have a great selection of ETFs and commission-free mutual funds, which includes the company’s own funds. While not completely for free, the company allows you to build a solid portfolio of ETFs without any charges.
There are a lot of benefits you can get from this company, including lower minimums and its constantly offered sign up bonus.
You can invest for free in some of TD Ameritrade’s commission-free ETFs. As of writing, the company offers more than a hundred free options that you can take advantage of, including iShares funds at a very low expense ratio.
Again, the company’s services aren’t completely free of charge, but it offers a great start if you want to build an awesome portfolio at a minimum expense. Furthermore, this company offers various promotions on a constant basis, including sign up bonuses.
Free Options Trading: Where to Get it
Several platforms found online actually allow free options trading. One of them is Robinhood, which we have already mentioned above.
At Robinhood, you can do Level 2 self-directed options strategies (selling covered calls and puts, buying calls and puts), and also Level 3 self-directed options strategies like fixed-risk spreads (iron condors, credit spreads). Right now, not all users can access Robinhood’s options trading platform, but full access should be expected later this year.
Another platform that offers options trading is Jellfin. They are not totally free, but the company does offer a flat rate price for its unlimited options and stock trading that you can pay each month. The current flat rate price is at $19.99 a month for advanced strategies, but if you want to stick to basic options trading, you only have to pay $9.99 each month.
Generally speaking, options trading is not at all cheap. It can get very expensive since this is often offered to experienced traders that now have enough resources to pay for tools and a stable platform. Luckily, options trading is gradually being offered for free or at very little cost, which benefits more people and entices them to hop in on the bandwagon to have access to advanced techniques that were once only available to advanced traders.
Why You Should Choose to Invest for Free
It’s easy to acquire problems in investment returns because of the fees. There are a few types of fees:
- The fees you need to pay as an advisor
- Expense ratios, or the fees to own an investment
- Commission, or the fees to buy and sell
It cannot be stressed enough how commissions are so important when it comes to investments. It plays a critical role in knowing how profitable your investments can be, especially for people who have little money to trade.
For example, if you have to pay $10 for commission fees on a $100 dollar investment, it’s like you’ve already lost 10% of your investment on the very first day. Even if you choose to spend a ton of money, the percentage of commission fees will still eat your returns up. There are now commission-free options on the internet, so why would you still pay for such fees?
You’re basically throwing your money away when paying for commissions. Add to that other ongoing fees, you can easily lose money in expenses, something that you should learn to prevent early on. To make sure that you get all the profits in all your investments, learn how to reduce fees.
How Companies Earn Despite Offering Free Services
Skeptics often ask, “How do companies earn if they hardly charge us anything at all?” If you really think about it, it seems that companies will cease to exist without making any charges. They can’t just rely on venture capital either since it will eventually run out, correct?
Don’t concern yourself with these things too much. Companies have a way of earning without getting money from you. Below, we’ve enumerated the popular ways these companies make money without relying on exuberant fees.
- Fees charged for ancillary products and services
- Interest on lending products and other loans
- Margin loan interest
- Each transaction in the market is paid
- Lending user-held money
- Lending-user owned securities
So you see, their business model doesn’t rely on charging commission fess from their customers. They have a way to pull this off. Otherwise, they would have been gone by now.
What’s interesting is that you can even earn money if you do some of these things on your own. For example, stockbrokers own money by lending securities. These are the securities that short sellers are allowed to borrow should the business suddenly sell short.
Companies like E*Trade allow you to divide the lending profits you earn with them if you allow them to sell your securities. This is one way of making extra money that you should probably take advantage of.
If you have enough resources to actually lend money, give the LendingClub a look. It’s a platform that provides people with micro-loans. If you have some extra cash, use this platform to lend it to somebody. You get paid back with principal and interest each month and is a fantastic way of making money from lending.
At the end of the day, you should always remember that these companies will definitely find a way to make money in a way that’s not troublesome for you.
Factors to Consider Besides Cost
Similar to all the other products in the market, the cost is merely one of the several factors that you should consider. The same thing applies when you’re looking for a broker at a very low cost.
So what other things should you consider when considering a stockbroker? They are:
- Account minimums
- Type of investments
- Investing tools
- Types of accounts offered
- Customer service/support
- Ease of use
At the end of the day, it’s important that you define what your investing goals are and have an assessment of your options. For instance, you may not be affected by account minimums at all if your investment is worth a lot of money. Similarly, if you want a specific account type, let’s say, an IRA, you can immediately get rid of those discount stock brokers that do not offer this option.
Now that you know you can actually buy and trade stock market investments for free or at a very low cost, you can now start trying your luck. But don't rely on luck alone. In investing, you should always bring out the smarts in you to be guaranteed of earnings and reduce losses as much as you can.
As you can see, there are plenty of options out there. If you're still looking for the right trading platform for you, you can also look at Betterment review and its competitors.
Buying and trading stock market investments doesn’t have to be a complicated endeavor. In this frequently asked question section, you will discover some of the most commonly asked questions pertaining to purchasing stocks and stock options.
General Buy Stock Market Investment FAQ
In this frequently asked question section, you will find some of the most commonly asked questions pertaining to general stock market investments.
How to buy stocks online?
To buy stocks online, you must first open a brokerage account with a stock investment provider. Once you open an account and then fund the account to which you can use to purchase stocks.
How to invest in stocks online?
In order to invest in stocks online, you first need to figure out what kind of stocks you want to invest in and how much you want to invest. Once you figure that out, find a top-rated broker online and fund an account to begin investing.
Where to buy stocks online?
The best places to buy stocks online will depend on the online broker that you decide to go with. Regardless, the best places to buy stock online are featured on this page.
How to start investing in stocks online?
In order to begin investing in stocks online, you must understand how to invest in stocks in the first place. Once you have educated yourself on how to invest in stocks, the risks to investing and have understood how much money you need to invest, you will need to find an online broker. Once you have found an online broker, come up with an investing plan and stick with it.
How to buy stocks online for beginners?
In order to buy stocks online for a beginner, you must:
Open a brokerage account online-
requires an application process, proof of identification and funding of the account.
Select the stocks that you want to buy-
best to study a company’s annual report to see how much of a return you can earn with their success or how much money you can lose with their failure.
- Decide how much shares to purchase.
- Optimize your stock purchases.
How to buy stocks online for free?
The only way to buy stocks online for free is to find brokers that don’t take a share of the purchase for a commission or to use a free trading platform. The best brokers to go with that are commission free are Loyal3 and Robinhood.
What is the best online stock trading site?
The best online stock trading sites are all found on this page. With mobile platforms available and quality research tools, these are among the best online stock trading sites on the market today.
Is it illegal to buy stocks online?
No. It is not illegal to buy stocks online, however, you need to make sure that you are safe online when buying stocks. You want to make sure that you buy stocks from secured through the FDIC and that have a history of reputable stock investing.
How to buy stock in a company online?
In order to buy stock in a company online, you must first find an online brokerage firm that offers the option to buy stock in the company of your choice. After evaluating the stocks you wish to purchase, create an account with the brokerage firm of your choice and begin purchasing stocks.
How to open a stock account online?
To open a stock account online, you must:
- Open a brokerage account with the brokerage firm of your choice.
- Select the stocks you want to purchase.
- Decide how many shares of a stock you want to buy.
- Choose the correct order type for you.
- Purchase the stocks.
- Optimize your purchase.
How does buying stocks online work?
Buying stocks online work by offering average customers the chance to purchase stocks in their favorite companies. Stocks in these companies are purchased from brokers, who charge a commission for doing so. Online, a brokerage firm is similar to a warehouse where people like you and me, can buy and sell stocks at will.
How to watch stocks online?
The best way to watch stocks online is to access a free trading platform that offers stock buying options. The best sites to watch stocks online are:
How to create a stock portfolio online?
In order to create a stock portfolio online you must,
Figure out your asset allocation-
a good stock portfolio consists of different types of investments.
Choose your index funds-
just need to pick two to three to start off, depending on how much you will fund your account.
Contribute regularly to your stock portfolio-
In order to make the most out of your portfolio, you want to contribute regularly to your portfolio and rebalance your portfolio at least once a year.
How long does it take to sell stock online?
The SEC, Securities and Exchange Commission, has specific rules in place dictating how long it takes for the sale of a stock to become official. The general rule today is that such a sale takes three days from the time you sell a stock until the money is available in your account.
How much money do you need to buy stocks online?
There is no set amount that is needed in order to buy stocks online. However, as a general rule, you want to invest over $1,000 when starting out. The more money you can invest the better and the less your account may take a hit from fees that are taken out.
How to manage stocks online?
The best way to manage stocks online is to manage the stocks that you have purchased through your online brokerage firm. From there, you should be able to access the stocks you have purchased and how much the fees are that are associated with it. Using investing software can help you keep all this organized better.
How to buy stock options online?
In order to buy stock options online, you need to understand the rice and fall of stock prices for certain companies. You must then consider your risk to investing in these companies and once you have considered whether you want to take the risk or not, open an account with a stock options platform. With an account, you can invest in the stock options you choose with the help of a broker.
How to buy cheap stocks online?
The best way to buy cheap stocks online is to invest in penny stocks. Penny stocks are stocks that can be traded for less than $5 a share. However, keep in mind that penny stocks can be extremely volatile, so there is a lot of risk involved with this investment option.
General Trading Stock Market Investment FAQ
This frequently asked question section covers all of the general and common trading stock market investment questions most people ask.
What is online stock trading?
Online stock trading is the method of trading stocks of companies and securities electronically. This is typically done through an online marketplace such as NASDAQ. It is a straightforward process that even those with no investment experience can do easily.
Is online stock trading worth it?
Yes. Wealth can certainly be earned through investing in the stock market. However, with the amount of wealth that can be earned, there is a ton of risk involved. Those who invest money, can lose as much as they invest just as easily.
How to make money trading stocks online?
The best way to make money trading stocks online is to carefully weigh your options when trading. You want to choose reliable stocks from mid-cap and large-cap companies, monitors the rise and fall of stock trends and trade responsibility with a stop loss strategy in place to save you from losing too much money in the process.
What is the best online stock trading platform?
The best online stock trading platform should have low rates of stock trades, easy access investing, technology for all levels of trading expertise and no minimum account balance.
How to track stocks online?
The best way to track stocks online is to follow the market on various news websites or specialty brokerage accounts. Upon setting up an online portfolio, you can track the stocks you wish to trade over time.
How to manage stocks online?
In order to manage stocks online, the best way to do so is through the online brokerage of your choice. From the brokerage firm or trading platform of your choice, you can keep track of all of the stocks you have invested in as well as keep track of the trends in the stock market.
How to understand trading stocks online?
As a new investor, it can be difficult to understand trading stocks online. That is why you will want to educate yourself on the trading process from online tutorials, reading books, finding a mentor to assist you and following the market on a daily basis to get into the habit of understanding the trends.
How to open an online trading account in stock market?
In order to open an online trading account in the stock market, you will need to find an online brokerage that is FDIC insured and certified through SEC. Most online trading accounts are free to open, but a few will require a minimum deposit of more than $200 or more.
How to trade international stocks online?
In order to trade international stocks online you must find an online brokerage that offers the option to trade in international stocks. Keep in mind, international stocks tend to be even more volatile than US stocks, so there is more risk involved.
What is the cheapest online stock trading site?
The cheapest online stock trading site today is Fidelity. Fidelity is an online stock brokerage that specializes in only charging $4.95 per trade and a free trading platform for desktop or mobile.
What is the easiest way to trade stocks online?
The easiest way to trade stocks online is to find a brokerage firm that offers education in the process. You want to go with a trading platform that offers low fees, requires no minimum account balance and offers a wide variety of trading options.
General Stock Market Investment Brokers FAQ
In this section, you will find some of the most common questions pertaining to general stock market investment brokers.
How to buy stocks online without a broker?
The best way to buy stocks online without a broker is to invest in stocks directly through a company’s direct stock purchase plan. Most companies offer this option and the best way to check is through the company of choice’s website.
Which online stock broker is best for beginners?
The best online stock broker should be known for having low costs, perfect for beginners that don’t want to invest too much money into stocks off the bat. It should also have a trading platform that is easy to navigate, perfect for those who have never traded stocks before.
What is the best online broker for penny stocks?
The best online broker for penny stocks is Charles Schwab. Charles Schwab offers traders the option to choose from a large selection of penny stocks, no surcharges, a flat commission charge of $4.95 and a high level of customer service that can’t be beat.
Types of Stock Market Investment FAQ
This general frequently asked question section covers the types of stock market investments that you can make from several brokers.
How to trade penny stocks online?
To trade penny stocks online you need to start off with opening an account with an online brokerage service. Once an account is opened, you need to fund an account and begin trading the penny stocks from companies of your choice.
How to invest in penny stocks online?
To invest in penny stocks online you will need to find a knowledgeable broker. Once you find a broker, you will need to educate yourself on the penny stock market by learning the jargon, the types of companies that offer penny stock trading options and what type of trading strategies work best for penny stocks. Once you have educated yourself until you feel comfortable making penny trades yourself, it will be time for you to fund a trading account and begin making trades.
How to buy marijuana stocks online?
The best way to buy marijuana stocks online you must first open a brokerage account with a broker that offers the option to purchase marijuana stocks. Once you have done that, you will need to figure out what marijuana stocks you want to purchase such as Canadian growers or popular growers in the United States. After you have picked a marijuana company to invest in, begin funding your brokerage account and investing a certain number of shares in the company of your choice.
How to buy stock in a company online?
To buy stock in a company online, you have two choices: use an online brokerage that offers the chance to invest in the company of your choice or to purchase stocks directly from a company using a company stock exchange.
How to buy Apple stock online?
To purchase Apple stock online you must first consider what slice of Apply you want to add into your investment portfolio. This will require research on your part by studying Apple’s competition, how the company makes money and how much you should invest into stock. Then open a brokerage account that sells Apple stock. Next you will have to place your Apple stock order and you will become an official Apple shareholder.
Where to purchase penny stocks online?
To purchase penny stocks online, you must do research on how to properly invest in penny stocks by learning how the penny market exactly works. Once you have done that, find a brokerage that specializes in penny stocks. Create a free account with a penny stock broker and fund the account with your initial investment.
How to buy Google stocks online?
To buy Google stocks online, you must first understand that the stock is expensive, starting at a price of $935 or more for just one share. However, if the price doesn’t bother you, simply find an online broker that specializes in the sale of Google stock.
How to buy NYSE stocks online?
To buy NYSE or New York Stock Exchange stocks online, you will have to contact a broker online or offline that specializes in these kinds of stocks such as TD Ameritrade or E-Trade. Once you have found a brokerage, you will need to figure out how may shares of the stock you wish to purchase and fund your account with the necessary funds.
How to buy preferred stocks online?
The first step to buying preferred stocks online is to compare the credit ratings of the preferred stocks of various companies. Then compare brokerage firms before opening account. Once you have opened an account, figure out how many shares you wish to purchase and then place an order.
How to buy gold stock online?
To buy gold stocks online, you will need to do research on the risk and rewards of investing in gold. Then find gold mining companies directly to invest in gold stock, decide to purchase gold mutual funds or gold exchange traded funds. Then find a brokerage that will give you the chance to invest in gold stocks.
How to buy oil stocks online?
To buy oil stocks online you have to find an oil company that offers stock investing such as Exxon Mobile, Chevron or Royal Dutch Shell. Once you find an oil company that interests you, check the current performance of the company stocks for its financial performance such as annual revenue, net income, how much you can earn per share and its current debt level. Then set up an account with an online broker that offer oil stock purchasing options.
How to buy Walmart stocks online?
Walmart offers the option to purchase stocks online through a network known as Computer Share or a stock option broker, stock transfer agent or online broker that is authorized to sell Walmart stocks.
How to buy penny pot stocks online?
The best way to buy penny pot stocks online, you need to find brokers that offer you a way to invest in some of the fastest growing marijuana industries in the world today. Most penny pot brokers will have a cheap investment of stocks starting as low as $5. Keep in mind these penny pot stocks come with a lot of risk as the market for them is extremely volatile.
How to buy Amazon stock online?
In order to buy Amazon stock, you need to understand that you can’t buy Amazon stock through a direct stock exchange. You will need to find a certified brokerage firm to purchase Amazon stock. Figure out how much you want to invest in Amazon, find the best broker that works with your investment goals and then purchase the amount of Amazon stock you want.
How to buy silver stocks online?
With the rise of silver prices, it is the perfect time to buy silver stocks online. To buy silver stocks, you first must understand the advantages and disadvantages of silver stock, decrease your current portfolio risk, understand the vitality of silver, compare silver stocks against each other from large companies and smaller companies. Then find a broker that specializes in selling silver stocks to create an account with.
How to buy Disney stock online?
You can buy Disney stocks directly through the Walt Disney Company Investment Plan or through a certified broker that sells Disney stocks online. The current price for Disney stocks runs over $100 a share. Figure out how much you want to invest before creating an online account with a broker.
How to buy FB stock online?
Facebook stock trades currently occur on NASDAQ and is available to trade on most stock brokers that can be found online. Once you find a broker, make sure you know how much you are going to invest and place an order through the brokerage’s online platform.
How to buy Netflix stocks online?
The first step to buying Netflix stocks online is to open a brokerage account with a reputable broker that sells Netflix stocks. Once you find a reputable broker, figure out how many shares of Netflix you wish to purchase and then place an order for the shares. As you invest, be sure to carefully watch the market for dips or rises in the price value of your shares.