Best Brokers For Free Stock Trading Of 2023

Investing is one of the best ways to grow your wealth or to set aside money for retirement.

For those looking to start, it’s easier than ever to buy and sell investments through online brokers — many even offer smartphone apps — and you don’t have to be rich; it’s common these days for brokerages to offer zero-commission trades. Plus, many brokers offer free stock trading platforms and no account minimums, making investing even more affordable. Add in robust educational resources and these online brokers allow you to go about investing on your own.

Now, when you see a brokerage offering no trading or commission fee, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t any fees. You won’t be charged for the brokerage executing the trade, but the individual investments themselves may charge expense ratios or management fees.

CNBC Select set out to find the best brokers that offer zero-commission trading. We reviewed over a dozen brokers and narrowed down our list to the top six, focusing on the platforms with the widest range of investment options, user-friendly technology, quality customer support and educational resources. Whichever investment route you choose, make sure you understand what you’re getting into, including the potential for losses. (See our methodology for more information on how we made this list.)

Best $0 commission trading platforms

Ally Invest

Ally Invest®

  • Minimum deposit and balance

    Minimum deposit and balance requirements may vary depending on the investment vehicle selected. No account minimum for Self-Directed Trading. $100 minimum for Robo Portfolios

  • Fees

    Fees may vary depending on the investment vehicle selected. Self-Directed Trading has zero commission fees for stock, ETF, options trades; $0.50 per options contract. Robo Portfolios have zero management fees

  • Bonus

    You may be eligible for up to $3,000 bonus cash when you open an Ally Invest Self-Directed account

  • Investment vehicles

  • Investment options

    Stocks, bonds, ETFs, options, mutual funds, margin account and forex trading

  • Educational resources

    Offers informational articles to help users improve their understanding of investment strategies and market trends

Pros

  • $0 minimum deposit for Self-Directed Trading
  • No commission fees for stock, ETF and options trades
  • Includes charts and calculators to help investors analyze their trades
  • Robo Portfolios available as automated service option with four different portfolio types to choose from
  • Offers informational articles about investment strategies and market trends
  • 24/7 live customer service with brokers

Cons

  • Robo Portfolios require a $100 minimum deposit
  • Mutual funds may require transaction fee

Who’s this for? Ally Invest offers an intuitive trading platform with no account minimums. This brokerage is great for both novice and experienced investors as customers can choose from either Ally’s self-directed portfolio or managed portfolio option, which is essentially a robo-advisor. With managed portfolios, Ally requires a $100 minimum but doesn’t charge any advisory fees. The Ally robo-advisor selects diversified and low-cost ETFs, and it will automatically rebalance your portfolio based on your financial goals.

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Charles Schwab

Charles Schwab

  • Minimum deposit and balance

    Minimum deposit and balance requirements may vary depending on the investment vehicle selected. No account minimum for active investing through Schwab One® Brokerage Account. Automated investing through Schwab Intelligent Portfolios® requires a $5,000 minimum deposit

  • Fees

    Fees may vary depending on the investment vehicle selected. Schwab One® Brokerage Account has no account fees, $0 commission fees for stock and ETF trades, $0 transaction fees for over 4,000 mutual funds and a $0.65 fee per options contract

  • Bonus

  • Investment vehicles

    Robo-advisor: Schwab Intelligent Portfolios® and Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Premium™ IRA: Charles Schwab Traditional, Roth, Rollover, Inherited and Custodial IRAs; plus, a Personal Choice Retirement Account® (PCRA) Brokerage and trading: Schwab One® Brokerage Account, Brokerage Account + Specialized Platforms and Support for Trading, Schwab Global Account™ and Schwab Organization Account

  • Investment options

    Stocks, bonds, mutual funds, CDs and ETFs

  • Educational resources

    Extensive retirement planning tools

Pros

  • $0 minimum deposit for active investing
  • No commission fees for stock and ETF trades and no transaction fees for over 4,000 mutual funds
  • Offers extensive retirement planning tools
  • Users can get on-demand advice from a professional advisor/Schwab expert
  • Robo-advisor Schwab Intelligent Portfolios® available as a no-fee automated service option (with Premium version available for a fee)
  • Trading platform StreetSmart Edge® available for more active investors
  • 24/7 customer support access by phone or chat
  • Charles Schwab offers over 300 brick-and-mortar branches across the U.S. for in-person support

Cons

  • Specific transactions may require commission fee
  • Robo-advisor Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Premium charges a one-time planning fee of $300, then a $30 per month advisory fee. For that price, you get unlimited 1:1 guidance from a CFP, interactive planning tools, plus a personalized roadmap for reaching your goals

Who’s this for? In addition to low-cost ETFs and mutual funds, Charles Schwab stands out because it allows investors to purchase fractional shares of stock. With these types of investments, you can purchase a small portion of a big-name stock instead of purchasing an entire share at the full price, making it more accessible to the everyday investor.

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Fidelity Investments

Fidelity Investments

  • Minimum deposit and balance

    Minimum deposit and balance requirements may vary depending on the investment vehicle selected. No minimum to open a Fidelity Go® account, but minimum $10 balance for robo-advisor to start investing

  • Fees

    Fees may vary depending on the investment vehicle selected. Zero commission fees for stock, ETF, options trades and some mutual funds; zero transaction fees for over 3,400 mutual funds; $0.65 per options contract. Fidelity Go® has no advisory fees for balances under $25,000 (0.35% per year for balances of $25,000 and over and this includes access to unlimited 1-on-1 coaching calls from a Fidelity advisor)

  • Bonus

  • Investment vehicles

    Robo-advisor: Fidelity Go® IRA: Traditional, Roth and Rollover IRAs Brokerage and trading: Fidelity Investments Trading Other: Fidelity Investments 529 College Savings; Fidelity HSA®

  • Investment options

    Stocks, bonds, ETFs, mutual funds, CDs, options and fractional shares

  • Educational resources

    Extensive tools and industry-leading, in-depth research from 20-plus independent providers

Pros

  • No commission fees for stock, ETF, options trades
  • No transaction fees for over 3,400 mutual funds
  • Limited-time special offers
  • Abundant educational tools and resources
  • 24/7 customer service
  • Over 100 brick-and-mortar branches across the U.S. for face-to-face support

Cons

  • Fidelity Go® has a 0.35% advisory fee per year for balances of $25,000 and over
  • Some of Fidelity’s mutual funds require reaching specific thresholds
  • Reports of platform outages during heavy trading days

Who’s this for? At Fidelity Investments, both passive and active traders will find options tailored to their situation. Investors looking to build a portfolio with virtually no fees can do that at Fidelity since the brokerage has index funds that don’t have expense ratios. These funds — the Fidelity Zero Total Market Index Fund, the Fidelity Zero International Index Fund, the Fidelity Zero Large Cap Index Fund and the Fidelity Zero Extended Market Index Fund — combined with no commission fees, are a great choice. The brokerage also offers plenty of low-expense-ratio choices and mutual funds with no transaction fees.

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Robinhood

Robinhood

  • Minimum deposit and balance

    Minimum deposit and balance requirements may vary depending on the investment vehicle selected. No minimum required to open an account or to start investing

  • Fees

    Fees may vary depending on the investment vehicle selected. Commission-free trading; regulatory transaction fees and trading activity fees may apply

  • Bonus

    Robinhood will add 1 share of free stock to your brokerage account when you link your bank account and fulfill the conditions in your promotion (you’ll be able to keep the stock or sell it after 2 trading days)

  • Investment vehicles

  • Investment options

    Stocks, ETFs, options trading, fractional shares, IPOs, plus certain cryptocurrencies through Robinhood Crypto (depending on where you live)

  • Educational resources

Pros

  • $0 minimum deposit to open an account and invest
  • Commission-free trading
  • Free stock welcome bonus
  • Plenty of investment options for active traders
  • Variety of accessible learning tools

Cons

  • Fees outside of commissions may apply
  • Users rely on their own knowledge when building their portfolio

Who’s this for? Robinhood was one of the first brokers to offer a zero-commission trading platform, and it doesn’t require any minimums to open an account or to start investing. Investors have access to stock, options, ETFs, cryptocurrency, commission-free fractional shares and even IPO shares. Retirement savers can take advantage of a newer addition to Robinhood’s offerings: an IRA with a 1% match and no cap. Take note that Robinhood doesn’t offer mutual funds or bonds.

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Vanguard

Vanguard

  • Minimum deposit and balance

    Minimum deposit and balance requirements may vary depending on the investment vehicle selected. No minimum to open a Vanguard account, but minimum $1,000 deposit to invest in many retirement funds; robo-advisor Vanguard Digital Advisor® requires minimum $3,000 to enroll

  • Fees

    Fees may vary depending on the investment vehicle selected. Zero commission fees for stock and ETF trades; zero transaction fees for over 3,000 mutual funds; $20 annual service fee for IRAs and brokerage accounts unless you opt into paperless statements; robo-advisor Vanguard Digital Advisor® charges up to 0.20% in advisory fees (after 90 days)

  • Bonus

  • Investment vehicles

    Robo-advisor: Vanguard Digital Advisor® IRA: Vanguard Traditional, Roth, Rollover, Spousal and SEP IRAs Brokerage and trading: Vanguard Trading Other: Vanguard 529 Plan

  • Investment options

    Stocks, bonds, mutual funds, CDs, ETFs and options

  • Educational resources

    Retirement planning tools

Pros

  • No commission fees for stock and ETF trades
  • No transaction fees for over 3,000 mutual funds
  • One of the largest ETF and mutual fund offerings around
  • Robo-advisor Vanguard Digital Advisor® available for 90-day free trial with no advisory fees
  • Vanguard 529 Plan helps you save for college early on
  • Excellent customer service
  • Offers retirement planning tools
  • Customers get access to GetHuman, a website dedicated to human-to-human customer service, with features that include talking to a Vanguard rep, notice of the current hold time, reminders to call when call center opens, as well as pro tips and talking points for customers
  • Vanguard Personal Advisor Services® available for personalized support

Cons

  • Many retirement funds require $1,000 to invest
  • $20 annual service fee for IRAs and brokerage accounts (investors can waive this fee by opting into paperless statements)
  • Robo-advisor Vanguard Digital Advisor® requires minimum $3,000 to enroll and charges up to 0.20% in advisory fees (after 90 days)
  • Basic trading platform only
  • No robust research and data tools

Who’s this for? Vanguard is known for its low-cost investing options — Jack Bogle, founder of the brokerage, invented index funds — and its cost is perhaps the best reason to be a user. You won’t pay any commissions for trading mutual funds, stocks and ETFs. Expense ratios for the ETFs and mutual funds are some of the lowest around, with an average of 0.10%, much lower than the industry average. Aside from the annual fee (which is easily waived), investors can feel confident they are paying minimal fees.

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Compare investing resources

More on our top $0 commission trading platforms

Ally Invest

As long as you invest in eligible U.S. securities, such as stocks and ETFs, you won’t pay commissions with Ally Invest. ETF options include ones from iShares and Vanguard, both known for their low expense ratios. Ally investors have access to educational tools such as a probability calculator and options chains.

Minimum deposit and balance

Minimum deposit and balance requirements may vary depending on the investment vehicle selected. No account minimum for Self-Directed Trading. $100 minimum for Robo Portfolios

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Charles Schwab

Charles Schwab investors can select from no-transaction-fee mutual funds and ETFs, some of which are Schwab’s own proprietary lineup. You’ll find that many of the expense ratios are extremely competitive, some as low as 0.05%.

As for the educational tools, novice investors can use Schwab’s ETF Select List to determine which funds are best suited for their investment needs. Investors can also take advantage of the Personalized Portfolio Builder tool, which helps to create a diversified portfolio based on information provided around financial goals. Advanced investors can get access to research and earnings reports, plus real-time news from sources like Morningstar and Credit Suisse.

Minimum deposit and balance

Minimum deposit and balance requirements may vary depending on the investment vehicle selected. No account minimum for active investing through Schwab One® Brokerage Account. Automated investing through Schwab Intelligent Portfolios® requires a $5,000 minimum deposit

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E*TRADE

E*TRADE provides educational resources to all levels of investors. Beginner inventors will find the brokerage’s webinars useful, with topics such as how to diversify a portfolio and how to build an income-seeking strategy with ETFs. More experienced traders can get training on Power E*TRADE, the brokerage’s more advanced platform, as well as access to tools such as the market dashboard and technical charts.

Minimum deposit and balance

Minimum deposit and balance requirements may vary depending on the investment vehicle selected. No minimum to open an E*TRADE brokerage account; minimum $500 deposit to invest in robo-advisor platform Core Portfolios

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Fidelity Investments

Advanced and more active traders at Fidelity Investments will find that the research tools are more than sufficient from third-party providers such as Thomson Reuters, Ned Davis Research (NDR) and Recognia®. Investors can also utilize ETF, options and stock research tools on Fidelity’s app and website.

Minimum deposit and balance

Minimum deposit and balance requirements may vary depending on the investment vehicle selected. No minimum to open a Fidelity Go® account, but a minimum $10 balance for robo-advisor to start investing

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Robinhood

Robinhood offers a library of in-depth educational articles that help beginner investors learn the 101 on putting their money in the market. The broker also has a daily financial newsletter called Snacks to keep you updated on how life events and news affect your wallet.

Minimum deposit and balance

Minimum deposit and balance requirements may vary depending on the investment vehicle selected. No minimum is required to open an account or to start investing

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Vanguard

It’s fairly clear that Vanguard is aimed at investors who want to buy and hold funds long-term because it doesn’t have many tools for those who are more active traders or interested in short-term trading. While the broker does provide investment advice, it’s done through the robo-advisor service Vanguard Digital Advisor and Vanguard Personal Advisor Services.

Minimum deposit and balance

Minimum deposit and balance requirements may vary depending on the investment vehicle selected. No minimum to open a Vanguard account, but a minimum $1,000 deposit to invest in many retirement funds; robo-advisor Vanguard Digital Advisor® requires a minimum of $3,000 to enroll

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FAQs

What is zero-commission trading?

Zero-commission trading is when a broker doesn’t charge its own fees for executing a trade. However, you may have to pay third-party fees like mutual fund transaction fees and fees for options contracts.

What fees should I look for when trading?

Each brokerage platform will charge different fees when trading. Aside from commissions from the brokerage itself, investors should look at fees such as per contract fees (for options), brokerage assisted trades, management or advisory fees and transfer fees (when switching brokerages).

What are the risks of investing in the stock market?

Investing in the stock market can offer large potential gains, earning you considerable wealth in the long run. However, the stock market rises and falls daily, leading to gains and losses in the value of your investment portfolio. Due to the inherent risks, most experts recommend diversifying your portfolio by investing in a wide range of index funds, stocks and bonds. You should avoid investing money you can’t afford to lose, and financial professionals typically recommend considering investing as a long-term project rather than a quick way to make fast cash. If you feel uncomfortable investing on your own, you may want to consider hiring a fiduciary financial planner to help you through the process.

What are expense ratios?

An expense ratio is a fee charged annually to investors which covers the administrative and operating expenses of ETFs or mutual funds. This cost is expressed as a percentage and taken out from the amount you’ve invested, which lowers the amount of returns you receive.

For example, if you purchase a fund with a 0.50% expense ratio, you pay a fee of $5 annually for every $1,000 you’ve invested. The higher the expense ratio, the more investors will pay in fees and reduce potential returns on their investment. That’s why it’s important to find ETFs and mutual funds offering the lowest expense ratios, so you can feel confident you’re not losing money to large fees.

How do I find a reputable fiduciary financial advisor?

A fiduciary financial advisor is someone who is legally bound to the needs of their clients ahead of their own. In other words, they can’t offer you advice based on the commissions they could earn, especially if it’s not best for your financial needs.

Before choosing a reputable fiduciary financial advisor, understand what you’re looking for, whether that’s retirement planning, a review of your investment strategy or someone to help you manage your investment portfolio. Do some research in the ways financial advisors charge for their services — typically, fee-only or commission-based — and go with what you feel most comfortable with.

When you start your search, you can ask your trusted friends and family members for recommendations. Other sources include searching through the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) and the Garrett Planning Network. Once you narrow your search, speak with each financial advisor to determine whether they’ll be a good fit for what you’re looking for.

Bottom line

Whether you’re new to investing or a seasoned trader, the brokerages on this list are great options to make sure you avoid commission fees and thus maximize your investment returns.

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Our methodology

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.