In this article, we cover some broker promotions and the SmartMoney Survey for online discount brokerages.
Online Discount Brokers
The Smart Money Broker Survey is a great way to find out just how well our favorite brokers have been doing over the past year. Do you know who topped the list for Best Online Brokerage this year? It was ETrade yet again for the third time in a row (Smart Money ranked them #1 in 2007 and 2008 as well)! Great job on hanging on to this award for another year.
For a quick look at who were the best online brokers and the worst ones among the bunch, here’s the list (ranked by scores taken on various categories):
Discount Brokers In SmartMoney’s Broker Survey
|Broker||Commission||Investment Products||Banking Services||Trading Tools||Research||Customer Service|
|ETrade||$9.99||4 stars||5 stars||5 stars||5 stars||5 stars|
|Fidelity||$7.95||5 stars||5 stars||5 stars||5 stars||4 stars|
|Charles Schwab||$8.95||5 stars||4 stars||3 stars||5 stars||5 stars|
|TradeKing||$4.95||3 stars||2 stars||5 stars||3 stars||5 stars|
|TD Ameritrade||$9.99||5 stars||2 stars||5 stars||4 stars||3 stars|
|Muriel Siebert||$14.95||3 stars||3 stars||5 stars||3 stars||5 stars|
|Scottrade||$7.00||4 stars||1 star||4 stars||3 stars||4 stars|
|Firstrade||$6.95||4 stars||3 stars||3 stars||2 stars||3 stars|
|OptionsXpress||$8.95||3 stars||2 stars||5 stars||3 stars||2 stars|
(Bank of America)
|$6.95||4 stars||4 stars||4 stars||3 stars||2 stars|
|Just2Trade||$2.50||2 stars||2 stars||4 stars||3 stars||2 stars|
|WellsTrade||$19.95||3 stars||5 stars||1 star||4 stars||3 stars|
|ShareBuilder||$9.95||2 stars||3 stars||1 star||1 star||3 stars|
|WallStreet*E (defunct)||$9.99||4 stars||3 stars||3 star||1 star||1 star|
|Zecco Trading||$4.95||2 stars||1 star||2 stars||1 star||3 stars|
|SogoTrade||$3.00||1 star||1 star||2 stars||1 star||2 stars|
The Best and Worst Discount Brokers By Investment Category
|Commissions & Fees||Just2Trade beats out Zecco this year.||WellsTrade|
|Investment Products & Mutual Funds||Fidelity carries more than 16,000 mutual funds, mostly no-load.||SogoTrade has no mutual funds at all! Well, they cater to active traders.|
|Customer Service||Muriel Siebert edges out TradeKing this year.||WallStreet*E|
|Trading Tools||TD Ameritrade||ShareBuilder|
|Banking Services||ETrade, Fidelity, WellsTrade||SogoTrade and Scottrade|
|Investment Research||ETrade and Charles Schwab||WallStreet*E, now defunct.|
A couple of top discount brokers are running some great promotions at this time, which I thought I should mention. Here are some details:
- optionsXpress is offering a $100 cash bonus for new customers who open an account with them. They’ll deposit $100 in your account once you fund your account with $500 and execute at least 3 trades within the next year. You’ll receive the bonus within one month of meeting the terms and conditions of the offer. Also, you’ll pay NO transfer fees by switching to optionsXpress. Here’s where to sign up.
- OptionsHouse will give 100 free stock trades if you open a new account. OptionsHouse has one of the cheapest flat commission rates around: they charge only $3.95 a trade. They will also reimburse your transfer fees up to $100. Here’s where to sign up.
- TradeKing was, for a limited time, offering a $50 cash bonus for those opening new accounts. While this promotion was in effect, customers were eligible to receive $50 after they deposit $2,500 in their new account and make their first trade. However, this cash bonus promotion has already expired. Nevertheless, there are other great offers from TradeKing which include a referral fee of $50 for any new investor you refer to them, along with reimbursement of your transfer fees up to $150. Here’s where to sign up.
All offers are only good for a limited time.
Well, this stuff is pretty eye-opening, in the sense that a lot has happened over the last year that merit giving these brokers a second look to see which ones you should consider doing business with (or which ones to switch to/stay away from). In general though, I believe these companies have fared relatively well, even during tougher times in the financial industry.
For more on the broker survey, check out this link.
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