Top 9 Best Trading Platforms for Beginners in 2024

We tested 60+ trading platforms to find the best online broker for beginners. Find our expert verdicts on every top stock broker below.
By:  & 
Reviewed by:
Updated: Jun 21, 2024
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Our expert reviewing panel regularly assesses each trading platform according to these six criteria:

  • Its security and regulatory status
  • The fees & cost of trading
  • Whether the broker offers a demo account
  • Access to global stocks and stock markets
  • Access to beginner-friendly investment vehicles like ETFs and funds
  • Availability of stock screeners and research tools

Stock trading platforms that score well in these categories are ideal choices for any casual trader who’s looking to invest in the stock market.

The reviewing panel is made up of a group of stock trading experts, with extensive experience in financial markets, including Dan Ashmore, CFA, Data Analyst, Prash Raval, Financial Writer and expert trader, and Harsh Vardhan, Editor of News. 

All the panel’s findings are independently verified by Richard Stutely, Economist and Fact Checker. Read more about our review process.

Best trading platforms overall for 2024

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  1. eToro: Best for beginners, copy-trading & demo-account
  2. Plus500: Best for international CFD trading*
  3. Public: Best for sharing beginner trading ideas

Editors picks: our top 3 trading platforms

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1
Min. Deposit
100 €
Best offer
User Score
9.9
Trade +2000 CFDs on Shares, Options, Commodities & more
Unlimited risk-free Demo Account
0 commissions & attractive spreads with up to 1:5 leverage
Start Trading
Payment Methods:
Bank Transfer, Debit Card, PayPal, Credit Card, Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Trustly, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Discover, Bank Transfer: SEPA, Bank Transfer: FPS, skrill
Full Regulations:
ASIC, FCA, FSA, MAS, CySEC #250/14

Buy or sell stock CFDs with Plus500. 82% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

2
Min. Deposit
9 €
Best offer
User Score
9.9
Up to $240 bonus!
Deposit with ACA, Wire, Pay with my bank
Invest for dividends and get payout on stocks on Ex-Dividend day
Start Trading
Payment Methods:
Bank Transfer, Debit Card, PayPal, Credit Card, Wire Transfer
Full Regulations:
CySEC, FCA

51% of retail CFD accounts lose money. Your capital is at risk.

3
Min. Deposit
0 €
Best offer
User Score
9.0
Get insights from millions of investors, creators, and analysts
Build your portfolio of stocks, ETFs, and crypto–all in one place
No minimum deposit
Start Trading
Payment Methods:
Debit Card, Wire Transfer, Check, Bank Wire
Full Regulations:
Cryptocurrency execution and custody services are provided by Apex Crypto LLC (NMLS ID 1828849) through a software licensing agreement between Apex Crypto LLC and Public Crypto LLC. Crypto trading on Public platforms is served by Public Crypto LLC and offered through APEX Crypto. Please ensure that you fully understand the risks involved before trading.

Top 9 online brokers, reviewed

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1. eToro. Best for beginners, copy-trading & demo-account

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0% commission

Fees

$100

Minimum deposit

4,000

No. assets

Yes

Demo/virtual account

Pros & Cons

Great for beginners, simple to set up and get started Competitive, industry-leading commissions Popular ‘Copy Portfolios’ function lets you follow top traders Excellent customer service, with live chat support provided
Comparatively high fees for withdrawals and account inactivity Does not integrate with the MetaTrader platform High spreads on some assets

Overview

We love eToro because it’s a trading platform built with beginners and casual traders in mind. eToro offers plenty of features that help guide you into the world of stock trading, whether that’s a risk-free demo account, the ability to copy other people’s trades, or regulatory licences from top-tier financial regulators in the US.

For a beginner, there’s no better place to start. The far-reaching catalog of more than 5,500 stocks and ETFs includes big names like Apple and Tesla, as well as smaller companies with high growth potential from the leading US stock markets. 

Armed with demo account worth $100,000 virtual dollars, credited to every new account, there are plenty of opportunities to try out a trading strategy that works for you. You can diversify your portfolio by size and category, and create passive income through dividends. If you’re on a tight budget, you can trade fractional shares, allowing you to invest in even the most expensive stocks for just $10. If you aren’t sure where to put your money, you can enlist your fellow traders to help.

eToro was one of the first platforms to make investing a truly social experience. Unique features like CopyTrader and CopyPortfolios allow you to join a community of more than 35 million other traders, follow the ones you like, and copy their stock or ETF portfolios directly to your own account. While some other services offer copy trading these days, eToro is the original and best.

When you do start trading for real, the fees are some of the most competitive in the business. Stocks and ETFs are completely commission free. There are no charges for using any of the social trading features, and a demo account is completely free as well.

All of this takes place on a trading interface that’s intuitive and simple to follow. With a few clicks, you can create an account and trade almost any asset you want. If you do encounter a problem, there’s an extensive help center and live chat support to solve the issue. Overall, this all combines to make the eToro app our most recommended platform for beginners.

Despite all the positives, there are still a few things to be wary of. Some of the spreads can be on the high side, relative to other platforms we’ve reviewed, while there’s no way to integrate your account with MT4, if that’s important to you. You can’t use eToro if you live in Nevada or New York State, and US citizens who live outside the US aren’t eligible for an account either.

Highlights

Visit eToro eToro Review

51% of retail CFD accounts lose money. Your capital is at risk.

2. Plus500. Best for international CFD trading*

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From 0.08%

Fees

$100

Minimum deposit

3,000

No. assets

Yes

Demo/virtual account

Pros & Cons

Free demo account for every user Secure broker, licensed by top-tier regulators Wide variety of CFDs to trade Several good risk management tools
No support on trading information and education Website isn’t brilliantly designed to help users find answers to their questions No MetaTrader trading platform compatibility

Overview

We love Plus500 because it is one of the industry’s most transparent and reliable brokers. Its fees are clear and you’ll know exactly what you will be paying before you make a trade. Its technology driven platform gives access to CFDs on over 2000 stocks.

Plus500 has something for all types of stock trader, no matter what level of experience. Its zero commission and tight spreads make it a top choice for day traders and its trading academy is packed with educational content, perfect for beginners just starting.

For accurate instrument availability, visit plus500.com.

The fees: There are no commission fees on any trades with Plus500 and it makes it money through the Bid/Ask spread. Spread starts from 0.01% and varies depending on the instrument. Additional fees include overnight funding depending on trade size and guaranteed stop orders, which add a minimum of 10% to the spread. There is an inactivity charge of £10 per month for accounts not logged in for three months. 

*Based on a comparison of 60+ leading brokers and trading platforms.

Highlights

Visit Plus500 Plus500 Review

Buy or sell stock CFDs with Plus500. 82% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

3. Public. Best for sharing beginner trading ideas

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public.com logo

Spreads

Fees

$20

Minimum deposit

9,000

No. assets

No

Demo/virtual account

Pros & Cons

Commission free stock and ETF investing Share and compare your portfolio on a social trading platform Trade crypto, fractional shares, and alternative investments
You can't trade on margin or use leverage No forex, options, funds, metals, or bonds

Overview

We love Public because it’s a social platform where you can share trading tips and get ideas from other people. Public offers 9,000+ financial instruments, including cryptocurrencies and stocks from around the world.

Alongside a community of other investors all sharing their ideas, Public offers real time news and information so that you can see the full picture before you invest. And the assets don’t just include your run-of-the-mill assets; you can make alternative investments in things like handbags and comic books as well.

The fees: There are no fees for investing in stocks during regular trading hours in the US – 9.30am-4pm EST. There is a $2.99 fee for trades outside of regular hours.

Highlights

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Cryptocurrency execution and custody services are provided by Apex Crypto LLC (NMLS ID 1828849) through a software licensing agreement between Apex Crypto LLC and Public Crypto LLC. Crypto trading on Public platforms is served by Public Crypto LLC and offered through APEX Crypto. Please ensure that you fully understand the risks involved before trading.

A beginner’s guide to trading and online brokers  

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What is the difference between investing and trading? 

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Investing and trading are two distinct strategies used to make money off of financial markets. 

Investing is about holding assets for the long term to build wealth gradually. Typically, investors buy assets like value stocks, bonds, or real estate that appreciate steadily over time.

Traders, on the other hand, buy and sell assets frequently. To maximize their profits, they choose assets that fluctuate in value in a short window, like penny stocks, certain foreign currencies, or cryptocurrencies. 

Traders also use leveraged instruments like options or futures contracts to increase their buying power and returns. 

Trading can yield high returns but is also riskier due to market volatility. Long-term investing provides the opportunity to weather market ups and downs.

Read more: best investing platforms 

What is an online broker, and how does it work? 

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An online broker is an intermediary that helps people buy and sell stocks, funds, and bonds. Unlike traditional brokers, online brokers offer self-directed trading platforms through which users can directly engage with the financial markets. 

These platforms typically include a suite of features, including trading tools, educational materials, and research and analysis capabilities. 

You can buy and sell assets directly on a trading platform; the broker will transmit the order to the market and facilitate the trade for you. The assets you can buy include, but are not limited to, stocks, ETFs, funds, bonds, and cryptocurrency. 

What is an online brokerage account? 

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A brokerage account works more or less like a bank account. You can deposit funds using the available payment methods and then invest those funds in your chosen assets through your brokerage account. 

In your account, you can view your invested assets as well as uninvested cash. The best online brokerage accounts even pay interest on your uninvested cash. 

How do I open a brokerage account? 

Simply click “sign up” on your chosen online trading platform and submit the necessary information. They usually include: 

  • Your full legal name
  • Contact information
  • Information on tax and income

Make sure that the platform accepts clients from the country you reside in – many online brokers in Europe and the UK, including Degiro or Avatrade, don’t accept users from the US. 

Do I have to verify my identity with an online broker?

Yes, you do. This process could involve everything from verifying your bank information to more elaborate verification procedures, including photo IDs such as driver’s licenses or passports.

The overarching term for this layer of security is “KYC”, which stands for “Know Your Customer.” The best trading platforms, including brokerages and other financial institutions, use KYC guidelines to help prevent people from laundering money or conducting financial scams.

Do I need any extra software to set up an online brokerage account? 

It depends on the platform you use. Many require no additional software – allowing you to trade simply on the browser or through the platform’s app. However, some might require integration with popular forms of trading software such as MetaTrader4.

Read more: best TradingView brokers

How much money do I need to open an online brokerage account? 

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There is no universally set amount of money required to start trading. The amount you need depends on your chosen platform’s minimum deposit requirements and the price of the asset you intend to buy. 

Many online brokers lifted minimum deposit requirements, but some still have it. eToro, for example, requires at least a $100 deposit to activate your account. 

Are online trading platforms safe? 

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In general, yes, they are safe, although not all of them are. We recommend you only use trading platforms regulated by authorized bodies like the SEC in the US, which protects client deposits from loss due to broker failure for up to $500,000 or $20,000 in cash through the SIPC. 

Can I lose money while trading? 

Yes, you can lose money while trading. Deposit insurance doesn’t protect you against losses that result from market movements. The value of the assets you buy can go up or down due to various factors – this is a key risk for beginner traders who work without a financial advisor. 

Ideally, extensive research, solid knowledge of the market forces, and your risk tolerance should guide your decisions. Without these, you can be vulnerable to market volatility. 

You can, though, use the educational resources many brokers offer to defend yourself and curb impulse trading.  

Do trading platforms charge commissions? Can I trade for free? 

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Many platforms offer 0% commissions on stock trades. However, that doesn’t mean it’s totally free to trade. Instead, the cost is in the ‘spread’ – the difference between the buy and sell price for a stock. This still makes it possible to trade with low costs, but you should also consider these fees.

Other low-cost online trading platforms charge a fixed fee for the trade and have tighter spreads. The fixed fee can vary, but it is most common to be between $0-$5 is most common.

Online brokerTrading fees
eToro0% commission
Capital.com0% commission
AvaTrade0% commission
Skilling0% commission
Public$0 for trades made with the market open
$2.99 for trades made with the market closed
Degiro$0 + $1 handling fee on US stocks
£1.75 + £1 handling fee on UK stocks
€2 + €1 handling fee on global stocks
Pepperstone0% commission
Admirals0% commission
Plus5000% commission

What is the best free trading platform?

Degiro is the best free trading platform, at least for US stocks. It offers $0 trading fees on US equities. However, most ‘free’ platforms still charge you elsewhere, either through higher spreads or via things like overnight fees.

Here are some of the best zero-fee brokers:

Free trading brokerFeesNo. of assets
DegiroFrom $07000+
eToro0% commission3100+
Pepperstone0% commission1200+

Low fees are important for any beginner because you’re likely to have less money to play with. It’s usually better to start with a 0% commission platform so that the fees don’t eat into your precious capital.

Fees don’t just mean trading fees, though. Look out for other, ‘hidden’ fees, such as how much it costs to make a deposit or withdrawal, and especially inactivity fees that come into effect if you don’t use your account for a set period of time.” 

Prash Raval, expert trader and financial writer

Do stock platforms have mobile trading apps?

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Yes, many of them do have mobile platforms. While this is not the case for all brokers, the popularity of mobile trading in recent years means that the best day trading platforms have developed user-friendly apps to appeal to new traders as well as experienced ones.

The best trading apps let you trade with the same functionality as the desktop or browser version of the website. Here are some of the best ones:

Trading appDevices
SkillingiOS, Android & tablet
eToroiOS, Android & tablet
Capital.comiOS, Android & tablet

The top online brokers for your needs

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What’s best for you depends on three main factors: 

  • Your level of experience, 
  • What you want to trade, and 
  • How often you want to do so. 

Here we help answer common questions to give you a sense of the best type of broker for your trading style.

What is the best trading platform for beginners?

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eToro is the best trading platform for beginners. Its CopyTrader and social trading features, combined with a low cost of trading, make it ideal for new traders.

The best trading platforms to learn trading should be easy to use, with an intuitive interface that guides you through the most important information. 

It should offer lots of guides and tutorials to run you through how to trade. 

Here are the best trading platforms for beginners:

Online brokerage platformFeesNo. of assets
eToro0% commission3100+
SkillingFrom 0% commission900+
Plus5000% commission2800+

What is the best demo trading account?

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eToro is the best online brokerage platform with a demo account. With eToro, you can switch between real money and a paper trading account at the touch of a button and use the same features on each one. 

Here are some of the best online trading platforms with demo accounts:

Demo brokerDemo dollars
eToro$100,000
Capital.com$10,000
Pepperstone$50,000

Read more: best demo trading accounts

What is the best penny stock trading platform?

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Besides being one of the best trading platforms with the lowest fees, Degiro also has the largest range of international markets where you can buy cheap stocks from around the world. Low-fee trading in European markets and free trading on US stocks are additional bonuses. 

Here are more trading platforms that trade penny stocks:

Penny stock trading platformFeesNo. of assets
DegiroFrom $07000+
eToro0% commission3100+
City IndexFrom 0.08%13,500+

Read more: best penny stock trading apps

What is the best copy trading platform?

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eToro is the best social and copy trading platform. You can share your trading tips and see what other people are thinking. 

To find a great social platform, look for an interface that mixes social media with a trading platform and where you can follow and copy your favorite traders. 

Here are the best copy trading platforms:

Copy trading platformCopy trading features
eToroYes
ZulutradeYes

Read more: best copy trading platforms

What is the best futures trading platform?

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eToro is our top-rated futures platform. You can trade futures, along with options and other derivatives, on a large range of international stock markets. 

Here are more of the best futures trading platforms:

Futures brokerFeesNo. of assets
eToro0% commission3100+
Pepperstone0% commission1200+
SkillingFrom 0% commission900+

Read more: best futures brokers

What is the best options trading platform?

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eToro is our best broker for trading options. It offers a downloadable options trading platform where you can trade options commission-free. 

Here are more top options platforms:

Options trading platformFeesNo. of assets
eToro0% commission3100+
Pepperstone0% commission1200+
SkillingFrom 0% commission900+

Read more: best options brokers

What is the best robo-advisor?

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Nutmeg is the best robo-advisor. Nutmeg offers a huge range of options to manage risk tolerance, set goals, and adjust settings on the go. It’s ideal for long-term investors looking to set up a retirement account.

With any robo-advisor, you want the freedom to closely manage the type of investments it chooses, or set loose guidelines and leave it to work. 

Here are more of the best robo-advisors available in the US:

Robo-advisorManagement fees
Nutmeg0.75%
Moneybox0.45%
AcornsFrom $3 per month

Read more: best robo-advisors

What is the best day trading platform?

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AvaTrade is the best day trading platform. With competitive spreads, over 1000 assets available, and the opportunity to place trades through MetaTrader4, it’s the top option for any fast-paced day trading strategy. 

Here are the best day trading platforms:

Trading platformFeesNo. of assets
AvaTrade0% commission90+
City IndexFrom 0.08%13,500+
AdmiralsFrom $0.15 per lot5,000+

What is the best leveraged trading platform?

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Pepperstone is the top trading platform with the most leverage. However, leverage is limited by law in most countries. 

In the US, the maximum leverage a broker can offer is 50:1. As a result, most online brokers offer a similar service when it comes to leverage. You should note that leveraged trading instruments carry high risk, and are not suitable for beginner traders.

Here are more best leverage trading platforms:

Product eToro maximum leverage Plus500 maximum leverage Public maximum leverage
Stock CFDs 1:5 1:5
ETF CFDs 1:5 1:5
Forex CFDs 1:30 1:30
Crypto CFDs 1:2 1:2
Index CFDs 1:10 1:20
Commodity CFDs 1:10 Up to 1:20
View more > eToro > Plus500 > Public >

Trading with leverage is highly risky and can result in significant losses. We do not recommend that beginners trade with leverage.

What is the best forex broker? 

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IG is the best forex trading platform. It offers competitive spreads, a wealth of educational resources for beginners, and sophisticated trading tools for more advanced traders.

Due to the strict regulatory environment, there aren’t a lot of forex trading platforms in the US. Make sure that any US forex brokers you consider are regulated by the National Futures Association (NFA)

Here are the best trading platforms for forex: 

Forex brokerMinimum DepositSpread 
IG$300Starting from 0.6 pips 
OANDANo requirementStarting from 1.2 pips
TD AmeritradeNo requirement1.2 pips average

Read more: best forex brokers

What is the best margin trading platform?

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Pepperstone is the top broker for margin trading. When you trade on the margin, you borrow money from your broker and use it to place trades. 

Here are more best trading margin trading platforms:

Margin trading platformFeesNo. of assets
Pepperstone0% commission1200+
AvaTrade0% commission90+
City IndexFrom 0.08%13,500+

What is the best automated trading platform?

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eToro is the best automated trading broker, thanks to its CopyTrader feature where you can copy other people’s trades onto your own account. 

Here are some more of the top auto trading platforms:

Account type Perceptrader AI accounts Waka Waka accounts Golden Pickaxe accounts
Expert Advisor Yes Yes Yes
Forex robot Yes Yes
View more > Perceptrader AI > Waka Waka > Golden Pickaxe >

What is the best swing trading platform?

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Degiro is the best broker for swing trading. Swing trading means holding a stock for several days. You want to avoid brokers that charge overnight fees in favor of those where you can buy and hold without additional fees. 

Here are more of the best swing trading platforms:

Swing trading platformOvernight fees?
DegiroNo
IGNo
Charles SchwabNo

What is the best algorithmic trading platform?

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The best algorithmic trading platform is 3Commas. Algo trading runs automatically using a computer program to identify and place trades for you. 3Commas is the best in the business at this, and here are some of more best algo trading platforms: 

Product Perceptrader AI assets Waka Waka assets Golden Pickaxe assets
Currencies 50+ 50+
View more > Perceptrader AI > Waka Waka > Golden Pickaxe >

*The exact number of pairs available will depend on your broker

What is the best international share dealing platform?

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Degiro is the top trading platform for international stocks. It offers equities from more than 50 exchanges around the world, giving you access to thousands of international stocks. Here are more of the best trading platforms for international stocks:

Online broker platformFeesNo. of assets
DegiroFrom $07000+
eToro0% commission3100+
Plus5000% commission2800+

What is the best ETF & funds platform?

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Plus500 is the best platform for investing in ETFs and funds. You can buy shares in the most popular funds, including SPY, VOO, and QQQ. 

Here are more of the best fund brokers:

ETF trading platformFeesNo. of assets
Plus5000% commission2800+
DegiroFrom $07000+
City IndexFrom 0.08%13,500+

Read more: best ETF platforms

How to compare online trading platforms

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Platform security and regulation are vital, while cost is an important factor for everyone. 

The features below give you an idea of what to look for and how to compare brokers.

1. Top-tier regulation

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All trading platforms in the US must be regulated by the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission), a government organization that regulates the issuing, marketing, and trading of securities and protects investors like yourself. 

The best American trading platforms are also members of the SIPC (Securities Investor Protection Corporation), which provides additional investor protection by insuring the cash you deposit to online brokerage accounts.

The SIPC insures up to $500,000 of investor cash and securities in the event your brokerage firm becomes insolvent. You can see which online brokers are members of the SIPC by looking for its logo on their websites. 

The SIPC is a federally mandated program to protect investors, but equivalents exist in many countries around the world.

The more financial authorities that have regulated a broker, the better. Do not deposit money to any unregulated broker. 

Region eToro regulators Plus500 regulators Public regulators
Africa FSA
Asia
Australasia ASIC ASIC, FMA
Europe FCA, CySEC FCA, CySEC
International
North America FinCEN SEC, FINRA, SIPC
South America
View more > eToro > Plus500 > Public >

2. Platform fees and the cost of trading

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Some online trading platforms offer zero-fee trading, but it isn’t universal. With some, you may have to pay a flat fee per trade, which can range up to $2 – $5 per transaction.

If you plan on trading often, prioritize low fees, or a subscription package where you get a certain number of free trades included.

Here are some stock trading platforms with the lowest fees:

Asset eToro fees Plus500 fees Public fees
Cryptocurrencies 1% From 2% 1-2% (spread)
Commodities From 2 pips From 0.04%
Currencies From 1 pip From 0.8%
Indices From 0.75 pts From 0.7%
Stocks 0% commission From 0.08% Spreads
Stock CFDs 0.15%
ETF CFDs 0.15%
View more > eToro > Plus500 > Public >

3. Mobile app availability

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The stock market can move quickly, and you might have to make fast decisions wherever you are in the world. 

A trading platform that offers quality mobile platforms or a dedicated stock trading app is worth signing up for, as we spend more and more time managing our money from our phones.

4. Demo accounts

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The best stock trading platforms for beginners offer a demo or ‘virtual’ account. Follow the account opening process as normal and switch to the virtual account in your settings to access it. 

Demo accounts let you practice trading without risking real money. You can use them to get used to the stock market, test out your charting tools, and trial a day trading platform without committing to anything.

Anyone who’s a beginner stock trader should start out with a demo account. It gives you the chance to learn the rhythms of the markets without putting precious money at risk. 

Only experienced traders should use real funds to trade, and we don’t recommend that you graduate beyond a demo account until you fully understand the risks of trading.

James Knight, Editor of Education

5. Range of assets available

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The more stocks, ETFs, and mutual funds available on a platform, the more opportunities to trade and invest you’re likely to find. This is particularly important if you want to trade a specific type of stock, like penny stocks, or companies from a certain country.

Most brokers offer major US stocks from the NASDAQ and the NYSE, the two leading stock exchanges. If you want to trade stocks from outside the US, then check what’s available from each online broker before you sign up. 

As time goes on, you may also want to trade other assets, like cryptocurrency, funds, or a stock ETF. In that case, you need a broker that offers these assets. 

It’s why eToro is so popular, for example: it offers all types of assets in one simple platform.

Product eToro assets Plus500 assets Public assets
Stock CFDs 3117 1,800+
ETF CFDs 317 100+
Forex CFDs 49 50+
Crypto CFDs 73 40+
Index CFDs 20 20+
Commodity CFDs 26 20+
NFTs 100,000
View more > eToro > Plus500 > Public >

Exact figures may vary. NFTs are accessed through Delta, an NFT explorer app which is owned and operated by eToro.

6. Access to ETFs and mutual funds

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ETFs and funds are investment vehicles that allow you to invest in many stocks simultaneously. They’re a great way to create an immediately diversified portfolio, without having to pick companies individually.

The range of ETFs and funds varies from broker to broker. A traditional stock broker is more likely to offer fund investing than an online stock trading platform.

7. Availability of managed accounts and robo advisors

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Managed accounts and robo-advisors effectively automate your investing. You set your investing goals and the platform – either through a professional financial manager or a computer algorithm – decides what to invest in.

These tend to only be available through specialist platforms, such as Nutmeg. However, some brokers are designed so that you can connect them to a third-party platform that manages the account for you.

8. Research tools like stock screeners

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Trading platform features like stock screeners help you identify trading opportunities by showing you companies that meet a set of defined criteria. 

For example, you could use one to find only stocks with a market cap over $500 billion, who pay a dividend yield over 2%, or where the price chart is in a particular pattern.

Third-party stock screeners like Finviz are available, but some brokerage services offer them as part of the package. This is particularly the case for brokers that charge a subscription fee and can be a reason to choose a subscription package over a broker that charges a commission.

9. Leveraged trading

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Leverage allows you to stretch your money out by putting up a small deposit as collateral and borrowing the rest from your broker. 

Leverage is particularly important for high-frequency traders or scalpers, who make lots of trades that only aim to make a few pence each time, as it means you can magnify the value of the trade many times over. If you plan on trading like that, look for trading platforms that offer high leverage.

Please note: Contracts for difference (CFD) is a very popular leveraged trading instrument, allowing traders to bet on the price movements of underlying assets. 

Due to the use of leverage, CFDs are considered extremely risky and are banned in the US. This means that any CFD trading platform that accepts US residents as users is likely to be unregulated, and you shouldn’t trade with them.  Many other countries allow CFDs, including but not limited to: United Kingdom (where they are originated), Australia, Germany, Switzerland, Singapore, Spain, France, South Africa, Canada, New Zealand, Sweden, Norway, Italy, Thailand, Belgium, Denmark, and the Netherlands.

10. Charting and analysis tools

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Most trading strategies are based on technical analysis. This involves studying charts to identify trends and then using that information to plot future price moves and trading accordingly. 

Charting and analysis are crucial to trading stocks successfully, and it’s important to find a desktop platform that allows you to perform your own technical analysis.

The more tools an online broker has to help you do this, such as alerts or indicators that you can use to notify you when a price move happens, the better.

11. Trading style

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Many investors look for many different stocks and seek numerous different trading strategies for their asset of choice. 

  • Some investors may want to go short (betting that the price of a stock will go down) or go long (betting that the price of a stock will go up). If you want to bet on the market to fall, you need a platform that specifically offers shorting, as not all brokers do.
  • Other investors may favor hedging, which is when you make an investment designed to limit the potential downside of another investment you’ve already made. 
  • Another trading option popular with certain investors is scalping. This is a method of arbitrage in which you attempt to make money by taking advantage of small price gaps between the bid price and the ask price of a specific stock on different platforms.
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More about trading platforms

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Which trading platform is best in my country?

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There’s no one perfect answer, and it depends on your needs, budget, and long-term goals. For those of you who aren’t based in the US, our experts have rated the best brokers in different countries to help you find one that works for you.

Which trading platform offers the most payment methods?

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eToro lets you deposit with a bank transfer, debit/credit card payment, Apple Pay, Google Pay, or PayPal in USD, GBP, EUR, or AUD. A range of other payment methods are available, too, but only for some users, including Neteller, Skrill, Klarna, and IDEAL.

Find brokers by your preferred deposit & withdrawal method: 

Brokers that didn’t make it into our top recommendations

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There are lots more stock brokers out there, and many have plenty of great features. However, some of these trading platforms didn’t stand out to us as right for the normal retail trader.

  • Fidelity. Fidelity one of many well-established stock brokers that works better as a long-term investment vehicle than a trading platform. It’s better for ETF or fund investing than for retail stock trading.
  • Charles Schwab. While Charles Schwab is a solid option for US customers who only want to invest in stocks listed in America, it makes it much more difficult to day trade international stocks without a premium account.
  • TD Ameritrade. TD Ameritrade has been acquired by Charles Schwab, and we expect its transition to be a full part of that broker to be completed in the next few months. As a result, we removed it from consideration as one of our best trading platforms.
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Best trading platforms: your reviews

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One of the best ways to find top-rated trading platforms is to use review sites like TrustPilot. Here, you can find thousands of genuine reviews from existing customers. You can use these reviews to help make your decision when choosing a trading platform.

Review source eToro rating Plus500 rating Public rating
Trustpilot 4.4 4 3.1
Google Play Store 4.1 4.3 3.7
App Store 3.8 4.1 4.7
View more > eToro > Plus500 > Public >

Methodology: How we choose the best trading platforms

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Helping people make better financial decisions is at the heart of our mission at Invezz. 

We periodically test more than 63 trading platforms to provide our users with clear, accessible guidance on the investing options available. All testing is carried out by our panel of stock market experts, analysts, and active traders who sign up for each broker, conduct research, and score each service.

Our tests are designed to find stock brokerages that offer a beginner-friendly, secure investing experience at a fair price. To supplement our practical testing and experience, we research each trading platform to gather any further relevant information. 

We read online customer reviews and app reviews on the Play Store and App Store, and conduct user surveys to get feedback from real people about what works, and what doesn’t.

Each stock broker is awarded a final score based on 130+ data points across 8 ranking categories: cost, reliability, user experience, deposit and withdrawals, investing options, range of products/markets, research and analysis tools, and the availability of educational and learning resources.

We work closely with individual brands to ensure that all information displayed here is accurate. An independent reviewer then fact-checks all data presented. 

You can learn more about our expert panel and how we test, rate, and review platforms in our review process.

FAQs

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Sources & references
Risk disclaimer
Prash Raval
Financial Writer
Prash is a financial writer for Invezz covering FX, the stock market and investing. For over a decade he has traded spot FX full time while... read more.
James Knight
Editor of Education
James is the Editor of Education for Invezz, where he covers topics from across the financial world, from the stock market, to cryptocurrency, to macroeconomic markets.... read more.