Are you looking to open a new brokerage account but aren't sure which one?
Many brokerage firms compete for business by offering new account bonuses based on the assets you can transfer to their platform.
While the bonus shouldn't the only consideration, it can be a big one since the dollar amounts are so large on these bonuses.
If you have any concerns about the process, you can check the FAQ below on some common questions about brokerage transfers.
Otherwise, here are the best bonuses we've found:
You Invest by J.P. Morgan – up to $625
You Invest by J.P. Morgan is a brokerage account with a new account bonus with 100+ commission free online trades (stock and ETFs) for the first year.
You can get up to $625 when you open and fund a new You Invest account. The bonus you earn is based on how much you deposit:
- Fund with $25,000 – $99,999: Get $200
- Fund with $100,000 – $249,999: Get $300
- Fund with $250,000 or more: Get $625
You can open a brokerage (individual or joint taxable), Traditional IRA, or Roth IRA, make the deposit and you'll earn the bonus on the 45th day. Maintain the funds for 90 days and you'll get the bonus in 10 business days. There's also no monthly service fee!
All customers will get 100 commission-free online trades in the first year but if you are a Chase Premier Plus or Total Checking customer, you get 100 commission-free online trades every year. If you want to find out more about becoming a Chase Premier Plus or Total Checking customer, click here to read about those bonuses.
Learn more about You Invest by J.P. Morgan
INVESTMENT PRODUCTS: NOT A DEPOSIT • NOT FDIC INSURED • NO BANK GUARANTEE • MAY LOSE VALUE
For new accounts, they will waive the management fee of 0.25% depending on how much you transfer:
|Net Deposit After 45 Days||Time Managed Free|
|$15,000+||1 Month Free|
|$100,000||6 Months Free|
|$250,000||12 Months Free|
Ally Invest – up to $3,500
Ally Invest, formerly TradeKing, is the online brokerage account I use because they offer inexpensive trades ($4.95) with no minimums and monthly balance requirements. I have an Ally Bank account so managing it all with one login is convenient too. I wish I would've taken advantage of their new account bonuses for transfers because it's one of the most generous, here is the schedule based on how much you deposit within 60 days of account opening (you also get free trades for 90 days):
|Initial Funding||Bonus Amount|
|$10,000 – $25,999||$50|
|$25,000 – $99,999||$200|
|$100,000 – $249,999||$300|
|$250,000 – $499,999||$600|
|$500,000 – $999,999||$1,200|
|$1,000,000 – $1,999,999||$2,500|
|$2,000,000 or more||$3,500|
TD Ameritrade – up to $1,000
TD Ameritrade is one of the oldest brokers on the list (40+ years old) and they have a “refer a friend” promotion that can get you up to $1,000 depending how much you deposit (you get more from this refer a friend promotion than you do from any of their advertised promotions). With the refer a friend, you also get 300 commission-free trades when you deposit $3,000 or more.
Their refer-a-friend transfer bonus schedule is:
|Initial Funding||Bonus Amount|
|$25,000 – $49,999||$100|
|$50,000 – $99,999||$200|
|$100,000 – $249,999||$500|
|$280,000 or more||$1,000|
The only added step is you need someone to refer you – but we can do that if you email us. Just send us your first and last name and an email address, we'll get that referral to you ASAP.
All new accounts get commission-free trades for 60 days and then it's $6.95 per trade after that. The minimum to open an account is $3,000 within 60 days and you can open an individual taxable account, Joint, or IRA account.
By comparison, here's the advertised public offer:
- Fund with $25,000 – $99,999: $100
- Fund with $100,000 – $249,999: $300
- Fund with $250,000+: $600
Merrill Edge – up to $600
Merrill Edge, a Bank of America Company, will give you up to $600 if you open a new Merrill Edge account using the offer code 600ME. You just need to transfer your funds within 45 days, maintain that balance for 90 days, and you will get the cash bonus in 2 weeks. This bonus applies to individual Merrill Edge IRAs or Cash Management Accounts, which is what they call their taxable brokerage accounts.
Here's the Merrill Edge bonus transfer schedule:
- Fund with $20,000 – $49,999: $100
- Fund with $50,000 – $99,999: $150
- Fund with $100,000 – $199,999: $250
- Fund with $200,000+ $600
If you are a Preferred Reward client, you may get up to $900 with this alternative offer.
Charles Schwab – up to $500
Charles Schwab will give Stock Plan Services clients a bonus of up to $500 when you open a new account and transfer in new funds with 45 days.
Here's Charles Schwab's bonus transfer schedule:
- Fund with $10,000 – $24,999: $100
- Fund with $25,000 – $45,999: $200
- Fund with $50,000 – $99,999: $300
- Fund with $100,000+ $500
Fidelity – free trades
Fidelity doesn't offer any cash bonus but if you open a new account, they will give you free trades. It's less sexy than some of the other offers on this list but that's the only thing they offer so there you have it!
If you deposit $50,000 to $99,999 then you get 300 free trades over the next two years.
If you deposit $100,000 then you get 500 free trades over the next two years.
Robinhood is a relatively new brokerage that will give you a free share of stock when you open an account. There are no other requirements of the offer, you just need to open an account. no deposit, no transfer, no nothing. You can read more about the free share of stock promotion here.
E*TRADE – Cash + Free Trades
When I think of new account promotions, I think of E*TRADE. For years, they had an offer where you could get up to $2,500 (if you had over a million dollars in assets to transfer) and 60 days of free trades.
And for a bit, they weren't offering this promotion — but I'm happy to report it's back!
You can find the full details here but this is the offer:
|Deposit/Transfer within 60 Days||You Get|
|$10,000 – $24,999||Only commission-free trades|
|$25,000 – $99,999||$200 + trades|
|$100,000 – $249,999||$300 + trades|
|$250,000 – $499,999||$600 + trades|
|$500,000 – $999,999||$1,200 + trades|
|$1,000,000 or more||$2,500 + trades|
Commission-free trades means up to 500 trades within 60 days of the deposited funds being made available.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently asked questions about bonuses and the brokerage transfer process.
How do transfers work?
Almost every brokerage firm supports ACATS, which stands for Automated Customer Account Transfer Service, which lets you transfer your assets in-kind. This means that it transfers your assets as they are without you having to sell them. So if you have big gains in stock, the shares just get transferred without you having to sell them, transfer the cash, and then buy them again.
You may run into hiccups if some items can't be transferred. One common example is Vanguard Admiral shares of their mutual funds. Some brokerages will take them, others won't. In these cases, you may have to transfer them to another asset type (like the ETF version), which will accept them.
ACATS does take a week or two to complete the transfer.
Is this worth it?
I don't know if it's worth hopping around from broker to broker, grabbing up the bonuses, but the process isn't difficult. If you're looking to make a move anyway, getting paid a little for the effort is better than not being paid. Some brokers may charge you to leave, which is something you'd be paying anyway, so hopping around may reduce your returns from the bonus perspective.
How do the taxes work?
If you are creating new taxable brokerage accounts, the bonuses will be reported and you will have to claim them on your taxes as income.
If you are creating retirement accounts, like an IRA, the bonuses are going into those accounts so you won't owe taxes on them. For traditional IRAs, you'll just be taxed when you start taking distributions. Roth IRAs will never be taxed. For each account, review the terms and conditions to see how the brokerage is treating it and you'll know for certain.