The 14 Best Brokerage Account Promotions and Bonuses for 2021

Are you looking to open a new brokerage account to manage your portfolio of investments but aren’t sure which one?

Many online investment platforms compete for business by offering new account promotions based on the assets you can transfer to their platform. While promotions shouldn’t be the only consideration, these promotion/bonus amounts are too hard to look past.

There are a range of bonuses listed below, whether you have an established portfolio and looking to transfer stocks, or starting new.

Continue reading to review the best brokerage account promotions for new accounts.

Our Top Picks:

BrokerWhy We Like Them
Webull

[Best for Free Stock]
Webull is our Editor’s Pick as the best brokerage promotion because the promotion is so simple –
open an account and deposit $100. You get 4 free stocks worth up to $1,600.
It’s just like Robinhood, but you can always do both offers!

Get free stock from Webull
Ally Invest

[Highest Cash Bonus]
Ally Invest has the highest cash bonus if you transfer your assets to their brokerage.
As long as you transfer more than $10,000 in assets, you get free cash.
They also offer free trades so it’s a winner all around.

Get a cash bonus from Ally Invest
Table of Contents
  1. Webull – 4 free stocks worth up to $1,600
  2. Robinhood – free share of stock
  3. Ally Invest – up to $3,500
  4. NVSTR –
  5. Tastyworks
  6. SoFi Invest – $50
  7. Betterment
  8. Citi Personal Wealth Management
  9. Merrill Edge – up to $600
  10. Charles Schwab – up to $500
  11. E*TRADE – Up to $2,500
  12. Fidelity – Promotion Expired
  13. TradeStation – $100 – Expired Promotion
  14. Frequently Asked Questions
    1. How do transfers work?
    2. Is this worth it?
    3. How do the taxes work?

Webull – 4 free stocks worth up to $1,600

Webull is a free trading app from Webull Financial. They are a brokerage based out of New York City and regulated by FINRA, you can look them up on BrokerCheck. We have a full review of Webull and their offer here.

For new signups, open and fund an account with $100 and they will give you 4 free stocks worth up to $1,600. They have no fees and no account minimums so it’s truly free stock.

Get your free stock from Webull

Robinhood – free share of stock

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.

Get a free share of stock

Here is also how Robinhood compares to Webull.

Ally Invest – up to $3,500

Ally Invest Logo

Ally Invest is the online brokerage account I use because they offer free trades (U.S. stock, ETFs, and options) 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:

Here is the Ally Invest bonus structure:

  • Deposit $10,000 – $24,999, get $50 cash
  • Deposit $25,000 – $99,999, get $200 cash
  • Deposit $100,000 – $249,999, get $300 cash
  • Deposit $250,000 – $499,999, get $600 cash
  • Deposit $500,000 – $999,999, get $1,200 cash
  • Deposit $1,000,000 – $1,999,999, get $2,500 cash
  • Deposit $2,000,000 or more, get $3,500 cash

They will also credit transfer fees if you move your account from another brokerage. Whatever the other brokerage charges, up to $150, they will reimburse you.

(here is our full review of Ally Invest)

Learn more about Ally Invest

NVSTR –

NVSTR Logo

NVSTR has a referral program where you can get up to $1,000 (but at least $10) when you sign up. The referring customer gets $10 to $1,000 too – and it’s a limited time offer. If you’ve never heard of them before, our NVSTR review can get you up to speed.

The only requirement is that you make one trade within a year and you can keep the bonus. There are no other requirements for the new account bonus.

There is also a deposit bonus. For a limited time, after you open your account, you can get a bonus based on what you deposit. You need to maintain this amount for one year to keep the deposit bonus.
Deposit Bonus

See the offer at NVSTR

Tastyworks

Tastyworks will give you 100 shares of a “highly liquid stock” when you open and fund a new cash or margin account with $2,000. The shares will be selected at random from a list of eleven stocks priced between $1 and $6, so you can get anywhere from $100 to $600 in this promotion with a stated average bonus of $200 – $220. There is a 70% chance of getting a stock priced under $2 and a 30% chance of getting a stock priced over $2.

You must keep the initial value of the stock, less any loss in value, in the account for a minimum of three months.

The referral/promotion code for this offer is “STOCK_AWARD_20” and you must put it in the Referral Code Field when applying.

Learn more about Tastyworks
(Offer expires 6/30/2021)

SoFi Invest – $50

SoFi Invest is the brokerage arm of SoFi, the student loan refinancing company. They’ve recently branched out into other areas, including SoFi Money (banking), and they are now offering a $50 bonus if you sign up and deposit at least $25.

With SoFi Invest, you can manage your portfolio (Active Investing) or go with a roboadvisor approach (Auto Investing). With Active Investing, you can invest in stocks, cryptocurrencies, and ETFs without paying a trading commission.

For a limited time, get $50 in stock from SoFi Invest if you sign up with a referral link and deposit at least $1,000. There’s no trading requirement.

Betterment

Betterment is one of the largest and most respected robo-advisors, you can see our review of Betterment for a closer look at their service.

For new accounts, they will waive the management fee of 0.25% depending on how much you transfer:

  • Deposit $15,000 – $99,999, get 1 month managed free
  • Deposit $100,000 – $249,999, get 6 months managed free
  • Deposit $250,000+, get 12 months managed free

Learn more about Betterment

Citi Personal Wealth Management

Citi Personal Wealth Management has a juicy bonus offer when you transfer New-to-Citibank funds within 2 months of opening an account. You also will need to enroll in e-delivery of statements and then keep those funds in the account through the end of the next month (or three months after the month of account enrollment). Bonus will be credited three months after you meet the maintenance requirement.

Here’s the Citi bonus transfer schedule:

  • Fund with $50,000 – $199,999: $500
  • Fund with $200,000 – $499,999: $1,000
  • Fund with $500,000 – $999,999: $1,500
  • Fund with $1,000,000 – $1,999,999: $2,500
  • Fund with $2,000,000+ $3,500

See the offer at Citi
(Offer expires 6/30/21)

Merrill Edge – up to $600

Merrill Edge, a Bank of America Company, will give you up to $1,000 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

See the offer at Merrill Edge

If you are a Preferred Reward client, you may get up to $900 with this alternative offer.

Charles Schwab – up to $500

Charles Schwab Logo

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. If you are not a Stock Plan Service, they won’t give you this promotion (they will even let you apply and enter in a promotion code, but they won’t give you the bonus).

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

Update: I have received reports from readers that you don’t get cash but instead get “trade credits” which can be used to pay the commission for trades. If you are considering this offer, call to confirm the details.

See the offer at Charles Schwab

E*TRADE – Up to $2,500

E*TRADE logo

When I think of new account promotions, I think of E*TRADE. For years, they had an offer where you could get up to $3,000 (if you had over a million dollars in assets to transfer!) and 60 days of free trades if you open a non-retirement brokerage account.

With the recent rush of brokerages offering free trades, the promotion is now just cash.

You can find the full details here but this is the offer:

  • Deposit $5,000 – $9,999, get $50 cash
  • Deposit $10,000 – $19,999, get $100 cash
  • Deposit $20,000 – $24,999, get $150 cash
  • Deposit $25,000 – $99,999, get $200 cash
  • Deposit $100,000 – $249,999, get $300 cash
  • Deposit $250,000 – $499,999, get $600 cash
  • Deposit $500,000 – $999,999, get $1,200 cash
  • Deposit $1,000,000 or more, get $2,500 cash

Fidelity – Promotion Expired

fidelity logo

Fidelity doesn’t offer any cash bonus right now and their last promotion, for free trades, no longer applies as they’ve made many trades commission free.

This offer has expired. We will update it when Fidelity issues a new promotion.

TradeStation – $100 – Expired Promotion

TradeStation has a “Cash Madness” promotion where you can get $100 when you open and fund a TradeStation Securities account with $500 or more. All you have to do is open a new TradeStation Securities account using the offer code ZINGAFOG, deposit at least $500 within thirty days of opening your account, and then maintain the balance for one month after the funding date.

The promotion expired on July 1st, 2020. We will update this section when a new promotion arrives. 

Learn more on the promotion page

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 the 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.

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Jim Wang

About Jim Wang

Jim Wang is a thirty-something father of three who is a frequent contributor to Forbes and Vanguard's Blog. He has also been fortunate to have appeared in the New York Times, Baltimore Sun, Entrepreneur, and Marketplace Money.

Jim has a B.S. in Computer Science and Economics from Carnegie Mellon University, an M.S. in Information Technology - Software Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, as well as a Masters in Business Administration from Johns Hopkins University. His approach to personal finance is that of an engineer, breaking down complex subjects into bite-sized easily understood concepts that you can use in your daily life.

One of his favorite tools (here's my treasure chest of tools,, everything I use) is Personal Capital, which enables him to manage his finances in just 15-minutes each month. They also offer financial planning, such as a Retirement Planning Tool that can tell you if you're on track to retire when you want. It's free.

He is also diversifying his investment portfolio by adding a little bit of real estate. But not rental homes, because he doesn't want a second job, it's diversified small investments in a few commercial properties and a farm in Illinois via AcreTrader.

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About the comments on this site:

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

  1. Evan says

    Jim, the Schwab bonus is a targeted offer for Stock Plan Participants, a very narrow group of clients, it is not available for the public. The fine print has more info. You may want to edit the info on your post. The only cash incentive is a $100 bonus via referral from a friend using their unique code.

  2. Bob says

    I see your update was June5th 2019 and you stated E*TRADE had no offer. Did this just become available? I just searched this

    account will be credited within one week of the close of the 60-day window, as follows:
    Receive
    Deposit or Transfer
    $2,500 + commission-free trades
    $1,000,000+
    $1,200 + commission-free trades
    $500,000–$999,999
    $600 + commission-free trades
    $250,000–$499,999
    $300 + commission-free trades
    $100,000–$249,999
    $200 + commission-free trades
    $25,000–$99,999
    Only commission-free trades
    $10,000–$24,999

  3. frank sparacino says

    I stumbled onto your site looking for brokerage promotions.
    I wanted to thank u for the good info.
    I’m gonna try JPM/YOU INVEST. $625 cash, 100 free trades, THEN JUST $2.95 A TRADE. I confirmed via phone just now.
    TDA bought out Scottrade acct. AND OFFERED US ZIP! Yet, look at what they r giving “new clients” (+ i’m not wild about TDA platform).
    fingers crossed, no small print funny bizness!

  4. Khoa says

    Regarding TD Ameritrade’s “refer a friend” promotion, if I had an individual brokerage account at TD Ameritrade but closed it three years ago, would I be eligible for any bonus in this promotion if I signed up for a new one today?

    • Jim Wang says

      I don’t know but if you are ineligible, TD Ameritrade won’t let me send you a referral. It’ll say “undeliverable.”

  5. Jon says

    The Merrill Edge promotion says, “respond by September 5, 2019” and I tried to apply using the promotion code, and verified that it’s expired 🙁

    • Jim Wang says

      Sadly, you are correct that the $1,000 version of this offer has expired. Thank you for letting me know, I’ve updated it with the new offer (same code of 600ME) but with a lower bonus.

  6. bill sievers says

    I have funds in 2 brokerage accounts, (WeiisFargo & Stifel), approximately $150K, what is best move to minimize closing fees and/or maximize promotion incentives? Thanks Bill S

    • Jim Wang says

      Hi Bill – with $150,000, you could get $500 from TDAmeritrade and that’s the highest cash offer. Depending on how much Wells Fargo and Stifel charge you for an ACAT transfer (that’s asset-to-asset transfer, so you don’t have to sell your holdings), you may save more with Ally Invest and their lower bonus ($300) because they will refund you up to $150 in fees. I still think TDAmeritrade is going to be better with the cash bonus.

  7. Mike Hardiman says

    Dude, you’re a rock star!! You just made me $375 from Merrill Lynch. Those S.O.B.s I opened an account over the phone and they didn’t tell me about the bonus and I’m a Platinum customer for ten years or something. So I closed it and opened one myself online and now will get the $375 – which is the $250 bonus you have listed above, plus 50% on top if you are a Platinum.

  8. Joshua Foster says

    Does anyone know if TD Ameritrade charges asset transfer fees? Thinking of transferring Roth IRA assets into TD & Traditional IRA assets into Ally from Vanguard. Do both IRAs have to be at the same brokerage? Maybe split up non retirement assets in chase & e trade.

    • Jim Wang says

      Typically a brokerage charges fees to do an ACAT (transfer) OUT of their brokerage. They don’t charge anything to transfer INTO an account.

  9. Mikael says

    Although you touch on it briefly, a major factor in transferring accounts is which mutual funds and ETFs can be held by the new firm. This is vital because if they aren’t setup to hold that fund, it will get sold as part of the ACAT transfer. Which could have HUGE ramifications as far as the timing, the resulting capital gains/losses, tax implications, etc. Personally, I have found it a nightmare trying to simply find comprehensive lists of what funds the various firms above can/can’t hold. If you have any direct links to such lists that would be a major benefit to anyone visiting this page and considering an account transfer. Thanks!

  10. Robert says

    Call me stupid, but I can’t figure out how to send a referral request to you at this address: moc.skcahtellaw@edartiremadtj+mij. Can you please translate for me? My email program rejects this address.

    • Jim Wang says

      It’s my email reversed but it’s supposed to flip it visually on the screen using CSS – it’s just my name (Jim) at wallethacks dot com.

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