Best Stock Brokers That Offer Free Trades

Years ago, brokers used “free stock trades” was a sexy promotional offer for new accounts.

Open a new account at E*Trade, deposit at least $10,000, and you would get 500 commission-free trades for sixty days. Deposit some more and get cash. It was a pretty standard new brokerage account promotional offer.

Today, led by companies like Robinhood, free trades are almost the norm.

In early October 2019, Charles Schwab announced they would let you buy and sell U.S. stocks, ETFs, and options for free. Then TD Ameritrade countered with the same offer just a day later. Their stock prices were hammered (brokers make a lot of money off trading commissions) but this only helps investors. One day later, E*Trade joined the party.

Funny enough, this was all prompted by Interactive Brokers! Interactive Brokers announced IBKR Lite and how it would be commission-free trading on US exchanged listed stocks and ETFs. It’s not available yet but this is what kicked off the most recent run to free commission trades!

So, which stockbrokers now offer free trades?

Table of Contents
  1. Robinhood
  2. Webull
  3. SoFi Invest
  4. E*Trade
  5. Vanguard
  6. IBKR Lite
  7. Charles Schwab
  8. TD Ameritrade
  9. Firstrade
  10. Ally Invest
  11. Fidelity
  12. Summary

Robinhood

Robinhood was the earliest of the brokers to offer free trades. They will also not charge you an account maintenance fee or any fund transfer fees. It’s truly fee-free.

The only fee that is charged is a fee levied by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) on the sale of stock. This is a fee charged to all brokers and Robinhood passes them on:

Robinhood also gives you a free share of stock, worth up to $500, when you open a new account.

(if you don’t like Robinhood, here’s our list of the best RH alternatives)

Webull

Much like Robinhood, Webull is a broker that got its start with a mobile app first. They have a fully functional app with no minimums and no maintenance fees. They charge $0.00 per trade and even offer full extended-hours trading.

If you open a new Webull account and fund it with $100, you can get 2 free stocks worth up to $1,850. Can’t beat that! (more details about the Webull promotional offer)

SoFi Invest

SoFi is most well known for being a student loan refinance company but they also have other products such as SoFi Money (banking) and SoFi Invest (investing).

SoFi Invest has an Auto Investing product (similar to a robo-advisor) and an Active Investing product, which lets you manage your portfolio. SoFi Invest lets you invest in a stock, crypto, and ETFs – all without any trade commissions.

Plus, you can get $50 in stock from SoFi Invest if you sign up with a referral link and deposit at least $25.

E*Trade

E*Trade has also removed its $6.95 per trade commission to match Charles Schwab and TD Ameritrade in offering commission-free trades on U.S. stock, ETFs, and options.

Vanguard

On January 2nd, 2020, Vanguard joined the list of brokerages that no longer charge a commission on the buying and selling of stocks, options ($1 per contract), ETFs, and mutual funds (no transaction fee funds). They used to only offer free trades on just their own mutual funds and ETFs but expanded it to offer no commission trades when done online. If you do it over the phone (broker assisted), there is still a fee (unless you have over $1mm with Vanguard).

You can review the full schedule here but it’s just a lot of zeroes!

IBKR Lite

IBKR Lite is not available yet but it’s the lightweight trading platform run by Interactive Brokers. It plans to “offer unlimited, commission-free trading on US exchange-listed stocks and ETFs,2 as well as low-cost access to global markets without required account minimums or inactivity fees.

If that is not reason enough, we pay competitive interest on your idle cash balances, let you earn extra income in our Stock Yield Enhancement Program and offer low financing rates for borrowing against your account.”

We will add more details as they become available.

Charles Schwab

As of October 7th, 2019, Charles Schwab no longer charges a commission on the buying and selling of U.S. stocks, exchange-traded funds, and options. Options will still have a 65 cent option contract fee.

TD Ameritrade

As of October 3rd, 2019, TD Ameritrade no longer charges a commission on the buying and selling of U.S. stocks, exchange-traded funds, and options. Options will still have a 65 cent option contract fee (no exercise or assignment fees).

Firstrade

I’m the least familiar with Firstrade (they’re legitimate though, FINRA regulated and all that) but they were named the $1 Best for ETF Investors and Bond Investors by Kiplingers in 2018. They charge $0 on all trades – stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, and options. They also offer up to $200 in transfer fee rebates if you move your account to them.

Ally Invest

As of October 9th, 2019, Ally Invest was commission-free on all U.S. exchange-listed stock, ETF, and options trades!

Fidelity

As for October 10th, 2019, Fidelity went commission-free to trade online U.S. stocks, ETFs, and options.

Summary

What’s funny about getting free stock trades is that it’s a red herring for most investors.

It also runs counter to the idea of buy-and-hold for the long term.

While it has never been an enticement for me, I can see why it’s appealing. Even if you don’t trade much, getting it for free is still better than paying!

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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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  1. Mmm says

    A day after Ally announced $0 trades, they reduced the interest rate on their savings accounts to 1.8% from 1.9%.
    Now we know how they will handle loss of revenue due to their free-trade move.

    • Jim Wang says

      What aspects of Webull make it “like Webull?” That can help me narrow it down for you.

      As for “extended hours,” there’s pre-market, after-market, and then overnight. Practically all the major brokers offer pre-market and after-market.

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