Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (2024)

The past year has delivered an unprecedented series of interest rate hikes and surprising stock market strength. Did the best online stock brokers help their customers make the most of it or could they have done more?

Our customer-driven rankings of the IBD Best Online Brokers for 2024 can help you decide. In our 12th annual survey, Investor's Business Daily and polling partner TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence asked thousands of investors to rate their online broker.

Out of eight major brokers included in the survey analysis, we recognize four as the best online brokers overall. We also recognize the top four brokers in 20 key performance categories that investors deemed important.

The fab four at the top of this year's survey are Ally Invest, Fidelity Investments, Charles Schwab and Merrill Edge.

The other brokers that qualified for the survey analysis based on the number of their customers who provided ratings were E-Trade (part of Morgan Stanley), Vanguard, Interactive Brokers and Robinhood.

IBD's Best Online Brokers List for 2024 is objective and the results are based solely on the data from our extensive customer survey. This independent special report is produced by the IBD editorial team. There is no sponsored content, nor are there any commission links.

Read Our Full Special Report On The Best Online Brokers

Check the lists to see how your online broker compares with others in the areas that matter to you. If it doesn't stack up, consider whether another broker in the study would better meet your needs. And to learn more, read our Best Online Brokers overview story for this year's report.

Best Online Brokers 2024: Best Overall Customer Experience

BrokerStrengths
Ally InvestAlly Invest, the brokerage arm of Ally Bank/Ally Financial, leaped into the top group this year. Ally ranked at the top or very high for such attributes as website security, site performance, portfolio analysis, and incentives, discounts and pricing. Overall, Ally ranked at the top of 11 of our 20 attributes in this year's report, including categories customers said were of the greatest importance.

Check out Ally's profile to learn more about its newest features.

Fidelity Investments

Fidelity earns a top spot on our Best Online Brokers list for the 12th consecutive year — that's every year IBD has conducted this survey. For 2024, Fidelity scored the highest among survey respondents who said they were "very satisfied" with their broker. Fidelity also ranks No. 1 in eight of the attribute qualities, including availability of account types, choices for cash management, and customer service.

See our Fidelity profile for more information.

Charles SchwabCharles Schwab, another long-standing member of the IBD Best Online Brokers list, ranked highly in IBD's 2024 special report for customer service, educational resources, customer service, and trade execution speed and price. Highlights for Schwab in 2023 include the integrations of TD Ameritrade into its business, including the well-regarded Thinkorswim trading platform.

Read more about Schwab in this year's profile.

Merrill EdgeMerrill's offerings for investment research and for portfolio analysis and reports are among the reasons it ranked highly in IBD's 12th annual Best Online Brokers survey. Merrill also was lauded in the categories of wealth management, trade ideas, and trade ideas in a down market. Merrill Edge Self-Directed is a personalized investing experience. Merrill is part of Bank of America.

Check out Merrill's profile to learn more.

Top Brokers In 20 Key Performance Categories

Best Online Brokers: Website Security

Protects clients' assets and personal data with strong password and user ID features; technologies and procedures prevent unauthorized account access.
Ally
Fidelity
Vanguard
Merrill

Best Online Brokers: Trade Execution Speed & Price

Broker routes orders quickly to trading platforms and gets you the best price possible.
Fidelity
Charles Schwab
Vanguard
Interactive Brokers

Best Online Brokers: Site Performance

Provides fast access to website; always available when you log in. Site is easy to use and navigate.
Ally
Fidelity
Merrill
Charles Schwab

Best Online Brokers: Equity Trading Platform

Easy to set up buy and sell trades, gauge position size and how much your account is on margin.
Fidelity
Charles Schwab
Ally
E-Trade

Best Online Brokers: Customer Service

Responds to questions and requests in a way that serves your needs; may include phone, email, chat, online FAQs or automated AI-driven tools. Short wait times.
Fidelity
Charles Schwab
Ally
Merrill

Best Online Brokers: Research Tools

Offers screening tools and data that let you find stocks, bonds, ETFs or mutual funds based on earnings, sales, yield, duration, investing style, performance, ESG rating, social community lists, etc.
Fidelity
Charles Schwab
Ally
Merrill

Best Online Brokers: Investment Research

Offers information that helps you understand and select investments, such as analyst stock research reports, profit forecasts, buy and sell ratings, or research on ETFs, mutual funds, options, etc.
Fidelity
Merrill
Ally
Charles Schwab

Best Online Brokers: Portfolio Analysis & Reports

Provides tools and information for you to stay on top of your portfolio, such as monthly/quarterly reports that show gains and losses, asset allocation, and performance vs. the broad market.
Ally
Merrill
Fidelity
Charles Schwab

Best Online Brokers: Timely Information On Market Shifts

Provides information on trends driving stock market shifts.
Ally
Merrill
Fidelity
Charles Schwab

Best Online Brokers: Incentives/Discounts/Pricing

Broker may offer discounts, cash rewards or other incentives. Also considers various other fees that you may pay.
Ally
Vanguard
Fidelity
Charles Schwab

Best Online Brokers: Trade Ideas

Provides buy and sell ideas such as analyst recommendations, access to investor forums and watchlists.
Ally
Merrill
Robinhood
Fidelity

Best Online Brokers: Choices For Cash Management

Provides attractive interest-bearing vehicles to hold uninvested cash.
Fidelity
Vanguard
Ally
Robinhood

Best Online Brokers: Availability Of Account Types

Provides access to various types of accounts from which an investor can trade, such as Roth, 529s, Coverdell, UTMA, HSAs, charitable accounts, etc.
Fidelity
Vanguard
Ally
Charles Schwab

Best Online Brokers: Mobile Trading Platforms/Apps

Mobile website and apps provide a convenient way to conduct trades, perform research, track holdings and access news, with data security you trust.
Robinhood
Ally
Fidelity
Charles Schwab

Best Online Brokers: Coverage Of Pre-Market and After-Hours Trading

Allows investors to make trades on certain securities that are tradeable after hours.
Ally
Robinhood
Interactive Brokers
E-Trade

Best Online Brokers: Educational Resources

Assistance in learning how to invest via articles, tutorials, web tools, downloadable software, webinars and consultations with advisors or videos.
Fidelity
Charles Schwab
Ally
Merrill

Best Online Brokers: Key Inflation/Other Data

Helps investors stay up to date on and understand key market-influencing statistics.
Ally
Fidelity
Charles Schwab
Merrill

Best Online Brokers: Trade Ideas For A Down Market

Offers information and ideas that help investors select investments in a down market.
Ally
Merrill
Fidelity
Vanguard

Best Online Brokers: Options Trading Platform

Provides breadth of tools to find ideas, set up complex trades, test strategies, measure risk/reward and meet your educational needs.
Ally
Charles Schwab
Interactive Brokers
Robinhood

Best Online Brokers: Wealth Management

Investment advisory services, usually at an additional fee; may include creating investment portfolios, estate planning, tax, retirement and accounting services.
Ally
Merrill
Fidelity
Vanguard
Results are based on a two-phase study conducted by Investor's Business Daily and TechnoMetrica. For Phase 1, an online survey of 501 visitors to IBD's Investors.com website and a Barron's research panel between Aug. 31, 2023, and Oct. 23, 2023, was used to determine which online broker features and services investors consider most important. In phase 2, conducted from Oct. 12 to Nov. 20, 2023, 2,775 investors ranked their primary broker on the 20 attributes listed above.

Licensing & Reprints

The 2024 Best Online Brokers logo and accolades are available for licensing through IBD's partner, The YGS Group, at IBDlicensing@theYGSgroup.com or 800-290-5460.

As an avid investor and financial expert, I bring a wealth of experience and in-depth knowledge to the discussion of the article about the best online stock brokers for 2024. I have closely followed the financial markets, interest rate trends, and stock market performance, allowing me to provide a comprehensive analysis of the concepts presented in the article.

The article discusses the unprecedented series of interest rate hikes and surprising stock market strength over the past year. This information is crucial for investors as interest rates directly impact investment strategies and market dynamics. Interest rate hikes influence borrowing costs, corporate profits, and overall economic conditions, which, in turn, affect stock market movements.

The focus of the article is on the Investor's Business Daily (IBD) Best Online Brokers for 2024, determined through a comprehensive survey conducted by IBD and polling partner TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence. The evidence supporting the rankings is based on thousands of investors' responses, providing a valuable insight into customer satisfaction and the performance of online brokers.

The top four online brokers for 2024, as recognized by the survey, are Ally Invest, Fidelity Investments, Charles Schwab, and Merrill Edge. These brokers have excelled in various key performance categories, showcasing their strengths and meeting investors' expectations.

Key performance categories mentioned in the article include:

  1. Website Security:

    • Ally
    • Fidelity
    • Vanguard
    • Merrill
  2. Trade Execution Speed & Price:

    • Fidelity
    • Charles Schwab
    • Vanguard
    • Interactive Brokers
  3. Site Performance:

    • Ally
    • Fidelity
    • Merrill
    • Charles Schwab
  4. Equity Trading Platform:

    • Fidelity
    • Charles Schwab
    • Ally
    • E-Trade
  5. Customer Service:

    • Fidelity
    • Charles Schwab
    • Ally
    • Merrill
  6. Research Tools:

    • Fidelity
    • Charles Schwab
    • Ally
    • Merrill
  7. Investment Research:

    • Fidelity
    • Merrill
    • Ally
    • Charles Schwab
  8. Portfolio Analysis & Reports:

    • Ally
    • Merrill
    • Fidelity
    • Charles Schwab
  9. Timely Information On Market Shifts:

    • Ally
    • Merrill
    • Fidelity
    • Charles Schwab
  10. Incentives/Discounts/Pricing:

    • Ally
    • Vanguard
    • Fidelity
    • Charles Schwab
  11. Trade Ideas:

    • Ally
    • Merrill
    • Robinhood
    • Fidelity
  12. Choices For Cash Management:

    • Fidelity
    • Vanguard
    • Ally
    • Robinhood
  13. Availability Of Account Types:

    • Fidelity
    • Vanguard
    • Ally
    • Charles Schwab
  14. Mobile Trading Platforms/Apps:

    • Robinhood
    • Ally
    • Fidelity
    • Charles Schwab
  15. Coverage Of Pre-Market and After-Hours Trading:

    • Ally
    • Robinhood
    • Interactive Brokers
    • E-Trade
  16. Educational Resources:

    • Fidelity
    • Charles Schwab
    • Ally
    • Merrill
  17. Key Inflation/Other Data:

    • Ally
    • Fidelity
    • Charles Schwab
    • Merrill
  18. Trade Ideas For A Down Market:

    • Ally
    • Merrill
    • Fidelity
    • Vanguard
  19. Options Trading Platform:

    • Ally
    • Charles Schwab
    • Interactive Brokers
    • Robinhood
  20. Wealth Management:

    • Ally
    • Merrill
    • Fidelity
    • Vanguard

The rankings are the result of a two-phase study conducted by Investor's Business Daily and TechnoMetrica, involving both an online survey and an in-depth analysis of investor preferences and experiences. The survey's credibility is enhanced by the absence of sponsored content and commission links, ensuring an objective evaluation of the best online brokers for 2024.

Investors are encouraged to review the detailed profiles of each recognized broker to make informed decisions based on their specific needs and preferences. This comprehensive approach, considering various aspects of online brokerage services, reflects the commitment of the IBD editorial team to providing valuable and unbiased information to the investing community.

Best Online Brokers List: These 4 Brokerages Top Their Peers (2024)
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