Best Trading Account For Beginners – Our 2023 Best Online Brokers Review, our 13th annual number, took three months to complete and generated over 40,000 search terms. See how we tested. Our editorial content is independent and unbiased. Here’s how we make money.
Day trading is when you buy shares of a stock and then sell those same shares before the market closes. Since day traders trade so much more than the average investor, keeping costs low is almost as important as the right direction and the right time.
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Day traders need specialized tools that give them the information they want and the ability to act on it quickly. Having made thousands and thousands of trades, we know firsthand that it is important to choose a reliable day trading platform equipped with the trading tools you need, and every trader has their own unique requirements. This is why we go into such detail in our broker reviews.
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For our 2023 review, we tested and rated 17 online brokers. To find the best day trading platform, we focused on both the web and desktop platforms and evaluated each platform on dozens of features along with its design and user appeal. Of course, we also evaluated transaction costs, including commissions and order execution.
Day trading is a strategy in which a trader buys and sells stocks during the trading day. The goal is to end each session with net profit after commissions. Day traders primarily trade during the 60-minute opening (9:30 – 10:30 AM ET) and 30-minute close (3:30 – 4 PM ET) of each market session when volatility is at its highest.
Regulators require investors to maintain higher levels of equity in their accounts than other investors. Once you trade (buy and sell the same value) four or more times within five business days, brokers must designate you a “pattern day trader”.
Day pattern traders need a minimum of $25,000 in equity to be able to day trade and cannot trade more than the “day trading buying power”, which is four times the maintenance margin from the previous close. Companies can also impose more stringent requirements.
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The Interactive Brokers Trader Workstation (TWS) trading platform offers the widest selection of order types along with the lowest margin rates in the industry (on a sliding basis). TWS is popular with institutions, including hedge funds, and is not beginner-friendly. Read the full review
The Thinkorswim mobile app from TD Ameritrade is the #1 trading app for 2023 and mirrors the powerful functionality of its desktop counterpart. Highlights include industry-leading charting, financial data mapping (FRED), social sentiment mapping, and our premium earnings analysis tool. Read the full review
Tastyworks, the #1 desktop trading platform for 2023, is the slam dunk platform for options and futures traders. The platform is designed for efficient navigation and smooth operation on a single screen and has a bold design. Read the full review
While we thought TradeStation’s flagship desktop platform could use an update for 2023, it remains feature-rich and supports active traders with ease. A longtime leader in technology for traders, TradeStation stood out in our tests of its dynamic and mobile web platforms. Read the full review
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Of the 17 brokers we tested for 2023, Fidelity offers the best quality of order execution. Fidelity is the only broker that offers $0 trades and does not accept Payments for Order Flow (PFOF), improving pricing beyond what other brokers can offer. Read the full review
In addition to our top five trading platforms for day trading in 2023, we looked at 12 more: Ally Invest, Charles Schwab, eToro, E*TRADE, Firstrade, J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing, Merrill Edge, SoFi Invest, Tradeer, Robinhood, Vanguard, and Webull. To dive deeper, read our reviews.
Popular day trading platform tools include ladder trading, tier 2 quotes, master trades, live market guidance, stock alerts, time flow and sales, customizable watchlists, and back testing, among many others.
Below you can find a trading platform comparison table with popular tools and features. For a full comparison of over 150 features, use our comparison tool.
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The best platform for day trading depends on your trading style. Some traders only trade stocks and ETFs, others trade stocks and options, and some of the more daring and well-capitalized traders may trade futures. In our 2023 stockbroker review, we found the top five day trading platforms to be Interactive Brokers, TD Ameritrade, tastytrade, TradeStation, and Fidelity.
Most brokers charge commissions and/or fees per contract for options trading. If you day trade options, these commissions can add up quickly. Firstrade, Robinhood, and Webull do not charge fees for trading and exercising options. We found the Webull desktop platform to be very beginner friendly. Informed larger position traders should try Tastytrade, a broker that caters to options traders. Although tastytrade is not free, the platform is more complex than those of free brokers.
Every day marketer has unique needs. That’s why we highlight the strengths and weaknesses of several brokers. For example, TD Ameritrade lets you choose between basic apps and special offers designed for active traders on the go. The Tastytrade mobile app is a stock trading dream you already know, but its search is limited when you compare it side by side with other high quality brokers.
Yes. It is not uncommon for day traders to have multiple brokerage accounts and use multiple trading platforms at the same time. Common reasons traders use multiple platforms include backups in case of service outages, implementing proprietary trading strategies, or accessing specific trading tools and research not available elsewhere.
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Since day trading involves actively buying and selling stocks throughout the day using margin (leveraged capital), it is inherently risky. Like poker, losing streaks can cause traders to take unbridled risks, amplifying losses. Day trading software – for example, trading history – can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses, provided you are diligent in entering your trades. For more information on this strategy, see our guide to the best trading journals on our sister site, StockTrader.com.
Yes, but we think it’s a bad idea. Trading is volatile and your capital is unlikely to survive what could be just a regular losing streak. You may conclude that you are a bad trader or that the market is too volatile to make money when the market is operating normally.
You are also likely to hit your broker anyway. If you do not have an authorized balance and margin of at least $25,000, you can only trade for four days in a five business day period before your account is credited.
In the United States, day trading is legal. In day trading, once you are classified as a “pattern day trader”, you must have at least $25,000 minimum equity in day trading. On the bright side, you can access 4:1 margin during the day and 2:1 margin to hold positions open overnight.
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In today’s market, hedge funds that use complex algorithms make it very difficult to trade profitably on a daily basis. Most day traders are also severely short of capital and are tempted to pay for expensive chat room memberships, courses and newsletter subscriptions on social media. Here is a breakdown of what I learned from day trading.
Interactive Brokers is the best day trading platform in our analysis, thanks to its comprehensive tools, access to global markets, and highly customizable user experience. There’s little Trader Workstation, Interactive Brokers’ massive desktop platform, can’t do. Non-professionals who might appreciate an easy-to-navigate platform will find TD Ameritrade a great option. Traders who focus on options should try tastytrade for highly detailed and clear analytics and comprehensive response. Cryptocurrency traders will be impressed by TradeStation’s web-based cryptocurrency platform.
You’ll probably find the fastest trading platform among TradeStation, tastytrade, TD Ameritrade Thinkorswim, Interactive Brokers’ Trader Workstation (TWS), and Webull because it’s desktop based. With a desktop trading platform, the underlying code runs locally on your computer, which increases speed. However, web-based trading platforms that are built with modern code can match desktop platforms in overall speed. Aside from software, such as esports, the most common hurdle for any trading platform is the internet connection.
For the 13th Annual Review published in January 2023, a total of 3,332 data points were collected over three months and used to score 17 of the best brokers. This makes it the largest independent database on the web covering the online brokerage industry.
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In order to evaluate the overall daily trading experience, we test a wide range of Apple, Windows and Android devices and/or operating systems. All of our tests use current operating systems and high-quality hardware.
Our research team rigorously tests the most important features that day traders look for, such as trading costs – including the quality of order execution – and factors such as wide trading, stock alerts, flow time and sales, and customizable watchlists, incl. In total, we evaluate more than 200 variables for each medium.
As part of our annual review process, all brokers are given the opportunity to provide updates, milestones, and complete an in-depth data profile, which we have manually checked for accuracy. The moderators also had the opportunity to provide executive time for the annual briefing.
Our rigorous data validation process results in an error rate of less than 0.001% each year, which saves the website
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