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Best Trading Platform

As of February 2020



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what we like

  • Best for those looking for: A platform for short-term trading stocks and ETFs. For longer-term savings, we recommend checking out our top pick for Best Online Broker
  • Transparent and low cost fees- $0 commissions on all online stock and ETFs
  • Nice Technology/Charting Web Platform – Really intuitive and well designed charting/watchlist platform
  • Solid mobile app – While you probably shouldn’t be daytrading on the mobile app, it’s good enough to check your balances and enter/edit any orders
  • Great customer service – Customer service is very responsive. Much better than Interactive Brokers

keep in mind

  • ToS is prone to outages at some of the worst possible times
  • Very low interest income on cash balances- Thanks to the Fed, rates are nearly zero as it is but TD’s default cash sweep vehicles are especially lacking in terms of interest income versus competitors like Robinhood. There are ways to make sure cash balances get swept into money market funds with more competitive interest rates at TD but you will have to do some research yourself and call customer service
  • Options trading isn’t free – At $0.65/contract, it’s still pretty cheap compared to what it used to be. But TD has not matched Robinhood in terms of commission free options (yet at least)
  • Futures commissions are exorbitantly expensive – At $2.25/contract you are paying close to 3x what you can be paying elsewhere. Interactive Brokers is the better choice for any trader who is active in the futures markets
  • Mutual fund commissions are exorbitantly expensive – At $49.99/order, it’s not cost efficient at all to buy/sell mutual funds through TD. If you plan to hold mutual funds, particularly Vanguard mutual funds, we recommend opening an account with Vanguard itself


Little known secret: when I’m not reviewing things for you guys, my other full-time job is as a commodity futures trader. As such, I have spent a lot of times over the years testing a variety of different trading platforms.


What’s amazing is that it used to be where you could only get access to the best technology if you were an institutional trader managing hundred of millions of dollars. But thanks to heavy investment in R&D by the likes of TD Ameritrade, TradeStation and Interactive Brokers, among others, even retail investors now have access to all the best tools a trader could want for free.


While Vanguard remains our clear choice for best online broker for those looking for the simplest solution to manage their long-term savings, TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim is our top pick, just barely over TradeStation and Interactive Brokers, for those investors/traders who are more active and would like the best tools at their disposal.


Check out the FAQ section below for a more detailed breakdown of all the various features that TD Ameritrade offers. All-in, we think its simple/intuitive user interface, solid mobile app, strong customer service and wide array of research/education tools makes it the best overall choice for shorter-term oriented traders focusing on stocks and ETFs. For those who heavily trade options we recommend using Robinhood while those who trade futures we recommend using Interactive Brokers.

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Interactive Brokers

It is a shame that their customer service is so questionable and that navigating certain aspects of the platform/website are so difficult because Interactive offers arguably the best and most reliable technology package of any of the retail brokers. Trader Workstation is a super impressive and customizable platform. Moreover, the various algo order types available to any sized retail investor are normally only found on high cost, institutional platforms like Trading Technologies. Costs are also among the lowest in the business. These pros do not overcome what we consider to be spotty customer service issues and a weak charting platform. If you are an advanced trader, we highly recommend Interactive Brokers. However, if you are just starting out we think TD will be easier to adjust to.



Whatever your feelings about Robinhood (this is likely inversely correlated to your age), we all should be thanking them (and their venture capital investors) for helping to really ignite the now ubiquitous movement towards commission free equity and ETF trading. But it wasn’t just costs which fueled its meteoric rise in popularity, particularly amongst the youngest investors. The designers and developers managed to put together a pretty impressive and easy to use app/platform. If you are purely stock, options or crypto trading for your own account, Robinhood is a solid choice. Especially considering that they pay some of the highest interest rates for cash deposits in the industry. They are also one of the few out there who offer completely commission free options trading.


I don’t have the trust in the platform, yet, to use it for larger accounts. But if you are starting out as an investor and are looking for the quickest learning curve, Robinhood might be the easiest of them all. Keep in mind that nothing is truly free. Robinhood makes money through various other methods such as selling your order flow. Unless you’re a high volume trader, you probably won’t notice much of an impact but they aren’t running the company for charity.



Absolutely love TradeStation and we have gone back and forth about making it our top overall pick. Their desktop trading platform is one of the best out there and their mobile app is really solid. We are always evaluating and may make this our top choice at some point down the road.


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