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The Short Answer

Choosing Between Online Discount Brokerage Firms

Keeping these considerations in mind can help narrow down the choices.

Question: I am relatively new to investing and want to open up a brokerage account. The convenience of an online brokerage is appealing, but the sheer number of options overwhelms me. What are some key things to consider when deciding among discount brokerage firms?

Answer: For self-directed investors (that is, those who don't need or want advice), discount online brokers offer a fast, easy, and cheap alternative to full-service brokers.

But choosing the right brokerage firm involves sifting among many features, which we've detailed below. It is not likely that a single brokerage firm will fulfill the best of all worlds. But also note that some criteria will matter more to certain investors than others.