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Let’s be honest: the stock market can be a scary place if you’re new to investing. It seems chaotic, intimidating, and even a little risky. Even the most seasoned investors get nervous when the market fluctuates. Heck, even the experts can’t predict the market’s movements 100%.
So, what’s a beginner investor to do?
The good news is that there are several ways you can do stock market investing online. In my experience, online platforms are the simplest, easiest way to buy stocks—without the overwhelm.
The top 5 platforms for stock market investing online are:
- SoFi Invest
- Ally Invest
You don’t need to pay expensive management fees or spend hours of your time trying to decipher these platforms, either. Here’s a deep dive into my top five favorite platforms for stock market investing online.
Top 5 Best Online Stock Trading Platforms
You don’t have to pick up the phone or visit a broker in person to buy stocks anymore (thank goodness). These online stock trading platforms are famous for their low fees, simple user experience, and overall affordability.
There are a ton of options for stock market investing online. But after trying out more platforms than I can count, these five are the best options.
1. SoFi Invest
I thought SoFi was just for student loans, but this online bank expanded its offerings in 2018 to include stock market investing online. They’re the new kid on the block, but SoFi invest has some pretty compelling features that I love.
For example, its new IPO Investing option lets you participate in a company’s initial public offering before it’s even on an exchange. If you’re super pumped for a company to enter the stock market, this option is a great way to get in early.
SoFi Invest also lets you choose between active investing and automated investing.
With active investing, you get to pick all of your stocks and DIY your investments. For $5, you can invest in SoFi’s fractional shares, too. Just be sure to use its News center and curate a Watchlist so you know which investments are worth your time.
If you prefer to put your investments on autopilot, don’t sweat it. SoFi Invest offers automated investing for $0. Use its robo advisory service to pick stocks, automatically rebalance your portfolio, and diversify your portfolio.
- Trade stocks, ETFs, and cryptocurrency
- IPO investing
- Retirement accounts
- Automated investing
- Fractional shares
- Active Investing
- $0 commission fees
- No account minimums
The bottom line: SoFi Invest’s automation allows beginner investors to put their money on autopilot without a lot of fees.
Just like its name implies, Robinhood caters to investors who don’t have millions to put into the stock market. If you’re trying to do stock market investing online, Robinhood is one of the simplest, cheapest ways to grow your money.
Robinhood is based in the US and has a super-affordable, no-fee structure. With a $0 account minimum and no monthly fees, Robinhood is a great option for beginner investors. In fact, all you need to start investing in stocks is $1.
Robinhood is primarily an app-based platform, so you’ll need to download it on your phone or tablet. If you’re always on the go, this makes it a cinch to buy and sell stocks with just a tap. And with their super-low fees, you don’t have to worry about losing a chunk of your money every time you invest with Robinhood.
- Invest in cryptocurrencies
- Snacks, Robinhood’s robust resource center
- Cash Card to earn rewards for investments
- $0 commission fees
- $0 account management fees
- Trading activity fees
- ADR fees at $0.01 – $0.03 per share
- Standard regulatory transaction fees for sales over $500
The bottom line: Robinhood is ideal for new investors who want a slick, modern app that allows them to invest with very little money.
Fidelity is a surprisingly affordable option for stock market investing online, especially since it’s a more “traditional” brokerage. It’s been consistently voted as one of the best online brokerages and has a decades-long track record, so Fidelity is a solid option for both experienced and novice investors.
Fidelity might seem more desktop-friendly, but it does have mobile apps for Android and iOS, too. You can even set up a Traditional, Roth, or SEP IRA here, so Fidelity is a good choice for investors who want to save for retirement.
Need a little financial advice? Fidelity Go offers a robo-advisor to help you meet your goals. You can enjoy the service for free as long as your portfolio is less than $10,000. If you have more than $10,000, you’ll pay $3/mo for robo-advisor services. If you have over $50,000 (look at you, moneybags), you’ll pay 0.35% of your portfolio value per year.
Robo advisor costs aside, Fidelity’s low fees and shockingly hip approach make it a solid choice for stock market investing online.
- Dividend reinvestment
- Stock Screener on desktop and mobile
- Stock Research Dashboard
- $0 minimum initial investment
- 7,000 fractional shares to choose from
- $0 commission trades on stocks, ETFs, and options
- Zero expense ratio on select mutual funds
- $0 wire fees
- Robo advisor fees for accounts over $10,000
The bottom line: Fidelity is a reputable investment platform that’s perfect for retirement accounts.
4. Ally Invest
I’ve used Ally Invest for my SEP IRA for the past two years and I love it! Ally started as an online bank, but today it offers some pretty robust investment options, too. I primarily do my investing via desktop, but Ally Invest has an Android and iOS app available if you prefer mobile investing.
The nice thing about Ally Invest is that there are two ways you can invest. If you prefer to have 100% control over your money, you can do self-directed investing with Ally. They don’t charge you commissions on stocks, so invest to your heart’s content! The only downside is that Ally does not offer fractional shares, so you’ll need to buy a whole share.
If you don’t want to do self-directed investing, Ally also offers a Robo Portfolio. As long as you have $100 in your account, you can have an investment specialist manage your portfolio for you. Ally will ask you a few questions about your goals and risk level. From there, it will cherry pick ETF investments for you, rebalancing your investments over time.
P.S. The customer service with Ally is pretty good, too. Any time I had a question, I was able to get a human on either the phone or chat pretty quickly.
- Self-directed trading
- Robo portfolios
- Socially responsible investments available
- $0 commissions on US stocks, ETFs, and options
- $0.50 contract fee on option trades
- No advisory fees
The bottom line: Ally has one of the more affordable robo advisory services, which makes it great for investors who want help managing their portfolio.
Stock Marketing Investing Online – Our Platform Pick
Stock market investing online is the easiest way to buy stocks, see how the market is performing, and manage your money. But which stock market investing platform is the best?
Well, it depends on your goals. Every investor has different needs, so the best platform for your situation comes down to:
- Minimum amounts
- Availability of investments
The good news is that, if you choose from any of these stock trading platforms, you’ll enjoy lower fees and a better user experience.
Sure, you could physically go to a brokerage to buy stocks, but who has time for that? Check out these best online stock trading platforms to make your money work for you.