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Best Discount/Online Brokers for 2012

Written by Nickel - 4 Comments

Best Discount/Online Brokers for 2012

In their February issue, Consumer Reports looked at the best brokers based on reader feedback. Their top five included:

  • USAA Brokerage Services
  • Scottrade
  • Vanguard Brokerage Services
  • Charles Schwab
  • TD Ameritrade

All were give above average marks for customer service and website usability, and Vanguard and Schwab both scored high on “financial advice.” As far as costs go, all five are between $7-$10 for standard stock trades.

For full service brokers, their top pick was Edward Jones, which likewise scored high for customer service and financial advice. Most full service brokers have high minimums and also charge a percentage of assets under management.

At Edward Jones, these fees start apparently start out in the 1.35%-1.50% range, which is huge — though not as huge as outfits like Ameriprise, which apparently starts around 2% of AUM.

Coincidentally, I just noticed that the Edward Jones branch that I drive by every day on the way to work has gone under. I have no idea why; I just thought it was an interesting observation that I’d share. :-)

Personally, I’m all Vanguard, all the way (except in one retirement account where Fidelity is the best option available). We don’t use VBS very much, though. Rather, we mostly use their index funds (as opposed to their ETFs).

P.S. If you want to take a peek at the report, go here. The article is subscription only, but I found a copy online by Googling the title.

Published on February 22nd, 2012
Modified on February 25th, 2012 - 4 Comments
Filed under: Saving & Investing

About the author: is the founder and editor-in-chief of this site. He's a thirty-something family man who has been writing about personal finance since 2005, and guess what? He's on Twitter!

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4 Responses to “Best Discount/Online Brokers for 2012”

  1. 1
    yourPFpro Says:

    What about ING?? I wouldn’t use them for retirement accounts, but they are great for post-tax stock investing..

  2. 2
    The Frugallery Says:

    I’ve used Scottrade for a few years and have always had good luck with them. I’ve contacted my local office a few times and they have been very helpful and knowledgeable. Their platform is really easy to use!

  3. 3
    Ron Says:

    Why the Vanguard funds and not the ETFs?

  4. 4
    Brian Says:

    I’ve had Scottrade for almost 2 years now, and I love it. It’s ideal for new investors. Very user-friendly, great customer service.

    If you decide to go with Scottrade, here’s my referral code for 3 free trades to get started.

    Code: EEUJ2851

    Once you sign up, you’ll be given a personal referral code as well so you can earn free trades going forward.

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