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Brokers want your business and a few are casting out some interesting bait. Consider what E*Trade (NYSE: ET  ) recently did. The company (an advertiser on this site) announced a 12b-1 fee rebate program for mutual fund investors.

That certainly got our eyelids batting, as did other deals such as price breaks for frequent traders (for example HARRISDirect, another Broker Center sponsor, lops $10 off trading commissions for frequent traders) and slashing the dastardly "account inactivity fee."

Still, all this talk about money is making us weary. Money isn't everything (yeah, even to those of us who write about it every day), and it shouldn't be your only consideration when looking for your perfect broker match. Investment selection and services still mean something in the broker-customer relationship.

Longtime Fool writer/investor Rick Munarriz recently ventured into rough waters to report what 10 of the biggest brokerage firms were doing to woo customers. Before you play the field, consider how you feel about the following services -- ones that don't get a lot of play in broker advertising:

  • Does the broker have all the investment vehicles you are looking for, such as mutual funds, bonds, etc.?
  • Does the broker have a local office? Is that important to you?

  • Does the broker offer banking services?

  • Does the broker provide research tools? Does that matter to you?

  • Is there phone/email support? Is it 24-hour support?

  • Are the freebies or perks enticing?

Our discount broker comparison table (a side-by-side look at our broker sponsors) gives you an idea of the things that Fools find important. Shop around, compare special deals, and find your perfect match.


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