As Rich Smith recently reported, the brokerage Ameritrade (NASDAQ:AMTD) has shut down its Freetrade service, which offered customers many free trades per month in their accounts. Customers were recently informed that their accounts would be moved to another Ameritrade unit, Izone, which features $5 trades. Smith mused: "Whatever commission revenue the company loses from clients downgrading from Ameritrade proper to Izone may well be made up from the other clients upgrading (albeit involuntarily) from Freetrade to Izone."

He also pointed out that many customers are considering moving elsewhere. I noted this myself on our Discount Brokers discussion board, where Fools were weighing their options. One especially helpful Fool, Raleigh1208, posted the results of his extensive investigation. I encourage you to read his thoughts in full, since they offer valuable details, but here are some snippets:

"In my opinion investors can't go wrong with J. P. Morgan Chase's (NYSE:JPM) BrownCo., Firstrade, Scottrade, or the new Izone by Ameritrade, for lower cost trading with browser-based brokers. For investors who need the personal contact, Scottrade, with its 228 branch offices, provides a good combination of lower cost trading along with some other services, but short of the full-service brokers (with significantly higher brokerage commissions). BrownCo. has an excellent reputation, but requires a significantly higher minimum ($15,000) and investing experience requirement (5 years).

"For new investors, less-sophisticated investors, investors with more limited portfolios, or investors who just feel the need to have someone to talk to about their investments if needed, I believe these investors can benefit from brokers that provide more than just low cost trading. For these investors I wouldn't advise them going any further in their broker review; instead they should review the brokers mentioned above and those at the top of the various surveys, review their websites, visit a local office for those brokers with offices in the area, and do searches of the Fool boards and other discussion boards to see how other investors have rated their experiences with these brokers."

He concluded: "Again, from a lowest cost viewpoint, Izone to me is the current leader among browser-based brokers... Can $5 trades from Izone be beaten? Based on my review, the answer is NO for browser-based brokers, but YES for software-based brokers, which will be the subject of my next installment." (Stay tuned! Keep your eye on our Discount Brokers board. Pop in to see whether anyone has introduced any other brokerages worth considering.)

I liked Raleigh1208's post not only for his information but also for his perspective. He noted correctly that there's more to consider than price when looking for the right brokerage. Especially for those of us who trade infrequently (often a good thing to do), price isn't necessarily paramount. Instead, we might look for convenience, customer service, mutual fund offerings (learn about promising funds), etc. We would also be smart to scrutinize the fees each brokerage candidate charges. Still, for many investors, the price of commissions is indeed a vital concern.

You can get much more advice on evaluating and choosing the best brokerage for you in our Broker Center -- check it out. And give our vast discussion board community a whirl, too -- you can try it for free for 30 days.

These other Fool articles on brokerages may also be of interest:

Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian does not own shares of any companies mentioned in this article.