If you're not a member of the vibrant Fool Community of discussion boards, you're missing out on a lot. There are hundreds of boards dedicated to all kinds of topics, from investing to everything else in our lives. (Try the community for free for a month!) Permit me to offer up an example of what you're missing.

On our Discount Brokers discussion board the other day, EasyChap explained how he got his brokerage, Ameritrade (NASDAQ:AMTD), to lower the commissions he's charged:

"Following the advice of the [The Motley Fool], I have been negotiating with my brokerage to reduce the fees that they (Ameritrade) charge for market and limit trades. I have about $50,000 invested and was paying $10.99/trade. I gave Client Services a call and told them that I want to reduce the fees and am considering other brokers. 1) They said that if I enable margin trading. I'll be eligible for $7.99/trade." Although he's against margin trading, he went ahead and enabled his account, which won't require him to actually use margin. He added:

"2) Then recently, I saw an offer from E*Trade (NYSE:ET) that offers $5 market trades and $10 limit trades. So, I went back to Ameritrade and asked if I can get $5 market and limit trades. They told me that the only way I can get it is to open an account on Ameritrade's Izone (www.izone.com)." He then asked, "Does anyone have any experience with that website? How good it is? Should I go to Izone or should I stay put with Ameritrade with $7.99/trade?"

Several folks replied that they use Izone with no problems. EasyChap followed up with another question: "Do you know if Izone offers transaction downloads into Quicken or do you have to practically say good-bye to all those conveniences in exchange for $5 trades?"

LuckyDog2002 replied: "Yes, the info from Ameritrade's Izone can be downloaded to Quicken. I do it with no problems, can't say the same for [Toronto-Dominion's (NYSE:TD) TD Waterhouse, which is being gobbled up by Ameritrade], though." KenAtPcs countered: "I can do it with [TD Waterhouse] with no problems. But I never can seem to get it working with Scottrade. Can anyone download quotes from Scottrade from within Quicken?" TMFTaurean replied: "When I had a Scottrade account. I had no problems downloading into Quicken."

Raleigh1208 added: "You may want to consider a deep discount broker, like Interactive Brokers (IB) or MB Trading. A search on this board for my posts from last spring will give you a detailed summary of these brokers. IB is the easiest to trade with, since you can trade through their Webtrader from any browser, unlike MBT where you trade through their software.. One drawback of IB is a $10/month minimum commission requirement.. IB and MBT are designed for active traders but can also be used by us LTBHers, who don't trade daily. If you need to talk to a broker in person from time to time for investment advice, you should stay with Ameritrade."

Kahunacfa added a small caution about enabling margin: "But the bottom line is this: If you have a margin account, there's some chance that some of your dividends will lose their qualified status, which will cost you a bit at tax time. (It happened to me last year -- some of my DuPont stock was loaned to a short seller. I received $16.10 as "substitute payment in lieu of dividends," and that was taxed at my ordinary rate of 25% instead of the qualified rate of 15%. So it cost me an additional $1.61 in taxes. Not a huge deal, but just be aware.) "

Finally, zuni7 entered the scene, asking: "I have an account with Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MWD) and would like to find a low-fee/no-maintenance brokerage.... What are your suggestions?" Sync2sink replied: "There are many discount brokers around. Here's a small list to get you started: Firstrade, Scottrade, BrownCo [which E*Trade bought from JPMorganChase (NYSE:JPM)], Choicetrade. I'm sure there are many others but you can start with these. I do have accounts with Scottrade and Firstrade. I really like Firstrade, easy to use, good service when you need it, email notification for all confirms, and monthly statements. I like their statements -- easy to read, which is a plus for me." Another major contender is MotleyFoolStock Advisor recommendation Charles Schwab (NASDAQ:SCHW).

Know that there may well be a better brokerage for you, one that serves your particular needs better. Pop into our Broker Center for lots of guidance on how to find a better brokerage. Check out our handy comparison table there, too.

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