The Ascent’s 2022 Stock Broker and Robo-Advisor Awards Winners award banner The Ascent’s 2022 Stock Broker and Robo-Advisor Awards Winners

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Stock brokers ratings methodology

Ratings methodology

To determine the Best Stock Brokers and Robo-Advisors awards for 2022, The Ascent’s experts evaluated accounts with our ratings model, focusing on industry factors and user benefits, including: 

  • Investing costs
  • Customer service and support
  • Trading platform and mobile app
  • Investment variety

Top-rated offerings were selected that we think represent the top pick for most people. Our final awards winners were determined by vote to ensure objectivity, with a final Golden Rule check: would we recommend them to a family or friend? Special attention was also paid to: 

  • Research quality
  • Quality of online support
  • Commissions rates and margin fees
  • Access to ETFs and Mutual Funds

For 2022, we’ve introduced an exciting update, our Editors’ Choice awards. These awards are favorites from our experts, tailored to unique consumer needs, allowing us to explore a more diverse range of offerings and user experiences.

Fidelity

Best Stock Broker Overall

Fidelity

Rating image, 5.0 out of 5 stars.
5.0 stars
Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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= Excellent
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Fidelity combines all the investing essentials under one roof. This broker has an easy-to-use trading platform that works for a wide range of users with different needs, $0 commissions for online stock and ETF trades, access to a deep bench of investment vehicles, and good customer service.

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TD Ameritrade

Best Stock Broker for Beginners

TD Ameritrade

Rating image, 5.0 out of 5 stars.
5.0 stars
Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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= Excellent
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TD Ameritrade does a lot of things right for beginners -- and with competitively low costs. New investors can navigate the online trading platform with ease, which is critical for beginners. Importantly, there’s also $0 online stock and ETF commissions, and the ability to invest on the go with any of TD Ameritrade’s high-quality online, desktop, or mobile app platforms. These features ensure TD Ameritrade account holders can grow within the same brokerage as they advance to more complex investing needs.

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E*TRADE

Best Stock Broker for Options Trading

E*TRADE

Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5 stars
Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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= Excellent
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The $0 online stock options commission (up to $0.65/contract) are a clear, valuable perk for options investors. But where E*TRADE rounds out its feature set is in its array of investment vehicles, robust trading platforms, wide selection of account types, and extensive branch network.

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E*TRADE services are available just to U.S. residents.

TD Ameritrade

Best Stock Broker for IRAs

TD Ameritrade

Rating image, 5.0 out of 5 stars.
5.0 stars
Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
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TD Ameritrade offers everything IRA investors could ask for from a retirement account. The low costs, myriad research tools, vast mutual fund selection, and great customer service are all features we covet in an IRA account.

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Fidelity

Best Stock Broker for Fractional Shares

Fidelity

Rating image, 5.0 out of 5 stars.
5.0 stars
Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
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Fidelity is a rare full-featured broker that offers fractional share investing for essentially all stocks, whereas competitors in this space have more limited fractional share offerings. Round this out with the fact that Fidelity is our top broker overall and the company is a shoe-in for fractional share investing.

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SoFi Automated Investing

Best Robo-Advisor Overall

SoFi Automated Investing

Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5 stars
Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
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SoFi Automated Investing has a low account minimum that allows practically everyone to receive robo-advisory investing services. Where SoFi Automated Investing outshines a crowded pack of valuable robo-advisors is that it offers access to human advisors with smaller account sizes. These highly regarded services are typically reserved for account holders with bigger accounts under management.

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Wealthfront

Best Robo-Advisor for IRAs

Wealthfront

Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5 stars
Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
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The low costs, array of investing account types, and cash management options round out a packed feature set that is hard to beat for not only IRA investors but also for account holders needing access to other valuable account types. For IRA-specific investors, Wealthfront offers the standard traditional IRA and Roth IRA account, plus SEP IRAs.

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SoFi Automated Investing

Editors' Choice: Robo-Advisor for Low Costs

SoFi Automated Investing

Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5 stars
Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
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With no management fee or account minimum, anyone can get started with SoFi Automated Investing and do so for competitively low costs. What’s more, SoFi Automated Investing offers access to human financial advisors even without paying a management fee.

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Charles Schwab

Editors' Choice: Stock Broker for Customer Service

Charles Schwab

Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5 stars
Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
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Charles Schwab leads the pack of high-quality, full-featured stock brokers with outstanding customer service. Charles Schwab's customer service ratings are consistently high, the broker is available by phone with quick replies 24/7, and account holders have a mix of service options to choose from, such as phone, online chat, and in person through its robust branch network.

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TD Ameritrade

Editors' Choice: Trading Platform

TD Ameritrade

Rating image, 5.0 out of 5 stars.
5.0 stars
Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
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TD Ameritrade has consistently won our annual trading platform award for several reasons. First off, account holders can trade on  many platforms online, on desktop, and on mobile. Second, TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim platform is the gold standard for trading as it's somehow never-endingly useful for complex trading needs while also easy to use.

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Fidelity

Best Low-Cost Stock Broker

Fidelity

Rating image, 5.0 out of 5 stars.
5.0 stars
Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
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Fidelity is a go-to stock broker for investors wanting to save on costs without sacrificing value. The broker offers $0 online stock and ETF trades and has more than 3,400 no-transaction-fee mutual funds, including its popular branded funds.

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Fidelity

Best Stock Broker for ETFs and Index Investing

Fidelity

Rating image, 5.0 out of 5 stars.
5.0 stars
Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor

Many full-featured stock brokers are on equal footing when it comes to ETF investing, including to offer $0 online commissions and access to popular ETFs. But where Fidelity outshines the rest is that it offers fractional share investing for ETFs for as little as $1. Combine this with an otherwise robust brokerage offering, and it’s hard to overlook Fidelity if ETF investing is important.

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Vanguard

Best Stock Broker for Mutual Fund Investing

Vanguard

Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5 stars
Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor

Vanguard stands out by offering investors access to thousands of no-transaction-fee funds. But the real difference-maker is that investors can buy Vanguard's own mutual funds commission-free, which is a rarity.

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Vanguard disclosures

Visit vanguard.com to obtain a prospectus or, if available, a summary prospectus, for Vanguard and non-Vanguard funds offered through Vanguard Brokerage Services. The prospectus contains investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses, and other information; read and consider carefully before investing.

Options are a leveraged investment and are not suitable for every investor. Options involve risk, including the possibility that you could lose more money than you invest. Before buying or selling options, you must receive a copy of Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options issued by OCC. A copy of this booklet is available at theocc.com. It may also be obtained from your broker, any exchange on which options are traded, or by contacting OCC at 125 S. Franklin Street, Suite 1200, Chicago, IL 60606 (888-678-4667 or 888-OPTIONS). The booklet contains information on options issued by OCC. It is intended for educational purposes. No statement in the booklet should be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell a security or to provide investment advice. For further assistance, please call The Options Industry Council (OIC) helpline at 888-OPTIONS or visit optionseducation.org for more information. The OIC can provide you with balanced options education and tools to assist you with your options questions and trading.

Commission-free trading of Vanguard ETFs applies to trades placed both online and by phone. All ETFs are subject to management fees and expenses; refer to each ETF's prospectus for more information. Account service fees may also apply. All ETF sales are subject to a securities transaction fee. See the HYPERLINK "https://investor.vanguard.com/investing/transaction-fees-commissions/etfs" Vanguard Brokerage Services commission and fee schedules for full details.

Vanguard funds not held in a brokerage account are held by The Vanguard Group, Inc., and are not protected by SIPC. Brokerage assets are held by Vanguard Brokerage Services, a division of Vanguard Marketing Corporation, member FINRA and SIPC.

Vanguard Marketing Corporation, Distributor of the Vanguard Funds

Betterment

Best Stock Broker for Cash Management

Betterment

Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5 stars
Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor

Betterment gets the top spot for a high-yielding cash management account feature and an available no-fee checking account. These features, combined with a sought after robo-advisor offering, make Betterment a solid pick if you want to manage many of your savings and investing needs under one roof.

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Betterment disclaimers

†Betterment Cash Reserve ("Cash Reserve") is offered by Betterment LLC. Clients of Betterment LLC participate in Cash Reserve through their brokerage account held at Betterment Securities. Neither Betterment LLC nor any of its affiliates is a bank. Through Cash Reserve, clients' funds are deposited into one or more banks ("Program Banks") where the funds earn a variable interest rate and are eligible for FDIC insurance. Cash Reserve provides Betterment clients with the opportunity to earn interest on cash intended to purchase securities through Betterment LLC and Betterment Securities. Cash Reserve should not be viewed as a long-term investment option.

Funds held in your brokerage accounts are not FDIC‐insured but are protected by SIPC. Funds in transit to or from Program Banks are generally not FDIC‐insured but are protected by SIPC, except when those funds are held in a sweep account following a deposit or prior to a withdrawal, at which time funds are eligible for FDIC insurance but are not protected by SIPC. See Betterment Client Agreements for further details. Funds deposited into Cash Reserve are eligible for up to $1,000,000.00 (or $2,000,000.00 for joint accounts) of FDIC insurance once the funds reach one or more Program Banks (up to $250,000 for each insurable capacity—e.g., individual or joint—at up to four Program Banks). Even if there are more than four Program Banks, clients will not necessarily have deposits allocated in a manner that will provide FDIC insurance above $1,000,000.00 (or $2,000,000.00 for joint accounts). The FDIC calculates the insurance limits based on all accounts held in the same insurable capacity at a bank, not just cash in Cash Reserve. If clients elect to exclude one or more Program Banks from receiving deposits the amount of FDIC insurance available through Cash Reserve may be lower. Clients are responsible for monitoring their total assets at each Program Bank, including existing deposits held at Program Banks outside of Cash Reserve, to ensure FDIC insurance limits are not exceeded, which could result in some funds being uninsured. For more information on FDIC insurance please visit www.FDIC.gov. Deposits held in Program Banks are not protected by SIPC. For more information see the full terms and conditions and Betterment LLC's Form ADV Part II.

**The annual percentage yield ("APY") on the deposit balances in Betterment Cash Reserve ("Cash Reserve") is 4.00% and represents the weighted average of the APY on deposit balances at the banks participating in Cash Reserve (the "Program Banks") and is current as of Feb. 6, 2023. This APY is variable and subject to change daily. Deposit balances are not allocated equally among the participating Program Banks. A minimum deposit of $10 is required, but there is no minimum balance required to be maintained. The APY available to a customer may be lower if that customer designates a bank or banks as ineligible to receive deposits. APY applies only to Cash Reserve and does not apply to checking accounts held through Betterment Checking. Cash Reserve and Betterment Checking are separate offerings and are not linked accounts.

For Cash Reserve (“CR”), Betterment LLC only receives compensation from our program banks; Betterment LLC and Betterment Securities do not charge fees on your CR balance.

SoFi Active Investing

Best Investing App Overall

SoFi Active Investing

Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5 stars
Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
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SoFi’s investing app offerings are a fantastic experience overall. Within the app, accountholders can manage their SoFi Active Invest and SoFi Automated Investing accounts, among many other products that integrate with the rest of SoFi’s services. Importantly, the app is easy to use and it also offers investor education resources to help manage your money on the go.

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SoFi Active Investing

Best Investing App for Beginners

SoFi Active Investing

Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5 stars
Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
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We’re big fans of SoFi’s investing app offerings and that’s for good reason. Few services can go toe to toe with SoFi’s ecosystem of services that make managing your finances with one company a realistic option. For beginner investors, we think SoFi’s Active Investing product is an accessible way to get started investing without breaking the bank and paying nuisance fees.

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SoFi Automated Investing

Best Investing App for Robo-Advisors

SoFi Automated Investing

Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5 stars
Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
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SoFi Automated Investing is the company’s solution for investors seeking a robo-advisor for a hands-off way to grow their savings. Like all of SoFi’s other services, its robo-advisor service is fully accessible in app with a modern user interface that is both simple to use and robust. We’re not the only ones singing the app’s praises. The SoFi app consistently receives great ratings from iOS and Android users.

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*A complete list of 2022 award winners, from credit cards to car insurance companies, can be found here.

**You can also find more brokers and robo-advisors to compare by checking out The Ascent's best stock brokers and best robo-advisors guides.

The Ascent’s 2022 Stock Broker and Robo-Advisor Awards Winners award banner