by Matt Frankel, CFP | Jan. 27, 2021
If you're looking to get started with investing, here are some of the best offers.
If you want to start investing in stocks, you'll need some cash you can put to work and some knowledge of what you want to invest in. You'll also need a brokerage account to buy and sell stocks.
They say there's no such thing as a guaranteed return in investing, but we disagree. Some brokers will give you free money just for opening an account. We've looked at current offers from dozens of our favorite brokers, and here are five of the best sign-up bonuses you might want to check out.
Merrill Edge is an excellent brokerage for all types of investors. It has tons of fee-free mutual funds and a highly-rated mobile investing app. But it's an especially good choice for Bank of America customers, as that's Merrill's parent company. Customers can access their account funds through Bank of America ATMs and get face-to-face help at Bank of America branches. They can even qualify for the bank's excellent Preferred Rewards program based on their investment account balances. Check out our Merrill Edge review for more details.
Customers who deposit $20,000 or more into a new Merrill Edge account are eligible for a cash bonus of at least $100, and the top bonus tier of $600 requires $200,000 or more.
Find the best stock broker for you among these top picks. Whether you're looking for a special sign-up offer, outstanding customer support, $0 commissions, intuitive mobile apps, or more, you'll find a stock broker to fit your trading needs.
E*TRADE was one of the online brokerage industry pioneers. It has a fantastic trading platform and mobile app, a convenient branch network, and numerous research and education tools. Our E*TRADE review will help decide if it's a good fit for you.
As far as sign-up bonuses go, E*TRADE offers cash bonuses of as much as $2,500 to customers who deposit $1 million or more into their new accounts. However, there are eight smaller bonus tiers, starting at $50 for deposits of $5,000 to $9,999. And the $100 bonus for a deposit of $10,000 is one of the most lucrative offers in the industry for that account size.
TradeStation has a pretty advantageous cash bonus offer, whether you're a high-net-worth investor or on the lower end of the spectrum. The $5,000 cash bonus for investors with $5 million or more in assets is the largest we know of. And the $5,000 asset threshold to get a $50 cash bonus is also one of the lowest cash bonus requirements in the industry.
Designed primarily for active traders, TradeStation has one of the top trading platforms in the business. It's also got some of the lowest commissions on options and mutual funds. Check out our full TradeStation review to see if it's a good fit for you.
This may not be the most valuable sign-up bonus in the industry, but it is the easiest to get. In fact, you don't even need to put any specific amount of money in your account to get it.
If you sign up for a Robinhood account through this page and link your bank account, Robinhood will deposit a free share of stock into your brokerage account. Most will be a share worth between $2.50 and $10, but some lucky investors will get a share of a high-dollar stock like Apple, Visa, or Microsoft.
Robinhood is best suited to investors who want the occasional ability to buy stock through a user-friendly app. On the other hand, it might not be the best choice for investors who want features like educational tools and investment research. Check out our Robinhood review for more information.
Once you’ve chosen one of our top-rated brokers, you need to make sure you’re buying the right stocks. We think there’s no better place to start than with Stock Advisor, the flagship stock-picking service of our company, The Motley Fool. You’ll get two new stock picks every month from legendary investors and Motley Fool co-founders Tom and David Gardner, plus 10 starter stocks and best buys now. Over the past 17 years, Stock Advisor’s average stock pick has seen a 609% return — more than 5x that of the S&P 500! (as of 2/10/2021). Learn more and get started today with a special new member discount.
Ally Invest is one of our favorite all-around brokers. It has an excellent trading platform and app, and some of the more competitive commission rates on options and mutual funds. Check out our full Ally Invest review for all the details.
Ally also has a pretty generous sign-up bonus, especially for large accounts. To get the top bonus of $3,500, you'll have to deposit $2 million or more. Obviously, most investors can't do that. But the cash bonuses start at $50 with a deposit of $10,000 or more, so if you're looking for an introductory bonus, Ally definitely deserves a spot on your list.
Over the long term, there's been no better way to grow your wealth than investing in the stock market. But using the wrong broker could make a big dent in your investing returns. Our experts have ranked and reviewed the top online stock brokers - simply click here to see the results and learn how to take advantage of the free trades and cash bonuses that our top-rated brokers are offering.
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