What's the Minimum Amount of Money You Need to Open a Brokerage Account?

by Christy Bieber | Published on Nov. 18, 2021

Many or all of the products here are from our partners that compensate us. It’s how we make money. But our editorial integrity ensures our experts’ opinions aren’t influenced by compensation. Terms may apply to offers listed on this page.
A man sitting on the floor in front of his couch with his dog looking over his shoulder at his open laptop.

Image source: Getty Images

You might be able to start investing with less than you think.


Key points

  • Some beginning investors are confused about the minimum required to open an account.
  • Many brokerage firms have made it easy to invest with only a few dollars.
  • Fractional shares and the elimination of minimum balance requirements have made it easy to invest with less money.

Opening a brokerage account is a crucial step to being able to buy assets that serve as investments and help you earn a generous return. But if you don't have much cash, you may be wondering what the minimum amount of money you need to open one is.

You'll probably be pleasantly surprised to find that the money required to get started investing is most likely much lower than you expect.

You don't need much to open an account with most brokers

Today, many brokerage accounts have taken steps to make it easier for people to invest, even if they aren't rich.

One of the big steps they've taken is to eliminate account minimums. Many firms allow you to open an account without making any minimum deposit at all. That means even if you have only a few dollars to invest, you'd still be eligible to open a brokerage account to get started.

Of course, you may wonder whether it actually makes sense to do that since you wouldn't have very much money to buy assets. The good news, though, is that some other changes brokerage firms instituted have actually made it practical to invest even if you have very little cash to do it with.

Fractional shares make investing more accessible

One of the biggest changes was that many brokers have made it possible to buy fractions of shares. As the name suggests, this means you can buy a partial share of a stock or ETF instead of having to buy whole shares only. If a stock costs $10 per share and you had $1, you could buy 1/10th of a share of it. If a stock costs $100, you could buy 1/100th of a share.

Despite the small amount of stock you'd be able to purchase, your percentage gains if the price went up would be the same as any other investor was entitled to receive. You'd also be entitled to dividends if the stock pays them, with your payment based on the percentage of the shares you owned.

In the past, brokers charged commissions to buy and sell assets, which were often flat fees, so it would make little sense to pay a big commission to invest a small amount. But, these commission fees have now been eliminated by many brokers, so you won't wipe out all of your returns with a fee to buy and sell assets if you have just a small amount to invest.

If you don't have much money to get started with, you will need to research brokers that provide fractional shares, $0 account minimums, and commission-free trading. But you have many options of great brokerage firms that have these features, so you'll have a wealth of companies to choose from.

Our best stock brokers

We pored over the data and user reviews to find the select rare picks that landed a spot on our list of the best stock brokers. Some of these best-in-class picks pack in valuable perks, including $0 stock and ETF commissions. Get started and review our best stock brokers.

Our Research Expert