You’ve probably heard more about day trading in the past 72 hours than you’ve ever heard—outside of a rewatch of The Wolf of Wall Street. If you need to catch up quickly, here’s the scoop: Users on the r/wallstreetbets subreddit banded together to purchase shares of long-struggling businesses like GameStop, AMC, and Blackberry, among others. Bolstered by encouragement from the likes of Elon Musk and fellow billionaire tech investor Chamath Palihapitiya, the Redditors used a variety of trading apps and websites to buy shares, driving the price of GameStop stock, for example, from less than $20 on Jan. 1 to $469 on the morning of Jan. 28.
Where Are We Now?
Price of the stocks continues to be extremely volatile, and the stock sites and apps appear to have thrown some cold water on the party, restricting some activity surrounding the hot stocks. As of this morning, Robinhood, TD Ameritrade, and Webull have all taken some action regarding trading and closing on shares of certain stocks targeted by the Reddit users. Robinhood is now facing a class-action lawsuit for blocking GameStop stock purchases. This hasn’t stopped many online traders from rushing to the markets, as users reported morning outages via Down Detector while using Cash App, Charles Schwab, and E*Trade services.
Trade Sensibly, Please
You may be a little late to capitalize on these particular meme stock surges, but check out our list of stock sites and apps you can use to trade in the future. As with anything involving real money, it’s vital that you do your own thorough research and understand how day trading works before getting involved. Some of these sites make it incredibly easy to buy and sell shares, and you could find yourself in over your head faster than you can say “GameStop”.
Editors’ Note: PCMag does not provide financial advice.
Charles Schwab is an investment firm that offers $0 online stock and ETF trade commissions. It also provides powerful tools for education, news, and expert analysis so its users can make well-researched investment decisions. You can build a personal retirement plan, invest in the future with the help of a Financial Consultant, or build a portfolio of stocks with a robo-advisor.
Charles Schwab has its own trading software called StreetSmart Edge. It allows users to get streaming data, quotes, news, and analyze their trading ideas using historical data. You can access the software online or download it. There’s also Schwab.com, which allows users to trade easily and monitor the market. In addition to the web offerings, Charles Schwab has a mobile trading app that allows users to access and manage their accounts from anywhere and get real-time quotes.
E*Trade is a robust trading, investment, and retirement platform that offers $0 commission trades on US-listed stocks, ETFs, and options, plus the ability to fully manage a diverse investment portfolio with help from professionals. Broker assisted trades come with a $25 fee and there’s a $0.65 options contract fee for up to 29 trades per quarter.
Power ETrade is a platform for serious traders with charting tools, risk analysis, and the possibility to set up exit strategies with just a few clicks. It’s a lot of graphs and charts, which may put off those uninitiated to the trading game. But, for seasoned investors, it offers a wealth of investment information. There’s also a Power ETrade app for trading on the go.
ETrade, which is the original investing platform, offers the basic tools a trader or investor needs to conduct research, track the markets, and place trades. It also helps users plan for retirement and provides easy-to-use investing tools. ETrade has an accompanying mobile app that allows you to stay connected to the markets wherever you are.
Robinhood is a free trading app with a streamlined interface that offers free stock for new users, no account minimums, and cryptocurrency trading. When it first came on the market, it was one of the only brokers offering free trades. Today, the app lets investors trade stocks, options, exchange-traded funds (ETF), and cryptocurrency without paying any commission fees. The free option is widely used, but, for $5 a month, users can get Robinhood Gold, which provides access to research reports, the ability to trade on margin at a 2.5% annual rate, and the chance to make big deposits and access their funds instantly.
You can also invest using something called fractional shares. This means you can choose how much money you want to invest, and then buy just a portion of a share. This may ultimately help you build a more balanced portfolio with less money because you’ll own pieces of different companies with different types of risk.
Robinhood is available via both web and mobile apps. The apps are pretty bare-bones and don’t have the complex analysis tools featured by other companies on this list. You can buy and sell with ease, but the apps don’t offer the vast historical charting data that most serious investors require when making large, long-term decisions about what shares to buy or sell.
Square Cash (the real name of the service everyone knows as Cash App) may not be the first name you think of when it comes to investing, but it touts itself as “the fastest and most accessible way to invest in stocks.” You can get started investing with a $1 trade. All you have to do is tap the Investing tab on the Cash App home screen and search for a company name or the ticker symbol. Then, you can buy or sell stock with $0 commission fees.
Cash App is only available on mobile devices. It doesn’t offer any news, charting, or analysis tools. You just put money towards buying a stock and sell the stock when you choose to do so.
For more on the service, please read our full review of Square Cash.
Square Cash Review
TD Ameritrade is a versatile broker website for the investor and trader who wants a full suite of trading tools at their disposal. TD Ameritrade offers commission-free ETFs, bonds, futures, international exchanges, penny stocks, and even Bitcoin futures on its platforms. TD Ameritrade offers commission-free trades like others on this list, but it differentiates itself with a robust customer service platform and broker-assisted trades for additional fees.
The broker has four trading platforms. The first is traditional desktop trading which is for investors at any level, which includes access to research tools and financial news. Next is the thinkorswim Desktop, which is a professional trading platform with advanced tools for testing your trading strategies before you go live, market scans, and customizable software. Another platform is thinkorswim Web, which is a more streamlined version of the thinkorswim Desktop; it’s accessible anywhere you can find an Internet connection. Finally, there’s Mobile Trading, which allows you to use the TD Ameritrade app across an array of mobile devices, including the Apple Watch.
Webull is another brokerage platform that offers $0 commissions and no minimums on deposits. You can create a financial portfolio by investing in stocks, options, ETFs, and cryptocurrency. The site also offers different brokerage accounts, like an IRA for your retirement, or an individual brokerage account for buying and selling assets.
Webull has a desktop platform that has customizable charting and analysis tools so users can keep track of trends and opportunities for investments. The Webull mobile app is of particular interest, as you can use vocal commands to buy, sell, or search for trades so you don’t miss out on time-sensitive investment opportunities.