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The Best Online Brokerage for Day Traders

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Written by Timothy Sykes
Updated 1/26/2023 15 min read

The Best Online Brokerage: Key Takeaways

  • Forget the fallacy of finding the ‘best penny stock broker’ — find out what’s more important instead…
  • What to consider before you sign up with a broker and what you should always remember…
  • Why does the right broker matter? If you can’t answer that question — you must read this now!

Check out what I’m doing with a broker for the first time in 20+ years of trading!

New to trading? Finding the best online brokerage should be your number-one concern.

Here comes the tricky part. There’s no one best broker out there. You need to find the best broker for your trading style and goals.

If you trade penny stocks like I do, finding the right broker is even more important. Why is that and how do you do that? Let’s start with the big picture.

What Is a Penny Stock Online Brokerage?

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A penny stock online brokerage is a broker that you can access online and that allows you to buy and sell penny stocks.

Penny stocks trade at $5 or less per share. These aren’t the blue-chip stocks that your grandparents tell you to invest in…

These are the stocks of sketchy companies that often fail. But you can make money trading them. I’m living proof. I turned $12,000 into $7.3 million mostly through penny stock trading.

Some of these stocks are listed on major exchanges like NYSE and Nasdaq. Any broker will give you access to these…

But many of the penny stocks I trade are OTC stocks. Robinhood doesn’t even let you trade them!

If you want to access the WHOLE market, you have to find the broker that will give you access to the stocks you want to trade.

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The markets are BIG. Everyone has different strategies, goals, and areas of expertise.

An online broker can have specialties, too. Some focus primarily on long-term investment strategies…

That’s not my bag. Instead, I day trade penny stocks. My trades usually last only minutes.

The top brokers have their own trading platforms. The quality of these varies widely.

Let’s take a brief look at your options.

Top Online Stock Brokers for Beginners

I almost never recommend brokers (more on that in a bit). I often say to find the one that sucks the least for you. That said, here are five I get a lot of questions about…

Do your own research to find your best fit.


Before we get to the traditional online brokers, let’s talk about how you can find which stocks to trade…

For me, there’s only one answer: StocksToTrade.

It’s a low-stress, high-data platform. It gives you everything you need to succeed in trading.

It’s not an online broker. This is a stock screener, news scanner, and charting that can rival any brokerage platform out there!

Many new stock traders get overwhelmed with all the information that’s out there. It’s confusing and frustrating … and it eats up a ton of time.

Designed by traders like myself, StocksToTrade helps simplify the process. It puts all of the most important tools in one place.

Take StocksToTrade for a two-week test drive here.

Now, let’s move on to online brokers…


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Robinhood has built up a massive userbase in the last few years…

I don’t personally think that’s because it’s the best broker.

If you compare their platform with others on this list, you’ll find it’s fairly limited. A lot of new traders like this simpler approach…

I don’t.

Trading is a battlefield. If the other side has better weapons than you, you’re not preparing yourself to win.

TD Ameritrade

I’ve used TD Ameritrade and know lots of people who use it consistently. It’s one of the most well-known online brokers in the world, which gives it some immediate credibility.

Its main trading platform is called thinkorswim, and it’s one of the most highly-rated out there.

In 2020, fellow mega-broker Charles Schwab acquired TD Ameritrade. According to Schwab’s website, that means that Schwab users will soon be able to use thinkorswim too.


E-Trade is the broker I tend to use most when going long. It’s not the only broker I use…

It’s just given me the least problems in recent memory.

Remember that your broker is a tool. So I use them in the way that works for me. And I’m always open to moving on to the next best tool for my trading.

Interactive Brokers

I don’t short sell much these days … But if we get a market crash in 2022, that could change. (See the #1 broker I’m working with this year that’s great for shorts.)

I’ve used Interactive Brokers for shorting before. This broker has a ton of assets, which is good if you’re looking for shares to short.

They’re also good for international traders. They allow traders in over 200 countries to trade U.S. stocks.


This is one of the most common questions I hear from students: “Which broker should I use?”

And until now, I’ve been hesitant to answer that question. For years, I told traders to pick the broker that sucks the least for them.

Now, I’m proud to announce that I funded an account with an up-and-coming broker, TradeZero. I’m starting with about the same amount I had when I was a brand-new trader over 20 years ago — $12,000.

This is specifically for my small-account challenge. So why TradeZero?

TradeZero is a disruptive broker that’s changing the way day traders can trade in different markets. It’s mostly commission-free and offers competitive pricing. And TradeZero has awesome trading tools for listed and OTC stocks, with crypto tools coming out in January 2022.

I’ve been trading for 20+ years now — and I’ve never done this before with a broker. And I’m so excited to finally work with a quality broker. We have so many exciting things coming up, including some cool bonuses for you.

Learn more about TradeZero and how to get your bonuses here.

And check out my conversations with Dan Pipitone, founder and CEO of TradeZero, to see why I’m so excited about this.

How to Select a Penny Stock Broker

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When you’re making this choice, here’s the most important thing to remember…

The online brokerage you choose doesn’t have to be your final answer.

Some traders switch brokers.

Others use multiple brokers. Besides letting you compare brokers, this will give you three more day trades to make if you’re under the PDT.

The best way to figure out which broker works for you is to research and experiment. Let’s get started.

What Do You Need to Consider When Choosing an Online Brokerage?

There are several things to look at. Let’s start with the thing that most beginning traders look at first.

Trading Costs

Most brokers have adopted a ‘commission-free’ model. But with OTCs, you can still pay commission. I don’t think commissions are a bad thing.

In fact, they can be good…

If there isn’t a trade you can make 20%, 30%, or 50% on, don’t trade.

Still, you don’t want to use an online brokerage that charges more than the competition. This is especially true when it comes to hidden fees.

Again, do your research. Read the fine print. Find out exactly how much an online broker charges and for what.

Trading Tools

The top online brokerage platforms all provide trading tools and resources. They have tutorials, newsletters, and trading platforms.

Some are geared more to investors — not the kind of day trading I teach here.

Some won’t even let you trade the sketchy penny stocks that I focus on in the Trading Challenge. So know what you’ll trade first, then find the best tools for YOU.

Mobile Trading

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A desktop trading platform will almost always be better…

But like I said in the previous section, it’s all about what fits your life. This is how you become the best penny stock broker.

If you need to go somewhere while you’re in a day trade, your broker better allow you access. That means a capable mobile app.

Unfortunately, to me, a lot of the apps out there fall short. That’s why I love the StocksToTrade mobile app…

Its charts are just as accurate as the desktop version. Its top-shelf stock screener lets me track other trades that are forming as well.

Mobile trading offers other benefits, such as alerts while you’re on the go.

Customer Service

Discount brokers will discount anything they can. Nowhere is this more glaring than in the customer service department.

This is one of those things you won’t care about until the moment you really need it. But if you have a problem, you need to be able to contact a living, breathing person. That’s not an option with every online brokerage.

Don’t learn this the hard way. Pick up the phone or live chat, and see who’s at the other end.

Stock Analysis

trading patterns types
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The big brokers like TD Ameritrade excel at this. They’ll often have analysts rating stocks, as well as broader analysis of market trends…

That doesn’t always help for the stocks I like to trade.

I try to keep things simple.

A tool like StocksToTrade is perfect for me. I get access to clean charts where I can watch price action in real time. And the Breaking News Chat feature alerts traders like me to the hottest stock news. I owe so many great trades to this service.

No matter which platform you use, make sure you have the best tools to make the most of your time and effort.


There are two types of regulations.

First, there are rules from governing bodies like the SEC and FINRA. Then there are the rules your online brokerage creates.

You need to be aware of both.

Unlike some traders, I don’t hate the PDT. It’s just one of the major rules of the first category. There are also other regulations for U.S.-based brokers, like minimum margin requirements.

Your broker may enforce further requirements. These are rules to keep you safe…

But if you don’t pay attention, they can get you into trouble.

You could have your account limited, canceled, or restricted. Make sure you’re aware of the rules and regulations before you begin to trade.

Account Security

You want your best penny stock broker to take your money as seriously as you do.

This should involve two-step authentication, data encryption, fraud protection, and firewalls. Every reputable online brokerage will have all of these safeguards in place.

Most brokers guarantee your money if it’s lost due to “unauthorized activity.” Just be careful — trades made by people with whom you share your password aren’t covered.

Order Execution

Every best penny stock broker knows: execution speed matters — especially with penny stocks. They move fast. You need to be able to act immediately if you decide to trade.

Your online brokerage should be transparent about its execution speeds. Every U.S.-based broker is bound by the FINRA rule on best executions. According to this rule, brokers must try to get the best price for your order possible.

But brokers don’t always do this. Robinhood has famously had problems with this … but that’s not the only one.

It wasn’t that long ago that E-Trade incurred a near-million-dollar fine.

So how do you find a broker who won’t screw you? For me, it comes down to experience.

If it feels like a trade is taking too long to execute, it probably is.

International Trading

Some online brokers permit international trading, others don’t.

Interactive Brokers has a great reputation for international access. Other brokers might work too. Do your research to see if they work for you.

Key Tips for Choosing an Online Brokerage

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When you’re choosing an online broker, I have two key tips for you to keep in mind. They could be total deal-breakers, in my opinion — so take them seriously.

Know the Broker and the Terms and Conditions

Online brokerages change their terms and conditions all the time. Again, do your research.

Never Let Anyone Trade for You

You’ll never learn how to trade penny stocks if you let someone else make your decisions or execute your trades. Practice makes almost perfect. This is how you become the

best penny stock broker.

Focus on expanding your education on the stock market and making your own decisions. 

This, not your broker, will be the big difference in your trading.

The Bottom Line on Finding an Online Brokerage

Choosing an online brokerage is a personal process.

I’ve tried many different trading software programs and online brokerage tools over the years…

It all comes down to preference. You won’t know that until you start researching or even try a few.

Ready for next steps in your trading journey? Apply for my Trading Challenge. I’ve helped educate 20+ millionaire traders now — and I’m always looking for more dedicated students. Will you be my next success story?

What do you look for in an online brokerage? Let me know in the comments!

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Timothy Sykes

Tim Sykes is a penny stock trader and teacher who became a self-made millionaire by the age of 22 by trading $12,415 of bar mitzvah money. After becoming disenchanted with the hedge fund world, he established the Tim Sykes Trading Challenge to teach aspiring traders how to follow his trading strategies. He’s been featured in a variety of media outlets including CNN, Larry King, Steve Harvey, Forbes, Men’s Journal, and more. He’s also an active philanthropist and environmental activist, a co-founder of Karmagawa, and has donated millions of dollars to charity. Read More

* Results are not typical and will vary from person to person. Making money trading stocks takes time, dedication, and hard work. There are inherent risks involved with investing in the stock market, including the loss of your investment. Past performance in the market is not indicative of future results. Any investment is at your own risk. See Terms of Service here

The available research on day trading suggests that most active traders lose money. Fees and overtrading are major contributors to these losses.

A 2000 study called “Trading is Hazardous to Your Wealth: The Common Stock Investment Performance of Individual Investors” evaluated 66,465 U.S. households that held stocks from 1991 to 1996. The households that traded most averaged an 11.4% annual return during a period where the overall market gained 17.9%. These lower returns were attributed to overconfidence.

A 2014 paper (revised 2019) titled “Learning Fast or Slow?” analyzed the complete transaction history of the Taiwan Stock Exchange between 1992 and 2006. It looked at the ongoing performance of day traders in this sample, and found that 97% of day traders can expect to lose money from trading, and more than 90% of all day trading volume can be traced to investors who predictably lose money. Additionally, it tied the behavior of gamblers and drivers who get more speeding tickets to overtrading, and cited studies showing that legalized gambling has an inverse effect on trading volume.

A 2019 research study (revised 2020) called “Day Trading for a Living?” observed 19,646 Brazilian futures contract traders who started day trading from 2013 to 2015, and recorded two years of their trading activity. The study authors found that 97% of traders with more than 300 days actively trading lost money, and only 1.1% earned more than the Brazilian minimum wage ($16 USD per day). They hypothesized that the greater returns shown in previous studies did not differentiate between frequent day traders and those who traded rarely, and that more frequent trading activity decreases the chance of profitability.

These studies show the wide variance of the available data on day trading profitability. One thing that seems clear from the research is that most day traders lose money .

Millionaire Media 66 W Flagler St. Ste. 900 Miami, FL 33130 United States (888) 878-3621 This is for information purposes only as Millionaire Media LLC nor Timothy Sykes is registered as a securities broker-dealer or an investment adviser. No information herein is intended as securities brokerage, investment, tax, accounting or legal advice, as an offer or solicitation of an offer to sell or buy, or as an endorsement, recommendation or sponsorship of any company, security or fund. Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes cannot and does not assess, verify or guarantee the adequacy, accuracy or completeness of any information, the suitability or profitability of any particular investment, or the potential value of any investment or informational source. The reader bears responsibility for his/her own investment research and decisions, should seek the advice of a qualified securities professional before making any investment, and investigate and fully understand any and all risks before investing. Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes in no way warrants the solvency, financial condition, or investment advisability of any of the securities mentioned in communications or websites. In addition, Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes accepts no liability whatsoever for any direct or consequential loss arising from any use of this information. This information is not intended to be used as the sole basis of any investment decision, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the investment needs of any particular investor. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future returns.

Citations for Disclaimer

Barber, Brad M. and Odean, Terrance, Trading is Hazardous to Your Wealth: The Common Stock Investment Performance of Individual Investors. Available at SSRN: “Day Trading for a Living?”

Barber, Brad M. and Lee, Yi-Tsung and Liu, Yu-Jane and Odean, Terrance and Zhang, Ke, Learning Fast or Slow? (May 28, 2019). Forthcoming: Review of Asset Pricing Studies, Available at SSRN: “https://ssrn.com/abstract=2535636”

Chague, Fernando and De-Losso, Rodrigo and Giovannetti, Bruno, Day Trading for a Living? (June 11, 2020). Available at SSRN: “https://ssrn.com/abstract=3423101”