Trading Platforms

Key factors to look for in a broker:

Trustworthiness - is this company that will be around? Do they have difficulties with the SEC?

Speedy execution - especially if you use Market Orders regularly.

Commissions - reasonable commissions are especially important if you make 30+ trades per month as I do.

Limits and Margin requirements - minimum account balances are required at many brokers.

The platform and ease of use - what do they offer as part of the service.

My main broker has a $2500 minimum balance, the interest is pennies per month, commissions are $2.50 per trade (stocks) and $0.50 per option contract.  They offer excellent execution time, usually 3 to five seconds and the platform allows me to see every trade that occurs as it occurs.

My secondary account offers no minimum, a pricey interest rate and they charge $4.50 per trade. Execution time is not that great, so I never use Market Orders.

One final difference is whether or not they allow a wide range of stocks to be shorted.  Both of my accounts allow shorting of very few stocks.


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