8 Best Day Trading Platforms in 2021

Only those working for brokerages and financial institutions could participate in day trading actively in the past. Now, thanks to the internet, stock trading is accessible to everyone. That said, finding the best day trading platform for your needs can be overwhelming.

So, what are some of the biggest names out there? Let’s find out!

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Top 8 Day Trading Platforms in 2021

1. Interactive Brokers

Interactive Brokers might be one of the best online trading platforms for intermediate investors. The company offers educational resources and additional self-improvement services in an end-to-end experience. Full Review

  • Some of the lowest costs
  • 23 supported currencies
  • Technological leverage

Interactive Brokers might be one of the best online trading platforms for intermediate investors. The company offers educational resources and additional self-improvement services in an end-to-end experience. Full Review

2. Fidelity

This financial platform is dubbed as the best free trading platform for optimal order execution. Its orders are quick, efficient, and completely free, putting it head and shoulders above the competitors. You can access it online and download the desktop or mobile version. Full Review

  • $0 commission fee for US stocks, ETF, and option trades
  • Research from more than 20 providers
  • Great for dollar-based investments

This financial platform is dubbed as the best free trading platform for optimal order execution. Its orders are quick, efficient, and completely free, putting it head and shoulders above the competitors. You can access it online and download the desktop or mobile version. Full Review

3. TD Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade favors US-based users and they widely considered it the best broker for day trading. The platform has the tools, educational materials, and pricing to live up to that title. What’s more, it provides a fantastic desktop trading platform — thinkorswim. Full Review

  • Thinkorswim (TOS) app
  • Multiple account types
  • No US stock and ETF trade fees

TD Ameritrade favors US-based users and they widely considered it the best broker for day trading. The platform has the tools, educational materials, and pricing to live up to that title. What’s more, it provides a fantastic desktop trading platform — thinkorswim. Full Review

4. E*TRADE

If you’re looking for the best mobile day trading software option, look no further than E*TRADE. Some trades require no fees, while others have a minimal one. It’s quite intuitive and puts in the extra effort to provide a step-by-step introduction for new traders. Full Review

  • Two mobile apps: E*TRADE Mobile and Power E*TRADE
  • 4,500 no-transaction-fee mutual funds
  • No annual inactivity penalty

If you’re looking for the best mobile day trading software option, look no further than E*TRADE. Some trades require no fees, while others have a minimal one. It’s quite intuitive and puts in the extra effort to provide a step-by-step introduction for new traders. Full Review

5. TradeStation

TradeStation might just be the best platform for day trading if you intend to turn this into a full-time profession. It especially favors active traders. The software comes with two plans – TS GO and TS Select, which are both available on desktop and mobile. Full Review

  • TradeStation desktop charting
  • Great tools for options trading
  • Latest market research and insights

TradeStation might just be the best platform for day trading if you intend to turn this into a full-time profession. It especially favors active traders. The software comes with two plans – TS GO and TS Select, which are both available on desktop and mobile. Full Review

6. Robinhood

Robinhood is a commission-free top trading platform. Real-time trading makes the company even more flexible and popularizes it as the best trading software for beginners. Full Review

  • Free stock upon sign-up (with limitations)
  • No initial deposit
  • Great for starting a diverse portfolio

Robinhood is a commission-free top trading platform. Real-time trading makes the company even more flexible and popularizes it as the best trading software for beginners. Full Review

7. Merrill Edge

Merrill Edge prides itself on being one of the best day trading software platforms in terms of insight and trader’s control. The interface is fully customizable, and you can save up to 25 layouts for later use. That and the low trading fees put the company near the top of the industry. Full Review

  • Banking and brokerage on the same platform
  • Low commissions and fees
  • Great for Bank of America customers

Merrill Edge prides itself on being one of the best day trading software platforms in terms of insight and trader’s control. The interface is fully customizable, and you can save up to 25 layouts for later use. That and the low trading fees put the company near the top of the industry. Full Review

8. Zacks Trade

Zacks Trade is one of the best day trading websites for active brokers who prioritize broker-assisted trade. Unlike most of its competitors, the platform doesn’t charge for this. International traders would also find the platform outstanding. Full Review

  • Free broker-assisted trades
  • Access to 20 free research reports
  • Stocks, bonds, ETFs, mutual funds, options, and fractional shares as tradable securities

Zacks Trade is one of the best day trading websites for active brokers who prioritize broker-assisted trade. Unlike most of its competitors, the platform doesn’t charge for this. International traders would also find the platform outstanding. Full Review

Best Day Trading Platform in 2021

Interactive Brokers:  Best for intermediate investors
Fidelity: Best for order execution
TD Ameritrade: Best desktop trading platform
E*TRADE: Best for mobile day trading experience
TradeStation: Best for active traders
Robinhood: Best for new investors
Merrill Edge: Best for Bank of America customers
ZacksTrade: Best for broker-assisted trades

 

Detailed Reviews

Interactive Brokers
Interactive Brokers

BEST FOR

intermediate investors

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  • Account minimum: $0
  • Plans: IBKR Lite, IBKR Pro
  • Fees: Minimum of $1 and a maximum of 0.5% of trade value (for IBKR Pro)
  • Markets and currencies: 135 markets and 23 currencies

Interactive Brokers offers a choice between the IBKR Lite and IBKR Pro. The former has $0 commissions for US-listed stocks or ETF trades. There’s no pre-set account minimum, which makes starting and testing things out easier. While intermediate investors benefit the most from this platform, it’s also a great day trading software for beginners due to the low-cost.

If you’re serious about investment rates, you should look into IBKR Pro. The plan provides a SmartRouting system, which gives an edge over other platforms with a $0.47 per 100 shares price boost.

Interactive Brokers is available in 135 markets, 33 countries, and 23 currencies. It’s one of the best day trading software options if you want to invest in stocks, futures, and options globally. You can fund a single account in multiple currencies to trade denominated assets.

The platform is Nasdaq listed. When it comes to securities, the firm invests most client money in US Treasury securities, and keeps the cash on a net basis in reserve accounts. It also deposits a portion with the largest US banks.

Stock trading platforms have a standard and straightforward application process. It requires your SSN or ID number (for non-US citizens), along with basic employment and bank information. Then, it might ask for your Tax ID, beneficiaries’ details (in case of entity trustees), and government or tax-issued ID number (in case of a trust).

Pros Cons
No minimum fee Somewhat complex for beginners
Great number of asset classes $20/month inactivity fee (with IBKR Pro)
135 market centers
Fidelity
Fidelity

BEST FOR

order execution

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  • Account minimum: $0
  • Plans: The Fidelity Account
  • Fees: $32.95 for broker-assisted trades
  • Markets and currencies: 25 markets and 16 currencies

The Fidelity Account is one of the low-cost brokerage options. First-time investors will like its simplicity and order execution efficiency.

Fidelity’s mobile apps are another reason why the company is among the best trading platforms. Here, you have three options — it’s own trading app, NetBenefits (for payroll), and Fidelity spire (for financial planning). The base platform is ideal for investors and decent for day traders. What’s more, you can use the fully customizable dashboard to adjust your learning experience.

Fidelity provides more than 16 third-party research reports for stocks, and 5 for ETFs, to help you progress as an online trader.

Above all, most features are entirely free. You get options, ETF, and stock trading for $0. On the other hand, options per contract cost $0.65, the mutual fund trade fee is $49.95, while a broker-assisted fee is $32.95. Overall, depending on your needs, it might be the best day trading platform choice in terms of cost.

Registration is simple. You’ll state your full name, date of birth, and the last four digits of your SSN in the first step. That way the company can verify your identity, age, and US citizenship. Once your profile is complete, you can customize it.

Pros  Cons
Free ETF and stock trading Mutual fund trade fees cost more
An unparalleled number of resources High margin fees
No inactivity penalty
TD Ameritrade
TD Ameritrade

BEST FOR

desktop trading

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  • Account minimum: $0
  • Plans: TD Ameritrade basic
  • Fees: $25 for broker-assisted stock and ETF trades
  • Markets and currencies: US and Canadian-listed securities

TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim provides an excellent online and desktop user experience.  According to many users, it’s the best day trading app on the market. The tool is second to none for up-to-the-minute news and analytical results.

Local investors and day traders have the advantage of no-fee US stock and ETF trading. The charges are low in the FOREX field and build into the spread. In contrast, mutual fund transactions have the highest price — $49.99 per transaction. On the upside, unlike other platforms, TD Ameritrade doesn’t charge for inactivity.

One drawback of this stock trade platform is the lack of international trade options. In other words, you’ll only deal in US and Canadian securities. The situation is quite different for FOREX traders with 70 currencies at their disposal.

TD Ameritrade has no limit for day trades per cash account. On its margin accounts, the user is restricted to three trades a day per five days period. However, that’s only if your balance is below $25,000. If it’s over that amount, there’s no day trade ceiling.

Again, the best day trading platform depends on your priorities. Here, the account opening is fully digital, and there’s no minimum deposit, which can tip the scales. Although the platform is primarily for US and Canadian traders, it’s also available in China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Taiwan, Singapore, and Thailand.

Pros Cons
Demo account No international trading (US and Canada only)
No inactivity penalty High fee for mutual fund transactions
Incredible desktop app
E*TRADE
E*TRADE

BEST FOR

mobile day trading

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  • Account minimum: $0
  • Plans: Brokerage, core portfolios, traditional IRA, and other account types
  • Fees: $25 live broker fee, $0.50-$0.65 for options per contact
  • Markets and currencies: US only

The two mobile apps, namely E*TRADE mobile and Power E*TRADE, put this platform among the best trading software firms for mobile users. Power E*TRADE is the primary tool for trading options. Both are highly recommended and available on iOS and Windows.

The company takes no commissions for ETF trades or online equity. But there are some inactivity penalties. When it comes to OTCBB trades, if you place fewer than 30 trades per quarter, the fee is $6.95 per transaction. It’s reduced to $4.95 if you go above that number.

You can choose between stocks, funds, bonds, ETFs, options, futures, and crypto. Keep in mind that there’s no FOREX trading available. Even so, it’s a great place to start your day trading account.

If you’re a first-time trader or a beginner, you’ll find detailed educational resources here. Besides, the platform will guide you through a step-by-step process in the new-to-investing section. You can easily set your goals, open accounts, and choose your investment. The tracking is also beginner-friendly.

Another thing that puts E*TRADE among the top trading platforms is the long list of additional features and special requests. It’ll charge you separately for overnight mail, account transfers, check copies, and stop payment requests, but these can significantly simplify your investments.

Lastly, the customer support is quite admirable. It’s available 24/7, and not just during business hours. You can reach the reps by phone, email, chat, or visit one of the local branches.

Pros Cons
Two great mobile apps OTCBB fees for low-volume traders
Commission-free for stock and ETF trades No international trade
Excellent customer support
TradeStation
TradeStation

BEST FOR

active traders

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  • Account minimum: $0 (TS GO), $2,000 (TS Select)
  • Plans: TS GO, TS Select
  • Fees: $14.95 commissions (no no-transaction-fee mutual fund trades)
  • Markets and currencies: UK, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and North America

TradeStation’s (TS) plans make it a powerful contender for the best online trading platform. The TS GO is primarily mobile-oriented. It’s convenient and straightforward but requires a trade fee. The other plan — TS Select — gives access to free trading on an advanced platform. Both packages have an annual inactivity penalty of $50 for accounts with a monthly balance below $2,000.

There’s no ETFs or stock trades commission. On the other hand, the options trading cost per contact is $0.60 (TS GO) and $0.50 (TS Select). In other words, serious traders that move large amounts would greatly benefit from the advanced TS Select plan.

Aside from the mobile day trading app, the vendor’s desktop tool TradeStation 10 is just as great for professional traders. The platform offers 329 customizable columns and the Walk-Forward Optimizer. The latter is essential for advanced strategy testing.

YouCanTrade is TradeStation’s independent education platform that features courses, webinars, and other useful resources. If you want to take advantage of these tools, you’ll have to pay extra.

Overall, the software is easy to use and offers excellent tools, while the fees are relatively low for active traders. On top of that, there’s no stocks and ETFs commission. It’s easy to see why TradeStation is one of the best stock trading software options.

Pros Cons
Best analytical tools Inactivity penalties
Technically advanced desktop version Steep learning curve
Active trading community
Robinhood
Robinhood

BEST FOR

new investors

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  • Account minimum: $0 basic, $2,000 Robinhood Gold
  • Plans: Basic and Gold
  • Fees: $5/month for Robinhood Gold
  • Markets and currencies: Not supported in Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria, and Crimea

Robinhood’s most significant advantage is that you can invest any amount, starting with as little as $1. So, it’s relatively easy to diversify your portfolio even with limited initial resources.

While the basic account doesn’t have a minimum requirement, those interested in margin trading will need to deposit $2,000. The cost of stock, ETF, and options trading is $0, which is enough to make you try this platform. There is also no annual inactivity fee.

Speaking of top-notch stock trading software, Robinhood Gold is a premium product that gives you access to research reports and the chance to trade on margin at the annual rate of 2.5%. The plan costs $5 per month. Depending on the balance after deposit, it provides $5,000 to $50,000 for margin trading.

The account transfer fee costs the most — $75. Still, most platforms charge for this, too, so it’s not a reason to disqualify Robinhood from the industry’s best day trading brokers.

On the other hand, the company’s customer support is not that great. Unlike some of its competitors that offer 24/7 phone assistance or opportunities to visit the local branches, Robinhood’s support is only via email and social media.

Pros Cons
Simple web platform No mutual funds
Cryptocurrency trading Lack of no-transaction fee trading
Among the industry’s lowest commissions and fees
Merrill Edge
Merrill Edge

BEST FOR

Bank of America customers

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  • Account minimum: $0 (Self-Directed), $5,000 (Guided Investing)
  • Plans: Merrill Edge Self-Directed, Merrill Guided Investing
  • Fees: Broker assisted trade $29.95
  • Markets and currencies: Available in most countries

Perhaps the most substantial reason why Merrill Edge remains among the best online brokers for day traders is the platform’s mobile app. Its functionality, simplicity, and resources enhance the firm’s reputation. What’s more, Bank of America customers could gain a lot from the software.

Its prices are quite competitive. The options per contract fee is $0.65, which is close to the industry standard. Compared to other platforms, the most significant difference is the mutual fund trade fee, where Merrill Edge charges only $19.95. The cost for broker-assisted trades is slightly higher — $29.95. Lastly, its ETF and stock trades are entirely free of charge.

Education is essential for day trading sites, and Merrill Edge doesn’t fall behind. With the Morningstar Investigating Classroom courses and Merrill Edge’s Guidance, a first-time user can get all the learning materials they need for a successful day trading career.

There are some restrictions you’ll have to accept. First, the platform doesn’t allow penny stocks trade. Second, Merrill Edge doesn’t support fractional share trading at the moment, which is a considerable problem for minor investors looking to diversify their portfolio.

The reason why most users consider this vendor among the best online brokers for day traders is its customizable layout, which allows you to save up to 25 layouts for testing and comparison.

Pros Cons
Low commissions and fees No penny stocks or fractional share trading
Great mobile app No futures or cryptocurrency trading
Decent learning resources
Zacks Trade
Zacks Trade

BEST FOR

broker-assisted trades

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  • Account minimum: $2,500
  • Plans: Zacks Trader, Zacks Trade Pro
  • Fees: Standard fee $0.1 per share, Margin rates at 3.59% or lower
  • Markets and currencies: 218 countries, 91+ international exchanges

The $0.1 fee per share is not that great, considering that most of the other best platforms for day trading charge $0. For stocks and ETFs, this margin is 1% of the trade value. The minimum fee is $1. Unlike its competitors, ZacksTrade doesn’t charge for broker-assisted trades. Plus, there’s also no inactivity penalty.

The 20 free research reports are another reason to open a trading account on this platform. But if that’s not enough, you’ll also get more than 80 premium trials, which can be useful to both new and seasoned traders.

Margin trading rates are at 3.59%, and they can go lower depending on your balance. The account minimum is $2,500 — not that high for a serious trader, but most of its competitors lack this requirement.

If you have international trading ambitions, Zacks Trade may just be your top choice as the best online brokerage for day traders. It’s available in all major regions (North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia). The platform aims to be as regionally-competitive as possible.

Zacks Trade has a pretty comprehensive FAQ section and a ton of How-to materials to help its users. Other than that, you can have a live conversation with a representative during business hours.

Pros Cons
Free broker-assisted trades $2,500 account minimum
Optimized for international traders No free stock and ETF trades
 Fractional shares as tradable securities

The Complete Guide to Choosing the Best Day Trading Platform

Here’s everything you need to consider when choosing the best platform for day trading.

Level of expertise

Although the number of options is a huge advantage, having too many choices may get overwhelming. So, keep in mind that the best trading software for beginners is different from a platform suitable for intermediate users.

Your device matters

Will you trade mostly on mobile or desktop? Mobile users might be oriented towards something like E*TRADE, while TD Ameritrade is better for desktop customers.

Trade volume and frequency

If you plan to trade often, look for a free trading platform that favors active traders, like TradeStation. On the other hand, if you’re unsure about the trade frequency, find a platform without an inactivity fee. Lastly, depending on the volume, you’ll have to pay special attention to the fee-per-trade and whether it’s flat or percentage-based.

Wrap Up

So, what’s the best day trading software? Traders’ interests vary from stocks and ETFs, all the way to cryptocurrencies and futures. The key thing is to identify your priorities.

Is a minimum account requirement acceptable? Are you looking for broker-assisted trades? How active do you plan to be, and what’s your average daily volume of trades going to be? Answer these questions, and the trading platform comparison will be a lot simpler.

FAQ

How to day trade online?

The first step is finding a suitable platform. Most companies are transparent about prices and account minimums, so your resource pool may help with the decision.

Fortunately, all major day trading platforms offer learning tools and materials.

Finally, trying out demo versions and practice tools, such as stock market simulators, can be quite helpful.

What is the best day trading platform?

It depends on your needs. For instance, new traders favor platforms like Robinhood, while intermediate ones might find Interactive Brokers better suited for the task.

Your preferred device also plays a role in the decision. E*TRADE is great for mobile users, while TD Ameritrade has one of the best desktop platforms.

Which trading platform is best for beginners?

Due to its simplicity, low commissions, and fees, Robinhood is one of the most beginner-friendly platforms. Fidelity, TD Ameritrade, and E*TRADE are also a good choice for new traders.

Is day trading really worth it?

Making money through day trading is definitely possible. That said, it requires patience and the right strategy. According to the latest data, the average annual pay for day traders in the US is around $80,000 per year. So, yes, it can be worth your while.

What is the cheapest trading platform?

If you base your decision on the best day trading platform on the fees, you can choose between Interactive Brokers, E*TRADE, Fidelity, or TD Ameritrade. But some platforms charge per order, so the volume of your trades may determine the final cost.