Penny stocks brokers are now becoming cheaper thus making it easier for retail investors to invest their savings. It can be frustrating to find a good trading platform and depends on the type of stocks you plan to trade (whether pinks sheets or OTC), the amount of capital available to you, and how frequently you trade. Each week I receive dozens of emails inquiring about which brokerage to use but it is a challenging question to answer since it involves multiple factors.
3 Important Things to Look Out For
Surcharges: Depending on your broker, most add surcharges to shares less than a dollar. TradeKing charges an additional 1 cent for every share below $2 meaning that if you buy 5,000 shares it will cost you an additional $50. If you don’t keep close watch on those small charges they can easily add up and eat into your potential profits. You should choose a brokerage with a flat commission rate or one that offers sizeable discounts on large orders. For instance eTrade, Charles Schwab, and TD Ameritrade all offer either flat fees or massive discounts and no hidden fees.
Trading Restrictions: You should be capable of trading shares through an online platform and be wary of firms that force you to make your trades over the phone. Some brokers have restrictions in place especially with regards to issues such as short selling your penny stocks.
Volume Restrictions: The number of shares you are ideally allowed to trade is unlimited.
Different brokers have different account minimums, trade restrictions, commissions, and fees. Other important considerations include market maker routes, executions, software/trading platforms, and the quality of customer service. The greatest hindrance is not having sufficient starting capital and brokerages don’t like to deal with poor traders. If you live outside the U.S. in a country such as the U.K. or Australia, finding a penny stock friendly broker will be harder.
Penny stocks have had a negative reputation over the years and for good reason. The vast majority (90%) of those companies represent poor investments that are not something anyone would like to put in a 401k. Most of them are simply shell companies created with a sole purpose of ‘pump and dump’.
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Etrade is an obvious top choice overall since it charges a flat fee and offers outstanding trading software. Currently, Etrade has a promotion where traders with accounts of over $10,000 can trade free for the first 60 days.
The minimum deposit for a cash account is $500 and $2,000 for a margin account. Discounts are offered on large orders and penny stocks have no surcharges. Great research investment tools are available and the executions are very fast.
It is best suited for traders that trade frequently due to the tiered pricing structure, meaning that it is not recommended for non-active investors since they will have to pay additional commissions. The customer service is below average when compared to others while 24/7 phone and email support is available. The basics of the stock market are taught through video lessons.
The major limitation is that it does not accept traders from some countries. It is currently Tim Sykes favorite broker.
Interactive Brokers might have poor customer support but are still your best bet if you plan to short shares priced below $2. They have some of the best borrows for stocks even though shares for shorting go fast.
The trading platform is hard to learn and is not recommended for beginner investors. The $10,000 account minimum locks out most retail traders. Interactive Brokers has a plat pricing structure of $0.005 for every share traded depending on volume.
Fees are levied for canceling or modifying an order and a monthly inactivity fee of $20 is charged. Unless you are a day trader, the commissions can be expensive. Interactive Brokers traders comprise mainly of massive institutions and high net worth individuals.
Unlike Etrade, Interactive Brokers accepts international traders and does not discriminate against particular countries.
This broker has been operating for more than 40 years. In 2009, Ameritrade took over Thinkorswim. The broker has a solid trading platform with helpful charting tools as well as tutorial options to help you get started. In spite of this, their trading platform has experienced minor technical errors in the past leaving those customers that were looking to exit trades quite angry.
The broker has great, 24/7 customer support. You can have your emails replied to within as little as 30 minutes. TD Ameritrade has no minimum account deposit and no surcharges are levied on shares priced less than $5.
TD Ameritrade has no inactivity or monthly fees making it perfect for long term investors. Trade execution is great and the borrows are decent if you would like to short penny stocks. The broker offers free paper trading demo, which is great for beginners looking to test strategies and get a feel of the market.
The main drawback of TD Ameritrade is the $9.99 fee, which is much higher than that charged by other brokers. It can be argued that by charging more than the competition they are able to offer better customer support or it could be that they are greedy like the rest of the players on Wall Street.
One of the best things about SureTrader is the chance to bypass the pattern day trader rule since it is located offshore in the Bahamas. The pattern day trader rule is a rule set by the SEC that does not permit traders with accounts below $25,000 from executing over 4 or 5 day trades over a 5-day business period. This can be quite annoying and makes it hard for traders to grow their accounts fast but still protects day traders from losing money.
SureTrader has relatively poor customer support since it has very few customer support representatives to service all of its clients many of whom are inexperienced that don’t even know how to place orders. SureTrader is a small company and according to their LinkedIn profile, the have only about 6 employees.
Recently, SureTrader’s CEO, Guy Gentille was indicted by the SEC for manipulating penny stocks. It should be noted that while SureTrader was not involved in the schemes this scandal has tainted their reputation. Hearing such news about a company’s CEO would make any trader feel uneasy and for this reason, trading over $2,000 with them is not recommended.
The account minimum is $500 and the charges are $4.95 for every trade for up to 1,000 shares but an ECN fee of .003 is charged for routing. The leverage currently offered is 6-1 and future plans are to increase this to 20-1.
Hard to short stocks enjoy good borrows and a massive short sell list of 10,000 symbols is available. It is a great option for the penny stock traders outside the US who have limited capital and who cannot afford or are not able to open accounts with the more reputable brokers such as Etrade.
The information pertaining to this company available on Google is very limited and while the company was established in 2000, it does not even have a Wikipedia page.
ChoiceTrade is better suited to OTC stocks and only costs $7 for every OTC trade. The broker has a volume surcharge of 1 percent for any trade over 500,000 shares. There is no account minimum but an inactivity fee of $30 is charged for every quarter.
ChoiceTrade’s free web platform is a bit too basic and you have to pay $15 monthly to access the advanced platform. ChoiceTrade offers promotion codes to new clients on rare occasions.
Simple: Scottrade offers access to online tools and solutions designed to meet help short-
Too many people are eager to start day trading and especially teenagers. People will see Instagram photos of successful traders advertising their lavish lifestyle, traveling to various beautiful and exotic location and want to be like them. They want to start making money immediately.
However, this is not how it works. Patience is needed and you should paper trade for not less than 3 months. Keep in mind that you need to learn before your earn. Once you are ready, it is advisable that you start trading with not less than $2,000. Interactive Brokers and Etrade are the top 2 online penny stock brokers with great reputations.