Finder makes money from featured partners, but editorial opinions are our own.

Compare online stock brokers

Compare online stock brokers plus get tips for beginner traders.

Compare online trading platforms

1 - 6 of 6
Name Product Finder Rating Available Asset Types Stock Trading Fee Account Fee Signup Offer Table description
Interactive Brokers
Finder Score:
★★★★★
4.2 / 5
Stocks, Bonds, Options, Index Funds, ETFs, Currencies, Futures
min $1.00, max 0.5%
$0
N/A
Winner for Best Overall Broker in the Finder Stock Trading Platform Awards.
Moomoo Financial Canada
Finder Score:
★★★★★
3.9 / 5
Stocks, Options, ETFs
$0.014/stock
$0
Get up to $1,200 or a $1,200 Apple gift card
Trade US stocks for up to 90% less and access free real time stock quotes and level 2 market data. T&C's Apply.
CIBC Investor's Edge
Finder Score:
★★★★★
3.7 / 5
Stocks, Bonds, Options, Mutual Funds, ETFs
$6.95
$0 if conditions met, or $100
100 free trades + up to $4,500 cash back
An easy-to-use platform with access to a variety of tools to help you trade with confidence.
RBC Direct Investing
Finder Score:
★★★★★
3.8 / 5
Stocks, Bonds, Options, Mutual Funds, ETFs, GICs
$6.95 - $9.95
$0 if conditions met, otherwise $25/quarter
N/A
Enjoy no minimum trading activity requirements and pay just $9.95 per trade or $6.95 if making 150 trades per quarter.
Questrade
Finder Score:
★★★★★
3.9 / 5
Stocks, Bonds, Options, Mutual Funds, ETFs, GICs, International Equities, Precious Metals
$4.95 - $9.95
$0
Get $50 in free trades when you fund your account with a minimum of $1,000.
Opt for self-directed investing and save on fees or get a pre-built portfolio to take out some of the guesswork.
Qtrade Direct Investing
Finder Score:
★★★★★
3.6 / 5
Stocks, Bonds, Options, Mutual Funds, ETFs, GICs
$6.95 - $8.75
$0 if conditions met, otherwise $25/quarter
Get up to a $150 sign-up bonus. Use code OFFER2024. Ends October 31, 2024.
Low trading commissions and an easy-to-use platform with access to powerful tools and a wide selection of investment options.
loading
Live Stocks:
GME: $28.70 | AMC: $4.99 | AAPL: $212.49 | MSFT: $442.57 | BRK-B: $405.54 | SPXU: $29.71 | BB: $2.34 | SNDL: $1.95 | EXPR: $0.70 | TR: $29.22 | TRVG: $2.16 | NOK: $3.62
25-minute delay on stock prices.

What is stock trading?

Stock trading is simply the buying and selling of stocks (shares) of a specific company in order to make a profit. Think of stocks as small individual pieces of a company. If you own stocks you own part of that company. Stock values change with each sale, depending on whether more people are buying (because they think the price will rise) or selling (because they think it will fall).

How do I make money trading stocks?

Here’s an example: A company is trading at $5 per share on January 1st and you buy 100 shares for a total of $500. By February 1st, the shares are trading at $5.50, so you decide to sell your shares, giving you a 50-cent return on each share for a profit of $50. This also works in the opposite direction: If the stock price was $4.50 when you decide to sell, you’d be losing 50 cents per share for a net loss of $50.

WATCH: How does the stock market work?

How do I start trading on the stock market?

Newbie investor? Never placed a trade before? Don’t worry, it’s never been easier to start trading. You simply choose a stock trading platform, open and fund an account then make your trades. Check out our guide for how to buy stocks online to get started.

Our top picks for stock trading platforms

Best for Lowest Commissions

Go to site
Low margin rates
  • Access to international stock exchanges
  • Low margin rates
  • Powerful research tools

Best for Low Fees

Go to site
CA & US trading
  • $1,200 cash reward or $1,200 Apple gift card
  • Low transaction fees
  • Easy-to-use app

Best for Beginners

Go to site
Easy to use app
  • Easy-to-use platform
  • Low fees
  • Student and young investor discounts

Is it free to sign up for a stock trading account?

Most stock trading platforms don’t charge anything to open an account and start trading. But you may have to pay monthly fees to access advanced research tools. There are 2 main types of stock trading fees:

  • Trade fees (commissions). A fee charged every time you buy or sell securities. Trade fees for online brokerages typically range from under $5 to $10 per transaction. Options contracts typically come with an extra fee of $1 to $2 per contract.
  • Account maintenance and inactivity fees. Some brokerages charge periodic account fees (often around $25 per quarter) that are waived with a minimum balance or by making a certain number of trades per quarter.

How long does it take to open a stock trading account?

Most online brokerage applications can be completed in 10 minutes or less. Identify verification can take anywhere from several minutes to several days depending on the system your broker has in place (machine driven verification is faster than manually reviewing documents).

Once your application is submitted, it typically takes 1-2 business days to get approved. Before you can start trading, you’ll need to fund your account, which can take another day or 2 depending on the transfer method.

Where do you trade stocks?

Traders buy and sell stocks throughout the trading day on the TSX, NYSE, Nasdaq and other exchanges around the world. Here are some of the world’s biggest stock markets by market capitalization:

Stock exchangeShort nameMarket capitalization
New York Stock Exchange (US)NYSEUS$25.62 trillion
Nasdaq (US)NASDAQUS$19.51 trillion
Hong Kong ExchangesHKEXUS$6.76 trillion
Shanghai Stock ExchangeSSEUS$6.56 trillion
Japan Exchange GroupJPXUS$6.54 trillion

Here is a map of some of the world’s biggest exchanges

7 tips for beginner investors

  • Know your risk tolerance. Figure out what level of risk you can manage. Your personal risk tolerance should dictate which investments you choose.
  • Do your homework. Research the financial health of companies, review annual reports and follow the news. Get familiar with popular indices like the S&P 500. Use the research tools provided by your online trading platforms or use market research websites like Bloomberg or Yahoo Finance.
  • Buy what you know. Begin investing in industries and businesses you understand or that produce products that you use everyday.
  • Diversify. Spread your investments across a range of industries. This is called diversification — a fancy way of saying: don’t put all your eggs in one basket. You can be better protected against losses if one particular industry experiences a sharp downturn.
  • Explore blue-chip companies. Blue-chip stocks are issued by big, established companies. They’re typically a source of reliable returns and minimal risk.
  • Consider index funds. Index funds, like ETFs and mutual funds, offer you a way to invest in multiple companies at once rather than in just one company’s stocks. You invest in the shares of the fund instead of all the individual companies themselves that make up the fund.
  • Practice new strategies. Play stock trading games to master your craft. Or take an online trading course to advance your knowledge about different trading strategies.

Stock trading strategies you should know

Risks of stock trading

  • Losses. No investment is risk-free and any stock, no matter its performance history, carries the risk of loss. Stock prices can fall dramatically and even drop down to zero. This can mean significant financial losses for investors.
  • Time. Online trading can be a time-consuming process — especially when you hand-pick each of the securities in your portfolio. The more active your trading strategy, the more time you’ll need to be ready to invest in monitoring the performance of your stocks and staying abreast of impactful market news.
  • Stress. The stock market is always moving and can be volatile — a significant source of stress for those with investments that hinge on its performance and direction. If you can’t weather the ups and downs, you might be better off pursuing a more passive investment strategy, like a robo-advisor or managed portfolio.
  • Market events. Even after thoroughly researching a company, you can’t predict the future. Natural disasters, terrorist attacks, pandemics, bad company news and even changes in government policy can all occur unexpectedly and adversely affect the price of shares.
  • Lack of expertise. While investing in the stock market sounds easy in theory, it can get quite complicated if you don’t know what you’re doing. First-time investors should exercise caution while building their portfolio.

How do I learn more about stock trading?

One of the best ways to grow your stock trading skills is to study financial news, company announcements and market activity. Stay up to date with anything related to the industries or companies you’re interest in as well as the economy overall.

Consider taking an investment course from sources like Udemy, Morningstar’s Investing Classroom or Skillshare. Many such courses are often taught by experienced professionals with years of knowledge. Make sure you choose a trusted educational or training organization.

Bottom line

Investing in the stock market has never been easier. But before you dive in, make sure you compare trading platforms and carefully research the companies you want to invest in. Get familiar with your personal level of risk tolerance and make sure you diversify your portfolio in order to minimize losses. Ready to begin?

Frequently asked questions about stock trading

Stock trading glossary

More on investing

Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of futures, stocks, ETFs, CFDs, options or any specific provider, service or offering. It should not be relied upon as investment advice or construed as providing recommendations of any kind. Futures, stocks, ETFs and options trading involves substantial risk of loss and therefore are not appropriate for all investors. Trading CFDs and forex on leverage comes with a higher risk of losing money rapidly. Past performance is not an indication of future results. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before making any trades. Read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and Target Market Determination (TMD) for the product on the provider's website.

Read more on this topic

Go to site