Ready to start saving for retirement and a better financial future?
Opening an online brokerage account is one of the first steps you need to take.
Once you have your brokerage account opened you can transfer funds into the account and begin choosing investments.
When you are comparing brokerage firms you will take into account things like trade commissions and account maintenance fees.
One thing that is often overlooked are the best stock broker signup bonuses that you can earn for switching to or starting with that broker.
Top Online Stock Broker Firm Signup Bonuses
Here are the best online brokerage firm signup bonuses available. Analysis on the sign up bonuses is below the chart.
|Brokerage Firm||Bonus||Deposit Required|
|Betterment||$25||$250 for 90 days|
|OptionsHouse||Kindle Fire HD||$10,000 for 180 days + 15 trades within 90 days|
|OptionsHouse||Nexus 7||$10,000 for 180 days + 15 trades within 90 days|
|OptionsHouse||Microsoft Xbox||$10,000 for 180 days + 15 trades within 90 days|
|OptionsHouse||Dell 23" Monitor||$10,000 for 180 days|
|OptionsHouse||Dell 27" Monitor||$100,000 for 180 days|
|OptionsHouse||Dell 30" Monitor||$250,000 for 180 days|
|OptionsHouse||$200||$25,000 for 180 days|
|OptionsHouse||$300||$50,000 for 180 days|
|OptionsHouse||$400||$100,000 for 180 days|
|OptionsHouse||$600||$250,000 for 180 days|
|Capital One ShareBuilder||$100||$5,000 for 6 months|
|TD Ameritrade||Trade free for 60 days||$2,000 for 9 months|
|TD Ameritrade||$100||$25,000 for 9 months|
|TD Ameritrade||$300||$100,000 for 9 months|
|TD Ameritrade||$600||$250,000 for 9 months|
|E*TRADE||Trade free for 60 days||$10,000 for 6 months|
|E*TRADE||$50||$25,000 - $49,999 for 6 months|
|E*TRADE||$100||$50,000 - $99,999 for 6 months|
|E*TRADE||$250||$100,000 - $249,999 for 6 months|
|E*TRADE||$500||$250,000 or more for 6 months|
|Fidelity||15,000 American Airline, United, or Delta Miles||$25,000 for 6 months|
|Fidelity||25,000||$50,000 for 6 months|
|Fidelity||50,000||$100,000 for 6 months|
|Fidelity||$200||$50,000 for 9 months|
|Fidelity||$300||$100,000 for 9 months|
|Fidelity||$600||$250,000 for 9 months|
|Fidelity||$1,200||$500,000 for 9 months|
|Fidelity||$2,500||$1,000,000 for 9 months|
Betterment Sign Up Bonus
Betterment is not your typical brokerage firm. They don’t care how many times you trade. In fact their goal is to make investing a lot more simple to understand.
Instead of logging into the brokerage website and seeing hundreds of options — which overwhelm many new investors — the company gives you a sliding scale of risk.
If you want to be on the conservative end of the spectrum then your money will automatically be invested into a bucket of bond ETFs. The other end of the spectrum is a bucket of stock ETFs. This makes investing a lot easier. You choose your risk profile and decide how comfortable you are with various amounts of investment risk, and the company does the rest.
Since they’re not making large commissions on getting you to trade all of the time, the company offers a simple $25 bonus for opening an account with at least $250. That’s 10% on a small amount of money.
OptionsHouse Sign Up Bonus
OptionsHouse offers many bonuses to get you to open an account with the brokerage firm. They offer cash bonuses as well as several different types of technology items like the Kindle Fire, Nexus 7, and Microsoft Xbox. Here’s what percentage return you’re getting from OptionHouse’s cash bonuses, assuming you fund the account with the minimum needed to get the next bonus:
- $200 on $25,000: 0.8%
- $300 on $50,000: 0.6%
- $400 on $100,000: 0.4%
- $600 on $250,000: 0.24%
Valuing the technology items is a little difficult because of the constant push down of the price of the items as well as the offer not being as specific as I would like. The Kindle offer does say it is the Kindle Fire HD (worth $199).
However, neither of the items listed have just one version: the Nexus 7 comes in 16GB ($199) to 32GB with wireless service ($299), and the Microsoft Xbox has the 4GB console ($199) to the 250GB console or the 4GB console with Kinect for $299. You also have to factor in the requirements of the offer. Not only do you have to deposit $10,000, you also must trade 15 times at a cost of $3.95 per stock trade. That discounts the offer by $59.25.
If we assume all three items are the $199.99 version available and lower the value by $59.25, we end up with a bonus worth $140.74. On a $10,000 deposit that is a bonus of 1.41%. That is by far the best value from a percentage standpoint of any of the broker sign up offers.
OptionsHouse also offers 3 different Dell monitors for 3 different deposit amounts. The value of that offer will fluctuate with the price you would pay to buy the monitors directly from Dell or the Dell Outlet.
ShareBuilder Sign Up Bonus
ShareBuilder is all about setting up good investing habits. The company offers a simple $4 trade cost if you sign up for automatic investment on at least a monthly basis. $4 trades and automatic investing is one of the easiest ways to get started with investing.
You don’t have to start with a lot of money to open an account, but if you will deposit a decent amount to get started then you’ll get a nice signup bonus. If you deposit a minimum of $5,000 then ShareBuilder will give you a bonus of $100.
That’s an extra 0.2% on your investment.
TD Ameritrade Sign Up Bonus
TD Ameritrade makes the process of opening and funding your Roth IRA very easy. You could invest one hour of your living watching an hour of recorded television, take out the 20 minutes of commercials, and still have enough time to open a IRA with TD Ameritrade.
Plus, they are willing to give you a sign up bonus:
- $100 on $25,000: 0.4%
- $300 on $100,000: 0.3%
- $600 on $250,000: 0.24%
The bonuses on the low end of the scale have a pretty nice perk to signing up compared to the competition. Likewise, as the amount you deposit goes up the amount the bonus equals starts to drop. Nonetheless, TD Ameritrade is a great broker to consider.
E*TRADE Sign Up Bonus
If you like to trade a lot, E*TRADE has one of the best offers for you. If you fund an account with at least $10,000 you will get free trades for 60 days. On top of that, E*TRADE offers several tiers of cash bonuses that will be deposited in your account for funding a certain level in each account.
Compared to some of the other offers the cash bonuses are okay. Here’s what percentage return you’re getting from E*TRADE’s bonuses, assuming you fund the account with the minimum needed to get the next bonus:
- $50 on $25,000: 0.2%
- $100 on $50,000: 0.2%
- $250 on $100,000: 0.25%
- $500 on $250,000: 0.2%
Fidelity Sign Up Bonus
Fidelity offers a couple of different sign up bonus options. The first is your typical cash bonus for depositing a certain amount of money into a brokerage account and keeping it there for 9 months. Here are how those bonuses equate in terms of a one time percentage boost to your account:
- $200 on $50,000: 0.4%
- $300 on on $100,000: 0.3%
- $600 on $250,000: 0.24%
- $1,200 on $500,000: 0.24%
- $2,500 on $1,000,000: 0.25%
However, where things get interesting is they also offer bonuses in the form of airline miles. You can get 15,000 airline miles for Delta, American Airlines, and United Airlines for depositing as little as $25,000. The deposit only has to be held for 6 months with Fidelity instead of 9 months for the cash bonus. The value you are getting depends on how you value airline miles.
I would say it is fairly safe to say you can redeem airline miles for at least 1 cent per mile (if not 2 cents) for domestic travel. That would put the bonus at $150 on a $25,000 deposit. That’s a 0.6% bonus — one of the best values of any of the brokers.
Free Money from Online Stock Broker Signup Bonuses
If you are planning to open an online stock broker account, you might as well get rewarded for choosing a specific firm. You can easily add at least 0.2% to your account just by getting a sign up bonus when you first open the account. If you have a lot of money to deposit you could consider opening up two accounts at two different brokers to make sure you are maximizing your bonus opportunities as well.
Getting a top online stock broker signup bonus shouldn’t be the only thing you consider when opening a brokerage firm account. Other items such as trade commissions, investment selection, and account security should come into play as well. However, many of the larger brokerage firms online have fairly similar offerings which means getting the best bonus for your situation can be the deciding factor.