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The best in investing for 2022

The Bankrate Awards

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You deserve the best in investing

With so many financial services companies out there, it can be tough to find the best one for your needs. To help determine the ones that fit you best, Bankrate reviewed dozens of the major online players – including brokers, robo-advisors and financial apps – using an objective scoring system to measure the qualities that matter most to individual investors. Then we chose the top performers across categories such as best overall broker, best for retirement investing and best robo-advisor. These are the winners of the 2022 Bankrate Awards for Best In Investing.
How we picked these investment firms:
  • Bankrate evaluated these firms on a variety of cost factors, such as commissions, management fees, account fees, expense ratios, funding fees and more. 
  • We looked carefully at numerous account features such as trading capabilities, portfolio management, research, tools and other key aspects of the offered services.
  • We also examined several factors that affect the consumer experience such as mobile offering, customer support and investor education.

Best broker overall

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Charles Schwab

Read the full review by our Bankrate reporters
Highlights Research and education Low trading fees Range of account types

Charles Schwab brings it all to customers, whether they’re beginners or advanced investors. Extensive research and a solid education form the cornerstone at Schwab, and it’s enhanced by knowledgeable customer support, more than 4,000 mutual funds without a transaction fee and, of course, no commissions on stocks or ETFs. A strong trading platform appeals to volume traders, while the ability to buy fractional shares helps newer investors put all their money to work. Plus, Schwab regularly offers one of the best sign-on bonuses in the industry.

  • Robust trading platform for beginners and experts
  • Extensive research and education
  • Top-notch customer support

Bankrate evaluated brokers on key factors that matter to investors, including costs, tradable securities, customer support, research and education, trading platform and mobile app. 

Best broker for beginner investors

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Fidelity Investments

Read the full review by our Bankrate reporters
Highlights Low trading costs Research and education Fractional shares

Fidelity Investments is a great broker for many investors, but particularly beginners. Low trading costs will help make sure your portfolio isn’t eaten up by commissions and other fees, and Fidelity’s extensive research and education offering will help you stay informed. For those starting out small, the broker offers Stocks by the Slice, which lets you buy fractional shares in stocks that new investors might not otherwise be able to afford. On top of all that, Fidelity offers more than 3,400 mutual funds with no transaction fees. 

  • Deep offering of educational materials and tools for new investors
  • No account fees, thousands of NTF funds, and there’s no minimum to open an account
  • Strong customer service: 24/7 availability by phone, plus live chat, email and virtual assistant
Bankrate evaluated brokers on key items that matter most to new investors. Research and educational content, trading costs and the availability of fractional shares were given the most consideration.

Best broker for buy-and-hold investors

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Charles Schwab

Read the full review by our Bankrate reporters
Highlights NTF mutual funds 24/7 customer service Educational content

Charles Schwab does many things well, and investors looking to take a buy-and-hold approach won’t be disappointed. The broker offers commission-free trading on stocks and ETFs, which means those pesky fees won’t eat into your profits. Schwab also offers more than 4,300 mutual funds with no transaction fees, among the best in the industry. Long-term investors will also benefit from the broker’s deep retirement offerings, which include traditional, Roth and SEP IRAs, among others. Its research and educational resources are also extensive.

  • Top-tier research from independent providers and Schwab experts
  • Great selection of account types, including numerous types of retirement accounts
  • Commission-free stock and ETF trades, access to thousands of NTF mutual funds
Bankrate considered factors that long-term investors care about such as trading costs, no-transaction-fee funds and the availability of different retirement accounts. 

Best broker for low-cost investing

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Interactive Brokers

Read the full review by our Bankrate reporters
Highlights Commissions starting at $0 Low margin rates Customizable platform

Investors looking to keep costs to a minimum will find Interactive Brokers to be an ideal broker. Stock and ETF trades are free in the broker’s Lite tier, which will be the best option for most people unless you’re a very active trader, and you won’t be charged account transfer fees, which can often be $75 at other brokers. Interactive Brokers also separates itself by offering more than 7,000 mutual funds with no transaction fees, making it a leader in this area. Clients of Interactive Brokers can be confident they won’t be burned by excessive fees. 

  • Offers more than 7,000 NTF mutual funds
  • $0 U.S.-listed stock and ETF trades on IBKR Lite; low-cost high-volume trading on IBKR Pro with superior price execution
  • No account, annual, closing or transfer fees
Bankrate considered items such as trading commissions, account fees and the number of transaction-free mutual funds available from brokers. 

Best broker for retirement investing

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Fidelity Investments

Read the full review by our Bankrate reporters
Highlights Education resources No account fees, low costs NTF funds

Fidelity Investments is a great choice for people who are primarily looking to invest for retirement. The broker offers just about every retirement account you could want, ranging from traditional and Roth IRAs to SEP IRAs and solo 401(k)s. You’ll also get commission-free stock and ETF trades and can even invest in fractional shares if you’re starting with small amounts. Fidelity also offers more than 3,000 mutual funds with no transaction fees, making sure your returns aren’t eaten up by unnecessary costs. 

  • Wide range of retirement accounts and planning tools, along with top-notch research and analysis
  • Commission-free trading of stocks and ETFs with access to fractional shares — and no account fees to worry about
  • Strong customer service: 24/7 availability by phone, plus live chat, email and virtual assistant 
Bankrate considered several factors related to investing for retirement. The number of retirement accounts offered, trading costs and the availability of transaction-free funds were key considerations. 

Best robo-advisor

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Betterment

Read the full review by our Bankrate reporters
Highlights Automated investing Low management costs Access to human advisors

Betterment is one of the largest independent robo-advisors and with good reason: The company offers investors an easy way to have their investment portfolio managed at low cost. Betterment even offers access to certified human advisors for those less-routine questions. Customers are also well-served by its strong selection of investing tools to help set their financial goals, its solid educational components, a cash management account and a robust tax-loss harvesting plan. 

  • Two feature-rich plans, including tax minimization, rebalancing and a human advisor option
  • Strong offering of low-cost funds and ability to invest in fractional shares
  • Solid goal-based investing tools and education
Bankrate examined robo-advisors on factors that matter to their target audience, including management fees, fund expense ratios, robust portfolio construction, cash management accounts, features and tools, education, access to human advisors and customer support. 

Best investing app

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Betterment

Read the full review by our Bankrate reporters
Highlights Automated investing Low-cost portfolios Planning tools and education

If you’re looking to start investing, the Betterment app is one of the best places to begin. You can condense almost your whole financial life to Betterment, because it offers an investing account, professional management, financial planning tools, investing education and even checking and savings accounts. At a low cost, you’ll be able to create a financial plan to build your wealth using Betterment’s expertise and then manage it all from your app. 

  • Do-it-all finance app with top ratings on both Apple’s app store and Google Play store 
  • Robust tools and education for beginning investors
  • Professionally managed portfolios with flexibility to personalize
Bankrate evaluated app-based providers of financial services and rated them on their overall experience, education and tools, cost and value to the investor.

Best crypto exchange for beginners

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Binance.US

Read the full review by our Bankrate reporters
Highlights Low commissions Volume-based pricing Earn staking rewards

As the U.S. arm of the larger Binance organization, Binance.US offers some of the lowest commissions for trading cryptocurrency, perfect in a new industry that often marks up its prices. Binance offers volume-based pricing, with falling commissions as you trade more, and even offers discounted commissions that can be obtained without churning hundreds of thousands of dollars. If you’re looking to get into trading cryptocurrency, Binance.US should be your first look.

  • Low commissions with volume-based pricing discounts
  • Strong and growing selection of cryptocurrencies
  • No-fee staking rewards that are calculated daily and distributed monthly
Bankrate evaluated crypto exchanges on factors relevant for traders, including commissions, tradable cryptocurrencies, platform, the ability to stake coins, education, mobile app and customer support. 

Best mission-oriented investing service

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Ellevest

Read the full review by our Bankrate reporters
Highlights Built for women investors Social-impact investing Low monthly cost

Ellevest targets its robo-advisor service at women, a group that’s been traditionally underserved by financial companies, by factoring in their specific circumstances such as lower lifetime earnings. Ellevest offers three levels of service all at a flat monthly fee, starting at just $1. In addition to expertly creating an investment portfolio, the robo-advisor also offers you a no-fee cash management account, so you could move your financial life here. Plus, you’ll get access to planning tools, education on investing and, for an additional fee, access to certified financial advisors. So don’t think only women will benefit from this mission-focused robo-advisor.

  • Focused mission on helping women (and anyone)
  • Strong educational tools and access to coaching
  • Low management costs with flat-fee pricing structure
Bankrate evaluated mission-based investing services on their impact to their target audience, accessibility, ease of investing, and effectiveness at promoting diversity, equity and inclusion. 
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