Five brokers' secrets you should know before trading online

Over 17 million investors with the three largest online brokerages – Schwab, E-trade, and TD Ameritrade – are paying more than $1.8 billion every year on trading fees and brokerage services that most of them don’t need, according to a recent NerdWallet study. Here are five brokerage secrets you should know before trading online:

2. Need research and analysis? You can get it elsewhere for less.

Andrew Burton/Reuters/File
The news-ticker in Times Square offers a stock update in this December 2012 file photo. Although big discount brokers offer research and other goodies, you can get them for less at other discount brokerages.

One advantage of full-service brokers – and even discount brokers – is that they offer research reports, real time data, and analysis software, which deep discount brokers typically don’t. These extra goodies are typically important to active investors, who rely heavily on research reports to make and time their investments.

But NerdWallet discovered more than 30 discount deep-discount brokerage companies that offer research reports, real-time data, and analysis software. At 24 brokerages, these services are offered at lower prices than the big three can boast.

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