Best Brokers For Fractional Share Investing In May 2024 – Bankrate.com

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As competition among stock brokers has heated up, online players have rushed to provide new features to their clients, including being able to invest in fractions of a share. This feature allows investors to purchase a stock or ETF with almost any amount of money rather than needing to have enough cash to buy a full share. It’s perfect for high-priced bellwether stocks such as Alphabet and Amazon.
The ability to buy fractional shares is attractive, especially for investors just starting out. You can invest with a much more modest amount of money, and with some stocks selling for thousands of dollars per share, you can buy what you can afford. With this feature it’s much easier to use dollar-cost averaging, especially now that major online brokers have slashed their transaction fees to zero.
But while some brokers have just begun allowing investors to buy fractional shares, others have allowed them to do so indirectly as part of dividend reinvestment plans for many years. That’s the case even if the brokers didn’t offer trading of fractional shares. This divide still exists today, with some brokers offering fractional shares via dividend reinvestment but not otherwise.
With dividend reinvestment plans you’re able to purchase only the stock that made the payout, and no other. Of course, now with no trading commissions at all the major online brokerages you can reinvest the cash yourself with no extra cost, except a little bit of your time.
Below Bankrate highlights online stock brokers that allow fractional shares to be traded and describes key details of each broker’s program and offering.
Charles Schwab has long been an investor-focused outfit, and allows investors to buy a fractional share of any stock in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index. Called Stock Slices, Schwab’s program allows you to buy a slice of these stocks with as little as $5 and you can buy up to 30 slices at a time. And like trades for regular shares, you’ll be able to place your trades without a commission. You’ll continue to be able to reinvest any dividends from your stocks into fractional shares of the same stock.
Fidelity is routinely a top contender among brokerages, and not surprisingly features a way to buy fractional shares, which it calls Stocks by the Slice. You can start with just $1 and buy shares of more than 7,000 stocks and ETFs listed on U.S. exchanges. You’ll still be able to purchase stocks with zero trading commissions, and you’ll also be able to reinvest your dividends in more shares, even fractional shares, whether they’re stocks or ETFs.
Long known as a high-powered alternative for professional and active traders, Interactive Brokers also offers fractional shares, which is a boon to investors without those deep pockets. You can purchase fractional shares on the broker’s Pro platform (cost: $1 or at the broker’s tiered rate) or on its Lite platform, where trading is free. The downside here is that dividend reinvestment costs the standard commission on the Pro tier, though it’s free on the Lite tier. However, only stocks with average daily volume of $10 million or a market cap greater than $400 million are eligible for the program. Also eligible: ETFs, foreign stocks trading as American depositary receipts (ADRs), Canadian stocks and ETFs, and European stocks.
Robinhood has long been known for its commission-free trading (which extends to options, too) but it also allows you to buy the tiniest fraction of a share. Yes, you can buy as little as one-millionth of a share of your favorite stocks, and you can buy a huge variety of stocks as well. Stocks trading over $1 per share and with a market capitalization greater than $25 million are eligible for the program, and ETFs are available for fractional shares, too. You can also reinvest dividends into fractional shares, but must enable the fractional feature first.
E-Trade doesn’t offer fractional purchases of stock, but it does allow investors to reinvest their dividends into fractional shares. E-Trade will reinvest dividends only in a stock or ETF that is trading above $5 per share.
Merrill Edge is another broker that allows dividend reinvestment in fractional shares but does not allow clients to purchase fractional shares directly. Merrill lets investors reinvest dividends from stocks and ETFs as well as mutual funds. You can quickly set up whether you want each security in your portfolio to reinvest with an online selection, and if you change your mind, you can flip your choice later on just as easily.
Vanguard is well known for its mutual funds and ETFs, and while you can buy fractional shares when you’re placing an order of these types of securities, that’s the only kind of fractional purchase that you’ll be able to do. Vanguard does not offer fractional-share investing in stocks or non-Vanguard ETFs, though the broker does allow you to reinvest dividends in stocks, ETFs and mutual funds. However, the broker will not reinvest in certain low-volume stocks, some U.S. stocks and all foreign stocks.
Tastytrade is one of the best brokers for short-term traders, but with the addition of fractional shares for both purchases and dividend reinvestment, it’s now a more interesting option for long-term investors, too. You’ll have to place a minimum order of $5, and you’re able to use only market orders, not limit orders, meaning you’ll have to accept the prevailing price at the time you place your order.
SoFi Active Investing is one of the best brokers for low costs, and it extends that leadership to fractional shares, too. At SoFi, you’ll be able to buy fractional shares directly and reinvest your dividends into fractional shares, a combo that is not always available at brokers offering partial shares. To reinvest dividends, the stock price must be greater than $4 per share, which includes most U.S. stocks and foreign stocks trading on U.S. exchanges.
WellsTrade entered the fractional share game in late 2023 with the launch of Stock Fractions, its program allowing the purchase of partial shares of stock. You’ll be able to purchase 500 stocks through the program, with a minimum of $10 per order. As for dividend reinvestment, while WellsTrade lets you buy new shares with your dividend, you won’t be able to buy partial shares automatically with it. That’s a small detail in the age of no-commission trades.
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Bankrate.com is an independent, advertising-supported publisher and comparison service. We are compensated in exchange for placement of sponsored products and services, or by you clicking on certain links posted on our site. Therefore, this compensation may impact how, where and in what order products appear within listing categories, except where prohibited by law for our mortgage, home equity and other home lending products. Other factors, such as our own proprietary website rules and whether a product is offered in your area or at your self-selected credit score range, can also impact how and where products appear on this site. While we strive to provide a wide range of offers, Bankrate does not include information about every financial or credit product or service.
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