Be careful as not all programs are the same. What I mean is that there is a difference between Scottrade and similar companies and Sharebuilder/Buy and Hold and someone like Vanguard, Fidelity etc.For example all the companies offer IRA. The problem comes in when you start looking at fees and reinvesting dividends. Some will charge you $8 per trade. Sharebuilder and Buy and Hold are less then that per trade but also offer an "all you can trade" option for around $12-15 a month. Trading windows are another issue. Scottrade and similar will process the trade almost immediately while Sharebuilder/Buy and Hold may only trade once per day at a specified time. Another issue (and often a big one) is dividend reinvestment. Sharebuilder, Buy and Hold (and maybe Fidelity, Vanguard etc as I haven't checked them out yet) are the only one's I know of that offer fractional shares. While most offer free dividend reinvestment, others such as Scottrade only do this if your dividend can purchase a full share as they don't deal in fractional shares. How many share must you own to make enough in dividends to purchase a full share? Providing your not looking at daytrading types of activities and are looking to select a few companies and make regular purchaes, check out the DRIP Boards here at the Fool.
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