A few years ago I had about $5, 000 to invest, so a friend of mine convinced me to purchase stocks. I opened a TD Ameritrade (then called TD Waterhouse) account and purchased several stocks through them.
Simply for opening an account, I got three free trades (each worth $9.99) and $75 in cash (I think they offer $100 now). Because I had a friend who advised me as to which stocks to purchase, I did not need their advice and have never dealt directly with a broker to make investment decisions.
Having only $5k to invest made trading at $9.99 per transaction a bit expensive for me. But, I don't trade stocks much now, and they are just sitting there earning a modest profit. I also have money sitting in a savings account there. One thing I do like about this account is that there are no minimum fees or purchases you have to make and they never charge you an account maintenance fee.
Everything I do is online. Their website is very easy to access and navigate. I can always see my account activity and balance, and always have an electronic statement sent to me each month.
Last year I needed to sell some stocks and have the money sent to me relatively quickly. I had to wait 7 days before they sent out the check, which was not very convenient. But, had I known of this beforehand I would have been less upset. That has been my only bad experience with this company.
If you have a little money you would like to put in the stock market, I can recommend TD Ameritrade.