Please note that ShareBuilder has been discontinued and is no longer available. You can read our old review of ShareBuilder below, or check out the rest of the US Online Stock Trading Websites we've reviewed.
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ShareBuilder is an online trading platform from America's most popular online bank ING Direct. Its aim is to make investing in the stock markets as easy as possible for first time or casual investors, but there are enough tools that more advanced investors should be able to carry out more complex trades and strategies too. The user interface is very clean and simple and it is very easy to open an account making ShareBuilder an excellent option for new investors.
From the moment you arrive at the ShareBuilder home page you get a feel for the clean uncluttered design that has been followed throughout the web site and trading tools. This is in stark contrast to many trading platforms which try to cram as much information as possible onto the screen at once. Clearly, this is an attempt to make investing for the first time less intimidating to casual investors and in our opinion it works well. An account can be opened in a matter of minutes with no minimum balance required and no specialist knowledge is required to carry out your first trade. The easy to use web tools will guide you through the process in no time.
When it comes to tools ShareBuilder offers a wide variety of different web based applications to help with everything from discovering new investment opportunities to executing reasonably complex strategies. You can apply custom filters using the smart screener tools to find stocks that suit the portfolio you are trying to build and set up watch lists and notifications to remind you of them later. Also on offer are various different calculators to help you decide whether something is a profitable investment or not. The tools on offer aren't quite as advanced as we have seen from some other online trading platforms, but they provide everything a casual investor would need however more advanced traders may want to look for a platform which offers a downloadable application for executing trades.
ShareBuilder allows you to trade stocks, options and funds at reasonable prices (although there are cheaper prices to be found elsewhere). While with some companies you might pay slightly more for access to advanced tools, we think with ShareBuilder you are paying a little extra for the simplicity and ease of executing a trade. There is even an automatic investment scheduler whereby you pay in a set amount each week and let ShareBuilder make the difficult decisions for you. Customer service and broker assisted trades are available during working hours, but broker assisted trades in particular are quite expensive. However, we have only heard good things about the level of service on offer.
ShareBuilder is an excellent online trading platform for new or casual investors, but we think more advanced traders will probably be looking for more advanced features than it offers. The simplicity and ease of use is great but when it comes to executing complex strategies ShareBuilder's limitations start to show. You also won't find much educational material here to help you get up to speed on more advanced trading techniques. However, ShareBuilder is still a very good choice for anyone looking to start out in the world of investments.
Please note that ShareBuilder has now been discontinued.