Per-Trade vs. Per-Share Pricing | How Do You Choose? (2023)


Commissions are a fixed cost of business when it comes to trading the markets. They are fees paid to the brokerage to execute your trade orders. Commissions can vary between brokers but they usually fall into one of two types of structures; per-trade or per-share pricing. Generally, your style of trading will determine which type is best suited for you. For example, if you were a long-term investor, then a per-trade commission broker would likely be more suitable for you since you wouldn’t be placing too many trades. Per-trade commissions may be fine for medium to long term investors and some swing traders, but active traders usually desire direct access and order routing to enhance their profitability and liquidity. Aside from brokerage commissions, some trades may include regulatory fees such as SEC and FINRA.

Per-Trade vs. Per-Share Pricing | How Do You Choose? (1)

Per-Trade Commissions

Brokers that charge a “flat fee” or per-trade commission apply a fixed rate to each trade (i.e. $4.95 per trade). Usually these fees will apply to trades up to 10,000 shares. Some brokers may have different maximum share amounts per trade. This structure works best for investors and swing traders that don’t trade actively intra-day (i.e. 10 or more trades).


The best feature of this structure is the ability to buy or sell large position sizes of 5,000 shares or more for a flat rate. A per-share commission of $0.004 would cost $40 on 10,000 shares not including the ECN/exchange pass-thru fees, which could add another $40 for a total of $80 compared to $4.95 flat rate fee. This amounts to a large commission savings proportionate to the size of the trade. However, most per-trade brokers have order flow arrangements with various firms/clearing houses. This means that your order may not get the best fills and liquidity could be a problem. Anytime you place a large block order, you risk being front run by high frequency trading (HFT) programs that step in front of you order causing the price to rise.

Who It’s Good For

The style and type of trades will determine the utility of the underlying commission structure. A per-trade commission makes the most economical sense for larger position trades above 2,000 shares. Penny stock traders that take larger share size positions can benefit the most especially on cheaper priced shares. Of course, these come with a whole different set of problems including liquidity and slippage, not to mention the risk of fraudulent company fundamentals. However, from a commission standpoint, a flat rate fee works great here. It’s always best to check with your broker what the conditions are with small-caps and penny stocks. Investors and swing traders also benefit from per-trade pricing due to the lower trading activity.


The longer a position is held, the more beneficial a flat rate structure is.

Intraday traders or scalpers that trade heavy position sizes may also benefit from the flat rate fees since the sheer volume of total shares make up the savings compared to per-share. However, as mentioned, placing larger sized orders regularly will attract the algos every time and your order fills may be frustratingly awful at times. You may want to break up your order or use hidden size.

Newer traders just getting their “feet wet” in the markets may start off with the per-trade commissions just to get acclimated with placing orders. These traders generally do not have the same routing needs as more experienced traders and the “per-trade” commission can help simplify the process.

Per-Trade vs. Per-Share Pricing | How Do You Choose? (2)

Per-Share Commissions

Online direct-access brokers offer per-share commissions often with a sliding scale based on monthly share volume traded. A commission of $0.004 per share means a 1,000 share trade will cost $4 plus ECN/exchange pass-thru fees which can add another $0.002-$0.004 per trade for taking liquidity. However, rebates may also be applied for providing liquidity. Therefore, a trade where you buy 1,000 on the inside bid (providing liquidity) would cost you $4 commission but may result in a $2 ($0.002/share) pass-thru rebate, thereby costing only $2 total. On the flipside, if you were to buy 1,000 on the inside ask price (taking liquidity), it would cost you $6 for the trade. Per-share commissions generally have a minimum order size as well.

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For more active traders, a per-share commission structure makes more sense not only for segmenting of costs, controlled order routing and ability to scale into and out of positions, but also the additional perks offered by online direct-access brokers. Per share pricing also allows you to play higher priced stocks over $100 more economically, since the smaller shares sizes will result in smaller commissions.

ECN Routing

Direct access mean you can literally point-and-click on the level 2 screen to the ECN or market maker that has the size/liquidity you are seeking to get filled. Having the ability to route your orders directly can save time and costs since you won’t rely on a market maker or clearing firm to determine if it benefits them to fill your order on the inside price or higher. Speed and efficiency are the key benefits of order routing. However, there is another major benefit.

Hidden/Reserve Orders

ECN access also allows you to cloak your order size either through hidden or reserve orders. A hidden order makes your limit order invisible on the on level 1 and level 2 market depth screens. This is done to avoid interrupting the normal “flow” of the underlying stock and attempt to prevent market impact.

A reserve order lets you display a small size while trying to unload a much larger size into the market. For example, you may want to sell 5,000 shares of XYZ, but placing a 5,000 share sell order will cause the algos to step in front of you thereby causing other sellers to hit the bids and inadvertantly caushing the price to fall. This is meant to shake you out by chasing the vanishing liquidity on the bid in a panic. However, if you place a reserve order that displays only 100 shares to sell, rather than 5,000 shares, the buyers will not get spooked and may proceed to take out your shares.

Pre/Post Market Trading

Being able to access ECNs also means you can access pre and post market trading. Granted, this should only be considered by experienced traders. While most stocks are too illiquid with very wide spreads after market hours, there are situations where breaking news like earnings reports will trigger large volume during these times. Trading can only be done through ECNs. Having direct access to the ECNs means you have the ability to trade this action. Depending on your broker, ECNs start trading at 4am EST. and close at 8pm EST. However, liquidity still remains very thin until 8am EST. in the premarket.

(Video) Spread versus commission in trading?

Who It’s Good For

The per-share commission structure is best suited for experienced active traders who prefer to scale in and out of positions.

Keep in mind that timing becomes more relevent since it is beneficial to provide as much liquidity as possible in order to get the ECN pass-thru rebates by buying on the bids (into selling pressure) and selling on the asks (into buying pressure). Newer traders can actually end up overpaying if they are constantly buying on the inside ask and selling on the inside bid, thereby taking liquidity both ways. This can end up costing double commissions due to the additional ECN/exchange pass-thru fees. This is why experienced traders with a solid methodology for timing the momentum will benefit the most.

Per-Trade vs. Per-Share Pricing | How Do You Choose? (3)

Comparing Per-Trade Versus Per-Share

So which commission pricing structure is best for you? There will always be situations where one may be more advantageous than the other. Let’s take a look at some realistic examples:

EXAMPLE: Buying 10,000-shares

If you are trying to buy 10,000 shares of a stock with a “per-trade” commssion, you may pay a flat rate of $4.95 for the trade. If you try to purchase those same shares with a “per-share” commission, you may $40 to enter the trade (10,000 shares at 0.004/share). On first glance, it may seem like the per-trade commission is a no-brainer, and in some cases it is. However, this simplified example doesn’t account for the actual executions.

(Video) How is the Stock Price Determined? | Stock Market for Beginners (Part 1) | Lumovest

For example, if you place a trade with a per-trade order and the stock starts moving above your limit order, you may only get a partial fill. In this case, you either have to increase your limit and pay more for your shares or accept the partial fill and limit your profits. Contrarily, the per-share commission may have allowed you to get a faster execution. It could have also allowed you to hide your size (which may have an impact, depending on the stock’s liquidity).

The point here is simple. There are certain times when saving on commissions may limit your trading profits. The cheaper option isn’t always the better option. While per-trade commissions make sense in a lot of cases, they can also hinder active traders who are looking for better fills and faster executions.

EXAMPLE: Scalping 5,000 shares for $0.03 Profit

Let’s say you want to buy 5,000 shares at 28.27 for a quick scalp at 28.30 for a $0.03 profit. A per-trade/flat rate commission will cost you $4.95 in and $4.95 on the exit for a total of $9.90 commission. A per-share trade commission would cost $20 in and $20 out, assuming no ecn/exchange fees would cost a total of $40, almost 10 times the per-trade commission. This doesn’t include the ECN/exchange pass-thru fees which could add another $30-$40 extra.

EXAMPLE: Scaling In and Out of 500 shares

Let’s say you want to buy 500 shares of XYZ in five 100-share entries in order to capture the best average cost per share and then scale out in three trades. Those eight total trades would cost $39.60 compared to $8 with a per-share commission structure. When comparing straight commission to commission, per-trade commissions work for traders who trade larger position sizes where as per-share commissions are best for traders who like to scale in and out of trades with smaller share increments.


Is it best to do per trade or per share? ›

A per-trade commission makes the most economical sense for larger position trades above 2,000 shares. Penny stock traders that take larger share size positions can benefit the most especially on cheaper priced shares.

Does per trade mean per share? ›

The per-trade commission schedule charges a flat fee (i.e. $4.95/trade) for unlimited shares (or a high cap on shares). The per-share commission schedule charges per-share traded (i.e. $0.004/share). On first glance, it may seem like the per-trade commission structure is the better bet, but that's not always the case.

What is a difference between per order and per trade? ›

What is the difference between per trade and per executed order brokerage? Both are the same. Flat fee discount stock uses these terms to tell the brokerage fee. The more accurate term among these is 'per executed order'.

What is per share pricing? ›

The market price per share of stock, or the "share price," is the most recent price that a stock has traded for. It's a function of market forces, occurring when the price a buyer is willing to pay for a stock meets the price a seller is willing to accept for a stock.

How much of your portfolio should you use per trade? ›

Following the rule means you never risk more than 1% of your account value on a single trade.

How can I avoid paying brokerage fees? ›

Fortunately, transaction fees are easily avoided by selecting a broker that offers a list of no-transaction-fee mutual funds — most do. Many funds on this list will be from the broker itself, but other mutual fund companies often pay brokers to offer their funds to customers without a transaction cost.

Is a higher price per share better? ›

Many investors will say that it is better to buy shares in companies with a lower P/E because this means you are paying less for every dollar of earnings that you receive. In that sense, a lower P/E is like a lower price tag, making it attractive to investors looking for a bargain.

Does price per share matter? ›

The stock's price only tells you a company's current value or its market value. So, the price represents how much the stock trades at—or the price agreed upon by a buyer and a seller. If there are more buyers than sellers, the stock's price will climb. If there are more sellers than buyers, the price will drop.

What is the difference between stock price and price per share? ›

Stock vs Share: Comparison

A stock is the actual asset in which you invest, while a share is the unit of measurement for that asset. So, a stock tells you what you are investing in, and a share tells you how much of that stock you own.

What is meant by per trade? ›

Pay per trade means that if you buy or sell a block of shares then you will be charge a fixed amount by the broker for doing so.

How do you sell stock at a certain price? ›

A stop order, also referred to as a stop-loss order is an order to buy or sell a stock once the price of the stock reaches the specified price, known as the stop price. When the stop price is reached, a stop order becomes a market order. A buy stop order is entered at a stop price above the current market price.

Why is price per share important? ›

Publicly traded companies place great importance on their stock share price, which broadly reflects the corporation's overall financial health. As a general rule, the higher a stock price is, the rosier a company's prospects become.

Who determines price per share? ›

Share price is ultimately determined by supply and demand in the marketplace. The more shares in circulation there are relative to demand for this stock, the lower its price will fall. The more demand there is relative to shares in circulation, the higher its price will climb.

What is the 2% rule in trading? ›

One popular method is the 2% Rule, which means you never put more than 2% of your account equity at risk (Table 1). For example, if you are trading a $50,000 account, and you choose a risk management stop loss of 2%, you could risk up to $1,000 on any given trade.

What is the 5 3 1 rule trading? ›

Intro: 5-3-1 trading strategy

The numbers five, three and one stand for: Five currency pairs to learn and trade. Three strategies to become an expert on and use with your trades. One time to trade, the same time every day.

What is the 1% rule in trading? ›

One of the most popular risk management techniques is the 1% risk rule. This rule means that you must never risk more than 1% of your account value on a single trade. You can use all your capital or more (via MTF) on a trade but you must take steps to prevent losses of more than 1% in one trade.

What is the 20% rule in stocks? ›

In investing, the 80-20 rule generally holds that 20% of the holdings in a portfolio are responsible for 80% of the portfolio's growth. On the flip side, 20% of a portfolio's holdings could be responsible for 80% of its losses.

What time is most profitable to day trade? ›

The best times to day trade

Day traders need liquidity and volatility, and the stock market offers those most frequently in the hours after it opens, from 9:30 a.m. to about noon ET, and then in the last hour of trading before the close at 4 p.m. ET.

What is the most profitable trading strategy? ›

From our experience, mean reversion strategies tend to be the most profitable. One of the reasons for that is that the market moves sideways more of the time than it trends. Even when it trends, it moves in waves that often oscillate around its moving average.

Should I keep all my money in a brokerage account? ›

Storing your funds in a savings account at the bank where you do your checking activity is probably the simplest and easiest choice. A brokerage investment account could generate more interest and return on your funds—but it carries greater risk, and you'll need to time your withdrawal based on the stock market.

Can I write off brokerage fees? ›

The Rules for Claiming a Deduction

You'd get no deduction for the first $2,000 of fees you paid, but you would be able to deduct the last $1,000 (the amount that exceeds $2,000 of 2% of your AGI) if your AGI was $100,000 and you paid $3,000 in financial planning, accounting, and/or investment management fees.

What is a good brokerage fee? ›

What Is the Typical Brokerage Fee for a Real Estate Deal? Realtors and real estate brokers typically charge around 5% to 6% of the selling price of a house. 2 This is often split between the seller's agent and the buyer's agent.

Is it better to buy more shares at a lower price? ›

If you feel the stock has fallen because the market has overreacted to something, then buying more shares may be a good thing. Likewise, if you feel there has been no fundamental change to the company, then a lower share price may be a great opportunity to scoop up some more stock at a bargain.

Do you want a high or low share price? ›

Several investors believe that the lower value of a stock has a better chance of doubling up and delivering higher returns. The low-priced stocks come with a lower P/E ratio which means the investor has to pay less money to buy stocks of a particular company.

What happens when a share price gets too high? ›

Reasons for Stock Splits

As the price of a stock gets higher and higher, some investors may feel the price is too high for them to buy, while small investors may feel it is unaffordable. Splitting the stock brings the share price down to a more attractive level.

Is price per share the same as dividend? ›

Earnings per share is a ratio that gauges how profitable a company is per share of its stock. On the other hand, dividends per share calculates the portion of a company's earnings that is paid out to shareholders.

What makes price per share go up? ›

For each share they buy, an investor owns a piece of that company. In large part, supply and demand dictate the per-share price of a stock. If demand for a limited number of shares outpaces the supply, then the stock price normally rises. And if the supply is greater than demand, the stock price typically falls.

Do share prices go down when people sell? ›

Stock prices go up and down based on supply and demand. When people want to buy a stock versus sell it, the price goes up. If people want to sell a stock versus buying it, the price goes down.

How much should you spend per trade? ›

How Much Capital to Risk on Each Trade. How much capital you risk depends on your account size, but as a general rule, don't risk more than 1% of your account on a trade. In other words, don't lose more than 1% of your trading account on a single trade.

What is trade pricing rules? ›

Trade Pricing Rules

Call markets commonly use the uniform pricing rule, in which all trades execute at the same price, and the market chooses the price that maximizes the quantity traded.

What does at the trade price mean? ›

/ˈtreɪd ˌpraɪs/ uk. /ˈtreɪd ˌpraɪs/ (US wholesale) the price at which goods are sold to stores by the people who produce them, rather than the price which the customer usually pays in the store: I bought my coat direct from the factory at trade price.

What is a good rule to sell stocks? ›

Best Sell Rules: First Do This

At the top of the sell rule list is the automatic sell rule. This says sell a stock that declines 7% to 8% below a correct buy point after clearing that buy point. The move reduces risk and assures your losses remain minimal, preserving capital for the next breakout.

Can I sell stock and then rebuy at lower price? ›

You can buy the same stock back at any time, and this has no bearing on the sale you have made for profit. Rules only dictate that you pay taxes on any profit you make from assets.

Who chooses the price? ›

In a competitive market, sellers compete against other suppliers to sell their products and buyers bid against other buyers to obtain the product. This competition of sellers against sellers and buyers against buyers determines the price of the product. It's called supply and demand.

Do companies choose the price of their stocks? ›

Stock prices are set by what's known as the secondary market, which is the technical term for investors trading shares among themselves. This is opposed to the primary market, when a company sells shares of stock directly to investors. A stock's price is set by supply and demand in a secondary market.

Does price per share change? ›

Stock prices change everyday by market forces. By this we mean that share prices change because of supply and demand. If more people want to buy a stock (demand) than sell it (supply), then the price moves up.

Is earnings per share a good measure? ›

Earnings per share (EPS) is an important profitability measure used in relating a stock's price to a company's actual earnings. In general, higher EPS is better but one has to consider the number of shares outstanding, the potential for share dilution, and earnings trends over time.

What is best execution in equity? ›

What Is Best Execution? Best execution is a legal mandate that requires brokers to seek the most favorable options to execute their clients' orders within the prevailing market environment.

What is more important earnings per share or revenue? ›

In general, earnings will never be higher than revenue, because revenue represents the total sales made by a company.

Do investors care about earnings per share? ›

Earnings per share, or EPS, is a financial measurement that tells investors if a company is profitable. You can calculate EPS by determining a company's net income and dividing it by the number of its outstanding stock shares. Savvy investors consider a company's earnings per share when making investment decisions.

What is the best price to earnings ratio? ›

To give you some sense of what average for the market is, though, many value investors would refer to 20 to 25 as the average P/E ratio range.

What should I look for in price to earnings ratio? ›

In short, the P/E shows what the market is willing to pay today for a stock based on its past or future earnings. A high P/E ratio could mean that a stock's price is high relative to earnings and possibly overvalued. Conversely, a low P/E ratio might indicate that the current stock price is low relative to earnings.

What is the 90 120 rule in trading? ›

For example, if you're 30 years old, subtracting your age from 120 gives you 90. Therefore, you would invest 90% of your retirement money in stocks and 10% into more consistent financial instruments. This rule creates a portfolio that gradually carries less risk.

What is the 20% rule of trading? ›

In investing, the 80-20 rule generally holds that 20% of the holdings in a portfolio are responsible for 80% of the portfolio's growth. On the flip side, 20% of a portfolio's holdings could be responsible for 80% of its losses.

Can you make $1,000 a day trading stocks? ›

Despite being able to make $1,000 or $5,000—depending on starting account size—over and over again, most day traders end up being like a recreational fisherman who catches a fish but then throws it back.

What is the best execution duty? ›

The duty of best execution requires a broker-dealer to execute customers' trades at the most favorable terms reasonably available under the circumstances.

What is the best execution obligation? ›

FINRA Rule 5310 (Best Execution and Interpositioning) requires that, in any transaction for or with a customer or a customer of another broker-dealer, a member and persons associated with a member shall use reasonable diligence to ascertain the best market for the subject security, and buy or sell in such market so ...

Why equity is better than options? ›

Equity Trading has a low risk in carrying forward position compared to Options Trading. Whereas Options trading does not carry the same low risk. However, not all Options are equally risky. If you are the seller, your risk is different than if you are the holder or buyer.

Why do investors look at earnings per share? ›

Significance of Earnings Per Share

EPS helps investors understand whether investing in a particular company is profitable. A consistent EPS growth may indicate the company's profitability, suggesting its ability to pay higher dividends over time.

What is the best earnings per share? ›

High EPS Stocks
  • Varanium Cloud. 802.85. 9.79. 806.98. 0.19. 29.49. 471.88. 150.33. 1028.60. 145.92. 0.00. 82.03.
  • Shilchar Tech. 2111.20. 18.65. 804.37. 0.19. 16.28. 117.65. 94.99. 44.30. 53.85. 0.00. 113.07.
  • Tanfac Inds. 1598.50. 28.41. 1594.50. 0.56. 22.38. 217.00. 115.53. 72.18. 48.02. 0.00. 56.27.

Why do investors use earnings per share? ›

Importance of Earnings Per Share

It helps compare the performance of promising companies to help pick the most suitable investment option. 2. EPS can also be used to compare the financial standing of a company over the years. Companies that have a steady EPS increase can be a reliable investment option.


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