Firstrade Review 2022

Free Trades on Stocks, Options and Mutual Funds.

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Firstrade Firstrade was one of the first online investment brokerage services, with a full range of investment and trading services. It also offers commission-free trades, including on mutual funds. Plus, there is no account minimum, making Firstrade a top choice as a discount broker.

Commissions & Fees - 10
Customer Service - 6.5
Ease of Use - 7
Tools & Resources - 8
Investment Options - 8
Account Options - 7

8

With $0 trades and no account minimum, Firstrade is a great choice for both beginner and experienced investors. And with their Cash Management Account you can manage your finances and investments in one place.

What Is Firstrade?

The company began as First Flushing Securities back in 1985. By 1997, the company was renamed Firstrade Securities. It launched Firstrade.com as one of the first online trading platforms.

Along with investment products, Firstrade offers calculators, tools, and educational resources. It also includes proprietary trading technology as well as an intuitive user interface. Also, Firstrade requires no minimum initial account deposit. It is one of the better platforms for both self-directed investors and new and small investors.

Like a lot of other brokers, Firstrade offers free trades. But unlike some other discount brokers, even mutual fund trades are free. There's also no contract fee for options trades, a perk experienced investors will surely appreciate.

Firstrade Features

Minimum Investment$0
Stock/ETF Trades$0
Options Trades$0
Mutual Funds$0
Investment TypesStocks, OTC/Penny Stocks, ETFs, Mutual Funds, Bonds, Options, Forex, Cryptocurrencies, Futures
Accounts Types
  • Taxable
  • Joint
  • Traditional IRA
  • Roth IRA
  • Rollover IRA
  • SEP IRA
  • SIMPLE IRA
  • 401(k)
  • Solo 401(k)
  • Trusts
  • Limited Partnerships
  • Partnerships
  • Coverdell
  • 529
  • Custodial
  • Non-Profit
  • Annuities
  • Checking
  • Savings
  • Money Market
  • CDs
Broker Assisted Trade$19.95
Virtual Trades

Customer ServicePhone: M-F 8A-6P ET; Live Chat: M-F 8A-6P ET; Email; Branch Offices
  • International Accounts — In addition to the accounts you'd expect from a stock broker, Firstrade also offers international accounts. This enables citizens of about 20 foreign countries to invest in U.S. financial markets.
  • Clearing Agency — Firstrade uses the Apex Clearing Corporation.
  • Account Protection — All accounts are protected by the Securities Investors Protection Corporation (SIPC) for up to $500,000 in cash and/or securities. Firstrade goes a step further and offers its Firstrade Online Protection Guarantee. The company will cover 100% of any losses you experience due to unauthorized activity in your online account.
  • Available Investments — You can trade stocks, bonds (including corporate bonds, U.S. Treasuries and agencies, and certificates of deposit), options, exchange traded funds, and more than 11,000 mutual funds.
  • Upcoming IPOs — This service provides you with a monthly list of upcoming IPOs. The list includes the company and symbol, the market it trades in and the price, a number of shares, the offer amount, and the expected IPO date.
  • Dividend Reinvestment Plans (DRIPs) — Firstrade lets you sign up for the DRIP program. Once you do, you are automatically enrolled in the DRIP of any stock that offers the plan. Eligible stocks must be priced at a minimum of $4 per share and include primarily domestic securities. You can sign up for the Firstrade DRIP program at any time. You can also cancel your participation at any time.
  • Advanced Screener — This a tool that allows you to narrow your investment choices through the use of predefined screening criteria. You can screen for high-yield stocks, value-priced small-cap stocks, and any of dozens of other criteria.
  • Educational Resources — Firstrade has instructional videos, instruction through articles, podcasts, and even e-books to help new investors learn everything about investing. Clients can also get access to research from Morningstar, Benzinga, Zacks and Briefing.com.
  • Commission-Free ETFs— You can invest in more than 2,000 exchange-traded funds commission-free.
  • Chinese Language — The platform can also be accessed in Mandarin and Cantonese.
  • Cash Management Account — You can trade, access your money and spend money all in one place with Firstrade's Cash Management Account. You need at least $25,000 in equity to open an account but there is no annual fee. Plus you get travel and accident insurance when you purchase transportation tickets with your Visa debit card.

Firstrade Tax Center — The platform offers a dedicated tax page. It provides important data and dates for investment purposes. The page lets you print tax forms, such as your 1099. And it gives access to common tax forms, such as 1040, 8949 (for investment trades), 8606 (nondeductible IRAs), and related forms. It also provides tax topic discussions, including capital gains, wash sales, short sales, and many other related topics.

Firstrade Financial Calculators — The platform has a large number of calculators that will help you in your investing activities. These calculators can help you to determine:

  • Your current net worth
  • How much you should be saving for college
  • How much you can contribute to an IRA
  • How much retirement income an IRA will provide
  • Whether you should do a Roth IRA conversion
  • What your qualified plans will be worth at retirement
  • How much you will need to save for retirement
  • Whether or not your current retirement savings are sufficient
  • Becoming a millionaire
  • How you should allocate your assets
  • The return on your real estate investments
  • The value of a call or put option

Firstrade Options Wizard

One of the investment areas where Firstrade stands out is options trading. The site offers a number of tools and information resources to help options traders improve their game. One of the primary offerings on the platform is the Options Wizard. This tool gives you instant feedback on both the value and the likelihood of success of any options trades you want to make. It uses sophisticated analytics that transforms market data into actionable information.

The Options Wizard provides professional-grade options and analytics. This includes trading strategy checklists, one-month and six-month trend indicators, support and resistance levels, more than 65 technical indicators, technical and fundamental rankings, profit-and-loss simulations, and more than 40 complex options strategies.

Firstrade Premier Services

The Firstrade Gold Account is a service level for accounts with balances of $50,000 or more. Of course, it has all of the features of the basic service. It also offers a dedicated representative, as well as reduced fees for internal asset transfers, account verification letters, copies of personal checks, and stop payment orders.

The Platinum Account service level is for account balances of $100,000 or more. It provides a dedicated representative and waives the fees for internal asset transfers, account verification letters, copies of personal checks, and stop payment orders.

What these services do not provide is any form of account management, such as a robo advisor or traditional full-service broker.

Firstrade Screenshots

    Firstrade vs. Competitors

    HighlightsE*TRADETD AmeritradeFirstrade
    Rating9.5/109/108/10
    Min. Investment$0$0$0
    Stock Trades$0/trade$0/trade$0/trade
    Options Trades$0.65/contract$0.65/contract$0
    Crypto Trades
    Mutual Funds
    Virtual Trading

    Firstrade Pros & Cons

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    Final Thoughts on Firstrade

    Firstrade stacks up as one of the better discount broker platforms. They offer the full range of investments, a very user-friendly interface, and a complete suite of investor tools and resources. And the fee structure is equal to the lowest available among major discount brokers. They're also one of the top platforms for mutual fund investments – offering more than 11,000 funds – and for options trading.

    The one negative with Firstrade is it doesn't offer a managed portfolio option for investors who prefer professional investment management or a completely hands-off approach. However, it is clear Firstrade is not designed for that type of investor. But for virtually every other investor type, Firstrade should prove to be a winning choice as a platform to invest your money.

    Kevin Mercadante

    Kevin Mercadante is professional personal finance blogger, and the owner of his own personal finance blog, OutOfYourRut.com. He has backgrounds in both accounting and the mortgage industry. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and two teenage kids.

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    11 Comments

    1. I have an account here for 2 years. They locked my trading and I cannot transfer my money out. I called them everyday for two weeks. The customer services never know what happens and gave me different answers and always promise me my account will be back in the same day.one of the guy is even really rude and takes it is not of his business. So bad. and I tried talk to the manager, the manager never answered. Avoid this company if you want your money safe. I am still be locked for my account with no reason. If there is a zero rating, I am sure going to give firstrade a zero, ridiculous.

    2. I have been with Firstrade for over a decade. The customer service has gone downhill everyday of that time as trade cost go up. This morning I am trying to have funds that were supposed to be moved last week to my bank which still has not been completed. A wire transfer on their website says 1 – 2 days. What upsets me is that I have been on the phone for going on 3 hours now, been disconnected twice and no one will answer. No reply’s to my emails as well.. They are in no hurry to listen to you. To top it all off I am loosing my mind listening to the worst digital song now for 3 hours – Its torture.
      I will close out my account if they ever give me my money back..

      1. I agree. I’ve been with Firstrade for a little longer than you have been, and I’m disappointed with the customer service. I made an excess contribution to a Roth because their website did not confirm anything after hitting submit, so I tried again, turns out two contributions went through, no warning, no confirmation, nothing until the next day when I got emails confirming both. Well, trying to talk with someone on the phone turns out to be impossible as I waited on hold I was disconnected after 7 minutes the first time, then after 20 minutes the second time, and they take days to respond to emails. I’m moving all of my accounts elsewhere, soon.

    3. It seems they have automated chat and email responses which are not monitored by their back room staff. After a few emails and providing numerous completed forms and providing I.D etc I was informed they cannot accept my verification for address. I had no issues when setting up my Charles Schwab or E*Trade accounts. SO I asked them to cancel my account and send me an email confirmation saying it was done.

      1. Do you have similar experience?

        How to avoid this?

        When my options became in the money, but not nearing expiration date, and there is no dividend coming in the next 60 days, Firstrade would assign my option early, caught me off guard.

        Firstrade didn’t give me the chance to roll my options, have cash ready, or keep my stocks for long term.

        And Firstrade gets to charge $15, even though trading is free, assignment/exercise fee is higher than most brokerage firms, cost $15.

    4. The OCO orders suck. You cant exit 100% of your position at two different prices. You have to exit 50% on each side of the order to equal a 100% of your position . Example, If you have 100 shares of stock xyz you are able to sell 50 shares at the take profit price and 50 shares at a stop loss price. Why wouldnt you be able to do 100 shares at take profit and 100 shares at stop loss and which ever one doesnt get triggered goes away. With this method they have you are at risk of only selling half your position when your stop loss gets hit and then the other half keeps going down. Defeats the purpose of the oco order if you ask me.

    5. I have had several accounts at Firstrade for some time. Over a month ago I started receiving messages that there was a problem sending electronic confirmations. I have repeatedly called Customer Service to get the issue resolved. I’ve even tried a new e-mail address. Every time I speak with a Customer Service Representative I am told that they will investigate it and get back to me which they never do. Since I am not signed up for electronic delivery I am being charged paper delivery fees. It is unacceptable that it has taken over a month and this issue is still not resolved.

      1. Do you have similar experience?

        How to avoid this?

        When my options became in the money, but not nearing expiration date, and there is no dividend coming in the next 60 days, Firstrade would assign my option early, caught me off guard.

        Firstrade didn’t give me the chance to roll my options, have cash ready, or keep my stocks for long term.

        And Firstrade gets to charge $15, even though trading is free, assignment/exercise fee is higher than most brokerage firms, cost $15.

    6. Opening a trust account is a pain. They seem to staff with people who think they know the law. They want you to send in the entire trust document, which is usually many pages long. They’ll nick pick on everything on your application, and ensure all signatures “matches.” If you send docs from another email, they will send them back because it’s not the email on record! There is no logic in all these. Other accounts are better if openable online. The robo customer service is worthless. Also a lot of notarization is required, e.g., Roth conversion. They have a lot of “discretionary” decisions that are not on their website or official instructions. If you can stomach these, it’s probably worth it.

    7. I wanted to get a (very) small distribution from my Roth IRA and use the money to help fund my son’s (and daughter-in-laws) Roth IRAs. I called up customer service and got the information on how to do this – fill out the IRA distribution form, have it notarized (because the payout was going to a 3rd party), and mail it in. I did all this, and they rejected the distribution. When I called they said they could not do this for some reason, they would only do this for the deposit to go into my wife’s account, they could not transfer the money to the other accounts – only the named individual could deposit money into those accounts.

      Since all the accounts are at Firstrade it seemed rediculous to me to have them send me the money, me to send it to my son, my son to send it back to them for them to deposit it back into his account. I asked to speak to a supervisor to complain about this run around, but they were all busy. Finally they said a supervisor would call me back. After waiting over one hour, I called back and was told they would call sometime today or tommorrow.

      My experience is that whenever you want to withdraw any money from your account there will be some reason they can’t do it. They will delay giving you the money any way they can, for as long as they are able and they will make it as difficult as possible to get your money out. There will always be some problem with the form, they way you want it, where you want it sent – anything to avoid having to give you them money. They will not let you talk to a supervisor, and they don’t care about your needs as their customer.

      While their trades are commission free, and their web site is easy to use, their trade executions are poor (I have paid more than the high price of the day on purchases) and their customer service is near non existant. Their reluctance to give you access to your own money borders on what you would expect from a Ponzi scheme. Use this broker at your own risk.

    8. Just a warning!! I just transferred our three IRA accounts to Firstrade, and I initially loved everything – decent interface, great commission prices, nice option wizard with good suggestions on trades. However, I was fairly quickly notified that the brokerage couldn’t work with stocks priced under $0.10, I had three positions worth about $700. I was told I could do something where they would sell them and I would get a penny for each position. Or, I could transfer them back to the original accounts, have them sell them, then transfer to cash back to Firstrade. Not a very good deal, and a pain to do. Then when I tried to sell one of the “foreign” securities (5 letters, ending in “F”, I transferred in a total of 10 foreign positions), I was informed they couldn’t do that, to talk with a representative. Well, she said that indeed you couldn’t do online foreign sells, but you could do a phone order with a commission of $75 (and can’t buy these foreign securities at all). There is no information anywhere on the site (she couldn’t find any either) saying that the under $0.10 or the foreign securities weren’t allowed. She did say that she would tell her supervisor that I thought one should be aware of these restrictions before being allowed to transfer these types of securities into the brokerage. Not much consolation to me, I can tell you that! I’m planning on transferring the accounts to another brokerage that can handle these.

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