Online brokerage services have existed for over 20 years. Trading investments today has never been cheaper. So while the race towards cheap trades (in some cases free) is happening, other functionality is becoming more important when selecting a stock broker.
For this review, I compare Ally Invest and Firstrade. Which one is better depends on your needs? So let's examine the major features first.
We've determined with online brokerages the most critical feature customers care about is the
cost per trade. The second most important feature is the minimum deposit, and the last is if the broker
offers mutual funds. Let's look at how Ally Invest and Firstrade
stack up against each other on these points.
To start, we will consider the minimum investment required for both applications. In
how much does one need to invest to use the service?
Both Ally Invest and Firstrade have the same minimum of $0. So they are equal in this requirement.
Next I'll consider cost per trade for both brokers.
Out of the two, Firstrade is cheaper per trade at $0.00 than Ally Invest at $4.95/trade.
Both Ally Invest and Firstrade offer mutual funds. So this feature isn't a clear difference between the stock brokers.
|Review||Ally Invest Review||Firstrade Review|
Overall rating as by Investor Junkie.Rating
|Commissions & Fees|
|Ease of Use|
|Tools & Resources|
|Amount of Deals|
|Promotions||Get up to a $3,500 Cash Bonus||Up $300 Cash and 500 Free Trades|
|Stock Trades||$4.95/trade ($3.95/trade – 30 trades per quarter or $100k+ balance)||Free|
|Options Trades||$4.95/trade + $0.65/contract ($3.95/trade + $0.50/contract)||Free|
|Investment Types||Stocks, Penny Stocks, ETFs, Mutual Funds, Bonds, FOREX, Futures||Stocks, Penny Stocks, ETFs, Mutual Funds, Bonds|
|Access||Website, iOS App, Android App||Website, iOS App, Android App|
|Broker Assisted Trade|
|No Fee ETFs|
|Sign Up||Sign Up|
About Ally Invest
Ally Invest is the online brokerage firm of Ally Bank, and its great pricing and customer service make it hard to beat. Unfortunately, the funding process can be tricky, taking up to 10 business days. And if you are looking for a local branch office, you'll have to look elsewhere.
Firstrade was one of the first online stock brokers around, but the company recently kicked things up a notch by offering free trades — even for options. The platform also offers plenty of tools and resources to help you get started if you're a new stock investor. However, unlike other stock broker options, Firstrade doesn't offer a robo advisor.