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 Charles Schwab 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 Charles Schwab and Firstrade
stack up against each other on these points.
To start, we will consider the minimum investment required for both applications. In other words, how much does one need to invest to use the service? Out of the two, Firstrade minimum investment of $0 is smaller than the deposit of required by Charles Schwab.
Next I'll consider cost per trade for both brokers.
Out of the two, Firstrade is cheaper per trade at $2.95 than Charles Schwab at $4.95/trade.
Both Charles Schwab and Firstrade offer mutual funds. So this feature isn't a clear difference between the stock brokers.
|Review||Charles Schwab Review||Firstrade Review|
Overall rating as by Investor Junkie.Rating
|Commissions & Fees|
|Ease of Use|
|Tools & Resources|
|Amount of Deals|
|Promotions||None||Up $300 Cash and 500 Free Trades|
|Options Trades||$4.95/trade + $0.65/contract||$2.95/trade + $0.50/contract|
|Investment Types||Stocks, Penny Stocks, ETFs, Mutual Funds, Bonds||Stocks, Penny Stocks, ETFs, Mutual Funds, Bonds|
|Access||Website, iOS App, Apple Watch, Android App||Website, iOS App, Android App|
|Broker Assisted Trade|
|No Fee ETFs|
|Sign Up||Sign Up|
About Charles Schwab
Charles Schwab is the Nordstrom of the investment world, and customers virtually always leave happy. As a customer, you'll get access to virtually all the investment services that come standard at any major brokerage. However, if you're an active trader, you might find other firms with better options.
Firstrade is a discount brokerage firm that charges only $2.95 per trade in commissions. That's one of the lowest fees we've found from an online broker. However, unlike other stock broker options, Firstrade doesn't offer a robo advisor.