In a move that is sure to be welcome news to many investors, ShareBuilder has announced that starting March 1, 2013 all real-time trades will cost just $6.95 for everyone. This means stock and ETF trades will be a flat fee of $6.95. Options trades will now have a commission of $6.95 and $0.75 per contract. Capital One ShareBuilder previously had a tiered system where the standard commission rate was $9.95 and the $7.95 Advantage Program commission was available only to those who paid for a $12 monthly subscription. This move serves to lower rates and simplify the overall commission structure.
Capital One ShareBuilder is a subsidiary of Capital One. Capital One officially acquired ShareBuilder on February 17, 2012. The company has been proactive recently in trying to make the ShareBuilder brand more competitive with larger online brokers. Having a set commission rate of $6.95 per trade allows ShareBuilder to boast of cheaper commission rates than the biggest players in the industry such as E*TRADE (ETFC) and TD Ameritrade (AMTD).
While the Advantage Program will no longer offer a lower commission than the standard plan, it is still going to be utilized for ShareBuilder’s popular automatic investing program. The rate for Automatic Investing Plans is $4 per trade, with the Advantage Program costing $12 per month for $4 auto trades, of which the first 12 each month are free.
Simplifying the system and lowering the commission rates for all customers can’t be seen as anything other than a big positive for ShareBuilder clients. No more tiered pricing systems for ShareBuilder, just a $6.95 flat fee system for everyone.