menu
Overall

ChoiceTrade provides customers discounted stock and options commissions but offers a terrible all-around client experience not worth the lower price to trade.

Commissions & Fees
Offering of Investments
Platforms & Tools
View More
arrow_drop_down arrow_drop_up

By Blain Reinkensmeyer on February 21st, 2017 | Last updated: February 21st, 2017

Dislikes
  • Web-based ChoiceTrader is the worst free trading platform I’ve ever used
  • Customers must pay monthly to gain access to mobile iOS and Android apps
  • Extremely poor research and educational offerings


ChoiceTrade Review

For our 2017 Stock Broker Review we assessed, rated, and ranked sixteen different online brokers over a period of six months. In total, we conducted 349 customer service tests, collected 5,277 data points, and produced over 40,000 words of research. Learn more.

ChoiceTrade is a brand name few investors have heard of. This may seem surprising considering the firm offers discounted trading and was founded way back in 2000. However, upon examination of the broker’s website and offering, the broker’s flaws are extensive and it’s easy to see why the broker remains out of the spotlight.

I first headed to ChoiceTrade’s “About Us” page and was greeted with bland, broad, templated text describing how the broker focuses on technology and powerful solutions for traders. “We have selected our trading applications with one goal in mind – to meet the needs of our customers and to offer them a choice.” There was no information about the founder or the company itself. Instead, the content includes a stock photo image of a Wall Street sign.

This was just the start, as the deeper I explored ChoiceTrade’s website, the more questions I had.

This was just the start, as the deeper I explored ChoiceTrade’s website, the more questions I had. If the broker offers mutual funds trading, why isn’t a commission rate posted? Is the broker even registered with FINRA, because it isn’t listed anywhere on the website?

When I put the question of mutual funds rates to ChoiceTrade, I was thanked for my discovery, and ChoiceTrade promptly posted its mutual fund commission rate of $25 to the website’s fees page. Has this commission rate really been missing since 2000?

Regarding FINRA, every US-regulated online broker lists their FINRA registration in the footer of their website. ChoiceTrade doesn’t. Fortunately, I did find them on the FINRA.org website.

All in all, the confusion and lack of attention to detail that embodies the public-facing website was just the tip of the iceberg for my journey reviewing and rating ChoiceTrade.

Commissions & Fees

ChoiceTrade offers stock trading, options trading, ETFs, mutual funds, and margin accounts. Bonds are not offered.

The cost of regular stock trades is a flat $5 per trade. Options trades cost $5 + $.50 per contract. Mutual fund trades are $25 per trade. Margin rates are a flat 7.45%, regardless of the size of the account. Lastly, ChoiceTrade’s miscellaneous account fees are all much higher than the industry averages. Examples include wire fees, IRA fees, and paper statement fees.

ChoiceTradeOptionsHouseFirstradeTradeKingCharles Schwab
Stock Trade Fee (flat)$5.00$4.95$4.95$4.95$6.95
Options Base Fee$5.00$4.95$4.95$4.95$6.95
Options Per Contract Fee$0.50$0.50$0.65$0.65$0.70
Mutual Fund Trade Fee$25.00$20.00$9.95$9.95$76.00
Broker Assisted Trades Fee$25.00$25.00$19.95$20.00$25.00
Commission Free ETFs05120229
Commissions & Fees 4/5 4.5/5 3.5/5 4.5/5 3.5/5

Trading fees aside, ChoiceTrade makes its web platform, ChoiceTrader, freely available to all clients. Three additional platforms are also made available to clients. These come with a base monthly subscription fee + any additional data fees: QuoteStream ($14.95 – $29.95 per month), Direct Pro ($135 per month), and ChoiceTrade ELITE ($29.95 per month). As of the time of this review, ChoiceTrade ELITE had not yet launched.

Unfortunately, the free ChoiceTrader platform is poorly designed, difficult to use, and outdated. Because of this, ChoiceTrade is arguably betting on clients switching to a paid platform setup where it can extract extra dollars. Any monthly platform fee will immediately wipe out the benefits of cheap trades, especially for casual or new investors.

Customer Service

ChoiceTrade performed poorly during our customer service testing. In fact, the broker ranked dead last overall and 14th out of 16 brokers for email. Without question, ChoiceTrade is the worst broker in the industry for customer service. SEE: Best Brokers for Customer Service.

Platforms & Tools

Since the supplemental paid trading platforms are all third party provided, I focused my testing on the in-house ChoiceTrader platform. In short, it is the worst trading platform I have ever used.

ChoiceTrade trade platform

It’s difficult to find positives with the ChoiceTrader platform, but here goes nothing. The good news is that ChoiceTrader is free to use and provides clients a way to place trades fairly seamlessly (once you learn how to place using the confusing menu structure). The platform includes basic charting as well as advanced charting, with 20 optional studies, time and sales, basic level II quotes, and option P&L charts.

That’s the plus side of ChoiceTrader. The platform provides a free way to place stock and options trades and do some simple analysis.

The drawbacks to this platform are endless. Even basic price alerts cannot be set, there are no drawing tools for charts, no stock or option screeners to scan for stock ideas, no advanced options tools; the list goes on and on.

Now for the drawbacks. Immediately I realized that navigating the platform and finding the right tools was painfully difficult. Under the Research tab is a link for Watchlists; however, navigating to them leads you to a dead page. Instead, you have to use the WatchPlus tool, which consolidates all your pre-filled trade orders that haven’t yet been executed. The only way to add to the list is to fill out the trade ticket, then click a small button in a popup window.

ChoiceTrade watch list

The same confusing experience is present with charting as well. Pull up a quote for a security and you will find a very basic stock chart with no analysis tools present. To pull up an advanced stock chart, you must enter a symbol using the left sidebar quote box, click a tiny bars icon, then from the popup window that appears, click over to the “Comparison Chart.” It’s a journey.

ChoiceTrade stock chart

The drawbacks to this platform are endless. Even basic price alerts cannot be set, there are no drawing tools for charts, no stock or option screeners to scan for stock ideas, no advanced options tools; the list goes on and on.

Bottom line, if you are going to use ChoiceTrader, it should only be relied on for pulling basic price quotes, filling out order tickets, and executing trades thereafter. That’s it.

Other Notes

ChoiceTrade offers little to no research. Beyond pulling basic stock quotes and conducting elementary research such as viewing a balance sheet or income statement, the equities research is weak. Equities aside, ETFs and mutual funds research is non-existent.

ChoiceTrade stock quote

On the mobile front, ChoiceTrade offers no native mobile apps. While you can login and place trades in a mobile-friendly website, there are no native iOS and Android apps to download unless you upgrade to a paid third-party platform.

ChoiceTrade mobile trades

As far as educational resources go, ChoiceTrade offers a basic investor dictionary and several education articles on options. The highlight is a resource page that breaks down the most popular options trading strategies with descriptions and reference images. This standout page aside, no webinars are offered and ChoiceTrade provides no other educational content to its clients.

ChoiceTrade options education

ChoiceTrade offers IRAs but charges a $25 setup fee, a $50 annual custodial fee, and a $50 IRA closure fee when closing the account. Needless to say, do not use ChoiceTrade for your IRA.

Closing Thoughts

With ChoiceTrade having been in operation since 2000 and with its focus on discounted stock as well as options trades, I was optimistic my assessment would uncover a winner.

Unfortunately, what I found were dozens of reasons explaining why the broker has had little success and remains elusive to the online investor world.

If you want relatively cheap stock and options trades with a method of placing them online without incurring additional monthly charges, then the ChoiceTrader platform is a viable option, despite its slew of drawbacks.

However, the reality is that to achieve even a decent experience using ChoiceTrade, you will need to pay monthly for access to a third-party platform. Even with a paid platform in place, clients must still be aware of ChoiceTrade’s expensive miscellaneous account fees.

The bottom-line? Even if ChoiceTrade’s commissions were $0, I still wouldn’t trust it with my portfolio or want to use them for my day-to-day investing.


Blain Reinkensmeyer

Reviewed by Blain Reinkensmeyer Blain heads research at StockBrokers.com and has been involved in the markets since placing his first stock trade back in 2001. He developed StockBrokers.com's annual review format seven years ago which is respected by broker executives as the most thorough in the industry. Currently maintaining funded accounts with more than a dozen different US regulated online brokers, he's executed thousands of trades through his career and enjoys sharing his experiences through his personal blog, StockTrader.com.


Ratings Overall

Best in Class

2017
16

Overall
This broker did not finish Best in Class.
2016

Overall
This broker did not finish Best in Class.

Commissions & Fees

Commission Notes

ChoiceTrade offers clients a variety of market data options which change in price depending on which platform or addon is being used. The web based platform (default) is free, with the QuoteStream addon (streaming real-time quotes) available starting at  $9.95 per month. The other two platforms include ChoiceTrade Direct Pro and ChoiceTrader Select with eSignal. Data packages for these two platforms start at $49.95 and $126 per month, respectively. Further additional data feeds can be purchased such as Level 2 quotes and Pink Sheet advanced quotes for additional fees.

Stock Trades - All stock trades are $5 per trade with unlimited shares and no minimums. Any trade made during extended hours add $.005 per share. There is no additional charge for trading penny stocks (stocks under $1 per share) unless order size is more than 500,000 shares then add 1% of order dollar value.

Options Trades - Options trades are $5 per trade + $.15 per contract with no minimums. There is a $5 fee to exercise or assign an option position.

Mutual Funds - All mutual funds cost $25.00 per trade. Additional fees may apply depending on the fund.

Retirement Accounts - ChoiceTrade charges an annual fee of $30 for IRA accounts.




Trade Commissions Breakdown

Stock Trade Fee (flat) $5.00
Stock Trade Fee (per share) N/A
Options Base Fee $5.00
Options Per Contract Fee $0.50
Options Exercise Fee $15.00
Options Assignment Fee $15.00
Mutual Fund Trade Fee $25.00
Broker Assisted Trades Fee $25.00
Minimum Deposit $0.00

Margin Rates

Margin Rate Under $24,999.99 7.45%
Margin Rate $25,000.00 to $49,999.99 7.45%
Margin Rate $50,000.00 to $99,999.99 7.45%
Margin Rate $100,000.00 to $249,999.99 7.45%
Margin Rate $250,000.00 to $499,999.99 7.45%
Margin Rate $500,000.00 to $999,999.99 7.45%
Margin Rate Above $1,000,000.00 7.45%

Miscellaneous Fees

Bond Trade Fee N/A
Treasury Trade Fee N/A
IRA Annual Fee $50.00
IRA Closure Fee $50.00
Returned ACH Fee $40.00
Returned Wire Fee $40.00
Stock Certificate Processing Fee N/A
Stock Certificate Delivery Fee N/A
Paper Statement Fee $5.00
Paper Confirmation Fee $1.00
Domestic Wire Fee $35.00
International Wire Fee $60.00

Account Features

Offering of Investments

Advisor Services help No
Bonds (Corporate) help No
Bonds (Municipal) help No
Bonds (US Treasury) help No
CDs help No
Clearing Firm help Vision
Commission Free ETFs help 0
Direct Market Routing - Stocks help Yes
Direct Market Routing - Options help Yes
DRIPs help Yes
# of Easy to Borrow Stocks help 2500
Forex Trading help No
Futures Trading help No
Member FINRA help Yes
Member SIPC help Yes
Mutual Funds help Yes
Mutual Funds (No Load) help 235
Mutual Funds (Load) help 265
Mutual Funds (NTF) help 0
Mutual Funds (Total) help 500
Mutual Funds Phone Trades help Yes
Mutual Funds Web Trades help Yes
No Fee IRAs help No
No Inactivity Fees help No
No Minimum Deposit help Yes
Options Exercising (Web) help No
Options Exercising (Phone) help Yes
Options Trading help Yes
Complex Options Max Legs help 4
Options Trading (Mini) help Yes
Options Trading (Weekly) help Yes
OTCBB / Pink Sheets help Yes
Stock Trading help Yes

Customer Service

Phone Support help Yes
Email Support help Yes
Live Chat (Current Clients) help No
Live Chat (Prospect Clients) help No
24/7 Support help No

Platforms & Tools

Desktop Platform (Windows) help No
Desktop Platform (Mac) help No
Web Platform help Yes
Active Trading Platform help See Commission Notes
Charting - Display Corporate Events help No
Charting - View Historical Trades help No
Charting - Indicators / Studies help 20
Charting - Drawing Tools help 0
Charting - Trade Off Chart help No
Charting - Notes help No
Heat Mapping help No
Ladder Trading help No
Level 2 Quotes - Stocks help Yes
Level 2 Quotes - Options help No
Option Chains - Streaming Real-time help Yes
Option Chains - Total Columns help 11
Option Chains - Quick Analysis help Yes
Option Analysis - P&L Charts help Yes
Option Analysis - Probability Analysis Basic help Yes
Option Analysis - Probability Analysis Adv help No
Option Positions - Contract Rolling help No
Stock Alerts Delivery - Email help No
Stock Alerts Delivery - Sound help No
Stock Alerts Delivery - Text SMS help No
Streaming Time & Sales help Yes
Streaming TV help No
Trade Hot Keys help No
Virtual Trading help Yes
Watch Lists - Streaming Real-time Quotes help Yes
Watch Lists - Total Fields help 4

Research

Research - ETFs help Yes
Research - Mutual Funds help No
Research - Pink Sheets / OTCBB help No
Research - Fixed Income help No
Misc - Global Markets Overview help No
Misc - Portfolio Allocation Breakdown help No
Misc - Portfolio Builder help No
Equity Research - Earnings Analysis help Yes
Equity Research - Insider Analysis help Yes
Equity Research - Metric Comparisons help No
Equity Research - SEC Filings help Yes
Equity Research - Social Sentiment help No
Equity Research - Research Reports help 0
ETF Research - Performance Analysis help No
ETF Research - Top 10 Holdings help No
ETF Research - Morningstar Style Box help No
ETF Research - 3rd Party Ratings help No
ETF Research - Research Reports help No
Mutual Fund Research - Fees Breakdown help No
Mutual Fund Research - Top 10 Holdings help No
Mutual Fund Research - Performance Analysis help No
Mutual Fund Research - Prospectus help No
Mutual Fund Research - 3rd Party Ratings help No
Mutual Fund Research - Research Reports help No
Screener - Stocks help No
Screener - ETFs help No
Screener - Mutual Funds help No
Screener - Options help No
Screener - Bonds help No

Education

Has Education - Stocks help No
Has Education - ETFs help No
Has Education - Options help Yes
Has Education - Mutual Funds help No
Has Education - Fixed Income help No
Has Education - Retirement help No
Investor Dictionary help Yes
Client Webinars help No
Client Webinars (Archived) help No
Live Seminars help No
Videos help No
Retirement Calculator help No
Progress Tracking help No
Interactive Learning - Quizzes help No

Mobile Trading

iPhone App help No
iPad App help No
Apple Watch App help No
Android App help No
Android Tablet App help No
Mobile Site help Yes
Touch ID help No
Account Transfers help No
Quotes (Real-time) help No
Quotes (Streaming Real-time) help No
Watch List (Real-time) help No
Watch List (Streaming Real-time) help No
Watch List Syncing help No
Market Movers (Top Gainers) help No
Custom Screening / Scanning help No
Charting - Stock Comparisons help No
Charting - Technical Studies help
Charting - After Hours help No
Stock Alerts - Basic Fields help No
Stock Alerts - Advanced Fields help No
Stock Alerts Delivery - Push Notifications help No
Customizable Homescreen help No
Streaming TV help No
Trading - Stocks help No
Trading - After-Hours help No
Trading - Conditional Orders help No
Trading - Mutual Funds help No
Trading - Simple Options help No
Trading - Complex Options help No
Trading - Option Rolling help No

Banking

Member FDIC help No
Checking Accounts help No
Savings Accounts help No
Debit Cards help No
Credit Cards help No
Mortgage Loans help No
Mobile Check Deposit help No
Online Bill Pay help No
Mobile Bill Pay help No
ATM Fee Reimbursement help No
No Fee Banking help No
Retail Locations help 0

Order Execution

Receives Payment for Order Flow (Equities) help Yes
Receives Payment for Order Flow (Options) help Yes
Client Liquidity Rebates help No
Financial Information Forum (FIF) Participant help No

Compare ChoiceTrade

Select one or more of these brokers to compare against ChoiceTrade.

All pricing data was obtained from a published web site as of 2/20/2017 and is believed to be accurate, but is not guaranteed. The StockBrokers.com staff is constantly working with its online broker representatives to obtain the latest pricing data. If you believe any data listed above is inaccurate, please contact us using the link at the bottom of this page. For stock trade rates, advertised pricing is for a standard order size of 500 shares of stock priced at $30 per share. For options orders, an options regulatory fee per contract may apply.




arrow_drop_upBack to top