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Capital One Investing

Published by Blain Reinkensmeyer
On Friday, July 15th, 2016

Overview

Capital One Investing is a great fit for investors seeking automatic investment plans, and customers of Capital One 360. It also offers casual investors an easy way to research and trade.

Dislikes

No trade platform; limited offering of trade tools; after-hours trading not supported; no complex options.

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Capital One Investing (ShareBuilder) Review

February 16th, 2016: This Review has been updated to reflect the latest research and results from the 2016 Review.

Capital One Investing started out as ShareBuilder back in 1996 (Capital One acquired ShareBuilder in 2011) with the goal of making investing affordable and easy. Today, in 2016, Capital One Investing continues to thrive, thanks to its automatic investments, pleasant customer service, and clean website.

Commissions & Fees

Capital One Investing is the only broker to offer its customers a separate rate to take advantage of discounted automatic investments.

Under the broker’s base commission structure, regular stock trades cost $6.95, options trades run at $6.95 plus $0.75 per contract (complex, multi-legged options are not supported), and automatic investments are $3.95 each.

Compared to the big-name brokers such as TD Ameritrade, ETRADE, Scottrade, Fidelity Investments, and Charles Schwab, Capital One Investing is less expensive. However, compared to other discount brokers such as OptionsHouse, TradeKing, and the like, Capital One Investing is more expensive.

Capital One InvestingE*TRADETD AmeritradeScottradeOptionsHouse
Stock Trade Fee (flat)$6.95$9.99$9.99$7.00$4.95
Options Base Fee$6.95$9.99$9.99$7.00$4.95
Options Per Contract Fee$0.75$0.75$0.75$0.70$0.50
Mutual Fund Trade Fee$19.95$19.99$49.99$17.00$20.00
Broker Assisted Trades Fee$19.95$25.00$44.99$32.00$25.00
Commissions & Fees

Where Capital One Investing comes out on top in a big way is with its automatic investments (also known as the ShareBuilder Plan), giving customers the ability to automatically buy shares of stocks, ETFs, or select mutual funds each month (all automatic investments take place on Tuesdays). It is this simplicity that makes Capital One Investing so attractive for investors who want to "set it and forget it" with their IRAs.

Customer Service

Capital One Investing's phone customer service was consistently an enjoyable experience, and we were impressed. Reps were always enthusiastic, professional, and helpful. We were on hold for more than one minute only once and the reps were clearly well trained, always making sure to conclude all calls on a warm closing note.

Phone aside, email support yielded mostly positive experiences. Email testing yielded three perfect 100% test scores but also one test with a score of less than 50%. We received replies to more than half of all emails in less than one hour, while one took nearly five days. Live chat support had similar results. In the end, Capital One Investing had more highlights than lowlights across the board; however, compared to the rest of the industry, the broker finished in the middle of the pack. See: Best Brokers for Customer Service.

Ease of Use

The shining star in Capital One Investing’s arsenal is the website's ease of use. Everything, from navigation to placing trades and performing research, is an effortless experience. The website boasts a very clean design, and it is clear Capital One Investing takes its time before launching anything new to ensure top-notch user experience.

If there is one recommendation we would make for Capital One Investing in 2016, it would be to create a customizable dashboard for customers to replace the current boring My Accounts overview page.

Research

For research, we found Capital One Investing 's coverage of equities, ETFs, and mutual funds to be very strong, thanks to their use of Morningstar as their primary provider. Although the broker purposely supports little more than 1,000 mutual funds for trading (focus on quality over quantity), we were impressed by the depth of research provided.

Capital One Investing quote screen

After pulling up Apple (AAPL) in the research area, we were pleased to see four third-party research reports available for us to read. To dig deeper into research, customers have ability to build custom side-by-side stock comparisons and compare fundamental data.

Capital One Investing’s research offering extends beyond vetting potential trades – it also includes client portfolios. The Portfolio Allocation and Analysis tools allow customers to assess their portfolio allocation, returns, and even break down their real equity exposure by fund. Full transparency into the client’s portfolio is something few other brokers provide.

Capital One Investing Portfolio Analysis

Platforms & Tools

Capital One Investing does not offer a formal desktop or web-based trading platform; instead, it relies on its website. Put simply, there isn’t anything for advanced traders to be excited about because active traders are not Capital One Investing's target market. See: Best Brokers for Platforms & Tools.

That said, Capital One Investing does have its fair share of innovative tools for regular investors. Our favorite is the PortfolioBuilder tool, which launched in 2014. Using PortfolioBuilder, customers can create their own diversified portfolio with up to eight ETFs, aligning their investment style and long-term goals. Once a new portfolio is compiled, it can be purchased for a single flat rate of $18.95.

To make selling a seamless experience, in 2015 PortfolioBuilder was updated to apply the same flat $18.95 rate for sales, instead of charging $6.95 for each security being sold. Users can even see the percentage of each investment that went towards the total commission.

Capital One Investing Portfolio Builder

Tools aside, as far as investments go, Capital One Investing has a mixed offering. Complex options are not supported, nor are after-hours trades or shorting. However, Capital One Investing, through Capital One, is the only company (alongside Bank of America Merrill Edge) to offer credit and debit cards, checking and savings accounts, as well as home mortgages. Through Capital One 360, the company also supports universal login for customers for easy account management.

Closing Thoughts

Capital One Investing shines in ease of use; it performs very well in research and customer service, but suffers in its efforts to appease the tool-hungry active trader.

Capital One Investing should only continue to thrive in doing what it does best, offering a great solution for casual investors and those seeking automatic investments, as well as giving current Capital One 360 customers an easy way to access the markets.


Blain Reinkensmeyer

Blain has been involved in the markets for over 13 years, heading StockBrokers.com equity broker research and reviews. His personal blog, StockTrader.com, provides to-the-point daily market recaps to over 17,000 subscribers.

Compare Capital One Investing


Capital One Investing Ratings

Overall
Commissions & Fees
Offering of Investments
Platforms & Tools
Research
Customer Service
Mobile Trading
Ease of Use
Education
Order Execution
Banking

Best in Class

Best in Class - Overall
Best in Class - Commissions & Fees
Best in Class - Offering of Investments
Best in Class - Platforms & Tools
Best in Class - Research
Best in Class - Customer Service
Best in Class - Mobile Trading
Best in Class - Ease of Use
Best in Class - Investor Education
Best in Class - Order Execution
Yes Best in Class - Banking
Best in Class - Active Trading
Best in Class - Options Trading
Best in Class - New Investors

Capital One Investing Awards

2016

Capital One Investing was awarded Best in Class for Banking. They also received #1 Portfolio Builder. Read the 2016 Online Broker Review.

2015

ShareBuilder was awarded Best in Class for New Investors and Banking. They also received #1 Portfolio Builder, a new award for this year's review. Read the 2015 Online Broker Review.

2014

ShareBuilder was awarded Best in Class for Customer Service and New Investors. They also received #1 for Online Banking Services. Read the 2014 Online Broker Review.

2013

ShareBuilder was awarded Best Online Banking Services and rated 4 stars for Customer Service. Read the 2013 Broker Review.

2012

ShareBuilder was Best in Class for Ease-of-Use. Read the 2012 Broker Review.

Commission Notes

ShareBuilder offers one set of primary commission rates along with a special rate for discounted automatic investing.

Note that Costco member exclusive pricing ended September 1, 2015. Existing co-branded accounts (opened prior to September 1) can continue to access Costco pricing ($5.95 online trades, $9.95 PortfolioBuilder trades and $2.00 automatic trades).

Stock Trades
Regular trades - All regular stock trades are $6.95 each. For stocks priced under $1.00, add $0.007 per share with a minimum $6.95 commission, maximum of the lesser of either 15 percent of the principal amount or $500.

Automatic investments - Automatic investments are $3.95 per trade. All automatic trades are made on Tuesdays.

Other notes - PortfolioBuilder trades are $18.95 each time you buy or sell or portfolio of 6 to 8 ETFs. Phone orders available for $19.95 per trade. Capital One Investing does not currently support the ability to short stocks.

Option Trades - Options trades cost $6.95 + $.75 per contract.

Trade Commissions Breakdown

$6.95 Stock Trade Fee (flat)*
N/A Stock Trade Fee (per share)*
$6.95 Options Base Fee*
$0.75 Options Per Contract Fee*
$20.00 Options Exercise Fee
$20.00 Options Assignment Fee
$19.95 Mutual Fund Trade Fee
$19.95 Broker Assisted Trades Fee
$0.00 Minimum Deposit

Margin Rates

7.70% Under $24,999.99
7.25% $25,000.00 to 49,999.99
6.70% $50,000.00 to $99,999.99
6.50% $100,000.00 to $249,999.99
5.25% $250,000.00 to $499,999.99
4.90% $500,000.00 to $999,999.99
4.70% Above $1,000,000.00

Miscellaneous Fees

N/A Bond Trade Fee
N/A Treasury Trade Fee
N/A CD Trade Fee
N/A IVR Trade Fee
$0.00 IRA Annual Fee
$75.00 IRA Closure Fee
N/A Forced Margin Sellout Fee
$5.00 Returned ACH Fee
$5.00 Returned Wire Fee
$0.00 Stock Certificate Processing Fee
N/A Stock Certificate Delivery Fee
$5.00 Paper Statement Fee
$5.00 Paper Confirmation Fee
$30.00 Domestic Wire Fee
$30.00 International Wire Fee

Offering of Investments

Yes Advisor Services
Bonds (Corporate)
Bonds (Municipal)
Bonds (US Treasury)
CDs
Pershing Clearing Firm
0 Commission Free ETFs
Direct Market Routing - Stocks
Direct Market Routing - Options
Yes DRIPs
0 # of Easy to Borrow Stocks
Forex Trading
Futures Trading
Yes Member FINRA
Yes Member SIPC
Yes Mutual Funds
0 Mutual Funds (Load)
1289 Mutual Funds (No Load)
511 Mutual Funds (NTF)
1289 Mutual Funds (Total)
Yes Mutual Funds Phone Trades
Yes Mutual Funds Web Trades
Yes No Fee IRAs
Yes No Inactivity Fees
Yes No Minimum Deposit
Yes Options Exercising (Phone)
Yes Options Exercising (Web)
Yes Options Trading
Options Trading (Mini)
Yes Options Trading (Weekly)
Yes OTCBB / Pink Sheets
Yes Stock Trading

Customer Service

Yes Phone Support
Yes Email Support
Yes Live Chat (Current Clients)
24/7 Support

Platforms & Tools

Desktop Platform (Windows)
Desktop Platform (Mac)
Web Platform
NA Active Trading Platform
Auto Investing
Yes Charting - Display Corporate Events
1 Charting - Drawing Tools
Charting - Notes
Yes Heat Mapping
Ladder Trading
Level 2 Quotes - Stocks
Level 2 Quotes - Options
Option Chains - Streaming Real-time
Option Analysis - P&L Charts
Yes Stock Alerts Delivery - Email
Stock Alerts Delivery - Sound
Yes Stock Alerts Delivery - Text SMS
Streaming Time & Sales
Streaming TV
Trade Hot Keys
Virtual Trading
Watchlists - Streaming Real-time Quotes

Research

Yes Research - ETFs
Yes Research - Mutual Funds
Yes Research - Pink Sheets / OTCBB
Research - Fixed Income
4 Equity Research - Research Reports
Yes ETF Research - Top 10 Holdings
Yes ETF Research - Morningstar Style Box
Yes ETF Research - Research Reports
Yes Mutual Fund Research - Research Reports
Yes Mutual Fund Research - Fees Breakdown
Yes Mutual Fund Research - Performance Analysis
Yes Mutual Fund Research - Top 10 Holdings
Yes Screener - Stocks
Yes Screener - ETFs
Yes Screener - Mutual Funds
Screener - Options
Screener - Bonds

Education

Yes Has Education - Stocks
Has Education - ETFs
Has Education - Options
Yes Has Education - Mutual Funds
Has Education - Fixed Income
Has Education - Retirement
Yes Investor Dictionary
Client Webinars
Yes Live Seminars
Videos
Yes Retirement Calculator
Community Forums

Mobile Trading

Yes iPhone App
Yes iPad App
Apple Watch App
Yes Android App
Android Tablet App
Mobile Site
Yes Quotes (Real-time)
Quotes (Streaming Real-time)
Yes Watch List Syncing
Yes Market Movers (Top Gainers)
Stock Alerts Delivery - Push Notifications
Customizable Homescreen
Stream Live TV
Yes Trading - Stocks
Trading - Stocks (After-Hours)
Yes Trading - Simple Options
Trading - Complex Options

Banking

Member FDIC
Yes Checking Accounts
Yes Savings Accounts
Yes Debit Cards
Yes Credit Cards
Yes Mortgage Loans
Yes Mobile Check Deposit
ATM Fee Reimbursement
Yes No Fee Banking
9 Retail Locations

Active Trading

Receives Payment for Order Flow
Client Liquidity Rebates
Financial Information Forum (FIF) Participant

All pricing data was obtained from a published web site as of 2/16/2016 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.

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