Capital One Investing 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.
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 2017, 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 clients 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.
Where Capital One Investing comes out on top in a big way is with its automatic investments (also known as the ShareBuilder Plan), which give clients the ability to automatically buy shares of stocks, ETFs, or select mutual funds each month (all automatic investments take place on Tuesdays).
Compared to the big-name brokers such as TD Ameritrade, ETRADE, Scottrade, and Fidelity Investments, 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 Investing||E*TRADE||TD Ameritrade||Scottrade||OptionsHouse|
|Stock Trade Fee (flat)||$6.95||$6.95||$6.95||$7.00||$4.95|
|Options Base Fee||$6.95||$6.95||$6.95||$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), which give clients 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.
Capital One Investing's phone customer service was consistently an enjoyable experience, and we were impressed. Reps were almost always enthusiastic, professional, and helpful. We were on hold for longer than one minute less than 20% of the time 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. The only real drawback to Capital One Investing’s email support was response times, which took more than two business days, on average.
Live chat support had similar results. We had one perfect test score, and all but one chat session was connected to a rep within one minute. Our longest wait time was just under 12 minutes.
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 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 a top-notch user experience.
If there is one recommendation I would make for Capital One Investing in 2016, it would be to create a customizable dashboard for clients to replace the current boring My Accounts overview page.
For research, I 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), I was impressed by the depth of research provided.
On the topic of quality over quantity, Capital One Investing only offers no-load and no transaction fee funds. Excluding loaded mutual funds is a decision I fully support as numerous data studies clearly show there is no net performance advantage for paying higher fees. To help clients make a good decision, clients can use the Fund Evaluator tool to analyze any mutual fund they’d like and view lower cost alternatives.
Funds aside, after pulling up Apple (AAPL) in the research area, I was pleased to see four third-party research reports available for us to read. To dig deeper into research, clients have the ability to build custom side-by-side stock comparisons and compare fundamental data. Screening for investment ideas is also a breeze.
Capital One Investing’s research offering extends beyond vetting potential trades – it also includes client portfolios. The Portfolio Allocation and Analysis tools allow clients to assess their portfolio allocation, returns, and even break down their real equity exposure by fund. Full transparency into the client’s portfolio is not commonly found with other brokers.
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 several innovative tools for regular investors. Using PortfolioBuilder, clients 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 and sold for a single flat rate of $18.95.
Portfolio Builder is Capital One Investing’s approach to “do-it-yourself” passive indexing. The primary disadvantage of Portfolio Builder is that it is not fully automated, unlike a formal robo-advisor service. Despite the potential for lower fees on an annualized basis, the requirement of manual fund selection and conscious portfolio oversight are two critical drawbacks that should not have been overlooked. Because of this, I would recommend using a robo-advisor over PortfolioBuilder. See: Best Robo-Advisors 2017.
As far as investments go, Capital One Investing has a weak 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.
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 clients for easy account management. More simply put, synergies for current banking clients are widespread.
Lastly, in 2016 Capital One formally began offering advisor services. While StockBrokers.com does not test advisor services yet, for investors seeking professional portfolio advice and management, Capital One Advisors Managed Portfolios is an option. The minimum investment is $25,000 and annual management fees start at 0.9%.
Capital One Investing shines in its ease of use; it performs well in research and customer service, but limits its offering of investments and tools desired by active stock and options traders.
Capital One Investing should continue to thrive 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 clients an easy way to access the markets.
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.
Best in Class
- Ease of Use
- New Investors
- New Investors
- Customer Service
- New Investors
- Customer Service
Compare Online Brokers
Find out how Capital One Investing stacks up against other brokers.
Commissions & Fees
Capital One Investing 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).
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
|Stock Trade Fee (flat)||$6.95|
|Stock Trade Fee (per share)||N/A|
|Options Base Fee||$6.95|
|Options Per Contract Fee||$0.75|
|Options Exercise Fee||$20.00|
|Options Assignment Fee||$20.00|
|Mutual Fund Trade Fee||$19.95|
|Broker Assisted Trades Fee||$19.95|
|Margin Rate Under $24,999.99||8.20%|
|Margin Rate $25,000.00 to $49,999.99||7.75%|
|Margin Rate $50,000.00 to $99,999.99||7.20%|
|Margin Rate $100,000.00 to $249,999.99||7.00%|
|Margin Rate $250,000.00 to $499,999.99||5.75%|
|Margin Rate $500,000.00 to $999,999.99||5.40%|
|Margin Rate Above $1,000,000.00||5.20%|
|Bond Trade Fee||N/A|
|Treasury Trade Fee||N/A|
|IRA Annual Fee||$0.00|
|IRA Closure Fee||$75.00|
|Returned ACH Fee||$5.00|
|Returned Wire Fee||$5.00|
|Stock Certificate Processing Fee||$0.00|
|Stock Certificate Delivery Fee||N/A|
|Paper Statement Fee||$5.00|
|Paper Confirmation Fee||$5.00|
|Domestic Wire Fee||$30.00|
|International Wire Fee||$30.00|
Offering of Investments
|Advisor Services help||Yes|
|Bonds (Corporate) help||No|
|Bonds (Municipal) help||No|
|Bonds (US Treasury) help||No|
|Clearing Firm help||Pershing|
|Commission Free ETFs help||0|
|Direct Market Routing - Stocks help||No|
|Direct Market Routing - Options help||No|
|# of Easy to Borrow Stocks help||0|
|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||1202|
|Mutual Funds (Load) help||0|
|Mutual Funds (NTF) help||459|
|Mutual Funds (Total) help||1202|
|Mutual Funds Phone Trades help||Yes|
|Mutual Funds Web Trades help||Yes|
|No Fee IRAs help||Yes|
|No Inactivity Fees help||Yes|
|No Minimum Deposit help||Yes|
|Options Exercising (Web) help||Yes|
|Options Exercising (Phone) help||Yes|
|Options Trading help||Yes|
|Complex Options Max Legs help||1|
|Options Trading (Mini) help||No|
|Options Trading (Weekly) help||Yes|
|OTCBB / Pink Sheets help||Yes|
|Stock Trading help||Yes|
|Phone Support help||Yes|
|Email Support help||Yes|
|Live Chat (Current Clients) help||Yes|
|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||No|
|Active Trading Platform help||NA|
|Charting - Display Corporate Events help||Yes|
|Charting - View Historical Trades help||Yes|
|Charting - Indicators / Studies help||27|
|Charting - Drawing Tools help||1|
|Charting - Trade Off Chart help||No|
|Charting - Notes help||No|
|Heat Mapping help||Yes|
|Ladder Trading help||No|
|Level 2 Quotes - Stocks help||No|
|Level 2 Quotes - Options help||No|
|Option Chains - Streaming Real-time help||No|
|Option Chains - Total Columns help||7|
|Option Chains - Quick Analysis help||No|
|Options Analysis - P&L Charts help||No|
|Options Analysis - Probability Analysis Basic help||No|
|Option Analysis - Probability Analysis Adv help||No|
|Option Positions - Contract Rolling help||No|
|Stock Alerts Delivery - Email help||Yes|
|Stock Alerts Delivery - Sound help||No|
|Stock Alerts Delivery - Text SMS help||Yes|
|Streaming Time & Sales help||No|
|Streaming TV help||No|
|Trade Hot Keys help||No|
|Virtual Trading help||No|
|Watch Lists - Streaming Real-time Quotes help||No|
|Watch Lists - Total Fields help||9|
|Research - ETFs help||Yes|
|Research - Mutual Funds help||Yes|
|Research - Pink Sheets / OTCBB help||Yes|
|Research - Fixed Income help||No|
|Misc - Global Markets Overview help||No|
|Misc - Portfolio Allocation Breakdown help||Yes|
|Misc - Portfolio Builder help||Yes|
|Equity Research - Earnings Analysis help||Yes|
|Equity Research - Insider Analysis help||No|
|Equity Research - Metric Comparisons help||Yes|
|Equity Research - SEC Filings help||Yes|
|Equity Research - Social Sentiment help||No|
|Equity Research - Research Reports help||4|
|ETF Research - Performance Analysis help||Yes|
|ETF Research - Top 10 Holdings help||Yes|
|ETF Research - Morningstar Style Box help||Yes|
|ETF Research - 3rd Party Ratings help||Yes|
|ETF Research - Research Reports help||Yes|
|Mutual Fund Research - Fees Breakdown help||Yes|
|Mutual Fund Research - Top 10 Holdings help||Yes|
|Mutual Fund Research - Performance Analysis help||Yes|
|Mutual Fund Research - Prospectus help||Yes|
|Mutual Fund Research - 3rd Party Ratings help||Yes|
|Mutual Fund Research - Research Reports help||Yes|
|Screener - Stocks help||Yes|
|Screener - ETFs help||Yes|
|Screener - Mutual Funds help||Yes|
|Screener - Options help||No|
|Screener - Bonds help||No|
|Has Education - Stocks help||Yes|
|Has Education - ETFs help||No|
|Has Education - Options help||No|
|Has Education - Mutual Funds help||Yes|
|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||Yes|
|Retirement Calculator help||Yes|
|Progress Tracking help||No|
|Interactive Learning - Quizzes help||No|
|iPhone App help||Yes|
|iPad App help||Yes|
|Apple Watch App help||No|
|Android App help||Yes|
|Android Tablet App help||No|
|Mobile Site help||Yes|
|Touch ID help||Yes|
|Account Transfers help||Yes|
|Quotes (Real-time) help||Yes|
|Quotes (Streaming Real-time) help||No|
|Watch List (Real-time) help||Yes|
|Watch List (Streaming Real-time) help||No|
|Watch List Syncing help||Yes|
|Market Movers (Top Gainers) help||Yes|
|Custom Screening / Scanning help||No|
|Charting - Stock Comparisons help||No|
|Charting - Technical Studies help||0|
|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||Yes|
|Trading - After-Hours help||No|
|Trading - Conditional Orders help||No|
|Trading - Mutual Funds help||No|
|Trading - Simple Options help||Yes|
|Trading - Complex Options help||No|
|Trading - Option Rolling help||No|
|Member FDIC help||Yes|
|Checking Accounts help||Yes|
|Savings Accounts help||Yes|
|Debit Cards help||Yes|
|Credit Cards help||Yes|
|Mortgage Loans help||Yes|
|Mobile Check Deposit help||Yes|
|Online Bill Pay help||Yes|
|Mobile Bill Pay help||Yes|
|ATM Fee Reimbursement help||No|
|No Fee Banking help||Yes|
|Retail Locations help||800|