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Ally Invest vs Firstrade 2019

The StockBrokers.com annual review (9 years running) takes six months to complete and produces over 30,000 words of research each year. Here's how we test.

Is Ally Invest better than Firstrade? After scoring brokers on over 4,000 data points for our 2019 review, Firstrade (67.1%) is better than Ally Invest (62.44%). Founded in 1985, Firstrade has a long history of providing value for its customers. Known for its easy-to-use website, Firstrade offers $0 stock and options trading. Firstrade offers Morningstar research; however, its trading platform struggles to stand out against industry leaders.

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Overall Rating

Feature Ally Invest Firstrade
Overall 3 3.5
Ally Invest Review Firstrade Review

Trading Fees

Feature Ally Invest Firstrade
Minimum Deposit $0.00 $0.00
Stock Trade Fee (per trade) $4.95 $0.00
ETF Trade Fee $4.95 $0.00
Options Base Fee $4.95 $0.00
Options Per Contract Fee $0.65 $0.00
Mutual Fund Trade Fee $9.95 $0.00
Broker Assisted Trades Fee $20.00 $19.95
Commissions & Fees 3.5 4
Winner check_circle

Margin Rates

Feature Ally Invest
Open Account
Firstrade
Open Account
Under $24,999.99 9.75% 9.50%
$25,000.00 to $49,999.99 9.50% 9.00%
$50,000.00 to $99,999.99 8.75% 8.50%
$100,000.00 to $249,999.99 7.50% 8.00%
$250,000.00 to $499,999.99 6.50% 7.75%
$500,000.00 to $999,999.99 6.00% 6.00%
Above $1,000,000.00 5.25% 5.25%
Commissions & Fees 3.5 4
Winner check_circle

Account Fees

Feature Ally Invest Firstrade
IRA Annual Fee $0.00 $0.00
IRA Closure Fee $50.00 $0.00
Returned ACH Fee $30.00 $50.00
Returned Wire Fee $30.00 $50.00
Stock Certificate Processing Fee $300.00 $300.00
Stock Certificate Delivery Fee $300.00 $300.00
Paper Statement Fee $2.00 $5.00
Paper Confirmation Fee $1.00 $3.00
Domestic Wire Fee $30.00 $30.00
International Wire Fee N/A $50.00
Commissions & Fees 3.5 4

Investment Options

Feature Ally Invest Firstrade
Stock Trading
Yes Yes
OTCBB / Pink Sheets
Yes Yes
Options Trading
Yes Yes
Complex Options Max Legs
4 2
Futures Trading
No No
Forex Trading
Yes No
Commission-Free ETFs 116 all
Mutual Funds (No Load)
7200 5234
Mutual Funds (Total)
14000 12603
Bonds (US Treasury)
Yes Yes
Bonds (Corporate)
Yes Yes
Bonds (Municipal)
Yes Yes
Advisor Services
Yes No
International Trading
No No
Offering of Investments 4 3.5
Winner check_circle

Order Types

Feature Ally Invest Firstrade
Order Type - Market
Yes Yes
Order Type - Limit
Yes Yes
Order Type - Stop
Yes Yes
Order Type - Trailing Stop
Yes Yes
Order Type - Contingent
Yes Yes
Order Type - MultiContingent
No Yes
Order Type - OCO
Yes Yes
Order Type - OTO
Yes Yes
Order Type - OTOCO
No No
Offering of Investments 4 3.5
Winner check_circle

Trading Platforms

Feature Ally Invest Firstrade
Desktop Platform (Windows)
No No
Desktop Platform (Mac)
No No
Web Platform
Yes Yes
Paper Trading
No No
Trade Journal
No No
Watch Lists - Total Fields
21 13
Two-Factor Authentication Login
Yes No
Heat Mapping
No Yes
Platforms & Tools 2.5 2
Winner check_circle

Charting Features

Feature Ally Invest Firstrade
Charting - Trade Off Chart
No No
Charting - Indicators / Studies
117 58
Charting - Drawing Tools
36 5
Charting - Historical Trades
No No
Charting - Corporate Events
Yes Yes
Charting - Automated Analysis
Yes No
Charting - Save Profiles
Yes No
Charting - Study Customizations
5 6
Charting - Custom Studies
No No
Platforms & Tools 2.5 2
Winner check_circle

Day Trading

Feature Ally Invest Firstrade
Stock Alerts - Basic Fields
Yes Yes
Stock Alerts - Advanced Fields
No No
Streaming Time & Sales
No No
Streaming TV
No No
Direct Market Routing - Stocks
No No
Direct Market Routing - Options
No No
Ladder Trading
No No
Trade Hot Keys
No No
Level 2 Quotes - Stocks
No No
Level 2 Quotes - Options
No No
Trade Ideas - Backtesting
No No
Short Locator
No No
Client Liquidity Rebates
No No
Winner check_circle

Mobile Trading Apps

Feature Ally Invest Firstrade
iPhone App
Yes Yes
Android App
Yes Yes
Apple Watch App
No No
Trading - Stocks
Yes Yes
Trading - After-Hours
No Yes
Trading - Conditional Orders
No No
Trading - Mutual Funds
No No
Trading - Simple Options
Yes Yes
Trading - Complex Options
Yes No
Trading - Option Rolling
No No
Touch / Face ID
Yes Yes
Winner check_circle

Mobile App Features

Feature Ally Invest Firstrade
Watch List Syncing
Yes Yes
Stock Alerts - Basic Fields
No No
Charting - After Hours
No No
Charting - Drawing
No No
Charting - Study Customizations
No Yes
Customizable Homescreen
No No
Heatmapping
No No
Stream Live TV
No No
Barcode Lookup
No No
Mobile Trading 3 3.5
Winner check_circle

Research Overview

Feature Ally Invest Firstrade
Research - Stocks
Yes Yes
Research - ETFs
Yes Yes
Research - Mutual Funds
Yes Yes
Research - Pink Sheets / OTCBB
Yes Yes
Research - Fixed Income
No Yes
Screener - Stocks
No Yes
Screener - ETFs
No Yes
Screener - Mutual Funds
No Yes
Screener - Options
No No
Screener - Bonds
No Yes
Misc - Portfolio Builder
Yes No
Misc - Portfolio Allocation
No Yes
Research 2 4
Winner check_circle

Stock Research

Feature Ally Invest Firstrade
Stock Research - Reports
2 1
Stock Research - Earnings
No Yes
Stock Research - Insiders
No Yes
Stock Research - Metric Comp
No Yes
Stock Research - SEC Filings
No Yes
Stock Research - Social
No No
Stock Research - Balance Sheet
No Yes
Stock Research - Cash Flows
No Yes
Stock Research - News
Yes Yes
Stock Research - ESG
No No
Research 2 4
Winner check_circle

ETF Research

Feature Ally Invest Firstrade
ETFs - Strategy Overview
Yes Yes
ETFs - Top 10 Holdings
No Yes
ETFs - Sector Exposure
No Yes
ETFs - Risk Analysis
Yes Yes
ETFs - Performance Analysis
Yes Yes
ETFs - Ratings
Yes Yes
ETFs - Morningstar StyleMap
No Yes
ETFs - Reports
Yes Yes
Research 2 4
Winner check_circle

Mutual Fund Research

Feature Ally Invest Firstrade
Mutual Funds - Strategy Overview
Yes Yes
Mutual Funds - Prospectus
No Yes
Mutual Funds - Reports
No No
Mutual Funds - Fees Breakdown
Yes Yes
Mutual Funds - Top 10 Holdings
No Yes
Mutual Funds - Asset Allocation
No Yes
Mutual Funds - Sector Allocation
Yes Yes
Mutual Funds - Country Allocation
No Yes
Mutual Funds - StyleMap
No Yes
Mutual Funds - 3rd Party Ratings
Yes Yes
Research 2 4
Winner check_circle

Options Trading

Feature Ally Invest Firstrade
Option Chains - Streaming
Yes No
Option Chains - Total Columns
8 8
Option Chains - Greeks
1 5
Option Chains - Quick Analysis
Yes No
Option Analysis - P&L Charts
Yes No
Option Probability Analysis
Yes No
Option Probability Analysis Adv
Yes No
Option Positions - Greeks
Yes No
Option Positions - Adv Analysis
Yes No
Option Positions - Rolling
No Yes
Option Positions - Grouping
Yes No
Platforms & Tools 2.5 2
Winner check_circle

Beginners

Feature Ally Invest Firstrade
Has Education - Stocks
Yes Yes
Has Education - ETFs
No No
Has Education - Options
Yes Yes
Has Education - Mutual Funds
Yes No
Has Education - Fixed Income
Yes No
Has Education - Retirement
Yes Yes
Paper Trading
No No
Videos
No Yes
Webinars (Monthly Avg)
17 5
Webinars (Archived)
No Yes
Live Seminars
Yes No
Progress Tracking
No No
Interactive Learning - Quizzes
No No
Investor Magazine
No No
Education 3.5 3
Winner check_circle

Banking

Feature Ally Invest Firstrade
Retail Locations
0 2
Member FDIC
Yes No
Checking Accounts
Yes Yes
Savings Accounts
Yes No
Credit Cards
Yes No
Debit Cards
Yes Yes
Mortgage Loans
Yes No
No Fee Banking
Yes No
Banking 4 2
Winner check_circle

Overall

Feature Ally Invest Firstrade
Ally Invest Review Firstrade Review
Overall 3 3.5
Winner check_circle
Comparing brokers side by side is no easy task. For our annual broker review, we assess over a dozen brokers on hundreds of different variables to find the best online broker. Yielding a database of over 4,000 data points, let's compare Ally Invest vs Firstrade.

To start this comparison, first, we will take a look at the online broker commission rates for placing regular stock and options trades. Ally Invest, with its regular stock trades costing $4.95, is more expensive than Firstrade's rate of $0 per trade. Looking at trading options, Firstrade's base fee is $0 while Ally Invest's is $4.95. Firstrade's per contract rate of $0 is less than Ally Invest which charges $0.65. It's important to note that not all brokers charge a flat fee per trade. Thus, it is important to read the full commission notes for each broker, which we include with each online broker review.

Next to commission rates, being able to trade what you want is important. Firstrade provides its clients with Stock Trading, Options Trading and Mutual Funds while Ally Invest provides clients access to Stock Trading, Options Trading, Mutual Funds and Forex Trading. Looking at mutual funds, Firstrade trails Ally Invest by 1,397 total mutual funds, with Ally Invest offering 14000 and Firstrade offering 12603.

Trading access aside, by comparing popular features and functionality, we can break down relevant differences between both brokers. Ally Invest nor Firstrade offers virtual trading. Taking a look at mobile trading, Both Ally Invest and Firstrade offer clients access to an iPhone App, iPad App and Android App. Not to be left out, online banking is also a nice benefit for many investors, and some brokerages provide these services to clients. Checking Accounts and Debit Cards are offered by Firstrade while Ally Invest offers Checking Accounts, Savings Accounts, Debit Cards, Credit Cards and Mortgage Loans.

Overall, between Ally Invest and Firstrade, Firstrade is the winner.

Ally Invest Review
Firstrade Review


All pricing data was obtained from a published web site as of 02/18/2019 and is believed to be accurate, but is not guaranteed. 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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