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Firstrade vs Ally Invest 2019

Blain Reinkensmeyer

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 Firstrade better than Ally Invest? After scoring brokers in nine separate categories for our 2019 review, Firstrade (67.1%) is better than Ally Invest (62.44%). While Firstrade lacks a feature-rich platform, the broker offers commission-free trading, maintains a clean website, and offers its customers the basics to maintain a long-term portfolio.

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Overall Rating

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

Trading Fees

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

Margin Rates

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

Account Fees

Feature Firstrade Ally Invest
IRA Annual Fee 0 0
IRA Closure Fee 0 50
Returned ACH Fee 50 30
Returned Wire Fee 50 30
Stock Certificate Processing Fee 300 300
Stock Certificate Delivery Fee 300 300
Paper Statement Fee 5 2
Paper Confirmation Fee 3 1
Domestic Wire Fee 30 30
International Wire Fee 50 N/A
Commissions & Fees 4 3.5

Investment Options

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

Order Types

Feature Firstrade Ally Invest
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
Yes No
Order Type - OCO
Yes Yes
Order Type - OTO
Yes Yes
Order Type - OTOCO
No No
Offering of Investments 3.5 4
Winner check_circle

Trading Platforms

Feature Firstrade Ally Invest
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
13 21
Two-Factor Authentication Login
No Yes
Heat Mapping
Yes No
Platforms & Tools 2 2.5
Winner check_circle

Charting Features

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

Day Trading

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

Mobile App Features

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

Research Overview

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

Stock Research

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

ETF Research

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

Mutual Fund Research

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

Options Trading

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

Beginners

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

Banking

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

Overall

Feature Firstrade Ally Invest
Firstrade Review Ally Invest Review
Overall 3.5 3
Winner check_circle
Using data from our latest annual broker review which tested more than a dozen different online brokers over six months, we can compare Ally Invest vs Firstrade to determine which broker is best. Let's dive in.

First, we will break down the commission charges of both brokers for placing stock and options trades. Ally Invest charges more than Firstrade for placing regular stock trades ($4.95 and $0, respectively). For options trading, Ally Invest has a base fee of $4.95, and Firstrade a base fee of $0. Each option contract then costs $0.65 at Ally Invest and $0 at Firstrade. Instead of flat rate fees, several brokers charge a per-share fee instead. For a complete review of trading charges, read our full online broker reviews.

Next, investors want to make sure they can trade the investment vehicle they want. 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. As far as mutual funds go, Ally Invest boasts an offering of 14000 mutual funds compared to Firstrade's 12603 available funds.

Finally, by comparing the each broker's website and platform features, we can surface interesting differences. Ally Invest nor Firstrade offers virtual trading. For mobile trading, Ally Invest along with Firstrade both support the iPhone App, iPad App and Android App. Online banking is also used by many customers, and multiple full-service brokerages provide these services. Checking Accounts and Debit Cards are available to clients of Firstrade while Ally Invest offers customers 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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