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Firstrade vs Ally Invest 2021

Is Ally Invest better than Firstrade? After testing 11 of the best online brokers over three months, Firstrade (78.89%) is better than Ally Invest (76.84%). While Firstrade is easy to use and terrific for Chinese-speaking investors, its overall offering struggles to stand out against brokers who also offer $0 stock trades.


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Overall Rating

Feature Firstrade Ally Invest
Overall 4 4
Commissions & Fees 4.5 4.5
Offering of Investments 4.5 4
Platforms & Tools 2.5 3
Mobile Trading 4 3.5
Research 4 3.5
Education 3 3.5
Ease of Use 5 5
Firstrade Review Ally Invest Review
Winner check_circle

Trading Fees

Feature Firstrade Ally Invest
Minimum Deposit $0.00 $0.00
Stock Trades $0.00 $0.00
ETF Trade Fee $0.00 $0.00
Mutual Fund Trade Fee $0.00 $9.95
Options (Base Fee) $0.00 $0.00
Options (Per Contract) $0.00 $0.50
Futures (Per Contract) N/A N/A
Broker Assisted Trade Fee $19.95 $20.00

Margin Rates

Feature Firstrade Ally Invest
Under $24,999.99 8.75% 7.75%
$25,000.00 to $49,999.99 8.25% 7.50%
$50,000.00 to $99,999.99 7.75% 6.75%
$100,000.00 to $249,999.99 7.25% 5.50%
$250,000.00 to $499,999.99 7.00% 4.50%
$500,000.00 to $999,999.99 5.10% 4.00%
Above $1,000,000.00 4.50% 3.25%

Account Fees

Feature Firstrade Ally Invest
IRA Annual Fee $0.00 $0.00
IRA Closure Fee $0.00 $25.00
Account Transfer Out (Partial)
$55.00 $50.00
Account Transfer Out (Full)
$75.00 $50.00

Investment Options

Feature Firstrade Ally Invest
Stock Trading
Yes Yes
Fractional Shares
No No
OTCBB / Pink Sheets
Yes Yes
Options Trading
Yes Yes
Complex Options Max Legs
4 4
Futures Trading
No No
Forex Trading
No Yes
Crypto Trading
No No
Crypto Trading - Total Coins
0 0
Mutual Funds (No Load)
13777 11806
Mutual Funds (Total)
19027 19024
Bonds (US Treasury)
Yes Yes
Bonds (Corporate)
Yes Yes
Bonds (Municipal)
Yes Yes
Advisor Services
No Yes
International Trading
No No

Order Types

Feature Firstrade Ally Invest
Order Type - Market
Yes Yes
Order Type - Limit
Yes Yes
Order Type - After-Hours
Yes Yes
Order Type - Stop
Yes Yes
Order Type - Trailing Stop
Yes No
Order Type - OCO
Yes No
Order Type - OTO
Yes No
Order Type - Broker Assisted
Yes Yes

Beginners

Feature Firstrade Ally Invest
Education (Stocks)
Yes Yes
Education (ETFs)
No Yes
Education (Options)
Yes Yes
Education (Mutual Funds)
No Yes
Education (Bonds)
No Yes
Education (Retirement)
Yes Yes
Retirement Calculator
Yes No
Investor Dictionary
Yes Yes
Paper Trading
No No
Videos
Yes No
Webinars (Monthly Avg)
26 15
Webinars (Archived)
Yes Yes
Progress Tracking
No No
Interactive Learning - Quizzes
No No

Stock 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 Yes
Trading - Simple Options
Yes Yes
Trading - Complex Options
Yes Yes
Order Ticket RT Quotes
Yes Yes
Order Ticket SRT Quotes
Yes No

Stock App Features

Feature Firstrade Ally Invest
Market Movers (Top Gainers)
Yes Yes
Stream Live TV
No No
Videos on Demand
No No
Stock Alerts
No No
Option Chains Viewable
Yes Yes
Watch List (Real-time)
Yes Yes
Watch List (Streaming)
Yes No
Watch Lists - Create & Manage
Yes Yes
Watch Lists - Column Customization
Yes No
Watch List - Column Filtering
Yes No

Stock App Charting

Feature Firstrade Ally Invest
Charting - After-Hours
No No
Charting - Can Turn Horizontally
Yes Yes
Charting - Multiple Time Frames
Yes Yes
Charting - Technical Studies
81 17
Charting - Study Customizations
Yes No
Charting - Stock Comparisons
No Yes

Trading Platforms

Feature Firstrade Ally Invest
Desktop Trading Platform
No No
Web Trading Platform
Yes Yes
Paper Trading
No No
Trade Journal
No No
Watch Lists - Total Fields
47 21

Stock Chart Features

Feature Firstrade Ally Invest
Charting - Adjust Trades on Chart
No No
Charting - Indicators / Studies
102 117
Charting - Drawing Tools
8 36
Charting - Notes
No Yes
Charting - Index Overlays
Yes Yes
Charting - Historical Trades
No No
Charting - Corporate Events
Yes Yes
Charting - Custom Date Range
No No
Charting - Custom Time Bars
No No
Charting - Automated Analysis
No Yes
Charting - Save Profiles
No Yes
Trade Ideas - Technical Analysis
No Yes
Charting - Study Customizations
6 5
Charting - Custom Studies
No No

Day Trading

Feature Firstrade Ally Invest
Streaming Time & Sales
No No
Streaming TV
No No
Direct Market Routing - Stocks
No No
Ladder Trading
No No
Trade Hot Keys
No No
Level 2 Quotes - Stocks
No No
Trade Ideas - Backtesting
No Yes
Trade Ideas - Backtesting Adv
No No
Short Locator
No No
Order Liquidity Rebates
No No

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 - Bonds
Yes No
Screener - Stocks
Yes No
Screener - ETFs
Yes Yes
Screener - Mutual Funds
Yes No
Screener - Options
No No
Screener - Bonds
Yes Yes
Misc - Portfolio Builder
No Yes
Misc - Portfolio Allocation
Yes No

Stock Research

Feature Firstrade Ally Invest
Stock Research - PDF Reports
1 2
Stock Research - Earnings
Yes Yes
Stock Research - Insiders
Yes Yes
Stock Research - SEC Filings
Yes Yes
Stock Research - Social
No No
Stock Research - Balance Sheet
Yes Yes
Stock Research - Cash Flows
Yes Yes
Stock Research - News
Yes Yes
Stock Research - ESG
No No

ETF Research

Feature Firstrade Ally Invest
ETFs - Strategy Overview
Yes Yes
ETF Fund Facts - Inception Date
Yes Yes
ETF Fund Facts - Expense Ratio
Yes Yes
ETF Fund Facts - Net Assets
Yes Yes
ETF Fund Facts - Total Holdings
Yes Yes
ETFs - Top 10 Holdings
Yes Yes
ETFs - Performance Analysis
Yes Yes
ETFs - Sector Exposure
Yes No
ETFs - Risk Analysis
Yes Yes
ETFs - Ratings
Yes Yes
ETFs - Morningstar StyleMap
Yes No
ETFs - PDF Reports
Yes Yes

Mutual Fund Research

Feature Firstrade Ally Invest
Mutual Funds - Strategy Overview
Yes Yes
Mutual Funds - Performance Chart
Yes Yes
Mutual Funds - Performance Analysis
Yes Yes
Mutual Funds - Prospectus
Yes No
Mutual Funds - PDF Reports
No Yes
Mutual Funds - Fees Breakdown
Yes Yes
Mutual Funds - Top 10 Holdings
Yes Yes
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

Options Trading

Feature Firstrade Ally Invest
Option Chains - Basic View
Yes Yes
Option Chains - Strategy View
Yes Yes
Option Chains - Streaming
No Yes
Option Chains - Total Columns
8 8
Option Chains - Greeks
5 1
Option Positions - Greeks Streaming
No No
Option Chains - Quick Analysis
No Yes
Option Analysis - P&L Charts
No Yes
Option Probability Analysis
No Yes
Option Probability Analysis Adv
No No
Option Positions - Greeks
No Yes
Option Positions - Adv Analysis
No Yes
Option Positions - Rolling
Yes Yes
Option Positions - Grouping
No Yes

Banking

Feature Firstrade Ally Invest
Bank (Member FDIC)
No Yes
Checking Accounts
Yes Yes
Savings Accounts
No Yes
Credit Cards
No No
Debit Cards
Yes Yes
Mortgage Loans
No Yes

Customer Service

Feature Firstrade Ally Invest
Phone Support (Prospect Customers)
Yes Yes
Phone Support (Current Customers)
Yes Yes
Email Support
Yes Yes
Live Chat (Prospect Customers)
Yes Yes
Live Chat (Current Customers)
Yes Yes
24/7 Support
No No

Overall

Feature Firstrade Ally Invest
Overall 4 4
Commissions & Fees 4.5 4.5
Offering of Investments 4.5 4
Platforms & Tools 2.5 3
Mobile Trading 4 3.5
Research 4 3.5
Education 3 3.5
Ease of Use 5 5
Firstrade Review Ally Invest Review
Winner check_circle

Comparing brokers side by side is no easy task. For our 2021 annual broker review, we spent hundreds of hours assessing 11 brokerages to find the best online broker. Let's compare Ally Invest vs Firstrade.

Is Ally Invest or Firstrade better for beginners?
Ally Invest is better for beginner investors than Firstrade. Ally Invest offers investors access to Education (Stocks), Education (ETFs), Education (Options), Education (Mutual Funds), Education (Bonds) and Education (Retirement).

What about Ally Invest vs Firstrade pricing?
Ally Invest and Firstrade have equal fees for trading stocks (equities), $0 per trade. With options, the base fee is $0 for both Ally Invest and Firstrade. Option contracts are pricier at Ally Invest, costing $0.50 versus $0 at Firstrade. For a complete commissions summary, see our best discount brokers guide.

Does Ally Invest or Firstrade offer a wider range of investment options?
Firstrade offers a more diverse selection of investment options than Ally Invest. Firstrade offers investors access to Stock Trading, OTCBB / Pink Sheets, Options Trading and Mutual Funds. Looking at Mutual Funds, Firstrade boasts an offering of 19027 mutual funds compared to Ally Invest's 19024 available funds.

Which trading platform is better: Ally Invest or Firstrade?
To compare the trading platforms of both Ally Invest and Firstrade, we tested each broker's trading tools, research capabilities, and mobile apps. For trading tools, Ally Invest offers a better experience. With research, Firstrade offers superior market research. Finally, we found Firstrade to provide better mobile trading apps.

Does either broker offer banking?
Online banking can be a benefit for investors, and some brokerages do provide banking services to customers. Checking Accounts and Debit Cards are available to clients of Firstrade while Ally Invest offers customers Checking Accounts, Savings Accounts, Debit Cards and Mortgage Loans.

Overall winner: Firstrade

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All pricing data was obtained from a published web site as of 01/19/2021 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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