Using data from the StockBrokers.com 2017 Broker Rankings
, we can compare Charles Schwab vs Firstrade to determine which broker is better for you. Our database includes thousands of data points on everything from research to trading tools. Let's take a closer look at Charles Schwab and Firstrade.
First we will break down the commission charges of both brokers for placing stock and options trades. Charles Schwab and Firstrade charge the same amount for regular stock trades, $4.95. For options trading, both Charles Schwab and Firstrade charge the same base fee of $4.95. Contracts run $0.65 a piece at both brokerages. Note that flat rate trading is not available everywhere though, so it is important to read the complete commission notes for each broker to know the full breakdown (go to any stock broker review
page, then scroll down to the "Commission Notes" section).
Trading fees aside, having access to trade what you want is also an important consideration. Firstrade supports Stock Trading, Options Trading and Mutual Funds while Charles Schwab supports Stock Trading, Options Trading, Mutual Funds and Futures Trading. As far as mutual funds go, Charles Schwab trails Firstrade by 7,026.00 total funds, with Firstrade offering 12191 and Charles Schwab offering 5165. And, commission free ETFs deserve a mention, Charles Schwab offers 229 versus Firstrade's total of 12.
Finally, by looking at the most popular features and offerings of each broker, we can really see the differences between the two. Neither broker offers virtual trading. For mobile trading, Firstrade gives clients access to an iPhone App and Android App while Charles Schwab has an iPhone App, iPad App and Android App. Online banking is also used by many clients, and multiple brokerages provide these services. Checking Accounts and Debit Cards are offered by Firstrade while Charles Schwab offers Checking Accounts, Savings Accounts, Debit Cards, Credit Cards and Mortgage Loans. All things considered, when it comes to platform tools, research, and trading via smartphone, Charles Schwab finished with awards for Best in Class - Platforms & Tools and Best in Class - Research in 2014, while Firstrade came up with none of these.
Overall, Charles Schwab comes out on top with 4.50 stars over Firstrade's 3.50 stars.