Comparing brokers side by side is no easy task. For our 2017 Broker Review
, we assessed 16 brokers on 308 different variables. Yielding a database of over 5,000 data points, let's compare Charles Schwab 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. Charles Schwab and Firstrade both cost $4.95 per trade. Looking at options, the base fees charged are the same for both brokers, $4.95. Option contracts cost $0.65 each at both brokerages. 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 supports Stock Trading, Options Trading and Mutual Funds while Charles Schwab supports Stock Trading, Options Trading, Mutual Funds and Futures Trading. Looking at mutual funds, Firstrade offers its clients access to 12191 different mutual funds while Charles Schwab has 5165 available funds, a difference of 7,026.00. Commission free ETFs can also be valuable for customers, with Firstrade falling behind Charles Schwab, offering 12 commission free ETFs compared to Charles Schwab's 229.
Trading access aside, by comparing popular features and functionality, we can break down relevant differences between both brokers. Charles Schwab nor Firstrade offers virtual trading. Taking a look at mobile trading, Firstrade supports the iPhone App and Android App while Charles Schwab supports the 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 Charles Schwab offers Checking Accounts, Savings Accounts, Debit Cards, Credit Cards and Mortgage Loans. On the whole, when it comes to tools, research, and mobile trading, Charles Schwab was rated Best in Class - Platforms & Tools and Best in Class - Research in 2017, while Firstrade was rated none of these.
Overall, Charles Schwab boasts 4.50 stars versus Firstrade's 3.50 stars.