The StockBrokers.com annual broker review assesses more than a dozen different brokers over six months, surfacing the best online stock brokers
. This review compares Charles Schwab vs Firstrade. Is Charles Schwab or Firstrade a better online broker?
First, we will make a comparison of the stock and option trading fees for trading with both brokers. Charles Schwab charges $4.95 per stock trade which is $2.00 more than Firstrade which charges customers $2.95 per trade. With options, the base fees charged are $4.95 (Charles Schwab) and $2.95 (Firstrade). Firstrade's per contract rate of $0.50 is less than Charles Schwab which charges $0.65. Note that some brokers charge a per-share fee instead of a flat-fee commission. For a full breakdown of commissions, read our online broker reviews
For our next comparison of these two brokers, being able to trade the way you want is a must. Firstrade supports Stock Trading, Options Trading and Mutual Funds while Charles Schwab supports Stock Trading, Options Trading, Mutual Funds and Futures Trading. When it comes to mutual funds, Charles Schwab trails Firstrade by 7,094 total mutual funds, with Firstrade offering 12603 and Charles Schwab offering 5509. Commission free ETFs can also be a nice plus, with Charles Schwab falling behind Firstrade, offering 244 commission free ETFs compared to Firstrade's 703.
Last but not least, by breaking down important features, tools, etc that each broker offers, we can really help to separate the two. Neither broker offers virtual trading. For mobile trading, Charles Schwab along with Firstrade both support the iPhone App, iPad App and Android App. Furthermore, some investors like to bank online, and multiple brokerages provide these services to clients. Checking Accounts and Debit Cards are available to clients of Firstrade while Charles Schwab offers customers Checking Accounts, Savings Accounts, Debit Cards, Credit Cards and Mortgage Loans. On the whole, when it comes to tools, research, and mobile trading, unfortunately, neither Charles Schwab nor Firstrade received awards Best in Class - Platforms & Tools, Best in Class - Research and Best in Class - Mobile Trading.
Overall, Charles Schwab boasts 4.50 stars versus Firstrade's 4.00 stars.