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Firstrade vs Charles Schwab 2019

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 Charles Schwab better than Firstrade? After scoring brokers on over 4,000 data points for our 2019 review, Charles Schwab (84.06%) is better than Firstrade (67.1%). Founded in 1973, Charles Schwab is a full-service brokerage with over $3 trillion in total client assets. As a low-cost leader offering $4.95 stock trades, Charles Schwab provides investors excellent stock research, quality trade tools, and professional planning for the future.

Special Offer Commission-Free Trading on 700+ ETFs Open Account
Special Offer $4.95 online equity trades + $0.65 per options contract Open Account
Open Account Open Account

Overall Rating

Feature Firstrade Charles Schwab
Overall 3.5 4
Firstrade Review Charles Schwab Review

Trading Fees

Feature Firstrade Charles Schwab
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 $49.95
Broker Assisted Trades Fee $19.95 $25.00
Commissions & Fees 4 3.5
Winner check_circle

Margin Rates

Feature Firstrade
Open Account
Charles Schwab
Open Account
Under $24,999.99 9.50% 9.58%
$25,000.00 to $49,999.99 9.00% 9.08%
$50,000.00 to $99,999.99 8.50% 8.13%
$100,000.00 to $249,999.99 8.00% 8.08%
$250,000.00 to $499,999.99 7.75% 7.83%
$500,000.00 to $999,999.99 6.00% 6.58%
Above $1,000,000.00 5.25% 6.25%
Commissions & Fees 4 3.5
Winner check_circle

Account Fees

Feature Firstrade Charles Schwab
IRA Annual Fee $0.00 $0.00
IRA Closure Fee $0.00 $50.00
Returned ACH Fee $50.00 $25.00
Returned Wire Fee $50.00 $25.00
Stock Certificate Processing Fee $300.00 $100.00
Stock Certificate Delivery Fee $300.00 N/A
Paper Statement Fee $5.00 $0.00
Paper Confirmation Fee $3.00 $0.00
Domestic Wire Fee $30.00 $25.00
International Wire Fee $50.00 $25.00
Commissions & Fees 4 3.5

Investment Options

Feature Firstrade Charles Schwab
Stock Trading
Yes Yes
OTCBB / Pink Sheets
Yes Yes
Options Trading
Yes Yes
Complex Options Max Legs
2 4
Futures Trading
No Yes
Forex Trading
No No
Commission-Free ETFs all 503
Mutual Funds (No Load)
5234 5846
Mutual Funds (Total)
12603 5846
Bonds (US Treasury)
Yes Yes
Bonds (Corporate)
Yes Yes
Bonds (Municipal)
Yes Yes
Advisor Services
No Yes
International Trading
No Yes
Offering of Investments 3.5 4.5
Winner check_circle

Order Types

Feature Firstrade Charles Schwab
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 Yes
Order Type - OCO
Yes Yes
Order Type - OTO
Yes Yes
Order Type - OTOCO
No Yes
Offering of Investments 3.5 4.5
Winner check_circle

Trading Platforms

Feature Firstrade Charles Schwab
Desktop Platform (Windows)
No Yes
Desktop Platform (Mac)
No Yes
Web Platform
Yes Yes
Paper Trading
No No
Trade Journal
No Yes
Watch Lists - Total Fields
13 108
Two-Factor Authentication Login
No Yes
Heat Mapping
Yes Yes
Platforms & Tools 2 4.5
Winner check_circle

Charting Features

Feature Firstrade Charles Schwab
Charting - Trade Off Chart
No Yes
Charting - Indicators / Studies
58 41
Charting - Drawing Tools
5 15
Charting - Historical Trades
No No
Charting - Corporate Events
Yes Yes
Charting - Automated Analysis
No Yes
Charting - Save Profiles
No Yes
Charting - Study Customizations
6 6
Charting - Custom Studies
No No
Platforms & Tools 2 4.5
Winner check_circle

Day Trading

Feature Firstrade Charles Schwab
Stock Alerts - Basic Fields
Yes Yes
Stock Alerts - Advanced Fields
No Yes
Streaming Time & Sales
No Yes
Streaming TV
No Yes
Direct Market Routing - Stocks
No Yes
Direct Market Routing - Options
No No
Ladder Trading
No No
Trade Hot Keys
No Yes
Level 2 Quotes - Stocks
No Yes
Level 2 Quotes - Options
No Yes
Trade Ideas - Backtesting
No Yes
Short Locator
No No
Client Liquidity Rebates
No No
Winner check_circle

Mobile Trading Apps

Feature Firstrade Charles Schwab
iPhone App
Yes Yes
Android App
Yes Yes
Apple Watch App
No Yes
Trading - Stocks
Yes Yes
Trading - After-Hours
Yes Yes
Trading - Conditional Orders
No No
Trading - Mutual Funds
No Yes
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 Charles Schwab
Watch List Syncing
Yes Yes
Stock Alerts - Basic Fields
No No
Charting - After Hours
No No
Charting - Drawing
No No
Charting - Study Customizations
Yes Yes
Customizable Homescreen
No No
Heatmapping
No Yes
Stream Live TV
No Yes
Barcode Lookup
No No
Mobile Trading 3.5 4
Winner check_circle

Research Overview

Feature Firstrade Charles Schwab
Research - Stocks
Yes Yes
Research - ETFs
Yes Yes
Research - Mutual Funds
Yes Yes
Research - Pink Sheets / OTCBB
Yes Yes
Research - Fixed Income
Yes Yes
Screener - Stocks
Yes Yes
Screener - ETFs
Yes Yes
Screener - Mutual Funds
Yes Yes
Screener - Options
No Yes
Screener - Bonds
Yes Yes
Misc - Portfolio Builder
No Yes
Misc - Portfolio Allocation
Yes Yes
Research 4 5
Winner check_circle

Stock Research

Feature Firstrade Charles Schwab
Stock Research - Reports
1 8
Stock Research - Earnings
Yes Yes
Stock Research - Insiders
Yes Yes
Stock Research - Metric Comp
Yes Yes
Stock Research - SEC Filings
Yes Yes
Stock Research - Social
No Yes
Stock Research - Balance Sheet
Yes Yes
Stock Research - Cash Flows
Yes Yes
Stock Research - News
Yes Yes
Stock Research - ESG
No No
Research 4 5
Winner check_circle

ETF Research

Feature Firstrade Charles Schwab
ETFs - Strategy Overview
Yes Yes
ETFs - Top 10 Holdings
Yes Yes
ETFs - Sector Exposure
Yes Yes
ETFs - Risk Analysis
Yes Yes
ETFs - Performance Analysis
Yes Yes
ETFs - Ratings
Yes Yes
ETFs - Morningstar StyleMap
Yes Yes
ETFs - Reports
Yes Yes
Research 4 5
Winner check_circle

Mutual Fund Research

Feature Firstrade Charles Schwab
Mutual Funds - Strategy Overview
Yes Yes
Mutual Funds - Prospectus
Yes Yes
Mutual Funds - Reports
No Yes
Mutual Funds - Fees Breakdown
Yes Yes
Mutual Funds - Top 10 Holdings
Yes Yes
Mutual Funds - Asset Allocation
Yes Yes
Mutual Funds - Sector Allocation
Yes Yes
Mutual Funds - Country Allocation
Yes Yes
Mutual Funds - StyleMap
Yes Yes
Mutual Funds - 3rd Party Ratings
Yes Yes
Research 4 5
Winner check_circle

Options Trading

Feature Firstrade Charles Schwab
Option Chains - Streaming
No Yes
Option Chains - Total Columns
8 41
Option Chains - Greeks
5 5
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 Yes
Option Positions - Grouping
No Yes
Platforms & Tools 2 4.5
Winner check_circle

Beginners

Feature Firstrade Charles Schwab
Has Education - Stocks
Yes Yes
Has Education - ETFs
No Yes
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 Yes
Webinars (Monthly Avg)
5 50
Webinars (Archived)
Yes Yes
Live Seminars
No Yes
Progress Tracking
No No
Interactive Learning - Quizzes
No No
Investor Magazine
No Yes
Education 3 4.5
Winner check_circle

Banking

Feature Firstrade Charles Schwab
Retail Locations
2 357
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 4.5
Winner check_circle

Overall

Feature Firstrade Charles Schwab
Firstrade Review Charles Schwab Review
Overall 3.5 4
Winner check_circle
Comparing brokers side by side is no easy task. For our annual broker review, we assess over a dozen brokers on hundreds of different variables to find the best online broker. Yielding a database of over 4,000 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, with its regular stock trades costing $4.95, is more expensive than Firstrade's rate of $0 per trade. With options, the base fees charged are $4.95 (Charles Schwab) and $0 (Firstrade). Option contracts are pricier at Charles Schwab, costing $0.65 versus $0 at Firstrade. 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 provides its clients with Stock Trading, Options Trading and Mutual Funds while Charles Schwab provides clients access to Stock Trading, Options Trading, Mutual Funds and Futures Trading. Looking at mutual funds, Charles Schwab trails Firstrade by 6,757 total mutual funds, with Firstrade offering 12603 and Charles Schwab offering 5846.

Trading access aside, by comparing popular features and functionality, we can break down relevant differences between both brokers. Neither broker offers virtual trading. Taking a look at mobile trading, Both Charles Schwab and Firstrade offer clients access to an 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 available to clients of Firstrade while Charles Schwab offers customers Checking Accounts, Savings Accounts, Debit Cards, Credit Cards and Mortgage Loans.

Overall, between Charles Schwab and Firstrade, Charles Schwab is the winner.

Charles Schwab 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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