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 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 charges $4.95 per stock trade which is $2.00 more than Firstrade which charges customers $2.95 per trade. Looking at trading options, Firstrade's base fee is $2.95 while Charles Schwab's is $4.95. Option contracts are pricier at Charles Schwab, costing $0.65 versus $0.50 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 offers clients Stock Trading, Options Trading and Mutual Funds while Charles Schwab offers Stock Trading, Options Trading, Mutual Funds and Futures Trading. Looking at mutual funds, Firstrade offers its clients access to 12603 different mutual funds while Charles Schwab has 5509 available funds, a difference of 7,094. Commission free ETFs can also be valuable for customers, Charles Schwab offers 244 commission free ETFs versus Firstrade's total of 12.
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, Charles Schwab along with Firstrade both support 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 finished with awards Best in Class - Platforms & Tools and Best in Class - Research, while Firstrade came up with none of these.
Overall, Charles Schwab boasts 4.50 stars versus Firstrade's 3.50 stars.