Founded in 2000, ChoiceTrade is an online broker that advertises unlimited free stock trades. Unfortunately, overall, ChoiceTrade provides customers a terrible all-around online investing experience not worth the hassle.
Top Takeaways for 2019
After spending six months testing 16 online brokers for our ninth annual stock broker review, here are our top findings on ChoiceTrade:
- Despite being a brand established way back in 2000, few investors have heard of ChoiceTrade, and there are clear reasons why.
- In our testing, we found that ChoiceTrade underperforms in every aspect of the trading experience, from Trading Platforms to Research, Mobile Trading, and Ease of Use.
- We do not recommend ChoiceTrade for IRA accounts, beginners, or day trading.
- In our nationwide testing, we found ChoiceTrade's phone service to below industry standards.
- While ChoiceTrade markets free trading, the bottom line is that there is fine print, including inactivity fees, which customers should be aware of. Details aside, given the ultra-competitive $0 trades market, we still do not recommend ChoiceTrade for discount trading or trading penny stocks.
|Commissions & Fees|
|Offering of Investments|
|Platforms & Tools|
|Ease of Use|
Commissions & Fees
ChoiceTrade offers $0 stock trades for US customers and options trades for $.40 per contract ($50 per month cap). Specifically, traders get unlimited free stock trades if the stock is over $1 per share, traded on the NASDAQ or NYSE, a market or limit order is used, and you are not trading after hours. After-hours trades cost an additional $.005 per share and miscellaneous account fees are far higher than the industry average. Stocks are $1 cost $7 per trade.
ChoiceTrade also assesses a $35 quarterly inactivity fee for any account that does not place at least five trades during the current calendar quarter.
ChoiceTrade pricing summary:
|Stock Trade Fee (per trade)||$0.00|
|ETF Trade Fee||$0.00|
|Options Base Fee||$0.00|
|Options Per Contract Fee||$0.40|
|Mutual Fund Trade Fee||N/A|
|Broker Assisted Trades Fee||$30.00|
Platforms & Tools
ChoiceTrade’s default web-based platform, ChoiceTrader, is extremely difficult to use, outdated, and is worth avoiding at all costs. While our testing focused on ChoiceTrader, if I were to use ChoiceTrade, I would pay the additional monthly fee to use one of three third-party platforms offered (prices start at $14.95/mo).
Beyond pulling basic stock quotes and conducting elementary research such as viewing a balance sheet or income statement, ChoiceTrade has little to offer. No ETFs research is offered beyond basic quotes, no mutual funds research is provided, and screeners are nowhere to be found.
To score Customer Service, StockBrokers.com partners with customer experience research group Confero to conduct phone tests from locations throughout the United States. For our 2019 Broker Review, 300 customer service tests were conducted over ten weeks.
- Average Connection Time: <1 minute
- Average Net Promoter Score: 6.5 / 10
- Average Professionalism Score: 5.6 / 10
- Overall Score: 6.7 / 10
- Ranking: 15 th (16 brokers)
ChoiceTrade offers a mobile app for its customers that supports only the bare-bones basics for investing on the go. While both iOS and Android apps offered, there is no real-time streaming market data and even basic price alerts are not supported.
Offering of Investments
Beyond providing a platform on which to trade stocks and options online, ChoiceTrade has little to offer. Worse yet, there is no two-factor authentication login option for secure logins.
Because ChoiceTrade has been in operation since 2000 and because of its focus on discounted stocks as well as options trades, I was optimistic my testing would uncover a winner.
Unfortunately, what I found were dozens of reasons explaining why the broker has had little success and remains elusive to the online investor world.
Although founded in 2000, ChoiceTrade is a brand few traders have heard of. After examining the web-based offering, it’s clear why the broker has not become a household name.
I first headed to ChoiceTrade’s “About Us” page and was greeted with bland, broad, templated text describing how the broker focuses on technology and powerful solutions for traders. There was no information about the founder or the company itself. Instead, the content includes a stock photo image of a Wall Street sign.
This was just the start, as the deeper I explored ChoiceTrade’s website, the more questions I had.
2019 Review Methodology
For the StockBrokers.com ninth annual best online brokers review published in February 2019, a total of 4,544 data points were collected over six months and used to score brokers. This makes StockBrokers.com home to the largest independent database on the web covering the online broker industry.
Participation is required to be included. Each broker completed an in-depth data profile and provided executive time (live in person or over the web) for an annual update meeting. Our rigorous data validation process yields an error rate of less than .001% each year, providing site visitors quality data they can trust. Learn more about how we test.
About the author: Blain Reinkensmeyer As Head of Research at StockBrokers.com, Blain Reinkensmeyer has 18 years of trading experience with over 1,000 trades placed during that time. Referenced as a leading expert on the US online brokerage industry, Blain has been quoted in the WSJ, The New York Times, Forbes, and the Chicago Tribune, among others.