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Firstrade Review

Blain Reinkensmeyer

Chris McKhann

January 10th, 2022

Firstrade scored well in our 2022 Annual Review for ease of use, and is a great choice for Chinese-speaking investors. However, it lags behind the competition in certain areas, especially platforms, tools and education.


Commission-Free Trading on 700+ ETFs

Firstrade pros & cons

Pros:

  • Firstrade is an excellent broker for Chinese-speaking investors. There is 24/7 customer service for Chinese-speaking customers, as well as a variety of education (especially in options trading) and a morning market overview in Chinese five days a week.
  • Firstrade has bolstered its options trading capabilities and education around options. Options Trade Ideas (powered by OptionsPlay) provides trading ideas and reports on specific strategies. Options education is multi-tiered and offered in two languages. And there are no commissions.
  • The mobile app is appealing and easy to use and provides good charting.

Cons:

  • Overall, the trading platform and tools are well behind the best brokers for 2022, especially industry leaders Fidelity, TD Ameritrade and E*TRADE.
  • Education is lacking. Firstrade offers a smattering of educational content, and it is laid out by category, but it is canned and one-dimensional.
  • While the Options Wizard is a cool tool, it was not sized to fit laptop screens, so much of the screen is unreadable. It is also very slow to load.

Overall summary

FeatureFirstrade
Overall 4 Stars
Commissions & Fees 4.5 Stars
Platforms & Tools 2 Stars
Research 4 Stars
Mobile Trading Apps 4.5 Stars
Offering of Investments 4.5 Stars
Education 3 Stars
Ease of Use 4.5 Stars

--> View Firstrade Features List

Firstrade Trading Platform Screenshots


Website:

Mobile app:

Customer service

To score Customer Service, StockBrokers.com partners with customer experience research firm Confero to conduct phone tests from locations throughout the United States. For our 2022 Broker Review, 159 customer service tests were conducted over six weeks. Here are the results for Firstrade.

Results

  • Average Connection Time: <1 minute
  • Average Net Promoter Score: 6.6 / 10
  • Average Professionalism Score: 5.7 / 10
  • Overall Score: 6.7 / 10
  • Ranking: 9th of 13 brokers

How does Firstrade make money?

Like virtually all online brokerages, Firstrade makes money through payment for order flow, or PFOF. In this practice, a broker receives payment for routing its clients’ transactions through particular market makers. The practice is the subject of some controversy, but remains common industry practice. Fidelity is an exception in not accepting PFOF. (Learn more about PFOF.)

Is Firstrade safe?

Firstrade is an established broker and a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation, or SIPC, which provides up to $500,000 of coverage of a client’s assets in the event of a broker bankruptcy. Its clearing firm, Apex Clearing Corporation, provides additional insurance.

Is Firstrade good for beginners?

Firstrade is easy to use and has a good mobile experience. For Chinese-speaking customers it is an excellent choice. Its lack of education, trading tools and research mean that most investors and traders will likely find a better fit among our top-ranked brokers for 2022.

About Firstrade

Founded in 1985 and headquartered in New York, Firstrade is a deep-discount online broker that offers $0 stock and options trades. Firstrade's focus on supporting Chinese-speaking American investors is a standout attribute.

2022 Review Methodology

Our mission at StockBrokers.com is simple: provide thorough and unbiased reviews of online brokers, based on an extraordinary level of hands-on testing and data collection. Our ratings and awards are based on this data and our experts’ deep authority in the field; brokers cannot pay for preferential treatment. Here’s more about trustworthiness at StockBrokers.com.

For the StockBrokers.com 12th Annual Review published in January 2022, a total of 3,075 data points were collected over three months and used to score 15 top brokers. This makes StockBrokers.com home to the largest independent database on the web covering the online broker industry.

As part of our annual review process, all brokers had the opportunity to provide updates and key milestones and complete an in-depth data profile, which we hand-checked for accuracy. Brokers also were offered the opportunity to provide executive time 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 20 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 Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, and Fast Company, among others.


Chris McKhann

Chris McKhann has been in the industry for more than 20 years. He has worked for many of the top names in the online trading space, including TD Ameritrade and optionMONSTER, which later became part of E*TRADE. His work has been cited in the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, the Financial Times, Forbes, CNBC, Nasdaq.com and Nikkei. He has also been an advisor and outside trader for several hedge funds. He was one of the first traders to delve into the VIX tradable products and to write about them (back in 2006). Chris is also an educator who teaches high school statistics, finance and computer science.








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All pricing data was obtained from a published web site as of 01/10/2022 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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