is committed to the highest ethical standards and reviews services independently. Learn how we make money.

Firstrade Review

Sam Levine, CFA, CMT

Written by Sam Levine, CFA, CMT
Edited by Carolyn Kimball
Fact-checked by Steven Hatzakis
Reviewed by Blain Reinkensmeyer

April 11, 2024

Firstrade scored well in our testing penny stock trading. Chinese-speaking investors will appreciate Firstrade’s Cantonese and Mandarin content. On the downside, Firstrade’s platforms, tools, and education trail industry leaders.

4.5/5 Stars Overall
  • Minimum Deposit: $0.00
  • Stock Trades: $0.00
  • Options (Per Contract): $0.00
cancel Visit Site

Buy fractional shares starting at $5.

Pros & Cons

thumb_up_off_alt Pros

  • Firstrade is great for dollar cost averaging investors. On top of no-commission stock, option, and ETF trades, Firstrade doesn’t charge for mutual fund trades.
  • Fractional shares are available for 4,000 stocks/ETFs, and the minimum trade size is only $5.00.
  • Firstrade has bolstered its options capabilities. Options Trade Ideas (powered by OptionsPlay) provides trading ideas and reports on specific strategies.
  • Firstrade's mobile stock trading app is easy to use and provides good charts.
  • Firstrade provides exceptional support for Chinese-speaking customers.

thumb_down_off_alt Cons

  • Firstrade is stronger in pricing than features. We found its trading platform and tools to be adquate but well behind the best brokers for 2024, especially industry leaders Fidelity, TD Ameritrade and E*TRADE.
  • Investor education is thin and could be better organized. For example, an article about funding education was located in the retirement tab.

Overall summary

Feature Firstrade logoFirstrade
Overall 4.5/5 Stars
Investment Options 4.5/5 Stars
Commissions & Fees 4.5/5 Stars
Mobile Trading Apps 4.5/5 Stars
Platforms & Tools 3.5/5 Stars
Research 4.5/5 Stars
Customer Service 3.0/5 Stars
Education 3.5/5 Stars
Ease Of Use 4.5/5 Stars

feed Recent news

January 2024: Crypto ETFs. Firstrade now allows trading of spot bitcoin ETFs in brokerage accounts.

Firstrade trading platform screenshots

Mobile app:

phone_iphone Learn more

If you prefer trading on the go, see our picks for best mobile apps for stock trading.

Customer service

To score Customer Service, partners with customer experience research firm Confero to conduct phone tests from locations throughout the United States. For this year's testing, 135 customer service tests were conducted over six weeks, with wait times logged for each call.

Customer service representatives were asked for assistance or details for prospective customers in several areas of broker services, including account opening, trading tools, apps, rollovers, active trading, and more. Here are the results for Firstrade.

  • Average Connection Time: 1-2 minutes
  • Average Net Promoter Score: 7.1 / 10
  • Average Professionalism Score: 7.5 / 10
  • Overall Score: 7.43 / 10
  • Ranking: 9th of 13 brokers

Is Firstrade good for beginners?

While Firstrade didn't make it onto our current shortlist of best trading platforms for beginners, it’s inexpensive, easy to use and the mobile app isn’t overwhelming. For Chinese-speaking customers it could be the best choice. Sophisticated investors and traders will find better fits among our top-ranked brokers for 2024.

Does Firstrade have fees?

Yes, Firstrade has fees, but they are mainly for incidental services, such as transferring the account out. Firstrade does not charge annual account fees, nor does it charge trading fees for stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, and options.

What is the minimum deposit for Firstrade?

Firstrade has no account minimums, so feel free to open an account simply to try out the tools and features.

How do you use Firstrade Navigator?

Firstrade Navigator, the broker’s trading-focused web platform, requires clients to contact customer support and ask for it. Navigator provides more trading tools than the default web portal, but it doesn’t provide as many whizbang features and gadgets as E*TRADE, TD Ameritrade, tastytrade, and Interactive 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?

Yes, Firstrade is safe. Firstrade was founded in 1985 and is 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 broker bankruptcy. Its clearing firm, Apex Clearing Corporation, provides additional insurance.

Does Firstrade offer instant deposit?

Firstrade can accept money via ACH transfer, wire transfer, check, and asset transfer. Firstrade will give you up to $1,000 of instant buying power on your initial ACH deposit.

About Firstrade

Founded in 1985, Flushing, New York-based Firstrade is a deep-discount online broker that offers $0 stock, ETF, mutual fund, and options trades. Firstrade was among the earliest U.S. brokers to launch retail cryptocurrency trading.

Firstrade 2024 Results

For the 2024 Annual Awards, announced on Jan. 23, 2024, all U.S. equity brokers we reviewed were assessed on over 200 different variables across eight areas: Commissions & Fees, Investment Options, Platforms & Tools, Research, Mobile Trading, Education, Ease of Use, and Overall. also presented “Best in Class” awards to brokers for additional categories Beginners, Options Trading, Futures Trading, Active Trading, IRA Accounts, Investor Community, Penny Stock Trading, Banking Services and Customer Service. A “Best in Class” designation means finishing in the top five brokers for that category.

For more information, see how we test. New to investing? Check out the 5 step guide on how to invest on our sister site,

Category awards

Firstrade logoFirstrade Penny Stock Trading
Rank #1
Streak #1
Best in Class check
Best in Class Streak 2 Review Methodology

Our mission at 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 in-house experts’ deep authority in the field; brokers cannot pay for preferential treatment. Here’s more about trustworthiness at

Our research team conducts thorough testing on a wide range of features, products, services, and tools for U.S. investors, collecting and validating thousands of data points in the process; this makes home to the largest independent database on the web covering the online broker industry. We test all available trading platforms for each broker and evaluate them based on a host of data-driven variables. All research, writing and data collection at is done by humans, for humans. Read our generative AI policy here.

As part of our process, all brokers had the annual 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.

Read next

More Guides

Popular Stock Broker Reviews

About the Editorial Team

Sam Levine, CFA, CMT
Sam Levine, CFA, CMT

Sam Levine has over 30 years of experience in the investing field as a portfolio manager, financial consultant, investment strategist and writer. He also taught investing as an adjunct professor of finance at Wayne State University. Sam holds the Chartered Financial Analyst and the Chartered Market Technician designations and is pursuing a master's in personal financial planning at the College for Financial Planning. Previously, he was a contributing editor at BetterInvesting Magazine and a contributor to The Penny Hoarder and other media outlets.

Carolyn Kimball
Carolyn Kimball

Carolyn Kimball is managing editor for Reink Media and the lead editor for the Annual Review. Carolyn has more than 20 years of writing and editing experience at major media outlets including NerdWallet, the Los Angeles Times and the San Jose Mercury News. She specializes in coverage of personal financial products and services, wielding her editing skills to clarify complex (some might say befuddling) topics to help consumers make informed decisions about their money.

Steven Hatzakis
Steven Hatzakis

Steven Hatzakis is the Global Director of Research for Steven previously served as an Editor for Finance Magnates, where he authored over 1,000 published articles about the online finance industry. Steven is an active fintech and crypto industry researcher and advises blockchain companies at the board level. Over the past 20 years, Steven has held numerous positions within the international forex markets, from writing to consulting to serving as a registered commodity futures representative.

Blain Reinkensmeyer
Blain Reinkensmeyer

Blain Reinkensmeyer has 20 years of trading experience with over 2,500 trades placed during that time. He heads research for all U.S.-based brokerages on and is respected by executives as the leading expert covering the online broker industry. Blain’s insights have been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and the Chicago Tribune, among other media outlets.