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Firstrade Review

February 27, 2023

Firstrade scored well in our 2023 Annual Review for ease of use and penny stock trading. Chinese-speaking investors may find Firstrade to be very convenient. We also like the Options Wizard applet and the no-fee or commission options trading. However, it lags behind industry leaders in certain areas, especially platforms, tools, and education.

4.5/5 Stars Overall
  • Minimum Deposit: $0.00
  • Stock Trades: $0.00
  • Options (Per Contract): $0.00
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Earn up to $4,000 in cash rewards

Pros & Cons

thumb_up_off_alt Pros

  • Chinese-speaking investors will find Firstrade very convenient because it provides extensive content and phone support in Chinese.
  • Firstrade has bolstered its options education and trading capabilities. Options Trade Ideas (powered by OptionsPlay) provides trading ideas and reports on specific strategies. The mobile app is easy to use and provides good charting.
  • Firstrade is good for systematic investors. On top of no-commission stock and ETF trades, Firstrade doesn’t charge for mutual fund trades. That can save hands-off investors a ton of money.

thumb_down_off_alt Cons

  • Overall, our Firstrade review found its trading platform and tools to be well behind the best brokers for 2023, especially industry leaders Fidelity, TD Ameritrade and E*TRADE.
  • Investor education is thin, poorly organized and sometimes lacking detail. For example, an article about funding education was located in the retirement tab and neglected to mention 529 plans.
  • Phone support can be challenging. The automated attendant insisted on providing a lengthy answer to the wrong question before finally allowing us to speak with a person.

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

Firstrade trading platform screenshots


Firstrade Navigator:

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 our 2023 Broker Review, 168 customer service tests were conducted over six weeks, with wait times logged for each call.

Customer service representatives were asked for assistance or details 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: 2-3 minutes
  • Average Net Promoter Score: 5.5 / 10
  • Average Professionalism Score: 5.3 / 10
  • Overall Score: 6.1 / 10
  • Ranking: 13th of 14 brokers

How do you use Firstrade Navigator?

Firstrade Navigator, the broker’s trading-focused web platform, requires clients to contact customer support and specifically request it. Then it may take five business days to be enabled. Navigator provides more trading tools than the default web portal, but still trails industry leaders such 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 considered a safe broker. Firstrade is an established firm 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 broker bankruptcy. Its clearing firm, Apex Clearing Corporation, provides additional insurance. Keep in mind, though, that as with all investments, this insurance won’t protect against investments going down.

Is Firstrade good for beginners?

Firstrade is easy to use and has a good mobile experience. For Chinese-speaking customers it could be the best choice. Unfortunately, its lack of education, trading tools, and research makes us believe that most investors and traders will find better fits among our top-ranked brokers for 2023.

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. Anything above $1,000 will become available once the funds clear, with funds available for withdrawal on the fifth business day. Firstrade’s minimum deposit is zero.

About Firstrade

Founded in 1985 and based in New York, Firstrade is a deep-discount online broker that offers $0 stock and options trades.

2023 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 experts’ deep authority in the field; brokers cannot pay for preferential treatment. Here’s more about trustworthiness at

For the 13th Annual Review published in January 2023, a total of 3,332 data points were collected over three months and used to score 17 top brokers. This makes 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.

Firstrade 2023 results

For the 2023 Review, all U.S. equity brokers we reviewed were assessed on 196 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.

Primary categories

Firstrade logoFirstrade Overall Commissions & Fees Research Platforms & Tools Mobile Trading Apps Investment Options Education Ease of Use
Rating 4.5/5 Stars 4.5/5 Stars 4.5/5 Stars 3.5/5 Stars 4.5/5 Stars 4.5/5 Stars 3.5/5 Stars 4.5/5 Stars
Rank #1
Streak #1
Best in Class
Best in Class Streak

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About the Editorial Team

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

Sam Levine is a longtime writer, investor and educator with nearly three decades of experience in the investing industry. His specialty is making even the most complicated investing concepts easy to understand for beginning and intermediate investors. He holds two of the most widely recognized certifications in the investment management industry, the Chartered Financial Analyst and the Chartered Market Technician designations. Previously, he was a contributing editor at BetterInvesting Magazine and a contributor to The Penny Hoarder and other media outlets.

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.

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.