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.
Firstrade pros & cons
- 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.
- 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.
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|Platforms & Tools|
|Mobile Trading Apps|
|Offering of Investments|
|Ease of Use|
Firstrade Trading Platform Screenshots
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.
- 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.
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
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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.
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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.