IMPORTANT NOTICE AUGUST 2018: Capital One has decided to sell its self-directed investing accounts to E*TRADE and cease its operations. In total, over 1 million brokerage accounts are being acquired by E*TRADE. Please read our E*TRADE Review for a full breakdown of the broker.
Capital One Investing started out as ShareBuilder back in 1996 (Capital One acquired ShareBuilder in 2011) with the goal of making investing affordable and easy. Today, in 2018, Capital One Investing continues to succeed, thanks to its automatic investments, pleasant customer service, and clean website.
Commissions & Fees
Capital One Investing is the only broker to offer its customers a separate rate to take advantage of discounted automatic investments.
Under the broker’s base commission structure, regular stock trades cost $6.95, options trades run at $6.95 plus $0.75 per contract (complex, multi-legged options are not supported), and automatic investments are $3.95 each.
Compared to big-name brokers, such as TD Ameritrade, ETRADE, Scottrade, and Fidelity Investments, Capital One Investing is in line, or more expensive on a per trade basis.
|View All Fees||Capital One Investing||Merrill Edge||Fidelity||Charles Schwab||Ally Invest|
|Stock Trade Fee (flat)||$6.95||$6.95||$4.95||$4.95||$4.95|
|Options Base Fee||$6.95||$6.95||$4.95||$4.95||$4.95|
|Options Per Contract Fee||$0.75||$0.75||$0.65||$0.65||$0.65|
|Mutual Fund Trade Fee||$19.95||$19.95||$49.95||$49.95||$9.95|
|Broker Assisted Trades Fee||$19.95||$29.95||$32.95||$25.00||$20.00|
|Commissions & Fees|
Capital One Investing stands out with its automatic investments (also known as the ShareBuilder Plan), which enables customers to automatically buy shares of 1,149 different mutual funds each month (all automatic investments take place on Tuesdays) for only $3.95 per trade. One drawback for customers in 2018 is that prior to January 2018, the ShareBuilder Plan supported stocks and ETFs as well.
Simplicity is what makes Capital One Investing so attractive for investors...
Simplicity is what makes Capital One Investing so attractive for investors who want to "set it and forget it" with their personal or retirement accounts.
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 2018 Broker Review, 260 customer service tests were conducted over ten weeks. The data collected is institutional grade and sets the current industry benchmarks.
- Average Connection Time: 1 - 2 minutes
- Average Net Promoter Score: 7.7 / 10
- Average Professionalism Score: 7.1 / 10
- Overall Score: 7.69 / 10
- Ranking: 7th (13 brokers)
- View Infographic
Ease of Use
The shining star in Capital One Investing’s arsenal is the website's ease of use. Everything, from navigation to placing trades and performing research, is an effortless experience. The website boasts a very clean design, and it is clear Capital One Investing takes its time before launching anything new to ensure top-notch service for its customers.
One recommendation I would make for Capital One Investing in 2018 is to create a customizable dashboard for customers to replace the current boring My Accounts overview page.
For research, I found Capital One Investing's coverage of equities, ETFs, and mutual funds sufficient, thanks to their use of Morningstar as their primary provider. Although the broker purposely supports little more than 1,000 mutual funds for trading (focus on quality over quantity), I was impressed by the depth of research provided.
Capital One Investing only offers no-load and no transaction fee funds.
On the topic of quality over quantity, Capital One Investing only offers no-load and no transaction fee funds. Excluding loaded mutual funds is a decision I fully support as numerous data studies clearly show there is no net performance advantage in paying higher fees. To help customers make a good decision, Capital One Investing has its Fund Evaluator tool, which analyzes any mutual fund customers would like to see and the comparative costs involved.
Funds aside, after pulling up Apple (AAPL) in the research area, I was pleased to see four third-party research reports available to read. To dig deeper into research, customers can build custom, side-by-side stock comparisons to evaluate fundamental data. Screening for investment ideas is also a breeze.
Capital One Investing’s research offering extends beyond vetting potential trades – it also includes customer portfolios. The Portfolio Allocation and Analysis tools allow customers to assess their portfolio allocation and returns, and even break down their real equity exposure by fund. Full transparency of a customer’s portfolio is not commonly found with other brokers.
Platforms & Tools
Capital One Investing does not offer a formal desktop or web-based trading platform; instead, it relies on its website. Put simply, there isn’t anything for advanced traders to be excited about because active traders are not Capital One Investing's target market.
Even PortfolioBuilder, a tool customers could use to create their own diversified portfolios with up to eight ETFs, aligning their investment style and long-term goals, was shut down in January 2018.
As far as investments go, Capital One Investing’s offering is weak. Complex options are not supported, nor are after-hours trades or shorting.
Capital One Investing, through Capital One, is the only company (alongside Bank of America Merrill Edge) to offer credit and debit cards, checking and savings accounts, as well as home mortgages.
However, Capital One Investing, through Capital One, is the only company (alongside Bank of America Merrill Edge) to offer credit and debit cards, checking and savings accounts, as well as home mortgages. Through Capital One 360, the company also supports universal login for customers for easy account management. More simply put, the synergies for current banking customers are widespread.
Finally, in 2016, Capital One formally began offering advisor services. While StockBrokers.com does not test advisor services yet (you can read our guide to the best robo advisors or visit our sister site, investor.com, though), for investors seeking professional portfolio advice and management, Capital One Advisors Managed Portfolios is an option. The minimum investment is $25,000, and annual management fees start at 0.9%.
Capital One Investing shines in its ease of use; it performs well in research and customer service, but limits its offering of investments and tools desired by active stock and options traders.
Capital One Investing should continue to thrive doing what it does best: offering a great solution for casual investors and those seeking automatic investments, as well as giving current Capital One 360 customers an easy way to access the markets.
For our 2018 Stock Broker Review we assessed, rated, and ranked 13 different online brokers over a period of six months. In total, we conducted 260 customer service tests, collected 3,796 data points, and produced over 40,000 words of research. How we test.
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Reviewed by Blain Reinkensmeyer Blain heads research at StockBrokers.com and developed the site's annual review format, which broker executives consider the most thorough in the industry. He has placed over 1,000 stock, options, forex, and crypto trades since 2001.
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