07 Dec

Charles Schwab Review – Legit Investment Platform or Waste of Money?

charles schwab review

Managing your investment portfolio is a headache, and can come with a daunting amount of fees. Many people want to get their first taste of investing, but don’t know where to start. Everyone intends to plan for their future, but breaking into the investment game can be time-consuming and confusing.

The answer, for many, comes in the form of online investing with brokerage firms. Still, though, the options are plentiful, and it’s hard to determine the best choice. Ahead, we’ll take a look at Charles Schwab, and let you know if they’re worth considering for your investment future.

What is Charles Schwab?

Charles Schwab is a bank and brokerage firm with headquarters in San Francisco California. It’s been in business since the late 60’s and has been publically traded since 1987. Charles Schwab is widely recognized as a reputable organization in the investment community and has netted several awards and words of praise in the recent past. Some of the most notable mentions include “Highest in Investor Satisfaction” by J.D. Power in 2016 and 217, and one of Fortune’s “World Most Admired Companies.”

Schwab prides itself on their around-the-clock customer service to their investors. They seem like they want the investor to succeed above all, unlike other firms that offer little to no guidance. The information they provide is perfect for seasoned, savvy investors and their attention to detail will help new investors get started.

How Charles Schwab Works

Charles Schwab works like any online investment platform. You create an account, transfer any accounts from your old brokerage provider if you have them, add some money to your account, and then you’re ready to start investing. If you’re new to online investing, there are several resources available at the beginning. Schwab is one of the easiest platforms to grasp for new investors and doesn’t tend to intimidate as much as some.

The account minimum is around the average at $1,000, but that’s close to the industry standard. If you agree to transfer at least $100 a month, though, Schwab waives the account minimum.  On index funds, however, there is no longer a minimum balance. If you want to invest in these funds, you can do so with a small amount and watch it grow.

For a trading platform, Schwab uses StreetSmart and StreetSmart Edge. The former is a web platform, and the latter is a desktop platform that targets advanced investors. It’s relatively easy to navigate and intuitive for beginners. There, you’ll be able to monitor your portfolio, as well as receive relevant information from Schwab and independent sources.

If you want to use Charles Schwab as your primary form of banking as well, you have a few options at your disposal. Just like any bank, there are checking and savings accounts where you can access your earnings, but Schwab offers no ATM fees worldwide. People who travel tend to use banks like Schwab for their accounts so that they’ll always have international currency when they need it.

Commissions and Fees

Commission is one of the biggest selling points Charles Schwab has. Recently, they changed their commission structure from $8.95 to $4.95 for options trades, which puts them among the cheapest in the industry. On top of that, there are over 200 commission-free exchange traded funds (ETF) from which to choose

As far as fees, there are hardly any of which to speak. All the research is free, which is impressive when considering the quality of the advice. There are no fees or trade minimums on their platform. Schwab also offers over 3,000 no-transaction-fee mutual funds, with no annual inactivity fee. Their fees and commissions are among the lowest in the industry, so this part shouldn’t scare you away.

Steps to Get Started

  1. Choose your account type.
  • Decide if you want kind of account works best for you and make your selection.
  • Keep your investment strategy in mind, or ask for assistance over the phone or online from a Schwab associate.
  1. Provide your information.
  • Use your Social Security number, address, and other necessary information to get your account started
  1. Create a login ID.
  • Make sure your ID and password are memorable to you or write them down so you won’t forget.
  1. Set your account features.
  • Decide what kind of investments you want to make.
  • Take a look at the available features, and see which ones are most important to you.
  1. Put money in your account.
  • The minimum balance is currently $1,000, but remember that they waive this fee if you transfer at least $100 per month.
  • If you’re moving an account from a previous brokerage provider, go to your account, select “Transfer Account,” and follow the steps listed.

Pros and Cons of Charles Schwab

Pros:

  • Low commissions overall
  • Commission-free ETFs
  • Free, top-notch research materials
  • Easy-to-use investing platform
  • Around-the-clock customer service

Cons:

  • Pricey transaction-fee funds
  • Some users reported problems with banking overseas

Public Perception

The public perception of Charles Schwab is generally positive. They are well respected in the investing community, and not without reason. Their research is solid, and new investors seem to be particularly fond of their platform. They’re available online or by phone at all times of the day, which goes a long way for a lot of users. As far as negatives go, many of the user reviews seem to focus on specific problems rather than overarching negatives that take away from the user experience.

Competition

There are several other online brokers that you should consider before making your decision. One of the most famous of the bunch is E-Trade. They are another option that’s ideal for beginners and experienced investors. They have a bit more on the commission side at $6.95, but if you exceed 30 trades per quarter, the commission matches Schwab’s. They have a $500 account minimum, and their online platform doesn’t seem to be as intuitive as Schwab’s.

Ally Invest is another online broker option that competes with Schwab. They have no account minimum, but also don’t offer and commission-free ETFs. Their platform is exceptional, but their fees can add up over time. They have the same commission as Schwab, but Ally Invest appears to cater itself towards more experienced investors rather than those who are new to online investing.

Should You Get Charles Schwab?

If you’re looking for a way to invest online, Charles Schwab is a reliable option. Their service and research are exceptional, and their platform is easy to use even if you’re new to investing. Their commission and fees are among the lowest in the industry, which will help you save money as you get an investment portfolio off the ground.

One of the places that Schwab excels is in their customer service. They are constantly trying to help their clients succeed. If you look for yourself, you’ll see quite a few reviews that cite customer service as one of the selling points of Schwab, and that’s no accident. There are other options in the space that provide favorable results, but Schwab is one of the better selections. Hopefully, this review helped you make a decision, and we wish you best of luck in your future investing!

07 Dec

Robinhood Review – Can You Really Trade For Free?

robinhood review

It's a well-known secret that trading in the stock market, whether you're brand-new to the system or old hat, can cost the trader up to $10 per transaction, or even higher. However, with modern technology, the actions that these fees cover are almost entirely automated these days, leading to stock market traders paying fees that are now completely unnecessary, though these fees still exist due to them being long established in the stock market field.

One app, called Robinhood, is taking out these fees entirely and opening up the world of the stock market to any players who might be interested, both young and old, for early investors and the moderately wealthy alike. While there are a large number of stock market brokers available to the public, on your phone or laptop, or even tablet, Robinhood is setting out to open the stock market industry to the younger generation, especially millennials.

We think it is important to get more than just a star review of an app when considering using it to improve your financial future. That's why we are bringing you detailed information on how the app works, how to get started in the program, and even some discussion on popular opinion and other similar options that exist on the market today.

What is Robinhood?

This app, which intends to let potential investors to buy and sell stock for $0 each trade, was first launched back in December of 2014, and started off with a waiting list of 500,000 people hoping to give the app a shot. It is geared towards opening up the start market to hopeful millennial investors, which had previously been entirely untapped for stock trades.

Today, Robinhood has been successful enough that it is beginning to expand internationally, allowing citizens of countries such as Australia to join in fee-free investing and trading. They are continuing their dedication to inspiring the next generation of financial investors and expanding their reach around the globe.

Most users find this service appealing for the simplest reason that Robinhood is completely free to use. You won't find yourself dealing with hidden fees or costs, and the give is that the app limits trading options to stocks and ETFs only.

In short, if keeping costs of trading stock low is your primary concern, and you're willing to do a little effort on your own for research and education, then Robinhood is the way to go.

How Robinhood Works

There is a reason Robinhood is able to work so successfully while offering its users trades for only $0. They focus their efforts on taxable accounts, and make sure to only offer stocks and ETF investments, or an exchange-traded fund, for the user.

They keep their overhead costs of running a business low, to ensure their thin margins of profit remain profitable. In this way, they are able to target new and millennial-aged users by offering popular mobile interfaces, $0 minimum for an investment, and even keeping the service as a whole entirely free.

Robinhood also offers several features that are highly desired by its users, such as scheduled deposits and advanced order support. In this way, users can plan ahead to deposit their money and even get assistance in how to use the system.

If you want to double your buying power, and access after-hours trading as well, you can pay a fee of $6 each month to access an upgraded account called Robinhood Gold, but even with this account, trading is still 100% free from commission fees. Users can also take advantage of Robinhood Instant, which is absolutely free, and allows the user to immediately access stock funds for reinvesting, as well as use as much as one thousand dollars of pending bank deposits.

Commissions and Fees

Most stock brokers on the market have fees, and are designed for high rollers who are individually wealthy and able to invest large amounts of money into the market. These brokers, such as Charles Schwab and E*Trade, levy fees onto the user to help pay for their expertise, while Robinhood seeks to offer something different altogether.

As mentioned, Robinhood can be used entirely free as an online stock broker, which makes it one of a kind. However, if the user desires some upgraded features, such as trading after hours, they can pay an extra monthly fee starting at $6 per month for a service called Robinhood Gold.

Steps to Get Started

Getting started with Robinhood is simple, provided you have your bank account information on hand.

  1. Download the app “Robinhood – Stock Trading”.
  2. Sign Up
    • Enter your email address
    • Create strong password
    • Enter your legal first and last name
    • Enter your phone number
  3. Input checking account information
  4. Watch the video on how to use Robinhood.
  5. Input initial investment amount from your bank into your account.
  6. Begin to buy and sell stock!

Pros and Cons of Robinhood

Pros

  • No trading commissions
  • $0 Account minimum investment
  • Mobile interface

 

Cons

  • Streamlined interface may lack details on the stock
  • No retirement accounts available
  • No available trading platform

Public Perception

 

This app gets amazingly positive reviews overall, and it features 4.5 stars on both the App Store for the iOS and Google Play. This is largely because it does its job by offering a gateway for newcomers who want to start investing in the stock market with no additional fees.

In short, this app is widely liked and well-regarded by beginners in trading and the stock market, but may not offer all the features that would be desired by more advanced traders who need different kinds of stock to trade other than ETFs.

Competition

The competitors to Robinhood almost universally cater to a wealthier and more advanced and experienced group of investors, leaving the market Robinhood is aiming for largely untouched. For mobile-based investors, other major options include Charles Schwab, Scottrade, and Ally Invest, among others.

Charles Schwab has fees to use the service, but they invest their fees in order to create an impressive stock trading product. The mobile app is available on practically every device, from iPads and Androids to the Kindle Fire. Their fees vary, and up to five fees can be placed on your trades depending on ETFs, commissions, managing portfolios, and more.

If you are already working with Scottrade for investment purposes, you will probably prefer their mobile app, which offers real-time and streaming quotes alongside amazingly detailed market research at your fingertips. However, due to low usability, it has only a 2 star rating on the App Store, and just over 3 stars on Google Play.

Ally is a bank that will also help you to invest your money with their mobile app. They offer the largest variety of options and packages for new and experienced stock traders, and their fees start as low as $4.95 per trade conducted.

Should You Get Robinhood?

At this point, if you are the target audience for Robinhood, you will know if this app is right for you. For any individuals who want to break into stock market trading, learn how it works with minimal risk, and of course do it all without spending any extra cash on fees, then Robinhood is the right choice for you.

07 Dec

Ally Invest (Formerly TradeKing) Review – Legit Online Stock Broker?

ally invest

Most people want to get their money to work for them by investing it in the right places. Nowadays, investors are turning to online stock brokers to get their investments in order. There are a ton of options out there, with one advertising nearly every time you turn on the television. Choosing the right broker is hard, though, because each one has their benefits and drawbacks.

Ally Invest (formerly TradeKing) one of the options you may not hear about too often. They don’t spend the same amount of money on their marketing budget as other popular brokers such as E-Trade, but that doesn’t mean they’re any less effective. Ahead, we’ll take a look at the specifics of Ally Invest and let you know if it’s worth choosing as your online broker.

What is Ally Invest?

Ally Financial owns by Ally Invest, who got their start in the early 1900’s as part of General Motors. Over the years, they separated from the automotive company and branched into banking and corporate finance. They are still one of the leading auto bank lenders in the country.

In 2016, Ally Financial acquired TradeKing and rebranded them as Ally Invest. They kept most of what worked from TradeKing, with a few tweaks here and there. The broker markets itself as a discount firm, rather than one of the big-hitters. For an online broker, that isn’t too bad. Their commission is small, and they don’t require an account minimum. Ally works for those who are regular investors as well as those who just want to dabble.

How Ally Invest Works

Ally Invest has one of the lowest barriers to entry in any online stock broker because of their no account minimum. If you’re a bigger fish, though, you are rewarded with lower commission. Over 30 trades or an average daily balance of $100,000 or more will give you the “special rate,” so it’s cheap to be a fair-weather investor and even more inexpensive to be a regular player. Setting up an account is easy, just choose which kind you want and fill out your information.

Ally Invest provides all of the accounts, investment options, and research tools that other online stock brokers have. You can trade in stocks, exchange-traded funds, bonds, options, mutual funds, and more. For accounts, there are all the options you’d expect: IRA’s, taxable, joint, checking, savings, etc. These accounts and investing options will be about the same, no matter where you look. You will, however, have to pay attention to the commission and fees, as this is where Ally typically pulls ahead.

The trading platform Ally Invest uses is web-based which many people who trade on multiple platforms prefer. Serious investors often use desktop programs, but trading on multiple computers would mean you’d have to download the program multiple times. With Ally Invest, you can trade from anywhere if you have access to a WiFi signal.

Their research is decent, especially for a discount broker. The tools, though, is Ally has an edge on the competition. Their options pricing calculator is virtually unmatched in the industry, with the ability to compare current prices with projected future value, making sure you’re getting the most out of your investing dollar. Other free tools include a tax manager, probability calculator, and profit-and-loss calculator.

Commissions and Fees

Only a few competitors can compete with the commissions Ally Invest has. They have one of the lowest commission structures in the industry at $4.95, and give you the option of an even lower commission if you have a regular balance of $100,000 or make more than 30 transactions a quarter. If you meet these requirements, you’ll only be paying $3,95 in commission, and 50¢per option contract (as opposed to 65¢).

Unfortunately, unlike similar options, there aren’t any commission-free ETFs. A lot of other online brokers offer multiple commission-free ETF options, but Ally’s low commission structure may make up for this shortcoming. There aren’t any transaction-fee-free funds either, but the $9.95 commission on these funds is much less than the charges most other online discount brokers have.

Steps to Get Started

  1. Go to Ally.com and set up an account
  • Follow the steps on the website to enter your information and create an investing account.
  • Have your information on hand to make setup as easy as possible.
  1. Decide which account is best for you
  • While signing up, a short questionnaire will help you determine which account is best for your managed portfolio
  • Choose from several account options, including traditional, Roth, SEP, simple IRAs, Coverdell, and more
  1. Fund your account
  • Decide if you’re going to accept the $4.95 commission structure, or invest a larger sum to qualify for the $3.95 commission.
  1. Transfer an existing account from another broker if you have one
  • To transfer an existing account, you’ll need to submit an asset transfer request form to Ally Invest.
  • You will also need to send a recent statement from your previous account.
  1. Start trading
  • Log into your desired account and select “Quick Trade.”
  • From there you’ll be able to start trading.

Pros and Cons of Ally Invest

Pros:

  • Low Commissions
  • No Account Minimums
  • Web-Based Trading Platform
  • In-Depth Investment Tools and Calculators

Cons:

  • No Commission-Free ETFs
  • Transaction Fees on Mutual Funds
  • No Brick and Mortar Locations

Public Perception

The general opinion of Ally Invest is a good one. Users seem to appreciate the cheap commissions and low barrier of entry. The tools have received a lot of positive feedback, and their research is nothing about which to complain. The only place where consumers are down on Ally is the fact that there are no physical locations. It’s an online-only broker, which is fine for some, but others like to know they can go to a physical location rather than only rely on phone or online conversations to resolve their problems.

Competition

There are other, cheap, online brokers that you should consider before making your decision. Charles Schwab offers the best competition regarding commission. Theirs is $4.95, but don’t offer any discount for active traders. There are over 200 commission-free ETFs with Schwab as well. If you’re someone who wants the security of going to a physical location, you ought to look at Charles Schwab. They have several locations, and chances are there’s one close to you.

E-Trade is another attractive option in the online broker realm. Chances are you’ve seen one of their commercials on television. Their commission is higher at $6.95, and they require a minimum balance of $500. There are 30 local branches, but that’s far from a guarantee that there will be one close by. There are, however, over 100 commission-free ETFs if that’s important to you.

Should You Get Ally Invest?

Ally Invest is a quality company with a cheap commission structure when compared to the rest of the field. They may not be as recognizable as other brokers, but that doesn’t mean they’re any less effective. Their research is helpful, and their tools are some of the best.

The biggest selling point, though, is Ally’s low commissions. Whether you’re an active investor or someone who wants to do a little bit of trading, you’ll be paying a lot less in commission than with other brokers. Overall, Ally Invest is a good choice for your investing future.

07 Dec

WiseBanyan Review: Ideal Free Alternative To Paid Robo-Advisors?

wisebanyon review

Do you have money you want to invest or grow? Can you trust the company you currently let manage your accounts? WiseBanyan boasts being the world’s first free financial advisor. There are many robo-advisors (which is a class of online portfolio management with minimal human intervention because they use an algorithm) out there, so choosing the right one may seem difficult.

There is minimal human interaction, but your financial advice is based on efficient business and algorithms. With WiseBanyan, you get a free advisor without any investment, trading, or rebalancing fees.

According to Morningstar, the average expense ratio for an equity mutual fund is 1.2% for a managed fund, and the expense ratio is .9% for investment grade bond funds. WiseBanyan offers a fee-free service which rebalances your money regularly and invests your money in ETF index funds. Why not save the money on fees and services when there is a free option to use?  

What is WiseBanyan?

WiseBanyan is a free robo-advisor service with no fees or hidden charges. With a minimum investment of $1, users can transfer all of their various accounts into one investment portfolio. The company focuses on having no hidden fees or charges which is the backbone of the business.

WiseBanyan does not make money from fees; the brand has a long-term plan for revenue generation through clients with a higher net worth choosing to opt into paid investments. They promise to:

  • Never sell personal information
  • Give honest recommendations without kickbacks or commissions for specific recommendations
  • Make recommendations to maximize your money, not get more cash from fees
  • Calculate your risk score through an easy to understand questionnaire
  • Simple opening of accounts including Taxable Investment Account, Roth IRA, SEP IRA, Traditional IRA
  • Invest based on passively managed exchange-traded funds (ETFs)

You have nothing to lose and some serious money to gain by transferring all of your funds to WiseBanyan. The company is built on an investment philosophy which covers four pillars including valuable diversification, keeping fees low, passively investing, and starting sooner rather than later.

You don’t need a high net worth to invest your money with WiseBanyan. Individuals with outside investment accounts like 401(k) and 403(b) accounts from other companies can be consolidated in one location. Invest in Roth IRAs, Traditional IRAs, and SEP-IRAs to achieve goals like saving for retirement, long-term investments, savings funds, and more.

How It Works

Choose WiseBanyan for access to an easy to understand interface and immediate investment with a simple questionnaire about your personal preferences. All you need to do as a new user is to sign up and get started. After signing up, just fill out a simple questionnaire to determine individual risk factors. Based on your risk factors, an investment recommendation is made for a percentage of stocks and bonds.

After filling out a risk profile, you include your personal information and then connect your other investments. It takes a few days for everything to transfer and the account to be fully operational. Fill out your information to set up goals for retirement, long-term investments, and financial goals. Some of their key features include:

  • Two-Factor Authentication: This verifies your account and keeps it safe.
  • Milestone Tracker: Watch your money grow with a milestone tracker to remind you of your progress.
  • Automatic Deposits: Set an amount you’d like to deposit on a certain day of the month or day of the week.
  • Innovation: The company is committed to rolling out new ideas on a regular basis.
  • Premium Packages: If you need extra services, add services on to your base account.
  • WiseHarvesting: This strategy turns small losses in your portfolio into tax deductions.

The Costs

There are no costs associated with WiseBanyan which is perhaps their most valuable value proposition to new users. There are no account minimums and no cost for working with this company. The only costs associated with account management come directly from the ETFs, which average at .12% to manage.

Steps to Get Started

Getting started is simple with WiseBanyan, just follow these steps:

  1. Click to ‘Become a Client’
  2. Give the company your email address
  3. Click your email to open a WiseBanyan account
  4. Complete the questionnaire to start building your financial plan, including your birthday, annual income, net worth, milestones you wish to implement, and more
  5. Answer the questionnaire to determine the right allocation to assist in achieving your targets
  6. Make an initial deposit of at least one dollar in your account
  7. Set an auto deposit plan to reach your long-term goal
  8. Enter your personal information
  9. Connect any accounts relevant to your investment portfolio
  10. Wait for an email confirmation once the account is fully approved

Pros and Cons of WiseBanyan

Just like any product, there are positives and negatives to switching your investment portfolio to WiseBanyan.

Pros

The advantages of selecting WiseBanyan are:

  • No service fees which translates to more money in your bank in the long term
  • No trading or rebalancing fees
  • Support of a useful algorithm for making investment decisions
  • An investment strategy mission which notes the value of diversification
  • Factoring length of time, risk aversion, and money saved
  • Get the highest level of return based on a set level of risk

Cons

The cons of choosing WiseBanyan include:

  • Working with a company that is newer to the robo-advisors space
  • Less interaction with an actual person for investment decisions
  • The company has not proven a revenue stream yet
  • Has fewer assets under management than other companies
  • Limit to the number of taxable accounts you can open, cannot open an account with a spouse

Public Perception (Other WiseBanyan Reviews)

Users of this service offering are pleased with the WiseBanyan services. In a recent customer review, a client says, “Very smooth! No sales pitch, nothing to aggravate me. Called customer service once just to see how I was treated. Excellent! I rate this a 10 for sure.”

A website review said, “It does seem like a good option for newer investors. Not only can you start investing with no account minimums, and no management fees – buy you can buy fractional shares with as little as $10 and get a highly-diversified portfolio that should match the market in the long-term.”

Competition

WiseBanyan falls in a class of what is named “robo-advisors.” Several other businesses make their money off of portfolio management or financial advice with minimal human intervention. The competition to WiseBanyan includes:

  • Charles Schwab: Offers a zero-management fee but has a $5,000 account minimum.
  • WealthFront: Focused on tax optimization by has an account minimum and a management fee 0.25%.
  • Betterment: This company has a $0 account minimum but requires a management fee up to half of a percent. Betterment does manage a significant amount of money successfully.
  • Acorns: Free for college students and with no minimum, this service is free, but once a balance exceeds $5,000 there is a fee of .25%.
  • FutureAdvisor: They are focused on a successful long-term portfolio for their clients and has a high success rate of returns. It is tough to understand if you are new to investing and they charge a fee for services.
  • Personal Capital: Makes use of an award-winning software to best read performance of investments, monitor cash going in, and manage cash leaving your accounts. The fee schedule for investing is higher with low investment amounts. The minimum investment is $25,000.

Should You Get WiseBanyan?

WiseBanyan is an excellent opportunity for those looking to make the most of their money with an investment strategy proportionate risk willing to be taken out. If you don’t want to put all of your money into WiseBanyan right away, try a small investment to watch your money group. Have your money managed for free with this service.

05 Oct

Scottrade Review 2018 | What You Should Know Before Joining

scottrade review

Are you a beginning investor looking to learn more about the stock market? Do you want a reliable online broker that is always working for your money? All of Scottrade’s clients get services from a brokerage firm with an industry-wide reputation for strength. After this Scottrade review, you'll know if this is the right online stocker broker for you.

What is Scottrade?

Scottrade is a favorite online stock broker with clients around the world. This service was created for the individual looking to grow his or her money, taking an active part in all of the decisions. They can handle complex investment situations and a range of account types. 

Whether your end purpose is giving your child a better life or saving for your retirement, Scottrade has an account to suit your needs.

scottrade iphone

In their own words, Scottrade boasts, “From tools for self-directed investors to sophisticated portfolio management from Scottrade Investment Management; we have a solution for you.” Millions of clients have chosen Scottrade for their investing and money management.

How Scottrade Works

After signing up with Scottrade, there are some options available to you. This popular choice comes with a range of investment options. The services and features Scottrade offers are:

  • Streaming Quotes: Real-time quotes are available for free. You can easily customize stocks you want to track.
  • Trading Platform: More than anything, the Scottrade Trading Platform is easy to use. The windows are divided into Homes, My Account, Trades, and more.
  • Scottrade Knowledge Center: Looking for answers? Use Scottrade’s free, helpful documents, video tutorials, web seminars, investment calculators, podcasts, and more.
  • FOREX/Currency Options: You can trade foreign currency with Scottrade, but their platform works best with US stocks.
  • Penny Stocks: You can buy penny stocks at a reasonable rate and the additional .05% fee.
  • Mutual Funds: Diversify your portfolio with one of Scottrade’s mutual funds.
  • IRAs with No Fees: No matter the type of IRA being maintained, there is no fee.
  • Banking: Scottrade offers banking services as long as there are 500 dollars in equity sitting in an account held by the company.

Once logged into your account, Scottrade offers a mobile app and a convenient online site for you to check. ScottradeELITE is a platform provided for active traders that wish to analyze, identify, and measure trends or market shifts. SmartText summarizes complex information so you can understand what is important, this includes charts, sectors, and earnings.

Commissions and Fees

The underlying cost structure of Scottrade is based on a flat-fee. When you are making a stock trade for shares that are valued at more than $1 per share, the cost is $6.95 per transaction. In the case of shares valued at less than $1, the additional charge of .05% of the principal value to the commissions on the trade. When opening a new account with Scottrade, you can get up to 700 trades free or a $2,500 cash bonus if you qualify.using scottrade

It is important to note Scottrade does have a complicated fee structure which charges clients for different trades. A few examples include paying $32 for a broker-assisted trade, a $50 cashless stock options processing fee, and a $121 monthly professional quote fee.

Steps to Get Started

Getting started with Scottrade is simple. All you need is a minimum amount of $2,500 for a cash account or $0 to start an IRA. They offer five ways to add money to your account and get started with the company.

These options are electronic transfer, wire fund transfer, check deposit, stock certificate deposit, and an external brokerage account transfer. The steps to get started are relatively straightforward. It takes about ten minutes to open your account, which includes the following steps:

  • Enter your primary account holder information.
  • Select the type of account you want to open. The options fall into several categories which include brokerage, retirement, custodial/guardian, business, and specialty. (You can get help choosing your account with this step).
  • Choose an individual or a joint account.
  • Enter personal information about yourself including Name, Address, and Zip Code.
  • Add your employment information which covers your annual income.
  • At this point, you’ll need to enter information to verify your ID.
  • After registering your personal information, Scottrade requires a transfer of funds into the account and the selection of account activities. For beginners, this may require a conversation with a customer service professional.
  • An alternative option to open an account is to visit a local branch for assistance.

If you have any questions about the process, contact customer service by phone or online chat during registration.

scottrade home

Pros and Cons of Scottrade

Perhaps the greatest advantage of working with Scottrade is the support you get from their more than 500 branch offices across the country. Many companies offer only online services, but the in-person element gives Scottrade the edge you may want in selecting a broker.

Pros

There are many positives to choosing Scottrade for all of your needs. These include:

  • Offering a broad range of investment products include the traditional IRA, Roth IRA, mutual funds, ETFs, bonds, CDs, and options
  • A convenient mobile app and mobile website for checking your accounts
  • More than 500 branch offices to visit with account questions
  • The customer service options are varied including phone assistance, web chat or email, and visiting your local brand
  • Investors looking at directing their own money are given comprehensive tools to trade, manage, and work with
  • Reimbursement of transfer fees when you set up an account with Scottrade

Cons

Choosing Scottrade does have its downsides which focus on many concerns:

  • Usability of the platform can be difficult when the company rolls out new updates
  • The costs of Scottrade exceed that of other services
  • The $2,500 cash account minimum is tough for some people to manage
  • When you need broker-assisted trading, the fee gets much higher
  • Beginning investors may be confused by the number of options available from Scottrade

Public Perception

Because Scottrade is a well-known brand, customers often select this product because of its reputation. After getting acquired in 2016, Scottrade went through a few updates, but the brand has stuck to its roots. Recent customer review says, “I personally find Scottrade pretty good to deal with. I find they are very professional and knowledgeable when you call or email them and quite prompt with response time as well.”

scottrade trading

A review by Barron’s says, “Scottrade adjusted its business model during 2015, reorganizing to include banking services along with portfolio guidance…turning its focus to guidance, building tools for long-term investors rather than frequent traders. Several never screeners have been added, along with lists of ETFs and mutual funds, which change monthly to help clients choose.”

Competition

The competition is stiff in the world of brokers and investment management. The direct competitors to Scottrade are:

  • TD Ameritrade: They offer a flat fee on their trade plan, and a $0 minimum deposit but fees add up to make them a very expensive firm to work with.
  • E*Trade: They have a customer-focused business, but it is easy to feel like you aren’t getting personalized service with this organization.
  • Merrill Edge: Owned by Bank of America, Merrill’s costs are affordable, but it is a service best suited for Bank of America account holders.
  • Optionshouse: Their flat fee is lower than Scottrade, but they have less customer service options.

Should You Get Scottrade?

When compared with the competition and all of its features are laid out, Scottrade is the right solution for you to try. The fees for trading are fair and lower than others in the industry. With Scottrade, you get access to all of your accounts in one place. After reading this Scottrade review, you've decided to join but don’t know where to start? Visit their website and reach out to them for customer service if you still have questions.