ShareBuilder Review
3-star brokerage firm rating

Capital One ShareBuilder Brokerage Account Review

Capital One 360 brokerage account - low cost automatic investment plans, great banking but limited trading technology

ShareBuilder promotion code 2014

Capital One ShareBuilder Review 2014: Commissions, Fees, and Minimum Deposit

Stocks and ETFs$6.95
Stocks and ETFs phone trades$19.95
Options$6.95 per online trade + $0.75 per contract
Mutual funds $19.95
Automatic Investments (stocks, mutual funds and ETFs) $3.95

Investments stocks, options, mutual funds, ETFs
Sharebuilder minimum deposit to open account $0
FeesSharebuilder fees

Capital One ShareBuilder Website/Trading Platform/Tools Review

Capital One 360 ShareBuilder review

Capital One ShareBuilder's trading tools are easy to use but rudimentary. They get the job done in simple cases, but the firm should invest in developing a more sophisticated trading platform. One feature that we liked are the email trade confirmations that get sent right after each trade is executed, not the next day as with many other brokers. Another great feature is the ability to make bill payments and check deposits right from your smartphone or tablet.

Capital One brokerage makes it easy to set up a dividend reinvestment plan, enabling you to continue to buy fractions of stocks – and earn future dividends that are calculated with included stock fractions – creating compounding effect with your dividend-paying stock positions. If you desire to cash out any earned dividends, Capital One ShareBuilder makes that easy to setup as well.

With just a few mouse clicks you can quickly view information such as most-active market movers in a particular security type and index. For the more macro-minded investor there are performance metrics available by sector and industry, giving you a sense of a given sector’s performance over time and even allowing quick comparison to the S&P 500 Index.

Portfolio Analysis allows you to review either your entire portfolio collectively or each individual investment, so you can examine aspects such as your top holdings, allocation among asset classes and industries in which you currently hold positions (handy for checking on your diversification), as well as global regions and market caps related to your holdings. You can create custom screeners for stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, and bond funds, allowing you to search for a specific choice that meets your requirements. There are even research tools for you to gather information on IPOs, such as a calendar that shows you upcoming IPO dates. And don’t forget about options: there are calculators, a position simulator, and calendar for keeping track of expiration dates.

Company Pros

  • Low-cost automatic investing plans
  • Free dividend and capital gains reinvestment
  • Ability to buy fractions of a stock
  • $0 to open cash account, $2,000 for margin account
  • Good banking services (but no reimbursed foreign ATM fees) provided by parent company Capital One (Capital One 360 promotions)

Company Cons

  • $0.007 per share surcharge on real-time trades on penny stocks (subject to a maximum of 15% of the principal amount of the trade, but no less than the base commission)
  • Customers can't specify at what price investments with Automatic Investing plan are bought or sold
  • Poor research choices
  • No extended hours trading
  • Very basic trading tools
  • Customer service complaints (and no chat feature)
  • Terrible trade executions
  • $49.95 fee on any no-load, no-transaction fee mutual fund held less than 90 days

Capital One ShareBuilder Review Summary

At one time a stand-alone trading platform, Sharebuilder had more recently been linked to the online savings and checking services provide by ING Direct. In 2012, however, ING’s online banking services were acquired by Capital One, and the Sharebuilder trading platform is now provided as a service of the Capital One bank. Other than some superficial changes, the underlying site and trading platform have remained essentially unaltered.

The services available through Capital One Sharebuilder include the convenient Automatic Investing plan that allows account holders to make relatively low cost purchases ($4 per trade) of stocks and ETFs. The Automatic Investment plan is a great option for long term investors or traders that are just entering the market and only have a small amount of capital to work with.

The research tools for identifying stocks, ETFs, and other financial instruments for potential investment are adequate but no stronger than what is available on freely elsewhere online. There is a useful stock screening tool with filters for investment ratings from several services, as well as other criteria such as share price, dividend yields, or market fundamentals. It is possible to see real time quotes in the actual order entry tool, but only if you specifically request it through a separate form online. Real time quotes appear to be a basic feature available through most other online brokerages, so this limitation is a downside, especially from the point of view of an active trader.

Capital One Sharebuilder’s services do seem to be geared toward a more passive investment style, with the low-cost Automatic Investing trades and the somewhat restricted access to real time market quotes. Whatever your level of activity, the trading tool itself is no impediment to investing, as it does provide real time quote information and, if you are setting up an options trade, provides options quotes as well right in the same window.

To get access to the more advanced trading features such as options trading or for permission to trade on margin, Capital One brokerage account holders have to submit an application through their online account. There are actually two levels of options trading that have to be requested in sequence, with the first level providing access to more limited options (covered calls, buy/write, and unwind) and the second level giving users the ability to buy and sell calls and puts without holding a position in the underlying asset.

Capital One Sharebuilder offers some other services that they claim are unique, such as Express Funding. The idea there is that you don’t actually have to have the funds already transferred into your Sharebuilder account, but can instead include a (pending) funds transfer instruction as part of the order entry. At an extra $6.95 per transaction (doubling the base trading fee), it’s hard to see what is so earth-shattering about this service. Funds transfers into your Sharebuilder trading account are otherwise free and fast or even instantaneous if you move funds in from your Capital One 360 account. As long as you anticipate your need for funds at least a day or two in advance it seems unlikely that the Express Funding service will be of much use.

Capital One acquired from ING its hugely popular online banking products that offer some of the highest rates in the U.S.:

Capital One brokerage does not have IRA setup or annual IRA fees. However, it did not make it onto our Best IRA Brokers list.

There are better brokerages for beginner investors than Capital One 360 ShareBuilder that offer vibrant online communities where users can ask questions, learn from more experienced traders and even get investment ideas. Check out our Best Brokers for Beginners recommendations.

If you are looking to invest money automatically or dollar-cost-average your investments, then Capital One brokerage account is a good choice. For everybody else there are better options: make sure to check out our Broker Reviews.

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Capital One Brokerage Reviewed by Brokerage Review on . Rating: 3

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