TD Ameritrade Review 4-star brokerage firm rating

Charles Schwab Review

Great service but high commissions on many products

Charles Schwab Commissions, Fees, and Minimum Deposit

Stocks and ETFs $8.95
Stocks and ETFs broker assisted $33.95
Stocks and ETFs phone trades $13.95
Options $8.95 + $0.75 per contract
Mutual funds $76 to buy, $0 to sell
CDs, Corporate Bonds, Municipal Bonds, Government Agencies, Zero-Coupon Treasuries, including STRIPS and Mortgage-Backed Securities $1 per bond, $10 minimum, $250 maximum
Preferred Stocks and REITs $8.95
Commercial Paper and Foreign Bonds, Unit Investment Trusts call for pricing

Investments stocks, bonds, mutual funds, futures, Treasury issues, options, CDs, insurance, ETFs, annuities, non-U.S. securities and ADRs, WEBs and Canadian foreign orders
Charles Schwab minimum deposit to open account $1,000
FeesCharles Schwab fees
Promotion and login linksCharles Schwab login, Charles Schwab promotions

Charles Schwab New Account Setup

The new account application for Charles Schwab is very frustrating. There are many unnecessary questions, such as drivers license information. Then there was a bug on the screen where a new user creates a password: it had two conflicting password requirements. It took five minutes of constant trying to get past that screen, and the result was one ridiculous, forced-on-us password to remember.

Three days after we verified deposits Schwab made into our bank account, we still had to call the broker to "activate" the account. When you transfer actual money from bank to the brokerage - let's say you start on Monday - the cash will become available for trading only on Friday.

Uninvested cash in your account will earn interest in accordance with the Schwab One® interest feature. What is this feature and exactly how much interest will you earn? The firm graciously provides customers with a 23-page document to answer these questions.

On the brighter side, Charles Schwab offers checks and a Visa debit card for managing money. You also will get a phone call on the day you open the account from a customer service representative who will answer all your questions.

Charles Schwab Website/Trading Platform/Tools Review

Trading tools at Charles Schwab are average, and nothing more. All the screens are well-designed, and orders are executed reasonably fast.

Charles Schwab Review

Customers can get access to StreetSmart Edge - an advanced yet easy to use trading platform that has charts, news, order entry, live data, options chains, as well as technical and fundamental research - all in a single window. The platform is extremely customizable. It is necessary to call customer service to have access to this platform set up.

StreetSmart Edge, however, lacks the richness of features and versatility found in more advanced trading platforms, such as ThinkOrSwim from TD Ameritrade. Charting is done well, however, with over 30 different indicators available. Read detailed StreetSmart Edge review.

Charles Schwab Review 2015

Schwab created apps for all mobile devices: iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire, as well as mobile web. With these apps users can view real-time market data, place trades and even watch a live stream of CNBC from their smartphone or tablet. Investors wanting sophisticated trading technology will have to look elsewhere but for a beginner or average investor the apps offer all they need.

Charles Schwab Mobile App

Charles Schwab Pros

  • Personal guidance is available at no additional cost
  • 300+ offices for personal visits
  • Rich selection of investment products, including large number of mutual funds - over 14,500
  • No surcharges on penny stocks, large orders, or after-hours trading
  • No account maintenance or inactivity fees
  • Great customer service
  • Free DRIPs (dividend reinvestment plans)
  • Investment research from a several companies
  • 198 ETFs with no commissions

Charles Schwab Cons

  • High commissions on stocks, options, mutual funds, and ETFs
  • High margin rates

Charles Schwab Review Summary

Charles Schwab is one of the five largest brokerage houses in the United States and it has been in business for over 40 years. The firm offers an impressive selection of investing products including over 14,500 mutual funds and 198 commission free ETFs.

Schwab does not have account maintenance and inactivity fees. There are no surcharges for large orders, penny stocks, or after-hours trading. Having an option of opening a checking account with brokerage firm is always nice, and the company does offer top-notch customer service.

Charles Schwab does not charge IRA setup and annual IRA fees but it was not enough to make it onto the Best IRA Firms list.

As a Schwab client, you can schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation to discuss your goals (both short-term and long-term), evaluate your current investments relative to your goals, and get specific recommendations and next steps. This is definitely valuable to somebody just starting out but should not be considered a substitute for thorough self-education in investing.

Charles Schwab was the first discount brokerage company in the U.S., but these days its pricing is no longer the competitive advantage like it used to be. The firm's $8.95 rate per stock or ETF trade is pretty high for 2015, and the $76 fee to buy a mutual fund is one of the most expensive among discount brokers. There are, however, over 3,500 no-load mutual funds available at Schwab’s Mutual Fund OneSource service commission free. Short-term redemption fee of $49.95 will be charged on sale of these funds if held for 90 days or less.

The investment research amenities at the company are excellent. Customers have access to free stock reports from S&P Capital IQ, Thomson Reuters, Credit Suisse, and others. They also can see Schwab Equity Ratings, which cover approximately 3,000 U.S. stocks and grade them on an A, B, C, D, and F scale. Mutual fund and ETF investors have access to Morningstar Ratings as well as Schwab's own expert picks.

The one big problem we have noticed, is that the company didn't list all its fees correctly on its website. For example, Full Account Transfer Out Fee was $50 but the website listed it as $0, Partial Account Transfer Fee was $25 but it was listed as $0 on the website. Many other fees were nowhere to be found on their fee schedule. It looked dishonest and not fair to prospective customers. They still somehow have trouble listing the fees on the webpage, so they put them in PDF document found here.

Open Charles Schwab Account

Open Schwab account

Charles Schwab Reviewed by on . Reviewed by Editor and 30+ Charles Schwab customers. Rating: 4

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