Scottrade Review

Best Brokerage for IRA Account in 2016

Best IRA brokerage firm. Top rated discount online stock broker for IRA investing account: fees, pros and cons, beginner support, trading tools, and costs.


Investors who are interested in saving for retirement should take a look at Scottrade, a low-cost broker offering a range of no-fee IRA’s. With a selection of financial tools in addition to retirement products, this firm is ideal for traders who are on a budget saving for retirement.

Individual Retirement Accounts

Scottrade offers a selection of IRA’s, including Traditional, Roth, Rollover, Simplified Employee Pension (SEP), and SIMPLE. The firm's IRA’s carry no setup fee, no annual fee, and no inactivity fee. The retirement accounts also have no initial deposit or on-going balance requirement. It's a perfect fee schedule.

After the IRA is opened, users can trade a variety of securities, including stocks, bonds, mutual funds, options, ETF’s, and CD's.

Unlike many other brokers, Scottrade does not charge a fee for closing an IRA.

Trading Fees

Scottrade’s fee for trading stocks and ETF’s is $7, definitely making the broker a low-cost firm. Options are an additional $1.25 per contract. Placing a trade over an automated phone system or with a live broker is an extra $25.

Scottrade offers its clients the ability to trade on margin. Currently, margin debits of less than $10,000 cost 8%.

The broker has more than 14,000 mutual funds, nearly 3,000 of which come with no load and no transaction fee. Load funds are free to buy, but cost $17 to sell. No-load funds that come with a transaction fee are $17 on both the buy and sell ends, if traded on-line.

Research and Education

The Scottrade website offers educational resources on a page called Knowledge Center. Investors will find articles and videos on a range of securities topics. The broker also has in-person seminars at their many local branches.

Cash Management Features

The brokerage firm has a bank with FDIC insurance that offers checking and savings accounts. The checking account has no setup fee, no monthly account fee, and no minimum balance requirement. It comes with free checks and a free debit MasterCard. Clients must have at least $500 in a Scottrade IRA in order to open a Scottrade bank account.

Customer Service

Traders can contact Scottrade using an on-line chat system, fax, e-mail, or phone. The chat and phone service are available 7 days a week. Scottrade has one of the best networks of local branches of any broker in the United States. Currently, there are more than 500 branches across America, more than E*Trade, Fidelity, or TD Ameritrade. The broker also has Twitter and Facebook accounts, and can be contacted there.

Trading Tools

Scottrade’s most basic platform is the web site. Traders can place orders for a variety of products, such as options, stocks, mutual funds, and ETF’s. For more conservative investors, the web site has a search tool for preferred stock and other fixed-income securities, such as bonds and CD’s.

A more advanced platform is Scottrader Streaming Quotes, a Java-based system. It is launched from the web site and offers charting, order entry, market news, and other services. It offers Level II quotes free of charge to customers who place at least 10 commissionable traders per month. Alternatively, clients can pay $10 a month for the service. The platform is customizable and easy to learn. One example is a stock search function, which displays the top 10 stocks for the trading day sorted by various market criteria.

The firm's most sophisticated trading platform is ScottradeELITE. The system is available to investors who have a total balance of $25,000 in Scottrade financial accounts, or who place 9 equity or option trades in a 3 month period.

Best IRA Broker

Mobile Trading

Scottrade has applications for Apple, mobile web, and Android. The interface is user friendly and easy to learn. Traders can place an order, search for options, read market news, and look over account and position data.


Investors who open an IRA at Scottrade and make an initial deposit of at least $10,000 will receive 50 free trades. Customers who deposit $25,000 will also receive a $100 cash bonus. A deposit of $100,000 is eligible for a $300 bonus, and customers who are able to deposit $1,000,000 or more will receive $2,000. The cash bonus is in addition to the free trades. Promotion link: Get up to $2000 when you open new account or add funds to existing account.


Scottrade’s commission of $7 is less than most on-line firms, including several in the low-cost category, such as Fidelity ($7.95), Schwab ($8.95), Etrade and TD Ameritrade ($9.99). With no IRA minimums or fees, Scottrade is a better value than brokers that do charge IRA fees, such as Vanguard.


Scottrade, with low trading commissions and no-fee IRA’s, is perfect for investors who need to save for retirement. The firm's branch locations should come in handy for clients who want some personal guidance in their retirement planning.

Open Scottrade IRA Account

Get up to $2000 when you open new account or add funds to existing account.

Open Scottrade account

Updated on 2/6/2016.

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