Firstrade

Best Online Brokerage Accounts for International Investors (Non-US Citizens)


Best brokerage firm for international clients/non-US investors. Online stock trading broker account for citizens of foreign countries.



International Brokerage Account


If you are a citizen of one of the following countries - Australia, Belgium, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Poland, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan, United Kingdom (Great Britain) - then click here and continue reading Firstrade Review below.

Citizens of all other countries click here.


Firstrade Overview


Firstrade is one of the very few U.S. brokerage firms that offer accounts to non-U.S. citizens. They recently lowered their pricing and now provide the lowest flat-rate commissions on stock and ETF trading - just $2.95 per trade. This makes them the top broker for international investors looking for an American brokerage firm.


Firstrade Pricing


InvestmentsCommissions
Stocks and ETFs $2.95
Stocks, ETFs, and mutual funds broker assisted $19.95
Options $2.95 + $0.50 per contract
Mutual funds $9.95
Treasury Bills, Notes, Municipal and Agency Bonds, Zeros & Strips net yield basis
CDs $30 for primary market CDs, net yield basis for secondary market CDs

Investments stocks, options, mutual funds, bonds, CDs, ETFs
Firstrade minimum deposit to open account $0
FeesFirstrade fees
Promotion linkFirstrade promotions


Firstrade Advantages


  • The lowest flat-rate stock, ETF, and mutual fund commissions
  • $0 minimum to open an account
  • No account maintenance or inactivity fees
  • No annual or setup fees for IRA accounts
  • Free dividend reinvestment plan (DRIP)
  • Easy to use, clean website
  • 12 ETFs are available commission free


Mutual and Exchange-traded Funds


Firstrade gives it clients 12 ETF’s from iShares, Vanguard, and PowerShares that are commission-free. Traders are required to purchase at least 10 shares, and the shares must be held a minimum of one month.

The broker has more than 8,000 mutual funds for its clients, some of which come with no transaction fee. Load funds always have no transaction fee. No-load funds that do have a transaction fee are $9.95 to trade. Some funds are completely free to trade, carrying neither load nor transaction fee. Strangely, Firstrade's screener lacks the ability to search for NTF mutual funds.

A $19.95 fee is applied to redemptions of fund shares that are held less than 3 months. Furthermore, fund redemptions under $500 are charged a $19.95 fee, unless the entire value of the fund is under $500.


Research and Education Tools


Firstrade pulls data from Morningstar, and offers Morningstar reports for some securities. There are no other third-party reports available besides Morningstar publications.

Firstrade does have some decent educational resources. The broker offers its clients several important learning tools on a page of their website called Education Center. Here investors will find videos and articles on a variety of securities topics, such as ETF basics and how to use a stop loss order. The broker also provides market news from Zacks and Benzinga.

The brokerage firm provides its customers with some useful tools on retirement and education planning. On the web site, clients can find important information on education savings accounts and IRA's.


Promotions


Customers who deposit at least $0.01 will receive $100 in commission credits. A deposit of $500 will qualify for $500 worth of commission-free trading, while making a deposit of $5,000 is good for $1,000 in commission credits. The promotion link is Up to $300 Cash Rewards + 500 Free Trades.


Customer Service


Firstrade representative can be reached by phone, fax, an on-line chat system, e-mail, or snail mail. Regrettably, chat and phone service are only available during the weekday.


Website and Trading Tools


Firstrade’s web site is user friendly and easy to navigate. Traders can place orders for a variety of securities using the standard web browser. At the bottom of the browser is a handy trade ticket called the Quick Bar where users can swiftly trade stocks, ETF's, and options. The Quick Bar displays vital information, such as the day's volume and the last trade price. Option chain information is also available using the Quick Bar.

Firstrade has a proprietary streaming quote service called X-Stream, although most buttons simply take the user back to the web site.


International brokerage account


Mobile Platform


Firstrade offers mobile apps for Android and Apple. The interface is intuitive and simple to use. Traders can call customer service, place a stock or option order, and look over position and account data.


Best online broker for international clients


Firstrade Summary


Firstrade delivers reliable securities trading at low cost that international investors will find attractive. Stock and option traders will do especially well here.


Open Firstrade Account




Open Firstrade Account







All Other Countries Residents


If you are an international investor from one of these countries - Argentina, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bermuda, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Canada, Cayman Islands, Chile, Colombia, Comoros, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Monaco, Mongolia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Romania, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Vietnam - then read SureTrader Review below.


SureTrader - Day-Trading Specialist


SureTrader offers a range of high-end features and tools designed for the seasoned day-trader. That is traders who buy and sell on a same, or intra-day, basis. SureTrader is appealing because it offers preferable regulatory benefits while maintaining competitive prices. However, there are some areas where SureTrader is lacking. Here we will outline the features of SureTrader and make a recommendation on its usefulness.


Suretrader Commissions


SureTrader charges commissions based on the number of trades made on a given account. The monthly rate varies from $1.95 to $50 based on the number of U.S. equities trader per month. There are additional fees for trading non-DTC eligible securities and options trading carries base fees of $4.95 plus a $0.50 charge for each contract. This charge is reduced to $2.00 base and $0.10 less on the option commission when more than 100 contracts are traded.

One great feature of SureTrader is that it does not charge any fee for simply holding an account and they never charge fees for routing money. Additionally, users will not see any maintenance or minimum balance fees. There is, however, a fee for inactivity for those who trade less than 15 times each quarter. This fee is $50 per quarter if this threshold is not met.

The customer service of SureTrader is easily accessible as agents are available by phone to take order submissions. $25 dollars will be charged for each telephone trade and every derivative assignment and exercise. Like all accounts, the FINRA and SEC charges are covered by the trader and should the account fall under 50%, SureTrader will slap on a fee for a margin call.


Technology


Desktop Platform

The available desktop trading software is phenomenal and highly technical. Once a user logs into their account there is an option to trade in “demo mode”. This is a great way to learn the software without using real money. The range of features covers Level II, call and put options, and tons of charting tools. Users can even see news right from the program, though, no video news features.

The program has an easy to use layout with multiple windows within the main program window. Traders can monitor stock indexes in the market view window and place unlimited market, limit, and stop orders at the same time. Expiration on orders can even be set down to the minute.

While the platform itself is not too customizable, the charting features are quite robust. With a vast array of color palettes, one can orient their graphs and cursors in any way they please. Technical indicators and Fibonacci patterns can be placed on or above the chart and can be adjusted to fit as needed. A big con of the platform is the inability to compare indexes and/or stocks side by side.

Training videos are prevalent through the easily accessible YouTube link in the SureTrader window. Users can train themselves through detailed instructions available online. From beginner to expert, PC or Mac, these videos have it covered.

Another great time saver on the program is the alert icon which is shaped like a bell. Users can set alerts for any sort of stock movement they wish for any given stock. This includes volume thresholds, trade price, Level II alerts, and technical crossovers. Even the sound of the alert can be customized and users can upload their own sounds!


SureTrader Review


Mobile Platform

The mobile platform is only available for iOS devices and is, therefore, only the mobile site (mobile.suretrader.com) is available on Android, Windows, or other mobile devices. The mobile application is fairly slimmed down with only four technical analysis available. Charting, options chains, Level II, news, order statuses are available via the iOS app.


SureTrader Mobile Review


SureTrader Minimum Deposit and Account Opening


SureTrader makes it easy for low income or beginner traders to use its platform. It offers a very low $500 minimum to open and maintain an account. The account activation itself has no fees and the tiered commission fees are competitive which is accompanied by several charges for low rates of use and inactivity.

To apply, simply visit SureTrader.com and fill out the online application. A PDF download of the application is also available to submit via postal or fax. The application is fairly straightforward and requires information on education, work history, and historical financials.


Promotion



Customer Service


There are several ways to contact SureTrader customer service. Namely, email, Skype, and VoIP (for U.S., U.K., and Australian citizens). For U.S. and Canadian citizens, telephone and fax numbers are made available. SureTrader has a public address in the Bahamas and will accept overnight deliveries to this location.


Deposits and Withdrawals


Another major difference between SureTrader and traditional U.S. based brokerage firms is the ability to accept deposits from credit and debit cards. The first deposit is free and following users will incur a 3.5% fee for this service. While deposits from a card are accepted, gains made through trading cannot be withdrawn from SureTrader to a credit or debit card, however, the original deposit amount can be. For example, if a user deposits the $500 minimum into their account and receives net gains of $50, they may only withdraw the original $500 back onto their card, leaving the $50 in their account available to transfer or wire to an active bank account.

To the dismay of its users, SureTrader requires a minimum withdrawal amount of $100 and charges fees for most withdrawal types. $40 will be charged for each ACH, wire transfers, and E-wallet withdrawal.

The transfer time for withdrawals from SureTrader is painstakingly slow. Plan for a solid ten days to receive withdrawn funds, three business days for the initial request and an additional week for the funds to clear.


Investment Products


While many traditional means of trading are available, such as penny stocks, standard stocks, and options, many other securities are not. Mutual funds, futures, bonds, and forex, for example, are absent.


Managed Accounts and Financial Advice


Users of SureTrader are left to their own understanding or day-trading as the program offers zero training and education.


SureTrader Review Summary


SureTrader, with its streamlined operating platform and charting features, can be very appealing to seasoned day-traders. Offering reasonable commissions, low fees, and a $500 minimum balance, the broker makes it easy for users to trade frequently and with little or no cash. While the structure and convenience of most U.S. based brokerage firms tend to outperform SureTrader, the ability to day-trade with less than the SEC required $25k is a huge reason to sign-up.


Open SureTrader Account



Open SureTrader Account


Updated on 10/14/2017.



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