Best Bond Trading Brokerage Platform in 2024

What Makes Firstrade the Best Broker for Bond Investing

If you’re interested in trading bonds and other fixed-income securities, Firstrade is one brokerage firm worth taking a look at. It delivers several advantages, which we will now consider.

Several Classes of Fixed-Income Products

Firstrade offers more than just bonds. It has a long list of fixed-income securities that are available for purchase. Assets include:

  • Treasury Bills
  • Treasury Notes
  • Treasury Bonds
  • Zeros & Strips
  • Primary Market CDs
  • Secondary Market CDs
  • Municipal Bonds
  • Agency Bonds
  • Corporate Bonds

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Bond Search Wizard

Looking for a bond or other fixed-income product to trade is straightforward thanks to Firstrade’s user-friendly bond search engine. This gadget will be found underneath the Trading tab in the top menu of the website. Just click on the “Fixed Income” link in the drop-down window.

The bond scanner starts with a search page where bonds are categorized into the following groups:

  • Hot Picks
  • Agencies
  • Treasuries
  • Corporates
  • Munis

Within each category, there are sub-categories by maturity date. For munis, it’s possible to narrow down further by selecting one or more states.

Clicking on a maturity range generates a list of results. These results have a few columns of information. These details include:

  • Quantity available
  • Minimum purchase amount
  • Industry
  • Ratings (from Moody’s and Fitch)
  • Coupon
  • Maturity
  • Price
  • Yield to maturity
  • Issuer

It’s possible to sort results by these factors.

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Ease of Placing Trades

Placing a bond trade is easy straight from the search engine. Clicking on the issuer in the search results produces a detailed page of that specific bond. Here, there are lots of data points, including:

- Settlement date
- First coupon
- Call schedule

One field needs to be completed. This is the order quantity—the number of bonds to be purchased. After entering this figure, simply click on the calculate button to receive the order total.

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Next, click on the preview button to get a glimpse of what the order is going to look like at execution. If everything looks okay, click on the orange submit button to send the order to the bond exchanges.

Bond Tools

The same bond search engine has several tabs that generate a variety of tools. These include:

  • Bond calculator
  • New issues
  • Saved queries
  • Order status
  • Sell/request bid

To get a bid request on a specific bond, you’ll need to know the CUSIP. It’s possible to specify an exact time for the bid request to expire. The bond calculator generates details on an entered CUSIP.

Bond Education

Underneath the Education tab at the top of Firstrade’s website, there is a link for fixed income. The page has a brief article on fixed-income basics. This would be good for beginners.

Underneath the Research & Tools tab, there is a Market & News section. Here, we found news articles that bond traders may be interested in. Lower down the page is a small window on the bond market, with current yields on various debt instruments.

Extensive List of Bond Funds

Besides individual bonds, Firstrade also offers bond funds. These are mutual funds and ETFs that invest in fixed-income instruments. The funds can be easily traded on Firstrade’s website and mobile app. Screeners for funds are available on the website underneath the Research & Tools tab.

Exchange-Traded Notes

One last security Firstrade offers is ETNs. Exchange-traded notes trade just like stocks and ETFs. They trade intraday on a stock exchange, although they are fixed-income securities.

It’s easy to find ETNs at Firstrade. Simply head over to the ETF screener and select “Exchange Traded Note” in the Fundamentals category. We found 134 ETNs during our research.

Low Commissions on Bonds and Bond Funds

On trades of bonds and bond funds, Firstrade charges very little. There are no transaction fees on any mutual fund trades, which really helps to reduce the cost of investing in them. Some funds will have loads, and all funds will have expense ratios.

Bond ETFs have no transaction fees at Firstrade, and none of them have loads. The only cost is the management fee, and these are often very low nowadays (VCSH costs just 0.04% per year, for example).

Trading bonds directly will incur some type of transaction fee. For most fixed-income assets, this is a markup or markdown. This amount is included in the price of the bond. Firstrade acts as principal on these transactions, meaning the broker is the counter-party.

Primary market CDs are the one fixed-income security to have a commission. It is $30 per side.


Firstrade has many valuable bond resources that fixed-income traders can take advantage of at little to no cost. And with a long list of bond funds, even novices can get in on the action.

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About the Author
Chad Morris is a financial writer with more than 20 years experience as both an English teacher and an avid trader. When he isn’t writing expert content for, Chad can usually be found managing his portfolio or building a new home computer.