Charles Schwab Competitors


Who are the top rated, largest Charles Schwab competitors? Charles Schwab vs competition main alternatives: compare fees, rates, and services.



Charles Schwab Competitors Overview


Charles Schwab is a discount broker, offering its clients a variety of financial products and trading tools. But Charles Schwab has strong competitors in M1 Finance, Webull, and Ally Invest. So how does it compare to its biggest rivals? Let's take a look.


Charles Schwab vs Competitors




Recommendations


Individual Retirement Accounts: For IRA’s, we recommend Ally Invest for its larger list of target-date mutual funds.

Beginners: Due to Schwab’s many educational resources, we can recommend it to new investors. All other brokers have fewer educational materials, but they are easy to use and better priced than Schwab.

Mutual Fund Investors: With over 12,000 mutual funds, Ally Invest is our pick.

Active ETF and Stock Trading: While Schwab does have some strengths here, we think Webull would be a better choice.

Long-Term Investors: Schwab would be a good choice for investors focusing on the long term. So would Ally Invest and M1 Finance.

Small Accounts: All these brokers have no account minimum and no fees.







Charles Schwab Mutual Funds


Schwab offers its clients over 5,100 mutual funds to buy and sell. More than 3,300 of these carry no transaction fee. Slightly over 3,100 funds have neither load nor transaction fee. While the total number of funds is low by industry standards, the broker's list of no-load, no-transaction-fee funds is one of the largest. It's simple to search through all of these products using the firm's handy screener. Users can specify several different criteria, including inception date, return history, and fund category. Other useful search measures include 30-day SEC yield, portfolio turnover, and standard deviation. Schwab has other mutual fund resources as well. The broker's customers can access report cards on mutual funds free of charge.

There is information on Schwab's target date funds, which are designed for retirement accounts. There is also an article on MarketTrack Portfolios, which are built of out of passively-managed index funds.

Minimum initial purchase amounts vary by fund. Some are as low as $100 while other funds are as high as $5 million. IRA's have the same minimums as regular accounts. Schwab does not have any charge for mutual funds with low balances. Funds that carry a transaction fee are $49.95 on the buy side. Fortunately, there is no charge to sell.


Charles Schwab Website/Trading Platform/Tools


Website

Schwab's website is user friendly. Upon a single login, customers will see all affiliated accounts. These include the brokerage account, Schwab Bank accounts, and any accounts with Schwab's subsidiary, optionsXpress. Trades can be placed for all securities, including bonds and CD's. The site has excellent tools for research, and a customer service tab displays all methods that are available to reach a representative.

Trade Source is available within the website. This is a browser-based trading platform that displays market news, account and position data, indices, market heatmaps, and charts. After entering a symbol, buy and sell buttons are displayed, making order entry fairly straightforward. Trade Source has all the necessary tools for effective trading, all in a web browser.


Charles Schwab Website


StreetSmart.com

Schwab has a more advanced trading system that is web-based but not in a browser. StreetSmart.com is launched from inside Schwab.com. It is Java-based and creates a discrete window. On the platform, users will find advanced trading tools such as option chains and Level II quotes. One disadvantage of StreetSmart.com is that users are frequently taken back to Schwab.com for various account functions, such as funds transfers and ETF screening.


StreetSmart Edge

Schwab’s most advanced trading platform is StreetSmart Edge. The program is available through the cloud or as a desktop program. It has many features that sophisticated traders will want. Some examples are Level II quotes, live streaming of CNBC financial news, national best bid and offer (NBBO) data, options trading, ETF and stock screeners, and conditional orders.

Charting is advanced and customizable. The time scale can be anywhere from monthly to tick-by-tick. Candlesticks are available, as are OHLC bars, point and figure, area, and line. The software includes many technical analysis tools, which can be customized with different colors and stroke styles.

The software is available free of charge to Schwab Trading Services customers. In order to qualify as a Trading Services client, investors must have at least $1,000 in a trading account. In comparison, Fidelity and E*Trade have higher minimum requirements for their advanced platforms. On the other hand, TD Ameritrade has no frequent trader requirement for Thinkorswim, its advanced platform.


Charles Schwab Platform


Mobile Trading

Schwab clients can trade on-the-go with the broker's handy mobile app. It can be used on iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Android devices, Kindle Fire, and mobile web. It takes just a few minutes to learn where everything is at. Important features include mobile check deposit, funds transfer between Schwab and non-Schwab accounts, order placement, bill pay, and a customer service contact. Charles Schwab app is rated with a high, 4 star score at iTunes and Google Play app stores.


Charles Schwab Mobile App