Charles Schwab vs Fidelity

Fidelity vs Charles Schwab

Compare Charles Schwab versus Fidelity Investments - which brokerage house is better in 2019? IRA/Roth accounts, online investing fees, stock broker mutual fund rates, and differences.

Broker Comparison

The two brokers are well-known brokerage firms who attract a lot of investors and offer a variety of financial products. So which is better - Charles Schwab or Fidelity Investments? Let's find out.


Broker Fees Stock/ETF
Mutual Fund
Annual IRA
Fidelity $4.95 $49.95 $4.95 + $0.65 per contract $0 $0
Charles Schwab $0 $76 ($0 to sell) $0 + $0.65 per contract $0 $0
Firstrade $0 $0 $0 $0 $0


Broker Review Cost Investment Products Trading Tools Customer Service Research Overall Rating
Charles Schwab

Pricing, Fees, and Account Minimums

Fidelity's standard charge for trading stocks and ETF’s is $4.95, Schwab is at $0. For options, these brokers charge an extra $0.65 per contract.

Placing a trade with a human broker is a pricey $29.95 at both firms.

Both Charles Schwab and Fidelity offer 500+ commission-free ETF’s.

Brokerage accounts at both Schwab and Fidelity carry no inactivity fees or account maintenance fees. The minimum initial deposit to open an account at Fidelity is $2,500, while Schwab has a $1,000 minimum. Schwab's minimum can be waived by opening a checking account with the brokerage account. Both firms also offer no-fee IRA's.

The two brokers are pretty even in this category.

Mutual Funds

Fidelity offers more than 10,000 mutual funds, of which less than a thousand carry no-load and no transaction fee. Mutual funds that do carry a transaction fee depending on the fund are $49.95.

Schwab has several thousand mutual fund offerings. More than 3,500 are OneSource mutual funds, which carry no loads and no transaction fees. Mutual funds that aren’t transaction-free are a pricey $76 to buy and free to sell.

Overall, this category goes to Schwab for its wide selection of OneSource funds.

Research and Education

Fidelity offers extensive research for securities. Customers have access to free reports from Morningstar, Zacks, S&P Capital IQ, and others. Investors will find a useful research tool for fixed-income offerings. The broker also has a virtual learning center where investors will find videos, articles, and webinars on a wide range of topics.

Schwab offers in-depth research for stocks, ETF’s, and mutual funds. Customers have access to free stock reports from Morningstar, Thomson Reuters, and others. Furthermore, customers have free access to the very useful Schwab Equity Ratings, which cover approximately 3,000 U.S. stocks and grade them on an A, B, C, D, and F scale. Schwab also offers its clients free report cards on mutual funds.

This category produces a dead heat.

Fidelity vs Schwab

Customer Service

Schwab customer service can be contacted via an on-line chat system, phone, fax, or e-mail. The phone service is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Schwab also offers phone numbers for Chinese speakers and customers traveling outside America. The brokerage has more than 325 brick-and-mortar branches located across the U.S.

Fidelity can be contacted via an on-line chat system, phone, fax, or e-mail. The phone service is staffed 24/7. Fidelity also offers a list of phone numbers for customers traveling outside the U.S., from Albania to Zimbabwe and everywhere in between. Fidelity has more than 180 branch locations.

This category goes to Schwab for its retail locations.

Trading Tools

Schwab's web site is simple and easy to navigate. Within the web site there is Trade Source, available after logging into Trade Source is user friendly, but only offers basic information.

Schwab’s crown jewel of trading platforms is their StreetSmart Edge (review) available via the cloud or as a downloadable program. StreetSmart Edge is free of charge to clients who maintain a $1,000 minimum account balance.

Schwab vs Fidelity

Trading securities at Fidelity is straightforward with the broker's standard web browser platform, which includes a handy trade ticket. Fidelity also offers Active Trader Pro, an advanced trading platform for customers placing 36 or more trades in a rolling twelve-month period.

This category goes to Schwab for not having an active trader requirement for its high-end platform.

Mobile Trading

Fidelity has applications for iPhone, iPad, Android, and Windows Phone 8. The interface is intuitive and user friendly. Users can transfer funds between Fidelity and non-Fidelity accounts, make a mobile check deposit, contact customer service, pay bills, and place trades.

Schwab has applications for iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire, and mobile web. The interface is easy to navigate. Users can transfer funds between Schwab and non-Schwab accounts, contact customer service, make a mobile check deposit, place trades, or pay bills.

Pretty close in this category.

Cash Management Features

Schwab has an FDIC-insured bank that offers its brokerage customers a checking account, which comes with free checks and a free Visa debit card.

Fidelity offers their clients the Cash Management Account. It comes with checks and a Visa Gold debit card as well. However, the account offers FDIC insurance up to $1,250,000, five times the normal amount. It does this by sweeping the cash balance into a maximum of 5 independent program banks, each offering the standard $250,000 protection.

Fidelity is the winner here.

Additional Features

Futures trading is available at Schwab. Fidelity does not have futures trading.

Fidelity does offer its clients access to global markets, giving traders 25 national exchanges in 16 different currencies. Schwab also provides its customers access to foreign markets. Investors can trade foreign securities in a regular brokerage account utilizing the firm's Global Investing Services desk. Schwab also offers a separate international account aptly titled the Schwab Global Account. This account allows investors to trade stocks in 12 foreign markets using 8 different currencies.

Overall, this category goes to Schwab.

Charles Schwab vs Fidelity: Results

There were three ties, Charles Schwab won four categories, and Fidelity Investments was victorious in one category. Schwab is the winner. Value oriented investors, however, can find a better deal at the $0 commission broker, Firstrade.

Fidelity Fees vs Charles Schwab Fees

Fidelity Investments

Charles Schwab

  • Stocks and ETFs: $4.95
  • Stocks and ETFs broker assisted: $29.95
  • Options: $4.95 + $0.65 per contract
  • Mutual funds: $49.95 to buy; $0 to sell. $49.95 if sold within 2 months
  • Bonds and CDs (new issues): on a net yield basis
  • Bonds and CDs (secondary issues): $1.00 per bond ($250 maximum)
  • Investment products: stocks, bonds, mutual funds, options, commercial paper, UITs, ETFs
  • Fidelity minimum deposit to open account: $2,500 ($0 for Rollover IRA; $2,500 or $200 per month for ROTH and Traditional IRA)

  • Stocks and ETFs: $0
  • Stocks and ETFs broker assisted: $29.95
  • Stocks and ETFs phone trades: $9.95
  • Options: $0 + $0.65 per contract
  • Mutual funds: $76 to buy, $0 to sell
  • Futures: $1.50 per contract
  • 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: $0
  • Commercial Paper and Foreign Bonds, Unit Investment Trusts: call for pricing
  • Investment products: stocks, bonds, mutual funds, futures, Treasury issues, options, futures, CDs, insurance, ETFs, annuities, non-U.S. securities and ADRs, WEBs and Canadian foreign orders
  • Charles Schwab minimum deposit to open account: $0 for cash account, $2,000 for margin account

Review discount online brokerage firms comparison: Charles Schwab vs Fidelity Investments? Differences between investment companies. Recommendation for stocks, options, ETFs, mutual funds, bonds investors. Fidelity versus Charles Schwab for beginner investors, long term, individual retirement accounts, active/day traders. See what stock broker service is better, cheaper, offers lower fees, cost, rated higher and easier to use. Which broker should you choose?