Charles Schwab vs Fidelity

Fidelity vs Charles Schwab

Compare Charles Schwab versus Fidelity Investments - which is better for fees, IRA/Roth accounts, online stock trading, and mutual funds investing in 2022?

Fidelity vs Schwab Comparison

When Schwab went to $0 commissions, Fidelity soon followed. Now with almost identical pricing schedules, is there anything that sets these two apart? We’ve done all the research for you. Here’s the result:


Broker Fees Stock/ETF
Mutual Fund
Annual IRA
Fidelity $0 $49.95 $0.65 per contract $0 $0
Charles Schwab $0 $49.95 $0.65 per contract $0 $0
Firstrade $0 $0 $0 per contract $0 $0


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


Fidelity: Get $0 stock commissions.

Charles Schwab: Get commission-free online stock trades.

Firstrade: Get 2 FREE stocks and $0 commission in ALL trades!

1st Category: Assets That Can Be Traded

Fidelity clients can buy and sell equities, fixed-income assets, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, closed-end funds, option contracts, IPO’s, and precious metals. Equities include both penny and over-the-counter securities.

Schwab offers everything Fidelity does except precious metals. In their place, the broker-dealer provides futures trading, and this includes bitcoin futures.

Looks pretty even here.

2nd Category: Foreign Stock Accounts

Both brokerage houses in this survey recognize that the 21st-century economy has an international aspect to it. As such, they offer their clients international stock trading, and this means direct access to foreign equity exchanges.

The Schwab Global Account™ delivers trading on twelve global exchanges. These include the London Stock Exchange, the Tokyo Stock Exchange, and the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. Local currencies are used in these trades. Some examples are the Hong Kong dollar and the Euro.

At Fidelity, there isn’t a separate account, which is what Schwab’s Global Account is. Instead, Fidelity simply adds global trading capability to a regular taxable account. In total, there are 25 foreign exchanges available. This results in 16 foreign currencies, as trades are placed in the local currency.

Both brokers offer real-time foreign quotes, but don’t offer $0 commissions on foreign trades.

Fidelity looks like the outperformer here.

3rd Category: Investment Education

Schwab publishes a quarterly investment magazine called On Investing. It is available free of charge to customers and guests. Some of the topics we found in the publication include changing jobs, employee stock options, charitable giving, and surviving a bear market.

Schwab’s website hosts videos, articles, podcasts, and infographics on many topics. Categories include both personal finance and investing. The broker also hosts in-person events throughout the United States.

Schwab’s screeners provide search capability based on many criteria. And stock profiles offer lots of information; we found seven pdf reports on McDonald’s, one of which is from Schwab.

At Fidelity, we found effective investment screeners as well. One difference we didn’t like was the inability of Fidelity’s mutual fund screener to search by load status. Schwab’s does have this ability.

Stock profiles at Fidelity have a little more information on them than Schwab’s profiles do. For example, Fidelity offers information on technical events, including analysis from Recognia. We found thirteen pdf reports on McDonald’s.

General education hasn’t been neglected, either. The Fidelity site hosts lots of great information on personal finance plus trading the products available through the broker. As with Schwab, Fidelity operates on-line and in-person events.

We’ll call it a tie here.

4th Category: Mobile Platforms

Now for technology. Schwab provides two apps. One is primarily for futures trading, although stocks, funds, and options can be traded on it. During our testing, we found it to be somewhat buggy with fonts overlapping other fonts.

Schwab vs Fidelity

Schwab’s main app is much better. CNBC is available free of charge. The broker-dealer offers market updates in audio format. There are lots of news articles, and it’s possible to deposit a paper check.

Charting on the platform can be done in horizontal form; and there are several tools for extra study. Mutual funds and options can be traded on the platform. There are four order types on the trade ticket: limit, market, stop limit, and stop.

The Fidelity app delivers another impressive experience. Bloomberg Business News streams in high definition, and mobile check deposit is available as well. Fidelity offers a PayPal transfer tool, something we didn’t find on Schwab’s software.

Fidelity or Schwab

Horizontal charting is available on Fidelity’s app, and there are tools for more scrutiny. Options and mutual funds can be traded on the app. The order form has the same order types as Schwab’s app has plus four trailing types.

Fidelity’s app has podcasts and Touch ID, neither of which is on Schwab’s platform.

We pick Fidelity in this category.

5th Category: Websites

Transitioning from mobile trading to desktop and laptop trading, we find another great collection of resources. The Schwab site is easy to use but still has a lot of stuff on it. A trade bar delivers real-time info on whatever ticker symbol is displayed. The site offers alerts and watchlists.

Schwab or Fidelity

Charting on Schwab’s website incorporates tools, although we were disappointed not to find a full-screen mode. Full-screen charting is available on StreetSmart Central. This is Schwab’s browser-based platform. Launched from the website (by clicking on the two vertical arrows in the upper-right corner), the software provides futures trading and some option tools.

Fidelity’s site doesn’t have a browser platform, a huge disadvantage compared to Schwab. Nevertheless, Fidelity’s site does provide better charting than Schwab’s website has. Although there’s not a trade bar, there is a pop-up trade ticket that is generated by clicking on a trade button. It’s easy to sign up for alerts, and multiple watchlists can be created.

Fidelity vs Schwab

Schwab wins here.

6th Category: Desktop Platforms

Both firms in this rivalry offer desktop programs that carry zero trading requirements. StreetSmart Edge is Schwab’s program. It offers a simulated trading mode, advanced charting, live streaming of CNBC, Level II data, and direct-access routing.

Active Trader Pro from Fidelity offers a lot of the same features: Level II quotes, direct-access routing, and a demo mode for extra practice. Charting is on a high level with plenty of tools. Instead of CNBC, Bloomberg is available.

Another draw.

7th Category: Option Trading

Options can be traded on either desktop platform. At Schwab, they can also be traded on either mobile app, the browser platform, and the website. StreetSmart Central offers a derivative screener that can search by many variables, such as open interest, expiration data, stock price, and Greek values.

Fidelity has some really good option tools, too. A profit-loss calculator makes an appearance on the website. There is also a handy probability calculator that shows the likelihood of price movements of the underlying stock. Implied volatilities are shown along with market commentary on the options market.

Fidelity is the top dog here.

8th Category: Other Services

Both brokerage houses offer IRA’s, recurring deposits into mutual funds, and DRIP service. All of these are free, too.

Dead heat in this category.

Our Recommendations

Mutual Fund Traders: Although Fidelity’s mutual fund screener doesn’t have a search feature for load status, the broker does offer more than twice as many funds as Schwab does. We recommend Fidelity.

Long-Term Investors and Retirement Savers: Toss-up.

Beginners: Both companies have customer service around the clock. Both also have good educational resources and online human chat. Schwab has more branch locations, so it has a slight advantage.

Stock and ETF Trading: With the same commission schedules, we have to look at research materials and software. As we have already seen, Fidelity has more thorough stock materials. As for ETF’s, the same holds true. We propose Fidelity.

Charles Schwab vs Fidelity: Results

These two brokerage firms are pretty evenly matched. Fidelity did win more categories, but Schwab was a close runner-up in these cases. Futures traders obviously should go with Schwab, while precious metals traders should choose Fidelity. Anyone looking for $0 commission trades not just on stocks but also on mutual funds and options should also take a look at Firstrade.

Fidelity Fees vs Charles Schwab Fees

Fidelity Investments

Charles Schwab

  • Stocks and ETFs: $0
  • Stocks and ETFs broker assisted: $32.95
  • Options: $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: $0.65 per contract
  • Mutual funds: $49.95 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

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