Charles Schwab vs Scottrade

Charles Schwab vs Scottrade

Compare Scottrade versus Charles Schwab - which brokerage firm is better in 2020? IRA/Roth accounts, online investing fees, stock broker mutual fund rates, and differences comparison.

Acquisition By TD Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade has acquired Scottrade, fully integrated it, and discontinued the brand. For this reason visit TD Ameritrade and Charles Schwab comparison inctead.

Comparison Introduction

Charles Schwab and Scottrade are two popular brokerage firms who claim to offer their clients the best in investment services. So which is better - Charles Schwab or Scottrade? The following contest will provide the answer.


Broker Fees Stock/ETF
Mutual Fund
Annual IRA
Scottrade $0 $17 $0.70 per contract $0 $0
Charles Schwab $0 $49.95 $0.65 per contract $0 $0


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


Scottrade: $0 commission stock and ETF trades.

Charles Schwab: Make $100,000 deposit and get 500 commission-free online equity and options trades.

Trading Fees and Account Minimums

Scottrade's and Schwab's price for trading stocks and ETF’s is $0. For options, the firms charge an extra $0.65 per contract.

Clients who place a trade with a living, breathing broker at Scottrade will be set back a $25, while doing the same at Schwab costs a $29.95.

Brokerage accounts at both companies have neither account maintenance fees nor inactivity fees. The required initial deposit to open an account at Schwab is at least $1,000, while Scottrade has a no minimum. Schwab's required deposit can be waived by opening a bank account with the brokerage account. Both brokers also have no-fee IRA's.

This category is a tie.

Mutual Funds

Schwab offers its clients several thousand mutual funds. More than 3,500 of these are OneSource mutual funds, which have no loads and no transaction fees. Mutual funds that do carry a transaction fee are a steep $49.95 to buy, although free to sell.

Scottrade has more than 13,000 mutual fund offerings. 4,200 come with no load and no transaction fee. Funds that have a transaction fee are $49.99 to trade.

With thousands of commission free funds, Scottrade and Charles Schwab are tied in this category.

Education and Research

Clients of Scottrade will find great research for investment products. Traders have access to free securities reports from Morningstar, Credit Suisse,, and other independent researchers. The broker also provides its customers with Investools, an online tool that offers classes at the beginner, advanced, and expert levels on a wide range of investment topics.

Schwab has excellent research capability for securities. Customers have access to stock reports from Morningstar, Thomson Reuters, and others, all at no cost. Customers also have free access to the very helpful Schwab Equity Ratings, which cover around 3,000 U.S. stocks and evaluate them on an A, B, C, D, and F grading scale. The broker also offers report cards on mutual funds free of charge.

Pretty close in this category.

Scottrade or Charles Schwab

Customer Service

Customer service at Schwab can be contacted using an on-line chat system. Customers can also contact Schwab by phone, fax, or e-mail. The phone service is staffed around the clock. The broker also provides phone numbers for Chinese speakers and customers traveling outside the United States. Schwab has more than 325 brick-and-mortar branches.

Scottrade has phone service staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Representatives are available limited hours of the day who are fluent in Cantonese, Mandarin, or Spanish. The brokerage has more than 100 brick-and-mortar branches located across the United States.

Neither broker has a clear advantage in this category.

Trading Tools

Scottrade has a couple trading platforms, both of which come with Level II quotes free of charge. The most basic platform is the web site, which is easy to use. The second platform is Thinkorswim, a desktop platform, arguably the best on the market. Both systems are exceptionally well designed, packed with features, and free to use.

A nice tool that Scottrade offers is paperMoney, a practice platform within Thinkorswim that lets clients simulate trading with a virtual currency.

Schwab's web site is straightforward and easy to learn. Within the web site there is Trade Source trading platform, available after logging in to the main web site. Trade Source is user friendly, but only offers basic trading data. The broker’s top trading platform is StreetSmart Edge, available via the cloud or as a desktop program. StreetSmart Edge is free of charge to clients who maintain a $1,000 minimum account balance.

This category goes to Scottrade.

Scottrade vs Schwab

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Mobile Apps

Schwab offers its clients applications for Apple, Android, Kindle Fire, and mobile web. The app is intuitive and easy to learn. Users have the ability to transfer funds between Schwab and non-Schwab accounts, make a mobile check deposit, contact customer service, place trades, or pay bills.

Scottrade has three different apps: Mobile App, Mobile Trader App, and a Thinkorswim app. All three apps can be used on iPhone, iPad, and Android. Having three different apps for investors with different experience level (beginner, mid-level and advanced) is a smart move. The Thinkorswim app has paperMoney for customers who want to practice trading on a mobile platform.

Overall, Scottrade wins here too.

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. ATM fees are reimbursed worldwide, and the account is insured up to $250,000.

Scottrade offers its customers a checking account with a free Visa debit card and free checks. There are no monthly account fees, and ATM fees are reimbursed throughout the U.S. The account balance is insured up to $500,000 rather than the standard $250,000, because the balance is swept in up to two FDIC-insured banks.

Pretty even in this category.

Additional Features

Scottrade offers its clients futures and forex trading. Futures trading is available at Schwab's, but, unfortunately, forex trading is no longer provided.

Schwab offers its customers access to global markets. Investors can trade foreign stocks in a regular brokerage account utilizing the broker's Global Investing Services desk. The broker also offers a separate international account suitably titled the Schwab Global Account. With this account, clients can trade securities in twelve foreign markets using eight different currencies.

Schwab wins the last category.

Scottrade vs Charles Schwab: Results

There were six ties, Scottrade was victorious in two categories, and Schwab was victorious in one category. Both brokers are pretty even. Because of more advanced trading tools designed for customers with every experience level, Scottrade is our recommendation to most investors.