Firstrade

Accounts for Non-U.S. Residents at TD Ameritrade, Scottrade, Etrade, Fidelity, Vanguard, Charles Schwab, and Ally Invest.



U.S. Brokers For Non-U.S. Residents


Because of laws and regulations introduced in the recent years it became increasingly difficult for U.S. brokerage firms to maintain international investors who are non-U.S. citizens or residents. Because of that Etrade, Fidelity, Vanguard, Charles Schwab, Scottrade, TD Ameritrade and other brokerage companies dropped international investors who were already their clients and they don't accept new account applications from non-U.S. residents.

Fortunately, there is a U.S. brokerage firm that welcomes international investors - Firstrade. If you are a citizen of one of the following countries - Australia, Belgium, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Poland, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan, United Kingdom (Great Britain) - then click here and continue reading Firstrade Review below.

Citizens of all other countries click here.


Firstrade Overview


Firstrade is one of the very few U.S. brokerage firms that offer accounts to non-U.S. citizens. They recently lowered their pricing and now provide the lowest flat-rate commissions on stock and ETF trading - just $2.95 per trade. This makes them the top broker for international investors looking for an American brokerage firm.


Firstrade Pricing


InvestmentsCommissions
Stocks and ETFs $2.95
Stocks, ETFs, and mutual funds broker assisted $19.95
Options $2.95 + $0.50 per contract
Mutual funds $9.95
Treasury Bills, Notes, Municipal and Agency Bonds, Zeros & Strips net yield basis
CDs $30 for primary market CDs, net yield basis for secondary market CDs

Investments stocks, options, mutual funds, bonds, CDs, ETFs
Firstrade minimum deposit to open account $0
FeesFirstrade fees
Promotion linkFirstrade promotions


Firstrade Advantages


  • The lowest flat-rate stock, ETF, and mutual fund commissions
  • $0 minimum to open an account
  • No account maintenance or inactivity fees
  • No annual or setup fees for IRA accounts
  • Free dividend reinvestment plan (DRIP)
  • Easy to use, clean website
  • 12 ETFs are available commission free


Mutual and Exchange-traded Funds


Firstrade gives it clients 12 ETF’s from iShares, Vanguard, and PowerShares that are commission-free. Traders are required to purchase at least 10 shares, and the shares must be held a minimum of one month.

The broker has more than 8,000 mutual funds for its clients, some of which come with no transaction fee. Load funds always have no transaction fee. No-load funds that do have a transaction fee are $9.95 to trade. Some funds are completely free to trade, carrying neither load nor transaction fee. Strangely, Firstrade's screener lacks the ability to search for NTF mutual funds.

A $19.95 fee is applied to redemptions of fund shares that are held less than 3 months. Furthermore, fund redemptions under $500 are charged a $19.95 fee, unless the entire value of the fund is under $500.


Research and Education Tools


Firstrade pulls data from Morningstar, and offers Morningstar reports for some securities. There are no other third-party reports available besides Morningstar publications.

Firstrade does have some decent educational resources. The broker offers its clients several important learning tools on a page of their website called Education Center. Here investors will find videos and articles on a variety of securities topics, such as ETF basics and how to use a stop loss order. The broker also provides market news from Zacks and Benzinga.

The brokerage firm provides its customers with some useful tools on retirement and education planning. On the web site, clients can find important information on education savings accounts and IRA's.


Promotions


Customers who deposit at least $0.01 will receive $100 in commission credits. A deposit of $500 will qualify for $500 worth of commission-free trading, while making a deposit of $5,000 is good for $1,000 in commission credits. The promotion link is Up to $300 Cash Rewards + 500 Free Trades.


Customer Service


Firstrade representative can be reached by phone, fax, an on-line chat system, e-mail, or snail mail. Regrettably, chat and phone service are only available during the weekday.


Website and Trading Tools


Firstrade’s web site is user friendly and easy to navigate. Traders can place orders for a variety of securities using the standard web browser. At the bottom of the browser is a handy trade ticket called the Quick Bar where users can swiftly trade stocks, ETF's, and options. The Quick Bar displays vital information, such as the day's volume and the last trade price. Option chain information is also available using the Quick Bar.

Firstrade has a proprietary streaming quote service called X-Stream, although most buttons simply take the user back to the web site.


International brokerage account


Mobile Platform


Firstrade offers mobile apps for Android and Apple. The interface is intuitive and simple to use. Traders can call customer service, place a stock or option order, and look over position and account data.


Best online broker for international clients


Firstrade Summary


Firstrade delivers reliable securities trading at low cost that international investors will find attractive. Stock and option traders will do especially well here.


Open Firstrade Account




Open Firstrade Account







All Other Countries Residents


If you are an international investor from one of these countries - Argentina, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bermuda, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Canada, Cayman Islands, Chile, Colombia, Comoros, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Monaco, Mongolia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Romania, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Vietnam - then read SureTrader Review below.


SureTrader


Day traders in the United States who want to buy and sell securities on an intra-day basis must maintain a minimum balance of $25,000 under FINRA regulations. One broker that has found a way around this rule is SureTrader. Because it is headquartered in the Bahamas, it remains outside of the U.S. regulatory environment and its mandates.


Regulations Governing SureTrader


SureTrader is owned by Swiss America Securities, Ltd., which was established in the Bahamas in 2008. Because the company is headquartered outside the United States, it is not subject to SEC or FINRA oversight. It is, however, regulated by the Securities Commission of the Bahamas, the primary watchdog of the investment industry in that country. Its website is located at www.scb.gov.bs. The agency was established in 1995. By comparison, the SEC was set up in 1934.

The Commission’s website has a lot of detailed information on its role in the securities industry in the Bahamas, and which firms it regulates. Swiss America Securities shows up in a search for these brokers. Many links provide important information for investors about enforcement, licensing, and registration.


Broker Free Trial

Get FREE trading account with $100k virtual money at SureTrader.


Advantages of SureTrader


SureTrader offers a paper-trading demo of its sophisticated desktop platform. Most brokers don’t have a simulated trading system. SureTrader offers Level II quotes and direct access trading. The broker received 4 stars out of 5 from Barron’s for usability. It provides mobile trading with Apple devices. There is also a mobile site.

SureTrader also charges just 1¢ per share, with a $4.95 minimum. Options are 50¢ each, with the $4.95 base. The broker offers 6:1 intra-day leverage and 2:1 overnight leverage on marginable securities priced higher than $3.


Recap


SureTrader offers a great service to people who want to day trade, but don’t have the necessary $25,000 that is required under U.S. guidelines. The flip side of this is that the U.S. regulatory framework is not available, and the broker’s operations are located in the Caribbean. The securities regulator in the Bahamas is relatively young, being founded just over 20 years ago. While the SEC is much older, it has had recent failures. What SureTrader has going for it is a low $500 minimum, which might make the broker worth the risk.


Open SureTrader Account


Open SureTrader Account


Updated on 10/13/2017.



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