Accounts for Non-U.S. Residents Etrade 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, Ally Invest, 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 (even from EU citizens).

Fortunately, there are U.S. brokerage firms that welcome international investors - Firstrade and ZacksTrade. 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 read 2021 Firstrade Review.

Citizens of all other countries should check out ZacksTrade. Learn more about the company in the 2021 ZacksTrade Review.

Open ZacksTrade Account

Open ZacksTrade Account

Open Firstrade Account

Open Firstrade Account

Overview of ZacksTrade

Led by Len Zacks, the same founder of the famous Zacks Investment Research, Zacks Trade is an online discount broker that provides a wide range of financial products plus access to global exchanges. We are going to take an in-depth look under the hood.

ZacksTrade Pricing and Minimum Deposit

Stocks and ETFs $0.01 per share with $1 minimum
Stocks and ETFs (less than $1 per share) 1% of trade value with $1 minimum
Options $1 for first contract + $0.75 per additional
Options exercise/assignment fee free
Mutual funds $27.50
Corporate and municipal bonds 0.1% * face value + $3 per bond if <= $10,000 face value; 0.025% * face value + $3 per bond if > $10,000 face value
Treasuries (bills, notes, bonds) 0.025% * face value + $3 per bond if <= $1,000,000 face value; 0.005% * face value + $3 per bond if > $1,000,000 face value

Investments stocks, options, mutual funds, ETFs, bonds
ZacksTrade minimum deposit to open account $2,500

Mutual Funds

We contacted ZacksTrade to find out how many mutual funds the broker-dealer offers its clients. We couldn't get an exact number. We were told they offer around 50-75 fund families. This is a very good figure, and it includes Fidelity and Vanguard. On the downside, every fund has a transaction fee at Zacks. The charge is $27.50. There is no surcharge for broker-assisted mutual fund trades, a very rare service in the industry.

Customer Support

It's possible to reach a ZacksTrade associate between the hours of 9 am and 6 pm, EST, Monday through Friday. The brokerage house is closed on the weekend and on market holidays.

Besides phone support, the broker also has an online chat feature and Facebook and Twitter accounts. The social media sites aren't very active. During a test chat we did, the broker didn't have any agents available during normal business hours. When we were able to reach someone, they didn't always have an answer to our question. If Zacks is going to offer these contact channels, it needs to support them.

The ZacksTrade website has an extensive account management section where it's possible to perform a variety of functions, such as link an external bank account, change your password, or update an address. There is also a FAQ section on the website that answers many account management questions. Unfortunately, ZacksTrade doesn't have any branch locations.

ZacksTrade Commissions, Fees, and Account Requirements

The broker starts off this section with zero account fees. There is no annual fee or any charge for a low balance or inactivity. The broker-dealer does require a $2,500 deposit to open a securities account.

Equity transactions cost 1¢ per share with a $1 minimum. The stock or ETF price must be at least $1 to qualify for this rate. Penny stocks cost 1% of trade value with the same $1 minimum. Amazingly, there is no additional charge for using a live broker to submit an order.

For options, ZacksTrade charges $1 for the first contract and 75¢ for each additional derivative. A great feature we really liked about ZacksTrade is that the broker charges absolutely nothing for option exercises and assignments.

Bonds are available at Zacks, and they cost 0.1% of face value plus $3 per individual bond. After reaching $10,000 of face value, the rate goes down to 0.025%. These prices are for corporate debt. U.S. Treasuries cost 0.025% of face value for the first million dollars; after reaching that level, the price drops to 0.005%. The same $3 per-bond charge is applied.

As already mentioned, ZacksTrade offers access to international markets. Trades can be placed on a range of national exchanges. For example, Canadian stocks cost $0.02 CAD per share with a $4.50 CAD minimum. Canadian penny stocks can be traded at 1% of trade value.

British stocks are 0.3% of trade value with a £12 minimum per order. Stocks on EU exchanges have the same pricing except that instead of pounds, you'll be looking at euros.

Moving to Asia, the same 0.3% price remains. In Hong Kong, the minimum commission is $120 HKD; in Japan it is ¥1200; in Australia it's $16 AUD; and in Singapore it is $20 SGD.

ZacksTrade doesn't charge a dime for its software. However, the broker does charge for data, and we found the prices to be rather steep. For example, U.S. stock and futures data cost $10 per month. This charge will be waived if you trade at least $30 in commission per month. Data from NYSE and Nasdaq costs anywhere from $1 per month up to $25, depending on the specific package you need. Bond data is free. Data on foreign exchanges also comes with fees. Professional traders face steep prices on both domestic and foreign exchanges.

Sticking with its budget model, ZacksTrade has very low margin rates. At the high end of the scale, the APR is 3.59%, and at this rate, you can borrow up to $100,000.

ZacksTrade Promotion

Open ZacksTrade Account

Trading Tools

For trading, Zacks offers a simple browser-based platform called ZacksTrader. We call it simple because it is easier to use than the desktop software we're going to look at momentarily; but ZacksTrader still has a lot of useful tools.

Zacks Trader Review

The platform is divided into two sections. The top has several tabs. These include Market, Account, Options, Products, Scanner, Market Pulse, and Search. The Market tab doesn't present much information about the markets. It is actually a watch list of various assets. These include not just stocks, but also futures and currencies. There is a default list and it's possible to create your own.

The Account tab shows buying power, maintenance margin, and other data points of the account. It is divided into securities and commodities, which is strange because Zacks doesn't offer futures trading.

Clicking on the Options tab produces an option chain for any entered ticker symbol. Unfortunately, only calls and puts are available on this screen. We did like the fact that the columns in the chain can be deleted and new ones added. For example, we were able to get rid of ‘% change' and replace it with ‘exchange.' When we clicked on a bid or ask price of a specific contract we were able to create an order ticket from a drop-down menu, and this included multi-leg strategies.

Up next is the Product tab. Here, there is a small chart of a single ticker symbol. We were disappointed in the functionality of this simple graph. We found no technical indicators, drawing tools, or comparisons.

Next is Market Pulse. This is similar to a heat map. It shows red and green bars of equities, sovereign debt, and currencies. Unfortunately, the bars don't always show enough information to know what they represent. For example, the U.S. bar for equities doesn't specify which index it refers to.

ZacksTrade Market Pulse

Now we come to the bottom portion, which is where the order ticket sits. While we weren't overly impressed with the top section, the order ticket did have some advanced features. Several tabs allow for the trading of many different products. A mutual fund tab permits the trading of mutual funds, for example. The stock tab has several order types, including market on close, trailing, and stop limit.

Countries Accepted

If you are an international investor from one of these countries - Belgium, China, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Poland, Singapore, Taiwan, United Kingdom (Great Britain), 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 go to ZacksTrade »

Open ZacksTrade Account

Open ZacksTrade Account