This Firstrade Review is part of our Online Stock Broker Reviews series. How do they stack up with the other online brokers? Let’s take a look.
Firstrade is a standard online stock trading service that fulfills the needs of both the casual investor and the seasoned trader. An impressive aspect of their site is the commission schedule, which is straightforward without any hidden tricks. Of all of the web’s online trading brokers, Firstrade is the least expensive at only $6.95 per trade. In addition, there are no minimum account balance requirements. Also of note, for mutual funds that are kept over 180 days, Firstrade does not add commission fees.
At just $6.95 per trade, Firstrade offers highly competitive trading prices. They also offer no-fee IRAs and have 10,000 different mutual funds to choose from, with no required minimum deposit. Firstrade has also built a variety of new exciting features into its site. For example, their Level II streaming quotes are only $10 per month. They offer a real-time portfolio tracker, direct access trading, S&P analyst picks, DRIPs and direct access trading.
Accounts can be obtained that offer check writing, bill paying and credit cards. Firstrade also offers the option to reduce trading time by 50 percent by using their Firstrade Express option, which cuts out the order confirmation step. All account holders have access to a streaming watch list, in addition to market commentary through Briefing.com. Firstrade’s interface is amazingly easy to navigate, yet offers a comprehensive layout.
Firstrade is ahead of the game with wireless account access and trading. Phone trading is cheap and easy to use via touch-tone phones, with each market order costing only $12.00 On the other hand, Firstrade has received some negative reviews on community bulletin boards for having less-than favorable customer service. Another downfall of Firstrade is that they charge $26.95 for broker assisted orders. Among the services that Firstrade does not offer are: International trading, FOREX trading and mobile phone applications. In general, customers would like to see cheaper, broker-assisted orders and the option to use mobile phone applications.
Overall, Firstrade has been granted average reviews for their fees and commissions. While charging only $6.95 per market or limit trade, there is also a $.075 charge with each contract for option trades. In addition to the $26.95 fee for broker assisted orders, the $16.95 charge on touch-tone orders is considered to be a little hefty.
Firstrade has also received an average rating for the variety of investments it offers. They offer options, stocks, exchange traded funds and mutual funds. Among their listed stocks are those that can also be seen on NYSE, AMEX, the Nasdaq Stock Market and the Over-the-Counter (OTC) markets like Pink Sheets and OTC Bulletin Board stocks. Firstrade also offers fixed income investments, like Corporate and Municipal Bonds, CDs, Agency Bonds and Treasuries. Retirement accounts and education planning are also featured at Firstrade.
Firstrade’s online trading platform is easy to understand and use. Information can be easily accessed and provides shortcuts to market news as well as a variety of other information. When it comes to trading and investment tools Firstrade offers X-Stream, a wonderful investment tool that monitors at least 20 of your specified stocks. Stock research is provided by Standard and Poor’s and transaction information is similar to Quicken and Microsoft Money, which makes for convenient usage. A free knowledge center provides information about taxes, FAQs, investment guides, a recommended reading selection and a glossary. Firstrade also has an active blog and publishes a useful free newsletter.