If you count yourself among those who are looking to open a brokerage account in the near future, then you can’t go wrong looking at Firstrade, which started in 1985 as a company seeking to bring affordable stock trades to regular investors. They started their online brokerage in 1997, making them one of the oldest online stock brokerages. Firstrade also differentiates itself from the competition because they offer investment products for international investors.
Firstrade Brokerage Account Review
Firstrade offers over 11,000 Mutual Funds, No-Fee IRAs, Mobile Trading, Free Streaming Quotes, no minimum deposits to open an account, and is available to US and international investors – the Firstrade site is also available in Chinese (Traditional and Simplified). Firstrade has been recognized in many industry reviews, offers inexpensive stock and investment trades, powerful investing tools, and an educational center to help investors make the right decisions for their individual situation.
Firstrade Awards and Industry Recognition
Firstrade has been recognized by many leaders in the financial industry, including high rankings in many annual reviews. Some examples include Smart Money, which awarded Firstrade “Best Deal,” Top Online Discount Broker, and 4.5 Stars out of 5 stars. Kiplinger’s gave Firstrade 4 Stars for Customer Service and the “Top Clean-Hands Firm” in 2006 and 2008.
Firstrade isn’t the lowest priced discount broker on the scene, but they are certainly competitive – and the stock trading and research tools they offer give them comparable value to some of the lower priced brokerage firms. Here is the pricing you will find at Firstrade:
- $6.95 Commission Rate on Stocks/ETFs
- Low Margin Rates
- No Inactivity or Maintenance Fees
- Free Dividend Reinvestment
- No Account Minimum
- No Hidden Fees
- Get 250 Free Trades when you open a Firstrade account. (offer expires April 15, 2011)
How Does Firstrade Compare to Similar Brokerages?
Firstrade Investment Tools
Firstrade offers investors a full suite of investing services and tools to make informed investment decisions. These tools include market news and updates, customizable stock and fund screening tools, interactive charts, stock alerts, expert commentary, retirement calculators, and more. In addition, Firstrade offers access to Gainskeeper, which will help you track and visualize your tax situation by giving you real time access to your realized gains and losses. You can easily export this information to Quicken, TurboTax, or other money management software programs.
Additional tools are listed below, including a look at Firstrade X-Stream, a customizable stock tracking tool which allows you to track and compare multiple stocks against a variety of indicators.
- Customizable Account Dashboard
- Fast Access QuickBar
- Mobile Trading Solutions
- Advanced Orders Types
- Real Time Streaming News & Quotes
- S&P Stock Reports, 5-Star Portfolios
Firstrade X-Stream. One of the more popular Firstrade tools is the Firstrade X-Stream Watch List, a fully customizable tool which which streams real time quotes as the market updates, and allows you to track up to 20 stocks simultaneously. The streaming charts and real-time technical analysis give you the information you need to be a better investor.
The Firstrade education center features investment guides and other resources to help you better understand your investment options, which accounts and investments are right for your situation, and even a dedicated tax center to help you make the best tax moves for your situation.
Firstrade Investing Products and Services
Firstrade offers a variety of investment options for investors to take advantage of, including extended hours trading. One feature that sets Firstrade apart from many discount brokerages is the Smart Account, which gives you the option of consolidating your banking and brokerage services into one account – making it faster to transfer funds for investing and easier to manage your finances through one login. The Firstrade Smart Asset Management Account gives you access to a money market account, check writing privileges, and a VISA debit card. There is a $75 annual fee for this option, which can be waived depending on the size of your account. In addition to the Smart Account, Firstrade offers the following investment options:
- Mutual Funds
- Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs)
- Fixed Income, Bonds, CDs
- No Fee Retirement Accounts (IRAs)
- Dividend Reinvestment
- Smart Account
- Free Trend Micro AntiVirus plus AntiSpyware free of charge for one year to all customers.
My thoughts on Firstrade
Firstrade isn’t a perfect online trading system, but then again, you can find something with just about any brokerage. There are some brokers that offer cheaper stock trades, and others that have a flashier interface. But Firstrade is one of the longest running online brokers which is a testament in this day and age of consolidation and flashy marketing. I would equate them to a dependable old truck – not the flashiest, but strong enough to get the job done. Which is good enough for the average investor. For more information, visit http://www.firstrade.com/