Firstrade Review 2017

Firstrade brokerage firm rating

Firstrade brokerage firm review. Fees & commissions, advantages & disadvantages, minimum requirements & promotion offers for opening a new online account with the online discount stock broker.

  • Stocks & ETFs: $6.95
  • Options: $6.95 + $0.75 per contract
  • Mutual Funds: $9.95

Minimum to open: $0 for a cash account.

Open an account: Open an account with Firstrade.

Firstrade Review

Firstrade is a New York-based brokerage firm that has been offering investors low-cost services since 1985. It currently offers stock and option trades for $6.95. The company also offers investors the ability to trade ETF's, mutual funds, and bonds. With retirement products and mobile trading, Firstrade is worth considering.

Firstrade Trading Commissions Review

Firstrade’s charge for trading stocks and ETF’s is $6.95, definitely placing the broker in the low-cost category. Options are an extra $0.75 per contract. Stocks under $1 come with expensive commissions. The firm does have live representatives who can assist customers with their trades. Choosing this route costs $19.95, an additional $13.

Brokerage accounts at Firstrade carry no inactivity fees or account maintenance fees. The minimum initial deposit to open a brokerage account is zero, making this broker a good firm to try out.

Firstrade does offer its clients the ability to trade on margin. Currently, margin debits of less than $10,000 cost 7.75%, and those over $1,000,000 are 4.5%.

Firstrade offers a large selection of mutual funds, some of which come with no transaction fee. Unfortunately, the broker's screener does not offer the ability to search for NTF funds. Load funds carry no transaction fee. No-load mutual funds that do carry a transaction fee are $9.95 (this fee applies to both the sell and buy ends). Some funds are free to trade, having neither load nor transaction fee.

Firstrade Research and Education Review

Research tools are on the moderate side at Firstrade.com. Compared to other firms, such as Fidelity and Etrade that provide in-depth education and research tools, Firstrade lags behind. The broker just pulls data from Morningstar, and there are no third-party reports available besides Morningstar publications.

Firstrade offers investment education on a section of their website called Education Center. Here traders will find articles and videos on a selection of financial topics, such as stocks, options, and ETF's. There's also a handy glossary.

FirstTrade Review

Unlike Fidelity, Scottrade, and Schwab, Firstrade does not have any local brick-and-mortar branches to assist customers who need some guidance.

This low-cost broker does offer its customers some useful information on retirement and education planning. On the Firstrade web site, clients can find articles on IRA's, personal finance topics, and education savings accounts.

FirstTrade Review

Firstrade Customer Service Review

Firstrade can be contacted via an on-line chat system, phone, fax, e-mail, or snail mail. Disappointingly, phone and chat service are only available Monday thru Friday, 8:00 am - 6:00 pm EST.

The broker does have office hours on Saturday afternoon at their headquarters in Flushing, New York.

Firstrade Trading Tools Review

Firstrade’s web site is fairly straightforward and not very complicated. Using the web browser, traders can place orders for a variety of securities, such as stocks, options, mutual funds, and ETF’s.

FirstTrade Review

At the bottom of the web browser is a handy little trading system that allows investors to place long and short orders for stocks, ETF's, and options. Firstrade calls it the Quick Bar. It displays important information, such as bid-ask spread, and the day's volume. Clicking on "option chain" on the Quick Bar will also display option chain information for the selected stock.

FirstTrade Review

Firstrade doesn't have a stand-alone trading platform, which may disappoint some investors. Other brokers, such as Scottrade, does offer such platform.

Firstrade Mobile Trading Features Review

Firstrade has applications for Android and Apple. The interface is intuitive and easy to use. Traders can place an order, call customer service, and review account and position data. Unfortunately, many features are lacking, such as bill pay, mobile check deposit, education and research tools, market news, and funds transfer. Other brokers, such as Etrade and Fidelity, have such services on their mobile apps.

FirstTrade Review

Firstrade Cash Management Features Review

Firstrade offers a Cash Management Account (CMA). It requires a staggering $25,000 opening deposit. Furthermore, a Visa gold card comes with $30 fee, and adding checks will be another $30 ding.

Firstrade Advantages

  • No inactivity fees or account maintenance fees
  • The industry average commission rate
  • 10 commission-free ETFs
  • Free DRIPs (dividend reinvestment plans)
  • Clean, easy to navigate website

Firstrade offers good securities trading services with decent customer support at a standard commission of $6.95. This is what the majority of big-name of online brokers, such as Schwab ($6.95), and TD Ameritrade ($6.95), but this is higher than top low-cost discount brokers, such as Optionshouse ($4.95) and TradeKing ($4.95). Furthermore, the broker's mobile trading app will appeal to busy investors on the go.

Firstrade Disadvantages

  • Poor number of commission-free ETFs
  • High fees for stock less than $1
  • No stand-alone advanced trading platform
  • Lack of 24/7 customer service

The lack of 24/7 customer service is a major letdown in today's fast-paced world. Investors have access to non-stop service at other brokers, such as TD Ameritrade and Fidelity.

Firstrade offers only ten ETF’s that come with no trading fee, a major failure in an era in which traders expect their broker to offer several ETF’s commission-free. Some brokers, such as TD Ameritrade, offer more than 100 ETF's that are free to trade.

Other products, such as futures and forex are not available at this brokerage firm; although they are available at TD Ameritrade.

Firstrade's policies on its checking account, such as paying for the Visa debit card, will be a real turn off to customers who are accustomed to getting such services for free from other brokers, such as Fidelity.

Firstrade Review Summary

Firstrade offers securities trading at low cost that some seasoned investors will find to be a good value. Traders who need cash management features, robust trading tools, or extensive research capabilities would do better elsewhere.

Firstrade Commissions and Fees

InvestmentsPrice
Stocks and ETFs $6.95; for stocks at or under $2 and trades with over 5,000 shares, add 0.5 cent per share for the entire order
Stocks, ETFs, and mutual funds broker assisted $26.95
Options $6.95 + $0.75 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

Firstrade IRA & Account Fees

FeeAmount
IRA Setup Fee$0
Annual IRA Fee$0
Roth IRA conversion or Recharacterization Fee$25
Full Account Transfer Out$75
Partial Account Transfer Out$25*
Outgoing Wire Fees (Domestic)$30
Outgoing Wire Fees (International)$50
Account Closing Fee$0

* - min. account equity requirement $500.

Open Firstrade Account