Charles Schwab brokerage firm review 2018. Fees & commissions, advantages & disadvantages, minimum requirements & promotion offers for opening a new online account with the online discount stock broker.

4-star brokerage firm rating

  • Stocks & ETFs: $4.95
  • Options: $4.95 + $0.65 per contract
  • Mutual Funds: $76 to buy, $0 to sell


Charles Schwab Review

Charles Schwab is one of the largest stock brokers in the country with $2.55 trillion in total client assets. The brokerage offers a wide selection of investment products available online and in person at 325 offices in 45 U.S. states. Schwab has 9.6 million active brokerage accounts.


Charles Schwab Trading Commissions Review

Stock and exchange traded funds (ETFs) will cost clients $6.95 per transaction. Options will cost $6.95 + 0.70 per contract. To compare, Optionshouse's rate is lower: $4.95 per trade, plus $0.50 per contract for options.

There is a surcharge of $5.00 for automated phone stock and ETFs trades, and a fee of $25.00 for broker assisted trades.

OneSource® Mutual Funds are offered at no cost. At first glance it looks like an appealing option to add these funds to one's portfolio with little to no fees, but after researching you'll find that some of the more common and better performing funds are not on the list of no-fee trades. If you choose to invest in one of the funds not on Charles Schwab no-fee list, you will be charged the highest commission of Optionshouse - $20, and Ally Invest - $10 for the same transactions.


Charles Schwab Minimum Requirements And Account Fees Review

$1,000 is a minimum opening deposit for the Charles Schwab brokerage or IRA accounts. The minimum investment deposit can be waived if investors set up an automatic minimum monthly transfer of $100 through direct deposit or Schwab MoneyLink, or open a Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking account linked to a brokerage account.

There are no maintenance or inactivity fees. Setting up an Individual Retirement Account is also free of charge.


Charles Schwab Customer Support Review

Charles Schwab has a great customer support. Investment professionals can be reached via email, phone or an online chat system 24/7/365.

For one-on-one help specialists are available at over 300 branches across the country. Clients who are interested in improving their knowledge in finance and investing can attend free workshops at Schwab's offices.

Investors can also ask questions or get experts' advice through Schwab's online trading community.


Schwab Research and Education Review

Charles Schwab provides outstanding research. All customers have free access to a broad range of advanced analysis tools and research. Along with firm's proprietary research Schwab offers third-party professional research from Morningstar®, Credit Suisse, Ned Davis, and Standard & Poor's.

U.S. and international market research, market activity, news and analysis are available to all Schwab's clients. Trading Services customers get access to a commercial-free live stream CNBC TV.

Live educational events and workshops are offered daily at local Schwab's offices. A vast selection of educational videos, lectures and tutorials are available online to all firm's customers.


Schwab Platforms and Trading Tools

Charles Schwab Review

Charles Schwab offers web-based trading, mobile trading and StreetSmart Edge platform. StreetSmart Edge is well-designed, intuitive trading software, though it's as highly rated as an absolute industry leader thinkorswim platform by TD Ameritrade.

Open thinkorswim account: Trade free for 60 days + Get up to $600.

Schwab Mobile is available on iPhone, iPad or Android. With this app customers can check their accounts, monitor market, watch news, transfer funds, research and trade equities.


Charles Schwab Advantages

  • Great customer service via email, phone or chat
  • Excellent proprietary and third-party research at no charge
  • In person guidance, trading workshops at over 300 branches around the country
  • No inactivity fee, no account maintenance fee
  • Broad selection of investment products
  • No fee banking (checking, savings, debit cards)


Charles Schwab Disadvantages

  • High commissions on stocks, ETFs, options, and mutual funds
  • Access to forex or futures markets only through additional account at OptionsXpress


Charles Schwab Review Summary

A vast selection of investment products, outstanding research, great customer support and in-person guidance are the strongest features of Charles Schwab brokerage.

Schwab received 4 stars (out of 5) in annual Barron's rankings of the Best Online Brokers. Despite high scores in 'Research Amenities' and 'Customer Service and Education' categories and improved trading tools and mobile platform, as a result of ongoing integration with OptionsXpress, Schwab finishes eighth among 16 firms last year.

Barron's Magazine placed Charles Schwab at the third position in the 'Best for long-term investing' category after its closest competitors, TD Ameritrade and Fidelity, and at the same third position in the Best For In-Person service category.


Charles Schwab Commissions and Fees

Stocks and ETFs$6.95
Stocks and ETFs broker assisted$6.95 + $25.00
Stocks and ETFs phone trades$6.95 + $5.00
Schwab ETF OneSource™ online trades $0, automated phone trades - $5.00 service charge, broker assisted $25.00 service charge
Options$6.95 + $0.70 per contract
Options broker assistedOnline pricing + $25.00 service charge.
Mutual Funds Transaction-Fee Funds$76 per buy, $0 per sell. OneSource® Mutual Funds - free to buy, to sell.
Mutual Funds Transaction-Fee Funds broker assistedOnline pricing + $25.00 service charge
CDs, Corporate Bonds, Municipal Bonds, Government Agencies, Zero-Coupon Treasuries, including STRIPS and Mortgage-Backed Securities $1 per bond, $10 minimum, $250 maximum

Charles Schwab IRA & Account Fees

IRA Setup Fee$0
Annual IRA Fee$0
IRA Termination Fee$0
Full Account Transfer Out$50
Partial Account Transfer Out$25
Outgoing Wire Fees$25
Account Closing Fee$0

Open Charles Schwab Account

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