Wells Fargo Wellstarde versus Fidelity Investments - compare IRA, commissions, investing fees, trading tools, account differences, pros and cons. Which online broker is better?

Fidelity vs. WellsTrade Introduction

Fidelity Investments advertises quite heavily, while WellsTrade is relatively unknown. Could Fidelity customers be missing out on something better? Let’s find out.

Fidelity Investments Review WellsTrade Review
Rating Fidelity Investments rating WellsTrade brokerage firm rating
Stocks, ETFs $0 $0
Options (per contract) $0.65 $5.95 + $0.75
Mutual Funds $49.95 $25
Initial Funding Requirement $0 $0
Inactivity Fee $0 $0
IRA Annual Fee $0 $0
IRA Termination Fee $50 $95
Outgoing Wire Fees (Domestic)$10$30
Full Account Transfer Out$0$95
Partial Account Transfer Out$0$95


Tradable Assets

Self-directed investors at WellsTrade can buy and sell the following assets:

  • Option contracts
  • Equities
  • Bonds and other fixed-income products
  • Funds (closed-end, mutual, and exchange-traded)

Fidelity has the same list and then adds life insurance, annuities, and structured products. One other service Fidelity has that WellsTrade doesn’t is global stock trading. This opens up more than 20 exchanges worldwide in several currencies.

Fidelity easily wins the opening category.


Investment Management

The investment vehicles mentioned above are for self-directed accounts only. Both firms have managed accounts, too, and they will have their own asset lineups.

Fidelity offers both robo and old-school portfolio management. The latter type opens up the possibility of stocks and bonds. The automated program trades Fidelity mutual funds with no expense ratios and costs roughly 0.35% per annum. Customers who can pay 0.50% get unlimited phone calls with human advisors.

WellsTrade has just one investment-advisory program, and it is a hybrid human-robo service. The annual fee is 0.35% of assets under management. It trades ETFs with expense ratios. For no additional fee, WellsTrade offers phone calls with financial advisors.

Fidelity wins this category primarily for its traditional packages.


Websites

The Fidelity website has a lot of tools and resources on it, although this doesn’t mean it’s difficult to use. On the contrary, the top menu makes navigation quite simple.


Fidelity or Wells Fargo


Charts can be blown up the full width of the monitor, and there are many tools. Examples include technical studies, several display styles, and company events.

There are a variety of order tickets on the Fidelity site. Combined, they deliver lots of trading choices, like multi-contingent, OCO, and basket orders (the last costing $4.99 per month).

The WellsTrade site is much more slimmed down than Fidelity’s. The absence of many tools creates a very different trading experience. There are no advanced option tools at all, which is in stark contrast to Fidelity’s advanced derivative tools.


Wells Fargo vs Fidelity


Charts on the WellsTrade site cannot be displayed full screen, although there are some good drawing tools. The order ticket has just four trade types, so there’s really no opportunity for advanced forms of trading.

Fidelity is the winner here.


Mobile Apps

WellsTrade continues its emphasis on simplicity with a rather basic mobile app. It is the same mobile app that Wells Fargo Bank customers use, so there are some good personal finance tools on it. Mobile check deposit is one of them.


Wells Fargo or Fidelity


For trading, the order ticket is borrowed from the website, so there are no professional-level trade types. Charting is basically horrendous with no tools and no horizontal mode.

Charting on Fidelity’s app, by comparison, is quite good. A graph can be rotated horizontally, and we found multiple display styles and technical studies.


Fidelity or Wells Fargo


Option chains offer contracts for calls and puts—and for spreads. WellsTrade’s app, by contrast, only has chains for calls and puts.

The really advanced order types we found on Fidelity’s website unfortunately don’t make an appearance on the mobile app, although there are 8 trade types.

Besides mobile check deposit, Fidelity’s app also has live Bloomberg TV.

Another victory for Fidelity.


Desktop Software

Fidelity has a very good desktop program called Active Trader Pro. It comes with no fees or minimums, and, as the name suggests, it does have some really high-level tools. During our test drive of it, we especially liked its sophisticated order tickets and very good option tools.


Fidelity or Wells Fargo


WellsTrade does not have a desktop program of any kind and so loses this category.


Margin

Fidelity and WellsTrade offer cash and margin accounts. A cash account can be upgraded to margin on Fidelity’s website but not on WellsTrade’s.

A margin account at WellsTrade automatically gets a sub-account called Brokerage Cash. It has its own account number. Available cash in this account can be sent to a linked bank account or to a Wells Fargo credit card using the broker’s website or mobile app. Checks can also be ordered for the margin subaccount.

Both broker-dealers have toggle switches on their order tickets so that margin accounts can choose between cash and margin when placing trades. On the downside, neither Fidelity nor WellsTrade shows margin details for specific securities on their trading platforms.

As for cost, Fidelity charges margin interest on a sliding scale that ranges from 12.075% to 7.775%. WellsTrade starts at 12.75% and drops to 8.75%.

Overall, it’s pretty even here.


Supplementary Services

Recurring Purchases of Mutual Funds: WellsTrade and Fidelity customers can set up systematic purchases of mutual fund shares.

Initial Public Offerings: Only available with a Fidelity account (the relevant link can be found on the website underneath the News & Research tab).

Fractional-Share Trading: Fidelity offers it, but WellsTrade does not.

Banking Tools: Both WellsTrade (mostly via linked Wells Fargo Bank accounts) and Fidelity offer a large suite of cash management tools, including checkwriting, debit cards, and credit cards with really lucrative benefits.

Individual Retirement Accounts: Fidelity has more IRA versions. Plus, it doesn’t have an IRA termination fee. WellsTrade charges $95.

DRIP Service: Available free of charge at both firms.

Fidelity wins the last category.


Recommendations

Long-Term Investors & Retirement Savers: Fidelity has more resources, including annuities, web-based learning materials, and self-employed 401(k) plans.

Mutual Fund Trading: WellsTrade has 8,079 mutual funds. Fidelity has 9,585. But Fidelity’s mutual fund screener doesn’t have the ability to search by load status. WellsTrade’s screener does, so we recommend WellsTrade.

Stock & ETF Trading: With advanced tools on both its website and desktop platform, the answer is definitely Fidelity.

Small Accounts: WellsTrade has a $500 deposit requirement for its robo-human hybrid account. Fidelity has no minimum for its pure robo account, although the hybrid system requires a steep $25,000. Neither brokerage firm has any minimums or fees for self-directed accounts, although, as already mentioned, a WellsTrade IRA does have the $95 closeout fee.

Beginners: An automated account with either brokerage house.


Alternatives



Fidelity vs Wells Fargo Summary

Fidelity advertises for good reason. It has won this contest by a large margin, and its customers are in good hands.


Updated on 7/23/2022.

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