Scottrade versus Fidelity - compare IRA, commissions, investing fees, trading tools, account differences, pros and cons. Which brokerage firm is better?


UPDATE: Scottrade has been fully merged into TD Ameritrade and discontinued. See TD Ameritrade vs Fidelity.

Fidelity and Scottrade Overview

When investors look for a brokerage firm, they often choose Fidelity or Scottrade. So which firm is the best choice? Let's find out.

Broker Fees

Broker Fees Stock/ETF
Commission
Mutual Fund
Commission
Options
Commission
Maintenance
Fee
Annual IRA
Fee
Fidelity $0 $49.95 $0.65 per contract $0 $0
Scottrade $0 $17 $0.65 per contract $0 $0

Services

Broker Review Cost Investment Products Trading Tools Customer Service Research Overall Rating
Fidelity
Scottrade


New Account Promotions

Scottrade: Open TD Ameritrade account and get $0 fee stock trades.

Fidelity Investments: Get 500 free trades with $100,000+ deposit.

All Brokers: Top broker incentives.


Commissions and Account Minimums

At Fidelity, investors pay $0 for stock and ETF's. For options, Fidelity and Scottrade charge an extra $0.65 per contract.

Using a human broker to place a trade at Fidelity or Scottrade costs $29.95.

All three brokers charge no inactivity or maintenance fees for brokerage accounts. IRA's are available with no special fees.

Scottrade has a minimum opening deposit requirement of $1,000. This requirement can be waived by opening a Scottrade bank account during the application process. Fidelity maintains a minimum of $2,500 to open a regular brokerage account.

Overall, it's a tie here.


Funds

Scottrade clients can trade more than 5,000 mutual funds. Of these, over 3,500 are OneSource funds, which have no load and no transaction fee. Mutual funds with a transaction fee are a rather pricey $49.95 to purchase, although there is no charge to sell.

Fidelity provides investors over 10,000 mutual funds to trade. Under 1,000 of these come with no transaction fee and no load. Depending on the specific mutual fund, transaction fee funds cost $49.95 to purchase, although the sell side carries no charge.

For exchange-traded funds, Scottrade offers the most that are commission free: more than 200. Fidelity has 84 ETF's that are free to trade.

Scottrade wins the category due to the large number of fund offerings that are commission free.


Scottrade vs Fidelity


Research and Education

Scottrade offers investors third-party equity reports from several analysts free of charge. The firm has useful videos, articles, and educational material on its website.

Fidelity also offers independent stock reports at no cost from several analysts. The broker has videos, webinars, and other material covering a range of investment issues.

Fidelity and Scottrade are pretty even here.


Customer Service

Scottrade has representatives on the phone around the clock. The firm also offers Chinese-language service, and has more than 300 branch locations.

Fidelity also offers 24/7 customer service. The broker has over 180 branch locations throughout the U.S.

Scottrade wins this category.


Trading Tools

Fidelity's web site is well-designed. Users can make trades within the web browser, which has a handy trade ticket. The firm also provides Active Trader Pro, a sophisticated trading platform for active traders. Moreover, the broker recently announced an app for Apple TV.

Scottrade's web site is user friendly. Investors can trade using the web browser, or with StreetSmart Edge, a desktop platform. StreetSmartEdge only requires a $1,000 account balance.

This category is a tie between Scottrade and Fidelity.


Mobile Platforms

Scottrade clients can trade on Kindle Fire, iPad, iPhone, Apple Watch, Android, and mobile web. The app is user friendly. Users can transfer funds, deposit a check, reach customer service, or watch CNBC.

Fidelity has similar features on its app. Investors can transfer funds, contact customer service, place trades, make a mobile check deposit, or watch Bloomberg business news. The Fidelity app is available on Android, iPad, iPhone, Apple Watch, and Windows phone.

Scottrade and Fidelity tie here.


Banking Features

Scottrade clients can open a checking account that has checks and a debit card at no cost. ATM fees are refunded, and FDIC insurance protects the account up to $250,000.

Fidelity offers a hybrid brokerage-bank account called the Cash Management Account. It comes with checks and a debit card free of charge. FDIC insurance protects balances up to $1,250,000. Additionally, the broker refunds all ATM fees.

Fidelity takes the category.


Fidelity vs Scottrade Judgment

Scottrade won three categories, Fidelity took one, and there were three ties. Fidelity used to attract fund investors for its low fees, and now it can’t even boast that advantage in all cases.


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