Charles Schwab or T. Rowe Price: online brokerage firm comparison: fees, commissions, benefits, good and bad.

Charles Schwab Review T.Rowe Price Brokerage Review
Rating 4-star brokerage firm rating 3-star brokerage firm rating
Stocks $4.95 $19.95
Options (per contract) $0.65 $1
Mutual Funds $76 $35
IRA Annual Fee $0 $20
IRA Termination Fee $0 $20
Full Account Transfer $50 Contact T.Rowe Price
Closing Account $50 Contact T.Rowe Price
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  • 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)
  • Great interactive tools for mutual funds research
  • Free check writing with a minimum if $500 (for a standard account)
  • Free dividend reinvestment program
  • An array of premium services for high net worth investors
  • Mobile trading
  • High commissions on stocks, ETFs, options, and mutual funds
  • Access to forex or futures markets only through additional account at OptionsXpress
  • Very high trading commissions
  • Poor trading tools/platform
  • Limited research
  • Limited services for a standard brokerage account
  • Account fees
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Charles Schwab vs. T. Rowe Price

Charles Schwab and T.Rowe Price are large well-known investment companies. Both companies have been in the industry for a long time. Charles Schwab is among the five major brokerage firms in the U.S. T.Rowe Price and Charles Schwab offer self-directed brokerage accounts and services of a full-service house. Below is a comparison of the online brokerage services offered by both brokers.

The trading commissions of both firms are much higher compared with the trading commissions of other leading brokerage companies. At $6.95 for Charles Schwab and $19.95 for T.Rowe Price, prices per trade on stocks are extremely high! T.Rowe Price reduces trading commissions to $9.95 per trade for those who make over 30 trades in the prior 12 months and for account holders with over $100,000 in assets. On the other hand, Scottrade, which along with Schwab belongs to the biggest stock brokers, charges only $6.95 on stocks. Ally Invest and Optionshouse offer only $4.95, which is the lowest trading commission among the leading U.S. discount brokers.

Brokers' base cost for options is the same as their commissions on stocks. Schwab's per contract price on options is $0.70. It is lower than the $1 fee charged by T. Rowe Price, yet higher than the $0.50 fee charged by Optionshouse, which platform was ranked №1 for options trading in 2018 by Investor's Business Daily.

T.Rowe Price is well known for its high-performance family funds. No-transaction-fee (NTF) funds are offered free of charge at any other brokerages. A moderate $35 fee is a cost for all other mutual funds. Like T. Rowe Price, Charles Schwab offers its own selection of mutual funds (Schwab's Mutual Fund OneSource®) at no cost. However, the cost of investing in mutual funds that are not on company's list is the highest of all the commissions charged by all online brokers. Schwab charges $76 to buy mutual funds. There is no fee to sell funds. Once again, Schwab and T. Rowe Price's mutual fund fees are higher than their big competitors' fees. For example, Ally Invest charges even less - only $9.95 to buy and sell.

A selection of 200 commission-free ETFs offered by Charles Schwab is its big advantage over T. Rowe Price. Like mutual funds, ETFs offer a great way to diversify investors' portfolio, yet they are easier to trade. That fact makes ETFs very popular among investors. A lack of commission-free ETFs becomes a disadvantages for T. Rowe Price. Competitors with selections of commissions free ETFs are Fidelity (84 ETFs), Etrade (100) and TD Ameritrade (296).

Let's take a look at brokers' account minimums. Charles Schwab and T. Rowe Price ask for a starting minimum investment of $1,000 and $2,500, respectively. It's certainly not the lowest level among largest rivals. For instance, TD Ameritrade has no minimum to open an account.

T. Rowe Price and Schwab both require $1,000 to open an IRA account. Most companies require zero minimum to start an IRA account. Ally Invest, Optionshouse, Fidelity and Scottrade are among them. If you are looking for a , Ally Invest with its lowest in the industry commissions and no IRA fees is an excellent option.

In addition, there is a huge difference in account fees that brokerages charge. Schwab does not have account opening or maintenance fees. It doesn't charge an account termination fee. On the other hand, T. Rowe Price has a $20 IRA termination fee and a $20 annual IRA fee, which can be waived with some conditions.

Charles Schwab provides one of the best in terms of industry research. It stands very close to the excellent research amenities offered by TD Ameritrade. Broker's intuitive trading software competes with the absolute industry leader Thinkorswim platform by TD Ameritrade.

T. Rowe Price's research and trading tools are far behind Charles Schwab's. If you take a quick look at the customer reviews on T. Rowe Price, you may notice complaints about lack of website friendliness and ease-of-use.

T.Rowe Price and Charles Schwab are trusted brokerage firms that have been around for many years, although there are cheaper alternatives available in 2018.


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