Firstrade  

Start Trading

Description

Firstrade Securities is a privately owned discount stock brokerage. I signed up with Firstrade a few years ago because I got tired of paying high fees at other discount brokerages. I used TD Ameritrade (see TD Ameritrade review) and another local stock broker previously. They both charged around $50 for every no-load mutual fund transaction. I researched online and found that Firstrade had one of the cheapest transaction fees around at the time, so I transferred my accounts over.

IRAs

At Firstrade, investors can open a Traditional, Roth, SEP, SIMPLE, or Rollover IRA. The broker requires nothing to open an account, and there are no setup, annual, maintenance, or inactivity fees. There is also no low-balance fee. Closing an IRA is $50, and Roth IRA conversion are $25. 

The Firstrade website has several good resources for retirement account holders. There is a retirement planning calculator that determines the total amount a user will save for retirement based on several inputs, such as expected rate of return and age at retirement. A Roth IRA conversion tool assesses the advisability of converting a Traditional IRA to a Roth account. It does that by analyzing various criteria, such as income tax bracket and current IRA balance. The broker also provides articles that discuss important retirement issues, such as rolling over a 401(k) to an IRA.

Firstrade Website/Trading Platform/Tools Review

Website

Firstrade brokerage trading tools are not impressive. They are clearly behind the curve in sophistication and power when comparing to competition. The firm does not offer smart-order routing technology which means that clients might not get the best price when executing orders. Few educational resources are available on the website. 

However, we liked how the website is designed, with intuitive, clean look. We could usually find everything there reasonably quickly. 

Firstrade’s mutual fund research tool pulls data from Morningstar. The broker has screeners for ETF’s, mutual funds, and stocks. The screener for mutual funds does not have an option to search for no-transaction-fee funds, making NTF funds at Firstrade difficult to locate. Overall, investment research is about average. 

Advanced Platform

Unlike most of its competitors Firstrade is not offering an advanced trading platform at this time. 

Mobile Trading

The iPhone and Android apps, and the mobile trading site (m.firstrade.com) are available but they are limited in functionality: there is no option to transfer funds, make a mobile check deposit, or pay bills. Both apps are rated by the users of the Google Play and iTunes at about 3 stars out of 5. 

Firstrade Pros

  • Low mutual fund transaction commission
  • $0 minimum to open an account
  • No account maintenance or inactivity fees
  • No annual or setup fees for IRA accounts
  • Free dividend reinvestment plan (DRIP)
  • Easy to use, clean website
  • 10 ETFs are available commission free

Firstrade Cons

  • Expensive commissions for stocks under $1
  • Limited trading tools; no advanced trading platform
  • Short term redemption fee of $19.95 will be applied to redemptions of no-load fund shares held less than 90 days
  • Short after-hours trading period: 4:05 pm - 5:25 pm EST, instead of 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm EST

Full Broker information

Status
Foundation Year 1985
License
Trading Platforms Website
Reliability Rate B
Authorised Capital
Brocker Fee 6.95
Exchange Fee
Withdrawal Fee
Minimum Deposit 0
Mobile Trading

Contact information

Phone: 1 800 869 8800, 1 718 961 6600
Address: Flushing, New York, United States
Website: https://www.firstrade.com

Rating

  80%   20%

User Reviews

Im a fan of Firstrade myself. I have been using them for about 2 years now, and Im liking the new no-fee funds they added!
  Justin   2016/10/11 14:56    
As a new investor who has only been using Firstrade for a short time, I agree with Justin. I like Firstrade’s fees too. But I’m also enjoying all the good research info for someone who’s just learning the ropes. Brian
  Justin   2016/10/11 14:56    
I just want to make sure that I’m understanding this correctly. For every purchase or sale of no-load mutual fund shares (excluding the fee-free funds) that I make, I will be charged $9.95?
  JonK.   2016/10/11 14:56    
Oh my gosh! I can’t believe how bad Firstrade is. I was trying to rollover money into my existing account with them and asked for their guidance on how to proceed. They misguided me EVERY step of the way causing close to a month of delays. Each interaction with them was slow and like pulling teeth. I am moving all my money out of my IRA because it is obvious that their incompetence could do more harm to my account than I realize in the long term. BEWARE OF THIS FIRM – THEIR INCOMPETENCE COULD CAUSE YOU HARM. I’ve been doing business with them for a long time and their customer service has always lacked a certain something, but this is the straw that truly broke the camel’s back – and my relationship with them.
  Donna   2016/10/11 14:56