Fidelity Investments review 2023
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Fidelity: Best for
- Overall experience
- Beginning investors
- Customer support
Fidelity Investments is just so darn good at what it does, taking an investor-friendly approach to its business – making it a great choice for investors of all skill levels. Here you’ll get almost anything a brokerage could give – plenty of research and education, low fees, zippy customer service, fractional stock purchases and even commission-free mutual funds. Fidelity’s approach means you won’t pay for some of the services that you might typically pay at other brokers. A transfer-out fee? Get outta here! And it’s worth mentioning customer support again. If you can’t find what you’re looking for on the website, you can be connected with a human customer representative in minutes, and they’ll get you squared away quickly. Fidelity is a regular standout in Bankrate’s reviews of top brokers.
Fidelity’s stiffest competition for most investors comes from Charles Schwab, another five-star player in the space. If you’re looking to consolidate your accounts under one roof, then see Merrill Edge, whose parent company is Bank of America. And if you want the absolutely largest selection of investment choices, check out Interactive Brokers.
Fidelity: In the details
Pros: Where Fidelity stands out
Although Fidelity offers the rock-bottom of commission prices in the industry, it also doesn’t offer rock-bottom features, which is not the usual trade-off if you care only about costs. At Fidelity, you’ll pay $0 for stock and ETF trades – for a high level of features, including all of its research and educational offerings as well as a wealth of trading tools. Fidelity’s commission is competitive with other top brokers such as Charles Schwab and TD Ameritrade.
For options, Fidelity charges a figure that’s in line with much of the industry, $0.65 per contract. Admittedly, that’s not free, as at Robinhood or Webull, but you’ll get more for your money here.
Account fees, account types and no minimum
If you’re looking to minimize all those “nickel and dime” fees that brokers often bombard you with, you could hardly do better than Fidelity. The broker charges no fee for the standard categories – including account or activity fees and transfer-out fees – as well as some of the obscure ones such as the IRA closeout and reorganization fees. Some brokers charge as much as $125 to transfer out your account, and top broker Charles Schwab still hits you for $50 for a full transfer out. But Fidelity? Zip. Maybe they’re confident you’re going to stick around.
And if you pay bills from your brokerage account, Fidelity doesn’t charge for typical bank fees either. These include stop-payment fees or ATM fees. Fidelity is incredibly investor-friendly. On top of all of this, the broker has no account minimum, so it’s easy to get started, too.
Clients can trade stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, bonds and options at Fidelity — and the broker has almost any account type imaginable. That includes individual and joint accounts, business accounts (SEP IRA and solo 401(k)), health savings accounts, 529 education savings plans and many more.
If you’d prefer the broker to manage your portfolio, you can set up your account with Fidelity Go, the company’s robo-advisor service. It’s a solid pick for cost-conscious and beginning investors.
Fidelity performs great in this area, and it offers customers two investor-friendly ways to play mutual funds.
No-transaction-fee funds: The broker offers around 3,400 mutual funds without a transaction fee. That means you can get into and out of the fund without cost, though you’ll still be on the hook for any expense ratio charged by the fund. Fidelity has a huge selection of these advantaged funds, and compares well with the best brokers, even if it doesn’t have the most.
Fee-free funds: As if that weren’t enough, Fidelity does even better, offering four mutual funds without an expense ratio at all, part of what it calls its ZERO mutual fund lineup. It’s the first company to offer fee-free mutual funds, though you don’t have to be a customer of the brokerage to buy them. Without a transaction fee or an annual expense ratio, you could own the fund at no ongoing cost, a great deal. A Fidelity ZERO fund hits our list of best index funds, too.
Fidelity offers a fractional share purchase program called Stocks by the Slice, which allows you to buy partial shares for as little as $1. You’re able to buy shares in more than 7,000 stocks and ETFs for the same no-cost commission that you’re used to, and you can reinvest any dividends into fractional shares as well, making your money maximally effective.
This wide selection of securities for the program distinguishes it from Schwab’s similar offering, where you’ll be limited to stocks in the Standard & Poor’s 500. Where Fidelity could take a cue from Schwab, however, is the latter’s less tedious order entry ticket. At Fidelity, you’ll need to enter each order separately rather than as a batch order as you would at Schwab.
Fidelity’s mobile app doesn’t have a catchy name – Fidelity Mobile – but it can still help you get a lot done:
- Manage your individual and workplace accounts, and monitor your portfolio.
- Trade securities, including stocks, ETFs and mutual funds and those more complex options trades, too.
- Input trades for fractional shares.
- Pay bills, access tax forms and receive customizable alerts.
- Access a personalized feed of news based on the market and your holdings.
- Listen to Fidelity podcasts on finance and the economy.
In short, you’ll be able to get a high level of functionality from the mobile app. The app gets solid ratings on Google Play and even better scores on Apple’s App Store.
Research and education
Fidelity offers an extensive lineup of research and education resources for investors of every level. Even if you’re not yet a customer, you can check them out for free to see if you like them.
Research: There is a vast amount of valuable information available on the Fidelity site. Go to the page for an individual stock and you can receive financial data, competitor analysis, news and reports on individual stocks from a variety of third-party research companies including Argus, Thomson Reuters, CFRA, Zacks, and many others.
You’ll also have access to SEC filings and a variety of sources of market commentary. And you’ll find further reports on ETFs. Really the resources go on and on, and with the clean layout you’ll have no problems finding what you’re looking for.
Education: You can get assistance on the basics of personal finance – budgeting, managing debt and saving – but it goes way beyond planning and advice. In Fidelity’s learning center, you can attend webinars or view recorded ones that detail almost any aspect of trading, options, funds and how to use the many tools Fidelity offers, such as Active Trader Pro. You’ll find the short courses ranked according to skill level, helping you progress as you gain mastery.
Active Trader Pro: The biggest tool at Fidelity is Active Trader Pro, the broker’s flagship trading platform. You’ll be able to set up the look of the platform with one of a few preset layouts or customize it completely to your preferences. You’ll be able to build stock charts, show dozens of technical indicators and place multiple trades at a time.
Fidelity’s other trade tools – such as Real-Time Analytics and Trade Armor (more below) – are integrated into the platform dashboard for easy access. You can pull streaming Bloomberg TV onto your desktop as well.
Fidelity Spire app: The Spire app may help you get your financial goals in order. The app lets you connect all your accounts in one place so you have a complete picture of your financial life. Then you can plug in your short- and long-term goals and track your progress toward them.
You’ll also have a stripped-down interface that lets you buy and sell stocks, ETFs and bonds. Note that the Spire app is in addition to Fidelity’s more fully featured mobile app.
Besides Active Trader Pro, Fidelity provides a number of other tools if you’re looking to improve your trading or to get better trade ideas.
Real-time Analytics: This tool provides trade signals in real-time based on historical price movements. You’ll be alerted when a stock hits a new high or low, crosses a key technical level or shows other unusual activity.
Trade Armor: Trade Armor allows you to visualize your trading opportunities on a chart. You can set alerts to track price movements and determine prices to get in and out of a position. You can also enter orders right from the tool, among many other things.
Cons: Where Fidelity could improve
Fidelity doesn’t offer trading on the more exotic products, such as futures and forex, though it does all the basics – stocks, ETFs, bonds, mutual funds, options. That array is probably going to suffice for more than 99 percent of investors. Are we splitting hairs here? Absolutely, but it’s worth knowing what the broker can and can’t do for you.
It’s worth noting that Fidelity is still building an early-access waitlist for cryptocurrency trading, which will include trading in just Bitcoin and Ethereum. Trading will be commission-free, but pricing will include a 1 percent spread markup, meaning that the price you buy or sell crypto will effectively factor in that fee.
Again, the lack of cryptocurrency trading now is not a dealbreaker if you don’t need it, and Fidelity still does allow you to buy certain exchange-traded cryptocurrency products, such as ETFs. If you want to trade more than those two cryptos, you’ll want to work with a specialty cryptocurrency exchange.
Trading restrictions on some securities
Surprisingly, for such an investor-friendly broker, Fidelity has trading restrictions on some of the more esoteric (or risky) corners of the stock market, including certain types of preferred stocks. You won’t be able to buy these securities, but you won’t be forced to sell if you’ve transferred them in, per Fidelity’s policy. Now, this policy is unlikely to affect most clients – they’ll probably never run up against it – but more advanced investors may encounter it from time to time.
While you’re not likely to be touched by it, Fidelity nevertheless rightly deserves to be dinged for this paternalistic policy – one that doesn’t exist at key rival Charles Schwab, to our knowledge.
Firstrade4.0 Bankrate Score
Firstrade is a solid brokerage offering that may particularly appeal to options traders because of its commission-free options trades. You’ll also get access to quality research and its mobile app, but mutual fund investors may be disappointed by the small number of no-transaction fee funds available.
TD Ameritrade4.5 Bankrate Score
TD Ameritrade still offers strong platforms and a range of research for its clients, making it a very solid pick for more advanced traders, even as it is about to merge with Charles Schwab. A wide range of tradable securities and plenty of commission-free mutual funds make this broker interesting for both new and advanced traders, as do the competitive commissions.
WellsTrade2.5 Bankrate Score
WellsTrade handles most of the basics well and could be a good fit for existing Wells Fargo customers looking to consolidate accounts in one place. However, active traders should likely look elsewhere for their brokerage needs due to high options costs and a barebones trading platform.
J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing3.0 Bankrate Score
J.P Morgan’s Self-Directed Investing platform is a good fit for existing Chase customers who are looking for a low-cost way to trade stocks, ETFs and mutual funds while getting access to the bank’s easy-to-use mobile app. However, only a few account types are offered and If you’re looking to trade forex, futures or crypto, you’ll need to look elsewhere.
Interactive Brokers5.0 Bankrate Score
Interactive Brokers keeps adding new features and improving its offerings year after year, and now has new mobile apps to pair with long-time strengths such as its wide number of tradable securities and access to global markets. Low margin rates, high interest rates on cash balances, and a leading number of no-transaction-fee mutual funds serve to make this broker a top pick.
E*Trade4.5 Bankrate Score
E-Trade is likely to be a suitable broker choice for many investors who will appreciate its low trading costs, high-quality research and education, and 24/7 access to customer service. However, if you’re starting small and looking to trade fractional shares, you’ll need to find a different option.
Ally Invest4.0 Bankrate Score
Ally Invest offers a solid brokerage with many of the features that investors have come to love, especially no-commission trades on stocks and ETFs, but it ups the game with low-cost options trades, too. All-hours customer support and an all-encompassing mobile app will make sure you get business done on your terms, though mutual fund investors may be a bit disappointed.
Merrill Edge4.5 Bankrate Score
Merrill Edge brings strong research and education to the investing space, offering a solid trading platform for stocks, bonds, options and funds. You’ll likely find some extra things to love here if you’re already a customer of parent Bank of America, with 24/7 phone support and in-branch service potentially making that relationship even more meaningful to clients.
Charles Schwab5.0 Bankrate Score
Charles Schwab is a great all-around broker, whether you’re just getting started investing or are more advanced, and it can bring the heat on almost anything you’re likely to need. Add on strong customer support, a wide investment selection, no-commission mutual funds, and tons of research, and you have the makings of a five-star broker.
Webull4.0 Bankrate Score
Webull offers a lot that investors will like such as commission-free trading, fractional shares and a slick mobile app that allows you to trade on the go or keep tabs on your favorite stocks. But only a few account types are offered and you won’t find the level of research that is available through other brokers.
Robinhood3.5 Bankrate Score
Robinhood has taken its game up a notch or two, pairing its traditional no-cost trading with new IRA accounts (and a special bonus match for clients) as well as improvements in customer service, including 24/7 chat. The mobile app remains an attractive place for options traders but is a no-go for those looking for mutual funds or a wide range of account types.
Vanguard3.0 Bankrate Score
Vanguard’s brokerage offering can handle the basics well and may be a good fit for long-term fund investors. But more active traders will be disappointed by the basic trading platform and high commissions for options trading.
TradeStation3.5 Bankrate Score
TradeStation’s brokerage offering is likely to suit active traders better than it does new investors or those just looking to save for retirement. Customers will get an advanced trading platform with low commissions, but you won’t find fractional shares and the mutual fund offering is limited.
SoFi Active Investing3.0 Bankrate Score
SoFi Active Investing is a low-cost broker that should meet the needs of new investors looking to only trade stocks and ETFs. More experienced investors may be disappointed by the lack of options or mutual fund trading and a limited research offering.
moomoo3.0 Bankrate Score
Moomoo joins a crowded field of discount brokerages with an appeal to individual traders, offering some atypical features, including access to U.S., Hong Kong and Chinese markets. Competitive pricing on stocks, ETFs and options will prove welcome with traders, though others may find the lack of account types, limited available securities and high transfer fees off-putting.
Zacks Trade3.5 Bankrate Score
Zacks Trade is a broker that should appeal to active traders with its advanced trading platform and ample research offering. New investors may be turned off by the high account minimum and fees for mutual fund trades.
Lightspeed3.0 Bankrate Score
Lightspeed is all about active traders who can deliver volume to the broker, and so everything is optimized around making the experience the best for them. That means discounted prices for high-volume trades and multiple high-power trading platforms, but it also means no concern for eliminating the nickel-and-dime costs that other brokers routinely slash.
tastytrade3.5 Bankrate Score
Tastytrade offers some of the lowest commissions around, whether you’re trading stocks, options or even cryptocurrency – and it actually caps your commissions on the latter two. Traders should find a lot to like here, among the commissions, trading platform and the variety of trading securities on offer, though long-term investors may bemoan the lack of mutual funds.