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Firstrade review 2024

Updated January 2, 2024
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Firstrade: Best for

  • Options traders
  • Research
  • Mobile app

Firstrade has upgraded its experience of late, making the brokerage a more attractive pick for new investors, particularly by introducing the ability to purchase fractional shares. That’s combined with attractive no-commission pricing in standard categories such as stocks and ETFs but also in the non-standard ones such as options and mutual funds. No-commission options trading is an especially attractive and rare feature. As part of the package, clients get research from Morningstar and other no-cost services. A solid educational offering should also appeal to newer investors as will a strong but not complete line-up of tradable securities, though it suffices for almost all investors. An easy-to-use mobile app rounds out a strong brokerage service.

If you’re looking for a wider selection of tradable securities, then it may make sense to turn to Interactive Brokers, which offers access to tons of markets. It’s also worthwhile comparing Firstrade against other top players such as E-Trade and Charles Schwab

Firstrade: In the details

Broker logo
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Bankrate Score
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Accounts & Trading
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Research and Education
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Customer Experience
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
About Bankrate Score
Minimum Balance
Cost per stock trade
Cost per options trade
$0 per trade and $0 per contract
Commission-free ETFs
No-transaction-fee mutual funds
More than 11,000 no commission mutual funds
Securities tradable
Stocks, ETFs, options, bonds and mutual funds
Customer service
Email and online help center. Phone is available M-F 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. ET.
Account fees
$75 transfer-out fee
Mobile app
Firstrade offers the Firstrade mobile app on both Android and Apple

Pros: Where Firstrade stands out

Commission-free options trades

Firstrade customers will appreciate commission-free stock and ETF trades, which have become somewhat of an industry standard, but they will love the $0 commission to trade options.  Firstrade charges no trading or contract fees, making it a standout for those looking to trade options.Options fees can add up quickly if you’re a frequent trader, so this feature is a big cost saver, and only a handful of brokers offer such discounted pricing.

Other brokers that offer commission-free options trading include Robinhood and Webull, two trading apps that have gained popularity in recent years.

Mobile app

In addition to being able to trade using Firstrade’s desktop platform, users will also be able to trade through the broker’s easy-to-use mobile app. You’ll be able to quickly place trade orders for stocks and ETFs, and options orders can quickly be made, changed or canceled in the app.

You can also keep up with market news and set alerts so that you don’t miss out on any key information while you’re on the go. Advanced charting tools are also available on the mobile app, giving you the opportunity to look into investment ideas at any time. 

Research and education

Firstrade also offers extensive research and educational materials that should appeal to both new and experienced investors. Customers looking to buy individual stocks will be able to research companies through individual stock pages and read up on company news and the latest financial information. They’ll also be able to access independent analyst reports from Morningstar to get expert opinions on companies and industries.

You can also use Firstrade’s calendar feature to remind yourself of important dates such as earnings announcements or annual meetings. Trade alerts can be set up to help you identify when a stock reaches a level where you’d like to buy or sell.

Beginner investors will benefit from a wide variety of educational content around topics such as stocks, options, ETFs, mutual funds and more. Videos are available on everything from how to place an option trade to an overview of margin accounts. 

Types of accounts

Firstrade customers likely won’t have any trouble finding the type of account they’re looking for. The broker offers just about any account you could want to open, from traditional and joint brokerage accounts to a cash management account that can be used to consolidate your banking and brokerage needs in one place. You can even set up an international account if you aren’t a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

For those looking to save for retirement, Firstrade provides a number of different IRA options. You can open traditional, Roth and rollover IRAs as well as more obscure accounts such as SEP IRAs and SIMPLE IRAs.

If you have children, you can plan for their future educational needs through an Education Savings Account (ESA) or open a custodial account for their benefit.

Wide selection of no-commission mutual funds

Firstrade offers a wide selection of mutual funds without charging clients a commission to buy or sell them. In fact, it offers more than 11,000 mutual funds without this fee – an enormous selection and a not-to-be-beat price, ranking it among the best brokers for mutual funds.

But clients should note that this no-commission structure doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t pay a sales commission to the mutual fund manager on so-called load funds, only that Firstrade won’t charge you an additional fee to trade it. Firstrade also offers no-load funds without a commission to the fund company, so you’ll want to double-check that you’re buying a fund that charges no extra commissions at all so that you truly enjoy a fund without transaction fees.  

Fractional shares

Firstrade launched the ability to trade fractional shares in December 2023, so it’s a new player in this specific field. Previously, the broker offered only the ability to reinvest dividends into partial shares. Now, clients can purchase stocks on the platform with as little as $5, allowing them to purchase even high-priced stocks with a relatively modest amount of money.  

The new feature positions Firstrade among a select group of brokers offering the ability to purchase fractional shares directly and reinvest dividends, too. Other major brokers such as Schwab and Fidelity have made their fractional share offerings a focal point of attracting new clients.

Cons: Where Firstrade could improve

Narrower selection of tradable securities

Firstrade offers the most important tradable securities – stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, options and bonds – so those are likely to slake the thirst of most traders. But those searching for other selections – futures and forex, for example – will need to look elsewhere.

And traders looking for cryptocurrency are also shut out here. The broker announced that in June 2023 clients would no longer be able to buy digital currency. So if crypto is a “must have” for you, you’ll need to look for a broker offering it, such as financial apps Robinhood and Webull.  

Account fees

Firstrade also comes in on the high side when it comes to certain account fees. You’ll be charged a $75 account transfer-out fee, which is fairly standard across the industry, but there’s also a $55 charge for a partial transfer. Outgoing wire transfers will run you $25, while receiving paper statements will cost $5 per statement. While the fees aren’t extreme and can sometimes be avoided, they eat into your account value and the returns you ultimately earn. Fees and expenses are always the enemy of investors.

Review methodology

Bankrate evaluates brokers and robo-advisors on factors that matter to individual investors, including commissions, account fees, available securities, trading platforms, research and many more. After weighting these objective measures according to their importance, we then systematically score the brokers and robo-advisors and scale the data to ensure that you are seeing the top options among a field of high-quality companies. Read our full methodology.