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Firstrade review 2022

Bankrate reporter Brian Baker covers investing and retirement. He has previous experience as an industry analyst at an investment firm. Baker is passionate about helping people make sense of complicated financial topics so that they can plan for their financial futures.

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Firstrade Logo

Best For

  • Options traders
  • Research
  • Mobile app

Firstrade is a solid overall broker choice and offers several features that both new and experienced investors will appreciate. Trading fees are eliminated for stocks, ETFs, mutual funds and even options, putting Firstrade among the industry leaders for low commissions. You’ll also have access to a number of research tools including independent research reports from analysts at Morningstar, all of which can be accessed through a slick mobile app. New investors can also benefit from the broker’s educational materials and you should be able to open nearly any type of account you’re looking for.

Firstrade does come in at the low-end in terms of the number of no-transaction-fee mutual funds that are available, but you will have thousands of other funds to choose from. If you’re looking for a greater number of fee-free funds, consider Interactive Brokers or E-Trade.

Investors who are just starting out may also be disappointed by the lack of a fractional share program at Firstrade. Fidelity and Charles Schwab are both great options for beginners and each offers fractional shares trading.

Firstrade at a glance

Star Rating

4
  • Cost: 3.5 of 5
  • Accounts and trading: 3.5 of 5
  • Research and Education: 4.5 of 5
  • Mobile: 5 of 5
  • Customer Experience: 3.5 of 5
  • Minimum Balance:
    $0
  • Cost per stock trade:
    $0
  • Cost per options trade:
    $0 per trade and $0 per contract
  • Promotion:
    Up to $200 in transfer fee rebates and up to 2 free stocks
  • Commission-free ETFs:
    All
  • No-transaction-fee mutual funds:
    334 NTF mutual funds
  • Securities tradable:
    Stocks, ETFs, options, bonds, 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

Top features you’ll love

Commission-free options trades

Firstrade customers will appreciate commission-free stock and ETF trades, which has become somewhat of an industry standard, but they will love the $0 cost to trade options. Options fees can add up quickly if you’re a frequent trader, so this feature is a big cost saver.

Commission-free trades for stocks and ETFs can be found at most brokers these days, but most brokers still charge fees for options. Firstrade charges no trading or contract fees, making it a standout for those looking to trade options.

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

Pros: Where Firstrade stands out

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.

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 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. Research and advanced charting tools are also available on the mobile app, giving you the opportunity to look into investment ideas at any time.  

Types of accounts

Firstrade customers 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 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.

Quick comparison of Brokerage options:
Brokerage Overall Rating Avg. Cost Per Trade Accounts and Trading
Firstrade logo
$0 3.5 of 5
Ally Invest® review 2022 logo Read Our Review
$0 4 of 5
E-Trade® review 2022 logo Read Our Review
$0 4.5 of 5
Charles Schwab® review 2022 logo Read Our Review
$0 5 of 5

Cons: Where Firstrade could improve

Lack of no-transaction-fee mutual funds

Firstrade only offers about 330 no-transaction-fee mutual funds, which is considerably less than what is offered at other leading brokers like Schwab and Interactive Brokers. Those brokers provide thousands of fee-free funds for investors to choose from, so Firstrade’s offering here is lacking.

However, Firstrade doesn’t charge a commission for mutual fund trading and investors will be able to choose from more than 11,000 funds available. There’s also an easy-to-use screening tool that can help you sift through all the different fund options.

Fractional shares

Firstrade does not offer fractional share trading, which could be a deterrent to some beginning investors who might not be in a position to afford the price of full shares of their favorite companies. You could end up holding fractional shares if you participate in dividend reinvestment programs, but the outright purchase of fractional shares is not currently offered.

The lack of fractional shares trading puts Firstrade at a disadvantage when compared to other major brokers such as Schwab and Fidelity, which have made their fractional share offerings a focal point of attracting new clients.

Bottom line

Firstrade is a solid choice for investors looking to keep trading costs low. Options traders will particularly benefit from the $0 cost per trade and contract. New investors can benefit from the broker’s educational offering and those looking to pick their own stocks and ETFs will appreciate the expansive research available.

If you’re looking for a broker with a large number of no-transaction-fee mutual funds, you might be better off looking at Interactive Brokers or E-Trade, while investors looking to get started with small dollar amounts should consider the fractional share offerings at Fidelity or Schwab.

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