Firstrade is a low-cost broker and trading platform that compares favorably to Robinhood. Aimed at the investor looking for a no-frills solution, Firstrade is noted for having zero trading fees on stocks and options orders, $0 online mutual funds trades, industry-low rates on popular exchange-traded funds (ETFs) as well as packing some basic charting options to keep one in tune with an ever-turbulent market.
Trading has become more popular than ever. In fact, as Jeff Cox of CNBC writes, there has been a “stunning rush of money,” whereby “more of investors’ cash has gone to stock-based funds in the last five months than the previous twelve years combined.”
Auto and robo-advisor platforms have made investing easier and more accessible.
Also, the effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic cannot be discounted. Individuals found they had more time on their hands, and in some cases, lost incomes to make up for. Investing in the stock market became a way for many to “kill two birds with one stone.”
Auto and robo-advisors use A.I. driven algorithms to provide stock recommendations and automatically re-balance funds in your account, making investing almost mindless and virtually worry-free. On the other hand, brokerage platforms like Firstrade and Robinhood facilitate a simple hands-on approach to investing that can appeal to novice and veteran alike.
And getting started with Firstrade is a breeze. There are absolutely no fees required to open a Firstrade account, and there are also no account minimums to speak of. To boot, there are zero trading fees associated with stocks and options on Firstrade. Something’s got to give, right? Firstrade must make its money somehow.
Don’t be afraid of hidden service fees or covert contracts. It’s all rather transparent: Firstrade makes its money through broker-assisted trades.
Broker-assisted trades provide investors with personal attention from trained professionals. Whether you need general stock advice, are without the internet or means to perform a trade yourself, or are in the business of selling specialty securities, you may need a live broker to assist you.
We’ll explore in greater detail Firstrade’s fees and, more specifically, its broker-assisted option.
Firstrade – Streamlined Investing
In business since 1985, Firstrade was originally started to serve the varied needs of dispossessed Chinese immigrants. It also looks to provide them with financial tools that were first and foremost easy to use. Since shifting away from the practices of a traditional brokerage firm, Firstrade has retained this customer-first ethos by facilitating commission-free trading and providing its users with free-market research and educational resources.
- Commission-Free Trading: A pioneer of low-cost investing, Firstrade offers commission-free trading options on stocks, options, and many of the most popular and sought-after ETFs. As noted in our original review of Firstrade, the fact that its charges no per-contract fees on options puts it in a different category of value than other brokers, with just Robinhood matching them in this regard.
- Free Mutual Funds Trading: Most low-cost brokers do not offer the option to trade mutual funds. Not only does Firstrade make mutual funds available, but there are zero fees associated with them.
- Free Market Research: Firstrade makes it easy to access market research from numerous reputable sources, such as Benzinga, Morningstar, and Zacks. For example, Morningstar typically requires a paid subscription for its services, but Firstrade users gain complete, full-fledged access to its premium charts.
- Free Education: This is another way that Firstrade helps beginner investors. Firstrade’s free Education Center is focused on basic, introductory articles. It also provides users with a guide to common abbreviations and terminologies found throughout stock market lingo.
Broker-Assisted Trades – Are They Necessary?
Firstrade makes money by charging users for broker-assisted trades. While broker assistance is not necessary to trade stocks, there are times when professional help might be valuable. For example, if you are trading large, labyrinth orders which exceed 100 options contracts or 10,000 shares, you may wish for professional guidance to expedite things.
In addition, there are times when you may not be able to access Firstrade but desperately need to close a position or two – that’s when an authorized telephone operative can help you out.
This specialized service runs $19.95 for stock trades and $19.95 plus $0.50 per contract for options trades.
Firstrade – Bang for the Buck
Bang for the buck, or value for one’s money: this is the central and first appeal of Firstrade. While it may lack the advanced options some traders have come to expect from their chosen platform, what Firstrade does is facilitate easy and accessible trading with no costs.
We realize some investors will demand more advanced screening and charting options, and the ability to invest in speculative assets like crypto, forex, and futures. But if you are in the business of simple stock trading and want to keep the costs down, there really is no better option.
There are no hidden fees, and no irksome catches. Firstrade is simply a modern brokerage playing a part in democratizing the financial markets.
Sign up for a free account with Firstrade today to begin your own investment journey.