PROS / This service offers solid educational resources and customer support.
CONS / The platform doesn't offer automated trading.
VERDICT / Charles Schwab has a well-established service with a well-deserved good reputation, but some of its fees are higher than its competitors.
In addition to traditional banking, Charles Schwab offers a large number of investments for online stock trading. Its trading platform comes with a number of helpful tools and calculators to assist in your trading decisions. The website has solid educational articles and resources, and customer service is available 24/7 online as well as in-person help during normal business hours in a number of branches in 44 states.
With this online broker, you can trade stocks, options, bonds, mutual funds and ETFs. Each trade for stocks and ETFs is a flat $8.95, which is slightly above the average among services we reviewed, but it is cheaper than some. The cost for option trading is $8.95 for commission plus $0.75 per contract, which is also just slightly higher than average. If you would like assistance when completing a trade, there is a $25 broker-assisted fee on top of the commission and contract fees. A broker-assisted fee is standard in the industry, but $25 is more than many services charge. In general, this stock broker charges slightly higher fees than other services. You also must have $1,000 to open an account, while many services do not require anything in advance to open an account.
The Charles Schwab trading platform includes all of the tools you would expect for this type of software. There is a customizable desktop with alerts, level I quotes, level II quotes, option chains, screeners, watch lists, charts and graphs. There are also risk and volatility calculators to help you estimate your risk and potential earnings or losses on specific securities. This platform does not allow for automated trading.
This online investing site offers apps for some of the most popular mobile devices, including iPhone, iPad, Android and Kindle Fire. From these mobile devices, you can view quotes and read market news, trade orders and view their status, and keep an eye on your watch lists and option chains.
For customer support, Schwab has around 300 offices nationwide in 44 states where you can go for face-to-face assistance and attend live educational events, or you can contact a representative 24/7 by phone, live chat or email. You can also take advantage of online webinars, view video tutorials and search the large database of financial articles.
Charles Schwab provides a variety of investments suitable for traders and investors. Trade commissions are competitive, albeit higher than some services, including the broker-assisted fee. The online platform contains good trading tools, and you can access your account and place trades from the most popular mobile devices. Charles Schwab has a well-established and trusted name, and the service it provides is solid, but some of its fees make it a less-desirable service than the best online trading sites.