Firstrade’s mission is to empower its customers with the most advanced technology to make it simpler and seamless to execute their investment strategies. It’s self-directed investing, placing the needs of our customers first through no-cost trading.
In this review I am going to show you what Firstrade is all about. I will tell you who I think it is best for, how it works, and even provide my personal experience with it.
The goal of this article is to provide you a well-rounded look about how the program works, tell you the pros and cons, and help you decide if this is something for you.
I will be the first to admit I am not compensated in any way for this review. The idea is to tell you how I fared and hopefully get you into it, too!
I found out about this program through one of my online friends, and now I want to share it with everyone. Let’s get into it.
What Is Firstrade?
It is one of the very first online investment brokerages. On this platform, you get the whole buffet of trading and investment services. The pricing here has always been reasonable, but most trades cost nothing, even options.
The beginnings of Firstrade are humble. Back in ’85, they started as a firm called First Flushing Securities.
Thanks to the Internet, the company got bigger and bigger, and in ’97 the company rebranded as Firstrade Securities Inc. Not long after, Firstrade.com was launched, one of the first platforms of its kind.
I think he has a place for investors of all skill levels, from newbies to veterans of Wall Street. You can take advantage of many services here, not only finance-wise but also for your own knowledge.
There are calculators, educational materials, and helpful tools. The interface is very intuitive and easy to learn.
I think the most important thing is that you need not have a minimum account deposit, either. It lets everyone start growing their wealth. Plus, in 2018, they announced all trades would be free, presumably to keep up with trends from firms like Robinhood that give users free trades.
Features of Firstrade
Let’s begin with some quick features about Firstrade.
- You can invest in Penny Stocks, ETFs, Mutual Funds, Bonds and Stocks
- Options Trades cost zero to trade and zero per contract
- No minimum deposit
- You can take advantage of investment types like Roth IRAs, Custodial Accounts, Traditional IRAs, and more
Now, let’s talk a little about the tools used at Firstrade.
Sectors and Industries: You can closely follow a sector you are interested in and view how a specific company performs and keep track of its performance.
News/Events Tracker: You can keep track of news and events surrounding the markets and various companies thanks to the latest briefings brought to you by Benzinga, Briefing.com, and Morningstar, just to name a few.
Analyst Reports and Ratings: Ever wanted your own personal analyst? We can’t give you that, but this tool is pretty darn great. You get expert advice from top analysts so you can make the best decisions yet.
Advanced Screening Tool: This helps you narrow down your investment picks using screening criteria you choose. If you want to look for small-cap priced stocks, high yield stocks or something in between the choice is yours.
Calculators: The calculators might just be my favorite part of the whole program. You can determine the following:
- If it is a good idea to do a Roth IRA conversion
- What your plans will be worth once you reach retirement
- What your net worth is
- What to save for college
- What it takes to become a millionaire
- Where to allocate assets
- Returns on real estate
And there’s more than that, too!
Another thing I really love about Firstrade is the options trading. That was what sparked my interest in the program. I was able to step up my game using the tools and resources on the Firstrade website.
The Options Wizard is one of the great things that will help you out.
You get immediate feedback on both the value and probability of success for ANY trades you are thinking of making. Using analytics and market data, you get a quick dose of info that will aid you in wisely investing your money.
Aside from the options and analytics, the Wizard will provide you trade strategy checklists, indicators for trends in the one and six-month range, over 60 technical indicators, and even profit and loss simulations.
How Much Does This Cost?
You will not pay any subscription fees to this service, but you will have to pay fees associated with broker-assisted orders.
You will also pay on a Net Yield Basis for fixed income options like Agency Bonds, Treasury Bills and Notes, and Zeros and Strips.
Aside from that, it’s totally free.
Depending on your account level, you can also save some money on fees. For instance, Gold Account Holders with balances of $50K or more save money on internal asset transfers, stop payment orders and other services, plus have a dedicated representative to assist them.
Meanwhile Platinum Account holders, or people who have $100,000 or more, also save money on fees associated with varying transactions and also have a dedicated representative.
Firstrade has been around for a while, and as you may have guessed, they are safe to use. However, it is worth mentioning that they are SIPC (Securities Investor Protection Corp) members, which means investors have insurance in the event that Firstrade cannot repay invested funds due to financial problems.
That being said, your activity on Firstrade is not guaranteed. As with any investing activity, the risk is always present, and you should never invest what you cannot afford to lose.
My Personal Experience
I have been using Firstrade for about a year now. I found the account very easy to open up, and the funds were easy for me to transfer from my old brokerage to this one.
My calls to customer services were answered promptly, but I wish their service was real-time (chat, etc.).
The user interface is easy for me to use for the most part but could be more efficient. For instance, when you want to see complete option chain info, you have to click onto another screen to see near price options, and THEN go to another screen for volatility.
There are lots of indicators to view, such as candlestick and line. The trading is excellent since it is free, but the fact that they don’t have naked call trading was a bit of a pain point for me. Overall, I am pleased with Firstrade and do not mind the little things at all.
Pros and Cons
- TONS of trading tools for both newcomers and veterans alike.
- Firstrade allows investors in 20 different nations invest in the US stock markets via one of their accounts
- No minimum deposit-great for new investors.
- Over 700 ETFs free of commission-this is the biggest variety of any online broker yet.
- Rebates are available if you incur fees when you switch from another broker.
- Premier accounts offer great perks to investors.
- Platinum and Gold accounts lack management in the form of Robo advisor/full-service broker.
- Some users found the user interface TOO simple.
- Online chat is not operated by a real person – only gives auto answers.
- Customer service is lacking compared to some other platforms.
If you are looking to get started with investing and don’t have a ton of cash, Firstrade is the way to go. You incur basically no fees and have no minimum balance requirements!
I encourage you to go check this out right away and get your financial future moving.
Blake is a self-made online day trader with a knack for adventure. On his free time, he loves reading and learning new methods in the trading as well as improving his jiu-jitsu skills. He currently resides in New York City.