Charles Schwab Broker Review
Charles Schwab is a full service broker that offers its services to individuals as well as to Registered Investment Advisors. They have a been around for a long time and have built a business that has managed to obtain almost $3 trillion in client assets, over a million in corporate retirement plans with them and around 7,000 in IRAs. As you can see they have a healthy business that has been gaining the trust of their clients since 1971 when it was founded by Charles R. Schwab. They offer high quality trading tools with a research center that is one of the best in the business and an advisor service for clients looking to plan for their retirement or any other financial goals they may have.
One of the things that I really liked about Charles Schwab is that they offer a 24/7 customer service support that is very professional and energetic. Within just a minute of being on their site I was greeted with a chat window from one of their customer service reps asking if I need any help or if I had any questions. This is quality service and makes me comfortable when opening an account with them.
Commissions & Fees
Schwab has fairly competitive commission rates for being a full service broker with stocks and ETFs starting at just $8.95 per trade. Options are just $0.75 per contract with a base rate of $8.95 per trade. Their options commissions is slightly on the higher side compared to most discount brokers. For instance, TradeKing offers option trades at $4.95 plus only $0.65 per contract. Granted they don’t offer as much as Charles Schwab but it’s something to keep in mind. Broker assisted trades will run you $25 per transaction so unless you absolutely have to call in a trade you’ll be better off placing them yourself through their online platforms.
Trading Platform & Tools
Currently, Charles Schwab offers a web-based trading platform called StreetSmart.com and a desk-top based trading platform called StreetSmart Edge. Both are free to all clients regardless of account equity or trading activity. StreetSmart is one of the nicer web-based trading platforms that meets the needs of investors or casual traders but will be too slow for the active trader. That is where StreetSmart Edge comes in. This platform is more sophisticated with advanced charting and order entries, customizable features, live news feeds and a ton of other cool and useful features like direct market access and a quick order entry page. Their charting has plenty of power with robust graphics and a ton of indicators and drawing tools to choose from. You can fully customize the charts and can open however many you want so you can see real-time on different time frames keeping you informed from the longer term picture down to tick data. It’s a great platform and since it doesn’t cost any extra it makes this broker even more appealing.
Overall, Charles Schwab is a solid broker that offers plenty of tools and resources that will help assist their clients meet their financial goals. With the StreetSmart Edge you’ll have all the tools needed to successfully execute trades and research different stocks. Their customer service was above par with quick response rates and a fun and friendly attitude that makes doing business much easier with them. I especially like that they are available 24/7 so any issues or questions you may have can get addressed that much more quickly. Charles Schwab has a little something for everyone so if you’re looking for a new home they are definitely worth checking out.
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