For new and advanced investors alike, brokers Charles Schwab and Fidelity offer very competitive features, from robust fund offerings to low transaction costs, to helpful investment research. Fidelity and Charles Schwab have low trading fees for full-featured brokers, and give users access to thousands of no-fee funds. Both offer 24/7 phone support. Itâ€™s no accident that both brokers top our list of the Best Online Stock Brokers.
With a minimum balance of $5,000, Charles Schwab customers can take advantage of the brokerâ€™s zero-fee robo-advisor services. With Fidelity, index fund enthusiasts can sock money into the firmâ€™s zero-expense index fund offerings. Both brokers are excellent choices, so the best one for you depends on the specific offerings from each firm. Read on for a detailed comparison.
|Current promotions||500 free trades with a qualifying net deposit of $100,000||Get up to 500 free trades for two years when you fund an eligible account. The number of free trades is determined by the size of your deposit.|
|Stock trading fees||
|Amount minimum to open account|
|Account fees (annual, transfer, inactivity)||
|Commission-free ETFs offered|
|Mutual funds (no transaction fee) offered|
|Ease of use|
|Mobile app||iOS, Android||iOS, Android, Fire OS|
|Customer support||Phone, 24/7 live support, Chat, Email, 346 branch locations||Phone, 24/7 live support, Chat, Email, 190 branch locations|
Neither Charles Schwab nor Fidelity charge annual or monthly fees to maintain a brokerage account. Both charge commissions of $4.95 per trade. Both charge trading commissions of $0.65 per options contract and $1 per bond. Charles Schwab charges a $1.50 commission per futures contract â€” Fidelity doesnâ€™t allow futures trading. Charles Schwab charges up to $49.95 to buy transaction-fee mutual funds, while Fidelity charges $49.95 only for non-Fidelity transaction-fee funds. Fidelityâ€™s margin rates are also lower than Schwabâ€™s for traders with larger debit balances.
If youâ€™d rather take a hands-off approach to your investments, Fidelity offers several different portfolio management options. Fidelity Go is the firmâ€™s robo-advisor, which utilizes automatic trading algorithms to make investments at a very low cost for users, an annual fee of 0.35% of your account balance. Fidelity Personalized Planning and Advice uses automated trading algorithms together with expert coaching, for an annual fee of 0.50% of your account balance. With Fidelityâ€™s Portfolio Advisory Services, professional money managers handle your investments for an annual fee of 0.50% to 1.50% of your account balance, depending on assets invested.
Charles Schwabâ€™s robo-advisor, Charles Schwab Intelligent Portfolios, requires a minimum investment of $5,000 and charges no annual fee. Note that Intelligent Portfolios requires users to hold 6-30% of your balance deposited with the robo-advisor in its cash account, which offers an APY of 0.70%. This can hamper your overall returns in years where the market returns above 0.70%. For more personalized guidance, there is Charles Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Premium, which charges a one-time $300 fee and $30 a month. Your investments are managed by the robo-advisor, plus you have access to â€śunlimitedâ€ť guidance from a certified financial planner.
Charles Schwab charges $50 for a full account transfer and $25 for a partial account transfer, while Fidelity charges no transfer fees. Neither broker has an account minimum, but both require a large deposit to qualify for bonuses. Charles Schwab requires a net deposit of $100,000 to qualify for 500 commission-free equity and options trades for up to two years. Fidelity also requires $100,000 in new account funding to land 200 commission-free domestic stock and options trades.
In addition to stocks and bonds, both brokers have a robust selection of tradable securities for either the beginner or advanced investor:
Investing with Fidelity and Charles Schwab gives you access to valuable research and education tools, plus cash management account options.
Both Charles Schwab and Fidelity have long-standing track records, low fees, no account minimums and a diverse array of fund offerings. Preference for either broker may depend on a personal inclination, such as the desire to try Fidelityâ€™s no-expense index funds (available only to Fidelity clients) or the desire to trade futures, available on Charles Schwabâ€™s platform but not Fidelityâ€™s. Charles Schwabâ€™s robo-advisor has no annual fee (note the cash account requirement, however), compared with Fidelity Goâ€™s 0.35% management fee.
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