Category Archives: Online brokerages

Overview

E*Trade is one of the popular online discount stock brokerage firm which was founded in 1982 and has its headquarters in New York City. It is a financial service company which was started for the sake of self – directed investors. Giving opportunities to investors to invest money for buying and selling securities such as Bonds, Mutual Funds, Stocks and exchange trade funds with the help of electronic trading platforms or with the help of phone. Apart from this E*Trade also provides banking services to all the retail investors such as sweep deposits and saving products.

Now days E*Trade financial operates directly through numerous subsidiaries such as E*Trade Securities LLC, E*Trade Bank and E*Trade Clearing LLC. The company offers lots of research and services to investors and helps them to place trades easily.


How to Open an Account on E*Trade

Opening an account on E*Trade mostly take 5 to 10 minutes and to complete the procedure you need to provide right details of yours so as to make your account active. E*Trade let all their new and existing customers to open Two types of account i.e. Brokerage account and Retirement Account which is described as below:

  1. Brokerage Account

    If you choose to open brokerage type account, E*Trade let you choose brokerage account of three categories which is:

    Individual Account Joint Account Custodial Account
    Account is owned by single individual Account is owned by two or more people equally Account is managed by adult custodian for the benefit of minor
    Legal owner has the right to operate the account Each owner has the right to operate, Trade and transact the account Custodian has the right to handle the account. Done in case of child education.
    Deposit of $500 is required to get started Deposit of $500 is required to get started Deposit of $500 is required to get started
  2. Retirement Account:

    In case you want to open retirement account with E*Trade, you get access to four different type of retirement account which is discussed below:

    • Rollover IRA – With rollover IRA you can move your assets from an old retirement plan and can enjoy benefits of much wider range of investments and potentially lower fees while keeping the same advantages.
    • One Stop Rollover IRA – This type of account is recommended for accounts of $250,000 or more. You can take control of your retirement with ease by rolling over your old 401(k) directly into a professionally managed portfolio from E*Trade capital management.
    • Traditional IRA – Under this you can build your retirement savings with tax-deductible contributions, no annual income limits and tax-deductible contributions.
    • Roth IRA – The major benefit of this account is that you can pursue your retirement goals with tax-free savings. Also you can withdraw contributions anytime with no taxes or penalties.

Additional Note = you can also take benefit of E*Trade capital management in case you are looking for active and ongoing portfolio management.

E*Trade Investments

E*Trade let you to make investments in Bonds, Stocks and other fixed income assets, mutual funds of around 8,000 categories and target date funds. The company also enables you to perform trading in 77 international markets. In case you are not sure about where to invest your money than you can consult with E*Trade support team so as to get further help regarding investment.


E*Trade Commission and Fees

As compared to other stock brokerage firm E*Trade charge lower mutual fund fee but their stock trade fees and the option base is little bit on higher side. Apart from this E*Trade does have a large section of commission fee ETF-s which you can choose as per your requirement.

Stock Trades Option Base Options Contract Minimum Deposit Mutual Funds
$9.99 $9.99 $0.75 $500 $0 – $19.99

Note = you need to keep one thing in mind that if you are an active trader than E*Trade will offer you $7.99 per trade and to qualify for this you need to perform minimum of 150 trades per quarter. However if you want to open an account on E*Trade than you need to deposit an amount of $500.

E*Trade Pro

This service is started by the company so as to make advanced trading software easy to understand and relevant for main street investors. For all the active traders E*Trade Pro service solves many problem which they face while performing online trading. Moreover this service is available to any customers who execute at least option trades or 30 stock trades per calendar year and maintains a minimum brokerage account of $250,000. E*Trade do not charge any additional fee to use this service. Some major features of E*Trade pro is given below:

  • Point and click order entry – Once click on security symbol in the panel you are and trade or traction will happen
  • Professional grade advanced trading tools – Enjoy benefits of some business tools such as advanced options screener, strategy optimizer, analytics and margin analyzer in single app.
  • Quick Updation – Track markets with the help of live streaming watch lists, sector and industry tracker, market news and many more.
  • Industry Tracker – Keep an eye on changes going in different industrial sectors.
  • Get trading ideas – With the help of probability calculator and built in back testing, estimate the amount which you want to invest as per market conditions.

Apart from this the feature also provides at least 2 screens for personalization. One will surely enjoy while making use of this feature.

E*Trade Mobile App

Apart from offering services like E*Trade Pro, E*Trade also backs investors by offering their services through E*Trade Mobile App. With the help of this app you not only get access to trading tools but you can also operate trading account without facing any difficulties. E*Trade App currently supports devices such as:

  • Android Phone and Tablet
  • Apple Iphone, Ipad and Apple Watch
  • Amazon Fire Phone
  • Windows Phone
  • Kindle Fire

The best part of using E*Trade mobile app is the user interface is very good and all the functionality of E*Trade website is available in the mobile application. For all the active traders it is a recommended app to control and monitor their accounts.

E*Trade Security

As doing online stock trading is always a risky thing, therefore E*Trade offers Symantec Virtual Digital Security Token so as to secure your financial information and make online trading risk free. With the help of E*Trade Security you will receive a keychain sized device which will generate a new personal 6 digit access code every 1 minute. For every individual who perform trades through smartphones, Symantec offers an app that efficiently does the same functioning.

One you get the 6 digit code, you can then log in with your username, key-code and password and this will make unauthorized login to your E*Trade account almost impossible. This is the best feature which E*Trade offers to all their investors.

Overview

Fidelity Investments is a multi-national financial service corporation owned and managed by America. The company was inaugurated in 1946 and is serving investors from all over the world. It manages a variety of mutual funds; provide brokerage service, retirement services, life insurance, wealth management and many other financial services. It also runs online discount brokerage and there are about 140 investor centre in all over the U.S. Other benefits provided by the company are pension administration, health and welfare administration, payroll and other services.

The Fidelity management serves about 23 million users which include retail investors and institutional investors and it is ranked second in the list of mutual fund companies having assets of nearly $2.03 trillion as calculated in year 2010.

Fidelity Investment Key Features

Like other online discount brokerage companies Fidelity works for providing benefits to their new and existing members because of some key features which are as follows:

  • It charges $7.95 for every trade and for all types of equities.
  • It offers about 65 ETFs without any commission fees.
  • It offers multiple choices for investment such as stocks, bonds and more than 4700 mutual and non-mutual funds.
  • It also provides a visa card for depositing cash directly in the brokerage account.

How to open an Account with Fidelity Investments

The opening of a new account is very easy with Fidelity. It requires completing of few simple steps. Some basic types of accounts which you can offer with Fidelity Investments are detailed as:

  • Brokerage account

This is a cheap account with an online trading of stocks, mutual funds, options and tools for investors. It offers more than 70 ETFs as compared to other brokerage companies.

  • Cash Management account

Cash Management account has all the ATM fees refunded. There is no need to maintain any minimum deposit in your account. The amount you deposit in this account is eligible for FDIC insurance and interest produced on this deposit is nearly five times more than any bank.

  • Rollover to IRA Account

You can merge your 401(k) account in Fidelity Rollover IRA. By doing this you can get the advantage of retirement savings and is able to take benefits of a number of investments and services.

  • Traditional IRA account

By opening an account in Traditional IRA the deposits may become tax-deductible and it is good if you want to enjoy the benefits of tax savings now.

  • Roth IRA

With Roth IRA account you can enjoy tax-free growth after making tax contributions and there is no need for minimum distribution during the whole life of the owner. There is no need to update your account with $2500, if the funds are automatically transferred from your bank account.

  • Saving for education Or 529 College Saving Account

The purpose of this account is to encourage college savings. By investing in any plan at Fidelity you can use those funds in most of the accredited schools all over the nation. There is need of $50 minimum deposit to open the account and the tools provided by the company help you to calculate fees of the college and adapt a strategy for savings.

  • Managed Accounts

This account offers money management in a professional way you can approach proprietary research by model portfolios of mutual funds. There is need of minimum investment of $50,000 and annual advisory fees will be automatically charged by the company.


To open account you can simple click here.

Main platforms provided by Fidelity Investments

Active Traders Pro Platform: By using Active Trader Pro Platform you can easily do online trading and portfolio management at your desktop. Other reasons to use Active Trader Pro are:

  1. You can get full access to charts, news, alerts, easy exit and entry ways.
  2. You can get to know about balances, history and positions with tax details.
  3. You can get streamed customizable quotes and watch lists.

Mobile App: The mobile App offered by Fidelity can be used on platforms like I-Pad, I-Phone, Android or Windows phone 8. The main advantages of using mobile app are:

  1. You can view your Trade stocks, ETFs and Options anywhere and anytime.
  2. You can view balance, watch list and able to get quotes without logging in your account.
  3. Check the position of your accounts and securities.
  4. Get informed about the recent news and views about the market.
  5. You can get information about top gainers, losers and actives.
  6. Observe your money positions, balances and intraday changes.
  7. You can get ideas about current holdings and potential investments with the help of Notebook.
  8. You can get the advantage of placing a trade and quote from price trigger notification in your mobile.
  9. Get research information at Star Mine’s Equity Summary Score and Recognia and Trefis.

Why to Choose Fidelity Investments?

There are numerous reasons for why one should choose Fidelity investments in place of investing money in any other investment company. Some of the major reasons are given as under.

  • It provides guidance on different types such as retirement planning strategy, wealth management products, investment guidance tool which provide best decisions regarding investments regardless of experience.
  • One can discover investing ideas with unlimited research and tools.
  • At Fidelity, you have to spend just $7.95 to open your account. Also, there are no commission fees for bonds and options. You can also buy commission free ETFs from Fidelity and iShares online.
  • By using services like Mobile App and Active trader Pro you can get to know anything from everywhere. The calculators and tools help to make plans for retirement, make savings for college and much more so easy.
  • The customer services provided by Fidelity helps you to get answers to queries of any type help you to find everything you need.
  • The account and trade experience provides all information about your account and gives updates about the market so that you can decide your action accordingly.
  • By investing in multiple types of retirement accounts such as Traditional IRA, Roth and Rollover IRA one can enjoy retirement benefits at its best.
  • You can also ensure your beneficiaries by making an investment in Life Insurance plan so as to fulfil the financial needs of your family.
  • At Fidelity, you can enjoy latest technologies and best security practices to keep your accounts safe and also provide with safety tips while working online.
    In the end, we can say that Fidelity investments are equipped with all features of Discount Brokerage Service which include investment and banking services at your doorsteps. Fidelity investments can provide features from education to retirement and decent customer service at a great price.

Overview

OptionsHouse is a low cost broker company which was founded in 2005 and started with the aim of being one of the cheapest and advanced trading platforms. The company offers some advanced research tools for active traders and to long term investors who want to purchase mutual funds or want to make few trade transactions on yearly basis.

In 2014, another trading platform TradeMonster merged with OptionsHouse making OptionsHouse one of the best trading platforms which offers cheap trading fees as well as easy user interface as compared to other online trading platforms.


OptionsHouse Key Features

Till now OptionsHouse has gained an image of one of the lowest fees charging company in the field of online brokerage industry. OptionsHouse offer one of the simple pricing structures which are great for some small and large investors. The company was also ranked at second position with Barron’s 2015 brokerage review. Other benefit of OptionsHouse is that they do not charge annual maintenance fees or any type of minimum deposits. The fees and commission charged by OptionsHouse is shows in table below:

Stock Trades Option Base Options Contract Minimum Deposit Mutual Funds
$4.95 $4.95 $0.50 $0 $9.95

Some other benefits which OptionsHouse provide to all new and existing customers are given as follows:

  • One Click Trading – At OptionsHouse you can execute trades with just one click.
  • Trade Cycle – This feature offered by OptionsHouse included six steps which includes researching, testing, executing, adjusting and exiting trades.
  • Trade Lab – With the help of Trade Lab you can gain the insight of profit and loss from current market conditions with profit/loss and breakeven snapshot. You can also use advanced spectral map for analyzing strategies with customized metrics.
  • Monitoring your Trade Positions – For faster trading and performance you can configure your position page and customize setting according to your needs. OptionsHouse also let you to get alerts via popup, email or on registered mobile number.
  • Options Chains – This feature let you to view 16 different options chains, including some of those that are strategy based. With this feature you can get all your quotes, deltas and implied volatility in quick time.
  • Paper Trading – OptionsHouse provide $100,000 virtual money which helps new investors and traders to practice trades before trading with real money in real market.
  • Trade Journal – Another feature which allows traders to log trade tags or notes for the strategy behind real trade.
  • AutoTrade – AutoTrade allows you to buy/sell stocks bonds etc upon number of investment newsletters you receive.

OptionsHouse Research Tools

As discussed earlier with the merger of TradeMonster, OptionsHouse upgraded their research tools which help the entire active traders to do option trading easily. Some of the best research tools which the company offers include StrategySEEK, adjustTRADE resources and Exit Plan.

With the help of StrategySEEK and SpreadMAKER research tool you can better understand your trade potential and estimate your potential risks in your portfolio. In case you want to adjust your trading based on your performance you can make it possible with the help of adjustTRADE research tool.

Moreover OptionsHouse also offer TradeLAB which allows all the active traders to test their strategies and produce hundreds of option trades from the results obtained and with which they can match the exact criteria to maximize their returns.


OptionsHouse Virtual Trading Platform

The best thing which makes OptionsHouse to attract all the active traders to open account with them is with the help of Virtual Trading Platform. This is something which other trading platform fail to offer to their new and existing investors.

You can avail this service offered by OptionsHouse only when you create account with OptionsHouse, even when you have not funded any amount in your account to get started. The benefit of this virtual environment is that you are given access to fully functional duplicate of OptionsHouse trading platform which will be limited with virtual parameters that will mirror the live market.

Moreover you are also given $100,000 virtual cash which allows you to trade or invest in the way you want. Another benefit of this virtual environment is that you can trade stocks or options without any risk of trading in the live platform with the real cash. This also helps in horning your skills and building strategies before entering into real situation. You can also fund more virtual currency in your virtual account as you move ahead with you account with OptionsHouse.

If case you are beginning your career as investor than this virtual environment will help you to build confidence and will also let you know the exact way how trading is done. You can make use of this tool to build new strategies and to make experiment in new business sectors.

Other impressive tools which OptionsHouse offer is the free web tutorials which you can enjoy on using their platform and investment coaching.


OptionsHouse Mobile Trading

OptionsHouse put even more emphasis on mobile trading when it merged with TradeMonster and this resulted in more diversification of business. OptionsHouse offer mobile app for users of Iphone, Ipad and Android mobile users. So you can do trade form anywhere with your smartphones.

OptionsHouse mobile app allows you to perform functions such as:

  • Accessing streaming quotes and charts
  • Search Companies and Symbols
  • Trade Stock and Options
  • Spreads and Chain Options
  • Monitor Positions and Stock Orders
  • Virtual Trading Platform

In case you have not installed OptionsHouse trading app, you can perform trading options with the help of fully functional mobile website which allows users to do everything which they can do with desktop browser based OptionsHouse website.


Overview

TradeKing is the top online discount brokerage firm which was started in 2005 and has offices in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and subsidiary offices in Charlotte, North Caroline. The company provides online trading tools for all the self directed investors to come ahead and buy and sell stocks, bonds, options and mutual funds via systematic electronic trading platforms or by phone.

The best thing which all the investors like about TradeKing is that the whole signup process and different trading tools which the company provide is easy to use and makes trading safer. However the funding process can take up to minimum of seven days which is not a big issue.


TradeKing Commissions and Fees

TradeKing charge a small amount of $50 in case any investors do not meet the two major requirements which are as follows:

  • In case the combined account value of household accounts is less than $2,500.
  • Another is when no commission charged trades have been executed in the account during last 12 months.

Therefore if you are not an active trader than it is suggested that to keep yourself safe from unwanted charges you must invest minimum of $2,500. As with greater risks returns are going to be doubled. Commission charged by TradeKing is as follows:

Stock Trades Option Base Options Contract Minimum Deposit Mutual Funds
$4.95 $4.95 $0.65 $0 $9.95

TradeKing Security

TradeKing does not offer much of secure login sessions which other online brokerage firms such as E*Trade and Charles Schwab offers. Though their online login process (via Web Browser) is somewhat security conscious but if it not much flexible to use. Every time you login into your account by visiting the site, you need to make use of mouse and click on screen keyboard simultaneously to enter your password.

However this process is more effective as it prevents hackers from gathering your important information but at the same time it is time consuming and sometimes gives rise to errors. Though TradeKing has managed to tighten their security flaws but the best type of security is RSA based key fob which E*Trade offer these days.

TradeKing Mobile Trading

TradeKing basically offers two smartphone apps which include Iphone and Blackberry. The company lacks in terms of technology is concerned. When we talk about other trading companies which are focusing more on upgrading their trading apps, TradeKing is providing limited features to mobile users and this is the major reason why they are lacking active traders. The company does offer a simpler mobile version of their website which allows users to do basic trading easily.



TradeKing Important Trading Tools

For all the active traders and long term investors TradeKing offers a wide range of tools so as to make trading easy. Some of the major tools are listed below:

  • Probability Calculator
  • Option Pricing Calculator
  • Profit + Loss Calculator
  • Stock, ETF + Mutual Fund Screeners
  • Option and Strategy Scanners
  • Technical Analysis
  • Maxit Tax Manager
  • TradeKing LIVE

TradeKing LIVE is a new streaming (web 2.0) platform which is recently introduced by TradeKing. TradeKing LIVE allows you to stay on top with the latest market changes and your investments. To make use of it there is no need to download any software and install it on your pc, it is completely browser based. TradeKing LIVE supports Google Chrome, Apple Safari and Firefox 4+ Browsers but unfortunately lacks support for Internet Explorer users.

Apart from this unlike other Trading companies TradeKing do not offer features like research reports and access to Morningstar analysis. However you enjoy such features through premium membership.

TradeKing Option Trading

If you are an option trader than TradeKing is the best platform for you to start option trading. From almost 5 years TradeKing is known as the best company for option Traders. The company has some of the lowest options pricing available for option traders and also allow them to save more on their investments as compared to other brokers. Some of the advanced option strategy which TradeKing supports is as follows:

  • Covered Call
  • Basis (Put/Call)
  • Protective Put
  • Straddle
  • Spread
  • Combo
  • Condor
  • Butterfly
  • Double Diagonal
  • 4 Legs Free From

To make use of any of the service all you need is to signup now at TradeKing.com

TradeKing Social Network Investing – Trader Network

The major aspect which makes TradeKing different from other online stock brokerage company is their social network which is “Trader Network”. TradeKing has more than 200,000 members in their wide network and this helps the company to gain new invertors for their business. Through trader network different investors get opportunities to connect with another investor, share experiences, strategies and ideas. With this one can know how others are trading and how they are performing. Trader Network also allows you to see where other is investing, what the insights are and what other investors can offer. For this all you need is to click on my trades’ option in TradeKing’s Network.


Additional Information

  • Company Type = Private
  • Industry Type = Financial Services
  • Founded In = December 2005
  • Headquarters = Fort Lauderdale Florida, U.S
  • Owners Info = Donato A. Montanaro (CEO), Richard J. Hagen (Jr. President & COO), Thomas A. Desmond (Chief Financial Officer).
  • Products Dealing In = Stocks, ETFs, options, bonds, forex, mutual funds, financial advising services, IRA accounts, online brokerage, investment services.

Overview

TD Ameritrade is an American based online stockbroker centred in Omaha, Nebraska which is owned by TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation. The main services rendered by this stock company includes common and preferred stocks, option trades, mutual funds, ETFs, mutual funds, fixed income, option trades and cash management services. The company started as small investment banking firm initially but later it was developed as a clearing broker in 1983 and named as Trans Terra Company in 1987. In the year 1988, the first quote was launched by the company. In January 2006, Ameritrade merged with TD Bank and was renamed as TD Ameritrade.


TD Ameritrade Fees and Commission

The fees and commission charged by the company is not the cheapest amongst other online trading firms like E*Trade, Charles Schwab, TradeKing etc. But the rate charged from investors is easily affordable for them.

TD Ameritrade offers many investment options for active as well as non active traders such as Stocks, Bonds, Preferred Stock, Mutual Funds, Money Market accounts etc. One can also open a margin account at TD Ameritrade. Till now the company has 100+ different branch offices where professional investments consultants are there to help new and existing customers.

Stock Trades Option Base Options Contract Minimum Deposit Mutual Funds
$9.99 $9.99 $0.75 $0 $0.00

Why to choose TD Ameritrade

There are many online stock brokers companies but major things about TD Ameritrade which makes it best among other online brokers are mentioned below:

  • Low Opening deposit

The best reason to invest in the company is that it charges just $50 or $100 investment fees to open an account, unlike other online brokerage companies. So, it becomes easy for large and small investors to start their investments immediately.

  • Low fees for Transactions

TD Ameritrade charges fees of $9.99 for any transaction which is very low in comparison with other companies. Also, it renders a large number of services at a very reasonable price without any maintenance fees.

  • Multiple Trading Tools

The Company offers multiple trading tools to the investors. With the help of these tools investors can access their account by mobile phone easily. Also, the application can be used in type of phone such as Blackberry, Android, Iphone and Windows. The users of this company also access Command Centre 2.0, Quote Scope, Strategy desk etc. All these tools help active traders to perform trading simple and easy.

  • Large Number of investment options

The company provides near about 1200 mutual funds and near about 529 plans for investment. The funds generated from there can be used in Standard account or in Retirement account.

  • Empowered Educational Resources

The investors can have access to educational resources and also they get to know about latest strategies and theories of the company to develop informed approach about investment.

There are mainly four types of accounts in TD Ameritrade which are as follows:

  • Standard Account: The standard account type is very flexible and includes mainly individuals, tenants, community property, guardianship and Joint tenants. This account offer mainly cash and margins along with minimum investment and qualification of clients applied.
  • Retirement Account: This account gives tax advantages for retirement. The main types are Traditional IRA, Rollover IRA, SEP IRA and Simple IRA. The initial minimum deposit is absent in this type of account and has different rules of eligibility and withdrawals.
  • Education Account: This type of account provides tax advantages while investing for higher education. The main types are 529 plans Custodial UGMA/UTMA and Coverdell Education account.
  • Speciality Accounts: This account is designed to achieve a number of financial goals and offer exceptional advantages to achieve those goals. The main type includes Trust, Limited Partnership, Partnership, Investment club, Corporate, Sole Proprietorship, Small Business, Non- Incorporated.

How to open an Account with TD Ameritrade: The process to open an account with TD Ameritrade is quite easy and you have to follow a few simple steps. The entire procedures take few minutes and require the Social Security Number or Individual Taxpayer Identification number along with personal details of the applicant.

While opening an account the third party information provider is required to verify the details of applicant and driving license along with some other documents will be asked. The application is not for use by residents of Canada, Singapore and UK.


Investment products and Pricing policy of TD Ameritrade: The main investment products, trading options and educational resources at TD Ameritrade are mentioned below along with their pricing policy:

  1. Stocks: The Stocks are the basis for portfolio investments without any access and subscription fees along with the help from skilled and experienced professionals. The price of Stock at TD Ameritrade is $9.99.
  2. Options: Options are the opportunities provided to qualified traders with advantages of no platform fees, no minimum amounts for trading, and advice from specialists and idea generating tools. The price of Options is &9.99 plus $0.75 per contact.
  3. Bonds and CDs: the Bonds and CDs are introduced to lower down the risk and for providing a variety of portfolio investments. The selection tools, free of cost research and educational resources of TD Ameritrade help to find best bonds and CDs for making an investment.
  4. Bond and CDs Price
    Treasury bond at Auction $25.00
    All other bonds, New issued CDs, Secondary CDs On net yield
    New issued UITs, Secondary UITs Placement fees from issuer
  5. Futures: The futures provide diversity in investment, leverage assets and TD Ameritrade provides free advice from future market experts and professional help all the time. The price of futures is $2.25 per contact with exchange and regulatory fees.
  6. Forex: Forex means trading in international currencies and this open up worldwide opportunities for investors. With free access and tools like Foreign Currency Map, CNBC International and papermoney you can get ideas and opportunities very fast.

Tools and Platforms by TD Ameritrade: The tools and platforms by the company provide best services to traders and investors without concerning with their knowledge level. Some of best tools are:

  • Web: Users of every level can make use of this tool which offers on-demand videos, third party research, planning tools and many others.
  • Trade architect: This platform is accessible free of cost to TD Ameritrade clients and offers a more updated approach to trading. The main features of this platform are real time videos from CNBC, market alerts, third- party research, presentation in the form of customised charts.
  • Thinkorswim: This is a platform for professional level investors and provides tools like Market Monitor, Beta Weighting, Charting Package and Learning Centre with Swim Lessons.
  • Mobile Tool: For the users who want to have access to TD Ameritrade everywhere in the absence of desktop the mobile app of the company help to provide tools and resources required to observe the market investment ideas and place trade all in your pocket. The facilities provided by the mobile tool are easy account management, free check deposit upto $10000, streaming quotes and accessible by any type of phones such as I-Phone and Android devices.

Overview

Robinhood Markets is a financial services company which has its headquarters in Palo Alto, California. It is a U.S. based company which allows you to do trade through its smartphone app. Through Robinhood smartphone app traders are given opportunity to invest in publically traded companies and exchange traded funds listed in U.S exchanges without paying any commission or trade fees.

This commission free stock brokerage firm was founded by Baiju Bhatt and Vladimir Tenev on April 18, 2013. Earlier the firm was known with the name Robinhood Financial, LLC. It is popular for taking from rich and giving to the poor as it allows making stock trades for free, which other big companies fail to offer. According to latest reports Robinhood has gained nearly one million customers as on March 2016.

However the firm is still new in brokerage market and does not offer trading related to Options, Mutual Funds, Warrants and OTC securities.


Robinhood Features

Like other online trading firms Robinhood offers some features for stock traders and investors which are as follows:

  • Accounts Availability – As the company is new in the market, you can only open Individual accounts with Robinhood.
  • Trading Fees – You can buy or sell stock with Robinhood at zero cost.
  • Minimum Deposit Required – At Robinhood you can start trading even with few dollars.
  • Mobile App – You can make trades with the help of mobile app which is available for Iphone, Ipad and Android users.
  • Scheduled Deposit – Another benefit which Robinhood offers is of schedule payment methods. With schedule deposits you can easily schedule transfers on weekly, biweekly, monthly and quarterly basis.
  • Robinhood Instant – With Robinhood Instant you get benefit of instant access to deposits and immediate access to your funds after selling stocks. There is no need to wait for 3 -4 days to watch your transfer.
  • Advanced Order Support – With this feature you get support for market orders, stop orders, limit orders, stop limit orders from Robinhood.

Robinhood Commission and Fees

With the lower fees charged from the customers, Robinhood is among that online brokerage company which is catering to the millennial crowd. As the smartphone technology is their primary computing device, the firm has managed to get more and more customers in quick time. The rates and commission charged by Robinhood is cleared with the help of table which is given below:

Stock Trades Option Base Options Contract Minimum Deposit Mutual Funds
$0.00 N/A N/A $0 N/A

How to create account at Robinhood?

The signup process at Robinhood is different as compared to other online brokerage companies such as E*Trade, TradeKing, Charles Schwab etc. You can create account at Robinhood only via Android or Iphone app meaning that you are not allowed to Sign-up at Robinhood on their website. Also trading is limited on their mobile app only.

Once you start the sign –up process you need to submit your basic information such as Social Security number, name, address etc so as to state that you are real person. Robinhood is currently available for U.S market but it will be soon available for Australian market as well.

After completing the sign –up process you will now be allowed to view your profile and make changes as per your requirements. The interface of the app is very simple and pretty easy to use. In case you have newer version of Iphone than you can login into the Robinhood app with your fingerprint.

Also if you want to link your bank account for transfer than it will also be done with the help of the app only.


How exactly Robinhood make money?

It is quite strange as other big companies are charging some fees on stock trades and require minimum amount balance to start trading, while Robinhood which is an emerging brokerage company charge zero fees from new users.

The major reason behind that is Robinhood CEO states that their company will make profits with the help of margin lending interest and with the interest on uninvested customer cash deposits. According to the sources the margin interest rate which is offered is 3.5% which is the lowest interest rate among other stock brokerage firms. This might be the source of revenue for firms like Robinhood which offers zero fees on stock trades.


Other companies which offer same fees and commission to traders and investors include LOYAL3 and WiseBanyan. However Zecco was another trading company which offers the same services but its decisions of offering such pricing structure proved unsuccessful and as a result of that it merged with TradeKing.

Pros and Cons of Robinhood

Pros:

  1. Robinhood is easy to use and make trades.
  2. With free trade fees one can start trading at Robinhood quickly.

Cons:

  1. Robinhood does not allow ACAT transfers meaning that there is no way to transfer existing brokerage assets.
  2. One of the disadvantages of Robinhood is that they do not offer retirement accounts which other leading firms are offering.
  3. You are also not allowed to perform trade options, warrants, mutual funds and OTC securities.

Additional Information

Name = Robinhood Markets Inc
Headquarters = Palo Alto, California
Key People = Baiju Bhatt (Co – Founder), Vladimir Tenev (Co – Founder), Nate Rodland (COO)
Industry = Technology
Founded in = April 18, 2013 in Palo Alto, California
Website = www.robinhood.com


Overview

Scottrade formerly known as Scottsdale Securities is a privately owned American discount retail brokerage firm which was founded by Rodger O. Riney in 1980. The company has its headquarters in Town and Country, Missouri and has more than 503 branch offices around U.S. The company also offers its services to Asian – Pacific customers with their service center which has Chinese speaking stockbrokers.

Scottrade charge a small amount of $7 per online stock trade which is the lowest by any online brokerage firm. The products offered by the company include stocks, options, mutual funds, CD’S, IRAs, fixed income etc.

Scottrade Fees and Commission

Having gained the image of the top discount online brokerage firm, Scottrade charges a very small amount from all their traders which work on their platform. Such low trading fee not only attracts new customers but also let professional brokers/traders to rethink of their decision of not joining the company for trading purpose. The fees and commission charged by Scottrade from their customers is shown in the table which is given below.

Stock Trades Option Base Options Contract Minimum Deposit Mutual Funds
$7.00 $1.25 $7.00 $2,500 $9.95

To know about other fees which Scottrade charge, simple click on the link.

Scottrade Investment Products and Services

Similar to other online stock brokerage firm’s Scottrade offers wide range of online products and services. Some of them are discussed as follows:

  • Online Stock Trading – Anyone can open account at Scottrade so as do online trading at lower trade rates.
  • Options Trading – Another service offered by Scottrade for option traders.
  • Mutual Funds – Scottrade offers more than 14,000 mutual fund options to all their new and existing customers.
  • CDs – Mostly CDs facility offered by Scottrade can be opened at any Scottrade branch offices, one cannot open CDs online.
  • IRAs – Scottrade do no charge any fee for opening Roth, Regular or Rollover IRAs account in any circumstances. This adds as a unique feature of the firm as most of the online brokerage firm charge some amount from their customers.
  • ETFs – This feature of more fashionable stock/mutual fund hybrid is also available at Scottrade.
  • In addition to above feature Scottrade also offer wide range of traditional and exotic investment vehicles.

Scottrade Online Tools

Just like other online brokerage firms Scottrade also offer some online tools which make trading easier for users. Scottrade online “Real Time Trading” tool is the best tool which anyone who is registered with Scottrade can make use of. Some other tools which company offers are:

  • Scottrade SmartTEXT
  • Drag and Drop tool to customize your trading site
  • Scottrade Quick Trade Bar
  • Scottrade Portfolio Review Tool powered by Morningstar
  • Scottrade World Markets
  • Scottrade Market Snapshot and Comparisons

With the help of above tools Scottrade makes online trading easier for everyone, even if you are new in trading field.

Scottrade Mobile

With the help of Scottrade mobile you can get quick stock market information with the help of just single click. With the help of sleek design of Scottrade mobile app you can make use of advanced tools which makes comprehensive investment research easier and also saves lot of time. The Scottrade mobile app is available for Iphone, Ipad and android device users. In case you have not installed the required app, even than you can visit the Scottrade mobile trading website which will provide you the same experience which the online website provides.

Minimum Account Balance Requirement

You will initially require minimum of $500 account balance to perform trade transactions at Scottrade. This is relatively a very low amount when compared with other discount online brokerage firms. However there are some firms which don’t have minimum requirement at all such as OptionsHouse and TradeKing. But the amazing thing which attracts new customers in the per trade fees which is quite low as compared to other online brokerage firms.

Scottrade Security and Reputation

When it comes to investing money, there is always a need to cross examine any company in terms of security and reputation which the company owes. Scottrade offer a very high FDIC/ private insurance protection plan to all their users.

Scottrade was also ranked at number one position by J.D.Power and Associates which provides rank on basis of “Investor Satisfaction”. From almost 30 years the firm is serving best security system in terms of online trading.

In terms of customer satisfaction Scottrade is known for their great customer service which the company offers on regular basis.

Scottrade Security and Reputation

Former Name = Scottsdale Securities
Current Name = Scottrade
Founded In = In 1980 as Scottrade, Arizona
Headquarters = Town and Country, Missouri USA
Industry Type = Private Industry
Industry = Financial Services, Self Directed Investing and Discount Brokerage
Products Offered = Stock Broker, Options, IRAs, Mutual Funds, CDs, Fixed Income etc
Key People = Rodger O. Riney (CEO), Jane Wulf (CAO), Ron Wiese (Chief Financial Officer), Ian Patterson (Chief Information Officer), Peter DeSilva (President)
Website = www.scottrade.com


Overview

The growing world of robo advisors has led to invention of another investing platform called Motif. But in this vast pool of robo advisors one should be unique to sell their products. Motifinvesting comes with this promise of uniqueness. This platform is dominating the investment uniqueness by allowing you to create your own little investment funds. With Motif users invest in groups of investments that share similar features. Each motif features between 20 to 30 stocks or Exchange Traded Funds that can be said to follow particular themes. Some of the examples of some commonly used themes are “Healthy and Tasty”, “Recession Resistant”, “Utility Bills” and “Biotech Breakthroughs.”

What is Motif?

Motif is an emerging robo advisor firm which has developed a unique financial products called “motifs” that are similar to the low-cost exchange-traded funds offered by many other robo advisors too. Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) are securities that track commodity, basket of assets, index and trade it like a stock. Slightly resembling existing ETFs, motif offer wide-range of investment that guarantee you with the lowest possible risk.

You can look for motifs available using different criteria and parameters such as exploring by industry or looking for themes based on current events. It’s also possible to screen motifs by looking at daily change, its one year return, and popularity. The screener on the home page itself allows you the chance to find just what all you’re looking for in an investment.

The biggest advantage of motif is its cost efficiency. All the stocks in the motifs can be accessed at a flat fee of just $9.95 per transaction. Also customization of motif is also absolutely free of cost. No matter how much you customize a Motif. Also Motif guarantees you zero management fees and no activity requirements at all. However, the fact that you can get 30 stocks or Exchange Traded Funds at once, for less than $10, is a great deal to grasp. So every time whenever you deal with motif all you need to pay is the flat transaction fees of motif that is $9.95 per transaction.


How to Sign Up with Motif?

As already mentioned earlier Motif lets its investor to create or buy motifs featuring up to 30 stocks or Exchange Traded Funds following a specific type of theme. To open an account with Motif you need to give consideration to some necessary points which are as follows:

  • First of all investors just need to sign up themselves online by just filling in the necessary details.
  • For every investor a minimum deposit of $250 is required as to make trades and $2000 to trade on margin.
  • The fee charged by the company is a flat commission of $9.95 per every motif purchase.
  • Investors may add stocks or Exchange Traded Funds to their already purchased motif for $4.95.

Motif has introduced its horizon models recently. According to this model the motifs replicate an online retirement funds that are quite similar to those offered by Betterment FutureAdvisor and Wealthfront and the best thing about it is that it is totally commission free. However unlike other such companies, rather than using robo-allocation, Motif tries to choose an allocation of assets that are totally tailored according to investor’s time horizon and its risk tolerance.


Motif Major Features

Some of the amazing features offered by Motif are as follows

  • Accounts Availability – Motif offers Traditional Individual Retirement Accounts, Roth individual retirement accounts, Rollover individual retirement accounts, Trusts, Individual, and Joint.
  • Flat Rate Pricing – With 30 stocks the motif cost is $0.33 per stock traded. Pay $9.95 per trade regardless of how many stocks or ETFs are in the motif.
  • Single Stock Trading – Single stock commissions are $4.95 per trade.
  • Many Pre-built Motifs – There are over 9,000 motifs by the company and community. If you like one you see, you can customize the motif to your liking.
  • Create Your Own Motif – Add up to 30 stocks and/or ETFs to create your own custom theme.
  • Horizon Motifs – Similar to a target-date fund these motifs allow you to create a stock/bond ratio per your time horizon.
  • Trading Alerts – Get notified of price changes in the motifs you own.
  • Mobile App – Android, iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch support is also provided by motif.
  • Scheduled Transfers (New) – Set up recurring transfers: Bi-Weekly, Monthly, Bi-Monthly, and Quarterly, Semi-Annually, and Annually.
  • IPO Stocks – Gain access to J.P. Morgan IPO stocks after registering with Motif.



Motif Pricing

The most attractive part of whole of the motif program is its pricing. It enables you to buy 30 stocks with just $10 within your pocket which really is a whole new thing in world of robo advisors. The Standard rate charged by almost all other brokerage firms is mostly more that $6 per every individual trade you do. So buying 30 individual stocks or ETFs would cost surely around $200 at many other brokerage firms.
Here are the costs associated with trading motifs:

  • Horizon motifs are totally free to trade with.
  • For trading an individual stock or ETFs all you need to pays is $4.95.
  • Cost of buying or selling your own custom motif comes to around $9.95 per trade.
  • Minimum amount of investment required per motif is around $300 (bundle of up to 30 stocks).
  • For trading in an existing motif cost is $4.95 OR pay $9.95 to swap out as many as you want.
  • Motif does not charge any type of maintenance fees.
  • Another great feature comes with motif is the zero inactivity fee.

Motif Pros

  • Easiest of the ways to diversify your holdings: It offers your great service to diversify your inventory into different sectors and investing small amounts in different types of stocks.
  • Low Cost Trades : Trades are offered at a very low rates of just $9.95
  • Create your motifs: You can use the pre made motifs or create your own motifs and get paid for every motif whenever a person uses it publicly.
  • Cheap single stock trades: Buying and selling a single stock is offered in here at one of the lowest rates.

Motif Cons:

  • Does not reinvest your dividend.
  • Lacks many social features.
  • Complex orders are not available on it.

     

Overview

Charles Schwab Corporation is an American Brokerage company which is based in San Francisco, California. Charles Schwab was founded by “Charles R. Schwab” in 1971 as a traditional mortar and brick brokerage firm. On May 1, 1975 Schwab started offering discount brokerage and luckily became one of the world’s largest discount brokers. Charles Schwab mainly operates in four main divisions such as:

  • Investing
  • Wealth Management
  • Banking
  • Trading

Till now the company has served more than 7.9 million clients brokerage accounts and also manages $1.36 trillion investments in assets of their clients from all over the world. The company has its headquarters in San Francisco, California US and has covered almost 300 locations in US which makes it easier for new customers to meet their advisor directly and consult about your investment plans. You can also consult about the investment schemes through email or phone number provided on their website.

Getting Started with Charles Schwab

Opening an account in Schwab in very easy and convenient and it will take only about 10 minutes to complete the whole process. Once you have filled the required details, you can take full advantage of Schwab mobile app and can manage your account online anywhere from home or in office. You can open 2 type of account on Schwab.com which is described as follows:

  1. Brokerage Account:
  2. You can open brokerage account either as Individual or as Joint. But there is not much difference in these two accounts as most of the benefits offered under brokerage account is same. The benefit of both the accounts which falls under brokerage account is described as:

    Individual/Joint Brokerage Account
    Access Powerful Proprietary & Third Party Research
    Trade stocks, bonds, ETFs, Mutual Funds and more
    $0 account opening or maintenance fees. Other account fees, fund expenses, and brokerage commissions may apply.

    As you can see there is not major difference in both the accounts, but some conditions will be applied when you create account.

  3. Retirement Account:
  4. Schwab offers every of their clients to open retirement accounts under Traditional IRA, Roth IRA and Rollover IRA category. Any user who creates account under above categories will enjoy different benefits as per the account term and conditions are concerned. It is cleared with the following table:

    Traditional IRA Roth IRA Rollover IRA
    Access Powerful Proprietary & Third Party Research Trade stocks, bonds, ETFs, Mutual Funds and more $0 account opening or maintenance fees. Other account fees, fund expenses, and brokerage commissions may apply.
    You will get immediate tax benefits if you qualify. Potential gains accumulate tax-deferred—pay no taxes until funds are withdrawn in retirement. Need to contribute post-tax dollars, but make qualified withdrawals tax-free. If you determine its right for your situation, you can consolidate your old 401(k) or employer-sponsored retirement plans into a Schwab Rollover IRA to take control of your retirement savings.
    Access retirement-planning tools and resources. Access retirement-planning tools and resources. Rollover Consultants will take care of the paperwork.
    Get 24/7 service and support. Get 24/7 service and support. Get 24/7 service and support.
    $0 account opening or maintenance fees. Other account fees, fund expenses, and brokerage commissions may apply.2 $0 account opening or maintenance fees. Other account fees, fund expenses, and brokerage commissions may apply.2 $0 account opening or maintenance fees. Other account fees, fund expenses, and brokerage commissions may apply.2
    Withdrawals are there No mandatory withdrawals (unlike a Traditional IRA). A tax-smart way to keep your retirement money invested and avoids early withdrawal penalties.

    Once you have opened an account you can operate any of your account through Schwab Bank or though Schwab mobile app which gives you access of services like paying bills, transferring money, instant transfers and checking savings etc.

    Charles Schwab Bank

    Schwab Bank is the best way of dealing task relating to your account such as investment, brokerage, transfers etc. Charles Schwab Bank is the only bank which operates similar to all Ally Banks and ING Direct. However Schwab Bank has much higher rate as compared to standard brick and mortor banks. You can also write checks so as t pay your monthly bills. Some major features of Schwab Banks is as follows:

    • ATM fees of other banks are automatically refunded, which means you can get cast virtually from anywhere at no cost.
    • Real check book option is available where you can write real checks.
    • Make deposits with the help of pre –paid envelopes or Schwab mobile app
      Instant transfer option is also available, so you can transfer brokerage amount in no time.

    Registered Investment Adviser Firms

    Charles Schwab business model is basically based on independent investment adviser firms. Till now the company serves more than 5000 independent advisers. All the firms which are registered investment adviser are generally regulated by local/state government or by the federal government. In order to provide proper guidance relating investment services, Schwab offers regular online solution through various online tools.


    Easy Trading with StreetSmart

    Charles Schwab provides additional tools so as to make standard online trading easily with the help of StreetSmart.com and StreetSmart Edge. All those customers who are registered with Schwab can get access to these professional trading platforms which further helps to get live market data and increase the ability to enter into complex trading.

    With the help of StreetSmart tool you can get customized view, live option, technical trader graphs, bid ask data and other trading options only at just one place. Not only have this StreetSmart application also alert with pop up message in case when alert conditions or trades conditions are met. These days many active traders make use of StreetSmart in order to keep an eye over the regular changes.

    Standard Rates Charged By Schwab

    Type Rate
    Stocks and ETF-S $8.95
    Schwab ETF-S No Fee
    One Source Mutual Funds (Schwab Partners) No Fee
    Other Mutual Funds $49.95 and Up
    Options $8.95 Plus $0.75 Per Contract
    Fixed Income Investments Varies – Generally $10 Minimum

    Additional Note: Fee of $25 is charged for live broker assisted trades and all automated phone trades have an additional fee of $5.

    Charles Schwab Mobile

    In order to stay ahead of rising competition between stock traders, Schwab provides additional benefits to all their android, Ipad, Iphone and Blackberry users for free. You can easily view your account balances, transfer required funds, enter trades, deposit checks and contact customer service only with a single click though Schwab mobile app. Many of the registered customers are making use of this service which helps them in making their life easier as it allows them in doing quick research over their smartphones and entering e-trade in no time. Some major benefits include:

    • View your account summary from anywhere in detail.
    • Enjoy benefit of award winning editorials and get timely perspective from Schwab experts.
    • Deposit checks in no time by taking picture with your Ipad, Iphone or any android device.

    Access to Schwab Investment Reports

    With the help of Schwab standard Brokerage account you can get access to virtually all bonds, stocks, ETF and mutual funds. You can get access to all the features once you have registered successfully at Schwab.comand can make trades easily. You will not be charged for viewing any investment reports, but the minimum balance which your Schwab account requires must be $1,000.

    Competitors of Charles Schwab

    Companies like Fidelity Investments, E*TRADE, IDealing, Firstrade Securities, Merrill Edge, Place Trade, TD Ameritrade, Scottrade and TradeKing are providing tough competition to Charles Schwab. But as per smooth dividend policies and investment schemes Schwab is able to get more success as compared with their competitors.