Scottrade Offers Cheap Stock Trades and Local Branches
Choosing an online broker can be a daunting task. There are literally dozens of companies to choose from and fee structures to examine. The on I use is TradeKing, be sure to check out my TradeKing review. Not only that, but choosing the wrong brokerage could end up costing you if you don’t carefully read the fine print and see what you’re getting into. Some companies make their commission schedule look very attractive, but that may only be for high-volume clients or those with a very large account.
Scottrade isn’t like that. What you see is what you get and their commission schedule reflects that. Their goal is to give you a flat rate for all stock trades, and they deliver. Stock trades at Scottrade are just $7. That’s it. No minimum order, no per share surcharge, and no hidden fees. If you’ve ever been burned by signing up with a discount broker in the past only to get stuck with unexpected commissions and fees, you’ll like this.
Ok, so low commissions are good, but as you know there’s more to finding a quality broker than that. Paying less in fees means little if your trades aren’t executed on time, you spend hours on the phone with customer support, or can’t research your investments. So how does Scottrade stack up with the rest of their platform?
- Trade Online for Just $7: As mentioned, online market and limit equity orders are just $7 for stocks over $1 regardless of trade frequency, account balance, or number of shares.
- Quality Executions: Scottrade offers high-quality trade executions at or within National Best Bid or Offer (NBBO) consistently getting you the best price for your trade executions.
- No Inactivity or Account Maintenance Fees: Whether you trade every day or once a year, you’ll never be charged any hidden fees based on your activity level.
- Stability: Scottrade has been serving investors for 30 years.
- 500 Local Branch Offices: Scottrade offers the largest national branch network among online brokerages. You will receive personal service and excellent support at your local branch.
- $25,000,000 Account Protection: As a member of SIPC you get the traditional account protection, but Scottrade offers additional protection through their insurers.
- Free Investment Education: Online and in-person resources make it easy to learn more about the market or find out how to use Scottrade’s tools.
- Mobile Trading: Monitor your account, research stocks, and trade from your iPhone, BlackBerry, Smartphone, or any internet-enabled mobile device.
- Complimentary Dow Jones News: Get the same stock market news that 300,000 financial professionals use each day to stay ahead of the market.
- Real-Time Account Updates: Your balances and portfolio balues are updated in real-time to help you track your stock trading performance.
- Just $500 to Open an Account: It only takes a $500 deposit and a quick application to begin trading online today.
Obviously, not everybody is a stock investor. In fact, when it comes to retirement accounts a lot of people prefer to get instant diversification through mutual funds, index funds, and ETFs. And some of you are probably even looking at options trading. Here’s some good news. While Scottrade touts the low stock trading commissions, what they often don’t mention is that the same commissions apply to ETFs as well! Not only that, but you have the ability to invest in almost any index or mutual fund available within your same brokerage account. In fact, no-load funds that are part of the no transaction fee list can be bought or sold without paying a single commission. Even if your no-load isn’t on the NTF list you can still buy and sell those funds, but it will cost a flat $17. If options are more your style you’ll be happy to know that for option trades you’ll still pay the flat $7 per trade and then just $1.25 per contract after that.
Not only that, but Scottrade also provide the ability to invest in everything from individual bonds to CDs. So it really is a one-stop shop if you’re looking for an online broker that does it all.
Should You Invest at Scottrade?
The big question is whether Scottrade is right for you since everybody’s investment style and objectives are different. For example, if you don’t ever plan on buying individual stocks there are obviously cheaper options by investing straight from a fund company. The same might go for day traders who will be placing hundreds of trades a month. Clearly, there will be better high-volume brokers for this. But if you’re an average investor who is plugging away at an IRA for retirement, enjoy the flexibility of investing in stocks, bonds, ETFs and mutual funds all in one place, then Scottrade is hard to beat.
It’s true you might be able to save a couple of dollars here and there by bouncing around to different discount brokers, but if you value excellent customer service and a local branch where you can work with real people in person, then it just makes the already low stock commissions that much better.
Why not give them a shot? It doesn’t cost anything to open an account and you’re free to transfer to another broker at any time if you aren’t satisfied.
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About the Author: Jeremy Vohwinkle is a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor® and spent a few years working as a financial planner. Today, he helps people make the most of their money by writing about personal finance here and elsewhere on the web. Jeremy is also Coach at Adaptu and a regular contributor for other publications such as Intuit, and American Express. Be sure to follow Jeremy on Twitter or Google+.