Charles Schwab has all the tools that novice investors need to be able to navigate investing. While sophisticated tools and $0 fees will appeal to active traders
Pros & Cons
- Three platforms without any minimum or fees
- Above-average mobile app.
- Extensive research.
- Large fund selection
- Commission-free stock options, ETF and option trades
- Low default cash sweep.
Charles Schwab shines
Charles Schwab provides a broad portfolio: Charles Schwab appeals to investors of all types: Active traders will appreciate Charles Schwab’s $0 minimum account and $0 commission for stock options and exchange traded funds.
Extensive and extensive research: Schwab received high marks in its research offerings. This includes Schwab’s own equity ratings as well commentary and analyses by industry-leading research firms.
Schwab offers a large variety of funds with low expense and transaction fees.
Charles Schwab does not do enough
Schwab gives you fractional shares of S&P 500 stocks, but a lesser selection. These might be the stocks investors are most interested, but brokers that offer fractional trades have a greater selection.
Charles Schwab is a great choice for:
- Investors who are new to the market.
- Advanced traders
- Investors are seeking index funds with minimal minimums.
- Premium research is an investment option for investors.
Charles Schwab at the glance
Account minimum - $0.
Stock trading costs - $0.
No base commission; $0.65 per contract.
Account fees (annual, transfer, closing, inactivity)
No annual or inactivity fees; $50 for full transfer, $25 to partial transfer.
No-transaction fee mutual funds
Over 7,100 mutual money funds are available without transaction fees.
- Fractional shares
- Mutual funds
StreetSmart Edge (desktop-platform), Schwab.com (and StreetSmart Central) are three platforms available without trade minimums or fees.
Schwab Mobile is a mobile app with excellent capabilities. StreetSmart Mobile is another.
Data and research
More than 20 sources of research, including Moody's Morningstar Recognia, Moody's, Morningstar and Thompson Reuters.
Our review of the TD Ameritrade will show you similar options.
More information on Charles Schwab’s ratings
Account minimum: 5 stars
Schwab requires no minimum account and gives access to over 500 funds. There are also no investment requirements below $100.
Stock trading costs: 5/5 stars
Schwab doesn't charge commissions for trades in options, stocks, or ETFs. Schwab does charge $6.95 per OTC trade. Those who want to trade penny stocks will need to find other places to trade them.
Option trades: 4 out five stars
Schwab doesn't charge per-trade commissions to options but does charge $0.65 per agreement. This is a fairly standard fee and is the same as most brokers.
Account fees: 4 of 5 stars
Schwab charges very little if any fees at all. Schwab doesn't charge any annual or inactivity fees. There is a $25 fee for the transfer of some assets, and a $50 fee for the full transfer.
Number of mutual funds without transaction fees: 5 of 5 stars
Schwab gives you access to more 7,100 no-transaction fees mutual funds. Schwab also offers the lowest expense ratios in its proprietary index funds or ETFs. Schwab has more than 2,400 funds that have expense ratios lower than 0.50%.
It is also easy for you to navigate. Schwab's ETF Select List makes it easier to narrow your options. It includes picks for best funds in selected categories. The list can be sorted according to feature, including Morningstar categories, expense ratios, benchmark indexes, and Morningstar category. You will also find the Personalized Asset Builder tool. This tool can help you create a diversified portfolio based in part on your financial goals as well as your risk tolerance and time horizon.
4 out five stars for Tradable Security
Charles Schwab offers many options for trading securities such as mutual funds and ETFs.
Schwab Stock Slices are fractional shares which allow investors to purchase smaller shares of stock without having to pay the full price. For example, if a stock cost $100 per share, but you buy a $10 cut, you would own 10%. Single slices can be purchased starting at $5 and investors may buy up to 10 slices simultaneously. This feature can only be used for stocks that are S&P 500. Fidelity Brokers or Interactive Brokers don't have restrictions on the fractional share offering of similar brokers.
Crypto availability: Charles Schwab clients currently are not able to trade cryptocurrencies. The broker offers access over-the–counter crypto products, such Grayscale Bitcoin Trust.
5 outof 5 stars for trading platform
Schwab's website has basic trading capabilities. But, Schwab also offers robust trading platforms. All clients can use these platforms for free.
StreetSmart Edge is their flagship product. This platform allows you to customize your website using downloadable software, or online with cloud-based technology. StreetSmart Central allows you to trade options using a variety of programs. Mobile trading is offered by the broker via either the StreetSmart Mobile and Schwab apps.
StreetSmart.com and Schwab.com give traders access to powerful tools and research. Schwab.com's website allows for basic trades. Other platforms offer more advanced features.
StreetSmart Edge has been designed to maximize efficiency. It offers simple navigation and customizable settings that will suit your trading style. A variety of advanced features are available, including robust charting tools, the possibility to trade multiple securities in one order window (and with various order types) and tools for monitoring your market exposure. The platform's customizable features are noteworthy, including the Balance Bar. This provides an easy overview of your account as well as buying power.
You can then quickly search for a symbol, see streaming market data, or place an order.
Schwab.com enables traders to track their portfolio and market performance, access research and view technical details. It provides an intuitive trade tool for stock, ETFs and options orders.
Mobile app 5 stars
Schwab Mobile is available as well as StreetSmart Mobile. Schwab's mobile phone app is highly rated. The StreetSmart Mobile app, however, has lower user ratings, especially when compared with the Schwab Mobile application.
Research and data: 5/5 stars
Schwab provides its own equity rankings, as well reports from MarketEdge (Recognia), Morningstar and MarketEdge. The broker offers real-time updates and earnings reports along with a variety market commentary and research reports written by in-house specialists.
Schwab's investment monitors are simple to use, and you can save your screens. Select Lists, such as the one above for ETFs are compiled quarterly by company experts to give you a prescreened selection of mutual fund and ETFs. The categories are broken down so you can easily identify the top picks for large-cap mutual funds.
Google Assistant integration means that you can ask Google about stock quotes, general market news, and other information. Amazon Alexa skills provide similar information and allow you to set up and receive updates from a watch list.
Customer support options available: 4.5 outof 5 stars
There are many ways that customers can contact us. Telephone, email and chat are all available 24/7. If you prefer to talk to someone in person there are more then 90 Charles Schwab branch locations throughout the country. Some even open on Saturdays.
Charles Schwab: Is it right for you
Schwab addresses the needs of every investor. Stock traders can appreciate $0 trading fees and sophisticated platforms research and tools. Fund investors, beginner and professional alike, will benefit from the wide range of low-minimum and inexpensive mutual funds and Index funds. Schwab Intelligent Profiles, a robo adviser and financial advisor, can be used to manage investment portfolios.