PROS / Firstrade's prices are among the lowest for online options trading.
CONS / Firstrade does not provide broker support.
VERDICT / The low trade fees and extended trading hours make Firstrade a good choice for options trading, but it doesn't have a lot of educational resources or broker support, making it less attractive for beginning investors.
Firstrade online options software offers a variety of tools and investment features to help you develop and manage your investment portfolio. It has some of the lowest prices for options trading and allows you to trade during extended hours, but it lacks general broker support and educational resources. Therefore, this is a better system for a more experienced trader.
The online platform offers basic trades in stocks, options, ETFs, IRAs, mutual funds and bonds. With stock options trading, you pay $6.99 trade fee, which is among the lowest of the services we reviewed, plus $0.75 per option contract. The fee for an exercise or assignment is above average at $14.95, however. You can get broker-assisted trades at $19.95, which is among the lowest of prices. These brokers assist in executing the trade but are not available for advice or support outside the trade itself.
One advantage to this service is the extended trading hours. This enables you to take advantage of changes in the market that happen before or after the standard trading day.
The online trading platform means you can log in and access your account information from any computer. The platform itself is not difficult to use but not among the easiest, particularly when it comes to setting up option chains. It is reasonably customizable, in that you can adjust certain aspects of specific sections. It lets you set alerts and gives you access to your tax forms, which is useful. However, Firstrade lacks risk evaluators and volatility reports, which can help you avoid risky investments.
You can access mobile investing through iPhone and Android operating systems. The mobile app lets your trade, monitor your orders and positions, and do market research. However, it does not let you fund your account, nor can you set alerts.
Firstrade's education center only has information pertaining to the stock software itself, with videos on funding your account, placing trades and other useful tips for using the investment software. Without any information on investing in general, it may not be the best platform for new traders unless you are learning the ins and outs of trading elsewhere. There are many websites dedicated to teaching options trading, of course, so this is not a game-ender for you if you enjoy the Firstrade platform.
You can contact customer support via telephone Monday through Friday during normal business hours. The website has live chat during this time as well, and you can email the service if your question does not need immediate response.
Firstrade's low fees and extended trading hours, making it a good choice for the active trader. Its trading platform allows you to track, monitor and develop your investment portfolio, but it is missing key features, such as a risk evaluator. The website lacks educational resources as well. Overall, this is a good service, especially for an experienced investor.