Pros / This service offers solid educational resources and customer support.

Cons / The platform doesn't offer automated trading.

 Verdict / Charles Schwab has a well-established service with a well-deserved good reputation, but some of its fees are higher than its competitors.

Charles Schwab is an investment company that has been around for many years. In addition to traditional banking, it offers online stock trading software that has good educational resources which make it helpful for beginning investors. The company also offers live, in-person workshops and personal coaching. Its stock trading platform is one of the best for beginners and is easy to use while having all the tools you need for the most common trading tasks.

The Charles Schwab trading platform includes all of the tools you would expect for this type of service. There is a customizable desktop with alerts, level I quotes, level II quotes, option chains, screeners, watch lists, charts and graphs. There are also risk and volatility calculators to help you estimate your risk and potential earnings or losses on specific securities. This platform does not allow for automated online trading.

This broker’s mobile stock trading app lets you monitor your account, research stocks and order trades. The mobile app is available for iPhone, iPad, Android and Kindle Fire, and it has some other banking tools such as mobile check deposits. Overall, however, Charles Schwab’s app lacks some of the functionality that we enjoyed with other brokers’ apps, such as funding accounts directly from the app.

With this online stock broker, you can trade stocks, options, bonds, mutual funds and ETFs. Each trade for stocks and ETFs is a flat $4.95. The cost for option trading is $4.95 for commission plus $0.75 per contract, which is also just slightly higher than average. If you would like assistance when completing a trade, there is a $25 broker-assisted fee on top of the commission and contract fees. A broker-assisted fee is standard in the industry, but $30 is more than many services charge. In general, this stock broker charges slightly higher fees than other services. You also must deposit $1,000 to open an account, while many services do not require anything in advance to open an account.

There are some downsides to Charles Schwab’s online stock trading website. This service does not offer specific courses on stock trading for beginners, nor does it have a virtual trading interface where you can practice trading stocks using mock money. These are useful tools for novice investors who learn in a hands-on style.

Charles Schwab does offer tutorials and videos that take you step-by-step through the platform. Even if you're not a first-time investor, you might still want to take advantage of the webinars, blogs and training courses.

Charles Schwab Visit Site
  • Stock Trades
  • 10 Option Contracts
  • Broker-Assisted Stocks Trades
  1. The lowest cost for a stock trade.
    Lower is Better
  2. 7  Charles Schwab
    $4.95
  3. $4.95
  4. $4.95
  5. $6.95
  6. Category Average
    $5.79

Summary

Charles Schwab provides a variety of investments suitable for traders and investors. Trade commissions are competitive, albeit higher than some services, including the broker-assisted fee. The online platform contains good trading tools, and you can access your account and place trades from the most popular mobile devices. Charles Schwab has a well-established and trusted name, and the service it provides is solid, but some of its fees make it a less-desirable service than the best online stock brokers.

Charles Schwab Visit Site

Specifications and Benchmarks

Fees & Commissions

Average Trader's Yearly Cost
$84.15
Online Stock Trades
$4.95
Options Base Fee
$4.95
Options Per Contract
$0.75
10 Options Trades
$11.45
Options Exercise & Assignment
$0.00
Broker-Assisted Trade Fee
$25.00
Margin Rates
8.5% to 6%
Minimum Investment
$1,000

Platform & Tools

Platform Ease of Use
A
Mobile App Functionality
C
Option Strategies
3
Analytic Charts
34
Automated Trading

Education & Resources

Investor Education
A-
User Training
A
Simulated Trading
Broker Support