Pros / SpeedTrader's trading fee is lower than many discount brokers, especially if you keep a higher balance in your account.
Cons / Mobile trading is only available on the iPhone and iPad.
Verdict / SpeedTrader's trade fees are reasonable while other fees, such as broker-assisted trades, are much higher than the best discount brokers. This service won’t work for everyone since you can’t trade futures or forex.
SpeedTrader offers trades at competitive rates within the industry and even lower than some of the bigger names in the industry. Using the web-based DAS Trader platform, you can create watchlists and option chains, perform research, and order trades. Mobile trading is limited to only iOS mobile devices, and while the platform allows for basic trading, it lacks some of the research tools and analytic reports many other online stockbrokers provide.
The DAS platform is rather limited when compared to many of the others we tested. Watchlists aren’t as useful and you don’t have as much freedom as with other platforms. There are no preset screening tools, something we found useful with other platforms. The screening tools in general have fewer options and less customization. There aren’t any preset scanners, something that’s particularly useful for beginning investors.
Mobile trading is only available on iOS devices. Further, because the program is provided by DAS rather than SpeedTrader, you cannot log in to the website from any mobile browser to trade. But from your iPhone or iPad, you can trade stocks and options, track watchlists, and monitor your orders and positions.
While the $6.95 trade fee is fairly high, option contracts are quite low at $0.50. If your account balance is over $25,000 the trade fee drops to $4.49, making it a much better value.
Fees for other services are higher than the best online brokers. For example, the fee for an option exercise or assignment is $30, which, when compared to the top services we reviewed, is nearly six times the price. The broker-assisted fee is also higher than average at $30.
One big disadvantage of Firstrade is that you cannot buy into mutual funds. You can purchase exchange traded funds, but some investors prefer actively managed mutual fund route, and not making this available limits your opportunities. You also can’t invest in futures or forex, so advanced traders who like these more volatile investments may be best suited looking elsewhere.
SpeedTrader offers good support and educational resources on its website. You can view video tutorials, read the FAQs page, and even link a free stock market widget to your personal or professional website.
SpeedTrader offers competitive trade fees, but some of its other fees are less desirable than with other online stockbrokers. The DAS platform is solid in basic function but lacks additional tools. Mobile trading is limited to only Apple products, but if you have an iPhone or iPad, you can trade and keep track of your positions. While there are some good basic features to this service, it doesn't necessarily offer anything that sets it apart from its competition.