Firstrade Review 2019
Firstrade has been around since 1985, and online capable since 1997, making it one of the pioneers of online trading.
As a major player in the stock market game in America, Firstrade continues to innovate and offer a plethora of services and financial tools for the individual trader.
However, as with all brokerage accounts they may or may not be for you. In our Firstrade review, we will look at several factors that may help you make your decision on whether or not Firstrade fits the bill.
That being said, there are many things to consider when putting your money to work.
Trading Platforms and Tools
Firstrade has a significant offering of analytics and trading platform widgets to use in order to place your trade. However, this is where Firstrade is a bit different than many of the other brokerage firms that we have analyzed.
The firm caters to investors, not necessarily day traders. Because of this, if you are looking to make multiple quick trades during the same trading session, this is where the broker will perhaps not be your cup of tea.
However, for somebody looking to make longer-term sensible investments, the trading platform choices are excellent.
The dashboard platform is essentially a webpage that has widgets that you can use to place trades. There are basic charting possibilities, with a streaming news feed.
Beyond that, there is a ton of built in features that give you a snapshot of your account. This gives you all of the essential information and look at the market you will need.
This is ideal for the average retail investor, somebody was looking at the big picture. Again, this isn‘t for your day trading, this is for a longer-term horizon.
Firstrade Navigator is an expanded version of the Dashboard platform. This gives you even more in the way of streaming quotes, stock screeners, the ability to manage and trade from one screen, and adds advanced technical charting to the mix.
That being said, again it‘s more for investments in less for day trading. This is an excellent platform for those looking to get a “30,000 foot view“ of what‘s going on with the markets and of course the security that they are looking to trade.
Take a look at Navigator here: https://www.firstrade.com/content/en-us/researchtools/navigator
Firstrade Mobile is a nice application that you can get in the Google play store or on the App Store for iOS systems.
The platform essentially works the same as Firstrade Navigator, but in a much more compact setting. This allows you to manage and trade your account while on the go.
You can see the mobile app here: https://www.firstrade.com/content/en-us/trading/mobile
Firstrade specializes in US markets only. In other words, you can trade major stocks on all of the usual indexes, as well as OTC stocks.
Beyond that, you also have the ability to trade options on such favorites as SPY, IWN, and individual stocks.
This gives the US centric trader plenty of financial instruments to trade, but beyond that they also offer mutual funds, fixed income, and ETF markets. Extended hours trading is possible, which makes Firstrade a bit different than many of the investment retail brokers.
If you are looking to trade international markets, you will be missing that here but if you are looking to trade what most other traders are, then Firstrade has you covered.
Commissions and Fees
Firstrade Commissions and fees are very simple. In short, for the most part they don‘t exist. You can buy stocks, ETFs, options, and mutual funds for free.
Fixed income becomes a bit different, because you will pay the net yield basis, which of course will fluctuate. The broker does charge fees for broker -assisted orders starting at $19.95 a trade.
There is also a 90 day holding period for mutual funds that are subject to penalties if you withdraw early.
The fact that there are no fees might raise flags with the average trader, but the reality is we are starting to see more of this.
This is because a lot of brokerages, and we don‘t know if Firstrade does this, will sell the information to high-frequency traders who will then use it to go back and forth in the market.
However, if you are an investor this won‘t have an effect on the outcome of your trade. It‘s essentially one of the ways that HFT traders have been fighting in the markets.
As mentioned previously, this is not a day trading firm, so if that makes a big difference in your profit and loss, you shouldn‘t be here anyway.
For the average investor though, this is an excellent value. To find out more, go to the following page: https://www.firstrade.com/content/en-us/pricing
Education and Research
Firstrade really shines when it comes to trading courses, education and research, as the Dashboard gives you a ton of information right away.
MorningStar quite often is a contributor, and then of course you have market commentary from various sources. Heat maps including industry performance, as well as stocks reports, alerts, and education on trading overall is all available.
They have education on upcoming IPOs as well, giving you an idea of what is coming to market.
This is probably where Firstrade shines the most. The information is presented in a very clear cut and concise way for those who are looking for the longer-term big picture, and not get stuck in the minutia of the day-to-day movement.
Remember, sentiment is a huge mover of the marketplace, and this is a lot of what the research seems to focus on. Earnings reports, P/E ratios, and the like are all explored on various instruments.
Customer service is a priority at Firstrade, and it shows. There are a multitude of different ways to get a hold of customer service, such as live chat, telephone, email, fax, and of course snail mail.
There is also an FAQ section that offers most of which you will need, and as result you may find your answers on the website itself. Working with retail traders over the last 30+ years, Firstrade is well-versed in many of the concerns that you may have.
Firstrade Review Summary
Platforms & Tools
Commissions & Fees
Education & Research
Firstrade has been a stalwart in the retail trading sector for Americans over the last several decades. There‘s a reason for this, because they simplify the trading process and offer a clean and concise way to jump into the markets.
The fact that trades are free certainly helps as well, because like anything else, the cheaper that you can get it, the better it‘s going to be.
That being said, this is not the type of brokerage account firm that you will be using for day trading, but that‘s fine as it simply isn‘t built for that.
They spend most of their time looking at retirement accounts, and of course investment accounts, which are completely different than speculative accounts.
If you are an investor and not a speculator, you‘d be hard-pressed to find a better alternative.