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      July 16, 2020

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Fidelity vs Charles Schwab

Best Online Stock Brokers

To help you find the Best Online Stock Brokers, provides you with an in-depth comparison of Fidelity and Charles Schwab.

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Who is the Best Online Stock Broker? Whether you consider yourself an avid investor or a beginner just starting to look into the stock market, it's easy to get overwhelmed by all of the stock trading options. Although some people still use traditional stock brokers, many people have found they can save a lot of money by trading stocks themselves.

Besides significant cost savings, another great advantage to executing your own transactions is that you can avoid the time and energy necessary to deal with "professional" stock brokers. Many of these individuals try to convince you to buy or sell stocks, because they earn a commission every time you make a transaction. With online stock brokers, you never have to talk to any salesmen.

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Online Stock Broker Reviews

4.5 stars


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Free for mutual funds

Minimum Deposit:


Named as the Best Online Broker by Investor's Business Daily in 2016-2018, Fidelity has the kind of longevity that many competitors can only hope to achieve. Created in Boston in 1946, this full-service brokerage traditionally comes in as the fourth-largest asset manager in the US, with assets under management of approximately $2.4 trillion.

You've got 3 general options when using Fidelity as your online stock broker: self-directed investing at $4.95 per trade (free for mutual funds), digital management with Fidelity Go at a fee of 0.35%/year, or full-service wealth management that requires a minimum investment of $250,000.

Fidelity has an intuitive, attractive suite of tools to help you plan, manage, and understand your investments. Their Stock Screener lets you use your desktop or mobile device to quickly find investments that are a good fit for the criteria you select; you can also get pre-determined stocks that have been screened by third-party experts. The Stock Research Dashboard gives you the ability to discover and validate possible opportunities with helpful research results and data visualization tools, including social trends, charts, and much more.

Their customer service team is also available 24/7 - very helpful for investors who have a question before making a late-night stock trade or who can only devote time to their investment strategy on the weekends.

Another useful perk offered by Fidelity is the Full View feature. You can enter all of your financial information, whether it's a Fidelity account or held at another institution and see all of your online accounts in one place. The Full View capability allows you to track spending, create budgets, and see your transactions in a monthly display.

In fact, the only complaint we could find about Fidelity as an online stock broker was about their Active Trader Pro platform. Clients who participate in the stock market as active traders have said that the Fidelity platform doesn't have the breadth of functions that many competitor brokers offer. But, that won't apply to the large majority of investors, who are looking for an affordable, trustworthy way to manage their stock purchases and other investments.

When it comes to that - affordability, reputation, and helpful customer service - Fidelity is absolutely an online stock broker that measures up.

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4 stars
Charles Schwab


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Minimum Deposit:


Charles Schwab is a full-service online stock broker, founded in 1971 and currently managing more than $2.6 trillion in investments for over nine million investors. Because Schwab also has 300+ brick-and-mortar locations, investors have more access to face-to-face advisors if they so choose.

You'll have a hard time finding another brokerage that is more accessible: Schwab offers round-the-clock customer service, every day of the year. Better yet, if you're looking for some basic investment help, you can get in touch with one of their representatives at no cost. On the other hand, if you want more personalized assistance, you can choose Schwab's Intelligent Portfolios or Managed Portfolios.

Schwab's online tools and platforms include the usual panorama of web/mobile trading and trading software, depending on your preference. If you use the software, StreetSmart Edge, you'll be able to customize your platform according to the criteria you need, including streaming real-time data and potential trade ideas. Customer feedback indicates that Schwab is a fantastic choice for almost every type of investor, but active traders will probably find more robust options with one of the other online stock brokers in our review that specialize in that approach to buying and selling stocks.

Schwab's trading fees are average, at $4.95 per trade. Their required minimum investment of $1000 is more than many of their competitors.

On a positive note, Schwab is one of the only online stock brokers we found to offer a Satisfaction Guarantee. If, for some reason you're not 100% satisfied with their services, they will refund your fees/commissions and work with you to fix it.

Charles Schwab is an extremely reputable online stock broker and is an ideal fit for investors who want a one-stop shop for practically every investment type and service - though you might find lower investment minimums and per-trade fees with the competition.

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Continued from above

And, of course, with fluctuations in the economy, and subsequent rises and falls in stock prices, some people panic and pull out significant investments - leaving the door wide open for others to take advantage of big opportunities to buy low and hopefully sell high later.

Of course, the best online stock brokers do have the option to work with a consultant if you choose. Especially if you're just starting to learn about investments, you may feel more comfortable knowing you can access an expert if the need arises. These services may be included, or you may have to pay for them a la carte.

So, when choosing the right online stock broker for your needs, how do you know which one is best? Before you jump in and start buying up your shares in Apple or Coca-Cola, here are some factors to keep in mind:

  • Information. From beginners to experts, having up-to-date information on the stock market is critical. What resources does the online stock broker have available to guide you in your decision-making?
  • Fees. When purchasing your stocks, will you be charged a percentage of your total buy or a flat fee? When the time comes to sell, what will you pay?
  • Reputation. What do other investors say about their experience buying and selling with the online stock broker? Have they had positive interactions with the broker when they've needed help? How many investors have chosen this particular broker's services? has reviewed and ranked the best online stock brokers available today. We hope this information helps you choose the right broker for your stock buying and trading needs!

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