Firstrade started operating in 1985 under the name of First Flushing Securities, only to change its name to Firstrade Securities by 1997. It offers a wide array of investment and trade services, including educational resources and trading technology. Furthermore, one of its biggest perks is its intuitive interface.
In August 2018, Firstrade announced that that starting then, all trades would be made commission-free, except for the broker-assisted ones. It made the attention the platform receives skyrocket, making us even more interested in it. So, is Firstrade the second coming?
As soon as we logged in, the first thing we noticed were all the free services. The minimum investment is 0 dollars, even the stock trades are free, options trades are free and even the mutual funds are free. This amount of free stuff made us forget to even mention just how intuitive the UI on this platform is. This Firstrade review will go into more of the features of this broker.
Accounts and Features
Investing in stocks, penny stocks, options, ETFs, mutual funds and bonds includes a vast possibility of accounts, such as:
- Taxable accounts
- Joint accounts
- Roth IRA accounts
- Traditional IRA accounts
- Custodial accounts
- SEP IRA accounts
- SIMPLE IRA accounts
Moreover, Firstrade puts an abundance of features at our disposal. We have gathered the most important ones and placed them in one simple list:
- International accounts — The name says it all. Firstrade allows people from over 20 foreign countries to invest in US financial markets.
- Clearing agency — For all our clearing needs, Firstrade uses the services of the Apex Clearing Corporation.
- Account protection — Securities Investors Protection Corporation protects all accounts for up to half a million dollars.
- Available investments — We can trade in stocks, options, shares, and over 11,000 mutual funds.
- Upcoming IPOs — this feature provides us with a monthly list of upcomingIPOs. Furthermore, it includes the company’s name and symbol, the market it trades in, and the number of shares it’s offering. Also, it lists the expectedIPO date.
- Dividend reinvestment plans (DRIPs) — As soon as we sign up for a DRIP program, we become automatically signed up for the DRIP of any stock that offers it. Equally important to note is that we can cancel our participation anytime we want.
- Advanced screener — this feature allows us to use a set of criteria we have selected in order to find our perfect investment choice.
- Educational resources — these resources include instructional videos, articles, podcasts and even ebooks that can help us expand our knowledge of finance.
Moreover, the Firstrade tax center shows enough potential to become the essence of our taxpayer duties by giving us access to all the tax forms we will ever need.
Firstrade Financial Calculators
The service that possibly stands above all others this platform has to offer is the financial calculators’ section. This way, we can calculate:
- Net worth
- IRA contribution
- College savings
- Retirement savings
- How close we are to becoming millionaires
- How to allocate our assets
- The return of our real estate investments
There are three distinct types of accounts we can qualify in order to access exclusive benefits. Unlike many other online platforms, we can qualify for premium accounts solely on the basis of how big our investments have been. Because of that, we need to have invested above $10,000 to qualify for the blue account, above $50,000 to qualify for the gold account, and above $100,000 to become eligible for the platinum account.
The Options Wizard
Yet another feature that deserves its own spotlight is the wizard that allows us to see the potential success level of any option trade we can think of. This is just one feature in Firstrade’s suite of trading platforms. Firstrade uses a sophisticated analytical system to transform market data into useful information.
Options wizard includes:
- Checklists and strategies we can use
- One-month and six-month trend indicators
- More than 60 technical indicators
- Fundamental and technical rankings
- Profit simulators
Firstrade customer service
One of the most important features that a platform may have is its customer service. Although such a feature does exist, users have been reporting slow answering times. However, customer support is available not only in English but in Cantonese and Mandarin languages as well.
Ease of Use
We all know that it is imperative for execution to be as quick as possible and luckily for us, such is the case with Firstrade’s platform. It allows us to almost simultaneously place orders, manage our accounts, and get updates. Fistrade delivers on this front.
Final Thoughts on Firstrade
All in all, we can say that the Firstrade serves as one of the better online platforms. Its strongest sides are all the educational resources it offers, options wizard, and the financial calculators. The UI, however dated it may seem, is intuitive enough to receive high praises.
Its commission-free policy is admirable, and the fees that do exist are easily comparable to the lowest ones from other major platforms.
The fact that Firstrade has a minimum investment of zero dollars combined with all the calculators, tax help, and educational tools, means that those who find themselves in the early stages of their financial involvement will have a calm learning curve.
International investors will find this platform to their liking due to its international accounts. Furthermore, those who speak Mandarin or Cantonese will find themselves at home using this platform.
On the other hand, Firstrade comes with a few drawbacks. It does not offer an option to have our accounts managed, which may bother those of us who prefer a hands-off approach. However, it is clear that Firstrade is not suited for that kind of investors and that is perfectly fine.
For every other type of investor out there, Firstrade is an excellent choice.