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Charles Schwab review 2023

Commission-free trades and a rich suite of research tools make Charles Schwab a great platform, but it lacks access to forex and crypto.

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Our verdict

Consider Charles Schwab if you want a well-known, full-service broker that offers easy-to-use trading platforms and complimentary premium research, analysis and insights. Look elsewhere if you want to trade crypto.

Best for: Traders and investors who value premium research and tools and want a diverse lineup of products and services.

  • Extensive lineup of investment options and account types
  • Top-tier third-party research
  • Robo advisor
  • Fractional shares
  • Global investing
  • No crypto trading
  • $5,000 minimum to access Schwab's robo-advisor
  • StreetSmart Edge trading software feels outdated
Finder Award


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Stock trade fee


Minimum deposit


How we rated Charles Schwab’s features



Commission-free trades on stocks and ETFs, a free robo-advisor and average miscellaneous fees.
Available securities


Stocks, international stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, money market funds, fixed income, options and futures.
Customer support


Reach customer support by live chat, phone or email with quick response times.
Mobile app


Both Apple and Google users give the app high marks.
Research and tools


Dedicated trading software, advanced charts, third-party research, proprietary analysis tools and more.


More than one major outage has been reported for this platform.

To learn how our star ratings are calculated, read our methodology at the bottom of the page.

Charles Schwab is best for all types of traders and investors

Charles Schwab caters to a wide range of investors thanks to its large investment selection, commission-free stock and exchange-traded fund (ETF) trades, user-friendly web and mobile trading platforms and in-depth research tools.

  • Beginners will appreciate fractional shares, commission-free trades, extensive educational resources and 24/7 live support.
  • Intermediate and advanced traders can leverage dedicated trading software and premium research from Charles Schwab and other quality third-party research providers to trade a broad lineup of assets.

What you can trade on Charles Schwab

  • Stocks
  • International stocks
  • ETFs
  • Mutual funds
  • Money market funds
  • Fixed income
  • Options
  • Futures
  • IPOs

Account types available with Charles Schwab

  • Brokerage
  • Traditional, Roth and rollover IRAs
  • Custodial
  • Education
  • Trust

Where Charles Schwab shines

Charles Schwab is a leading US brokerage firm, with around 34 million brokerage accounts and over $7 trillion in total client assets. With big broker Charles Schwab, investors will find an extensive lineup of tradable investments, nearly every account type available and several trading platforms. It offers Schwab Stock Slices, Schwab’s version of fractional shares that lets you trade stocks for as little as $5, with the ability to buy fractional shares of up to 30 companies each time you place an order. Plus, access to a free robo-advisor with tax-loss harvesting capabilities and other optional portfolio management services.

Schwab’s collection of premium research tools and educational resources is vast and impressive: market commentary and analysis from in-house Schwab experts, investment research from Morningstar, Thomson Reuters, Argus and other third-party providers and a learning center with educational articles and daily live programming covering a range of trading and investing topics.

Schwab is also one of just a few US brokers that offers trading directly in foreign markets. While most brokers limit access to foreign stocks to American depository receipts (ADRs), Schwab customers can also trade OTC-listed global securities from up to 30 markets or trade in the local currency of 12 foreign exchanges using a Schwab Global Account.

    Where Charles Schwab falls short

    While Charles Schwab offers most investment options, cryptocurrency isn’t one of them. It offers a crypto-themed ETF, but its holdings are in companies that operate in the crypto space, not crypto itself. The company has said in the past that it would like to see more regulatory clarity before throwing its hat in the ring with other brokers that offer digital assets.

    Further, Schwab’s StreetSmart Edge platform looks and feels outdated. There’s also no Mac desktop version of the software, so Mac users will either need to run a Windows emulator or access StreetSmart Edge by downloading the cloud computing software, Citrix. This could change once Charles Schwab finishes absorbing TD Ameritrade and its trading platform Thinkorswim.

    Lastly, Schwab requires a minimum account balance of $5,000 minimum investment requirement to use its free robo-advisor. Though we commend the broker for making it’s robo-advisor available at no cost — few brokers do — the $5,000 minimum is a bit steep.

    Charles Schwab’s fees

    Minimum deposit$0
    Annual fee$0
    Stock and ETF trade fees$0
    Mutual fund trade fees$0 for Schwab Mutual Fund OneSource; Up to $74.95 for all other mutual funds
    Options trade fees$0 + $0.65 per contract fee
    Futures trade fees$2.25 per contract
    Treasuries trade fees$0
    Bond trade fees$1 per bond; $10 minimum
    OTC trade fees$6.95
    Canadian securities$6.95
    Foreign stock transactions placed on the OTC market$50 foreign transaction fee
    Foreign stock transactions placed directly on local exchangesThe greater of $100 or 0.75% of principal, with no maximum
    Inactivity fee$0
    Wire transfer (domestic and international)$15
    Outgoing account transfer fee$50

    Managed portfolios

    DetailsAccount minimumFees
    Schwab Intelligent PortfoliosRobo-advisor$5,000None
    Schwab Intelligent Portfolios PremiumRobo-advisor with unlimited one-on-one guidance from a certified financial planner$25,000$300 one-time planning fee; $30 monthly advisory fee
    Schwab Wealth AdvisoryPersonalized wealth management from a dedicated advisor$1 millionFees start at 0.80%

    Is Charles Schwab legit?

    Yes, Charles Schwab is a legitimate broker and company. Founded in 1973 and headquartered in Westlake, Texas, Charles Schwab is one of the largest brokers in the US in terms of total client assets.

    It’s a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC), which protects securities for customers up to $500,000 or $250,000 for claims for cash in the event a broker fails.

    Charles Schwab’s platforms are easy to use

    Between its sophisticated but user-friendly web and mobile platforms and its flagship trading software, Charles Schwab is well-equipped to serve a variety of investors. Included in its wide swath of research tools and features are:

    • Stock screeners. Filter stocks by numerous metrics to narrow down your options and create watchlists.
    • Options chains. Access real-time options chains, build spreads and identify potential risks and rewards.
    • Advanced charts. Perform technical analysis with indicators, real-time quotes and pattern-based intraday analysis.
    • Schwab Equity Ratings. Explore Schwab’s exclusive in-house equity ratings on over 3,000 US stocks.
    • Index performance snapshot. View real-time performance data of US, European and Asian market indexes.
    • Schwab Market Update podcast. Airs twice per day at market open and market close and provides a summary of each day’s trading and financial news.
    • Third-party research. Ratings and research reports from Morningstar, Thomson Reuters, Argus, and other providers.
    • Thematic lists. Browse more than 40 themes to identify investment ideas. web platform

    Investors using will find robust trading tools, features and in-depth research on a streamlined web trading platform. View fundamental and technical data, follow market news and research, place and monitor trades and your portfolio.

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    Schwab Mobile platform

    Explore trade and investment opportunities with in-depth research and interactive charts, trade stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, and options and follow market news.

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    StreetSmart Edge platform

    StreetSmart Edge is Schwab’s advanced trading platform available as downloadable software or accessible through online cloud-based technology provider, Citrix. It offers a professional and customizable trading experience, with built-in fundamental and technical tools, Schwab’s All-in-One Trade Ticket for trading stocks, ETFs, options, futures and futures options all from one trade window and advanced options trading tools like Idea Hub for identifying opportunities by market trends and generating trading ideas.

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    Charles Schwab’s app store reviews

    Google Play app reviews3.7/5 stars based on over 23,400 reviews
    Apple App Store app reviews4.8/5 stars based on over 625,000 reviews
    Note: StreetSmart Mobile is also available for download.

    Charles Schwab’s customer support

    Connect with Charles Schwab support in three ways:

    • Phone
    • Live chat
    • Email

    How to open an account with Charles Schwab

    1. Click the “Sign up now” button below, choose an account type and select Get started.
    2. Enter your name, date of birth, Social Security number and contact information, and then select Continue.
    3. Pick your account features, and select Next.
    4. Review and agree to the terms and conditions.
    5. Fund your account and start trading.

    Eligibility and required information

    • At least 18 years old
    • Valid phone number and residential and email address
    • Existing bank to fund your account
    • Valid Social Security number

    How safe is Charles Schwab?

    Charles Schwab is considered safe and secure. It employs various encryption methods, automated alerts, account monitoring and advanced identity verification processes to help keep customer information and money safe. In the event of unauthorized activity, Schwab will cover any resulting losses.

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    Frequently asked questions about Charles Schwab

    How we rate trading platforms

    ★★★★★5/5 — Excellent

    ★★★★★ 4/5 — Good

    ★★★★★ 3/5 — Average

    ★★★★★ 2/5 — Subpar

    ★★★★★ 1/5 — Poor

    We analyze top online trading platforms and rate them one to five stars based on factors that are most important to you. These factors include fees, securities available for trade, customer support, customer feedback, platform resources and overall reliability.

    For a complete breakdown of how we score each category, read the full methodology of how we rate trading platforms.

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