Charles Schwab Review

Commission-free trades and a rich suite of research tools make this a great platform for many, but it lacks access to the forex and crypto markets.

finder.com’s rating: 4.3 / 5.0

★★★★★

Charles Schwab is a well-known broker offering commission-free online trades, extensive research and around-the-clock phone support to a range of investors. But it lacks access to forex and crypto and investor reviews are lukewarm.

  • Choose Charles Schwab if you’re an intermediate to advanced investor seeking sophisticated research tools.
  • Consider something else if you’re interested in forex or cryptocurrency trades.

Details

Option trade fee$0 + $0.65/contract,
or $25 if it is a broker-assisted trade
Asset typesStocks, Bonds, Options, Mutual funds, ETFs
Account typesBrokerage, Retirement
Government bond trade fee$1
Corporate bond trade fee$1

Overview

Fees

★★★★★ 4/5

Stocks are commission-free and fees for options, bonds, funds and futures are competitive.
Available securities

★★★★★ 5/5

Schwab brokerage accounts can trade everything but forex and crypto.
Customer support

★★★★★ 5/5

Support can quickly be reached in three ways.
Mobile app

★★★★★ 4.7/5

Charles Schwab’s mobile platform is well-liked by both Google and Apple users.
Research and tools

★★★★★ 5/5

Schwab’s investment tools and research offerings are robust.
Reliability

★★★★★ 3/5

A couple of service outages have been reported for this platform.

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

What investments does Charles Schwab offer?

You can swap a wide variety of assets with a Charles Schwab brokerage account — with the exception of forex and crypto.

  • Stocks
  • Bonds
  • Mutual funds
  • ETFs
  • Options
  • Futures
  • Futures options

Who is Charles Schwab best for?

Charles Schwab caters to a wide range of investors including:

  • Active traders. Schwab’s low-cost commission structure allows you to actively trade without having to worry about excessive fees.
  • Fundamental traders. If you rely on quality equity research in your decision-making process, Schwab offers a host of proprietary research reports to guide your decisions.

Fees and costs

Charles Schwab’s trading fees are competitive. Like many brokers, it has done away with commissions on stocks and ETFs. Its fees for trading mutual funds are the same as what you’d pay at TD Ameritrade and Fidelity, and its fees for derivatives contracts are on par with most trading platforms.

You can open an account with any amount, and Charles Schwab’s account transfer fees are better than most — brokers typically charge $75 for account transfers.

Minimum deposit$0
Stocks and ETFs trading fee$0
Options trading fee$0.65 per contract
Futures trading fee$1.50 per contract
Futures options trading fee$1.50 per contract
No-load mutual fund trading fee$49.95
Inactivity fee$0
Account transfer fee$15 – $25

Managed portfolios

Charles Schwab offers a spectrum of portfolio and wealth management services for hands-off investors. If you’re ready to entrust your portfolio to a human or robo-advisor, be prepared to meet the corresponding portfolio minimums and cover any one-time or annual management fees associated with the service.

DetailsAccount minimumFees
Schwab Intelligent PortfoliosRobo-advisor$5,000None
Schwab Intelligent Portfolios PremiumRobo-advisor with unlimited one-on-one guidance with a financial planner$25,000$300 one-time planning fee, $30 monthly advisory fee
Schwab Advisor NetworkPortfolio guidance from a financial planner or analyst inside the Schwab Advisor Network$500,000Fees vary by advisor
Schwab Private ClientPortfolio management from a team of dedicated financial consultants, advisors and wealth strategists$1 million0.80%

How do I sign up?

Sign up for an account with Charles Schwab either online or by visiting a branch location.

To sign up online:

  1. Visit the Charles Schwab website and select Open an Account.
  2. Choose whether you’re opening an Individual or Joint account and select Continue.
  3. Indicate whether you have an existing Schwab account by selecting, Yes, I have a login ID. Or, select: No, I’m new to Schwab.
  4. Enter your personal information and select Next.
  5. Pick your account features and select Next.
  6. Review and agree to the terms and conditions.
  7. Fund your account and start trading.

Eligibility

You must meet the following eligibility criteria to open an account with Charles Schwab:

  • At least 18 years old
  • Valid Social Security number
  • Residential US address
  • Existing bank or brokerage account for account transfers

Required information

Have the following information ready when you set up your Charles Schwab account:

  • Driver’s license
  • Social Security number or Tax Identification Number
  • Employer’s name and address
  • Bank login information

Research tools

Charles Schwab is well-equipped to serve a variety of investors with a wide swath of research tools and features.

  • Stock screener. Filter stocks by numerous metrics to narrow down your options and create watchlists.
  • Fundamental research. Review fundamental stock data, including company earnings, dividends, analyst ratings and more.
  • Options chains. Access real-time options chains, build spreads and identify potential risks and rewards.
  • Gain/loss analyzer. Assess trade performance with Schwab’s gain/loss analyzer.
  • Idea Hub. Generate trading ideas and identify opportunities by market trends.
  • Charting tools. Perform your own technical analysis with real-time quotes and pattern-based intraday analysis.
  • All-in-One Trade Ticket. Submit equity and options trades, bracket orders and conditional orders from the same window.
  • Schwab Equity Ratings. Explore Schwab’s exclusive in-house equity ratings on over 3,000 US stocks.

Charles Schwab trading platforms

You have three options when executing trades through Charles Schwab: its mobile app, its web platform and its desktop platform. All platforms have the ability to execute trades, but each offers a unique blend of features to help you research and monitor your positions.

  • Web trading. Filter stocks, track real-time market positions, review breaking news and submit orders.
  • Mobile trading. Browse sector information and volatility trends, monitor news, review stock charts and execute trades.
  • Desktop software. Tap into advanced charting tools, custom alerts and screeners and more through Charles Schwab’s desktop software, StreetSmart Edge.

Charles Schwab’s mobile app

Charles Schwab’s mobile app isn’t exclusively designed for investing, which makes it difficult to isolate feedback about the app’s trading interface. That said, its mobile app ratings still provide practical insight into the app as a whole.

Charles Schwab’s reputation among Apple users is far superior to its standing with Android users — although the sheer volume of Apple App Store ratings far outweighs those left on Google Play.

Apple App Store Google Play Store
Rating<

★★★★★ 4.8/5

Based on 424,700 reviews

★★★★★ 3.1/5

Based on 19,287 reviews

Traders praise
  • Easy buying and selling process
  • Convenient market summaries
  • Quick order execution
  • Allows after-hours trading
Common complaints
  • Slow, clunky navigation
  • Outdated user interface
  • Delayed price updates
  • Login errors
  • Delayed refresh rates
  • Clunky, outdated user interface

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Low commissions. It offers commission-free trades on stocks and ETFs and low expense ratios on proprietary index fund offerings.
  • No investment minimum. Investing is accessible to everyone with a $0 minimum deposit.
  • Research tools. Charles Schwab has its own proprietary equity rating service, plus third-party data from Market Edge, Ned Davis and Morningstar.

Cons

  • Limited investment options. This platform offers all the essentials but lacks access to the forex and crypto markets.
  • Lukewarm reviews. Charles Schwab earns a B- based on the Better Business Bureau and has a TrustScore of 1.9 out of 5 based on complaints about abrupt account closures.

Charles Schwab to acquire TD Ameritrade

In 2019, Charles Schwab announced its plans to acquire TD Ameritrade in a transaction valued at $26 billion. The acquisition is moving forward as planned, with shareholders and US Justice Department officials both voting in favor of the merger.

The process is expected to take 18 to 36 months to complete. Until then, both platforms will continue to operate independently.

Compare with other stock trading platforms

Explore your options by fees, asset types and signup bonus to find the best place for your portfolio.

Name Product Asset types Option trade fee Annual fee Signup bonus
Sofi Invest
Stocks, ETFs, Cryptocurrency
N/A
0%
Get one free stock worth up to $1,000
Open an account
A free way to invest in stocks, ETFs and crypto.
Webull
Stocks, Options, ETFs
$0
0%
Get one free stock valued between $3.00 and $300 when you open an account, one more with a deposit
Open an account
Margin financing rates start at 3.99%. No monthly subscription fees for margin.
Public
Stocks, ETFs
N/A
$0 per month
Download and sign up with Public.com; approved accounts receive a free stock slice worth up to $70, selected from 9 popular stocks.
Open an account
Commission-free trading in stocks and ETFs with a social networking twist.
J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing
Stocks, Bonds, Options, Mutual funds, ETFs
$0 + $0.65/contract
0%
N/A
INVESTMENT AND INSURANCE PRODUCTS ARE: NOT A DEPOSIT • NOT FDIC INSURED • NO BANK GUARANTEE • MAY LOSE VALUE
Robinhood
Stocks, Options, ETFs
$0
0%
Free stock (chosen randomly with a value anywhere between $2.50 and $200)
Sign up using the "go to site" link
Make unlimited commission-free trades in stocks, funds, and options with Robinhood Financial.
Moomoo
Stocks, Options, ETFs
$0
$0 per year
N/A
Trade stocks on the US, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Shenzhen markets.
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Compare up to 4 providers

*Signup bonus information updated weekly.

Disclaimer: The value of any investment can go up or down depending on news, trends and market conditions. We are not investment advisers, so do your own due diligence to understand the risks before you invest.

Is Charles Schwab legit?

Charles Schwab was founded in 1973 and is headquartered in Westlake, Texas. 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.

Charles Schwab lacks Better Business Bureau (BBB) accreditation but receives an A+ rating based on its length of time in business and responsiveness to BBB complaints. It has 207 complaints to its name on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), most of which are about its banking products. CFPB complaints about Charles Schwab’s investment platform are few and far between.

Charles Schwab reviews and complaints

Customer reviews of Charles Schwab are mixed. As of March 2021, Charles Schwab receives 1.35 out of 5 stars on the Better Business Bureau after 23 customer reviews. The company’s Trustpilot presence is similarly lackluster, earning a TrustScore of 1.9 out of 5 based on the feedback of 50 customers.

Better Business Bureau and Trustpilot complaints mention slow customer service and transfer delays. Some reviewers say they had trouble closing their accounts and felt like they were being scammed. Happier customers note low fees and helpful support reps. It’s worth noting that feedback on these review platforms is feedback left for the company as a whole — and Charles Schwab is a lot more than an investment platform.

Reviews on Reddit are generally positive and align with sentiment found elsewhere, praising Schwab for low fees and investment options and criticizing its disappointing customer service.

How do I contact Charles Schwab support?

There are three ways to contact Charles Schwab customer service:

  • Phone. Call 866-855-9102 at any time.
  • Live chat. Start a chat through the website.
  • Branch. Visit over 340 branches in 46 states.

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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Review by


Cassidy Horton is a writer for Finder, specializing in banking and kids’ debit cards. She’s been featured on Legal Zoom, MSN, and Consolidated Credit and has a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations and a Master of Business Administration from Georgia Southern University. When not writing, you can find her exploring the Pacific Northwest and watching endless reruns of The Office.

Expert review

Charles Schwab is a popular online broker offering commission-free trades with no investment minimums. These low barriers to entry make it a great option for most investors — both new and experienced. Plus, it has 24/7 customer support and an extensive suite of educational resources.

But it has a B- rating with the Better Business Bureau and several customers complain about Charles Schwab closing their account without warning.

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