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Charles Schwab Review

Last updated:  

Offers $0 trades — but you’ll need deep pockets to qualify for the $500 signup bonus.

finder.com’s rating: 4.4 / 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 new customers need a $100,000 minimum deposit to qualify for the $500 signup bonus.

$0

Stock trade fee

$0

Minimum deposit to open

Details

Intro or bonus offerReceive a $500 account bonus with a $100,000 minimum deposit
Available asset typesStocks,Bonds,Mutual funds,Index funds,ETFs,Futures
Government bond trade fee$1
Corporate bond trade fee$1
Option trade fee$0 + $0.65/contract,
or $25 if it is a broker-assisted trade

Expert review

Cassidy Horton

Review by


Cassidy Horton is a writer for Finder, specializing in banking and investments. She has a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations and a Master of Business Administration from Georgia Southern University. Cassidy enjoys educating people about financial services, 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.

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

★★★★★ 4.8/5

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 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.

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.

What are the benefits of Charles Schwab?

Charles Schwab offers quite a few benefits over competing brokers, including:

  • Low commissions and expenses. 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.

What to watch out for

Although Charles Schwab has a host of attractive features, there are a few things to watch out for:

  • High deposit for signup bonus. If you want to receive the $500 account bonus, you’ll need a $100,000 minimum deposit, and a friend with a Schwab account to refer you.
  • Average reviews. Charles Schwab earns a B- based on the Better Business Bureau’s internal criteria and has a 1 out of 5-star customer rating based on complaints regarding the closing or locking accounts without warning.

Before you make a decision, shop around for trading platforms until you find one that suits you.

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

Name Product Available asset types Stock trade fee Option trade fee Annual fee
Vanguard
Stocks,Mutual funds,ETFs,Forex
$0
$1
$20 per year
Get a personal advisor when you open an account with at least $50,000.
Robinhood
Stocks,Options,ETFs,Cryptocurrency
$0
$0
0%
Make unlimited commission-free trades in stocks, funds, and options with Robinhood Financial.
Interactive Brokers
Stocks,Bonds,Options,Mutual funds,Index funds,ETFs,Forex,Futures,Cash
$0
$0 + $0.65/contract, $1 minimum
0%
IBKR Lite offers $0 commissions, and IBKR Pro offers advanced tools for professional traders.
TD Ameritrade
Stocks,Bonds,Options,Mutual funds,ETFs,Forex,Futures
$0
or $25 If it is broker-assisted
$0 + $0.65/contract,
or $25 Broker-assisted
TD Ameritrade features $0 commission for online stock, but watch out for high short-term ETF and broker-assisted trading fees.
Tastyworks
Stocks,Options,ETFs,Futures
$0
Stocks & ETFs: $1/contract to open, $0 to close, $10 max/leg
Futures: $2.50/contract to open, $0 to close
0%
Trade stocks, options, ETFs and futures on mobile or desktop with this advanced platform.
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Compare up to 4 providers

How do I get started?

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 click Open an Account.
  2. Choose whether you’re opening an Individual or Joint account and click Continue.
  3. If you have an existing Schwab account, click Yes, I have a login ID. Or click No, I’m new to Schwab.
  4. Enter your personal information and click Next.
  5. Select your account features and click Next.
  6. Review and agree to the terms and conditions.
  7. Fund your account and start trading.

Eligibility

You must meet the following requirements 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

I’ve made my first trade with Charles Schwab. Now what?

Once you open an account, make the most of it by:

  • Reviewing research reports. Gain valuable insights into the latest market research by reviewing Schwab’s primary and third-party research reports.
  • Analyzing your next trading opportunity. Charles Schwab’s Screener Plus tool lets you scan stocks, mutual funds and ETFs in real-time to find the most suitable trades based on predefined parameters.
  • Chatting with customer service. If you have any concerns about your account, contact customer service and get your questions answered before you continue investing.

Charles Schwab customer service

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

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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