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Charles Schwab review 2024

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Charles Schwab
4.5
★★★★★
Finder score
Advisory fee
$0
Minimum deposit
$0
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Our verdict

Trade commission-free stocks and ETFs with Charles Schwab, with access to premium research tools and the popular Thinkorswim trading platform.

With more than $9 trillion in total client assets following its acquisition of TD Ameritrade, Charles Schwab stands out as one of the biggest full-service brokerage firms in the US. It offers commission-free stock and ETF trades, fractional shares and easy-to-use trading platforms, with complimentary premium research, analysis and insights. With Schwab's acquisition of TD Ameritrade, you'll also find the popular Thinkorswim trading platform. Schwab rounds out its offerings with a robo-advisor, access to human financial advisory services and complimentary financial planning tools. But unlike other traditional brokers, you won't find direct access to cryptocurrencies.

Best for: Savvy investors seeking premium financial tools and support.

Pros

  • Extensive lineup of investment options and account types
  • Top-tier third-party research
  • Robo-advisor
  • Fractional shares
  • Global investing
  • Popular Thinkorswim trading platform

Cons

  • No crypto trading
  • High margin rates
  • Poor ratings from Android users
  • Low interest on uninvested cash

In this guide

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Charles Schwab at a glance

To learn how our star ratings are calculated, read our methodology.

Charles Schwab is best for savvy investors seeking premium financial tools

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, including the popular thinkorswim trading platform, and premium research from Charles Schwab and other quality third-party research providers to trade a broad lineup of assets.

Latest Charles Schwab updates

May 1, 2024: Charles Schwab is retiring its StreetSmart Edge, StreetSmart Central and StreetSmart Mobile products between April and August 2024. Customers’ accounts will automatically be enabled for trading on thinkorswim.

January 14, 2024: The Charles Schwab-TD Ameritrade combination is expected to conclude in 2024. Schwab customers should now have access to TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim trading platform, branch network and other features.

What we like about Charles Schwab

Charles Schwab is a leading US brokerage firm and offers several standout features, including an extensive lineup of tradable assets, a no-cost robo-advisor, access to human financial advisors and premium research tools and educational resources.

Trade a wide variety of assets

Schwab offers one of the largest fund collections, with over 5,500 mutual funds and over 3,400 ETFs. Plus, access options, futures, bonds, CDs, forex and IPOs. Stocks and ETFs trade commission-free with Charles Schwab and its Schwab Stock Slices lets you invest as little as $5 in S&P 500 stocks.

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.

Automate your investing with Schwab’s no-cost robo-advisor

Hands-off investors can leverage Schwab’s free robo-advisor that includes tax-loss harvesting capabilities. It’s robo-advisor is free to use but requires a $5,000 minimum to get started. Schwab is one of the only brokers that offers a no-cost robo-advisor.

Other optional portfolio management services include automated investing with guidance from a human certified financial planner (CFP) and standalone full-service wealth management.

Invest with complimentary premium research tools

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.

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.

And with its acquisition of TD Ameritrade, Schwab’s replaced its StreetSmart Edge trading platform suite with Thinkorswim. Thinkorswim is available via mobile, desktop and web, and gives Schwab customers access to one of the most popular trading platforms on the market.

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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.(1)

Additionally, while Schwab offers a cash sweep program, it’s rates are on the low end compared to much of the competition. Schwab pays 0.45% APY on uninvested brokerage cash, compared to around 5% with several trading apps.

Charles Schwab’s fees

Type of feeFee details
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
Margin annual interest rate11.75%
Account transfer fee$50
Wire transfer out$15 per online withdrawal
Inactivity fee$0

Managed portfolios

ServiceDetailsAccount 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.

Meanwhile, its platform 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.

Customer experience

Charles Schwab generally receives mixed customer feedback across Trustpilot, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Reddit. On Trustpilot, reviews tend to lean towards the negative, with many customers expressing dissatisfaction over issues such as long wait times and difficulties in resolving problems with customer service. Positive reviews do exist, often praising the firm’s investment tools and the user-friendly nature of its online platform, but these are frequently outweighed by negative experiences. As of May 2024, Schwab has a 1.6 out of five stars on Trustpilot based on over 340 reviews.

On the BBB website, Charles Schwab holds a “A+” rating but is not BBB-accredited. Complaints on BBB commonly revolve around transaction problems, account handling issues and poor customer service. Nonetheless, the company does attempt to address and resolve these complaints, indicating a proactive approach towards customer issues. As of May 2024, it holds a 1.44 out of five stars based on over 60 reviews.

Feedback on Reddit displays a broader range of personal opinions and experiences, where some users commend Schwab for its convenient investment services and the benefits of its brokerage accounts. Nevertheless, complaints about customer support and account management difficulties are also prevalent. Overall, while Charles Schwab receives accolades for its robust investment tools and user-friendly interface, customer service issues are a recurring theme in the feedback across these three platforms.

Compare Charles Schwab to other platforms

Charles Schwab logo

Charles Schwab

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Finder rating 4.5 / 5


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Advisory fee

$0


Minimum deposit

$0


Signup bonus

N/A

SoFi Invest® logo

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Tastytrade logo

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Advisory fee

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Minimum deposit

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Signup bonus

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Frequently asked questions

What is Charles Schwab?

Charles Schwab is an American financial services company founded in 1971 and based in Westlake, Texas. Charles Schwab provides a range of investment, banking and financial advisory services. It’s one of the largest brokers in the US, with over $9 trillion in total client assets.(2)

Is Charles Schwab good for beginners?

Charles Schwab is great for beginners. It’s web and mobile platforms are both user-friendly and feature-rich, with premium research tools and reports to help inform your trades and a learning center with a vast collection of educational articles and live educational programming.

How safe is my money with Charles Schwab?

Money and investments held at Charles Schwab are considered to be safe and secure. The company employs various security protocols to keep customer information and money secure and guarantees to cover losses in all Schwab accounts due to unauthorized activity. Further, Charles Schwab is a member of FINRA and the SIPC, which protects securities for customers up to $500,000 or $250,000 for claims for cash in the event a broker fails. And uninvested cash in your Schwab brokerage and retirement accounts is eligible for insurance with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), which insures up to $250,000 per depositor in the event Charles Schwab fails.

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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Matt Finder

Editor, Investments

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