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Charles Schwab review 2024

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

Access commission-free stock trades, top-tier research tools and the Thinkorswim trading platform with Charles Schwab.

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. With Schwab's acquisition of TD Ameritrade, you'll also find the popular Thinkorswim trading platform. Look elsewhere if you want to trade crypto or want a robo-advisor with lower or no minimum deposit requirements.

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

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
  • $5,000 minimum to access Schwab's robo-advisor
  • High margin rates
  • Poor ratings from Android users
  • Low interest on uninvested cash

In this guide

  • Our verdict
  • Frequently asked questions
  • Ask a question

How we rated Charles Schwab’s features

Investment options

★★★★★

  • Stocks
  • Options
  • ETFs
  • Mutual funds
  • Bonds
  • Futures
  • Forex
  • Certificates of deposit (CDs)
  • IPO access
Trading platforms and technology

★★★★★

  • Mobile, web browser and desktop trading platforms
  • Advanced charts, screeners, watchlists, price alerts, earnings estimates, company financials, free third-party research, analyst ratings, price targets, news, company statistics, trending stock lists
Trading costs

★★★★★

  • Zero commission stock, option and ETF trades
  • $0.65 fee per options contract
  • High margin rates
Account fees

★★★★★

  • No annual fee
  • No inactivity fee
  • $50 full outgoing account transfer fee
Customer support

★★★★★

  • Live chat, email and phone support, with 24/7 availability
Mobile app rating and security

★★★★★

  • 2FA and biometrics capabilities
  • Highly rated among Apple users but Android ratings are unfavorable
Features and amenities

★★★★★

  • No-cost robo-advisor but a $5,000 minimum to get started
  • Access financial advisors but a $25,000 minimum balance, $300 one-time planning fee and a $30/month advisory fee apply
  • Fractional share trading
  • Instant buying power
  • Paper trading
  • 24/5 trading
  • Extensive educational content
Cash sweep rates

★★★★★

Offers a cash sweep program but rates of only 0.45% APY
Account types and minimums

★★★★★

  • Individual, joint and custodial brokerage accounts
  • 529 plans
  • Traditional, Roth, rollover, custodial and SEP IRAs

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, 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.

What you can trade on Charles Schwab

  • Stocks, US-listed and international
  • ETFs
  • Mutual funds
  • Fixed income
  • Options
  • Futures
  • Forex
  • CDs
  • IPOs

Account types available with Charles Schwab

  • Individual, joint and custodial brokerage
  • Traditional, Roth, rollover, custodial, SEP and SIMPLE IRAs
  • 529 plans
  • Trust

Latest Charles Schwab updates

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.

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.

    Schwab.com web platform

    Investors using Schwab.com 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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    Thinkorswim Mobile

    Now at Schwab with its acquisition of TD Ameritrade, thinkorswim is available via mobile, desktop and web, and gives Schwab customers access to one of the most popular trading platforms on the market. Thinkorswim Mobile is one of the most advanced, if not the most advanced, mobile trading platforms available, with fully-customizable charts boasting 300+ technical charts and indicators, watchlists, live market news risk-analysis features and more. It’s both powerful and user-friendly, and should satisfy the needs of most traders.

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    Charles Schwab’s app store reviews

    Schwab Mobile

    Google Play app reviews2.4/5 stars based on over 25,000 reviews
    Apple App Store app reviews4.8/5 stars based on over 779,300 reviews

    StreetSmart Mobile

    Google Play app reviews2.1/5 stars based on over 300 reviews
    Apple App Store app reviews1.5/5 stars based on over 300 reviews

    Thinkorswim Mobile

    Google Play app reviews3.2/5 stars based on over 11,950 reviews
    Apple App Store app reviews4.7/5 stars based on over 317,400 reviews

    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.

    Compare Charles Schwab to other platforms

    Charles Schwab logo

    Charles Schwab

    ★★★★★

    Finder rating 4.5 / 5


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    Stocks, Bonds, Options, Mutual funds, ETFs, Futures, Treasury Bills


    Stock trade fee

    $0


    Minimum deposit

    $0


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    SoFi Invest® logo

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    Tastytrade logo

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    Finder rating 4.6 / 5

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    Available asset types

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    Stock trade fee

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    Minimum deposit

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    Complete signup bonus

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    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.

    Frequently asked questions

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    Matt Finder

    Editor, Investments

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