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Firstrade Review

What do you stand to gain with Firstrade?

Firstrade allows you to invest in stocks, ETFs, bonds, mutual funds, and more—all without commission costs. Explore the fees and features of an international Firstrade trading account and decide if Firstrade is the right broker for you.

Compare Firstrade as an online broker

Name Product Number of Stocks CFDs Shares Available Markets
Firstrade
Access to US stocks
No
Yes
US
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How do I sign up?

You can sign up for Firstrade online through its straightforward application process:

  1. Visit Firstrade’s website and click Open an Account.
  2. Enter your first and last name, email address and click Get Started.
  3. Select your account type, add optional features and click Continue.
  4. Fill in your personal information, including your full name, date of birth and residential address. Do note that non-US clients may be asked to submit a picture of their passport, alongside the Online Service Agreement and W-8 BEN tax form. Click Continue.
  5. Enter your employment and financial information, then click Continue.
  6. Fill out the investment profile and answer all questions, then click Continue.
  7. Link your funding account and click Continue.
  8. Review your information and submit your application.

What investments does Firstrade offer?

While you can’t access forex, cryptocurrency, CFDs and futures, you can still trade Firstrade’s respectable lineup of securities:

  • Stocks and ETFs. Trade commission-free stocks listed on the New York Stock Exchange, American Stock Exchange, Nasdaq Stock Market and OTC markets, including the OTC Bulletin Board and Pink Sheets. In total, you can invest in over 2,000 ETFs across these five exchanges.
  • Options. Buy and sell options with no commissions, contract or exercise fees. Firstrade provides access to CBOE and other US options exchanges.
  • Mutual funds. Browse over 400 mutual funds.
  • Fixed income. Invest in municipal and corporate bonds, CDs and fixed-income securities.
  • Bonds. Access more than 38,000 bonds with Firstrade.

Who is Firstrade best for?

Firstrade offers a range of commission-free securities on a user-friendly platform, making it best for:

  • New investors. The straightforward trading platform, accessible tools, free educational resources and $0 account minimum make it more approachable for new investors.
  • Day traders. Free stock, option and mutual fund trades, and extensive trading tools allow day traders to make informed decisions without losing money to brokerage fees.
  • Investors interested in the US market. Since Firstrade offers access to US exchanges, its platforms will be best for those who want to zoom in on US markets.

How easy is it to use?

Firstrade comes with two different platforms: a mobile app and a standard web trading website.

The web platform is intuitive to use, which makes it a great choice for beginners. The only downside to this is that the web platform lacks customizability and two-factor authentication for extra security. With the web trading platform, you can place orders like market, limit, stop, and stop-limit orders. You can also customize a set of alerts that notify you of price, percentage, or trading volume changes.

Firsttrade’s free mobile app helps you trade on the go. It is easy to use, but does not allow you to trade mutual funds and bonds, nor does it allow you to set price alerts. The app allows you to place the same order types as the web trading site.

What research tools does it provide?

Research and reporting tools on the Firstrade platform are powered by global financial services titan, Morningstar. Investors have access to:

  • Sectors and industries comparison. Compare performance data across sectors, industries and companies.
  • Stock market heatmap. Pull up bullish and bearish color maps for an overarching view of market performance.
  • Dynamic screeners. Hone in on individual stocks, ETFs and mutual funds.
  • Enhanced news. Keep up with the latest from Morningstar, Briefing.com, Zacks, Benzinga and PR Newswire.
  • Analyst reports and ratings. Review analyst reports and Morningstar ratings.
  • Full coverage calendar. Get a snapshot of your earnings, dividends, IPOs and splits from a single dashboard.
  • Options wizard. Explore trend indicators, technical rankings, profit and loss simulations, complex options strategies and over 65 technical indicators.

Pricing and fees

Firstrade’s commission-free stocks are an undeniable perk, but unfortunately don’t do much to set it apart from competitors — commission-free stocks are an increasingly popular offering among investment platforms. Where Firstrade shines is its lack of contract fees on options trading. Firstrade also offers commission-free mutual funds — another rarity in the industry.

On the downside, its margin rates can be high. Additionally, all accounts are denominated in USD, so you might incur currency conversion costs when depositing and withdrawing cash.

Minimum deposit to open$0
Annual fee$0
Stock trade fee$0
ETF trade fee$0
Options trade fee$0
Mutual funds trade fee$0
Margin ratesRanges from Base rate – 2.25% to Base rate + 2%
Inactivity fee$0
Deposit fee$0
Withdrawal fee (non-ACH withdrawals)$35

Is Firstrade safe?

Firstrade is a member of Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and is covered by Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) insurance. It’s recognized by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) with its own BBB page and has no registered complaints with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

It was founded in 1985 and launched its online brokerage in 1997, becoming one of the first online brokerages available to consumers. Today, the company is headquartered in New York City and holds about $2.3 billion in assets, and has won a handful of awards for its ease of use and fee schedule.

How does Firstrade keep my money safe?

Firstrade is covered by SIPC insurance, which provides up to $500,000 in coverage — including $250,000 for cash balances. However, this only protects your money from fraud and bankruptcy of Firstrade, meaning losses due to trading and market fluctuations are not covered.

Firstrade servers employ Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology and digital certificate services to encrypt all of the information you share with Firstrade.

How do I contact Firstrade support?

If you need assistance, there are three ways to get in touch with customer service:

  • Chatbot. You can connect with Firstrade’s chatbot 24 hours a day, but the information it provides is limited.
  • Phone. Call 800-869-8800, weekdays from 8.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. ET.
  • Email. Contact Firstrade at service@firstrade.com for an email response from the support team.

Bottom Line

Firstrade is an online brokerage with resources and tools to help facilitate trades for new and experienced investors. There’s no minimum deposit to open an account, and stock, option and mutual fund trades are commission-free. However, you can’t trade forex, crypto or futures and there’s no portfolio management or robo-advising available. Ultimately, if you’re a beginner to investing who is interested in US markets, Firstrade might be right for you.

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