Yes (up to $500,000)
Yes (up to $250,000)
Last Updated: June 21, 2021
Yes (up to $500,000)
Yes (up to $250,000)
Individual, Joint, IRA
Before you start trading, make sure to check out this in-depth Charles Schwab review because we’re going to cover all its strengths and weaknesses. Currently, its assets under management stand at $6.9 trillion, which makes it one of the biggest asset managers in the world. Charles Schwab’s no-commission policy deserves special mention since it’s not something you often see in the industry. To be specific, there are no trading fees on stocks, ETFs, options, and Schwab mutual funds.
Did this catch your eye? Continue reading to discover if Charles Schwab is a reliable investment company.
What Is Charles Schwab?
Charles Schwab reviews are full of information that can be difficult to collate. That’s why we’re here to tell you everything you need to know about the company. It was founded in San Francisco, California, in the distant 1971 as a bank. Nowadays, it offers a trading platform and wealth management services as well. Charles Schwab’s two primary centers of operation are in the US and UK, with the main headquarters being in Westlake, Texas.
As of October 2020, Charles Schwab finished a takeover on TD Ameritrade, one of the best online trading platforms for day trading. With their combined strength, Charles Schwab is now a force to be reckoned with.
How to Use Charles Schwab
Are you wondering how does Charles Schwab work? Don’t worry! Because we’re about to answer the questions that bother most investors. We’ll talk about Schwab’s account requirements, the tools it offers, its client portal, and provide more useful information.
What are the account requirements?
To create an account on the Charles Schwab US site, you need to be a resident in any of these three locations: the United States, Puerto Rico, or the US Virgin Islands. Anyone outside of these zones can sign up through its international site, which has different account requirements.
Since this is a Charles Schwab brokerage account review, we’ll tell you what documentation and information you need to submit for that kind of account. But, according to our research, the account requirements for other types are more or less the same. Here’s what you’ll need in order to open an account at this online brokerage:
- Social security number
- Employer’s name and address
- Contact information
Additionally, Schwab has a referral program in which you can refer friends and family for a bonus. Depending on the net deposit, the referred people can get $100 to $500 if they deposit within the first 45 days of opening a Schwab account.
How to start trading?
To start trading, you’ll need to deposit cash into your account. Since Schwab doesn’t require you to have any minimum funds, you can deposit any amount you like. Here are the options available:
- Electronic deposits
- Wire transfers
- Bank transfers
For most of these services, you’ll need to link the appropriate service to your brokerage account on Schwab. For example, if you want to deposit with PayPal, you need to go on your PayPal account and link it with your Schwab investments account.
It doesn’t offer cryptocurrency exchange, but if you’re looking for good brokerages that do, check out our article on the best crypto exchange trading platforms.
What can you trade?
Schwab is an ideal platform to buy stocks online, but there’s more to trading than that. Overall, we were pretty impressed with the trading possibilities. The biggest issue is the absence of precious metals and the abovementioned crypto trading. Here’s a comprehensive list of what you can trade at Charles Schwab:
- Exchange-traded funds (ETF)
- Mutual Funds
- Futures (futures options too)
- Bonds and other securities
What tools are available?
Brokerage tools are a necessity to make trading smoother and, eventually, successful. Firstly, we’re going to introduce the Charles Schwab Intelligent Portfolio, one of the best robo advisors out there. It’s an automated investment tool that works according to your needs and plans you have for trading. However, it comes with a $5,000 minimum deposit requirement but no other advisory fees.
Other than that, it has calculators, stock screeners, an all-in-one trading tool, and an analyzer for gains and losses. If you don’t like doing things in the browser, you can download the Schwab Mobile app instead.
How does the platform work?
Because this is a Charles Schwab trading platform review, let’s see how it works. Generally, there are many navigations that lead to useful features on the platform. Under “What We Offer,” you’ll find information such as accounts, research, products, planning, and more. By doing technical analysis through its tools, you can make the most of its trading platform.
Is there a client portal?
There is a client portal at Charles Schwab, and it’s quite straightforward. On the main page or the summary, you can see general details about your account, your other accounts, and your gains and losses over a period of time. On the positions tab, you can see the trades you’ve done, i.e., stocks you’ve bought. Other things Schwab brokerage accounts have are a transfer and payments tab, history, balances, and more.
Charles Schwab Fees
Next on this Charles Schwab review, we’ll be going through all the fees it has put across its services. Opening and maintaining an account is totally free, and that applies to all of the account types. Furthermore, there are no minimum account deposits. Schwab’s biggest strength is definitely the $0 commission trading on stocks, ETFs, Schwab mutual funds, and options. However, the brokerage charges a $0.65 fee per options contract.
For secondary trading on bonds and CDs, there’s a commission of $1, with a $10 minimum and $250 maximum. Futures and futures options come with a commission of $1.5 per contract. The good thing with Charles Schwab mutual funds is that they have a $0 fee, but for any other funds it charges $49.95 per purchase. Margin rates scale from 8.3% above $24,999 to 4.7% above $1M. For broker-assisted trades, Schwab charges a commission of $25, which is pretty low compared to other brokerages.
If you’re a pattern day trader, you’ll need to have at least $25,000 in your account at all times to trade. Additionally, the account transferring fee varies depending on the type; partial will cost you $25, while full costs $50.
Charles Schwab Mobile App
Besides having desktop software, Charles Schwab has its own apps for iOS and Android. Judging by the reviews, people seem to be very satisfied with the iOS app. On the other hand, the Android Charles Schwab app has quite a few negative reviews. When we took a look at them, customers were mostly unsatisfied because of glitches.
If you want to buy stocks, you can, but there are tons of other features to the app. Regarding the Schwab trading services on the phone, you can monitor and trade stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, and options. Depositing checks is very easy on the mobile app, but if you need any help, it offers a great guide on mobile depositing. Additionally, it allows you to customize your summary view to your preference.
Charles Schwab Customer Service
Charles Schwab gives customer service through a FAQ, phone calls, live chat, and at its branches throughout the US. Before proceeding with the other choices, check out its FAQ because it’s pretty extensive. It has a few phone numbers for the Schwab trading platform, bank services, Intelligent Portfolios, and more. Except for the bank number, most of them are available 24/7. Live chat is friendly and works 24/7 — when we contacted them, they were prompt and accurate.
Charles Schwab Alternatives
You can avoid any brokerages you don’t like by analyzing them and dismissing those with features that you don’t like. Hence, we’re about to compare Charles Schwab to some of its biggest contenders.
Charles Schwab vs Fidelity
Fidelity is a phenomenal company, but is it better than Schwab? Our thorough Charles Schwab review will cover everything you need to know to find out. Fidelity is an investment company with similar features to Schwab. No-account minimums, it’s free to open one, and there is no maintenance fee.
Fidelity offers a $0 commission on equities, ETFs, mutual funds, and options. However, it also charges $0.65 per options contract. The margin rates differ slightly, Schwab offers a 4.7% above $1M, and Fidelity offers 4% for the same amount. Additionally, a broker-assisted trade at Charles Schwab will cost you $25, whereas Fidelity charges a $32.95 fee.
Charles Schwab vs Vanguard
You just need to glance at reviews of Charles Schwab to see that customers make frequent comparisons between Schwab and Vanguard. Both are amongst the best investment companies, and for a good reason. Opening an account is free, and there aren’t any minimum requirements at either of the brokerages. However, Charles Schwab doesn’t charge any fees for maintenance, while you’ll need to pay $20 for Vanguard.
The trading commissions are nonetheless the same; both follow a no-commission policy for most trading possibilities. But, the options contract will cost you $1 at Vanguard and $0.65 at Charles Schwab. It’s worth mentioning that Vanguard doesn’t offer futures and forex trading, and Schwab does. Broker-assisted trading fees are the same on both platforms, $25 per trade.
We went through a bunch of Charles Schwab reviews and concluded that they match with our analysis: it’s an exceptional platform, whether you’re a new or an experienced investor. With a straightforward account creation process, no special requirements, and no trading commissions, Charles Schwab is definitely a top-notch brokerage. Additionally, its apps are loved by many, so you’re in good hands when trading on the go. Schwab’s customer support will answer your needs 24/7, whether it’s a phone call or live chat.
- No-commission trading
- Referral program
- Fantastic iOS app
- Friendly customer support
- High margin rates
- High robo-advisor deposit minimum
- Glitchy Android app
How much money do you need to open a Charles Schwab account?
You don’t need to pay any money to open and maintain a Charles Schwab account. In fact, you can earn up to $500 for opening a Schwab account if someone has referred you.
Does Charles Schwab have hidden fees?
There are no hidden fees. Quite to the contrary, Charles Schwab is transparent when it comes to its fees — they are all listed on its website.
How to close your Schwab account?
You can close your Schwab account by contacting them at a branch, through a phone call, or live chat. You may be asked to fill out some forms for your account to completely be terminated. Furthermore, Schwab can close your account without your consent if you violate its Account Agreement rules. Of course, that carries its own consequences, so it’s definitely not advised.
Is Charles Schwab a good investment company?
If you go through this Charles Schwab review, you’ll see that it’s among the top investment companies. Great for beginner and experienced inventors. It offers a $0 trading fee, and its many tools and comprehensive guides definitely add the cherry on top.