Firstrade Review

Firstrade Review

6 min read

Are you reading the Firstrade review because you’ve heard that this broker is now matching Robinhood’s commissions? Wait! What? Oh! Haven’t you heard?

Firstrade is a good zero commissions broker. Commissions on all trades involving stocks, ETFs, options, and mutual funds are now equal to the modest sum of 0. And that is not the letter O or a typo. It’s zero as in commission-free trading. Brokers are an important part of trading. Hence this Firstrade review. Many times when we think of stock trading, we think of patterns and candlesticks.

And yes, those are all essential. However, trading companies are a large part of trading. The reason for this is it’s where the business happens.

It’s here orders are placed, charts are found and profits are made and lost. Therefore, it’s essential to find a broker you’re comfortable with.

Read our post on reading stock charts if you’re new or need a refresher. Let’s get on with this Firstrade review to see if it’s a broker for you.

What’s the Downside?

Will you have built-in access to the same trading resources and research offered by TD’s ThinkOrSwim (TOS) or the Trader Workstation (TWS) of InteractiveBrokers?

Maybe not. But you can always use TOS to plan your trades and execute your plan with Firstrade. The downside of Firstrade may be the web-only access platform.

But for most beginning self-directed traders, Firstrade provide sufficient research tools. It has a clean and easy-to-use online interface that will satisfy newbies’ requirements.

And if you’re a trader on the go, the iPhone/Android app gives you the necessary tools to keep up with the markets and your portfolio.

Bottom line, all trading is done via a browser or using the “Trade on the go” app.

What Are Firstrade’s Fees and Commissions? (Pricing Review)

  1. Zero commissions:
  2. Stocks – $0
  3. ETF‘s – $0
  4. Options – $0

When you research reviews of brokers, you likely try to find features that would distinguish one versus the others. Frankly, the more brokers you consider, the more they seem to resemble each other.

Just take these four popular brokers: TD Ameritrade, Fidelity, E*Trade and Charles Schwab. At the time of this writing, their advertised commissions for online stock orders ranged from $4.95 to $6.95. So if fees are your primary concern, neither of them will impress you.

Firstrade, on the other hand, reduced its standard online equity and ETF trade commissions from $4.95 to $2.95 back in 2017. And in 2018, well, down to zilch.

Free trading brokers are extremely popular. However, you want to find a good one. 

Plus Side

Firstrade Securities, Inc. (formerly First Flushing Securities, from Flushing, New York, hence explaining the name) is the brainchild of John Liu, who started the company in 1987.

So Firstrade is not your new kid on the block. It’s an established company, and it offers a large selection of investment products. After all, they were one of the first online trading platforms to come along.

And if zero commissions on stocks, options, exchange-traded funds and mutual funds (11,000 of them at last count) isn’t a plus enough for you. They also provide free access to reports and research from Benzinga, Briefing, Morningstar and Zacks.

On top of that, Chinese-speaking traders will enjoy services in Chinese (Simplified and Traditional) including online trading sites and toll-free phone help in Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese).

Additionally, Firstrade does something that most American brokerage firms rarely do. It allows the opening of an account from multiple international countries from Asia and a few more countries for those wanting to invest in the US markets.

Better for Traders or Investors?

It is pretty evident that with zero Commission on trades of stocks, options, and ETFs, this online broker is well suited for active traders if they don’t mind having to trade with an online interface only.

Small investors and beginning traders will also appreciate 0 minimum deposit requirements to open an account.

Although the Firstrade website does include educational material mostly geared toward investors wanting to grow their money passively, if your goal is to be a day-trader, you may be best served by learning charting/candlestick and technical analysis.

Firstrade is not your ideal broker if you need professional investment advice and management of a portfolio. If you’re that kind of investor and have at your disposal limited amount of funds, you may prefer those Robo advisor services little to no fees such as Betterment and Wealthfront.

Other Features of Interest

  • Extended hours trading for available stocks starting at 8:00 am until 8:00 pm Eastern time.
  • Support via live chat, phone, email, Facebook and Twitter.
  • Protection of up to $150 million on accounts.
  • Free research & tools including the Morningstar Stock Reports
  • Streaming watchlist with real-time streaming quotes.
  • Screeners based on your filtering criteria.

Keep in mind that Firstrade also offers other products/services that will incur fees. Items like Bonds/CDs/Fixed Incomes products, margin investing and IRA retirement.

Firstrade Stock Price and Symbol: Are They Publicly Traded?

Investors cannot purchase shares of Firstrade because the company is privately held.

Firstrade Review Final Thoughts

There are other brokers offering commission-free trading such as Tradezero, which is based offshore, and Robinhood.

I think that no commissions trading is a trend that will spread in the future. Firstrade makes money from the interest on its credit and margin balances just like banks make interest on deposits and mortgage income. Firstrade also benefits from routing venues and shares execution income.

Are you a small investor aiming to become self-directed, or, better yet, committed to learn stock trading and become an active trader? Maybe even a day trading superstar?

Firstrade is an excellent broker to begin on the path of taking control of your financial future. Even experienced investors without a need for guidance will appreciate the zero commissions offer of a well rooted, and stable broker like Firstrade.

Firstrade has little education available on their website and what’s there is very basic. In other words, you’ll need to acquire your training somewhere else.

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