• Extensive educational resources
• Free live seminars and workshops (online and in-person)
• Professional and reliable company
• 24/7 customer support
• Higher commissions
• No live chat support
Find banking services and trading services under one roof at Charles Schwab. This professional and well-established investment and trading company provides all you need to trade and maximize your investments. With an extensive collection of research and education materials and some useful trading tools, Charles Schwab is worth looking at.
Charles Schwab has been carving a name for itself in the brokerage business since 1973. Not just an online trading portal, Charles Schwab offers the whole range of investment and financial planning services you would expect in a global financial giant. But sometimes the biggest aren’t always the best for individual investors – does Charles Schwab offer non-professional traders a good deal and a good experience? We checked out Charles Schwab’s active trading offering to see how it compares.
Charles Schwab trading tools are solid and useful – easy to use and manage, without taking too long to get to know. The package is called StreetSmart Edge and comes in downloadable or cloud format. The chart pattern recognition technology is useful as it lets you make a real-time scan of the market for signals, view chart patterns and create alerts based on these patterns in order to monitor positions. Creating charts is also a satisfying process with the level of technology you have available at your fingertips. The Symbol Hub is integrated within the tools dashboard and it allows you to consolidate your view of charts and live data in order to keep track of multiple symbols. Risk management tools allow you to place multi-leg orders and brackets in the same ticket, while you can also cancel or edit conditional orders. The screening tools are also effective, allowing you to build custom screens that are tailored to your own strategy.
Commissions & fees
Like many of its competitors, Charles Schwab makes use of a flat price commission structure. The flat price is $8.95 for each stock trade and trading for every option is $8.95 plus $0.75 per contract. This is not discount trading but represents good value for what you get from the package as a whole. You can open an account with a minimum $1,000 deposit.
The Charles Schwab system benefits from an integrated mobile app for trading on the go. With the mobile app you are fully connected to market data while using your mobile or tablet. View market data in real time, look at market and security quotes, and keep an eye on your own watch lists. You can also trade direct from your mobile, placing trades and monitoring your positions with ease. Research features are accessible including a live stream of CNBC TV and data on price and volume plus information from the interactive charts. Another use from the mobile app is the ability to manage multiple accounts at Charles Schwab, making it easier to transfer funds between accounts and view balances across the Charles Schwab product range.
Ease of Use
The trading platform, StreetSmart Edge, is complex but you will get the hang of it after exploring all the features. We like the one-off training session you get when you open an account. Once on board you follow a “tour” that introduces you to the new trading tools and helps you configure and customize them according to the way you trade. You also get guidance on how to use the educational and research resources, plus advice on which tools and research will be most beneficial to you based on your strategy and how often you trade. Practically everything is customizable to your liking, making the platform as user-friendly as you want it to be. Some features are not as intuitive as others but in general the system is easy to manage.
The quality of support from Charles Schwab is high. Support often comes from professional and experienced traders who provide guidance and expertise. Leveraging the support of professionals is important for both beginners and seasoned traders, and helps you make the most of the trading package. There is also a trading community – fellow traders you can share ideas with and get insight from. You can call 24 hours a day, seven days a week for help, or send an email. We found customer support to be courteous, helpful and professional and we appreciated that we could get in touch at any time during the week.
The Schwab Learning Center contains links to pre-recorded and live web seminars, articles on various topics, and how-to guides on how to operate and make the most of the trading and research tools offered in the package. The education resources are particularly good for the beginner as there is a lot about getting started and learning about trading. The live online seminars, online workshops and in-person workshops – over 3,000 a year - are of great benefit to traders. You can also use the educational resources provided by OptionsXpress, a recent Charles Schwab acquisition.
Charles Schwab is a big name and delivers a big product. For traders of all levels that are looking for a service with usable trading tools, extensive educational resources and access to research, Charles Schwab is a good choice. The company stands out for client support and educational resources, including live online and in-person workshops and seminars, although the commission is not the lowest in the business.
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