• Low commissions
• No minimum trades
• Excellent customer service
• Discount trades
• Advanced trading platform only available to high-value traders
Trade unlimited stocks or hardly trade at all – you won’t be penalized either way with Scottrade. This online broker gives traders a package of straightforwardly priced trades, strong customer service, trading tools and investor education. The service is easy to understand and manage, and is suitable for both experienced traders and beginners.
Scottrade has been in the business since 1980, making it one of the most well-known and established brokers in the online business. Since the 80s, Scottrade has been offering discount brokerage as well as tools for traders to strategize and increase profitability. What does Scottrade give the non-professional trader? We looked at the Scottrade system to rate its benefits and disadvantages.
Trading tools are provided within the Scottrade Trading Website, which you can access when you open an account. The Trading Website is an integrated dashboard that includes a number of tools that help make trading easier. Look up market news and investment alerts, and screen stocks, funds and ETFs according to your priorities and strategy. The Scottrade Smarttext system is a means of reading technical analysis so it makes sense, while the Streaming Quotes are essential (and free.)
The Portfolio Manager is powered by Morningstar and helps you select the right portfolio by allowing for the easy comparison of current and targeted investments as well as viewing the opportunities and performance in your chosen market segments. Additional trading tools include stock performance charts and tables, data comparison tools, advanced charting analysis with over 20 different indicators and trend lines, up to 40 watch lists, and a market movers tracker.
The trading tools included with the Scottrade system are not the most advanced we’ve seen – for a more comprehensive collection you need to have $25,000 in your account to get Scottrade Elite, a downloadable and fully customizable trading platform.
Commissions & fees
Scottrade has a simple structure for pricing with stocks at $7. Options are set at $7 plus $1.25 per contract, and Exchange Traded Funds are $7. There are no set-up fees, no maintenance fees and you can also get up to $100 of transfer fees included. If your account is inactive you won’t be charged. There is a minimum deposit to set up an account but at $500 this is lower than a lot of other online stock trading sites.
In terms of features, Scottrade offers an easy-to-personalize dashboard which you can adjust to display streaming quotes in different layouts and color themes, and you can create your own charts and Top 10 lists. If you are browsing trading possibilities online the detachable Quick Trade Bar allows you to place trades without going back to the dashboard.
However much you trade, it is helpful to have the opportunity to check out the market or place trades while you are away from your computer. Scottrade provides the mobile app and mobile trading website to allow you to do this, which is available for free on iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, and Kindle Fire. There are a number of tweaks to the main software so you can more easily view data and use tools on your mobile device, including SmartText which makes it easier to read charts on the move.
Scottrade is good on safety and security, using a number of measures to protect your account including the VeriSign Identity Protection Fraud Detection Service and measures to keep anyone from accessing your information unauthorized.
Ease of Use
If you are new to trading you’ll find the website trading platform simple to understand and navigate, although you may need some help from the online tutorials if you have limited technical knowledge. More experienced traders can create up to three different home pages for trading with up to 23 tables displayed in each one. Simply drag and drop different elements on the page to organize your data.
Scottrade has a well-stocked education centre with sections of online learning and research programs. Find out how trading affects your tax planning with the Tax Guide, and read articles on investing. There’s a monthly newsletter, and a library of videos. If you need to know how to use any of the trading tools there is a series of simple how-to guides with screen shots and instructions. The site also gives you the chance to take a more active role in education by attending live industry discussions, participating in the community, listening to trader podcasts and watching recordings of events.
For personal support Scottrade offers a telephone line that’s open until midnight during the week, and until 6pm at the weekends. There is also chat support seven days a week and email access to advisers. One benefit of the Scottrade package is the opportunity to speak in person at one of over 500 Scottrade branches.
Scottrade is a stock trading veteran and as such has a solid reputation and mainly positive reviews from customers and the trade. The flat rate commission is simple to understand and good value, while the educational resources are useful. With an active online user community, some good tools, and a clear and clean interface Scottrade is a good choice for beginners but more experienced traders will also find something interesting in this online stock trading company.
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