• Economical automatic investment plan
• No minimums
• Easy to use
• Apps for mobiles and tablets
• Limited research and education resources
• Limited trading tools
ShareBuilder lacks the polished research and educational offering, the powerful tools and the round-the-clock customer service of its rivals. This online trading house provides a simple and basic program that may suit beginners, although its automatic investment plan is its main draw point. If you are looking to dip your toe in the investment world this could be a good place to start.
ShareBuilder is a Capital One company and the online trading platform is one small part of this mega financial organization. The ShareBuilder mentality is aligned towards simple and easy to understand investing, with limited tools and features but straightforward processes and account management. We checked out the ShareBuilder package to see what this Capital One firm has to offer the beginner and more experienced investor.
ShareBuilder does not stand out for its trading tools. Compared with other online stock trading sites the tools and features are limited and there isn’t a lot to get excited about. That said, the tools that are provided are easy to use and provide some insight and extra expertise to the trading experience. Beginners will appreciate the Portfolio Builder, a tool that lets you input factors like investment goals, risk tolerance, anticipated monthly investment and tax rate etc in order to pull together a portfolio of the types of investment you could be looking at in the future. Watch lists are built into the platform to provide you with info on your chosen stocks and funds, with charts and stats attached. You can also add tracking alerts so you are notified when specific stocks move. With the help of portfolio analysis you can take a quick check on where you hold your assets, how your portfolio is doing collectively or as individual investments, and in which industries you hold.
Commissions & fees
Online trades are reasonably priced at $6.95 while options are $6.95 plus $0.75 per contract - a reasonably good value commission although considering the fewer trading tools and research features you get, this is not discount brokerage. You don't need to maintain a minimum account in order to continue to trade, which is good news for investors who don't trade very often. If you want to save on commissions and just set up an automatic portfolio for growth then $4 for automatic trades is a good price.
The Automatic Investing feature in the ShareBuilder package is one of the main reasons a lot of investors choose this site. You set up a regular schedule for the purchase of the stocks, mutual funds and ETFs you choose then sit back and forget all about it. The automatic investment system is priced at $4 per investment. One other beneficial feature is the express funding ability – move money quickly into your ShareBuilder account for fast trades.
Trade from the comfort of your couch, from a café or from your workplace with the ShareBuilder mobile and tablet apps. Available for iPhone and iPad, BlackBerry and Android, these apps apps are pretty powerful and you can carry out just about all the web functions on your mobile device.
Ease of Use
The training screen is easy to use and the website is simple to navigate but there are few complicated tools or features to navigate so you would expect this. For beginner investors the PortfolioBuilder and the trading screen are clear and easy to read and you shouldn’t have any problems understanding what’s going on. The tools get the job done in a basic fashion but the addition of more advanced tools that are also easy to use would be beneficial – other online trading houses have proved that this can be done; you don’t need to sacrifice clarity for complexity.
Again, the research and education provision from ShareBuilder is not exactly amazing. However, the articles and topics covered will provide you with a good overview of the investing process and your capabilities as a trader. There are no webinars and the number of videos is small. Beginners are well catered for, while experienced investors may want to look elsewhere for more extensive research and information.
You can email ShareBuilder or call between 8am and 11pm weekdays. We would have liked to see a live chat function, or a community of fellow traders, that would broaden the customer service offering.
ShareBuilder is not for everyone, and experienced active traders will probably find other trading houses more to their liking. The automatic investment service is popular with beginners and those that want to take a backseat while still building on their investments. With limited research, basic trading tools and not many support options, ShareBuilder is not the best value stock trading site on the market.
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