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Charles Schwab Account Review: Brokerage Fees, IRA Investing, Pros and Cons, Mutual Fund Offerings

Charles Schwab Review - Pricing

  • Stocks/ETFs: $4.95 per trade
  • Options: $4.95 + $0.65 per contract
  • Mutual funds: $76 to buy, $0 to sell for no-load mutual funds
  • CDs, Corporate Bonds, Municipal Bonds, Government Agencies, Zero-Coupon Treasuries, including STRIPS and Mortgage-Backed Securities: $1 per bond, $10 minimum, $250 maximum

Charles Schwab Important Fees and Surcharges

  • Extended hours surcharge: $0
  • Large order surcharge: $0
  • Penny stocks surcharge: $0
  • Mutual fund short term redemption fee: $49.99
  • Transfer (out) of assets fee: full - $50, partial - $25
  • IRA setup fee: $0
  • Annual IRA fee: $0
  • Maintenance fee: $0
  • Inactivity fee: $0

Charles Schwab Advantages

  • No account maintenance or inactivity fees
  • Knowledgeable and courteous customer service
  • Over 300 local branches
  • Free dividend reinvestments
  • No IRA fees (setup, annual, or termination)
  • Free guidance and investment advice for accounts with a minimum balance of $25,000
  • Great investment research

Charles Schwab Disadvantages

  • High commissions on transaction fee mutual funds
  • High margin rates
  • Advanced platform is not available for all clients

Charles Schwab Account Types

  • Brokerage Accounts
  • Schwab One® Brokerage Account
  • Schwab One Organization Account

  • Bank Checking plus Brokerage

  • Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA)
  • Traditional IRA
  • Roth IRA
  • Rollover IRA
  • Inherited IRA
  • Custodial IRA

  • Annuities

  • Small Business Retirement Plans
  • Individual 401(k)
  • Personal Defined Benefit Plan
  • Profit-sharing Plan
  • Business 401(k) Plan
  • Company Retirement Account

  • Schwab Personal Choice Retirement Account® (PCRA)

  • Estate Planning Accounts
  • Schwab One Estate Account
  • Schwab One Trust Account
  • Charitable Gift Account

  • College Savings Accounts
  • Schwab 529 College Savings Plan
  • Education Savings Account
  • Custodial Account


Charles Schwab has a sterling reputation within both the online brokerage community and the brick and mortar full service realm. The firm offers many of the same powerful tools as other online brokerages like TD Ameritrade and Etrade, while also providing superior customer support over the phone and in their stores.

Opening an Account

Opening an account with Charles Schwab is not only easy, but it was very pleasant experience. In an online investing industry, Charles Schwab is at the top in excellent customer service. The representatives that answer the phones, as well as those in the branch offices, are very friendly and professional. They will take the time to answer all your questions and will even provide ideas about how to invest your funds. Once you open the account, you may also be eligible to schedule a session with an investment advisor. Investment advisor will talk with you about your financial goals and create an investment profile for you, to help you figure out how to invest your funds.

When we opened an account, the entire process took less than thirty minutes. Once account was open, we had thirty days to fund the account. For funding, we rolled over our 401K account. The funds from the 401K were transferred directly into our new IRA without any hassles or worries about taxes or penalties. Generally, there are no fees associated with the Charles Schwab accounts.

Anytime you have any questions or of you need a help, you can call Charles Schwab at 1-800-435-4000. Representatives are always available to help you with whatever you need.

Charles Schwab Trading Tools Review

Once account was funded, we were eligible to begin investing right away. The tools available on the website are very intuitive and easy to use.

Charles Schwab review 2017

The Charles Schwab website is well designed and user friendly. Much of the clutter associated with other online trading platforms is noticeably absent. It’s easy to research equities within the website. Quotes contain all the relevant information including news, charts, earnings estimates, and even ratings.

The Equity Monitor feature on the website allows for an overarching view of stock positions. This feature compares individual stock performance with the S&P 500 and similar benchmarks.

Charles Schwab review 2017

Charles Schwab features ratings next to individual equity stocks which could be extremely valuable especially to beginner investors.

Charles Schwab review

Charles Schwab's mobile app allows customers view detailed balance and position summaries; transfer funds between most Schwab brokerage accounts on their tablet, iPhone, or Android device; and trade stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, and options, with ability to view, edit, or cancel open orders and close out of positions.

Charles Schwab review

Charles Schwab Commissions and Fees

Commissions at Charles Schwab are higher than the average among online stock brokers for buying mutual funds but lower than the average for trading stocks and ETF's. The firm charges $4.95 fee for online stock and ETF trades, and $76 to buy ($0 to sell) for no-load mutual fund transactions.

Charles Schwab does not have IRA fees, account maintenance and inactivity fees, as well as common surcharges. Minimum deposit required to open a cash account is $1,000.

Charles Schwab Review Summary

Charles Schwab is one of the "Big Five Brokerages": five largest brokerage houses it the Unites States (the others are TD Ameritrade, Etrade, Scottrade and Fidelity Investments). The firm has been in business since 1971.

Charles Schwab created a simple and easy to learn website with plenty of tools and market data. But the real strength in Charles Schwab lies in their superior customer service. The phone support and customer service is all run from U.S. based call centers with staff trained on the latest investment trends and practices. The staff is patient and knowledgeable in all areas relating to finance and investments.

Charles Schwab does not offer the most advanced trading technology, like the one at Thinkorswim, but for the average investor the trading and research tools provided are more than enough. Their advanced trading platform is called StreetSmart Edge. It is a feature-rich desktop application that comes with level II quotes, live streaming of CNBC financial news, and conditional orders. $1,000 minimum account balance is required to gain access to StreetSmart Edge.

Charles Schwab’s original reputation is built upon its brick and mortar business offering clients access to over 300 local branches for in-person visit. These locations provide in-branch workshops, guidance, advice, and help when a computer or a phone call is not adequate. Accounts with a minimum of $25,000 receive the Schwab Managed Portfolio service that provides access to investment professionals and advisors free of charge.

Majority of Charles Schwab's customers are happy with their brokerage. All and all, Charles Schwab is a very good company for "buy-and-hold" investors and for retirement investing.

Open Charles Schwab Account

Make $100,000 deposit and get 500 commission-free online equity and options trades.

Charles Schwab Reviewed by on . Rating: 5
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