Suffice to say that our Charles Schwab review found evidence of a clean track record and a solid reputation as one of the best online brokers. So, should you open an account with Charles Schwab?
image credit: Charles Schwab
Read on as we dive into the pros and cons in this Charles Schwab broker review. We'll also take a look at the important factors like cost, regulation, account types, and help you decide if it's the best online broker for you.
When it comes to working with this firm, we want to make sure that you’re getting an unbiased Charles Schwab review and we want to make sure that you can get a good idea of what to expect from this online broker.
Without further ado, the review of Charles Schwab begins.
It's going to be an unbiased review, AtoZ Markets is not responsible for any opinions made by the writer.
Charles Schwab Review: Company
Charles Schwab is one of the best known investment firms in the world. Charles Schwab, which was founded in 1971 by its namesake chairman, Charles R. Schwab in San Francisco. After it was launched, the company dived into the discount brokerage business a few years later in 1974. The company quickly became the largest discount agency in the country, offering low prices and excellent service.
With over 325 branches and over 1200 consultants, it is also one of the largest. Today, the company serves over 10.5 million accounts worldwide. It has branched out from its discount brokerage roots, expanding to offer comprehensive investment and banking services to novice and experienced investors. The company offers 24/7 customer service, including online chat and a full mobile app.
Pros and Cons of Charles Schwab
Free stock and ETF trading
$0 trading commissions
Sophisticated yet user-friendly platforms
Above-average mobile app
Excellent customer support
No cryptocurrency trading
Commission on the transaction-fee fund
Margin rates are not the lowest
Is Charles Schwab Scam?
Charles Schwab is legit and reliable. For example, Charles Schwab Corp. has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. There were 174 total complaints listed in the last three years. Almost half of these were closed in the last 12 months, as of August 2021. Commonly reported issues included:
Problems with a product or service.
Billing and collections.
Advertising and sales.
The company had 77 complaints logged with the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in 2020, with none specifically about investing and two of complaints relating to “money transfer, virtual currency or money service.”
Schwab offers a satisfaction guarantee: "If for any reason you're not completely satisfied, we'll refund your fee or commission and work with you to make things right."
Moreover, cash on deposit with Charles Schwab Bank is FDIC insured for up to $250,000 per depositor. Investment accounts are protected by SIPC for accounts of up to $500,000 in cash and securities, including up to $250,000 in cash.
Charles Schwab Review: Trading Platform
image credit: Charles Schwab
It's also worth noting in this Charles Schwab review that there are two account types you can open, StreetSmart Edge and Schwab.com.
Charles Schwab's leading desktop trading application, StreetSmart Edge, is a customizable trading platform that you can use to track and place informed trades. The platform is responsive and updates market data second by second. StreetSmart Edge is fully customizable. You can set up individual stocks, funds or watchlists to fill out immediately when you load your app. You can also customize the layout by dragging and dropping different windows to specific areas of the screen.
StreetSmart Edge includes a number of unique and intuitive trading tools to help inform your trades. You can open dozens of orders at the same time and view them all in 1 convenient window. If you decide to close all your positions, you won't need to flip through dozens of tabs. StreetSmart Edge also includes a number of screening tools. You can organize stocks and ETFs by sector, indicator, volatility, average daily volume, candlestick pattern and more.
StreetSmart Edge also includes a variety of live news offerings from traditional search points. You can view an ad-free live stream of CNBC on your desktop 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The platform also includes a robust real-time news stream, allowing you to sort the latest news by industry, specific keyword, or name. You can also sort the stocks by movement, quickly view the stocks that are making the biggest leaps and dips in value with just a few clicks.
If you're a casual investor looking to only place a few trades a year (for example, if you're only investing for retirement), you may prefer Schwab.com over StreetSmart Edge. Schwab.com's web browser trading application allows you to enter buy and sell orders, as well as manage and monitor your portfolio. While Schwab.com doesn't offer all of StreetSmart Edge's research and charting tools, its simplicity can be a welcome change for new investors looking for a less intimidating way to start saving for retirement.
Regardless of which platform you choose, you'll appreciate the customization tools and convenient balance bar included with each platform. Monitor your accounts on a daily or hourly basis by viewing the balance bar, which summarizes the movements of your account.
The Charles Schwab mobile app includes unique features to enhance your trading. Let's take a look at some of our favorite features available on the Schwab Mobile app.
Comprehensive Trading Capabilities: Charles Schwab's mobile app is fully functional and mirrors the full compatibility of the web-based platform. Search for assets, view your account balance and trade with just a few taps.
Quick Deposits: Don't want to wait weeks for the money to be transferred from your bank to your trading account? Schwab Mobile allows you to take a picture of your paper check and deposit it directly into your account. Most checks submitted by 2pm on a business day are deposited before the next day.
Advanced Security Features: Schwab app includes multiple layers of security and encryption to keep your data safe. You can choose between a standard passcode unlock feature or use face or fingerprint scanning technology. Schwab's security guarantee also covers 100% of losses incurred due to unauthorized activity on your account.
The Schwab mobile app is available for free on Apple and the Google Play Store.
Charles Schwab Review: Account Types
In this Charles Schwab review, we’ll help you see the types of accounts this firm offers. These include:
Individual Brokerage Account (for one individual).
Joint Brokerage Account (for two or more individuals).
Corporate Brokerage Account (for legal entities).
Retirement Accounts (Roth IRA, Traditional IRA, Rollover IRA).
Banking Accounts (Schwab Bank High Yield Investor Checking® Account linked to Brokerage Account).
Education & Custodial Accounts.
Deposit & Withdrawal
You can fund your Charles Schwab account using a variety of simple methods. This includes wire transfer, check and Electronic funds transfer (EFT) via Schwab MoneyLink® to transfer funds or assets from an external account. Clients are provided with detailed instructions and online funding tools once they have opened an account. The funding options are limited compared to other online brokers as some users may prefer the convenience of an online payment processor such as PayPal, Neteller or Skrill.
Charles Schwab recently announced that they would like to enter the cryptocurrency space. However, at the time of this Charles Schwab review, they are yet to do so. According to the broker, the delay is due to the fact that they are waiting for more clarity from regulators regarding crypto assets.
However, in this review of Charles Schwab, it’s important to know that you can trade Bitcoin futures that are available through the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME).
Fees and Commissions
Just like other brokers, Schwab has taken steps to lower prices to attract new investors. You will pay a $0 commission on stocks and ETFs and can start investing with a $0 minimum account. Let's take a look at how much you might expect to pay when you invest with Charles Schwab.
Stocks and ETFs $0 commission Options $0.65 per contract Futures $1.50 per contract Mutual Funds Access to 3,000+ Mutual Funds; There are 30 funds without fees, otherwise you will pay a fee of up to $49.95 Bonds $0 on most of the bonds issued by the government Minimum Account $0
Charles Schwab's fees may be low but his margin rates are higher than some competitors.
Margin rates start at 9.325% APR for borrowers using less than $25,000 of margin credit. This is higher than comparable brokers. For example, Interactive Brokers charges around 2.59% APR, while Robinhood charges around 5% APR. If your primary concern is finding the lowest margin rates available, Charles Schwab may not be the best broker for you.
Lower rates are available for borrowers who use more margin of up to $500,000.
As a general rule, you can only borrow 50% of the value of the assets you currently have in your account. For example, if you have $10,000 in your brokerage account, you will only be able to use a maximum of $5,000 in margin.
Charles Schwab offers account holders a number of ways to get in touch with customer service.
Phone: Call 866-855-9102 to contact Charles Schwab by phone. Customer service is available by telephone 24/7 and special lines are also available for Vietnamese, Chinese, Spanish and Cantonese speakers.
Live Chat: You can chat with a live 24/7 Charles Schwab representative on the broker's website. To start chatting, click on the “Chat” icon and log into your Charles Schwab account. You will be redirected to a chat room in the pop-up window.
In Person: As a banking and investment service, Charles Schwab operates a number of physical locations across the United States. To find the Charles Schwab branch closest to you, visit the Company Branch Locator page and enter your location information.
Physical Mail: You can also communicate with Charles Schwab by sending a certified letter to one of his operations centers. Visit Charles Schwab's customer service page, click the plus sign on the “Services” tab and choose your status from the dropdown provided.
Charles Schwab does not currently offer a specific helpline for men and women with hearing impairments.
Is Charles Schwab Regulated?
Is Charles Schwab Safe? When choosing a broker like Charles Schwab, the broker's security and regulator status is very important. Brokers conducting trades without the supervision of a regulatory body do so at their discretion. The invested capital is at risk.
So is Charles Schwab legit? Yes. Charles Schwab is regulated. Established in the United States, Charles Schwab is supervised by the regulatory bodies of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). It is also a member of the Nasdaq and the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE).
In the U.K. Charles Schwab, (Schwab UK) is authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) with registration number 225116.
Regulated brokers like Charles Schwab will not manipulate market prices. When you submit a withdrawal request to Charles Schwab, it will be honored. If Charles Schwab violates the regulatory rules, their regulated status could be revoked.
Loans to Charles Schwab are handled by merchants and held in a separate bank account.
In terms of security, Charles Schwab uses tier 1 banks. Tier 1 is the official measure of a bank's health and financial strength.
Charles Schwab Opinions
Is Charles Schwab good? Our Charles Schwab opinions are positive. The combination of platforms and resources at Schwab are enough to meet the needs of the vast majority of investors and traders. The company has grown dramatically over the last decade, and for good reason. It offers low costs, great resources, and can easily handle any common investment and trading needs.
If you are a very serious active trader, there are a few platforms out there with more features and unique pricing that could be a better fit. But those situations are less common. For most people, even advanced traders, Schwab can handle just about anything you throw at it.
We can conclude from this review of Charles Schwab that this firm is a solid choice for both new and old investors. More advanced traders will love playing with the SmartStreet Edge tool, while novice traders will enjoy learning using the simplicity of the web-based platform. Charles Schwab's mobile app keeps it basic but also offers all the features of the desktop platform, and options and futures trading are also convenient.
As this Charles Schwab broker review shows, this firm could do more to reduce mutual fund and margin fees, although it remains a solid choice for investors of all types. Consider Charles Schwab if you are unsure what you would like from a brokerage platform. Synchronization between Schwab.com, Schwab Mobile and SmartStreet Edge means you can change, upgrade or downgrade as you please.
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