Scottrade has shown to be one of the best online stock brokers to get started with. I hear good things about them all the time from my active trader friends. They also win several awards because of their service. They ranked tops for overall customer satisfaction amongst online stock brokers by JD Power and Associates. So what exactly do they offer?
Fees and Pricing
For the active trader, a big concern is going to be fees and pricing of trades. As you can see by their marketing, Scottrade is proud of their $7 stock trades (market and limit orders). And I understand why. Compared to the Schwabs and TD Ameritrades of the world, Scottrade is cheap. However, you can find cheaper trades with other low-cost brokers. Just maybe not as nice of service. Their options pricing is $7, plus a $1.25 charge per contract. If mutual funds are your thing, they have a list of no-load, no-fee mutual funds that you can get into free of charge.
There are no fees for an inactive account, annual account maintenance, account closing, IRA termination, or online statements.
Technology and Platform
So what do they offer in-terms of an actual trading desk? How do you make trades? Scottrade offers several options for you to do your trading:
- Scottrade Trading Web Site – make all your moves from any computer.
- ScottradeELITE Advanced Trading Platform – an application for your desktop.
- Scottrader Streaming Quotes – monitor in the real-time.
- Scottrade’s OptionsFirst – an options focused application available for download.
- Scottrade Mobile Trading Site – monitor and trade from any internet enabled mobile device.
A No-Fee IRA for the Active Trader
Scottrade will allow you to open a Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, Rollover IRA, and SEP IRA. If you want to actively trade a portion of your retirement savings, then an IRA from a low-cost online stock broker is a great idea. You will get all the advantages of investing with a IRA but without the big trading fees from the mutual fund companies. And keep in mind that you can have more than one IRA account. You could have one with Vanguard holding your mutual funds, and one with Scottrade holding your stocks. Just remember to keep your annual contributions limited to $5,000 across all accounts.
Customer Service and Local Offices
Scottrade is known for their excellent customer service. To reach them, you just need to call (800) 619-SAVE. The call will go to your local office or their call center (if after hours). They also have a contact form on their website. I think part of the reason they have such good service is that they have to staff their local offices. This naturally gives them a slew of people to help field calls and put out fires. Other online only brokers have to build out a customer service team, who aren’t necessarily in the trenches everyday.
Not all online stock brokers can say that they have over 450 local offices to assist you if you need face-to-face help. Each of Scottrades physical locations apparently have staff on-hand to give you live customer support, help you open an account, or answer any of your questions about their services. I find it interesting that Scottrade has the local offices like this. Have you used one of their local offices before? I’d love to hear about your experience.
Great for First-Time Active Investors
Scottrade makes a great stock broker for the investor who is looking to get into active trading for the first time. To sum up my review, I’ll list the reasons why. Because:
- They have very few administrative fees to watch out for.
- No fees to transfer out if you don’t like the service.
- Local offices to teach you and to help you if you have questions or issues.
- They have fairly cheap stock trading rates.
- Do it all from within a no-fee IRA.
Add to the value of this review. Share your experience with Scottrade in the comments below.