I‘ve been doing quite a bit of research lately into what options are available to me when it come to finding a good discount brokerage. I’m finding that there are a lot of good companies out there, so making a decision on which one to use may be a bit difficult.
When it comes time to choose the right brokerage for me, I'll be considering quite a few things. Among them, the costs associated with having an account, how much the trades cost, user reviews and the tools they have available to users. Today I want to look at one of the more popular discount online brokerages, Scottrade.
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Some background on the founding of Scottrade, from Wikipedia:
In 1980, Rodger Riney, founder, moved from St. Louis to Scottsdale, Arizona where he and a partner incorporated Scottsdale Securities.
In 1981, Riney returned to St. Louis to open a second branch, but ultimately split apart from his partner in 1985 due to conflicting business models. Riney kept the company name, Scottsdale Securities, and lowered the price of commissions to attract more clients. Riney's approach was successful and by 1991 the Scottsdale Securities had a total of 15 branches throughout the US.
Scottrade.com was launched in 1996 (along with Scottrader.com to supply streaming online quotes to clients). Scottrade.com was successful and grew rapidly amidst the dot-com bubble of the 90s.
In 2000, Scottsdale Securities officially renamed to Scottrade due to the success of their online firm.
Scottrade saw substantial growth throughout the 2000s, expanding from 200 branch offices in 2004 to 500 by 2010.
Scottrade has earned quite a few awards and has been recognized as one of the top online brokers, and apparently a great place to work. Among the awards:
- In 2011, the firm was ranked No. 12 on Fortune's 14th annual “100 Best Companies to Work For” List
- In 2008-2009, Scottrade was ranked No. 1 in investor satisfaction with online investing services for the eighth time since 2001, according to J. D. Power and Associates'
- Scottrade was also selected by Computerworld magazine's 2008 16th best place to work in IT.
- In April 2010, Scottrade was reviewed in CEOWORLD Magazine ranked 2nd Best Online Investments Stock Broker.
Scottrade Fees, Commissions And Minimums
Probably one of the most important things to consider when opening an online brokerage account is to consider what fees, commissions and minimums you’ll see when using an account.
When it comes to trading stocks, Scottrade isn't the lowest cost in the industry, but they are certainly among the most competitive with their $7 stock trades. That rate is for stocks priced $1 and above, regardless of trade frequency, account balance or number of shares. Phone trades are $17, while broker assisted trades are $27.
Scottrade's options pricing is at a similarly low $7 per trade, plus a $1.25 charge per contract
Fees And Minimums For An Account
There are no fees for an inactive account, annual account maintenance, account closing, IRA termination, or online statements.
There is a minimum account funding level of $2500 to open a cash account.
Investment Account Options
Scottrade offers a plethora of other investment account options for investors. Among them:
- Traditional IRA
- Roth IRA
- Rollover IRA
- SEP IRA
Scottrade Tools & Education
Want to learn more about investing, the markets and trading in general? Scottrade has live webinars and on-demand webcasts for members. They also offer local branch seminars and regional user summits that not only go over investing in general but also specific aspects of using the Scottrade platform.
On the website itself they maintain a knowledge center, have tools for market research and real time quotes, in addition to having a variety of trading tools. In other words, their website has pretty much everything you could need.
Scottrade Mobile Apps
What information can you get on the apps?
- Advanced charts
- Technical analysis
- Market news and analyst ratings
- Real-time streaming quotes and watch lists
- Investor fundamentals and market earnings.
Scottrade has been rated highly for customer service, and unlike a lot of online brokers they have a network of almost 500 local branches. If you think you may want to sit down with someone face to face at some point, you may want to consider them as an option.
If you want to reach someone by phone, you can do that as well at (800) 619-SAVE. Your calls will go into your local Scottrade office to be answered by someone there.
Scottrade is one of the industry leaders when it comes to affordable online trading and investing. They have $7 trades, low minimums and fees, and on top of it all they've got local branches and customer service should you ever need it. In my opinion they should definitely be a contender if you're looking for a discount online broker.
So to review, some of the highlights of Scottrade:
- Cheap stock trading rates, among the lowest of discount online brokers.
- Few fees to worry about.
- Local offices and customer service.
- No fee IRAs and other investment options.
- No transfer fees if you decide to go to another service.
Have you used Scottrade? What has your experience been like? Are you happy with them? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.