Firstrade Review 2023
Founded in 1985 in the Flushing neighborhood of Queens, New York, Firstrade is a US discount broker that offers trading services for stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, options, and recently, cryptocurrencies. With free stock trading, low non-trading fees, and a smart proprietary trading platform, Firstrade might be the ideal stockbroker for you.
In this post, we reviewed the company’s brokerage services, examining its regulations, platforms, global access, registration, account options, leverage, trading fees, customer support, education, and reputation.
Regulation and Security
Firstrade is a U.S. discount stockbroker that offers investors access to the US markets. As a US-based broker-dealer, Firstrade is regulated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), which are the US agencies that regulate the activities of stockbrokers.
Since its founding in 1985, Firstrade has been committed to providing high-value and quality services to help you reach your financial goals. Firstrade has served investors for over 37 years and is a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) — a federally mandated, non-profit, member-funded, corporation that expedites the recovery and return of customers’ cash and assets in the event of a broker’s bankruptcy.
Negative Balance Protection
This is a safety mechanism to ensure no client is responsible for paying back a negative balance when margin calls and stop-outs do not function correctly. With this, you can’t lose more than you invested and won’t end up owing the broker.
In addition to the standard $500,000 in SIPC protection, Firstrade clients have access to an additional $37.5 million in securities coverage and $900,000 in cash protection through insurance purchased by Apex Clearing Corporation, Firstrade’s clearing firm. This insurance will protect you in the event of insolvency, but it will not compensate you for losses caused by poor investment decisions on your part.
Is Firstrade available worldwide?
Apart from U.S. clients, Firstrade also accepts clients from several other supported countries. You may sign up for an international account if you are not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and do not have a Social Security Number or Tax-ID Number.
The supported regions include Europe, India, Thailand, New Zealand, China, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Japan, Korea, the Republic of (South), Macau, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, and Taiwan.
Firstrade has three trading platforms: a desktop platform, Options Wizard and Firstrade Navigator.
The broker offers its own all-in-one proprietary trading platform known as Firstrade Navigator. The platform is available as a desktop application, a web-based trading terminal, and a mobile app. It offers advanced technical charting, market data, and customizable widgets for research and graphs. Some key functionalities of the Firstrade Navigator include the following:
- Manage and trade from one screen: All your account information and trading screens are now easily accessible from one place. Quickly place and manage your orders, view your positions and balances and track the market.
- Real-time streaming account and market data: All market and account data is now updated in real-time to Firstrade Navigator. Refreshing your online trading tools is a thing of the past.
- Adjustable layout: Easily collapsible columns and panels mean you can adjust your experience how you want. Switch between a compact layout or expanding everything to get the full experience.
- Customizable widgets: Add and drag account and market-related widgets with a click. Arrange them wherever you like to provide quick access to your needed information.
- Advanced technical charting: The most advanced charting platform is available to all Navigator users. Dozens of powerful technical studies for you to analyze and predict stock movement.
- Convenient graphs: Pie graphs provide a quick glimpse of what’s going on in your account.
Firstrade’s Standard Platform
This allows traders to trade stocks and ETFs on any computer, iPad, or mobile device with an internet connection. The platform’s dashboard displays data in two columns by default. The first is an account summary, which includes details like current balances, pending orders, and value charts that show your progress over time. The other offers market statistics such as today’s top gainers and losers, the day’s news headlines, and the current state of major stock market indices.
You can rearrange these columns to prioritize the display of data that is most important to you. The order input panel allows you to obtain quotes, execute trades, and review options trades all from one handy location.
The OptionsWizard is a professional-grade analytics tool that allows serious investors to unlock various investing opportunities.
Firstrade’sOptionsWizard provides instant feedback on the value and likelihood of success of any options trades you are considering. The sophisticated analytics transforms market data into actionable information, helping you formulate the best options and strategies. Some exciting features of the OptionsWizard include the following:
- Professional-grade options analytics made for all types of investors
- Trading strategy checklists
- 1-month/6-month trend indicators
- Support/resistance levels
- Proprietary OptionsPlay Score
- 65+ technical indicators
- Technical/fundamental rankings
- Profit and loss simulations
- 40+ complex options strategies
The Firstrade mobile app is a simplified version of the broker’s main trading platform. This package includes a consolidated view of your portfolio, innovative menus to speed up your trades, watch lists, and options trading.
You can easily download the apps from the relevant app stores(Android and iOS) to access your trading accounts and check trading positions on the go.
Other trading tools
The broker also provides traders with some other helpful trading tools, including the following:
The Morningstar is an essential trading tool that provides an array of investment research and investment management services. The broker offers it as an online stock research tool to help you make sound decisions in building an investment portfolio.
Daily, weekly, and quarterly video discussions on a particular topic, asset class, or security from trusted independent analysts. Best ideas are discussed based on the latest earnings reports and the latest economic and market events.
Market Heatmap is an essential trading tool that offers a broad view of the market with a visual representation of bullish and bearish areas that represent each stock’s performance at a glance.
This helps you to narrow down your investment choices with predefined screeners, such as High Yielding Quality Stocks, Large Cap Growth Stocks, Bargain Basement Small Caps, and many more. You can also customize your screener by choosing from dozens of criteria. It gives a detailed result that is displayed automatically on the same page, helping you fine-tune your selections more efficiently.
Firstradeoffers brokerage and retirement account types:
This conventional brokerage account is designed to enable traders to trade the offered instruments (stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, options, and Cryptos). With the brokerage account, traders can build wealth with an Individual or Joint brokerage account. Under the Individual Brokerage account, you can have a stock trading account for stocks and ETFs, and a crypto-trading account for cryptos.
You can also open a retirement account with Firstrade. The broker offers Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, and Rollover IRA. These retirement accounts help you to save on taxes and accumulate retirement savings.
Other account types:
- International Accounts: For non-residents of the US
- Business Accounts: For corporations, partnerships, and other registered businesses.
- ESA Education Planning Account: Previously known as Education IRA, the account is for those who wish to the education of a designated beneficiary.
- Custodial Account: For minors, until they reach the legal age of adulthood
- Cash Management Account: It enables clients to consolidate banking and brokerage services in one account.
To open a trading account with Firstrade, click the “Open an Account” button on the homepage of the broker’s website. You will be directed to the online application page, where you will be required to fill in the account-opening form, as you can see in the form below:
After completing the form, the broker will require you to submit your means of identification (a government-issued I.D.) and proof of address (a utility bill or bank statement not more than three months old) to verify your account.
Deposit and Withdrawals
Traders can fund and withdraw funds from their Firstrade online trading accounts using the following secure payment methods: local and international wire transfers, credit and debit cards, ACH, checks, and various electronic payment processors.
Because of global money-laundering regulations, the person who holds the trading account must be the one who makes deposits and withdrawals, and they must be paid to the same person. A third party cannot process payments.
The transaction fees vary depending on the payment method, and some payment methods may not even be available in your country. As a result, you will need to contact the customer support team for more information.
Firstradeprovides traders with a generous selection of financial instruments across different asset classes, including Stocks, Crypto, ETFs, Options, Mutual Funds, and more. The multiple trading instruments allow you to diversify your portfolio to limit risks.
Commissions and Fees
Firstrade charges zero commission on all live trading account types. For fixed-income investments, including bonds, Firstrade charges on a net yield basis, meaning the yields you see already include Firstrade’s commission.
Firstrade offers margin interest rates as low as 5% APR. This means that the maximum leverage available at the broker is 1:20.
Note that while leverage can help you increase your position and potential profits, it can also magnify losses if misused.
Analysis and Education
There is a good selection of educational resources on the broker’s website. The available educational resources include the following: blogs, news, glossary, market analysis, learning articles, and more.
Firstrade provides clients with a support team who are available during trading hours. The support team can be reached via various contact channels, including email, telephone, Fax, and social media. Firstrade’s customer service line is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. E.T.
Reputation amongst Traders
The broker’s services have received a lot of feedback on a range of trading websites and forums, some of which have been positive and some of which have been negative. For example, it scored 2.4 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot based on the reviews of 29 customers. While over at Benzinga, the broker received an overall rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. Many investors praised the broker for having such an experienced support staff. On the other hand, other customers were complaining about how difficult it was to make withdrawals.
There is no record of any industry award on the broker’s website at the moment.
Can beginners trade with Firstrade?
Beginners who want to trade or invest in stocks, ETFs, options, and crypto can trade with Firstradebecause the broker provides some training resources. Moreover, a minimum deposit of $0 is beginner friendly.
Operating since 1985, Firstradehas been serving active stock traders and traditional investors for 37 years, providing them with the necessary tools and technology to access their markets of choice. Overall, the broker is ideal for both professional and retail traders looking to use a robust set of trading tools and global access to a diverse range of assets, as well as the regular employee who just wants to save up for retirement. Regulated by SEC and FINRA, which are tier-1 regulators, and with a SIPC membership, Firstrade is a safe broker to trade with.