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Scottrade Review

securely through Scottrade's website

1 Minute Review

Scottrade, which has been acquired by TD Ameritrade, is in the process of being integrated into the latter’s network. For now, Scottrade stands out for its breadth of presence (500+ branches), and product and service offerings, which come at a fee that is cheaper than, or if not comparable with the other discount brokers. On the technology front, the firm is fairly competent, with multiple platforms and tools, while its research offerings are rich, appealing to both beginners as well as advanced traders.

Best For

  • Beginners
  • Retirees
  • Students


  • Large branch networks
  • Diverse asset classes
  • Zero balance facility for retirement accounts


  • Limited third-party research
  • Uncertainty surrounding integration with TD Ameritrade
  • Expensive relative to robo-advisors

Who’s it For?

Scottrade, with its extensive network of brick-and-mortar branches and dominant online presence, is well-suited for diverse clientele.

Beginners and Passive Investors

Among discount brokers, Scottrade is great for beginners, given its extensive branch network which facilitates one-on-one communication with actual Scottrade advisors. (This is in addition to excellent customer service provided through live chat, phone and email.)

Scottrade’s multiple platforms, including a mobile platform for the on-the-go investors, technology such as streaming quotes, news and analysis and the smattering of third-party research are also big hits among investors.

Retirement Planners

For those looking toward retirement, Scottrade provides transparent pricing, with no minimum account balance requirement, a slew of investment products as well as third party research. The firm helps you to zero in on the right kind of retirement investment option by asking a series of questions.

Scottrade offers rollover IRAs, traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs, SEP IRAs and SIMPLE IRAs.

Investment Products

  • Stocks
  • International investing
  • Fixed income, including treasuries
  • CDs
  • Options
  • Mutual funds
  • ETFs
  • Margin trading and interest rates

Commissions and Fees

Order Type Stocks and ETFs Options
Online $6.95 $6.95 + $0.70/contract
Broker-assisted $32 $32 + $0.70/contract
Touchstone (IVR) Phone System $32 $32 + $0.70/contract
Option Exercises and Assignments N/A $17

Trading Fees For Mutual Funds

Fund Buy Sell and Exchange Broker-Assisted Buy Broker-Assisted Sell and Exchange
No-load, No-transaction fee No fee No fee $25 $25
No-load  $17  $17 $42 $42
Load No fee $17 No fee No fee

Scottrade charges a short-term redemption fee for all no-load shares purchased from it and held 90 days or less.

Fixed Income

Product Fee Minimum Increments
CDs, New Corp Offers, OTC Secondary Corp, Treasury Investments Scottrade acts as principal $5,000 $1,000
OTC Secondary Municipals  Scottrade acts as principal  $5,000 $5,000
Listed Corporate Bonds $35 + $3 per bond $1,000 $1,000
Unit Investment Trusts $50 liquidation Check prospectus N/A

Scottrade also charges additional fees such as mail confirmation to an online account ($1), mail statement to an online account ($2), overnight delivery ($25) and pre-reorg stock certificate deposit ($90).

Scottrade requires a minimum account balance of $2,500, except for the IRAs, which are zero-balance accounts.

However, the firm does not charge fees for account maintenance and inactivity.

To use ScottradeELITE, clients should either have $25,000 in their primary account or $15,000 minimum in their primary account and combined link account assets of $25,000 or more, along nine or more stock or options trades during the previous three months.

Platform and Tools

Scottrade offers four different platforms, including its general Client Website, Scottrader Streaming Quotes, Mobile and ScottradeELITE. The firm promotes these platforms for different categories of clients such as long-term investors, active investors and traders, investors and traders and trading enthusiasts.

The Mobile App is available for both iOS and Android operating system.

All four platforms offer investment research and market news, watch lists and stock, ETF and option trading.

Additional features:

  • Clients website (meant for long-term investors) includes screeners, portfolio management tools and mutual fund, CD and bond trading
  • Scottrader Streaming Quotes (for active investors and traders) offers real time streaming quotes, streaming news and NASDAQ Level II. Along with streaming quotes, the platform helps create charts and analyze market patterns and identify opportunities with over 30 different technical indicators and trend lines.
  • Mobile (for investors and traders) offers real time streaming quotes.
  • ScottradeELITE (for trading enthusiasts) features real time streaming quotes, screeners, streaming news and NASDAQ Level II, access to Intraday Trader by Recognia, NASDAQ TotalView. This customizable desktop application also provides access to numerous third-party tools, including research from Recognia and pre-defined screeners.

The Scottrade Pro is a platform available on desktop, web and mobile modes, is specifically designed for options trading and has been built in collaboration with Interactive Brokers. However, the firm’s website currently advises clients to shift to TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim platform for a more elite trading experience.

Account types allowed by the firm include standard, retirement, educational and specialty accounts. Banking accounts provided by the firm include savings, checking, money market and certificate of deposit.


Scottrade’s Knowledge Center provides educational resources under various heads such as articles and insights, investment education, calculators (investment, retirement savings, IRA comparison and college savings), platform help and client education events.

Customer Service

Scottrade can be contacted at 1-800-619-7283 between 6 a.m. and 1 a.m. ET, Monday through Friday and on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET.

Chat and email service is also available through its website at these same times.

Clients can also contact a local Scottrade team for assistance and find a local branch easily on the website.

Scottrade’s social media team also answers queries between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. ET, Monday to Friday.

Ease of Use

Opening an account is fairly simple. Keying in basic details such as first name, last name and email address and then choosing a password.

Clients can fund their account through electronic transfer, external brokerage account transfer, wire fund transfer, check deposit and stock certificate deposit.

The firm also offers an online banking facility, although it has stopped opening new bank accounts as of September 14, 2017. Clients who had a banking relationship with Scottrade prior to Sept. 14 can avail traditional banking services such transfers, deposits and withdrawals, ATM/debit cards, online bill pay, online banking and overdraft protection.

Customers can link multiple accounts to the brokerage account, facilitating speedy transfers.

Final Thoughts

Scottrade offers a wide variety of services and products, including hand-holding for beginners. With its multiple, powerful platforms, online assistance and in-person customer service, its low cost rounds out the benefits of Scottrade’s unique selling proposition. However, with the TD Ameritrade integration overhead, new traders may prefer to wait and watch to see how things pan out.

Use Scottrade if:

  • You are just getting started on investing
  • You’re planning for your retirement and looking for the best retirement investment services
  • You are finicky about excellent customer service

Don’t Use Scottrade if:

  • You’re a futures trader
  • You’re looking for commission-free ETFs
  • You are an advanced investor, who does personalized research and analysis with sophisticated trading tools and techniques