Charles Schwab Review

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Contributor, Benzinga
Updated: May 27, 2022
Charles Schwab
Best For
  • Fund Investing
securely through Charles Schwab's website
1 Minute Review

Charles Schwab is a solid choice for traders of all skill levels. It offers full access to the U.S. equity and options markets as well as 30 international markets. Traders can create a diverse portfolio with $0 commissions and no account minimums. Schwab’s margin trading is expensive but Schwab makes up for it with affordable futures and options trades, along with a comprehensive mobile offering.

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Best For
  • 3 trading platforms perfectly in sync makes matching your platform to your skill level a snap
  • Excellent futures trading education for new traders
  • $0 account minimum means anyone can start trading
Pros
  • Wide range of available assets to trade, including futures and 30 global markets
  • SmartStreet Edge platform is powerful enough for advanced traders, yet easy enough for new traders to utilize
  • Unique educational resources (like infographics and podcasts) make learning fun
Cons
  • Margin rates are more expensive than competitors
  • More limitations on available margin than competitors
  • Expensive mutual funds

Charles Schwab Ratings at a Glance

Customer Service
Pricing
Mobile App
User Benefits
User Experience
Overall

Winner of Benzinga's 2021 FinTech Awards for Best Brokerage for Options Trading.

Investing With Charles Schwab 

With Charles Schwab’s ability to leverage brick-and-mortar offices, an incredibly rich online investment portal with a wealth of information for the client to use and a mobile app granting 24/7 access to customer accounts, Charles Schwab ranks highly compared to other retail financial institutions. 

Charles Schwab offers a multitude of options for clients, including brokerage and trading accounts, retirement accounts and IRAs and global market trading, as well as trust, estate, charitable, education and custodial accounts. 

For its brokerage and trading accounts, it charges $0 online equity fees, requires a $0 account minimum and has $0 in opening and maintenance fees. The platform for traders allows clients to buy and sell financial products such as stocks, options, bonds, mutual funds and ETFs. There are online tools available for the research of possible investments that allow the user to evaluate a possible investment and create a course of action on how they wish to proceed. 

A unique aspect of Schwab's retirement investing platform is the Schwab Intelligent Income program. This portfolio option comes with 24/7 support, has no advisory and no commission fees and can be opened with a minimum of $5,000. The tool allows clients to generate a monthly paycheck from the investments they own for retirement. It gives customers with Intelligent Portfolios the ability to see how long their savings could last. The platform also generates a diverse portfolio of ETFs based on the customer’s goals and predicts what the withdrawals will look like from that ETF portfolio.  

Another option is Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Premium; these hybrid robo-advisor portfolios tap into a diverse breadth of investment choices based on the client's goals. These programs cost $25,000 to open, with a $300 1-time planning fee and a monthly $30 advisory fee after that. 

As an investor or trader with Charles Schwab, you’ll receive premium independent research from providers such as Morningstar (NASDAQ: MORN) and Credit Suisse (NYSE: CS). Schwab also has a rating system called Equity Ratings that rates over 3,000 U.S. traded stocks with clear, professional A-B-C-D-F grades that come exclusively with its rating system. Those who deal with mutual funds and ETFs gain access to Select Lists that show mutual funds and ETFs chosen by analysts to outperform their peers over the next 12 to 36 months. 

Schwab also provides retail banking experiences, including its High Yield Checking that lets you use your Schwab One brokerage account to manage both checking and investments with a single login. 

Customers also gain exclusive discounts for loans, earn competitive rates and access home loans through Rocket Mortgage (NYSE: RKT), America’s largest mortgage lender. Those customers interested in investing in real estate or opening a business have access to a Pledged Asset Line from Schwab, which is a flexible line of credit that lets the customer leverage the value of their portfolio. 

For small business owners, Schwab offers a wide range of plans from SEP-IRAs to 401(k)s. Schwab guides its clients in the selection of a plan that fits their business while attracting and retaining employees. 

Schwab also partners with American Express to offer a line of credit cards ranging from the Schwab Investor Card to the American Express Platinum Card for Schwab. These cards are only available to clients who maintain an open and eligible Schwab account. 

If you want to invest in international stocks, you’ll have access to stocks from over 35 countries and access to over 60 international stock exchanges. 

Charles Schwab Customer Service

Schwab’s customer service rating is perfect for a litany of reasons ranging from physical branches across the U.S., the ability for customers to live chat 24/7 and a phone-accessible customer service department with a number tailored to customer needs. With that level and depth of options, Charles Schwab’s customer service is outstanding in terms of availability. Just like other brokers, Schwab has taken steps to lower its pricing to appeal to new investors. You’ll pay $0 commission on stock and ETF trades and you can get started investing with a $0 account minimum. Let’s take a look at what you might expect to pay when you invest with Charles Schwab.  

Charles Schwab Pricing

Charles Schwab has $0 commissions on online trades with a few exceptions. In broker-assisted trades, there is a $25 service charge for stocks and ETFs, a $0.65 per contract + $25 service charge for options, a $25 service charge for Schwab Mutual Fund OneSource and a $25 service charge added to the online price of a mutual fund. There are no trade minimums and no account minimums. No matter which platform you choose, you’ll appreciate the customization tools and convenient balance bar included on each platform. Monitor your accounts on a daily or hourly basis by viewing your balance bar, which summarizes your account movements.  

Charles Schwab Mobile App

The Schwab Mobile App allows clients to view their accounts, track current market opportunities, place trades and monitor positions wherever they are. The ease of access to the customer's account is a big advantage given the large number of investment opportunities clients have access to. 

Charles Schwab User Benefits

As a customer of Charles Schwab, you’ll have access to everything you could need in a financial institution, from a high reputation in the industry to a multitude of possible accounts and personal investment options as well as a constant customer service connection. Schwab is the ideal financial institution for any type of customer financial needs. 

Charles Schwab User Experience

The mobile app and website has everything laid out and labeled in a concise, clear manner. The information provided to customers regarding potential investment opportunities, what changes could be made to better benefit their financial needs and educational material are easy to grasp for the everyday client. 

Charles Schwab vs. Competitors

What separates Schwab from its competitors can be found in the list below: 

  • Multiple personal investment accounts open to customers
  • In-person physical offices and a web platform for constant access 
  • Extensive market research and insights provided by Charles Schwab analysts  
  • Continual placement on rankings for the best online brokers for beginners 

Charles Schwab Overall

While at first the wealth of services offered by Charles Schwab may look intimidating, its customer care can help you find the right account to fit your needs. It offers everything an investor could want, and with its recent acquisition of the thinkorswim platform from TD Ameritrade, its platform is about to get even better. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q
Is Charles Schwab good for beginners?
A

Charles Schwab is a great choice for beginners as it offers a wide range of account types with an easy-to-use app and web interface. 

Q
How much money do you need to invest with Charles Schwab?
A

There is an $0 account opening minimum to open an account with Schwab; however, to start trading, the initial account deposit is $100. 

User Reviews

steven lankenau

How do you use this product to boost your finances?

excellent service and security

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