Charles Schwab IRA Review

Charles Schwab Roth IRA, Traditional IRA, Rollover, SEP, Simple IRA (individual retirement accounts) review, promotion offer, rating, fees and commissions. Is Charles Schwab IRA good and safe way to invest?

Charles Schwab IRA Commissions
Stocks and ETFs $4.95
Stocks and ETFs broker assisted $29.95
Stocks and ETFs phone trades $13.95
Options $4.95 + $0.65 per contract
Mutual funds $76 to buy, $0 to sell
CDs, Corporate Bonds, Municipal Bonds, Government Agencies, Zero-Coupon Treasuries, including STRIPS and Mortgage-Backed Securities $1 per bond, $10 minimum, $250 maximum
Preferred Stocks and REITs $4.95
Commercial Paper and Foreign Bonds, Unit Investment Trusts call for pricing

Charles Schwab IRA Accounts Offered
  • Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA)
  • Traditional IRA
  • Roth IRA
  • Rollover IRA
  • Inherited IRA
  • Custodial IRA

  • Small Business Retirement Plans
  • Individual 401(k)
  • Personal Defined Benefit Plan
  • Profit-sharing Plan
  • Business 401(k) Plan
  • Company Retirement Account

Charles Schwab IRA Fees

  • IRA setup fee: $0
  • Annual IRA fee: $0
  • IRA termination fee: $0
  • Transfer (out) of assets: full $50 per account, partial $25 per account

Charles Schwab IRA Overview

With the Schwab One brokerage account, investors can trade a wide selection of products, including stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETF’s, options, CD’s, and preferred stocks.

Schwab offers its clients access to more than 3,500 OneSource mutual funds, which carry no loads and no transaction fees ($49.95 fee on sale of these funds if held for less than 90 days). Furthermore, customers have access to 200+ commission-free ETF’s, making Schwab one of the industry’s largest sources of free-to-trade funds.

Pricing, Fees, and Account Minimums

Schwab’s charge for trading stocks and regular ETF’s is $4.95. Placing the trade over the phone carries a surcharge of $5, and placing the trade with a living, breathing broker tacks on an extra $25.

Mutual funds that aren’t transaction-free are a pricey $76 to buy and $0 to sell.

Opening a Schwab checking account with the brokerage account waives the investment account’s $1,000 minimum opening deposit.


Schwab offers in-depth research for stocks, ETF’s, and mutual funds. Customers have access to free stock reports from Morningstar, S&P Capital IQ, Thomson Reuters, Credit Suisse, and others.

Customers also have free access to the very useful Schwab Equity Ratings, which cover approximately 3,000 U.S. stocks and grade them on an A, B, C, D, and F scale.

Schwab also offers its clients free report cards on mutual funds.

Customer Service

Schwab customer service can be contacted via an on-line chat system, phone, fax, or e-mail. The phone service is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and the reps have a history of being trained and actually knowing what they’re talking about. Schwab also offers phone numbers for Chinese speakers and customers traveling outside the U.S.

Schwab provides educational tools to its clients, who have access to live workshops and on-demand webinars.

Trading Tools

Although Schwab does offer trading by phone and with a live broker, the cheapest option is trading on-line. The web site is simple and straightforward to navigate. Customers who have multiple accounts, such as a Schwab bank account or an account with Schwab’s subsidiary, OptionsXpress, will see all accounts upon a single log-in.

Charles Schwab IRA Review: Website Interface

Website trading, available after logging in to, is easy to use and offers the usual trading options for a simple order entry. If you navigate to Trade->Trading Tools in main menu, you get to more complicated trading platforms (you have to call customer service to get access). First is Trade Source - user friendly trading platform, that only offers basic information, such as account balance, portfolio positions, market indices, watch lists, and a trade ticket.

A step up from Trade Source is Java-based After logging on to, customers can click on the icon within their account, or access the site directly. Here, clients will find more sophisticated trading tools such as Level II quotes and option chains. An annoying weakness of the platform is that is frequently takes the customer back to the web site for requests such as funds transfers and stock screening.

Charles Schwab ROTH IRA Review: Charts

For those not satisfied with standard web site tools, Schwab’s crown jewel of trading platforms is their StreetSmart Edge, available via the cloud or as a downloadable program. The platform’s many features include charting with technical analysis, CNBC TV with video archive, account information, Level II quotes, national best bid and offer (NBBO) data and global accounts (if applicable), ETF and stock screeners, conditional orders, options trading, customization options, and more.

StreetSmart Edge

Schwab’s StreetSmart Edge places the broker ahead of some of its rivals, such as Capital One and Vanguard, who don’t have the same quality of trading tools.

Mobile Trading

Schwab has applications for iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire, and mobile web. The interface is intuitive and user friendly. Users can transfer funds between Schwab and non-Schwab accounts, make a mobile check deposit, place trades, pay bills, and contact customer service.

Charles Schwab Mobile App

Additional Features

Besides their regular do-it-yourself brokerage account, Schwab offers a plethora of investment services to their clients. Schwab’s range of financial products include retirement products such as annuities and IRA’s, margin, tailored investment advice, and actual brick-and-mortar branches for old school investors.

International Trading

Investors wanting to trade in international securities should check out Schwab’s Global Account, which allows clients to trade online using the foreign currency of each market they’re trading in. European stocks carry a €19 commission plus a currency conversion fee of 1%.

The Good

Schwab has a large selection of no-cost funds and several trading platforms, making the on-line brokerage firm a good value for many investors. Its wide selection of financial services and products makes Schwab a great alternative to some of its competitors, that don’t have the same range of services.

The Bad

Schwab’s standard commission of $76 to buy a mutual fund is higher than some its rivals, such as Scottrade ($17) and Ally Invest ($9.95). Their initial funding requirement of $1,000 could be a real turn off to those who don’t want a checking account. Other brokers such as Ameritrade and Ally Invest have no minimum initial deposit and no checking account requirement.


Schwab offers good service and benefits at a somewhat high cost that many investors will be willing to pay.

Open Charles Schwab IRA Account

Article was updated on 1/13/2017.

Charles Schwab IRA reviewed by on . Rating: 5
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