Firstrade IRA Review

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

Firstrade IRA Commissions
Stocks and ETFs $2.95
Stocks, ETFs, and mutual funds broker assisted $19.95
Options $2.95 + $0.50 per contract
Mutual funds $9.95
Treasury Bills, Notes, Municipal and Agency Bonds, Zeros & Strips net yield basis
CDs $30 for primary market CDs, net yield basis for secondary market CDs

Firstrade recently lowered their commission charges to $2.95 from $4.95 with options costing $0.50 extra per contract. Loaded mutual funds are free to buy and sell, while mutual funds without a load cost $9.95 per transaction. Also free are real-time quotes, DRIP services, and e-statements. 

Users will see additional fees in a markup/down format for all fixed income products and telephone trades will run a variable fee depending on the purchase. One thing that is really nice about Firstrade is no minimum balance or deposit requirement. Additionally, there are no recurring fees for account holders like you might see from many other brokers.

Firstrade IRA Accounts Offered
  • Rollover IRA
  • Roth IRA
  • Traditional IRA

Firstrade IRA Fees

  • IRA setup fee: $0
  • Annual IRA fee: $0
  • IRA Termination Fee: $0
  • Outbound Full Account Transfer: $75
  • Outbound Partial Account Transfer: $25
  • Roth IRA Conversion or Recharacterization Fee: $25

New Account Setup

New account setup is straightforward and painless. This can be done entirely on the online system which guides users through each step of the process. During the setup process, new users may choose between a margin or a cash-only account and may decide to add options trading as well.

Promotion is available to new users as well: Up to $300 Cash Rewards + 500 Free Trades.

Mutual Funds, ETF's and Options Trading

Firstrade uses Morningstar, an independent investment research firm, to list and detail all mutual and exchange-traded funds.Firstrade has a powerful mutual and ETF funds screener. This screener allows users to search by numerous variables such as YTD returns, total number of assets, minimum possible purchase, as well as keyword searches. Twelve ETF's are available for trading free of commission but must be held for a full month.

For options traders Firstrade offers many really great tools. First, a feature called OptionsPlay gives suggestions and tips for any stock. Second, there is a profit/loss simulating tool that offered in the program. Strategies for calls/puts is available near the bottom of the program on the trade bar.

Customer Service

At Firstrade telephone customer service is available from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. EST Monday through Friday. During these same hours, there is also the option to chat with a live agent online, including those who speak Cantonese or Mandarin. Traveling outside the U.S. should be no problem as Firstrade offers international numbers and the ability to receive a call directly from a Firstrade agent. Fax, mail, and email is also an option. The only branch locations, however, are in New York and are open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. EST. This makes it a bit difficult for those who wish to visit the location. They are also open select hours on Saturdays.

Trading Technology

Firstrade’s website is very user-friendly. A trade bar at the bottom of the screen holds a ton of capabilities and will become your best friend. It may be used to complete many tasks including gathering information on securities’ spreads, volumes, graphs, price, etc. Orders involving limits, trailing, stops, and more can be made right from the trade bar. There is a built-in options feature that makes viewing options change and making put/call orders a breeze.

A dashboard is available which gives information on daily market trends, big movers, account information, and big news. Next to this users can see their account balance, position standings, and transaction history. The search tool can be used to locate bids, fixed-income products, new issues, and contains a bond calculator.

Firstrade also offers a robust set of charting tools. Recent events, extended hours, trend visuals, technical indicators and studies (i.e. stochastic, MA, Williams) are all available here. As for charting styles, candlestick patterns, dot patterns, growth %, and dividend effects are all viewable and customizable. Even the cursor can be switched to show crosshairs that cover the chart or a simple circle/ball. Comparisons can be made and exported via a .csv file.

Again, thanks to Morningstar, Firstrade users have access to market research on economic sectors, heatmaps, treasury yields, and training videos. This research is highly robust and covers all types of securities from small to large companies.

Mobile Trading

Firstrade offers a free mobile app compatible with all Apple and Android devices. Users can buy and sell securities, build and maintain their watchlist, and view market indexes. The mobile app does lack the ability to transfer or deposit funds and view video news. Charting is available in the app and users can look back up to one year for any given security. Tick frequency, chart patterns, and technical indicators are all available on the mobile app and may be customized.

Retirement Accounts

At Firstrade customers have an availability to open a wide range IRA accounts (i.e. Roth, SIMPLE, SEP, and Rollover retirement accounts). Managing the IRA follows the same commission schedule as with standard stock trading and users can close down their IRA free of charge. Mutual funds are also available on Firstrade from Allianz, BlackRock, Fidelity, and more.

International Accounts

Citizens of Japan, France, China, Singapore, and the United Kingdom can use Firstrade and a few customer service lines are offered in foreign languages.

Cash Management

Firstrade offers an optional investment checking account for no charge. Here, users can invest directly from the same account they make debit or check purchases from. This account requires a minimum deposit of $25k and will charge the users 3% for all OUS transactions.

Firstrade Advantages

Firstrade is easily the most affordable broker available with trading commissions set at $2.95 and options charges well below industry average. Other popular brokers may charge nearly twice as much to make trades. Firstrade waives commissions for any S&P 500 orders that take longer than a tenth of a second to execute. This is key for making a trade on quickly moving securities.

The usability of the online platform is a significant pro. The "Trade Bar", for instance, is a slick tool that places all the trading tools in one place. While many brokers do not offer an online chat service, Firstrade does and users should see this as a great benefit.

Firstrade Disadvantages

Firstrade offers no customer support during on weekends or after hours which makes it difficult to address issues during these times. Managed accounts and investment advice is absent on Firstrade altogether. The absence of a desktop application is also a bummer but, as stated previously, the excellent online platform almost makes up for this.

Mutual funds offered through Firstrade are skimpy and therefore do not compete well with others such as WellsTrade. Firstrade charges for no-load products which is a large con as most others, such as TD Ameritrade, do not. Finally, when it comes to options chains, Firstrade offers very few pre-defined strategies whereas TradeStation offers strategies such as butterflies, strangles, and collars.

Firstrade IRA Review - Recap

Firstrade offers some of the best value for stock, ETF and mutual funds investors.

Open Firstrade IRA

Article was updated on 10/31/2017.

Firstrade reviewed by on . . Rating: 4
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