IRA Reviews

Scottrade IRA Review

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

Transition To TD Ameritrade

June 22, 2017 update:

TD Ameritrade, which acquired Scottrade last year, announced that it plans to fully integrate Scottrade this year. For this reason it makes more sense to open an account with TD Ameritrade directly especially considering that their promotion offer basically allows creating an investment portfolio without paying any commissions.

Scottrade IRA Commissions
Stocks and ETFs $6.95
Stocks and ETFs broker assisted $32
Options $6.95 + $0.70 per contract
Mutual funds $17
CDs, OTC Secondary Corporates, OTC Secondary Municipals,
U.S. Treasury Bills, Notes, Bonds and STRIPS, New Corporate Offerings
subject to a markup or markdown
Listed Corporate Bonds $35 + $3 per bond (minimum investment $1,000)
Unit Investment Trusts (UIT) $50 liquidation fee
Foreign Stocks Transferring In or Out $60

Scottrade IRA Accounts Offered
  • Traditional IRA
  • Simple IRA
  • 401K Plans
  • Defined Benefit
  • Money Purchase
  • Keogh DVP
  • Rollover IRA

Scottrade IRA Fees

  • IRA setup fee: $0
  • Annual IRA fee: $0
  • IRA termination fee: $0
  • Outbound full account transfer: $75

Opening a Scottrade IRA Account

It is really easy to open an IRA account at Scottrade and it can be done in minutes. The initial minimum deposit to open a Scottrade IRA account is $2,500. Investors can begin trading as soon as money are deposited into their account. If ACH transfer from most banks is used, deposit process happens instantly, without long wait period. Broker has no IRA account maintenance fees or hidden fees of any kind.

Scottrade IRA Review

Scottrade is one of the oldest and largest discount brokerages and it gained widespread popularity. As a result, last year it got acquired by an investing giant TD Ameritrade, making a combined company arguably the best in features and offerings in the industry.

The firm offers rich selection of services and products, and most of them are free. For example, Scottrade provides investment research with no additional fee from a number of companies such as S&P Capital IQ, MarketEdge®, and Thompson Reuters.

Scottrade Mutual Funds Review

Scottrade charges flat fee of $6.95 on every stock or ETF online trade. This rate remains the same no matter how many trades you do with your account. Trades made with broker assistance cost $32. As far as options are concerned, Scottrade asks for $6.95 plus $0.70 per contract, and $17 for options exercises and assignments. Mutual funds in the no-load, no-transaction fee (NTF) program are free to buy and sell (over 2,600 funds available); no-load funds not in the NTF program are $17 per transaction.

Scottrade incorporated advanced trading into its platform. Along with market, limit, or stop orders, investors now can place conditional orders that are executed only if specific market events transpire. For example, users could create a trade trigger that would execute a limit order to buy shares of Ford if General Motors shares appreciate to a specified price. The logic of conditional trades is straightforward and easy to learn, making it worthwhile because it can reduce lost opportunities associated with limit orders that are never executed. Conditional trading also gives traders breathing room since their accounts can initiate and execute orders while traders are offline.

Scottrade ROTH IRA Review

Account operations at Scottrade are very smooth. We have never had a problem with bank transfers, closing accounts, or viewing our account histories. Tax documentation arrives promptly at the beginning of the calendar year in the mail and can be reproduced from the website.

Scottrade offers clients a Flexible Reinvestment Program™ (FRIP™) which is an improvement over typical dividend reinvestment programs (DRIPs) found at other brokerage firms. Like a DRIP, a Scottrade’s FRIP allows investors to direct dividend income for automatic investment. However, unlike a DRIP, FRIP dividends can be directed for investment in any security or group of securities automatically. For example, a DRIP that invests IBM dividends could only purchase additional shares of IBM. In contrast, a FRIP could be set up to reinvest those IBM dividends in another security such as Apple stock. FRIP purchases at Scottrade can be configured to leave a specified percentage of dividend income as cash, but it does not allow for fractional share purchases. Best of all, FRIPs offer commission-free investment. Overall, FRIPs solve two investment problems: they save dividend payments from sitting as low-interest cash balances and FRIPs also avoid trading fees.

Scottrade Mutual Fund Research

One of the most useful features Scottrade offers is Knowledge Center. Here, visitors can learn about stock basics, how to invest wisely, tax implications, rules on day trading, retirement planning, inflation, and more. The Knowledge Center even has a dictionary of terms from A to Z so investors can get educated on investment lingo and understand more clearly what they are investing in.

Scottrade is helpful for maximizing the tax advantages of an IRA account. IRA investors can put their taxable bond, master-limited partnership (MLP), and real estate investment trust (REIT) securities in their retirement accounts since these investments are taxed as regular income. Precious metal or collectable investment vehicles should also be prioritized for tax-advantaged accounts because they are subject to special taxes. Unfortunately, Scottrade restricts taxable bond offerings to investment-grade debt and does not allow its clients to purchase junk bonds directly.

On the plus side, Scottrade does not charge commissions for most kinds of bonds that are available on the platform. The brokerage only charges trading fees for unit investment trusts and listed corporate bonds (bonds traded second-hand between investors).

Aside from bonds, the firm offers the full array of equity, mutual funds, ETFs, and options that are permitted by the government for IRA investors. Clients can create covered call positions by buying a security and selling a call option. They can also buy puts or calls. Regular Scottrade brokerage accounts allow for other strategies such as shorting stocks or selling options, but these strategies are disallowed in IRAs.

Local Offices

Began in 1980 by Rodger Riney with just two branch offices in Missouri and Arizona, Scottrade today has the largest number of branch offices among discount brokerage firms with a network of 505 nationwide. Most of these offices are conveniently located in shopping malls allowing easy access to customers for asking questions, checking on their accounts, and making trades. The branch offices also offer one-on-one training to prepare investors for trading online as well as group seminars for retirees and the ever-popular investment clubs.

The Good

Scottrade is the lowest priced firm among large brokerage houses. The are no retirement account fees to worry about. The company's dividend reinvestment program is the best in the industry. Largest network of local offices and huge selection of investment products are major pluses too.

The Bad

There is $25,000 minimum account balance, or 9+ stock or option trades during the previous three months requirement to use their advanced trading platform. Also, minimum initial deposit to open an IRA is somewhat high $2,500.


To sum up Scottrade IRA review: low commissions, no-fee retirement accounts, a number of valuable services, some of which superior to what is offered at the competitors, along with a peace of mind by being with one of the most established brokerage houses in the world, make Scottrade one of the best companies for an IRA.

Article was updated on 4/1/2017.

Scottrade reviewed by on . Rating: 5
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