Firstrade Review: Comprehensive Analysis of Investment Platform

Firstrade Unveiled: A Comprehensive Analysis of the Revolutionary Investment Platform

Explanation of Firstrade

 

Firstrade is an online brokerage that was founded in 1985 with a mission to provide high-quality financial services to customers at competitive prices. The company offers many investment products, including stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, bonds, and options trading.

 

Firstrade is also known for its advanced trading platform that allows traders to manage their portfolios easily and efficiently. Firstrade has been ranked highly by industry experts for its low fees and user-friendly platform.

 

In fact, the company was awarded the title of “Best Online Broker” by StockBrokers.com in 2020. Since its inception, Firstrade has strived to make investing accessible to everyone and offers no minimum account balances or commission fees on stocks or ETF trades.

Softwareista Key Takeaways

 

  1. Zero Commissions: Firstrade offers commission-free trading on stocks, options, and ETFs. This feature reduces trading costs, making the platform suitable for both new and seasoned investors.

 

  1. Broad Investment Selection: Firstrade allows investors to trade a wide range of securities including stocks, options, ETFs, mutual funds, and fixed income securities. This diversity provides users with numerous investment options to diversify their portfolios.

 

  1. Platform User Experience: Firstrade’s platform is intuitive, user-friendly, and suitable for investors of all experience levels. It also offers a customizable interface, which allows users to modify their workspace according to their preferences.

 

  1. Customer Support: Firstrade’s customer service is highly regarded, with various channels of support including phone, live chat, and email. Their responsive team ensures that users get timely assistance for their concerns and inquiries.

 

  1. Research and Analysis Tools: Firstrade provides comprehensive research and analysis tools that offer insights into market trends, company financials, and industry comparisons. This supports informed decision-making for investors.

 

  1. Educational Resources: Firstrade offers a wealth of educational materials such as tutorials, webinars, and articles, helping users to increase their financial literacy and make more informed investment decisions.

 

  1. Security Measures: Firstrade places a high priority on the security of its users, implementing advanced encryption technology to protect user information and funds.

 

REMINDER

Before diving into stock trading, get informed! The Softwareista Team provides an extensive comparison of the 20 best online brokers: Full Comparison in 2023.

Purpose of the review

 

This comprehensive review aims to evaluate the various aspects of Firstrade’s services, including its trading platform, investment options, research tools, and customer service. We will investigate the pros and cons of using this online brokerage so that potential investors can decide when choosing a broker.

 

This review will examine each aspect in detail, starting with an overview of Firstrade’s history and services offered, then evaluating their trading platform functionality. We will then assess the investment options available through Firstrade and any associated fees and commissions.

 

Next, we will analyze the research tools offered by Firstrade before evaluating their customer service support channels, including availability and response time. We will summarize our findings in a conclusion section and our recommendation for potential investors considering using Firstrade as their primary broker.

Overview of Firstrade

 

Firstrade is an online discount broker that provides various investment services to its clients. Founded in 1985, it is headquartered in Flushing, New York, and has over 30 years of experience in the industry. The company started as a means for Chinese-speaking investors to trade securities in the US markets but now serves clients worldwide.

 

Today, Firstrade offers customers various investment options, including stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds, bonds, and options trading. The company prides itself on offering low-cost trades without hidden fees or catches.

  1. History and background

 

Firstrade was founded by John Liu in 1985 as a way for Chinese-speaking investors to invest in the US markets. Liu recognized that there were limited options for Chinese-speaking investors who wanted to participate in US stock markets, so he created Firstrade as an alternative investment platform.

 

Over time, Firstrade expanded its market share from solely serving Chinese-speaking investors and began providing services to all types of clients throughout the United States. In recent years, they have expanded by adding mobile trading capabilities and advanced trading tools.

  1. Services offered

 

Firstrade offers its customers several services, including access to more than 11,000 mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) without transaction fees or commissions. They also offer commission-free stock trades on U.S-listed securities.

 

Additionally, Firstrade’s offering includes diverse products such as bonds from various issuers like municipalities or corporate bonds. Moreover, they provide options trading with competitive pricing & margin rates, ideal for experienced traders taking advantage of market volatility.

  1. Trading Platform

 

The Firstrade platform is simple yet comprehensive; it provides users with customizable options and features like trading from charts, real-time quotes, technical data & charting, stock alerts, etc. The platform also includes pre-built screeners to help investors discover new potential investment opportunities based on specific criteria.

 

Firstrade’s mobile app is available for iOS and Android devices and is designed to be user-friendly. The mobile app has all the trading tools needed to manage your investments on the go.

  1. Investment options

 

Firstrade offers investors many investment options, including stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, bonds, and options trading. They have a huge selection of no transaction fee mutual funds, which are great for long-term investors who can benefit from low-cost investing.

 

Additionally, Firstrade provides an intuitive platform for bond trading with competitive pricing compared to other brokerages. Options traders will also find Firstrade’s pricing model competitive with other leading brokerages’ rates.

  1. Research tools

 

Firstrade has comprehensive research tools that help clients make informed investment decisions. It provides technical analysis tools such as charting & indicator analysis and fundamental analysis tools like newsfeed & earnings calendar, which can be critical when making investment decisions. Screeners are another important research tool that Firstrade provides; users can create custom screeners or use pre-built ones within the platform to filter stocks based on different criteria, such as a market cap or dividend yield.

  1. Customer service

 

Customer service is an important part of any online brokerage experience, and Firstrade takes it seriously by offering a variety of support channels via phone, email, or chat. 

 

In addition, they provide educational content through their website, including articles, webinars, and tutorials for beginner investors and experienced traders who want to advance their skills. 

 

Overall, Firstrade offers a comprehensive suite of services that cater to novice and experienced investors while providing some of the lowest fees in the industry.

Trading Platform

 

Firstrade offers a user-friendly, visually appealing trading platform that is easy to navigate. The platform is web-based, meaning there is no need to download any software or updates, making it accessible from any device with internet access. The dashboard displays the user’s account summary and balances and gives easy access to market news and events.

  1. User interface and design

 

The design of the Firstrade trading platform makes it easy for users to find what they are looking for quickly. It features a top menu bar with drop-down options for market news, account settings, research tools, and more.

 

Users can customize the dashboard to display their favorite stocks or frequently used tools. The interface is straightforward and intuitive.

 

All of the functions are clearly labeled and easily accessible. This makes the platform perfect for beginner investors who may need to become more familiar with advanced financial terms or complex investment strategies.

  1. Order types and execution speed

 

Firstrade offers a range of order types that include market orders, limit orders, stop orders, trailing stops, good-for-day orders (GFD), good-till-canceled (GTC) orders, etc. These options provide flexibility in executing trades according to one’s needs. 

 

The execution speed at Firstrade is impressive; trades are executed quickly after placing an order through their trading platforms or mobile apps. In addition to high-speed order execution time, Firstrade offers real-time stock price data, allowing customers to make informed decisions quickly.

  1. Mobile app functionality

 

Firstrade’s mobile app provides its customers with all the essential features required in a trading platform while on the go. It is available on iOS and Android operating systems providing seamless integration with the desktop platform. The app offers fast and secure trade executions, live streaming of market news and quotes, and real-time account monitoring.

 

The mobile app features a user-friendly interface that is easy to navigate, with all the essential features accessible from the home screen. Users can easily place trades, check account balances, view performance charts, and access research tools via the in-app menu.

Investment Options

 

One of the most important factors investors consider while choosing a brokerage firm is the range of available investment options. Firstrade offers a variety of investment options, including stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds, bonds, and options trading.

  1. Stocks

 

Firstrade provides access to over 11,000 U.S.-listed equities. Investors can trade stocks on major U.S. exchanges such as NYSE and NASDAQ using the company’s trading platform or mobile application. Firstrade also offers extended-hours trading, allowing users to trade pre-market and after-market hours.

  1. ETFs and Mutual Funds

 

Firstrade offers commission-free trading on all ETFs traded on its platform. This allows investors to invest in diversified portfolios with low fees. The company also provides access to over 10,000 mutual funds from different providers without transaction fees or load charges.

  1. Bonds

 

Firstrade allows investors to invest in fixed-income securities such as corporate, government, and municipal bonds at an attractive commission rate ranging from $1 to $10 per trade, depending on the type of bond being traded.

  1. Options Trading

 

Firstrade allows customers to trade equity and index options contracts on its platform at a flat fee of $0 per contract plus a base charge of $0 for stock option trades. This low-cost structure makes it easier for investors to execute complex strategies and earn higher returns through options trading.

Fees and Commissions

 

The cost structure is essential when selecting a brokerage firm because it impacts the potential returns that investors can realize. Firstrade’s fees are competitive compared to other online brokers.

  1. Commissions

 

Firstrade offers commission-free trading for stocks, ETFs, and options. This is a significant advantage for investors because they can save on transaction fees that cut into their profits. Investors can trade mutual funds without paying any transaction fees or loads.

  1. Account Fees and Minimums

 

Firstrade has no account minimum balance requirements or annual maintenance fees, making it an affordable option for investors with small portfolios. However, Firstrade charges a $75 fee for full account transfers from their platform.

  1. Margin Rates

 

Firstrade’s margin rates are competitive with industry standards. The company charges a standard rate of 6.25% on accounts with balances under $25,000 and offers lower rates to those with higher balances.

  1. Other Fees

 

Firstrade charges additional fees, such as a $30 charge for outgoing wire transfers and a $50 per year fee for IRA accounts. However, its overall fee structure is still competitive compared to other online brokers in the market. 

 

Overall, Firstrade offers an impressive range of investment options at low commission rates, making them an attractive choice among investors looking to save money on trading transactions while investing in diverse portfolio options.

Research Tools

  1. Technical Analysis Tools

 

One of the key features of Firstrade is its comprehensive suite of technical analysis tools. These tools allow traders to analyze market trends and make informed trading decisions.

 

Firstrade’s technical analysis tools include various charting options, including line, bar, and candlestick charts. Traders can also use a range of technical indicators to help them identify trends and patterns in the market.

 

Firstrade offers real-time data on stocks, ETFs, and mutual funds that can be used to create customized watchlists. The platform also has a variety of screeners that allow users to filter stocks based on specific criteria such as price-to-earnings ratio or dividend yield.

 

In addition to these features, Firstrade has a customizable dashboard allowing users to track their real-time portfolio performance. Users can set up alerts for specific stocks or ETFs and receive notifications when significant price movements occur.

  1. Fundamental Analysis Tools

 

Firstrade’s fundamental analysis tools are designed to help investors make informed decisions about which stocks or funds to buy or sell. These tools provide detailed financial data on companies, such as earnings per share (EPS), price-to-earnings (P/E) ratios, and book value. Investors can use these metrics to compare companies against each other and evaluate their financial health.

 

In addition to financial data, Firstrade provides access to company news articles from sources such as Reuters and MarketWatch. By combining fundamental and technical analysis, investors can gain a more complete picture of the market and make better-informed investment decisions.

  1. Screeners

 

Firstrade’s screeners are powerful tools for investors who want to filter stocks based on specific criteria. These screeners allow users to search for stocks based on factors such as market capitalization, dividend yield, and price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio.

 

Users can also create custom screens based on their criteria. For example, an investor might create a screener that looks for companies with low debt-to-equity ratios and high return on equity (ROE).

 

Firstrade’s screeners are easy to use and provide a wealth of information about the companies that meet the selected criteria. Investors can use these tools to quickly identify potential investment opportunities or screen out stocks that do not meet their investment objectives.

Customer Service

  1. Availability and Response Time

 

One of the most important aspects of any online broker is their availability and responsiveness to customer inquiries. Firstrade takes customer service seriously, offering a variety of ways to get in touch with support staff. Phone support is available Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm EST, while email support is available 24/7.

 

Chat support is also available during business hours. In our experience, response times were generally fast and helpful, with phone wait times averaging less than two minutes.

 

Email responses came back within one business day, which is about standard for the industry. The chat support was also responsive but offered a different level of assistance than phone or email.

  1. Support Channels

 

Firstrade offers several different ways for customers to get in touch with their support staff. Phone and email are the standard options, but Firstrade also offers chat support during business hours. Additionally, Firstrade has an extensive FAQ section on its website that covers many common issues and questions.

 

One downside to Firstrade’s customer service options is that they need a physical branch network for customers who prefer in-person assistance. While this may be fine for some investors, it could be a drawback for those who prefer more personalized help.

 

Overall, however, we found that Firstrade’s extensive customer service options provided adequate help when needed. The lack of physical branches may be an issue for some individuals but does not significantly impact our overall impression of Firstrade’s customer service offerings.

  1. Expert Tip 1: Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions

 

When it comes to investing your hard-earned money, there are no stupid questions! If you are unsure about how something works or have concerns about your account at Firstrade, feel free to contact their customer service team. Their representatives are there to help and can often provide valuable insights or guidance that could help you make better investment decisions.

  1. Expert Tip 2: Use the FAQ Section

 

Before contacting customer support, consider using Firstrade’s extensive FAQ section on its website. This resource covers many common issues and questions and may have the answer you want without waiting on hold or sending an email. Additionally, browsing the FAQ section can help you become more familiar with Firstrade’s trading platform and services.

Pros and Cons of Firstrade

Advantages of using Firstrade

 

Firstrade is a popular online brokerage firm that has been around for over 30 years. For several reasons, investors use Firstrade as their preferred brokerage platform.

 

One of the main advantages is its low trading fees and commissions, making it an attractive option for investors who want to minimize costs. In addition, Firstrade offers a wide range of investment options such as stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, bonds, and options trading.

 

Another advantage of using Firstrade is its intuitive and user-friendly trading platform. The platform offers a variety of tools, such as technical analysis tools, charting capabilities, and screeners, to help you make informed investment decisions.

 

The mobile app functionality also makes it convenient for investors to keep track of their investments while on the go. Firstrade also offers excellent customer support services.

 

They have a dedicated team available 24/7 via phone or email to answer any questions you may have about your account or trades. Moreover, they provide educational resources such as webinars and video tutorials to help enhance your knowledge in investing.

 

Firstrade provides access to research materials from reputable sources such as Morningstar and Zacks Investment Research. These materials include market news updates, analyst ratings, and reports that can supplement your research efforts.

Disadvantages of using Firstrade

 

Despite its numerous advantages, there are also some drawbacks to using Firstrade as your broker. One potential disadvantage is the need for advanced research tools compared to other brokers in the industry.

 

While they provide access to basic market information from reputable sources like Morningstar or Zacks Investment Research mentioned earlier, they need more powerful tools like advanced charting capabilities found on other platforms like Thinkorswim by TD Ameritrade. Another possible disadvantage is the limited investment options that Firstrade offers.

 

Though they offer a wide range of investment options, some traders may need more than them for their needs. For example, Firstrade does not offer forex and futures trading, which can limit the trading strategies you can use.

 

Some users have reported slower order execution times compared to other brokers in the industry. While this may be fine for some, day traders or high-frequency traders who need speedy trades could find this a significant drawback when using Firstrade.

Softwareista Final Word

  1. Summary of the Review

 

Firstrade is an excellent online brokerage firm for beginner and experienced investors. The platform is easy to navigate, with numerous investment options at low fees and commissions. The research tools are top-notch and can help you make informed investment decisions.

 

The trading platform is well-designed and user-friendly, with fast execution speeds making it possible to trade in real-time. Whether it’s stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, or bonds, you will find everything you need on Firstrade.

  1. Recommendation for Potential Users or Investors

 

If you’re a beginner looking for an easy-to-use trading platform without too many bells and whistles, Firstrade is an excellent choice. With zero commission on stock trades and no account minimums or maintenance fees, it’s a low-cost way to start investing.

 

However, if you’re an experienced trader who needs advanced trading tools such as options trading or margin accounts, then Firstrade may not be the best fit for you. Other brokers, such as TD Ameritrade or E* TRADE, are more suitable in this case.

 

Our recommendation for potential users or investors would be to consider Firstrade as a viable option due to its low entry costs and ease of use. It’s worth noting that while they are still growing their offerings in some areas compared to other brokers, they make up for this by offering better pricing.

Softwareista FAQ Section

  1. Does Firstrade charge commission fees for trades?

 

No, Firstrade offers zero-commission trading on stocks, options, and ETFs.

 

  1. What types of securities can I trade on Firstrade?

 

Firstrade allows trading a broad range of securities, including stocks, options, ETFs, mutual funds, and fixed-income securities such as bonds.

 

  1. Is Firstrade suitable for novice investors?

 

Yes, Firstrade is designed to be user-friendly for beginners and experienced investors. It offers educational materials and a user-friendly platform that helps novices understand and navigate the trading process.

 

  1. What kind of customer support does Firstrade offer?

 

Firstrade offers customer support via multiple phones, live chat, and email channels. Their team is responsive and ready to assist with any issues or inquiries.

 

  1. Does Firstrade offer any tools for research and analysis?

 

Yes, Firstrade provides various research and analysis tools, which provide insights into market trends, company financials, and industry comparisons.

 

  1. How secure is Firstrade?

 

Firstrade takes security seriously and employs advanced encryption technology to safeguard user information and funds.

 

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