I would like to hear from other investors which discount brokerage firm (s) they believe is the best in terms of:
Price per trade
Ease and speed in trading
Cutomer service and Researches
based on their actual experiences.
I currently trade with three of them:
E-Trade, Scottrade and Ameritrade
E-Trade is the lowest in fee, they charged me $ 6.99 per trade. I like their portofolio of showing the date, quantity and price of each trade of each of my stock, that helps me in deciding what to sell and when to sell. They also offer me E-Trade Pro for free which gives me Level II pricings, some time that is very helpful before I put in a sell or buy order because I will know the Bid/Sell quant/prices for each stock. I do not like the way they treated unsettled fund, it is kind of hard to figure out. I could sell some stocks and found that I could not use the proceeds right away. They are some time slow in entering my orders. They did not deposit dividend for US stocks until the end of the day, much longer for foreign stocks (withheld a 20% tax). E-trade's site froze up some time when confirming an order and caused unnecessary delay. This happened after I had installed IE 8 but also happend with Mozilla. Therefore it made me think it was their web site problem. They do have a 2-second guarantee for placing some orders but I never understand when it applies. They need better customer service.
Scottrade - they charge $7 per trade and they are the only one who has two local offices but some time the people work there are not very knowledgeable. Their portfolio format is a mess and does not show the date, price and quantity of each trade. You can obtain that info by going to another page which is inconvenient. Recently, after they redid their web site, it froze up all the time. They also did not allow you to buy quite a few preferred stocks, you must call their offices to place the BUY order but you can sell them. Very weird! The way they show the actual BUY and SELL orders are a real mess, it will go on forever if you sell/buy a large order of any stocks in smaller lots. The summary will go on forever. They need to look at E-Trade's design. They really need to improve their web sites. They also would not deposit any dividend until the end of the day and much longer (very long) for foreign stocks and withheld a 20% tax. They do seem to have the most "RELAXED" policy for what considered to be unsettled funds that can be used for immediate trade.
Ameritrade - the only reason I signed up with them was because they offered unlimited trades for one month. They have the highest commission per trade - $ 9.95 Their trading platform is kind of awkward but they have excellcent researches especially on valuation of a stock. Their trading speed of orders seem to be the fastest among the three and I do not know why. The way they show their portfolio is kind retarded, just like that of Scottrade because no matter how I tried to custom it, I could not make it show specific details of each of my trades for each stock (like purchase date, price paid, quantity, etc.) unlike the organized format provided by E-Trade. They did deposit stock dividends before the end of the date, faster than either E-Trade and Scottrade.
In short, in terms of the above factors, I believeI l like E-Trade the most.
I use Ameritrade and Scottrade and like them both. Being an income investor who gets monthly dividends, I like Ameritrade's feature to electronically transfer funds in both directions, to my local bank and from my local bank to my brokerage account. Scottrade uses paper checks mailed to me, but I like the $7 fee for each trade no matter share quantity. Both have good research tools.
Anyone own AINV and PNNT? Do you have a preference as to which of the two BDCs is the best?
Disclosure: Not a PNNT shareholder, but thinking about buying PNNT. Currently own AINV, ARCC and PSEC.
....Lot of interesting notes on discount brokers, but for what it is worth I used to be with Wachovia. They would charge $29.95 per trade so consequently I traded only as required. When Wells-Fargo took over things really changed....I get 100 free trades per year and anything over that it is $5.99 per trade. They make trades so fast that I can call up quote right away and the trade is done already....Very good view of positions, trades, interest and dividends and everything you want to know. If you have a problem they have several people that can be contacted with great results per se!...
....Wife has account to so double free trades!
you have the answer. all 3 are good. use scottrade to trade, etrade for drips and research, ameritrade for research. with what you pay etrade trade there also. sounds like if you are trying to come up with just one it would be etrade. what do you think of their security device? i love it.
I'm very happy with Scottrade. They do have a few on-line issues with format but nothing that is a deal breaker for me. You get what you pay for and I don't expect them to be knowledgeable. I do have to call in to place a few trades that I cannot make on-line but once again not a deal breaker.
I use both Aneritrade and Etrade. I agree with you about how positions are shown on Ameritrade. You will like it better if you use the "Gainskeeper" feature. This display is similar to what you see on your Etrade portfolio page and shows all the data you want to see. I like Etrade because the Drip activation feature is easier to access. Almost impossible to find on Ameritrade. Etrade also has an alert flag on the home page announcing a dividend or other action with one of your stocks whereas with Ameritrade one needs to access the history page to see what's going on. The Etrade site is more user friendly in general and if it wasn't for the great research available on Ameritrade I would transfer all my investments to Etrade.
Ameritrade and Schwab work for me.
I like the full-featured service of Schwab and actually find the trading platform for AT to be pretty intuitive.
I don't trade frequent enough to have an interest in E-trade. If I met its trade freq requirements for its premium service, I might be more interested.
I've been with Ameritrade since it took over Waterhouse. I have had very good experience with them, rapid trades and excellent customer service. In case of a couple of glitches in trades they made it right by giving me a few free trades.I am a very satisfied customer.