UPDATED: Apr 25, 2016
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At a middle-of-the-road $7 stock trade fee, Scottrade offers the same level of investment services as many brokerage firms charging $9 and up. To the point of Scottrade being more expensive than some firms, it is important to note their huge network of branch offices offering accessible personal service that can offset this cost for many. This cost will be especially justified to newer investors looking to take advantage of Scottrade’s local branch seminars.
As with any investment broker, investors can be assured that more than just trade fees will be incurred; this, more than most is true with Scottrade. It is important for current and potential Scottrade investors to fully understand their fee structure, specifically as it relates to “service fees.” If one is not careful, fees like real-time streaming quote memberships at $135/ month & miscellaneous transaction fees will quickly add up and eat away profit.
In summary, Scottrade is more expensive than some discount brokers & cheaper than some key industry players. As their costs run right about the middle, their service offerings land about the same spot – In the middle.
Their trading website can be considered a normal, no frills trading platform. This web-based platform allows account holders to keep an eye on their accounts, make preference changes, research and enables access to news and market analytics. It also allows for some basic drag-and-drop functionality as well as customizable quick trade bar encouraging user to arrange data in a way tailored toward ones trading styles.
For the more serious investor, Scottrade offers their version of an “elite” trading platform, ScottradeELITE®. The first thing to note about their professional-level desktop-based platform is the required minimum $25,000 account balance to download and have access to this platform. ScottreadeELITE® certainly offers greater access to tools and trade knowledge not available on their web-based trading website. Advanced trading tools enable users test trade strategies and find new trading opportunities.
ScottradeELITE® is available for customers holding account balances in excess of $25,000. Here are some benefits of this trading platform:
- Trading tools
- Charting tools to monitor price movements
- Access to Recognia’s Daily Report- emailed trading news and ideas
- Filters narrowing searches by volume or price
- Multiple windows detached simultaneously
In addition to the web-based trading site and their desktop-based, stock trading platform, Scottrade offers OptionsFirst® for options trading. OptionsFirst® provides users with:
- Options trading tools including
- Market watch
- Risk assessment
- Hot lists
- Option chains
- Customer support with options specialists
- Real-time profit and loss summaries
- Virtual accounts to test option strategies
In addition to the aforementioned web & desktop-based trading platforms, Scottrade offers mobile applications and a mobile website for the iphone, Android and the ipad. These applications work well for on-the-go market research & up-to-date market trends. Below are a few things you can do with Scottrade’s mobile applications:
- Update account preferences
- Trade Securities
- Monitor Fund Performance
- Transfer funds
- Pay bills (Scottrade bank- online bill pay)
Whether you are taking the first step to secure income for your retirement or you have accumulated funds from past employers 401k’s, Scottrade provides a number of options for both traditional and rollover Individual Retirement Accounts:
- IRA Rollover – Refundable “transfer out fees” when rolled into a Scottrade IRA
- Traditional IRA – Tax-deferred saving with no annual income limits
- Roth IRA – After-tax contributions- money grows tax-free
- SEP (simplified employee pensions) IRA
- SIMPLE (savings incentive match plans for employees) IRA
In addition to Scottrade’s securities trading, they offer banking services through Scottrade Bank; providing checking, saving and interest-bearing money market accounts. Scottrade Bank account holders enjoy no monthly maintenance fees, withdrawal/ transfer and ATM fees.
Scottrade Bank offers:
- Easy money movement between investment & traditional bank accounts
- ATM/ Debit cards and check writing
- Online bill-pay
- Scottrade Bank on your mobile device
When considering Scottrade’s no-frills trading platforms (both web and desktop based) & their middle of the road fees placing them comfortably between true discount brokers & the full service brokers- it begs the question of what sets Scottrade apart? The answer lies simply within their customer service.
The world of investing and trading securities can be a very tricky one, and as one tries to wade through all of the market analysts forecasting and “hot-tips” one can very easily feel overwhelmed. As the industry of online brokerage tailors generally to less experienced traders with lower means (not always the case) it makes perfect sense to focus less on fancy analytics and graphs and more on the personal customer service so many online traders with accounts will require.
Scottrade, with it over 500 brick and motor branch locations offers a more localized, personable approach to their customer service. Say for example a Scottrade account holder contacts the 800 number during market hours (830am-5pm) they will be immediately prompted to enter their Zip code, whereas their call will be directly transferred to the branch office closet to their location, where an actual Scottrade employee will pick up the phone.
If a call is placed to the 800 number (below) after the hours of business, a national call service center will be available.
866-246-1788 – Toll free- US
400-882-2767 – China
0800-666-756 – Taiwan
852-3017-3352 – Hong Kong
314-543-6188 – Fee-charged line
Scottrade is an interesting brokerage outfit when considering its overall utility to the end customers. Scottrade operates a solution-based business model and focuses its efforts & attention on providing solutions and supports to its most valuable asset, its account holders. A noble approach, sure; but to the detriment of Scottrade, its limited number of advanced tools and basic, no frills trading platforms may leave traders who require more advanced options wanting more.
Again, this “basic” offering of trading services can be argued to be offset by its personalized customer service due to it over 500 branch locations as well as its middle of the road fee structure.
For the novice and casual trader, requiring a higher level of personal service & support both over the web and in person, Scottrade, with its nominal fees when compared to other “full-service” brokerage firms, may be a good fit for you.