Author Topic: Which online discount brokerage firm to go with  (Read 6277 times)

astadt

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Which online discount brokerage firm to go with
« on: March 06, 2012, 05:02:36 AM »
Hey All,

Im about to finish out my Roth IRA for this year (at least before 4-17) and I have decided to go Blue chip/ETFs portfolia with an Online Brokerage firm. There are soo many variables though and I would love to hear where other people invest at and what all your recommendations are.

Important features for me.
Good amount of free ETFs
Low commissions for building a individual stocks portfolio over the next several years
I like having banking feature connected with the Brokerage account
No Fees!
Good customer service (Im leaning towards Fidelity, TD Ameritrade or Schwab, so if you have some customer service sagas, let me know!)

Thanks!

astadt

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Re: Which online discount brokerage firm to go with
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2012, 05:23:00 AM »
I saw the post on dividend reinvesting, So I'll add that to the list as well

Grigory

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Re: Which online discount brokerage firm to go with
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2012, 06:56:08 AM »
i use TradeKing. i'm not sure whether they have free ETFs, but everything else is very nearly perfect - great customer service, low commissions ($4.95 per trade!), etc. They were voted #1 broker for a few years now. You can also set up a direct ATS deposit (i think that's what it's called) link between your brokerage account and bank account, so you'd be able to transfer money with just one click. If you're interested, send me a PM - i have a referral link that will get us both $100. ;)

Guitarist

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Re: Which online discount brokerage firm to go with
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2012, 07:31:29 AM »
Great topic Astadt, I am also interested in some other's opinions of the brokers (I know Vanguard has a lot of fans around here). Another important factor for me would be free dividend reinvesting. Grigory, how are tradeking's online tools and interface?

Looks like ETF's cost the same as stocks: $4.95/trade:

https://www.tradeking.com/rates

Physics

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Re: Which online discount brokerage firm to go with
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2012, 08:12:06 AM »
Vanguard info page for their ETFs:

https://personal.vanguard.com/us/whatweoffer/etfs/etf-costs

Extremely low expense ratios, zero commissions assuming you trade Vanguard ETFs, and very low costs for straight up stocks:

https://personal.vanguard.com/us/whatweoffer/stocksbondscds/feescommissions

Kinda find it hard to believe any brokerage can beat this, due to Vanguards unique business model (fund holders ARE the shareholders of Vanguard itself, therefore everyone's motivations are aligned).  As with all ETFs, you do incur the bid-ask spread, but every ETF is subject to this in some way.  I have all of my investments set to auto-reinvest and that service is free at Vanguard.

There are also no account fees at all if you sign up for email delivery instead of snail mail (who wouldn't?) or have more than a certain amount invested.

As you have more money invested, the deals get even better and the fees get lower.

astadt

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Re: Which online discount brokerage firm to go with
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2012, 02:28:17 AM »
Thanks for the two recommendations. I have a traditional Vanguard Mutual Fund account and I dont love their customer service, but I wouldnt let that stop the best deal. Are there any more recs out there?

Physics

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Re: Which online discount brokerage firm to go with
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2012, 06:32:16 AM »
Out of curiosity, what was your bad experience with their customer service, if you don't mind sharing?

I haven't really done many complicated things with them (I've rolled over some old 401ks to an IRA, I have Roth IRAs there, and some light stock and mutual fund trading) but my experience has been nothing but straightforward and professional.  I'm just wondering if there is something I have to watch out for.  Hell, there was a slightly odd situation where one of my rollovers paid out a dividend and left a couple of hundred dollars behind in the old account, they proactively called me, called the other firm and got the rest of it rolled over, took 5 minutes of my time.

Mike Key

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Re: Which online discount brokerage firm to go with
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2012, 07:45:35 AM »
I have an brokerage and IRA with Vanguard, but I also have a High Yield Investor Checking account with Charles Schwab. I used to have one with ING, but I closed both my savings and brokerage there.

Charles Schwab while not the greatest, has two advantages make up the gap for me. One, the high yield investor checking and their Check Card with Visa logo refunds ATM fees anywhere in the WORLD. Since me and my wife like to travel and you never know when you might need cash, I like the option of having that fee returned.

astadt

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Re: Which online discount brokerage firm to go with
« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2012, 11:10:27 PM »
Out of curiosity, what was your bad experience with their customer service, if you don't mind sharing?

I dont mind at all and thanks for sharing. Im in the Military and move around a whole lot. Since you have to mail in forms to change your address with them, I missed some mail they had sent me and they froze my account. I was of course on my way to a different country and far from a notary who could authenticate my change of address (which would be a Armed Forces PO box so that shouldnt matter). I called to explain the situation and I was told that for my accounts protection there wasnt anything they could do. So it sits there frozen. Big deal? Nope but I would have rather them listen to me and reopen it, its not that Im going to sell stuff its just that I would like the ability to do it. Hopefully Im a very unique case ;)

gooki

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Re: Which online discount brokerage firm to go with
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2012, 02:55:11 AM »
I'm happy using e*trade. No idea if they meet your requirements, but worth a look.

Bakari

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Re: Which online discount brokerage firm to go with
« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2012, 01:14:12 PM »
Options House, up to 100 free stock trades for the 1st 2 months, $3.95 after that.

No particular reason (aside from convenience) to have to find one company that meets all your requirements.
Get free ETFs through Vanguard, low commission individual stocks though OptionsHouse, bank through ING, move money between them at will for free.  Use each for whatever they are cheapest for.

Tyler

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Re: Which online discount brokerage firm to go with
« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2012, 02:22:30 PM »
Along those lines, Fidelity has some great tools for buying treasury bonds directly if you're into that kinda thing. No transaction fees, no expense ratio, and several tools for building a bond ladder.

Fidelity has a few NTF ETFs, and a ton of NTF mutual funds (including index funds, of course).

astadt

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Re: Which online discount brokerage firm to go with
« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2012, 05:24:16 AM »
Hey all,

Thanks for all of the input. I figured I would share where I ended up.

I went with TD Ameritrade for the following reasons.

They have by far the most free ETFs,
simple DRIPs,
little to no fees.

Im very happy with them and since no one has brought them up, id recommend folks checking them out.