Scottrade Review

scottrade

Welcome to the NerdWallet review of Scottrade! We’ve included all the information you need to make an informed decision. Do you already have an account with Scottrade? We’d love to hear your opinion in the comments section so that others can learn from your experiences.

One Sentence Summary

Scottrade charges 30% less than E*trade and TD Ameritrade for similar research, data, and customer service including physical locations, but slightly less advanced trading platforms.

About the Company

Founded over thirty years ago, Scottrade set up shop on the Web in 1996 and has been offering $7 stock trades ever since. The brokerage hasn’t lost its emphasis on personal service since the move online, though. Customers interested in flexibility can either trade online or make an appointment with an RIA (registered investment advisor) at one of the firm’s 500 + branch offices. A call to the help line during business hours connects investors to their local branch. Locations offer informational seminars, which users report are helpful.

Scottrade’s platform also emphasizes research and educational tools with a nod toward beginning investors. Novices may like the site’s SmartText tool, which allows members to pick an indicator, then provides brief, layman-friendly explanations of its relevance for each chosen stock. Mutual fund research is particularly strong – to match the brokerage’s large, and relatively inexpensive, selection – but some, more experienced clients say that they’ve advanced beyond the resources available.

While not the most expensive online brokerage, Scottrade isn’t the most affordable, either, especially for options. And the brokerage’s options tools are designed by OptionsHouse, which investors should note, offers drastically cheaper options trades. Scottrade also receives mixed reviews for its stock trading platform, which some users call cluttered. The more popular ScottradeELITE platform is only available to clients with more than $25,000 in their accounts. Regardless of the platform, frequent traders have reported dissatisfaction with data lags and the speed at which funds are available to reinvest.

For years, many customers also complained that Scottrade lacked a DRIP program. This year, however, the firm introduced its own version. Called FRIP – for Flexible Reinvestment – the program allows investors to pool their dividends and reinvest them, commission-free, into up to five eligible stocks or ETFs at a time, including securities that didn’t generate the dividends. Clients may change their list of securities, allocation percentages and reinvestment dates at any time, but may not purchase fractional shares.

Inexperienced or infrequent investors will do well with Scottrade. More active or experienced traders may prefer a brokerage with more advanced tools.

Pricing
  • Minimum initial deposit: $500
  • Stock Trades: $7.00 per trade
  • Options Trades: $7.00 per trade + $1.25 per contract
  • Company Research: Free
  • Data: Free
  • Trading Platforms: Free
  • Learn more about Scottrade
Promotions
  • $100 ACAT Fee Refund – Scottrade will refund up to $100 in transfer fees charged by your prior broker when you transfer your account. The transferred account must have a value of at least $10,000.
Research

  • Free online market research
  • Free analyst reports, upgrades and downgrades
  • Sector and industry comparisons
  • Does not include access to premium research. TD Ameritrade provides this, but charges slightly more per trade ($9.99 vs $7.00).
Advice
  • Offers over 500 physical locations throughout the country. Team members at these locations can help you learn how to use the resources and attend seminars on trading tools and investing products, but will not make actual trade recommendations.
  • Customer service is available by phone, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week
  • Join the Scottrade Online Community and ask questions of the over 65,000 other Scottrade investors.
Trading Platforms
  • Basic trading tools included for free that meet the needs of most traders. Doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of a more expensive TD Ameritrade or E*trade that might be better for active intraday traders.
  • Advanced trading tools available for those with $25k in their primary account.
Data

  • Real time trading and fully-customizable streaming quotes with the Scottrader Streaming Quotes platform.
  • Advanced charting, watch lists, and more
Premium Features
  • Unlimited free checks
  • Free ATM withdrawals
  • Mobile Access
  • 24/7 customer service
  • 500+ Physical Locations
  • Check Writing
  • Debit Card
  • Free automated phone trades
  • Learn more from Scottrade
Mutual Funds
  • Over 14,500+ different mutual funds from well-known families
  • One of the largest selections of mutual funds in the brokerage business
  • Nearly 3,000 no-transaction-fee (NTF) funds
  • Advanced screening and research tools to find the right fund for you
Asset Classes
  • Stocks
  • Bonds
  • Mutual Funds
  • ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds)
  • Options
Comparison to other Brokerages
  • Service & Features:
    • Includes basic research, data, customer service, and trading platforms. For most investors, these features are more than sufficient. If you need more advanced trading platforms and analytics, TD Ameritrade ($9.99/trade) is probably a better bet.
  • Pricing:
  • For a full comparison to EVERY other brokerage, check out our brokerage comparison tool.
Awards
  • “Highest in Investor Satisfaction in Self-Directed Services” (JD Power & Associates)
  • 4 Stars for In-Person Customer Service (out of 5) (Barron’s)
  • 4 Stars for Mobile Access (out of 5) (Barron’s)
  • 4.5 Stars for Customer Service (out of 5) (Barron’s)
  • 4.5 Stars for Education (out of 5) (Barron’s)
Customer Opinions
  • “I’ve used Scottrade for more than a decade and would highly recommend them”
  • “Love the low fees!”
  • “I like having access to real brokers for assistance over the phone”
  • “For high volume penny stocks there are cheaper options”
  • “Not as many features as E*trade, but good enough for me”
  • “Getting the borrow to sell short a low-priced stock can be difficult”
  • “I switched from TD Ameritrade and find Scottrade easier to use.”

Do you use Scottrade? Please share your opinions in the comments section to help others make informed decisions.

Does Scottrade sound like the right brokerage for you? If so, you can sign up for an account here.

  • Sam7eccc

    I love scottrade! They have low commission rates and some great tools for how cheap their service is. I have never had a problem or glitch with their software. I would recommend to use it.

    LPFS3554 Here is a promo code to get 3 free trades when and if you sign up. No inactivity fees or minimum balance requirements. Good Luck Investing!

  • http://www.jlist.com Peter Payne

    Definitely LOVING making the move from Wells Fargo to Scottrade. It’s better in every way.

    • LadyTrader

      Pretty much anywhere is better than WF in every way, LOL.

  • Snake Doctor

    They forget to mention a 1/2 of 1% fee when you purchase an equity…ooops11

    • Maxime Rieman

      It’s fairly typical that brokers add a fee to penny stock commissions. According to Scottrade’s website: “For stocks priced under $1, add ½% of the principal value to the commissions shown. Some foreign and pink sheet stocks must be traded with broker assistance.”

  • Gary Shapiro

    since 1996 I have traded large volumes of stock there..never a problem. quick executions for any amount of stock..i also use ameritrade but not for trading..i find the streaming quotes the most useful..i have elite but don’t use it..when you are trading many shares of a stock and want out you get the best prices there and quick execution.(really fast). and reporting is as quick..true that trading money does not go back til the next day but that’s how it is..perhaps I am just used to their system over all this time but I have used a few of them and Scottrade is my main brokerage.

  • bkid

    Just getting to grips with stock investing. Commission are reasonable for large number of shares. I had no issues trading with ScottradeELITE v4.3.135 in extended market hours (the platform is stable and reliable). Scottrade is making gradual improvements to the newer beta version of ScottradeElite (version 5) is not as mature but has a few more advanced features. Customer service is above par when compared with other brokers; the wait time at Scottrade is somewhat shorter.

    Scottrade also provides free access to daily commentaries and strategies sessions hosted by ‘Learning Markets’ which help less experienced traders ‘learn’ market trends as well as how to respond to them appropriately (similar offerings by other brokers usually cost $$$).

    Opening an account is fairly easy. Receive up to $100 rebate when you transfer from another broker + 3 Free Trades ($21) when you use the following deferral code: EOKU5342

  • Ri Hu

    Lots of pros. Biggest con would be non-standard customer service across branches. NYC brokers offer the best service. Other branches pale in comparison.

  • snowdog2

    A huge drawback for me is that Scott Trade makes it so that you must have two separate orders if you want to include a sell or buy order into after hour trading. If you have an order in one place that is still open, it ties up access to your funds so that then you have to cancel those orders to participate in after hours, and re institute the day hour trades after the extended hours close.. Way too cumbersome for me. Plus if you are not careful, you can end up with two purchases when only one was intended. On TDAmeritrade I can put in a buy or sell order that will carry over to extended hours and for many days if I wish.

  • Jenny

    I totally recommend Scottrade! For three free trades to start you off when you open an account, use this code – FGZB9187

  • Maria

    When you sign-up for Scottrade, use the promo code below to get 3 FREE trades!

    Code: SLYB8510

    Best!

  • http://www.jlist.com Peter Payne

    REALLY happy with Scottrade, after leaving Wells Fargo for some of my accounts. Wells Fargo doesn’t even have access to the best-ranked mutual funds and ETFs, presumably because they don’t get kickbacks and loads. I get excellent service from my branch in San Diego.

    • asdf

      Wow, Scottrade, enough patting yourself on a back.

  • rg

    i recently sold stocks using scottrade, it has been 11 days since they mailed the check. if it is lost in the mail, it will be another 4 days before they will issue a stop payment on the check, then another 4 – 10 before i receive a new check. i am done with scottrade after this. i do not want to open another bank account, which is what they want. their answer to not providing me with good business is to give them more business. wrong answer, as far as i am concerned. -10 is what i give them.

  • Jayant rajgopal

    I’ve been with Scottrade (after leaving Schwab and then Suretrade) for about 15 years now, and I’m generally very happy with them. I’m not a novice but I’m not a day trader either, and it’s pretty good for what I want. My only gripe with them is that it seems to take a little long for trade settlements (and for funds to be available for reinvestment).

    • LLC

      Yes, the settlement figures are slow coming!

  • scottrade sucks

    scottrade is the scum of the earth! They will sell your stock without warning to you. DO NOT USE THEM! I lost $5K because of them.

    • Maxime Rieman

      Could you provide some details? I’d be happy to follow up with Scottrade, as that sounds quite strange.

  • D Trent

    SCOTTRADE ELITE HAS PROBLEMS AND THEY KNOW ABOUT IT AND ARE NOT NOTIFYING THEIR CUSTOMERS ABOUT IT. THEY SAY FIX SHOULD BE APRIL. WILL BE CHANGING COMPANIES. I had problems with an order modification last week. Called local OKC,OK office and was told I needed to call when I as having the problem so they could see it. Yesterday, I saw PLUG shares dropping, so I entered a couple of low-ball bids. Plug then started to drop again, so I modified my order to $9 when ELITE showed $9.25. At $9.15 I opened ‘Modify Order’ again and was told order executed or cancelled. I called OKC office and was told I didn’t have any open orders. The ELITE page didn’t show any ‘Executions’ and ‘My Positions’ didn’t show I had bought any shares. Thinking the order was cancelled when I opened the ‘Modify Order’ window, I left the house for a couple hours. Upon returning, my account showed a $20k loss and I had bought PLUG @ $9 and it was then around $7. I called local office and got conflicting times of when order was executed. I was told Client Relations would call me. I returned their call this morning and was offered free trades. I said free trades weren’t going to get it, that ELITE had problems and I would contact a lawyer. I was then told of the fine print in my Scottrade Agreement didn’t allow me to go to court and it would be mediated. This morning, PLUG rebounded and I placed an order to sell 10,000 shares at $8. ELITE page showed I sold all but 3,800 shares. I went to the Scottrade Home page and showed all 10,000 had been sold and I didn’t have any PLUG shares. Went back to ELITE and still showed 3,800 PLUG shares in ‘Positions’. I called the local OKC office and was transferred to IT. IT said they were having problems with new ELITE program and went into my account. I was placed on hold and then told to go into ‘Accounts’ then ‘Reload Trade Data’. This cleared the 3,800 shares and Positions were the same in ELITE and on HOME page. I was transferred to Client Relations again. I explained the problem, she said they were having several problems with new ELITE program and fix should be in April. While we were talking, she said the first Client Relations person was trying to get her attention and was put on hold. When she returned, her attitude was completely different. She said she couldn’t do anything and asked if there was anything else. I said “Yes”. I just noticed in my “Modify Orders’ tab I showed 5,667 shares of PLUG. She said she would check into it. While waiting, I clicked into ‘Cancel Orders’ tab and there wasn’t any PLUG shares. I clicked back into ‘Modify Orders’ tab and they were gone then. This all took place over about 25 minutes. I will be switching companies soon. They have problems with their ELITE program and are not telling their customers, unless they call.

  • J N

    I’m just a small investory with $50k in my account, but Scottrade is just fine for my purposes as I’m not daytrading or using margin. I am very happy with them, and appreciate the local office and ability to go in and talk to someone in person.

    If you choose to open a scottrade account, you can use referral code OZEC9366 to get 3 free trades.

  • LLC

    I’m a non professional one person corporation. Scottrade will not give me free streaming quotes, because they say I am a professional trader, given the LLC protection I have. TD Ameritrade will. I think that sucks, and I may be moving on to less greedy grounds. Your thoughts?

    • Maxime Rieman

      Unfortunately, it is one of Scottrade’s policies that streaming quotes cost $20/month for professional accounts. This is simply one of those tradeoffs that come when you compare accounts at different brokers.

      If the monthly fee is a big issue for you, then TD Ameritrade does sound like the better option in your case. I’m not sure how often you trade, but if you need streaming quotes instead of those delayed 15 minutes, then I’d guess that you’re an active trader. In that case, the price difference in commissions between TD Ameritrade and Scottrade might mean that you’re paying less at Scottrade.

      • LadyTrader

        We ALL need streaming quotes. Delay is unacceptable if logged in accountholder. Fortunately they can be gotten elsewhere.

  • http://EndOfBull.blogspot.com/ Ockham’s Dissector

    I’ve used Scottrade for over 2 years now and can’t say I have any complaints. It’s never ‘messed up’ for and had downtime, as I’ve seen and heard of multiple times on other E-brokers… The local office is cool and convenient, and I’ve gotten calls from them before just to see if I needed help. Nice.

    If you consider scottrade & open up an account, use referral code OZEC9366 and you will get 3 free trades!

  • http://EndOfBull.blogspot.com/ Ockham’s Dissector

    use OZEC9366 to get 3 free trades when you sign up for a new account with scottrade. I highly recommend scottrade they’re good. OZEC9366

  • TC

    Scottrade is very slow to answer your emails and then the answer is usually incomplete or vague. They will telemarket you also even if you tell them not to. And when you want to take money out, they ask why. Their website is difficult to navigate easily.

    • Scottrade Website Sucks

      Amen, Amen, Amen! The difficulty getting around their website is why I might leave them.

    • BILLY MALONE

      Yep they use a form letter that doesn’t even come close to what you asked.

  • owen

    can someone recommend a company to trade with in penny stocks, where I can sell my shares at any time.

  • John Waite

    I’m not pleased with the occasional lag in filling buy orders. Sometimes they’re right on the money, sometimes there are pretty drastic delays. I do like the folks at my local office. Always pleasant and willing to help if they can. I use ELITE and have had problems with information lags and inaccuracies as well.

  • cc

    Note that Scottrade has recently started adding a mandatory reorg fee of $20. Every time there is a split/buyout or other reorg (like the recent google thing) they charge you $20 automatically. My costs have gone through the roof now with Scottrade. I am going to switch my accounts to Fidelity, which does not charge that fee. Though commission is $1 more, I will save money overall…

  • scottrade will not give me my

    I recently moved to S. Dakota. Sioux Falls SD has tried to
    stop the distribution of my IRA into Scottrade banking. Is not that steeling? These
    is no reason for this and I am working with them to resolve the problem. Wish I
    would never had used them…. crooks.

  • Walter

    predatory bond desk…maximum mark ups. 2$/month for a statement. platform is designed like a casino slot machine. out of touch.

  • Frank G

    Scottrade has too many problems to list. Just bad all the way around. Charting is beyond horrible. Customer service is bad. Constant problems with my account and the way they do their accounting. Avoid!!

  • Dennis Moeller

    Their FRIP program has not worked for the last 2 months. Their fix when I notified them last month was to cancel the program and then re-enroll. Again this month, it shows I am enrolled but my dividend was paid in cash instead of reinvesting which it currently shows I am participating. Very disappointed and now looking for other companies who can do a better job.

  • Bad Experience – go elsewhere

    I joined Scottrade 5 days ago and I made ACH deposit from my bank acct to Scottrade. They notified me that same day that the transfer went through fine. The following day (4 days ago), I make investments with the money I thought was already in my scottrade account. Yesterday, I logged into my account at 9:30AM only to get notified that my ACH deposit didn’t go through. The timestamp on this notification shows that it was created the day prior at 4:30PM. The notification says now I must wire scottrade for my negative account. This gave me about 4 hours to do so. I had to leave work to call my bank and scottrade to figure out what happened. Nobody knows. The bank never saw anything initiated. Scottrade doesn’t know what happened. I then had to wire the money which cost me $30 in bank fees. Now, I’m seeing Scottrade also charged me $25 for the negative account. This puts me $55 in the hole from the get go. Scottrade also mentioned that if the money wire didn’t make it over there on time, they would be forced to sell out my stocks and make me pay more fees (approx $90 more). This is on top of forcing me to pay for any loss in my investments if they went down, or they would take any gain if my stocks went up. Very unsatisfied w/ how they gave me false information and then only gave me a short amount of time to resolve it and then charging me.