Scottrade Review - NerdWallet

Scottrade Review


Online broker Scottrade is perhaps best known for its exceptional customer service, with a large network of branches that host live investor education seminars and provide representatives to answer customer questions and offer guidance in person. That, coupled with the broker’s $0 account minimum requirement for IRA accounts, makes it a strong candidate for beginner investors who need a bit of guidance. More seasoned traders will appreciate Scottrade’s research offerings and mid-range commissions.

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Quick facts

  • Commissions: $7 per trade
  • Account minimum: $0 for IRAs; $2,500 for brokerage
  • Promotion: 50 commission-free trades
Get started on their secure site
Get started on their secure site

Scottrade is best for:

  • Beginner investors
  • IRA investors
  • Investors who prioritize customer service

Scottrade at a glance


Stock trading costs$7
Options trades$7 + $1.25/contract
Account minimum$0 for IRA accounts; $2,500 for brokerage
Account fees (annual, transfer, closing, inactivity)No annual or inactivity fee; $75 outgoing transfer fee
Trading platformBrowser trading and Scottrader Streaming Quotes platform available to all customers; ScottradeELITE for customers with balance of $25,000 or more who have placed nine or more trades in the past three months.
Mobile appAbove-average capabilities
Mutual fundsMore than 2,500 no-transaction-fee mutual funds
Commission-free ETFsNone
Research and dataFree
Tradable securities• Stocks
• Bonds
• Mutual funds
• ETFs
• Options
Customer support/branchesPhone support weekdays 6 a.m. to 1 a.m., Saturday-Sunday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Eastern; email support and live chat; 500 local branches
Promotion Up to $2,000 in cash bonus plus 50 free trades

Where Scottrade shines

Relatively low commissions: Scottrade’s $7 stock and ETF trade commissions make it more affordable than some competitors, including TD Ameritrade and E-Trade. The company offers a large selection of no-transaction-fee mutual funds, but has no commission-free ETFs. Scottrade also has low account fees, with no inactivity or annual account service charges, and very competitive mutual fund trade fees of $17.

Customer service: This is part of the company’s secret sauce. Scottrade is consistently given high marks for customer service, in large part due to its 500-branch network, which is the largest among online brokers. Customers can speak to an investment advisor in person and attend local investor-education events. The company’s phone system automatically routes callers to their local branch during business hours. Scottrade also has an extensive online education center, with live webinars, videos and articles.

Trade platforms and tools: One of Scottrade’s platforms, ScottradeELITE, is available only to customers with balances of $25,000 or more who have placed nine or more trades in the past three months. That desktop platform, designed for active traders, was revamped in 2014 with much stronger functionality and a better user experience.

Other customers can place trades through Scottrade’s online trading platform, or Scottrader Streaming Quotes, which has no balance or trade requirements. It offers a good number of features for a basic platform, including customization, advanced charting with 30 technical indicators, watch lists and, of course, streaming quotes and live news updates.


Scottrade also has a partnership with Interactive Brokers that allows customers to trade complex options and create advanced orders.

scottrademobileMobile apps: Scottrade’s mobile apps are well-designed and fairly advanced, allowing customers to place trades, monitor market performance with watch lists and — on some platforms — access research. Apps are available for iPhone, iPad and Android.

Where Scottrade falls short

Account minimum: Scottrade doesn’t have a minimum for IRA accounts, which makes it a good option for beginner investors. But the company’s brokerage account minimum is on the high side at $2,500, and the company’s promotion doesn’t apply until a qualifying deposit of $10,000 or more. To get the full $2,000 cash bonus, an investor needs to deposit more than $1 million.

Limited investment selection: A lack of commission-free ETFs isn’t unusual for an online broker, but it’s less common at Scottrade’s price point for commissions; most brokers that don’t offer commission-free ETFs are considered deep-discount options, like OptionsHouse and TradeKing. If ETFs are your investment of choice, commissions will quickly add up here. The company also doesn’t offer futures trading or forex trading.

Options trade contract fee: Options trades here are $1.25 per contract, which is expensive even taking into consideration Scottrade’s reasonable commission of $7.

Access to ScottradeELITE: Again, having an advanced trading platform that is out of reach for some customers isn’t uncommon. However, customers who want a professional-level trading platform and can’t meet Scottrade’s minimums might prefer TD Ameritrade, despite its higher commissions.

The bottom line

Scottrade offers the kind of hand-holding that beginner investors need to get started: a breadth of educational resources, in-person support and free investor seminars. The company’s $0 account minimum for IRAs makes it an attractive option for those accounts, and advanced investors will appreciate the company’s strong trading platforms and wealth of research. The company offers a limited investment selection, however, and options trading here is pricy.

Arielle O’Shea is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Twitter: @arioshea.

This post updated Feb. 3, 2016. It originally published Oct. 29, 2015.

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  • 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!

  • Peter Payne

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

  • Snake Doctor

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

  • 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


  • 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.

  • 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).

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.


    Stay away from Scottrade. The guy up front will tell you everything you want to hear but it’s the guy behind the curtain that calls the shots. Just like buying a new car with the salesman and the manager. They blocked my account and refuse to give me my money or sell my securities.. An endless list of what they do it

  • 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.

  • Vic

    It’s OK for what I want, which is buying and holding mutual funds. Too many of the ones I like cost $14 to trade, though, which would make re-balancing expensive if I bothered to do it, which I don’t. I doubt I’d use Scottrade for any other purpose, based on what I’ve read about it, at least the online tools. The office is nice – every year when I carry in my IRA check, the funds are available online the next day.

  • Call me crazy

    Call me crazy, but I suspect Scottrade sells information about their customers, especially related to accounts with high margins. Scottrade also has a “Make it up as you go” margin policy too which also makes me suspect that their margin department seeks to try to pool together as many unwitting traders, like myself, into a narrower break even price band for a given stock, and then provide that information to high frequency traders. Think about it, after a margin call sell, my resulting break even is always a few cents higher than the market peak. I’m probably crazy and paranoid, but I have noticed subtleties that make me question their ethics, as well as wonder if they are trading against me. It doesn’t help them for their customers to have winning trades. Because then you would close out your position. They want to keep you in a losing trade as long as they can, more fees and margin interest.

  • Rodger

    Scottrade does not employ RIA’s as the article above suggests, in fact all you will receive is low skilled, only licensed to accept your instructions, customer service. Scottrade is probably the better broker for penny stocks as they are able to easily cater to the idiots that buy them. There are many other brokers that provide a better experience and platform for less ie. Tradeking or Motifinvesting. But again Scottrade best caters to idiots with small accounts that want to buy penny stock.

    Rodger R.

  • kt

    Code: KWRV1506 Scottrade referral code is good for 3 Free Trades ($21 value)!

  • saberplump

    I try many system to earn money online. But i had huge loss. Then i used ANDY LANK CASH FLOW i had no loss and i got huge profit.

  • cupsborrow

    Two of my friends use this softwre with me. we love this software.? Still my favorite is ANDY LANK TOOLS

  • Tammy

    I thought I saw where the minimum initial deposit to open an account is $500 and not $2500. Did I read that incorrectly?

  • Bob Roush

    Their iPad app is pathetic! Getting data is cumbersome and buggy. Every time I hit the quote button, it crashes. 7 dollar fees can’t be beat though. I use my eTrade account for research, Scottrade for actually trading. Unnecessary hassle, IMHO.

  • Michael

    I have a Sottrade account and have no complains. Use UUKH2722 when signing up and we will both get 3 FREE TRADES!

  • corboulee

    If you are looking for the bare minimum, virtually useless trading platform… you gotta go with Scottrade. Expect very little from their staff and you will be happy. Misinformation will be something you can count on at some point in your experience here, and if it costs you money, definitely don’t expect a refund or even an apology. Remember, don’t expect anything more than a stripped down experience, because you always get what you pay for. If you want accountability, experience and service, please keep looking…it’s just worth it to pay a little more!

  • fred bray

    I’ve been with Scottrade for many years & all I can say is they are getting progressively worse on pretty much a weekly basis. Soon to move to Merrill

  • harrydweeks

    Scottrade has recently had an inordinate ammount of technical difficulties with website not to mention recent hack attack on accounts. Don’t seem to really care about account holders as much as in the past. Very difficult to get a response from technical dept. Sorry but not the firm it used to be.

  • goerizal1 .

    scottrade often gives a higher bid and ask qoutes on a common stock share compared to etrade which i also have an account – as high as 56 cents more per share.

  • eatingbeetslowersbp

    Account minimum
    $0 for IRAs; $2,500 for brokerage accounts is incorrect. It’s $500 to open a brokerage account. Biggest downside for me is no DRIP and no fractional shares but overall big savings with the $7 fee for me.

  • Jonathan Hall

    Use Code: DZNK1164 for 3 free trades. $21 value when signing up for a new Scottrade Account. Online or In a local branch. Start making money today!

  • glc

    The customer service is so bad.
    The lady who called me was so rude. I tried to open an new account online but did not finish it. She called me and asked me do not play with its online application because she thinks this is a prank. Nobody use his real name,real address and real phone number if this is a prank. The lady speaks Chinese and her number is 6466130901. Stay away from the company and stay away from the woman.