NerdWallet examines the Fidelity Investments online
brokerage account and its ongoing promotions, rewards and bonuses offered to
help consumers find the lowest prices and best online brokers to sign up for.
90 free days of trading, with up to 200 commission-free trades
Receive Commission-Free Trades: 100 commission-free trades if you deposit over $50,000 or 200 commission-free trades if you deposit over $100,000.
Credit Card Available
Receive complientary guidance online, by phone, or in-person.
Account offers 90 days of free trades
Fidelity Investments has long been a big name in brokerage. Best known for serving long-term investors, the firm has made recent attempts to attract more active traders with its Active Trader Pro platform. Fidelity also offers all customers a wide selection of investments, including 75+ commission-free ETFs and international stocks, and some of the most extensive research resources – at least a dozen reports are available for many stocks – in the business.
Fidelity has also moved to attract long-term, retirement investors with its new IRA Match program. Hoping to give individual retirement investors the same incentive to save as those with employer 401(k) matches, Fidelity will now match up to 10% of investors' IRA contributions for the first three years after opening an account. New or existing customers can take advantage of the program, but they must open the account with $500,000 to receive the full 10% match on subsequent contributions. This can mean up to $650 for those who contribute $6,500 – the legal maximum for those 50 and over – in the next tax year. Customers who deposit $10,000 initially will receive a 1% match.
Fidelity’s commissions are in line with those of other high profile brokers, except when it comes to mutual funds. Though they offer many “core funds” commission-free, others may incur commission fees from $50 to $75. In addition, investors may be subject to annual fees for each non-core fund they hold, as well as short-term redemption fees. That said, Fidelity avoids most commonplace brokerage fees, and only charges for SIMPLE IRAs – $25 annually. Broker-assisted trades cost $25 above standard commissions.
Even fans of Fidelity tend to agree that its website is a mess, with useful information buried in layers of links. The firm’s standard trading platform is little better, lacking an order modification function and complex options tools, and users report that it slows down significantly during peak trading. Active Trader Pro is much more advanced – and offers access to streaming quotes – though it’s still behind standard-bearers like thinkorswim and TradeStation. Members must trade at least three times a month to qualify for the platform, and at least ten times a month to access all of its advanced charting features. Investors using either platform can trade with the firm’s popular mobile app.
The brokerage receives mixed reviews for its customer service. While it provides a number of convenient extras – including banking services, many of which are free with an account, and branch offices – many customers report long hold times, and that problems require several calls to follow up.
Fidelity’s customer satisfaction falls along somewhat-predictable lines. Active traders are disappointed with its platforms, but buy-and-hold investors appreciate its research and can absorb its higher commissions.
Pros & Cons
"Fastest brokerage at trade execution." -SmartMoney
Offers free research reports, analysis software, and real time data
Offers commission-free ETFs
Commission per trade is below $10
Account minimum is below average
Broker-assisted market orders are an additional $25 per trade
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