Fidelity vs. Schwab: 2022 Comparison

Fidelity and Schwab are both solid, well-rounded brokers that cater to all investors. Here's our side-by-side comparison.
Mar 10, 2022

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Fidelity and Charles Schwab often rise above the competition in our analysis of online brokers. Both offer something for every investor: There are powerful trading platforms for active traders, a large investment selection that includes thousands of no-transaction-fee mutual funds for retirement or passive investors, and libraries of educational resources for beginners.

But Fidelity edges ahead of Schwab slightly when it comes to its research and data offerings; and Fidelity also offers several index funds that charge no expense ratio, which is rare in the industry. Schwab, on the other hand, has a slightly larger investment selection, including more no-transaction-fee mutual funds and the ability to trade futures.

Here's our direct comparison of Fidelity and Schwab:

Fidelity
NerdWallet rating 

on Fidelity's website

Fidelity is best for:

  • Frequent traders.

  • Beginner investors.

  • Research and data.

  • Retirement planning assistance.

Fidelity at a glance

Account minimum

$0.

Stock trading costs

$0.

Options trades

No base commission; $0.65 per contract.

Account fees (annual, transfer, closing, inactivity)

None.

Number of no-transaction-fee mutual funds

More than 3,700 no-transaction-fee mutual funds.

Tradable securities

• Stocks.

• Fractional shares.

• Bonds.

• Mutual funds.

• ETFs.

• Options.

Crypto availability

Crypto-based products are available, but not cryptocurrencies themselves.

Trading platform

Fidelity.com and Active Trader Pro. Both free for all customers.

Mobile app

Available for iOS and Android; advanced features.

Research and data

Free and extensive.

Customer support options (includes how easy it is to find key details on the website)

Phone, email and live chat 24/7; 203 local branches.

Charles Schwab is best for:

  • Beginner investors.

  • Advanced traders.

  • Investors seeking no-minimum index funds.

  • Investors who rely on premium research.

Charles Schwab at a glance

Account minimum

$0.

Stock trading costs

$0.

Options trades

No base commission; $0.65 per contract.

Account fees (annual, transfer, closing, inactivity)

No annual or inactivity fee; $25 for full or partial transfer out of assets, $15 if this is done online.

Number of no-transaction-fee mutual funds

Over 4,200 no-transaction-fee mutual funds.

Tradable securities

  • Stocks.

  • Bonds.

  • Fractional shares

  • CDs

  • Mutual funds.

  • ETFs.

  • Options.

  • Futures.

Crypto availability

No access to cryptocurrencies, but clients can trade crypto-based, products, such as Bitcoin futures.

Trading platform

Three platforms offered with no trade minimums or fees: StreetSmart Edge (desktop platform), Schwab.com and StreetSmart Central.

Mobile app

Two mobile apps with above-average capabilities: Schwab Mobile and StreetSmart Mobile.

Research and data

Research from 14 providers including Moody's, Morningstar, Recognia, Credit Suisse and Thompson Reuters, plus more in-house generated commentary and tools.

Customer support options (includes how easy it is to find key details on the website)

Phone, email, chat 24/7, and in-person support available at branches Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Some branches have Saturday hours.

Want to compare more brokers? View our full list of the best online brokers.

Methodology

How do we review brokers?

NerdWallet’s comprehensive review process evaluates and ranks the largest U.S. brokers by assets under management, along with emerging industry players. Our aim is to provide an independent assessment of providers to help arm you with information to make sound, informed judgements on which ones will best meet your needs. We adhere to strict guidelines for editorial integrity.

We collect data directly from providers through detailed questionnaires, and conduct first-hand testing and observation through provider demonstrations. The questionnaire answers, combined with demonstrations, interviews of personnel at the providers and our specialists’ hands-on research, fuel our proprietary assessment process that scores each provider’s performance across more than 20 factors. The final output produces star ratings from poor (one star) to excellent (five stars). Ratings are rounded to the nearest half-star.

For more details about the categories considered when rating brokers and our process, read our full methodology.

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