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How Ally, Fidelity and Schwab Compare

May 29, 2018
Brokers, Investing
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The competition among online brokers has become a game of inches among top-tier players like Ally Invest, Fidelity Investments and Charles Schwab.

But as always with investing, small moves can have a big impact on returns, as does finding the brokerage whose offers best mirror your investing habits. (Not sure how to start? Read our explainer on opening a brokerage account.)

Ally Invest, Fidelity and Schwab are all 5-star category winners in our roundup for best online brokers for stock trading. But look more closely; there are some important pros and cons for each brokerage.

Ally Invest at a glance

Account minimum

$0.
Stock trading costs

$0 (on eligible US securities).
Options trades

No base commission; $0.50 per contract.
Account fees (annual, transfer, closing, inactivity)

No inactivity fees; $50 full outgoing transfer fee.
Commission-free ETFs

All eligible U.S. ETFs are commission-free.
No-transaction-fee mutual funds

No transaction-fee-free mutual funds; $9.95 per trade for no-load funds. Fees vary for funds with a sales load.
Tradable securities

• Stocks.
• Bonds.
• Mutual funds.
• ETFs.
• Options.
• Forex.
Trading platform

Browser-based platform with free screening tools, customizable charting, research and real-time data.
Mobile app

Access to core account functions including tracking, quotes and trading. Available on iOS and Android.
Research and data

Free.
Customer support options (includes website transparency)

Chat, email and phone support 7 a.m. - 10 p.m. ET, 7 days a week. No branches.
Promotions

$100 to $2,500 cash credit with a qualifying deposit.

» Read NerdWallet’s full Ally Invest review

Fidelity Investments 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 commission-free ETFs

All ETFs trade commission-free
Number of no-transaction-fee mutual funds

More than 3,500 no-transaction-fee mutual funds.
Tradable securities

• Stocks.
• Bonds.
• Mutual funds.
• ETFs.
• Options.
Trading platform

Fidelity.com and Active Trader Pro for desktop and browser. Both free for all customers.
Mobile app

Available for iOS and Android; advanced features.
Research and data

Free and extensive
Customer support options (includes website transparency)

Phone, email and live chat 24/7; 197 local branches. Some information is difficult to find on website.
Promotion

None.

» Read NerdWallet’s full Fidelity review

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; $50 for full transfer out of assets; $25 for partial transfer of assets
Commission-free ETFs
All ETFs trade commission-free.
Mutual funds
Over 3,500 no-transaction-fee mutual funds
Tradable securities
• Stocks.
• Bonds.
• Mutual funds.
• ETFs.
• Options.
• 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
Free and extensive
Customer support options (includes website transparency)
24/7 phone support; live chat and email support; more than 300 local branches; some information is difficult to locate on website
Promotion
Referral award for first-time clients

» Read NerdWallet’s full Charles Schwab review

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