Fidelity Investments Review 2024: Pros, Cons and How It Compares

Fidelity is one of the most well-rounded brokerages available today. It offers no commissions on stock or ETF trades and a selection of no-expense-ratio index funds suited to both beginner and active investors.
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Written by Andy Rosen
Lead Writer/Spokesperson
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Edited by Arielle O'Shea
Lead Assigning Editor
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Our Take

5.0

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line:

Fidelity offers $0 trading commissions, a selection of more than 3,300 no-transaction-fee mutual funds, top-notch research tools and a mobile platform. Its zero-fee index funds and strong customer service reputation are just icing on the cake.

Fidelity
Fidelity
Fees
$0
per trade for online U.S. stocks and ETFs
Account minimum
$0
Promotion
None
no promotion available at this time

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Commission-free stock, options and ETF trades.

  • Large selection of research providers.

  • Strong customer service.

  • Expense-ratio-free index funds.

  • Highly rated mobile app.

  • High interest rate on uninvested cash.

Cons

  • Relatively high broker-assisted trade fee.

Compare to Similar Brokers

NerdWallet rating 

4.9

/5
NerdWallet rating 

4.3

/5
NerdWallet rating 

5.0

/5

Fees 

$0

per online equity trade

Fees 

$0

per trade

Fees 

$0

per trade

Account minimum 

$0

Account minimum 

$0

Account minimum 

$0

Promotion 

None

no promotion available at this time

Promotion 

1 Free Stock

after linking your bank account (stock value range $5.00-$200)

Promotion 

None

no promotion available at this time

Learn more

on Charles Schwab's website

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Full Review

Where Fidelity shines

Well-rounded offering: Fidelity Investments offers $0 trading commissions, no account fees that can erode returns, a swath of research offerings and an easy-to-use platform that advanced traders can customize.

Mutual funds: Fidelity has a strong reputation for its mutual funds. The broker scores well across every funds category with a large selection of no-transaction-fee funds, including its Fidelity Zero index funds, which have no expense ratio and minimum investment requirement. These investor-friendly practices save customers a lot of money.

Educational resources for all levels of investors: Fidelity's educational resources and research options are some of the strongest among the brokers we review. They include resources for both beginning retirement investors and active stock traders.

Where Fidelity falls short

No futures trading: Fidelity offers fractional shares, forex and options trading, and a modest cryptocurrency program. However, it does not offer futures trading, which some investors may want.

Broker-assisted trade fees: Fidelity's broker-assisted trade fee is higher than we like at $32.95.

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

$0.65 per contract.

Account fees (annual, transfer, closing, inactivity)

None.

Interest rate on uninvested cash

4.97%.

Number of no-transaction-fee mutual funds

More than 3,300 no-transaction-fee mutual funds.

Tradable securities

• Stocks. • Corporate, municipal and government bonds. • Mutual funds. • ETFs. • Fractional shares. • Options. • FOREX. • Precious metals. • Bitcoin and Ethereum.

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; more than 200 local branches.

» Looking to switch brokers? View the best broker promotions right now

More details about Fidelity's ratings

Account minimum: 5 out of 5 stars

Fidelity's account minimum is $0*, which has become the industry standard for brokers we review, as many no longer have a required minimum to open or maintain an account. Some investment choices, such as mutual funds, may require a minimum initial investment.

Stock trading costs: 5 out of 5 stars

Fidelity was already a leader in low-cost commissions, but the company eliminated commissions in 2019 for U.S. stock, ETFs and options trades.

Options trades: 4 out of 5 stars

Options trades are commission-free but still carry a $0.65 contract charge. Fidelity doesn’t offer volume discounts on options.

Account fees: 5 out of 5 stars

Fidelity has eliminated nearly all account fees, including the transfer and account closure fees commonly charged by brokers.

Interest rate on uninvested cash: 4 out of 5 stars

Fidelity automatically directs uninvested cash for brokerage and retirement accounts into a money market fund, which provides a decent return. As of this review period, its seven-day yield was 4.97%, although that number fluctuates.

Number of no-transaction-fee mutual funds: 4 out of 5 stars

The war among brokers to cut mutual fund fees has brought good changes to Fidelity: The company was the first broker to bring to market index funds with absolutely no expense ratio: the Fidelity Zero Total Market Index Fund, the Fidelity Zero International Index Fund, the Fidelity Zero Large Cap Index Fund and the Fidelity Zero Extended Market Index Fund.

Investors could build a balanced — and virtually free — retirement portfolio with these zero-expense-ratio funds alone. Still, even the Fidelity index funds that charge an expense ratio undercut much of the competition on price.

Fidelity offers more than 3,300 mutual funds that carry no transaction fee and more than 950 funds with expense ratios of 0.50% or less. Those funds come from Fidelity and other mutual fund companies.

Tradable securities available: 5 out of 5 stars

Fidelity allows investors to trade stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs, options, forex, Bitcoin and Ethereum. The company also allows traders to purchase fractional shares, allowing investors to diversify into higher-cost stocks by buying a slice of a share rather than the full amount. Fidelity also supports trading in ADRs, or American depository receipts, which allow investors to purchase stock in overseas companies.

Fidelity offers a substantial selection of bonds. Investors' choices include FDIC-insured CDs and bond funds. Fidelity clients can also buy over 100,000 individual bonds, including corporate, municipal and government bonds.

Fidelity does not offer futures trading, and its Fidelity Crypto offering is limited. While the lack of those features would not dissuade most retirement investors, they are options active stock traders would like to have in their investing toolkit.

Trading platform: 5 out of 5 stars

Fidelity has two trading platforms, Fidelity.com and Active Trader Pro. Both are free for all customers. Highlights include advanced screeners using research and strategy-testing tools based on 10 years of historical data.

How we nerd out testing trading platforms

Our reviewers — who are writers and editors on NerdWallet’s content team — test every online broker platform in our analysis hands-on. That way, we can report on every aspect of the user experience, from funding a new account to placing trades.

We score each broker against criteria that factor in the capabilities offered and the actual user experience of trading with those capabilities. This includes how easy it was to sign up for and fund a new account. Note that a broker may score very highly for the platforms it offers but low for the experience of actually using that platform. Our analysis scores these criteria separately and weighs them evenly when factored into the broker’s overall score. As a result, a broker can offer an advanced trading platform. Still, if it is clunky to use or the process of opening an account is unnecessarily arduous, their score will reflect that.

Active Trader Pro is a downloadable desktop platform. The customizable platform includes intuitive shortcuts, a pre-built market, technical and options filters, advanced options tools and a multi-trade ticket that can store orders for later and place up to 50 orders at a time. Fidelity users can also trade over-the-counter securities and access IPOs.

The company's online trading experience offers an entry point for advanced traders and beginners who want the big picture on their finances. Its intuitive and easy-to-use interface allowed us to quickly explore Fidelity's offerings and compare investments without feeling pressured or confused.

Fidelity says its execution quality on trades is 98.6%, putting it in the top tier of providers we've reviewed. Clients can also trade certain investments outside of traditional market hours. Pre-market orders start at 7 a.m., and after-market orders are accepted until 8 p.m.

One note on Fidelity's business model: Though the company doesn't receive conventional payment for order flow on equities trades, there are some instances in which exchanges or brokers may pay Fidelity for sending them your trades.

🤓Nerdy Tip

The average execution quality of all brokers we review was 97.4% as of Aug. 31, 2023. That means 97.4% of orders sold for at a price that was at or better than the National Best Bid and Offer. Executing at or above the NBBO means you may receive a price improvement or a better share price than you were originally quoted.

Mobile app: 5 out of 5 stars

Our star rating here is based on how iOS and Android users score the broker's mobile apps. Fidelity’s highly rated app includes real-time quotes, multi-leg options trading, a consolidated version of the company’s research offerings, and a notebook to save ideas and articles from your mobile browser.

The company has streamlined and simplified its app to support better trading, portfolio monitoring and research. The app includes a customizable newsfeed and allows you to schedule appointments with your existing Fidelity advisor.

Fidelity also offers a customized mobile app experience for the Fidelity Youth Account, an investment account designed for teenagers (ages 13 to 17)**. We have not rated this separate app, but the youth account and app are worth a look for parents. The account allows a parent or guardian to monitor the teenager's activity and offers access to stocks and ETFs, including fractional shares. Teenage account holders can also invest in select Fidelity mutual funds (including Fidelity ZERO funds, which have no expense ratio). Importantly, the account also puts some risky investments and investment strategies off limits, including options and margin trading. The app offers in-app educational resources, articles on investing and online research tools. Once the account holder reaches 18, the account will be a standard brokerage account.

Research and data: 5 out of 5 stars

Fidelity is strong here, with stock research from several third-party providers, including Zacks Investment Research and Argus. The company offers ETF research from multiple providers and options strategy ideas from options analysis software LiveVol.

Stock quote pages show an Equity Summary Score, which consolidates the ratings from these research providers. It gives an “accuracy-weighted sentiment derived from the ratings of independent research providers on Fidelity.com."

This number of research firm offerings might seem like too much to wade through, but investors can take a short quiz to identify providers that match their investment style. A research firm scorecard evaluates the accuracy of the provider's recommendations.

Customer support options: 5 out of 5 stars

Fidelity earns strong marks for educational tools and customer service options, including a network of more than 200 branches for in-person advice and educational options, and 24/7 phone, chat and email support. Fidelity’s Online Learning Center also offers a customized experience, using machine learning to surface educational materials that match the customer’s investing behavior.

Fidelity IRAs

Fidelity offers both Roth and traditional IRAs, as well as several types of IRAs geared toward self-employed people. IRAs are retirement savings accounts you open on your own, independent of any retirement plan that may be offered through your employer. IRAs have significant tax advantages and experts recommend using them when saving for retirement. You can have an IRA in addition to a standard brokerage account that you use to invest for non-retirement goals or trade stocks.

Fidelity IRA

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Fees

$0

no account fees to open a Fidelity retail IRA

Account minimum

$0

Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

Many investors are familiar with Fidelity as a provider of 401(k) plans — the broker is one of the biggest names in employee retirement accounts. It can be convenient to also have an IRA under the same roof, because you'll be able to seamlessly view all account balances in one place. But even for those who don't have a 401(k) with Fidelity, the company offers access to low-cost retirement investments (including no-fee, no-minimum index funds) and innovative tools to help you plan for retirement and check in on your progress.

Pros

  • Commission-free stock, options and ETF trades.
  • Offers several index funds with no expense ratios.
  • Helpful retirement planning tools.
  • Strong customer support.
  • Free research and data.
  • High interest rate on uninvested cash.

Cons

  • Relatively high broker-assisted trade fee.
Read full review

Is Fidelity safe?

Investing always involves taking risks, and you may wonder whether your investments are protected following recent bank failures. While brokerage accounts won’t protect you against investment losses, they carry other forms of insurance in the event of closure due to financial difficulty, bankruptcy, or unauthorized trading and theft.

According to Fidelity, Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SPIC) insurance covers all brokerage accounts, and uninvested cash balances below $5 million are eligible for Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insurance. SPIC will reimburse a maximum of $500,000 in securities, and the FDIC will pay up to $250,000. Fidelity’s Customer Protection Guarantee offers additional fraud protection “for losses from unauthorized activity in your Covered Accounts occurring through no fault of your own.”

Is Fidelity right for you?

Fidelity is the rare broker that can serve both active traders and beginner retirement investors. The company brings it on every level, starting with a mutual fund selection that stacks up to any other broker and even includes free offerings. But Fidelity also offers features that matter to stock traders, including solid trading platforms, zero trade commissions and a wide range of research offerings. We can't think of an investor who won't be well-served by Fidelity.

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 judgments 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).

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

*$0.00 commission applies to online U.S. equity trades and Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) in a Fidelity retail account only for Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC retail clients. Sell orders are subject to an activity assessment fee (from $0.01 to $0.03 per $1,000 of principal). Other exclusions and conditions may apply. See Fidelity.com/commissions for details. Employee equity compensation transactions and accounts managed by advisors or intermediaries through Fidelity Clearing & Custody Solutions® are subject to different commission schedules.

**The Fidelity Youth Account can only be opened by a parent/guardian. Account eligibility is limited to teens aged 13-17.