The bottom line:
Fidelity offers $0 trading commissions, a selection of more than 3,700 no-transaction-fee mutual funds and top-notch research tools and trading platform. Its zero-fee index funds and strong customer service reputation are just icing on the cake.
Pros & Cons
Commission-free stock, ETF and options trades.
Large selection of research providers.
Strong customer service.
Expense-ratio-free index funds.
Highly rated mobile app.
Relatively high broker-assisted trade fee.
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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 also can be customized for more advanced traders
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 no minimum investment requirement. These investor-friendly practices save customers a lot of money.
Educational resources for all levels of investor: The educational resources and research options on offer from Fidelity are some of the strongest among the brokers we review with strong resources for both beginning retirement investors and active stock traders.
Where Fidelity falls short
Tradable securities: While it offers fractional shares and options trading, lack of futures or forex trading options gives it only a 3-star rating for tradable securities.
Broker assisted trade fees: Fidelity's broker-assisted trade fee is higher than we like to see, at $32.95.
Fidelity is best for:
Research and data.
Retirement planning assistance.
Fidelity at a glance
Stock trading costs
No base commission; $0.65 per contract.
Account fees (annual, transfer, closing, inactivity)
Number of no-transaction-fee mutual funds
More than 3,700 no-transaction-fee mutual funds.
• Fractional shares.
• Mutual funds.
Crypto-based products are available, but not cryptocurrencies themselves.
Fidelity.com and Active Trader Pro. Both free for all customers.
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.
More detail 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 your 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 for 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 they still carry a contract charge, which is $0.65. Fidelity doesn’t offer volume discounts on options.
Account fees: 5 out of 5 stars
Fidelity has done away with nearly all account fees, including the transfer and account closure fees that are commonly charged by brokers.
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, but even the Fidelity index funds that do charge an expense ratio undercut much of the competition on price.
Fidelity offers more than 3,700 mutual funds that carry no transaction fee and over 800 mutual funds and index funds with expense ratios of 0.50% or less. Those funds come from Fidelity and other mutual fund companies. Mutual funds that charge transaction fees will cost $49.95 to buy, $0 to sell.
Tradable securities available: 3 out of 5 stars
Fidelity allows investors to trade stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs and options. The company also allows traders to purchase fractional shares, which gives investors an option to diversify into higher-cost stocks by purchasing a slice of a share rather than the full amount.
The company does not offer futures, forex trading or cryptocurrency trading. While lack of those features would not dissuade most retirement investors, they are options that active stock traders would like to have in their investing toolkit.
Crypto availability: 2 out of 5 stars
Fidelity does not offer access to cryptocurrencies. However, investors can explore crypto-related products that trade over-the-counter.
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.
Active Trader Pro platform includes both a downloadable desktop version and a web alternative at ActiveTraderPro.com. Investors can toggle seamlessly between the two. The customizable platform includes intuitive shortcuts, 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.
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 apps includes real-time quotes, multi-leg options trading, a consolidated version of the company’s research offerings, and a notebook where you can save ideas and articles from your mobile browser.
The company recently updated its apps to streamline and simplify trading, portfolio monitoring and research, including a customizable newsfeed. You can use the app to schedule an appointment with your existing Fidelity advisor.
Not rated here, but worth noting: Fidelity also launched a new mobile app, Fidelity Spire, designed for young adults. The app includes the ability to trade with more contextual explainers on trading topics and terms, like "bid price” and “dividends.”
Research and data: 5 out of 5 stars
Fidelity is strong here, with stock research from more than 30 third-party providers, including Recognia, Ned Davis Research, Thomson Reuters and McLean Capital Management. The company offers ETF research from five providers and options strategy ideas from options analysis software LiveVol.
Stock quote pages show an Equity Summary Score, which is a consolidation of 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: 4.5 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 was overhauled to include a more customized experience, using machine learning to surface educational materials that match the customer’s investing behavior.
Is Fidelity right for you?
Fidelity is the rare broker that's able to serve both active traders and retirement investors alike. 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 strong 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 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.