If you are an ETF trader seeking access to low costs and high-quality trading platforms, Charles Schwab is worth a shot. Established in 1971 by Charles R. Schwab, this broker has now become one of the best ETF brokers in the United States thanks to its comprehensive and professional investment products & services. Here, you can have access to a low-fee ETF trading service with over 250 commission-free ETFs, and trading platforms that are ranked among the best in the market today.
- Over 250 commission-free ETFs
- ETF fees are relatively low
- Highly professional trading platforms.
- Great 24/7 customer service
- 1. Trading Offers: More Than 250 Commission-Free ETFs
- 2. Exchanges and Trading Centres: Various Exchanges
- 3. Trading Conditions: Reasonable Fees
- 4. Trading Platform & Mobile Trading: Professional and Comprehensive
- 5. Usability of the Website: Neat and Easy to Find Information
- 6. Customer Support: Best of The Best
- 7. Methods of Payment: Many Options to Choose From
- 8. Additional Offers : Many Engaging Promotions
- 9. Licensing & Deposit Protection: A Safe and Secure Trading Environment
- 10. Awards: Many Achievements
- 11. Conclusion: Charles Schwab is a Comprehensive ETF Broker
Trader Rating Total
1) Trading Offers: More Than 250 Commission-Free ETFs
As a Charles Schwab client, you can choose from 3000 ETFs, including 250 commission-free ones. This broker, as they said that having more choice leads to greater opportunity, not only provides a large selection of ETFs for their clients to select, but also offers a large coverage with 70 categories spanning Fixed Income, International, U.S. Equity, and Commodity ETFs.
The list of the top ETFs at Charles Schwab that you can trade are as follows:
- Equity: Schwab International Equity ETF, Schwab U.S. Broad Market ETF, Schwab US Dividend Equity ETF, Schwab U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF, Schwab Emerging Markets Equity ETF, Schwab Fundamental U.S. Large Company Index ETF, Schwab Fundamental U.S. Small Company Index ETF
- Bond: Schwab Short-Term U.S. Treasury ETF, Schwab Intermediate-Term U.S. Treasury ETF
- Real Estate: Schwab US REIT ETF
Custodial accounts, also known as UGMA or UTMA accounts, are available at Charles Schwab with the required minimum deposit of $100. The broker charges no account-open or maintenance fees.
- Charles Schwab offers traders over 3000 ETFs to choose from, including 250 commission-free ones.
- This broker provides a large coverage with 70 Morningstar categories.
- The minimum deposit for Custodial accounts here is $100.
2) Exchanges and Trading Centres: Various Exchanges
The primary stock exchanges providing ETFs for Charles Schwab include the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation System (NASDAQ), the American Stock Exchange (AMEX), and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Additionally, Charles Schwab also connects with many international exchanges, including TMX Group, Korea Exchange, SIX Swiss, Australian Securities Exchange, Taiwan Stock Exchange, Shanghai Stock Exchange, Euronext, and London Stock Exchange.
As a Charles Schwab client, you can place orders using the broker’s trading platforms or by phone. Charles Schwab provides you with automated phone services where you can conveniently manage your investments from anywhere. With just a simple call, you can access your accounts through speech recognition (Schwab by Phone™) or touch-tone (TeleBroker®) to make trades, get quotes, and review your account balance.
The phone number to access Charles Schwab’s automated phone services is 800-435-4000. The password used for Schwab by Phone and TeleBroker is the same.
- The primary stock exchanges providing ETFs for Charles Schwab are the NASDAQ, AMEX, and NYSE.
- This broker also connects with many international exchanges such as London Stock Exchange, Australian Securities Exchange, TMX Group, etc.
- As a Charles Schwab client, you can place orders both online and by phone.
3) Trading Conditions: Reasonable Fees
Charles Schwab’s trading fees are relatively low compared to most other ETF brokers’.
As this broker’s client, you don’t need to pay services fees unless using the trading assistance service. The commissions charged for online ETF trades are $4.95 per trade. If using the broker’s help in trading, you will be charged an additional $25 fee.
Note that this $4.95 commission doesn’t apply to restricted, foreign, or large block stock transactions.
With mutual fund trades, Charles Schwab charges no commission but a short-term redemption fee of $49.95. Meanwhile, commissions charged for options trades are $4.95 + $0.65 per contract, and the broker will charge an additional $25 service fee if you use its trading assistance.
The fees for bond trades are $1 per bond. With preferred stocks and REITs trades, the standard online $4.95 commission also applies.
The savings plan at Charles Schwab starts from $25. This broker’s clients don’t need to pay any account open or maintenance fees.
- Charles Schwab’s trading fees are quite low compared to most other ETF brokers’.
- The commissions charged by this broker for online ETF trades are $4.95 per trade.
- The fee for using Charles Schwab’s trading assistance service is $25.
4) Trading Platform & Mobile Trading: Professional and Comprehensive
Charles Schwab is one of the brokers that have the most advanced trading platforms in the market.
At Charles Schwab, you can trade with multiple trading platforms, including desktop and web-based ones. The broker also delivers to traders a mobile platform compatible with Android and iOS devices, enabling them to engage in trading from anywhere and at anytime.
This broker’s premier trading platform, so-called StreetSmart Edge, is highly innovative with many useful support tools integrated. Moreover, this platform can also feature a customizable workflow that aligns with the traders’ methods, enabling them to customize their strategies regardless of how complex those strategies are.
ETF traders will find Charles Schwab’s StreetSmart Edge interesting because they can easily group and observe their favourite ETFs. Traders can also receive a commercial-free live stream of the CNBC broadcast, monitor news for specific stocks, view stock groups based on sector, and view fundamental research and analysis of financial experts.
- Charles Schwab’s trading platforms are ranked among the best.
- The broker’s clients can trade and manage their accounts on their PCs, browsers, or mobile devices.
- The Charles Schwab’s StreetSmart Edge trading platform is highly innovative with many useful support tools integrated.
5) Usability of the Website: Neat and Easy to Find Information
The main colours used for Charles Schwab’s website are the blue and white. These are very user-friendly colours as they make the website look bright and readable.
Laying right at the top of the homepage are the buttons Find a Branch, Contact Us, Chat, Login, Open an Account, and a search box. Charles Schwab deserves a 5/5 rating for this layout because it enables traders to easily and quickly find local help, contact the broker’s specialists, find details about the broker’s products and services, and open new trading accounts.
Charles Schwab fills their homepage with frequently asked questions, a sign indicating that they really care for traders. At the homepage, visitors can find all the information about how they can open new trading accounts, how much the broker charges for trades and services, and what kind of investment products the broker offers. Besides, they can also know about the offered tools and resources, and how the broker can help them manage their investments on their own.
- Charles Schwab’s website is designed very professionally.
- Traders can find all necessary information at the homepage.
- Contact information is put right at the top of the website, enabling traders to easily reach the broker’s specialists.
6) Customer Support: Best of The Best
Charles Schwab’s specialists are highly professional, dedicated, and available 24/7. There are many ways for you to reach them, including finding a local branch, contacting via phone, email, live chat, and social media.
Finding a Branch: You can click on the Find a Branch button at the top of the website to find a local help. Charles Schwab has many branches across the United States so reaching their specialists directly is very easy.
Phone: The broker provides you with many helpdesk phone lines (available 24/7) based on their services. With Schwab Trading Services, you can call to 888-245-6864 to ask for help. The helpdesk line for current clients of the broker is 800-435-9050.
The Schwab Brokerage helpdesk line is 800-435-4000, which is also available 24 hours on 7 days a week.
Live Chat: Whereas many brokers hide their live chat button, Charles Schwab arranges one right at the top of the website, helping traders easily chat with the broker support team. Charles Schwab’s specialists are available 24/7 and always ready to help traders get their questions answered.
Social media: Charles Schwab also offers support via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Youtube.
Traders may also find relevant answers to their questions in the broker’s Frequently Asked Questions section which is comprehensive.
- Charles Schwab’s specialists are highly professional, dedicated, and available 24/7.
- You can reach the broker support team in many ways.
- The broker has a comprehensive FAQ section.
7) Methods of Payment: Many Options to Choose From
There are many ways for you to fund to your Charles Schwab account. Below are the available options, processing time, and instructions for each option:
Wire transfer (done in the same business day): To make a wire transfer, you provide sending institution with needed information and follow the instructions to finish the transferring process.
Online bill pay (0-7 business days depending on your bank): You add your Schwab account number and set up Schwab as a payee from your online bank account.
Schwab Mobile Deposit (up to 1 business day): You will have to download the Schwab Mobile app to use the Schwab Mobile Deposit service.
Deposit a check (up to 7 business days): You make check payable to Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
Transfer funds online (5 business days for the first transfer; 1–2 business days thereafter): You enrol your account in Schwab MoneyLink, then call 800-435-4000 to confirm.
Transfer an account (5–10 business days for bonds, stocks, and mutual funds): To use this method, You should contact the broker’s specialist at 866-232-9890. You can also do it yourself by completing the online transfer process.
- Charles Schwab offers traders many payment methods to choose from.
- Most of the methods take between 1 to 5 days to complete.
- The easiest and most convenient way to fund to Charles Schwab is using Wire transfer.
8) Additional Offers : Many Engaging Promotions
Charles Schwab is a liberal broker with engaging promotions. Besides 250 commission-free ETFs, this broker also offers traders 500 commission-free online trades (for equities and options) if they make a qualifying net deposit of $100,000 in their Schwab accounts.
As a Charles Schwab client, you can also enrol in the broker’s refer-a-friend program. Every referred friend who makes a minimum deposit of $1,000 into his/her account will bring to you a $100 bonus award. The bonus will be credited to your account within approximately one month. Note that this offer is limited to limited to one per account, and isn’t transferable or saleable.
Like any other brokers, Charles Schwab also provides traders with an education centre which is rich and comprehensive. In addition, the broker’s clients can also enjoy ongoing, real-time assistance from trading professionals, and have access to resources designed to hone their trading skills. Charles Schwab also brings to traders insights from itself and third-party resources.
- Charles Schwab offers you 500 commission-free online trades.
- You can receive a $100 bonus award for each and every friend you invite to Charles Schwab to trade.
- The broker also offers a rich and comprehensive education centre.
9) Licensing & Deposit Protection: A Safe and Secure Trading Environment
Why is trading with Charles Schwab safe and secure?
Charles Schwab & Co., Inc., the Charles Schwab Corporation’s broker-dealer subsidiary which provides traders with investment services and products is a member of Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC). This federally-mandated corporation was established under the Securities Investor Protection Act of 1970, having the mission to oversee the liquidation of its brokerage members that close due to bankruptcy. Therefore, when trading at Charles Schwab, you can claim a compensation of up to $500,000 for securities and cash in case the broker faces financial difficulties.
Like most other brokers, Charles Schwab also complies with the rule of client fund segregation. Traders’ deposited funds, as a result, are kept safely and separately in banks.
Charles Schwab Bank, the Charles Schwab Corporation’s banking subsidiary, is a member of Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) so funds deposited at the bank are insured.
- The trading environment at Charles Schwab is safe and secure.
- Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. which offers traders investment services and products is a member of Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC).
- Charles Schwab also complies with the rule of client fund segregation to protect traders.
10) Awards: Many Achievements
Thanks to quality investment products and services, Charles Schwab has won many awards from large corporations.
In 2018, Charles Schwab finished in first place for use of corporate assets and innovation in the Securities and Asset Management category of the Top 50 World’s Most Admired Companies list. Overall, they finalized in the second place.
Also in this year, the broker received a 4-over-5-star rating in the Best Online Brokers of 2018 survey of Barron (a trademark of Dow Jones & Co., L.P). Charles Schwab was highly appreciated in many categories of service, including Trading Experience, Research Amenities, Education, Mobile, Technology, Portfolio Analysis and Reports, Usability, Range of Offerings, Customer Service, Security, and Costs.
Charles Schwab has also ranked #1 in the J.D. Power Full Service Investor Satisfaction Study for 3 consecutive years. The 2018 study was based on responses from over 4,400 investors who used full-service investment institutions.
- Charles Schwab has won many awards for the core values it delivers to traders.
- The broker ranked #2 overall in the FORTUNE’s Top 50 World's Most Admired Companies list in 2018.
- Charles Schwab has consecutively achieved the highest score in the J.D. Power Full Service Investor Satisfaction Study from 2016 to 2018.
Conclusion: Charles Schwab is a Comprehensive ETF Broker
Charles Schwab is an ideal broker for traders of all stripes. This is where newcomers will find the necessary information to navigate the world of investing, while professionals can release all of their trading capability.
One of the biggest advantages when trading with this broker is that you can have access to a variety of ETFs. There are more than 3000 ETFs in 70 categories available, including 250 commission-free ones. Besides, the fees charged by this broker for ETF trades are also very reasonable (just $4.95 per trade).
In terms of trading platforms, Charles Schwab is a really formidable competitor compared to large brokers. Its StreetSmart Edge trading platform is rated as one of the most professional and comprehensive platforms in the market.
Charles Schwab offers you a professional customer service which is available 24/7. In addition, its help centre was also built very meticulously and comprehensively.
With so many advantages, Charles Schwab is one of the ideal places that ETF traders should come to regardless of whether they are new or active.
Want to know more about other good ETF brokers like Charles Schwab? Check out our ETF broker comparison page now.
- A variety of ETFs
- Reasonable ETF trading fees
- Highly professional trading platforms
- 24/7 customer service
- Many engaging promotions
- It charges a high redemption fee for mutual fund trades