Discount Broker Reviews 2012: TradeKing, Scottrade, Zecco, OptionsXpress, Options House, Firstrade, E*Trade and ShareBuilder

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Rating:
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On December 18, 2006
Last modified:October 29, 2012

Summary:

Discount stock and options brokers all have different features, tools, services and commission fees. It is important to use the right brokers for different investment needs, such as low fee active trading, free dividend reinvestments and commission free investments.

If you are a Do-It-Yourself investor and want to start to trade stocks or ETFs (exchange traded funds) or even options, you will need to get yourself a brokerage account first, which will allow you to buy equities at a low cost and provides other tools, such as screeners and analysis, to educate you to become a better investors. And looking at the brokerage industry, you will find there are plenty of choices when it comes to discount stock brokers. I open my first brokerage account in 2001 with Scottrade and since then I have gotten a few more due to different prices and features offered by the brokerage firms. Currently, I am using six discount online brokers: Tradeking, Zecco (TradeKing and Zecco have merged), Scottrade, Firstrade, Options House, and OptionsXpress, plus two for scheduled investments at ShareBuilder (not active anymore) and QQQDirect (for purchasing QQQ only). In addition, I also use ComputerShare to investment in stocks from Direct Stock Purchase Plans (DSPP). Though I own a large number of accounts, I am only actively using four of them: Scottrade, TradeKing, QQQDirect and ComputerShare. Each broker offers different features, at a different price, and they all have some features or services that you won’t find from other brokers. So picking the right broker for the right investment is important to me.

I used to have everything with Scottrade, including individual stocks, mutual funds, even IRA accounts. However, when they restructured their fee schedules at the end of 2004, I started to move some of my assets out of Scottrade, particularly mutual funds and IRA Accounts which mainly invest in mutual funds, because of the high fee they charge for buy and sell mutual funds that are not in the no-transaction fee fund category (see how I compare some popular discount stock brokers and how much they charge for investing in mutual funds). For the six online brokers I am using, none of them gives me all I want: low fee, real time execution, quick fund transfer, free dividend reinvestment, and free non-load mutual fund investments. As a result, I have to use different brokers for different purposes. For example, I use Scottrade to buy individual stocks because I can get free trades from Scottrade using their referral program. If I want to buy dividend paying stocks, I would first to see if I can buy it at ComputerShare without fees (free purchase and free dividend reinvestments). If that’s not possible, then I would use TradeKing because of its free dividend reinvestments.

In the following, I am going to share my experience with those brokers I used and explain the pros and cons of each of them. I will list features that I consider the best of the broker. Obviously, “the best” is a very subjective term here. What is the best for me may not be the best for you at all. Nonetheless, I will try to give an *unbiased* opinion about these brokers and let you decide which one is right for you :)

Scottrade

What I like

  • $7 flat fee for real time equity trading, including stocks and ETFs;
  • Low account minimum: Only $500 is required to open an account;
  • Windows based trading platform, ScottradeELITE (free for investors), makes trading easy;
  • Free Gainskeeper to track gains/loses, realized and unrealized;
  • Free real-time streaming quotes;
  • Web-based research tool for mutual fund research as well as individual stock research;
  • Local branch offices for easy contact and quick check deposit;
  • Money Direct (ACH) for same day deposit. However, fund may not be available for trading for up to 3 business days if you want to buy stocks priced under $4;
  • No inactivity or account maintenance fees, no minimum;
  • Earn free trades by referring friends;

What I don’t like

  • $7 commission per trade is not very low (extra fees for stocks below $1);
  • Most popular mutual funds are not free ($17 for no-load, transaction fee funds including funds from Vanguard, T. R. Price, and Dodge & Cox, etc. Fee reduced to $2 for systemic purchase plans);
  • No dividend reinvestment for stocks/ETFs;
  • Can’t buy fractional shares;
  • Do hard pull on Equifax;

Read more on comprehensive, updated Scottrade review.

Find out more about Scottrade

TradeKing

What I like

  • No minimum for new account;
  • $4.95 stock trade commission is quite low;
  • Mobile trading apps for Blackberry and iPhone;
  • Free gain/lose tracker to track realized and unrealized gains;
  • Up to $150 reimbursement for fees charged by other brokers when transferring account to TradeKing;
  • $50 bonus promotion for new accounts comes quick often;
  • Earn $50 referral bonus for each new customer referred to TradeKing;
  • Excellent customer service;
  • Free investor education webinar;
  • Wide range of stock research tools and stock, mutual fund and ETF screeners;

What I don’t like

  • 5 business day ACH wait period;
  • No real-time streaming quotes;
  • No stand alone trading platform;

Check out my comprehensive Tradeking review where I discussed features of the discount broker which has been ranked No. 1 online discount broker by SmartMoney two years in a row. See Scottrade vs TradeKing for side-by-side comparison.

Find out more about TradeKing

Zecco Trading

What I like

  • Yeah, 10 commission free trades per month is really good;
  • $4.50 per trade is still relative cheap compared to other discount brokers;
  • Trade stock anywhere on the web with Zecco Zap Trade, a very helpful tool;
  • Free dividend reinvestment;
  • ACH fund transfer;
  • Zecco Streamer Lite provides real-time BATS quotes;
  • Reimburse account transfer fee charged by other brokers up to $150 when transferring account to Zecco;
  • Also offers Forex trading with occasional promotions;
  • Free practice Forex trading account;
  • Free alerts and breaking news via Twitter and email;
  • Zecco Share is probably the first investor community where you can share trading strategies with peers;

What I don’t like

  • Have to have at least $25,000 in the account, or trade 25 times in the month, to qualify for the free trades though;
  • Website is not very user friendly;
  • Real-time streaming quotes are not free;
  • No free gain-loss tracker;
  • Proceeds from selling stocks can’t be used to buy stocks on the same day;
  • Stock research tools are rather limited;
  • No virtual trading account for practice;

In addition to the above four discount brokerages, Zecco seems to be a very attractive alternative as they offer commission free trading on every thing from stocks to ETFs, as well as free dividend reinvestments. You can find a comprehensive Zecco Trading review here. Also, be sure to check out TradeKing vs Zecco for comparison between the two brokers.

Find out more about Zecco

Options House

What I like

  • $3.95 per stock trade is really cheap;
  • Web-based trading platform is more like a standalone platform with lots of functions;
  • Free real-time streaming quotes;
  • Free virtual account to practice stock and options trading;
  • Free tax exposure viewer to help make real-time, cost basis and tax-based investment decisions to minimize tax liabilities;
  • Reimbursement of account transfer fee charged by other broker when moving account to OptionsHouse;
  • $50 bonus for referring new customers to OptionsHouse;
  • Support ACH fund transfer;
  • Periodic promotions with free trades for new account;

What I don’t like

  • $1,000 minimum to open an account is quite high compared to other discount brokers;
  • $100 minimum in the account to cover commission cost (this requirement has been removed);
  • Account application from has to be submitted before account becomes active;
  • Can’t use real-time quote before making $1,000 deposit;
  • Can’t change account information (such as address, phone number, etc) online;
  • Can’t download account information to Quicken;
  • No dividend reinvestment;

Find out more about OptionsHouse

optionsXpress

What I like

  • Very nice website with lots of free tools for stocks, options, and ETF research;
  • Customizable account interface, myOX, for better user experience;
  • Recently launched standalone trading platform, Xtend, is neat;
  • No minimum requirement to open a cash account;
  • Support ACH fund transfer;
  • Support dividend reinvestment program;
  • Free real-time streaming quotes;
  • Free education webniar for investors at all levels;
  • Free virtual trading account to practice stocks and options trading;
  • The best mobile trading platform, OX Mobile, among brokers I am using;
  • Occasional promotional bonus (for example, $100) for new account;
  • Referral programs let you earn either 10 free trades or $100 bonus when referring a new customer;

What I Don’t like

  • $14.95 per trade for real time trading is very expensive (not really a discount broker);
  • Referral bonus takes a long time (six months to one year) to be functional;

Find out more about optionsxpress

Firstrade

What I like

  • $6.95 flat fee for real time trading, lower than Scottrade;
  • Free mutual fund investing (2 years ago when I was considering where to transfer my mutual fund holdings out of Scottrade, Firstrade was an option. Eventually, I sold all of them because I didn’t know how long Firstrade can maintain the commission free mutual fund investing option. Two years later, they are still offering it);
  • Free dividend reinvestment (a big plus if you have lots of dividend-pay stocks/ETFs);
  • No inactivity or account maintenance fees;
  • $50 Firstrade referral bonus

What I don’t like

  • $6.95 commission is not low enough, again;
  • No stand alone trading platform, web based only (they do have X-Stream for real time quotes);
  • Slow fund transfer (use ACH for deposit, and funds less than $5,000 available in 3 business days, any amount above $5,000 will be available 4 business days after deposit);
  • No systematic (periodic) investment plan yet;
  • Can’t buy fractional shares (except from dividend reinvestment);

Find out more about Firstrade

Sharebuilder

What I like

  • $4 commission with no subscription fee (this is much cheaper than Scottrade and Firstrade and you can get even lower rate with their subscription services);
  • Discount on commissions (I used my Costco executive member to open my first account and I can get 20% rebate on quarterly commissions);
  • Periodic promotions (you can possibly make hundreds of dollars of free money);
  • Since Sharebuilder uses scheduled fund transfers, there’s no delay for scheduled purchase (changes can still be made on Monday 2:00 pm);
  • Free dividend reinvestment;
  • Can buy fractional shares (like buying mutual funds);
  • Use Express Funding option to fund account in the same day (good option for real time trading);

What I don’t like

  • $4 commission only available on Tuesdays and it’s not really that low for batch purchases (I’d love more flexibilities on this, but I probably won’t pay only $4 if I indeed get it);
  • Scheduled investments are only for weekly or monthly, no bi-monthly or quarterly automatic investment plan;
  • $15.95 per real time order is too high (this is too much, making it impossible to use);
  • No mutual fund investing (there are plenty of no-fee mutual fund options available);

Find out more about ShareBuilder

QQQDirect

What I like

  • Commission free investment in QQQQ (this is the only option I am using);
  • No minimum deposit requirement for opening an account;
  • No inactivity or account maintenance fees;

What I don’t like

Discount stock and options brokers all have different features, tools, services and commission fees. It is important to use the right brokers for different investment needs, such as low fee active trading, free dividend reinvestments and commission free investments.

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This post was written by Sun You can find out more about Sun and his activities on Facebook , or follow him on Twitter .

33 Responses to “Discount Broker Reviews 2012: TradeKing, Scottrade, Zecco, OptionsXpress, Options House, Firstrade, E*Trade and ShareBuilder”

  1. moneymonk |  Dec 18, 2006 at 11:20 am

    “Scheduled investments are only for weekly or monthly, no bi-monthly or quarterly automatic investment plan; ”

    with Sharebuilder.

    aaarrgh, I hate that also. It will be easier for me to invest bi weekly because those are my paydays. Purchasing shares on Tuesdays, at first it was hard for me to remember.

  2. Novice |  Dec 18, 2006 at 8:45 pm

    I am using Ameritrade izone. I came to the same conclusion you have summarized. Izone offers $5 online trades but no dividend reinvestment option. ACH transfers take 3 days. I am not sure whether as an izone customer one has access to TD Ameritrade branch offices. I also have an account through Ameritrade I use their branch office.

  3. TJP |  Dec 19, 2006 at 10:44 am

    That $15 ShareBuilder fee is their worst feature by far.

    I bought 2 ETFs back in September, and made a nice little profit, around 10% gain.

    When it came time to rebalance my portfolio, I decided to sell them since they were mainly short-term trades.

    Big mistake. Got slapped with $30 in commission fees, which really hurt my gains.

    Never heard of QQQDirect. Thanks for the headups.

  4. Michelle |  Dec 20, 2006 at 10:53 pm

    You really need to look into zecco.com. It’s 40 free trades per month! The customer service has been great, the ACH very quick, and it’s FREE. I’m DCA’ing into VTI in my taxable account held exclusively through zecco.

    Why is no one in the PF blog world using it??

  5. The Sun |  Dec 21, 2006 at 12:12 am

    Michelle: I agree with you that the free trading offered by Zecco is very attractive and their free dividend reinvestment option is as, if not more, valuable as well. However, my only problem with Zecco is the their relatively short history and nobody knows if they can offer free trading forever, or that’s only a bait. I’d like to wait a while (for example one year) to see their business goes before making an commitment. If everything is fine this time next year, I will seriously consider having an account with them.

    MM: The reason they fix the date is, I guess, that they can buy a large amount of shares with a single trade, lowing the costs. With their automatic investment plan, you don’t have to remember the date. The money will be drafted from your bank account and automatically invested.

    Novice: It’s true that lot of discount brokerages don’t offer free dividend reinvestment, which I think is a very important piece of generating passive incomes. And I don’t understand why they don’t provide this option. As for branch offices, they are convenient if I want to mail a check instead of using ACH. Plus, some times dealing with people face-to-face is much easier than over the phone.

  6. Michelle Hope |  Dec 21, 2006 at 12:24 pm

    Hey Sun. Thanks so much for the personal reply. I’ve enjoyed your blog every day since I first found it.

    Yeah, I know people are afraid to commit to something new, especially when it comes to retirement savings. The timing was perfect for me (I was finally ready to open a taxable account), so I just went for it. I didn’t have to move anything or change anything since I was starting from scratch.

  7. The Sun |  Dec 22, 2006 at 12:55 am

    Actually, I think that the problem may be the inconvenience it may cause later on if Zecco reverses course and starts to charge fees. Then I may need to look for other brokerage and transfer the account out of Zecco and that whole process could be a hassle. If Zecco can demonstrate that it can keep the fee-free structure for a long period of time, then everybody will love to have an account with them. Nobody wants to pay a fee when they can get the same thing for free.

  8. ZW |  Jan 20, 2007 at 2:32 pm

    I have been curious about the comparison among those broker for long time. Thanks for your wonderful summary. Also it is very informative to learn zecco.com today. I am considering opening an account there also.

    Looking forward to reading more updates.

    ZW

  9. Chris |  Jan 27, 2007 at 1:57 pm

    I just discovered sogoinvest.com, and am surprised you didn’t mention it. They currently don’t have retirement accounts but are planning on adding them. They have lots of good features and very low trading fees at low as $1 and up to $3. They do dollar bases investing, fractional shares, auto investing, no minimum balance or opening and no maintenance fees.

  10. The Sun |  Jan 28, 2007 at 10:34 pm

    Chris: It’s true that when I wrote the post, I didn’t know about Sogo and had no experience with it. I only the company early this month and haven’t got time to take a look. From your link, I went to their website and found they indeed offer a very low fee for even real time trading, though it’s not free as Zecco offers. For Zecco, however, my problem is I don’t know how long they can last with zero commission. When the company charges a reasonable fee, it’s more believable to me.

  11. Chris |  Jan 29, 2007 at 4:27 am

    Zecco does sound interesting, but like you said how sustainable could ad supported trading really be? I know sogoinvest is tied into an existing trading platform that lets them make a profit at their $1-$3 trades. And while they are not very old, their parent company has been around for a few years and is doing well. Plus if you were just starting out or doing it for a child Zecco’s $2500 minimum balance would pay for Sogo’s sharebuilder-like plans if invested in an MMA at 5%.

  12. The Sun |  Jan 30, 2007 at 5:57 pm

    I am guessing that there may be a connection between their fee-free trading and the $2500 minimum requirement to open an account as not many discount brokerage firms require that size of minimum any more. On the other hand, Sogo looks interesting because it also offers real-time trade with the same fee as automatic investment plan, and this part is better than Sharebuilder. It really looks like a good choice.

  13. Jon K |  Feb 03, 2007 at 8:45 am

    Sun,
    I’ve been investigating Zecco before opening an account. They are quite open about how they are able to offer commission free trades: each trade costs them about $2, which is less than the Etrade’s of the world because they have no marketing expenses. How do they make money? They earn about 3% interest on margin balances, as well as making some off your uninvested float. They also have advertising, including Adsense, on their website. I suppose it’s plausible that if you keep your expenses down, you can make a profit with this model.

  14. The Sun |  Feb 06, 2007 at 5:04 pm

    Hi Jon:

    Thanks for the information. I was always wondering how they make money by offering commission free trading. The fact that they use AdSense as well is also very interesting, but I doubt how much money they can make from that. Without marketing, it’s hard to get the word out and if people don’t know them, it’s hard to get the traffic to their site. I am taking the wait-and-see approach. Hopefully, they can maintain their model that benefits small investors. Once people have good words to say about them, they will get their customers.

  15. investing101 |  Feb 13, 2007 at 11:18 pm

    For me, I plan to open a Roth IRA a/c (investments would be primarily in mutual funds). after some research i have decided on firstrade(FT) over scottrade(ST) among the discount brokerage firms primarily

    - FT offers $9.99 in transaction fees for non-NTF no-load funds opposed to $17 of ST
    - no minimum investment with FT vs. $500 min with ST
    - option of divident reinvestment possible with FT but not with ST

  16. The Sun |  Feb 15, 2007 at 1:06 am

    investing101: If your main investments are in mutual funds, why would you want to go with a brokerage instead of the fund company? Though FT offers some no-fee no-load mutual funds, you can be sure you won’t pay any extra fees with the fund company (Vanguard does have an annual fee of $10 if the fund assets you have is less than $5000). And it may be a misunderstanding that there’s no minimum to invest with FT. That’s true if you invest in stocks or EFTs, but may not be so with mutual fund as most mutual funds do have a minimum investment requirement. However, some brokerage firms (the so-called mutual fund supermarket may not require this as they make bucket investment, that is, they collect all investments from all investors into one particular fund and make one purchase then distributes shares to each individual investor. Scottrade used to do that several years ago, but not any more and you have to check with FT to see if they requires a minimum if the fund requires a minimum. Finally, all mutual funds investments with Scottrade have the option to reinvest dividend/capital gain distribution, but not with stocks/ETFs.

    All these being said, I didn’t mean Scottrade is a better option. Actually, I think for mutual fund investments, whether in retirement accounts or regular account, the best choice is go with the fund company directly, though this may mean you have to manage many accounts if you purchase lots of funds from different companies, the cost is the lowest.

  17. The Sun |  Mar 03, 2007 at 9:31 pm

    Brokerage: Part of the post was crippled, but now it is restored.

  18. Garner Weng |  Mar 12, 2007 at 7:13 pm

    I have used Sharebuilder for about 2-3 years — and their uncaring and slow customer service is driving me to look to move, perhaps to FolioFN. I had a problem with my account (which incidentally made no sense — involving Sharebuilder allowing me access to one of my accounts but refusing access to the second of my accounts, saying that my identity was not verified!) — and it took nearly 8 hours to get a call back from a supervisor. And she took the attitude quite expressly that she did not care if the company kept my business or not. If everything worked flawlessly, perhaps I could deal with the attitude. But it doesn’t. Aside from the account access issue, I have had a few occasions in which I have had to request fixes, e.g., recently I could not open the tax document from Sharebuilder to do my taxes and had to request a fix.

  19. The Sun |  Mar 15, 2007 at 8:49 am

    Garner: I have used Sharebuilder for about a year now and didn’t have many problems with them. I guess the reason was I only have a very simple relationship with them and don’t really have to deal with them except making a purchase every month.

    I have heard about FolioFN but never really considered it? Just curious, what’s the reason for you to choose FolioFN? A quick look shows they have a monthly fee. It only makes sense if you do a lot of trading every month to save on commissions you will otherwise pay for other brokers. But if this is the case, did you consider Zecco or Sogo? Zecco doesn’t charge monthly fee or commission and Sogo has a maximum commission of $3 for both scheduled and real-time trading.

  20. Steven |  May 08, 2007 at 5:25 pm

    How does QQQDirect compare to Sharebuilder?

  21. Sun |  May 08, 2007 at 5:55 pm

    Steven: QQQDirect is a division of MyStockFund, which is also a discount broker. The main difference between QQQDirect and Sharebuilder is that with QQQDirect you can buy QQQQ without paying commission. But that’s only for QQQQ. If you want to buy other stocks, then you will have to pay commissions. I have another post that compares MyStockFund and Sharebuilder that you can find at here.

  22. zeronimo |  May 14, 2007 at 11:01 am

    Zecco is a new brokerage company. You get free trades of 10/day with a maximum of 40/month. Although they require you $2500 to open an account but since there is no maintenance requirements you can take them out if you wanted. They had “secret” promo that you can open for only $1000. I don’t know when that expires.

    Prior to May 10, 2007 they require you to submit paperwork by email/fax or regular mail. So first time registrants had experienced rough times because they got really backup processing applications.

  23. Sun |  May 14, 2007 at 9:50 pm

    Zeronimo: I called Zecco last month about their promotion ($1000 to open an account) and was told, at that time, it will end on April 30. I am not sure if that promotion is still available. I also got an email from Zecco today that they have removed all the paperwork when opening an account. That’s definitely a good news. I haven’t made up my mind whether to get an account or not. The free trading is a big plus, but I wonder they can keep offering that or not. Do you have a Zecco account? If you do, do you like it?

  24. james jenkins |  Aug 24, 2007 at 1:48 pm

    does anyone have personal experience with optionsXpress?

    Jim

  25. sheila |  Sep 01, 2007 at 10:20 am

    I have been using ShareBuilder for about 6 months, at the basic plan which charges only $4 per trade. I do not “batch” my orders but rotate it each month, buying stock in only one or two companies. As soon as the trade is made, I switch my automatic investing plan to the next two stocks on my list. This way I can have a portfolio of 12 stocks I like, making a purchase of each stock every six months. This is long-term investment (for retirement), and so I will not be selling the stocks any time soon. The ShareBuilder account is great for stocks held directly, but I am looking to invest more money elsewhere.

  26. Joe |  Oct 27, 2007 at 3:20 pm

    Whatever you do, don’t go with Firstrade. They lured tons of people in with no transaction fee no-load fund trades. Then they dropped that feature and now charge people $50 per account to transfer out. Classic bait and switch.

  27. Gerry |  Mar 28, 2008 at 9:54 pm

    Have you heard of SogoTrade? $1.50 per trade.
    http://www.sogotrade.com
    The other sibling is SogoElite.
    http://elite.sogoinvest.com

  28. Jon |  Dec 07, 2008 at 5:03 pm

    I signed up with scottrade.com and got 3 free trades.

    I think they require a $500 minimum to get the free trades. Still a great deal.

  29. Josh |  Feb 26, 2009 at 10:22 am

    Greetings.

    My name is Josh, and I felt the need to warn traders about Zecco. It is the absolute worst online trading experience I have ever had. To start, their customer service reps and managers are woefully misinformed about SEC regulations and their responsibilities to their clients’ money. They take the longest time on ACH transfers (20-30 days). A few of mine were cancelled for no reason and I had to call the office to follow up numerous times. Many times the reps say that they will call back to resolve an issue, and they simply don’t.

    Their online platform is mediocre to bad. Their trailing stops feature was down for a week during volatile market times, when my other brokerages were doing fine. Their charts lag relative to their competitors, and their executions are slow. Also, uninvited total screen refreshes put you behind the 8-ball when you have to wait, wait, wait, then make a quick move. Don’t even think about trading on 5 minute intervals.

    Third, they have hidden fees on every transaction. The $4.95 is not accurate. It’s listed in their Terms and Conditions, but who reads that? (I did, and that’s how I found out.) Their accounting system is broken. I’m having my accountant look over their records because my buying power doesn’t even coincide with what their own account records say. As it is, I’m out about $500 because of a mistake they made, which I have yet to see fixed. I have complained to FINRA and the SEC. Yes, I believe it’s that bad.

    Lastly, I know some people would be willing to put up with all this crap for commission free trades, but as of March 01, that competitive advantage is OUT THE WINDOW!! It now takes $25K to get the free trades, which makes their structure merely competitive, not a hands down advantage. Think about it: If you make 20 trades at $4.50 (+hidden fee) and 10 are free, it’s the same as making all 20 at a $2.50 commission. Plus you have to put up with all the above crap.

    I hope you’ll find some of this info useful and will publish it to keep people from going through the same thing I did. Zecco should be out of business. Thanks. Email back with any other questions.

  30. Chris |  Feb 26, 2009 at 10:23 am

    ZECCO SHOULD BE OUT OF BUSINESS

    I agree. Zecco is the pits and will rob you.

  31. Nick L |  Mar 02, 2009 at 7:52 pm

    Wow some unhappy Zecco folks. I have used them for a couple years and love it. Granted the customer service isn’t the same as my other online brokers that I have used and still use. The trades are as cheap as they get and executions have been great. I read the terms and conditions again and don’t see any abnormal hidden fees… would like to know exactly what Josh is talking about so that i can look into it. All of my ACH transfers have been smooth.. all online in a few days max. I am upset with how their price structure with the free trades has changed in that I was originally getting 40 free trades a month!! when I first started with them.. and that lasted for a year. Now they have reduced it to 10 if you have the 25k. Anyways I use them and Im happy and I also use Scottrade for their tools such as streaming quotes and such. But most of the trades are done on zecco. Also there is a site where you can rate and post unbiased opinions about online brokers you might be interested in.

  32. Sun |  Mar 03, 2009 at 12:24 am

    @Josh: What Zecco did since its launch looks like a typical bait and switch scheme. They cited the current market conditions (low trading volume and low interest rates) as the reason to dump almost completely the free trades, but then swore they will never make any pricing change again. To me, it seems that they finally got the chance to get rid of it. I wonder how many small investors who went to Zecco for only reason of their free trades will stay after March 1.

  33. becky |  Mar 18, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    When I search for discount online broker, I found Firstrade currently offers the 100 free trade promotion, and they offer this promotion to international account which is great for me.