Poll: Who’s Your Favorite Broker?
If you have read this blog long enough, you know that I have multiple brokerage accounts. If I have to count, then I have 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. Yes, a total of seven brokers. Of them, Firstrade, ShareBuilder and optionXpress have been idle for a long time after I moved money out of them last year, and E-Trade is only for a couple of Chinese stocks traded in Hong Kong.
The other three that I am actively using are Scottrade, TradeKing, and Zecco. Among the three, Scottrade is my favorite because of their excellent customer service and convenience. Though the the $7.00 commission for each equity transaction isn’t the cheapest, that’s not the problem because I usually use Scottrade to buy stocks that I want to hold for a long time (stocks such as China Life (LFC), Visa (V), and PGJ, just to name a few). The biggest piece that’s missing in Scottrade, from what I can see, is that they don’t have free dividend reinvestment, one service that everybody else seems offering, including Zecco. And that’s the reason I got Firstrade then later switched to TradeKing. On my favorite list, TradeKing comes at second because:
- Low commission rate: $4.95 flat;
- User friendly interface: lots of functions make trading and research easier;
- Easy contact: via their Live Chat;
- Refer a friend program: make $50 for every new customer I refer to them.
And, yes, they have free dividend reinvestment. Then I also have Zecco. Except the zero commission stock trading, I hardly can find anything else that attracts to me: from usability of their website to their customer service. That’s why I only have my play money with them. Like people usually say: “You get what you paid for.” That’s pretty much true for Zecco.
Late last month, Smart Money magazine published an annual survey of discount brokers. From the result, it seems that TD Ameritrade and TradeKing got quite high marks, and Zecco is seen as among the worst in multiple categories, which didn’t surprise me given my own experience. Now I want to conduct my own survey to see how ordinary people like you and me rate their brokers.
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