Firstrade Securities Review
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Firstrade Securities is a New York based investment company which has been in operation since 1985. This platform promises its customers ‘high standards at low cost’, offering $0 commissions on stock and options trades. Firstrade aims to appeal to first-time investors using a simple and easy to follow interface to allow for easy trading options.
The company also offers investors the opportunity to earn extra funds by lending their stocks to financial organisations. When Firstrade first began operating it drew a large number of clients from the local population of Chinese immigrants, and the site is still available in Chinese as well as English language.
Facts & Figures
- Name: Firstrade Securities Incoporated
- Year Founded: 1985
- HQ: 30-50 Whitestone Expressway, Ste. A301, Flushing, NY 11354
- CEO: John Liu
- Clearing Agency: Apex Clearing
- FINRA CRD: 16843
- SEC ID: 8-32642
- Minimum Account Balance: $500
- Fees: $0 commissions for most stock, option, and ETF trades
- SIPC Member: Yes
- Total AUM: N/A
- # of Accounts: N/A
- Average Account Size: N/A
How To Trade
Firstrade does not have a complex platform in comparison to many other online brokers, making it a natural fit for first-time investors. Orders must be manually ordered and if you choose not to go for broker assistance all trades with Firstrade will be free. Opening an account with Firstrade is very simple and straightforward.
The site has been designed to make navigation intuitive and easy, and orders can be made from various different sections of the site, as well as the Navigator platform. The Trading Dashboard provides a snapshot of the user account with all the information easily accessible. The Dashboard also provides the latest market news and trends and can be customised according to the preferences of the investor.
Promotions & Offers
In a competitive marketplace, Firstrade aims to attract new investors with an impressive range of promotional offers. Should a customer switch to Firstrade from another broker, they will be entitled to up to $200 in transfer fee rebates. This is based upon a transfer of at least $2,500, but with zero commission on most trades it may tempt people to move their funds over to Firstrade. A second offer on the site gives investors a rebate of up to $25 on wire transfers.
Note that this fund transfer must be at least $25,000 in order to qualify for the wire transfer rebate. The third offer currently available from Firstrade is a ‘refer a friend’ programme. For each friend that signs up via the promotional link, $50 is added to the customer’s account.
Certain conditions apply in order for this promotion to function. Invites can be sent and tracked from the promotional page, and the referee must then open an account by clicking the link in the email sent by the original member. The referee must then deposit or transfer a minimum of $2,000 to their new Firstrade account and must make at least one trade within 30 days of opening the account. Once these conditions have been met, $50 will go to the referring investor.
Firstrade provides a broad selection of educational articles and videos which are primarily aimed at new investors. On site users will find in-depth definitions of different products such as stocks, options, EDFs and mutual funds. This information will certainly be useful to those investors who are dipping their toe into the financial trading waters for the first time.
There are also ‘how to’ guides on how exactly investors can place stock and option trades, and a glossary covers a very extensive lists of trading terms and phrases. Firstrade also dedicates a page to a large FAQ section which answers all manner of trading related questions. Some of the articles are now a little dated, but in general the educational resources are good and will be very helpful to new traders.
Firstrade Navigator is the single page trading platform which allows users to manage and trade from just a single screen. From here, traders can see all of their active positions and receive real-time market data. Technical charting tools are available for in-depth analysis, as well as convenient pie graphs to display what is happening with the user’s account. Customizeable widgets and layouts allows the trader to design the platform to their own specifications and needs.
The drawback is that the Navigator platform is only available to customers with a balance of $10,000, meaning that it would not be an option for smaller investors. That being said, options traders will struggle to find a better platform than Firstrade out there as it is particularly strong in this area. The Options Wizard is a great feature, providing instant feedback and analysis on any potential trade. The Real Time Streaming Watchlist allows users to follow the latest market data, including the DOW, NASDAQ and S&P 500.
With Firstrade it is possible to carry out trades on stocks, options, funds, and fixed income, a range which will appeal to new investors in particular. There are a lot of $0 trades available, certainly more than enough to cater for first-timers. One disappointing absence is the lack of Forex trading opportunities, as this is a particularly popular area.
There are many traders interested in the cryptocurrency markets as well, and again this option is not provided for by Firstrade. The extended trading hours available run from 8AM to 8PM and users will be able to have complete control over multiple accounts from the Firstrade platform.
Those investors whose accounts have a balance of at least $50,000 will be classified as Firstrade Gold Account members. The features of this VIP service include a dedicated account manager plus lower fees for internal asset transfers. Those customers with an account balance of $100,000 or more are Platinum Account holders.
Apart from a dedicated representative, there are no fees for internal asset transfers or personal cheques or stop payment orders. Besides the above, there is not a great deal more on offer for VIP members at Firstrade, so perhaps the largest account-holders will find better incentives on other trading platforms.
Reports & Analysis
There are a number of portfolio analysis functions which are not offered on any of Firstrade’s platforms, which will be disappointing for more experienced traders in particular.
It is possible to keep an eye on open positions in real time and to follow the live data on any of the markets or options on offer from Firstrade. Investors can also track any changes to their account balances live and with the latest prices. Any transactions can be downloaded to a platform such as Excel to carry out further analysis. However, on balance it must be said that Firstrade is not one of the premier investment sites when it comes to account analysis tools and in fact is quite limited in this regard.
Firstrade Securities provide a top class service for very reasonable rates. The fact that the majority of stock, fund and options trading will not charge any commission will appeal to a large number of potential investors. The ability to lend shares to financial organisations in exchange for a daily income is another way to earn money from customers’ Firstrade account. Investors with margin accounts or transactions such as wire transfers will incur fees which are steeper than those available from other online brokers, but in general Firstrade is extremely competitive when it comes to their pricing structures.
As with any online business these days, the ability to function perfectly well on a mobile device such as a tablet or smartphone is a must. Firstrade’s mobile app is available for both Android and Apple products and is very simple to use. Most simple trades can be made on mobile device, but more advanced orders such as OCO will not be available on mobile devices other than the iPad.
One absence from the mobile version of the Firstrade platform is the ability to use research tools or to receive streaming news from external sites. For this level of functionality, the desktop version of the site must be used, meaning that on mobile investor options are a little restricted.
As previously mentioned, a large FAQ section will allow investors the opportunity to answer the most commonly asked questions without having to contact support. Firstrade do not offer live customer support around the clock, but there are some aspects which they address particularly well.
The customer support team are clearly very highly-trained in their field and will be able to deal with any queries raised. Firstrade continues to cater to its Chinese investor community by offering full support in the Chinese language. This site can be contacted either by telephone or on live chat or else via email.
For those traders looking for a good low-cost trading platform, Firstrade Securities will be hard to beat. While some important products are unavailable, those interested in trading stocks and options will find everything they need here. The trading platforms are stacked with the latest market data, and plenty of advanced options to allow for informed trading.
Customer support is of a high standard, and the educational resources available on the site will allow first-time investors to get up to speed in a hurry. All told this is a very well organised and highly-polished online trading site that will be perfect for the needs of those new to the world of online financial trading.
Is this your final decision?
We suggest you visit one of the most popular trading platforms instead!
- Zero cost stock and option trades
- Site is perfectly functional on mobile
- Platform is extremely easy to use
- Limits on tools and options for $0 commission
- No forex trading option
- Managed portfolio option is not available
7 Binary Options review: Firstrade: 3 stars