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Charles Schwab Review 2019

Best research
· 4.6 5 stars · May 2019
Compare to best alternative broker
Charles Schwab logo

Charles Schwab was founded in 1971 and it is one of the biggest US-based discount brokers. It is regulated by top-tier regulators, like the US SEC or the UK FCA.

Charles Schwab is considered safe because it has a long track record, is listed on a stock exchange, has a banking background, and is regulated by top-tier regulators.

Best research

Recommended for investors and traders looking for solid research, low fees, and great customer service.

Pros
  • Outstanding research
  • Low fees
  • Great customer service
Cons
  • No credit/debit cards and electronic wallets for money transfer
  • Only US markets covered
  • Not well-structured education

Charles Schwab pros and cons

Charles Schwab's research is high-quality and covers a lot of tools, including trading ideas and detailed fundamental data. It charges low trading fees and doesn't charge any inactivity fee. The customer support team gives fast and relevant answers.

Charles Schwab doesn't provide credit/debit cards and electronic wallets as for money transfer. The product portfolio covers only US markets. The educational tools are not well-structured.

Compare to other brokers

Charles Schwab review
Fees 4 stars

Charles Schwab has low trading and non-trading fees. It even charges no commission for some ETFs, bonds, and mutual funds. On the negative side, the fees for mutual funds and the financing rates are high.
Pros
  • Low trading fees
  • No inactivity fee
  • Some ETFs, bonds, and mutual funds are free
Cons
  • High financing rate
  • High fees for mutual funds
Charles Schwab Fees snapshot
Assets Fee level Fee terms
US stock fee Low $4.95 per trade, there are also ~500 free ETFs
EURUSD fee - Not available
US tech fund fee High $49.5 for buying and selling is free; there are also ~4,000 free mutual funds
Inactivity fee Low No inactivity fee

We ranked Charles Schwab's fee levels as low, average or high based on how they compare to those of all reviewed brokers.

To get things rolling, let's go over some lingo relating to broker fees. What you need to keep an eye on are trading fees, financing rates, and non-trading fees.

We also compared Charles Schwab's fees with those of two similar brokers we selected, Interactive Brokers and Chase You Invest. This selection is based on factors like products offered, client profile, fee structure, etc.

Let's start with the trading fees.

Trading fees

Charles Schwab trading fees are low. The fee structure is transparent and easy to understand. 

Stock fees and ETF fees

Charles Schwab has generally low stock trading fees.

Stock fees of a $2,000 trade
  Charles Schwab Interactive Brokers Chase You Invest
USA $5.0 $1.0 $3.0

The fees for US stocks and ETFs are calculated as $4.95 per trade. Charles Schwab offers ~500 free ETFs as well.

If you trade with foreign stocks on the OTC market, the fee is $4.95 plus $50 per trade.

Fund fees

Charles Schwab charges generally high fees for funds. It charges only for opening a position, closing the position is free of charge. In our comparison table, we halved Charles Schwab's fee to be comparable with the other brokers, which charge both for opening and closing.

Fees for a $2,000 fund purchase
  Charles Schwab Interactive Brokers Chase You Invest
USA tech fund buy $24.8 $15.0 $0.0

The fees for mutual fund purchase is $49.5. It is a big plus that Charles Schwab offers ~4,000 free mutual funds. However, if you sell these free funds within 90 days after the purchase, a $49.5 fee is charged for the sale.

Bond fees

Charles Schwab has low bond fees. The bond fees vary based on the bond type you buy. We calculated with the fees for Treasury bonds.

Fees of a $10,000 bond trade
  Charles Schwab Interactive Brokers Chase You Invest
USA $0.0 $5.0 $10.0

There is no commission for Treasury bonds. For other bonds, like corporate bonds, the commission is $1 per bond and there is a minimum of $10 and a maximum of $250.

Options fees

Charles Schwab's options fees are generally average.

Stock index options fees of 10 contracts
  Charles Schwab Interactive Brokers Chase You Invest
USA $11.5 $7.0 -

The options fees comprise a flat and a volume-based fee: $4.95 per trade plus $0.65 per contract.

Futures fees

Similarly to options fees, the Charles Schwab futures fees are generally low.

Stock index futures fee of 10 contracts
  Charles Schwab Interactive Brokers Chase You Invest
USA $15.0 $8.5 -

The futures fees are volume-based: $1.5 per contract.

Financing rates

Charles Schwab financing rates are generally high.

Financing rates are charged when you hold your leveraged positions for more than a day. It can be a significant proportion of your trading costs.

Charles Schwab annual financing rates
  Charles Schwab Interactive Brokers Chase You Invest
Apple financing rate 9.8% 5.8% -

Charles Schwab financing rate is volume-tiered. It applies a base rate plus a premium depending on the financed amount. The base rate is set by its discretion, at the time of the Charles Schwab review the base rate was 8.0%.

Charles Schwab annual financing rates
Debit balance Rate% Base rate + / -
$250,000 - $499,999 8.075% Base rate +0.075%
$100,000 - $249,999 8.325% Base rate +0.325%
$50,000 - $99,999 8.375% Base rate +0.375%
$10,000 - $49,999 9.325% Base rate +1.325%
$0 - $9,999 9.825% Base rate +1.825%

Non-trading fees

Charles Schwab has low non-trading fees. It charges no inactivity and account fees.

There is no withdrawal fee if you have an account at Schwab Bank or use ACH transfer. The withdrawals to other banks using wire transfer cost $25. Clients outside the US can only use this wire transfer.

We tested ACH, so we had no withdrawal fee.

Charles Schwab non-trading fees
  Charles Schwab Interactive Brokers Chase You Invest
Account fee No No No
Inactivity fee No Yes No
Withdrawal fee $0 $0 $0

Charles Schwab review
Account opening 5 stars

Opening an account at Charles Schwab is easy, fast and fully digital. For US-clients there is no minimum deposit. However, if you open an account outside the US, there is a $25,000 minimum.
Pros
  • Fast account opening
  • Fully digital account opening
  • No minimum account balance
Cons
  • For non-US clients $25,000 minimum

Can you open an account?

Charles Schwab is a US discount broker and target primarily US clients. However, there are ~40 more countries where Charles Schwab is available. Just to mention a few: United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, etc.

The offered services can vary in different countries. For example, clients from the UK and Hong Kong can't trade with futures or mutual funds, only stock, ETF, options, and bonds are provided.

What is the minimum deposit at Charles Schwab?

The required Charles Schwab minimum deposit is different for US and non-US clients:

  • $0
  • $25,000 for non-US clients

If you would like to use Charles Intelligent Portfolios, you shall have a $5,000 minimum account balance. At Charles Intelligent Portfolios Premium, the minimum is $25,000.

Account types

Charles Schwab has many types of accounts:

Charles Schwab account types
Account type Short description
Brokerage Individual Account Account is owned and used by a single individual
Brokerage Joint Account Account is owned and used by two or more individuals
Corporate Account Account is owned and used by a legal entity
Trust Account Account is held by a Trustee (separate legal entity) for your benefit

Roth IRA Account

Traditional IRA Account

Rollover IRA Account

Individual retirement accounts which are only available for US clients

Schwab Intelligent Portfolios

Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Premium

Robo-advisor accounts which are only available for US clients
Schwab Charitable Account Tax-efficient account for a charitable giving, but available only in the US

In this review, we tested the Brokerage Individual Account.

How to open your account

The account opening is user-friendly, fully digital, and fast. It took 1 day for us. This simplicity and speed are not usual for US brokers, e.g. the account opening at Interactive Brokers is very complicated.

Steps at Charles Schwab to open an account:

  1. Choose the account type
  2. Add personal information, like Social Security Number, residency, and your employment status
  3. Set account features, like adding margin or options trading
  4. Acknowledge the terms and conditions
  5. Verify your identity by uploading ID / driver's license

The online application took roughly 20 minutes and the account was verified the next day.

If you want to trade with futures, you have to make a separate registration as well.

Charles Schwab review - Account opening

Charles Schwab review
Deposit and withdrawal 2 stars

Charles Schwab deposit and withdrawal can be improved. You can use only bank transfer, there is only USD as a base currency, and a high fee is charged for wire withdrawals. As a plus, there is no deposit fee and transferring money is easy and user-friendly.
Pros
  • No deposit fee
  • User-friendly
Cons
  • Credit/Debit card deposit and withdrawal not available
  • Only one account base currency
  • High fee for wire withdrawals

Account base currencies

At Charles Schwab, you can open your trading account only in USD.

In comparison with the competitors, you can see that Interactive Brokers has much more base currencies, while Chase You Invest offers only USD-based accounts.

Base currencies at Charles Schwab vs similar brokers
  Charles Schwab Interactive Brokers Chase You Invest
Number of base currencies 1 21 1

Why does this matter? Two things. First, if you fund your account in the same currency as your bank account, you won't be charged a currency conversion fee. Second, if you trade assets in the same currency as your account base currency, you will not have to pay a conversion fee.

A convenient way to save on the currency conversion fees can be to open a multi-currency bank account. Revolut or Transferwise both offer bank accounts in several currencies with great currency exchange rates as well as free or cheap international bank transfers. The account opening only takes a few minutes on your phone.

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Deposit fees and options

Charles Schwab charges no deposit fees. US clients can use check, ACH, and wire transfers for deposit. For clients outside the US, only wire transfer is offered.

The credit/debit cards and electronic wallets are not provided. This is similar to competitors.

Charles Schwab deposit options
  Charles Schwab Interactive Brokers Chase You Invest
Bank transfer Yes Yes Yes
Credit/Debit card No No No
Electronic wallets No No No

We tested ACH transfer and it took 1 business days.

You can only deposit money from accounts which are in your name.

Charles Schwab review - Deposit and withdrawal - Deposit

Withdrawal fees and options

Charles Schwab charges no withdrawal fees if you have an account at Charles Schwab or use ACH transfer. 

Wire transfers to other banks cost $25. Non-US clients can use only this wire transfer for withdrawal.

Charles Schwab withdrawal fees and options
  Charles Schwab Interactive Brokers Chase You Invest
Bank Transfer Yes Yes Yes
Credit/Debit card No No No
Electronic wallets No No No
Withdrawal fee $0 $0 $0

How long does it take to withdraw money from Charles Schwab? We tested the ACH withdrawal and it was completed within 2 business days.

You can only withdraw money to accounts in your name.

How do you withdraw money from Charles Schwab? You can withdraw money from Charles Schwab by following these steps:

  • Log into the account
  • Go to the "Transfers & Payments"
  • Select the withdrawal method you want to use
  • Select your Charles Schwab account as "Transfer from"
  • Select the account you want to withdraw the money to as "Transfer to"
  • Add the amount you wish to withdraw
  • Initiate the withdrawal

Compare to other brokers

Charles Schwab review
Web trading platform 4 stars

Charles Schab's web platform is simple and easy to use. Even beginners can easily navigate it. On the negative side, it lacks two-step login and customizability.
Pros
  • User-friendly
  • Clear fee report
  • Price alerts
Cons
  • No two-step (safe) login
  • Limited customizability (for charts, workspace)
Charles Schwab Platforms to Choose From
Trading platform Score Available
Web 4 / 5 stars Yes
Mobile 4 / 5 stars Yes
Desktop 4 / 5 stars Yes

Charles Schwab has three trading platforms which differ in the tradable products and the devices the platforms are offered for:

  Schwab.com StreetSmart Edge StreetSmart Central
Best for Investors looking for easy execution Traders looking for sophisticated research Futures traders looking for sophisticated research
Tradable products Stock, ETF, fund, bond, options Stock, ETF, options, futures Stock, ETF, options, futures
Web trading platform offered Yes Yes (cloud-based platform) Yes
Mobile trading platform offered Yes No Yes
Desktop trading platform offered No Yes No

In this review, we tested the Schwab.com web trading platform. This trading platform is available in English.

Look and feel

The Charles Schwab web trading platform provides good user experience and design. On the negative side, it is not customizable.

Charles Schwab review - Web trading platform

Login and security

Charles Schwab provides only a one-step login authentication

When you first log in on a new device, you have to register the new device, ie. laptop, phone, etc. During the registration, you get a code via text, email or phone and with this code, you can register your new device. After the registration, you can access your account using your regular ID and password combo.

Search functions

The search functions are OK. You can search by typing both a company's name or asset's ticker.

However, the search results are not fully relevant. For example, when we searched for Apple, it appeared only in the third place.

Charles Schwab review - Web trading platform - Search

Placing orders

You can use the basic order types. You will not find very sophisticated orders like the "one cancels the other" order.

  • Market
  • Limit
  • Stop
  • Stop Limit

If you are not familiar with these order types, read this overview.

There are many order time limits, including more sophisticated ones:

  • Good 'til canceled (GTC)
  • Good 'til end of the day (GTD)
  • Immediate or Cancel (IOC)
  • Fill or Kill (FOK)
  • All or Nothing (AON)

Charles Schwab review - Web trading platform - Order panel

Alerts and notifications

You can set a wide range of alerts. From price alerts to research alerts, you will find a lot of alert types.

You can get notifications via email and SMS. If you downloaded the mobile trading app, you can also set mobile push notifications. 

The alerts can be found on the Services > Alerts section.

Portfolio and fee reports

Charles Schwab has clear portfolio and fee reports. They can be found in the Accounts section. 

You can download the reports, but only in CSV.

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Charles Schwab review
Mobile trading platform 4 stars

The Charles Schwab mobile trading platform is great. It is user-friendly and well-designed. However, it lacks two-step login and you can't set alerts.
Pros
  • User-friendly
  • Looks nice
Cons
  • No two-step (safe) login
  • No price alerts

This table shows which mobile trading platforms are available at Charles Schwab.

In this review, we tested Charles Schwab.com mobile trading platform. It is available both on iOS and Android. We tested it on Android.

In functionalities and design, it is very similar to the web trading platform. It offers the same order types, has the same search functions, and offers only one-step login.

The major difference is that you can't set alerts. However, you can set mobile push notifications on the web trading platform. It would be much easier if you could set these notifications on the mobile trading platform.

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Charles Schwab review
Desktop trading platform 4 stars

Charles Schwab has a great desktop trading platform. It is highly customizable, offers many order types, and has a clear fee report. On the negative side, it is available only for Windows and two-step login is not provided.
Pros
  • Clear fee report
  • Good customizability (for charts, workspace)
  • Good variety of order types
Cons
  • No two-step (safe) login
  • Only for Windows

In this table, we summarized which platforms offered on which platforms. We tested StreetSmart Edge as only it has a desktop-based trading platform.

If you want to download StreetSmart Edge, you have to first call Charles Schwab' customer support team. We liked that they offered even a free demo of the platform.

StreetSmart Edge is available only for Windows. If you have a Mac, you can use StreetSmart Edge's web trading platform which is in the cloud. The platform is available in English.

Look and feel

The Charles Schwab desktop trading platform is well-designed and highly customizable.

On the negative side, when you click on a tab, it loads slowly.

Charles Schwab review - Desktop trading platform

Login and security

Similarly to web and mobile trading platforms, StreetSmart Edge provides only a one-step login. A two-step login would be more secure.

Search functions

The search functions are OK. You can search for an asset by typing its name or ticker.

However, the search results are not fully relevant. For example, when you search for Apple, it appears only in the third place.

Charles Schwab review - Desktop trading platform - Search

Placing orders

You can use the following order types:

  • Market
  • Limit
  • Stop
  • Stop Limit
  • Trailing Stop

There are also sophisticated features, like selecting if you want to add order on Smart / Pre Market / After Market. You can also select conditions, like First In First Out,  Last In First Out, High Cost, etc.

There are also many order time limits you can use:

  • Good 'til canceled (GTC)
  • Good 'til end of the day (GTD)
  • Immediate or Cancel (IOC)
  • Fill or Kill (FOK)
  • All or Nothing (AON)

Charles Schwab review - Desktop trading platform - Order panel

Alerts and notifications

You can set alerts on StreetSmart Edge. There are fewer alert options than on the web trading platform.

The alerts can be found on the Account details > Alerts section.

Portfolio and fee reports

StreetSmart Edge has clear portfolio and fee reports. 

They can be found on the Account details section. You can also export these reports in XLS, TXT, and CSV formats.

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Charles Schwab review
Markets and products 3 stars

At Charles Schwab, you can trade with a lot of asset classes, from stocks to futures. However, the offered products cover only the US market.
  Charles Schwab Interactive Brokers Chase You Invest
Stock Yes Yes Yes
ETF Yes Yes Yes
Forex No Yes No
Fund Yes Yes Yes
Bond Yes Yes Yes
Options Yes Yes No
Futures Yes Yes No
CFD No Yes No
Crypto No Yes No

Charles Schwab has wide fund and bond offers. The options and futures offers are average. At stock and ETF, Charles Schwab lags behind.

The offered products can vary at different countries. For example, UK and Hong Kong clients can only trade with stock, ETF, options, and bonds. The mutual funds and futures are not provided.

Stock and ETF

Charles Schwab covers only the US market. It is almost the same as Chase You Invest but lags behind Interactive Brokers.

  Charles Schwab Interactive Brokers Chase You Invest
Stock markets (#) 4 74 3
ETFs (#) 2,300 20,000 2,000

You can trade with stocks on these stock exchanges: NYSE, NYSE MKT, NASDAQ, and OTC.

Fund

The mutual fund offer is great. It even beats Interactive Brokers.

  Charles Schwab Interactive Brokers Chase You Invest
Fund providers (#) 600 200 60

You will find funds from the biggest fund providers like BlackRock or Vanguard and from smaller ones too.

Bond

Charles Schwab has a wide bond offer. It is much better than Chase You Invest's offer. Only Interactive Brokers can compete with this offer.

  Charles Schwab Interactive Brokers Chase You Invest
Bonds (#) 60,000 110,000 22,000

Charles Schwab's bond offer covers both government and corporate bonds.

Options

At options offer, Charles Schwab is average. It lags behind Interactive Brokers which covers exchanges all over the world.

  Charles Schwab Interactive Brokers Chase You Invest
Options markets (#) 8 45 -

The following exchanges are available: BATS, BOX, C2, CBOE, EDGX, MIAX, MPRL, and EMLD.

Futures

Similarly to options, the futures offer is average as well. It is much fewer than Interactive Brokers which gives access to many smaller exchanges.

  Charles Schwab Interactive Brokers Chase You Invest
Futures markets (#) 8 36 -

You can trade with futures on these exchanges: CBOT, CFE, CME, ICE, MGE, NYMEX, COMEX, and EUREX.

Schwab Intelligent Portfolios

Charles Schwab offers also a service, called Schwab Intelligent Portfolios. It is a robo-advisory service. It is great if you need help to manage your investments.

First, you have to answer questions about your investment goal, risk tolerance, and time horizon. Based on your answers, a portfolio is created and the robo-advisor will automatically rebalance the portfolio when needed.

There is a $5,000 minimum amount to start Schwab Intelligent Portfolios and there is no commission.

If you choose Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Premium, you will get more personalized services and a personal expert. The minimum to start this premium account is $25,000 and there is also a $300 one-time fee. After this, a $30 per month fee is charged.

Charles Schwab review - Schwab Intelligent Portfolios

Charles Schwab review
Research 5 stars

Charles Schwab has great research tools. You can use many tools, including trading ideas and detailed fundamental data. On the web trading platform, research tools are hard to navigate.
Pros
  • Good interactive chart
  • Data on asset fundamentals
  • Trading ideas for stock and ETF
Cons
  • Hard to navigate

Except for the charting tools, we tested the research tools on the web trading platform. We tested the charting tool on the desktop trading platform as it seemed better than other platforms' charting tools.

Due to the diversity of the research tools, sometimes we felt lost on the web trading platform. Charles Schwab will likely solve this problem with its redesigned research page. It is now at a beta version, but we took a look at this and seemed much easier to navigate.

Similarly to the trading platforms, the research tools are available only in English.

Trading ideas

Charles Schwab provides trading ideas for stock and ETF.

The trading ideas for stocks can be found at Ratings and Reports sections. Rating section gives you an idea to buy, hold, or sell the given stock. This idea is based on Schwab's own rating model. At the reports, you can find very detailed analysis from Schwab's own research team and also from third-parties, like Morningstar.

You can find trading ideas for ETFs at the Opinions/Analysis section. These ideas are provided by Market Edge Second Opinion, a third-party.

Charles Schwab review - Research - Recommendations

Fundamental data

Charles Schwab offers wide fundamental data. You will find endless data for different assets, from stocks to funds.

Just to mention a few of them, you can see the financial statement for 6 years, peer group companies, dividend calendar, etc.

Charles Schwab review - Research - Fundamental data

Charting

Charles Schwab has good charting tools. You can easily edit the charts. There are 56 technical indicators which might be enough but this amount is lower than what you'll find at some competitors.

Technical indicators at Charles Schwab vs similar brokers
  Charles Schwab Interactive Brokers Chase You Invest
Technical indicators 38 119 20

Charles Schwab review - Research - Charting

News feed

The news is OK. It is easily readable but lacks visual elements, like charts or pictures. It is provided by third-parties, like Reuters or Briefing.com.

Other research tools you will enjoy

There are great and sophisticated screeners for stocks, ETFs, and mutual funds. This is one of the most sophisticated screener tools we have tested.

From the basic company information to technical indicators, you can use a wide range of filters.

Charles Schwab review - Research - Screener

Compare research pros and cons

Charles Schwab review
Customer service 4 stars

Charles Schwab has great customer service. They are available 24/7 and give relevant answers. On the negative side, email support is not provided.
Pros
  • Live chat
  • Relevant answers
  • 24/7 availability
Cons
  • No email support

You can contact Charles Schwab in English via:

  • live chat
  • telephone

No other languages are available. 

The live chat is great. We got fast and relevant answers.

Charles Schwab has great phone support. The customer support team was very kind and gave relevant answers. The response time was OK as an agent was connected within a few minutes.

It is also a big plus that Charles Schwab support team is available 24/7.

Charles Schwab review - Customer Service

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Charles Schwab review
Education 3 stars

Charles Schwab offers a bunch of videos and articles. The content has a high quality. However, a demo account is missing and the educational contents are not well-structured.
Pros
  • Trading platform tutorial videos
  • Educational videos
  • Good production quality
Cons
  • No demo account
  • Not well-structured

At Charles Schwab you can learn in the following ways:

  • Platform tutorial videos
  • General educational videos
  • Webinars
  • Quality educational articles

We really liked the webinars. There are a lot of online webinars, roughly 4-5 per day, and they cover a lot of topics, from stock trading to options trading.

On the negative side, the educational contents are not well-structured and hard to find. There are educational tools on the web trading platform's Learning Section, on the website's Education section, and also in the FAQs. They should be integrated into one page.

Charles Schwab review - Education

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Charles Schwab review
Safety

Charles Schwab is regulated by top-tier regulators, like the SEC or the FCA. You are also protected by a high investor protection amount, $500,000 which includes $250,000 for cash. On the negative side, negative balance protection is not provided.
Pros
  • Regulated by top tier financial authority
  • High level of investor protection
  • Banking background
Cons
  • No negative balance protection

Is Charles Schwab regulated? Yes, it is regulated by several authorities globally, including the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Charles Schwab is based in the USA and was founded in 1971. Is Charles Schwab safe? To be certain, it is best to check two things: how you are protected if something goes wrong and what the background of the broker is.

How you are protected

Charles Schwab operates several legal entities globally, but all customers are covered by the US investor protection scheme, called SIPC. This is because Charles Schwab & Co., Inc., the US legal entity, holds the assets on behalf of other legal entities.

The SIPC investor protection scheme protects against the loss of cash and securities in case the broker goes bust. The limit of SIPC protection is $500,000, which includes a $250,000 limit for cash. This amount is substantially higher than the amount most investor protection schemes provide. 

If you would like to trade with futures, you won't be covered by any investor protection scheme.

For summarizing the different regulators, legal entities, investor protection amounts, we compiled this handy table:

Charles Schwab legal entities
Country of clients Protection amount Regulator Legal entity
USA clients except for UK, Hong Kong, and Singapore SIPC: $500,000 ($250,000 cash limit)

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)

Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)

Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
UK SIPC: $500,000 ($250,000 cash limit) Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) Charles Schwab, U.K., Limited
Hong Kong SIPC: $500,000 ($250,000 cash limit) Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission Charles Schwab, Hong Kong, Ltd.
Singapore SIPC: $500,000 ($250,000 cash limit) Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) Charles Schwab Singapore Pte. Ltd.
Clients trading with futures No protection Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Charles Schwab Futures, Inc.

On the flip side, Charles Schwab does not provide negative balance protection.

Background

Charles Schwab was established in 1971. The longer the track record of a broker, the more proof we have that it has successfully survived previous financial crises.

Charles Schwab has a banking license, and as such, it is subject to tougher regulation than brokers.

Furthermore, Charles Schwab is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. It is a big plus for safety as financial statements regularly and transparently released.

Having a banking background, being listed on a stock exchange, and regulated by top-tier regulators are all great signs for Charles Schwab's safety.

Filter the brokers by investor protection

Charles Schwab review
Bottom line

Charles Schwab is one of the biggest discount US brokers regulated by top-tier regulators.

Its research is outstanding and covers many tools, including trading ideas and detailed fundamental data. It charges low trading and non-trading fees.  The customer service is great, you will get relevant answers within a short time.

It has some drawbacks though. It doesn't provide credit/debit cards and electronic wallets for money transfers. The product portfolio covers only US markets. Lastly, the educational tools are not well-structured. 

As the research tools are great, the account opening is seamless, and no inactivity fee is charged, feel free to try it.

Charles Schwab main features and highlights

🗺️ Country of regulation USA, UK, Hong Kong, Singapore
💰 Trading fees class Low
💰 Inactivity fee charged No
💰 Withdrawal fee amount $0
💰 Minimum deposit $0
🕖 Time to open an account 1 day
💳 Deposit with credit card Not available
👛 Depositing with electronic wallet Not available
💱 Number of base currencies supported 1
🎮 Demo account provided No
🛍️ Products offered Stock, ETF, Fund, Bond, Options, Futures

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Charles Schwab logo

Charles Schwab was founded in 1971 and it is one of the biggest US-based discount brokers. It is regulated by top-tier regulators, like the US SEC or the UK FCA.

Charles Schwab is considered safe because it has a long track record, is listed on a stock exchange, has a banking background, and is regulated by top-tier regulators.

Best research

Recommended for investors and traders looking for solid research, low fees, and great customer service.

Compare to other brokers

Overall 5 stars

Pros
  • Outstanding research
  • Low fees
  • Great customer service
Cons
  • No credit/debit cards and electronic wallets for money transfer
  • Only US markets covered
  • Not well-structured education

Fees 4 stars

Pros
  • Low trading fees
  • No inactivity fee
  • Some ETFs, bonds, and mutual funds are free
Cons
  • High financing rate
  • High fees for mutual funds

Account opening 5 stars

Pros
  • Fast account opening
  • Fully digital account opening
  • No minimum account balance
Cons
  • For non-US clients $25,000 minimum

Deposit and withdrawal 2 stars

Pros
  • No deposit fee
  • User-friendly
Cons
  • Credit/Debit card deposit and withdrawal not available
  • Only one account base currency
  • High fee for wire withdrawals

Web trading platform 4 stars

Pros
  • User-friendly
  • Clear fee report
  • Price alerts
Cons
  • No two-step (safe) login
  • Limited customizability (for charts, workspace)

Mobile trading platform 4 stars

Pros
  • User-friendly
  • Looks nice
Cons
  • No two-step (safe) login
  • No price alerts

Desktop trading platform 4 stars

Pros
  • Clear fee report
  • Good customizability (for charts, workspace)
  • Good variety of order types
Cons
  • No two-step (safe) login
  • Only for Windows

Markets and products 3 stars

The available asset classes to trade:

  • Stock
  • ETF
  • Fund
  • Bond
  • Options
  • Futures

Research 5 stars

Pros
  • Good interactive chart
  • Data on asset fundamentals
  • Trading ideas for stock and ETF
Cons
  • Hard to navigate

Customer service 4 stars

Pros
  • Live chat
  • Relevant answers
  • 24/7 availability
Cons
  • No email support

Education 3 stars

Pros
  • Trading platform tutorial videos
  • Educational videos
  • Good production quality
Cons
  • No demo account
  • Not well-structured

Safety

Pros
  • Regulated by top tier financial authority
  • High level of investor protection
  • Banking background
Cons
  • No negative balance protection

AUTHOR OF THIS REVIEW

Gergely Korpos
Gergely Korpos
Co-founder, CPO
Gergely's aim is to bring more clarity into personal investing. He has 10 years of experience in financial markets with GE Money, KPMG and MOL. He concluded thousands of trades as a commodity trader and financial portfolio manager

METHODOLOGY

Everything you find on Brokerchooser is based on reliable data and unbiased information. We combine our 10+ years finance experience with readers feedback. Read more about our methodology

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