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Charles Schwab account opening

The account opening at Charles Schwab is fully online and user-friendly.

This means that you can progress through the registration process easily in front of your device.

Check out this comparison table to compare the rating and duration of Charles Schwab's account opening process to its main competitors:

Charles Schwab account opening vs. similar brokers
Charles Schwab Interactive Brokers Chase You Invest
Rating 5.0 3.0 5.0
Account opening time 1 day 1-3 days 1 day

An account with an online broker is pretty much like a regular bank account and opening one is at least partly an online process. At some brokers it's as quick as opening a new Gmail account, at other brokers it takes a couple of days until they do some background check on you. Instead of storing only money on it you will store your financial assets, e.g. shares or forex positions. Opening an account is always free of charge. To learn more about trading accounts, read our article on the topic.

There are a couple of other factors to consider when you are about to open an account at Charles Schwab. Here are the main pros and cons when it comes to registering at Charles Schwab:

Pros Cons
No minimum deposit Only one account base currency

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Charles Schwab account opening
Countries where Charles Schwab accounts can be opened

Opening an account at Charles Schwab is unfortunately available only for the residents of USA. This means that unless you have permanent residency in USA, we suggest that you look for another broker.

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Charles Schwab account opening
Charles Schwab account opening requirements

To be able to open an account with an online broker, you are generally required to provide proof of identity and proof of residence. Ideally, this process is completely digital. The difficulty is that some brokers eventually require physical copies of the documents.

Charles Schwab accepts the following documents for identification purposes:

Proof of identity: SSN and national ID / passport / driver's license
Proof of residency: bank statement / utility bill

Account opening at Charles Schwab is fully digital, so you can go through the whole identification process on the company's web platform.

Once the registration and the account opening is done you will first need to transfer the minimum deposit to your brokerage account from your bank account to be able to start trading.

There is no minimum deposit required by Charles Schwab.

As such, this is an ideal broker if you want to trade or invest with a smaller amount of money. It is a good broker to start your investment journey with, as you can add more funds to your account later as you get more experienced in managing your investments.

Charles Schwab minimum deposit vs. similar brokers
Charles Schwab Interactive Brokers Chase You Invest
Minimum deposit $0 $0 $0

Besides the Charles Schwab minimum deposit for US clients, there is a $25,000 minimum for non-US clients.

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Charles Schwab account opening
Account types at Charles Schwab

One of the important choices to make when you open a new account is the “type” of account to set up. Each of these has specific requirements and features. Most online brokers offer accounts varying based on your identity, the nature of the traded product, the available currencies, and the included features such as personal investment advice. Of course, each broker company will offer slightly different packages.

Unfortunately, Charles Schwab offers trading in only one currency, which is the USD.

This matters because if you deposit in other currencies than the base, your money will be converted into USD.

To save on the conversion fees you can 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. You can read more about brokerage fees in this article.

See this table on how Charles Schwab's base currency number compares to its main competitors.

Charles Schwab base currencies vs. similar brokers
Charles Schwab Interactive Brokers Chase You Invest
Base currencies 1 19 1

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Charles Schwab account opening
The steps of account opening

The specific process of opening an account at Charles Schwab might vary slightly from the one detailed here, but generally the process involves the following steps:

1. Choose your account

Before you would disclose any of your personal information, make sure that you have chosen the right type of brokerage account for you. Choose this one on the registration page and then proceed to the next step.

2. Add personal info

The next step is to go through the basic information questionnaire. You will have to provide your name, birth date, address, nationality, employment and other info like this. The complexity of this step depends on the broker you chose. You will also have to answer some security questions to make sure you are legally able to trade and some questions on your trading experience.

3. Identify yourself

In this part of the process, the broker website will ask you to scan and upload your proof of identity. This can be a passport, and ID card, bank statement. The requirements vary broker by broker. Some online brokers will ask you to mail them physical copies of your documents. This can elongate the account opening process a lot.

4. Seal the deal

Once you've progressed through the basic registration and identification, you will have to review the provided information and sign a virtual contract based on the terms and conditions of the broker you chose.

5. Fund your account

Once your account is confirmed and opened, you can start trading. Transfer the minimum deposit, or if there is none, any amount of money to your broker account and let's roll! Your are now an investor!

The steps of opening an account at an online broker

For the specific instructions on account opening with Charles Schwab visit their website or see our own review:

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If you want to know more about the next steps, like investing and trading with different types of financial assets give a read to these articles:

Gergely Korpos

Gergely Korpos

Co-founder, CPO

Author of this article

Gergely is the co-founder and CPO of Brokerchooser. His aim is to make personal investing crystal clear for everybody. Gergely has 10 years of experience in the financial markets. He concluded thousands of trades as a commodity trader and equity portfolio manager.

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