Recommended for stock and options traders looking for low trading fees and focusing on the US market
ChoiceTrade is a US-based stockbroker founded in 2000. The broker is regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and it is also a member of SIPC. SIPC membership ensures that clients are eligible for the SIPC investor protection scheme, which protects assets up to $500,000 (cash up to $250,000) per account.
ChoiceTrade is considered safe because it has a long track record, it is regulated by top-tier regulators and it discloses its annual financial statements.
ChoiceTrade pros and cons
ChoiceTrade charges no commission on listed stock and ETF trades. The mobile trading platform is user-friendly. The account opening is fully digital and fast, which is rare among US brokers.
ChoiceTrade withdrawal fees - at $60 for non-US citizens and $35 for US residents - are high. The $35 quarterly inactivity fee is also pricey. Withdrawal is not user-friendly as you need to contact customer support to initiate it and only bank transfer is available You can only trade stocks, ETFs and options.
|• Commission-free listed stock and ETF trades||• High non-trading fees|
|• Fast and easy account opening||• Not user-friendly withdrawal|
|• User-friendly mobile trading platform||• Limited product portfolio|
|🗺️ Country of regulation||USA|
|💰 Trading fees class||Low|
|💰 Inactivity fee charged||Yes|
|💰 Withdrawal fee amount||$5|
|💰 Minimum deposit||$100|
|🕖 Time to open an account||1-3 days|
|💳 Deposit with bank card||Not available|
|👛 Depositing with electronic wallet||Not available|
|💱 Number of base currencies supported||1|
|🎮 Demo account provided||Yes|
|🛍️ Products offered||Stock, ETF, Options|
ChoiceTrade charges low trading fees and you can trade listed stocks and ETFs with no commission. On the flip side, the non-trading fees are high.
|• Low trading fees||• Withdrawal fee|
|• Commission-free stock trading||• Inactivity fee|
|Assets||Fee level||Fee terms|
|US stock||Low||Stocks above $1 have no commission, US stocks below $1 cost $12 per trade, foreign stocks cost $25 per trade.|
|Mutual fund||-||Not available|
|Inactivity fee||High||$40 per quarter if less than 5 trades in the previous quarter for individual accounts, $50 per month for corporate accounts if less than 5 trades|
How we ranked fees
We ranked ChoiceTrade's fee levels as low, average or high based on how they compare to those of all reviewed brokers.
First, let's go over some basic terms related to broker fees. What you need to keep an eye on are trading fees and non-trading fees.
- Trading fees occur when you trade. These can be commissions, spreads, financing rates and conversion fees.
- Non-trading fees include charges not directly related to trading, like withdrawal fees or inactivity fees.
In the sections below, you will find the most relevant fees of ChoiceTrade for each asset class. For example, in the case of stock investing the most important fees are commissions.
We also compared ChoiceTrade's fees with those of two similar brokers we selected, tastyworks and SogoTrade. This selection is based on objective factors such as products offered, client profile, fee structure, etc. See a more detailed rundown of ChoiceTrade alternatives.
To have a clear overview of ChoiceTrade, let's start with the trading fees.
ChoiceTrade trading fees are low. There's a comprehensive list of rates and fees featured on the broker's website, but the structure is not easy to understand at first glance.
Stock fees and ETF fees
ChoiceTrade offers low stock and ETF commissions. If you trade stocks and ETFs listed on the 5 exchanges made available by the broker, the commission is zero, except for penny stocks. The broker charges $12 per trade for over-the-counter (OTC) stocks and ETFs, and requires a $100 minimum cash balance at all times for OTC stocks. Stock trades executed on the tZERO alternative trading system (ATS) carry a commission of 2% of the principal value of the trade, subject to a $25 minimum fee per trade. Also, if you trade premarket and aftermarket, there'll be a $0.005 fee per share.
If you prefer stock trading on margin, you should check ChoiceTrade's margin rates.
Trading on margin basically means that you borrow money from your broker so that you can purchase more shares than you could with the available cash in your account. You have to pay interest on this borrowed money – the interest rate is called the margin rate. It can account for a significant portion of your trading costs.
ChoiceTrade margin rates are high.
|USD margin rate||6.3%||8.0%||8.8%|
The margin rate is calculated as the FED funds rate plus 6 percentage points. To make ChoiceTrade's financing rate comparable with other brokers' financing rates, we check and update these rates often.
The financing rates above are also applied to options trades.
ChoiceTrade options fees are high. The commission for options is $0 per trade plus $2 per contract. However, there is a maximum of $20 per trade, so if you trade higher volumes in one trade the fee becomes more favorable.
|US stock index options||$20.0||$12.5||$5.0|
ChoiceTrade has high non-trading fees. The inactivity fee and the withdrawal fees are rather steep and the broker charges a one-time fee for setting up non-US individual and corporate accounts. There is a monthly $10 fee for non-US account maintenance.
An inactivity fee of $40 per quarter is levied on individual accounts if less than 5 trades are executed in the previous quarter. The inactivity fee for corporate accounts is a hefty $50 per month but the fee is waived if at least 5 trades are performed within the month.
- Domestic outgoing wire fee is $35
- International outgoing wire fee is $60
- Domestic ACH fee is $5 (limit: 3/month)
Opening an account at ChoiceTrade is easy, fast and fully digital for both US and international clients.
|• Fully digital||None|
|• Low minimum deposit|
Can you open an account?
What is the minimum deposit at ChoiceTrade?
The required minimum deposit for cash accounts is low, $100. The broker requires a minimum deposit of $2,000 for margin accounts.
ChoiceTrade has 5 types of accounts:
|Account type||Short description|
|Individual Account||Account is owned and used by a single individual.|
|Joint Account||Account is owned and used by two or more individuals.|
|Custodial Account||Account for minor clients. Only available to US clients.|
|IRA Account||Individual retirement account. Only available to US clients.|
|Specialty/Corporate Account||Account is owned and used by a legal entity.|
Specialty accounts can be opened only offline, which is inconvenient.
How to open your account
The account opening is user-friendly, fully digital and fast. The first time it took us only 2 days to open an account. The second time we ran into a minor issue as we uploaded wrong documents. Customer support was helpful and resolved the issue in a few days. This seamless and quick account opening is not typical of US brokers.
Registration takes roughly 20 minutes, during which you are asked to enter some personal information and answer a few questions related to your trading experience.
At the end of the registration process, you have to confirm your identity and residency by uploading a scan of the following documents:
- ID / passport / driver's license for identity check
- Bank statement or utility bill for proof of residency
Deposit and withdrawal
The deposit process at ChoiceTrade is smooth, but withdrawing funds is cumbersome. Credit/debit cards are not accepted, there is a high withdrawal fee and the process is not user-friendly.
|• No deposit fee||• Credit/Debit card not available|
|• High withdrawal fee|
|• Withdrawal is excessively complicated|
At ChoiceTrade you can open your trading account in a single base currency, USD.
|Number of base currencies||1||1||1|
Why does this matter? For two reasons. If you fund your account in a different currency than your bank account or you trade assets in a different currency than your account base currency, you have to pay a conversion fee. A convenient way to save on currency conversion fees is by opening a multi-currency bank account at a digital bank. These usually offer bank accounts in several currencies with great currency exchange rates, as well as free or cheap international bank transfers. Opening an account only takes a few minutes on your phone. Compare digital banks
Deposit fees and options
ChoiceTrade charges no deposit fees. International clients can only use bank transfers for depositing funds in their accounts. If you are from the US, you can also use check deposit and ACAT (account transfer).
You can only deposit money from accounts that are in your name.
ChoiceTrade withdrawal fees and options
ChoiceTrade charges a $5 withdrawal fee for domestic ACH transfers, $60 for non-US and $35 for US bank transfers. Besides the high fees, you also have to go through an inconvenient process if you want to withdraw your money. Withdrawal is not fully digital and you have to contact customer support to initiate it.
Non-US clients can only use bank transfer while US clients can use checks and ACAT withdrawal as well.
How long does it take to withdraw money from ChoiceTrade?
We tested the bank transfer and it took 3 days. You can only withdraw money to accounts in your name.
How do you withdraw money from ChoiceTrade?
Withdrawal is complicated compared to other brokers. You can withdraw money from ChoiceTrade only with manual help from ChoiceTrade support, and there is no clear description of the process on their website.
Follow these steps to withdraw money from your ChoiceTrade account:
- Download the withdrawal form from the ChoiceTrade website (available under 'Support \ Forms \ Deposit/Withdrawal').
- Fill out the form, sign it, scan it and send it to [email protected] (or send the hard copy via fax, overnight delivery or regular mail).
- Wait for customer support to notify you that they have initiated the transfer and deducted the withdrawal fee.
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Web trading platform
ChoiceTrade's web trading platform offers a clear fee report and a great variety of order types. On the other hand, the design is outdated, there is no two-step login, and the search functions are poor.
|• Clear fee report||• No two-step (safer) login|
|• Good variety of order types||• Poor search function|
|• Order confirmation||• Design is very outdated|
|ChoiceTrade web platform||ChoiceTrade Elite Trader||Direct Pro Trader||QuoteStream Trader|
|Monthly price||Free||$29.95*||$135||$14.95 for the standard version|
|Mobile trading||Yes||Yes||Yes||Only in the pro version|
|Own / third-party||Own||Provided by third-party||Provided by third-party||Provided by third-party|
*Fee is waived if you hold $30,000 or more in your account.
We tested the ChoiceTrade web trading platform because it's ChoiceTrade's own trading platform and is free to use. The ChoiceTrade web platform is available in English.
Look and feel
The ChoiceTrade platform is not user-friendly. It loads slowly and the menu at the top is hard to use. Furthermore, the platform is not customizable at all.
Upon login, you can choose to open the redesigned platform. The main difference is the design of the menu on the left and the header. The other elements have the same, outdated design.
Login and security
ChoiceTrade provides only a one-step login. A two-step login would be more secure.
The search function is poor. You can only search by typing the asset's ticker and not the asset's name. For example, if you type Apple instead of AAPL, no results will appear. It would be great if a relevant search list were displayed when you search for an asset.
There are a lot of order types, including some sophisticated ones:
- Stop Limit
- Trailing Stop
- Market/Limit on Close
- Market/Limit on Open
If you are not familiar with the basic order types, read this overview.
There is also a wide range of order time limits:
- Good 'til canceled (GTC)
- Good 'til the end of the day (GTD)
- Fill or Kill (FOK)
- All or Nothing (AON)
Alerts and notifications
You cannot set price alerts and notifications.
Portfolio and fee reports
ChoiceTrade has clear portfolio and fee reports. You can choose from a wide range of reports, including account balance, commissions paid, margin requirements, etc.
Go to 'Manage Account' / 'E-Docs' / 'Reports' to find the reports. When you go to 'E-Docs', you have to log in separately, but with different credentials than those set for the web trading platform.
Mobile trading platform
The ChoiceTrade mobile trading platform is of better quality than the web trading platform. It is user-friendly and offers a lot of order types. On the negative side, it lacks the two-step login, there are no price alerts, and the search function doesn't work well.
|• User-friendly||• No two-step (safer) login|
|• Good search function||• Poor search function|
|• Good variety of order types||• No price alerts|
From the available mobile platforms, we tested the ChoiceTrade mobile trading platform, because it has been developed by ChoiceTrade and it's free to use. It's available in English.
We have tested it on iOS.
Look and feel
ChoiceTrade's mobile trading platform is user-friendly and has a great and up-to-date design. It offers features that are missing on the web trading platform.
Login and security
Similarly to the ChoiceTrade web trading platform, only a one-step login is provided.
You can't log in using biometric authentication, which is undoubtedly a sorely missed feature by many users.
The search functions are poor, you can only search by entering the asset's ticker.
You can use the same order types and order time limits that are available on the web trading platform.
Alerts and notifications
Alerts and notifications are not available on the mobile platform.
Desktop trading platform
The ChoiceTrade Elite Trader desktop trading platform meets general expectations. It has a neat look, a clear fee report and offers a wide range of order types. However, it lacks customizability, a two-step login and price alerts.
|• Clear fee report||• Limited customizability (for charts, workspace)|
|• Good variety of order types||• No two-step (safer) login|
|• Good search function||• No price alerts|
From the available desktop platforms, we tested the ChoiceTrade Elite Trader desktop trading platform because
- ChoiceTrade doesn't provide an in-house desktop trading platform,
- ChoiceTrade Elite Trader is the newest desktop trading platform in their arsenal,
- and ChoiceTrade Elite Trader is available for a reasonable monthly fee ($29.95), which is waived if you hold $30,000 or more in your account.
The platform is available in English only.
Look and feel
The ChoiceTrade desktop trading platform meets general expectations. It has a good design but it is not customizable at all. We also found some bugs on the platform, e.g. when we used the search function, UI control elements jumped back and forth.
Login and security
Similarly to the mobile and web trading platforms, there is only a one-step login.
The search function works well. You can search for assets both by typing their names or tickers. It's great that a relevant result list appears when you search for an asset.
You can use the same order types and order time limits that are available on the web trading platform.
Alerts and notifications
You can't set alerts and notifications on the ChoiceTrade Elite desktop trading platform.
Portfolio and fee reports
ChoiceTrade Elite provides clear portfolio and fee reports that you can reach under the 'Portfolio' tab.
Markets and products
ChoiceTrade only offers stocks, ETFs and options traded on US and Canadian exchanges.
ChoiceTrade clients can trade stocks, ETFs and options.
ChoiceTrade provides access to US and Canadian markets only. You can trade on the following exchanges: NYSE, NYSE American (AMEX) and NASDAQ in the US, as well as TSX and TSX Venture in Canada. ChoiceTrade's product offering is not transparent, the broker's website and trading platforms contain no information about the number of assets you can trade on these markets.
ChoiceTrade's research tools are fine. You can use recommendations and analyze fundamental data. On the negative side, the charting tools are poor and the research tools are not user-friendly.
|• Trading ideas||• Limited interactive charting|
|• Data on asset fundamentals||• Not user-friendly|
|• Quality news flow|
We tested the research tools on the ChoiceTrade web trading platform, which is free to use. All the research tools are available in English.
ChoiceTrade provides trading ideas, which are based on analyst recommendations. Background info on the analysts, e.g. the company they work for, would be great. You can find the trading ideas if you go to the 'Research' tab and click on the 'Analyst' tab.
Further trading ideas - based on automated algorithms - are available under the Robo-Analyst tab. This is an automated investment service and to gain access you need to subscribe to the 'End Of Day Only' package or the 'Intraday + Daily Picks' package, which has a mothly fee of $60.
ChoiceTrade offers fundamental data, including financial statements, EPS, insider share trading, etc. Similarly to trading ideas, the fundamental data can be found under the 'Research' tab.
The charting tools at ChoiceTrade are poor. You can add technical indicators and compare the chart with the charts of other assets but can't add trendlines and other useful charting editor tools. The number of available technical indicators lags behind those offered by competitors.
If you are into advanced charting, we recommend the ChoiceTrade Elite. The charts are easily editable and customizable with a lot of technical indicators. On the negative side, the ChoiceTrade Elite has a monthly fee of $29.95.
The news feed section, located under the 'Research' tab, is of great quality. News comes from third-party news providers, including SeekingAlpha.
Other research tools you will enjoy
The Screener is a tool designed for filtering stocks. You can filter for stock exchange, technical indicators, valuation, etc. Nevertheless, when we tested this tool, we run into some issues, e.g. when we tried to select a filter, the tab jumped to the center of the screen.
ChoiceTrade's customer service is easy to reach and answers were relevant. On the other hand, there is no live chat and support is not available outside business hours.
|• Phone support||• No live chat|
|• Fast response time||• No 24/7 support|
|• Professional tone|
You can contact ChoiceTrade in English via:
The phone support was fast and we received relevant answers. Our emails were answered within the day and the information provided was to the point.
The ChoiceTrade customer service is available from 9 am to 5 pm Monday to Friday, but we didn't find information about the time zone. We can only assume it is GMT-4 because their main office is in this time zone.
We missed the live chat option and 24/7 availability.
ChoiceTrade's education tools are mediocre. The amount and quality of education material on the Elite platform is good, but the interface is hard to navigate, the content is not up-to-date and the production quality is poor.
|• Demo account||• Hard to navigate|
|• Trading platform tutorial||• Poor production quality|
|• Not updated for a long time|
At ChoiceTrade you can learn in the following ways:
- Demo account
- Platform tutorial videos
- Quality educational articles
The majority of the education material is about the trading platforms, rather than asset types or trading in general. Educational materials differ in quality and length, depending on the trading platform:
- On the ChoiceTrade web platform, most of the learning material is in text format. There are also a few videos, but they seem outdated, some were published in 2012. If you use the 'new login' option when signing into the web platform, you will gain access to a wealth of well-structured educational content on options.
- On the ChoiceTrade Elite Trader platform, the educational articles are better structured and contain more images. Also, there are significantly more and higher quality videos here. We didn't particularly like the layout of the contents as they are squeezed into a small area on the screen.
Both the ChoiceTrade web platform and the ChoiceTrade Elite Trader interfaces are hard to navigate.
ChoiceTrade is regulated by the SEC and FINRA, which are top-tier US regulators. High investor protection is also a plus for clients. On the flip side, the broker doesn't hold a banking license.
|• Majority of clients belong to a top-tier financial authority||• Does not hold a banking license|
|• High level of investor protection||• Not listed on stock exchange|
|• Financial information is publicly available|
Is ChoiceTrade regulated?
Yes, it is regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). The broker is also a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC). ChoiceTrade is based in the USA and was founded in 2000.
Is ChoiceTrade safe?
To be certain, we highly advise that you check two facts:
- how you are protected if something goes wrong
- what the background of the broker is
How you are protected
ChoiceTrade customers enjoy investor protection offered by the SIPC. SIPC investor protection shields investors from the loss of cash and securities in case the broker goes bust. The limit of the SIPC protection is $500,000, including a $250,000 limit for cash. Non-U.S. clients at ChoiceTrade are treated as US residents with respect to the SIPC protection. The investor protection amount is substantially higher than under most European investor protection schemes.
It is worth bearing in mind that not all investments are protected by SIPC. In general, SIPC covers stocks, bonds, Treasury securities, certificates of deposit, mutual funds, money market mutual funds and certain other investments registered as securities. It does not cover instruments such as unregistered investment contracts, unregistered limited partnerships, fixed annuity contracts, currency, and interests in gold, silver, or other commodity futures contracts or commodity options.
ChoiceTrade was established in 2000, which is considered a long track record. The longer track record a broker has, the more likely it has survived periods of financial turmoil. The broker also discloses annual financial statements, which greatly contributes to its transparency. These statements can be found under the 'Investor Relations' menu item on their website.
The fact that ChoiceTrade is regulated by top-tier regulators, it has been in operation for a long time, and discloses its financial statements are all great indicators that the brokerage is safe.
US and international clients can trade listed stocks and ETFs with no commission at ChoiceTrade. The account opening is easy, fully digital and takes 1-2 days. The broker also offers a great and user-friendly mobile trading platform.
On the negative side, the inactivity fee and withdrawal fees for bank transfers are high. The withdrawal process is not user-friendly and only bank transfer is available. The product portfolio is limited, you can only trade stocks, ETFs, and options.
Given that the account opening is seamless and you can trade stocks and ETFs with zero commission, feel free to try it.
Below you can find links to all aspects of ChoiceTrade in this comprehensive collection.
Lower fees, lower costs?
We detailed this in our ChoiceTrade fees article.
What about the minimum deposit?
Our ultimate guide to the ChoiceTrade minimum deposit is updated regularly.
How to start your ChoiceTrade account?
Look no further than our evaluation of the ChoiceTrade account opening.
How's their trading app?
Here's our expert view after checking the ChoiceTrade trading app.
Is the quality of customer service satisfactory?
All you need to know about the ChoiceTrade customer service.
Legit or scam?
Is ChoiceTrade legit features all the key aspects you need to look at to see if a broker is safe and legit.
Free or premium? Or both?
A glance at actual costs and whether ChoiceTrade is really free.
Is this broker good for beginners?
We checked it in Is ChoiceTrade good for beginners.
Should you buy your silver bullets on ChoiceTrade?
Research for silver bugs in the Silver buy on ChoiceTrade guide
I want to trade options, are they available at ChoiceTrade?
We explored the topic in Can you trade options on ChoiceTrade?