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Overall equity fees at Charles Schwab

Your expert
Adam N.
Fact checked by
2w ago
Personally tested

Broker fees as of May 2024 - a quick overview

My key findings in a nutshell
Adam Nasli
Trading • Safety • Market Analysis

I've thoroughly tested Charles Schwab services with our analyst team by opening a real-money account and these are my most important findings:

  • Charles Schwab is a cheap broker for equity investors
  • Trading fees at stockbrokers are key; they're usually small but watch out for flat charges
  • Long-term investors should avoid inactivity and custody fees if possible

When you're about to open a brokerage account, your first question will probably be, “how much will this cost me?” Most brokers are reasonably transparent about their fees, but how can you tell exactly which of the many fees they list on their websites will apply to you? In this article, we'll break down which fees you need to watch as a long-term equity investor, and what these fees look like at Charles Schwab.

Trading fees are probably the most important of all, and can make a huge difference in your investment results at the end of the day. Trading fees are what you pay each time you buy or sell an asset such as a stock, ETF or mutual fund. In some cases, at some brokers, you don't need to pay anything. At other times, you may be charged $10 or more for a transaction, even if it's for trading an asset worth just $100. So watch these fees very very carefully.

Everything else falls under the broad category of non-trading fees. Some of these, such as inactivity fees, custody fees or conversion fees, can sting if you're an equity investor. Others, such as account fees, deposit fees, withdrawal fees or margin rates either won't apply to you or are rarely charged by most brokers. Sounds like too many fees to keep track of? Don't worry, we'll explain all below.

To read more about possible expenses you may face as a long-term investor, check out our summary of the most common brokerage fees.

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Charles Schwab stock trading fees

Stock trading fees at Charles Schwab are considered low.
Charles Schwab stock trading fees
💰 Charles Schwab stock trading fee class Low
💰 Charles Schwab US stock commission Free stock and ETF trading
💰 Charles Schwab UK stock commission Not available
💰 Charles Schwab German stock commission Not available

Data updated on May 27, 2024

Stock trading fees explained

Trading fees for stocks and ETFs can take many forms. At its simplest, many brokers, especially in the US, now offer commission-free stock and ETF trading - meaning you don't need to pay anything directly for buying or selling stocks/ETFs.

Other brokers may charge you a tiny commission per share (maybe something like $0.01 per share), or a very small percentage of the total trade volume (usually in the neighborhood of 0.1%). Often, there's a fixed minimum fee per transaction - so even if you buy just one share, you might need to fork over $10 no matter how small the per-share or percentage-based commission would otherwise be.

Stock trading fees may vary by exchange location - so perhaps US stocks can be traded for free, but European stocks may involve a commission, or vice versa. Keep this and your investment goals in mind when choosing a broker.

Commission-free stock trading is great - just be aware that these brokers may charge you in other ways. For example, that 'Buy' price you click on may not be the best available price on the market at that very moment. Read our introduction to the concept of payment for order flow to see how commission-free trading works on the broker side.

Charles Schwab mutual fund trading fees

Mutual fund trading fees at Charles Schwab are considered high.
Charles Schwab mutual fund trading fees
💰 Charles Schwab mutual fund trading fee class High
💰 Charles Schwab mutual fund commission Standard fee of $49.95, but up to $74.95 for buying, while selling is free; there are also around 4,000 free mutual funds

Data updated on May 27, 2024

Mutual fund fees explained

Most brokers charge a small percentage of the traded volume for trading mutual funds, usually combined with a minimum fee. Many brokers apply different pricing to funds under their own custody (which can often be traded for free) and those offered by third-party fund providers.

Charles Schwab non-trading fees

Non-trading fees at Charles Schwab are considered low.
Charles Schwab non-trading fees
💰 Charles Schwab non-trading fee class Low
💰 Charles Schwab custody fee No custody fee
💰 Charles Schwab inactivity fee No inactivity fee
💰 Charles Schwab withdrawal fee Free withdrawal, but wire transfers cost $25.
💰 Charles Schwab account fee No account fee
💰 Charles Schwab deposit fee Free deposit
💰 Charles Schwab conversion fee Only USD-denominated assets are available

Data updated on May 27, 2024

Non-trading fees explained

When choosing an online broker, equity investors should pay extra attention to the following non-trading fee types, and avoid or minimize them if possible.

  • Inactivity fees are charged by some brokers if you fail to trade or otherwise use your account for an extended period. In most cases, it kicks in after a few months or a year, after which you must pay it on a regular basis until you start trading again. At some brokers, you can dodge this fee by simply logging in to your account.
  • Custody fees or custodial fees are charged by some brokers for the safekeeping of your stock, ETF, mutual fund or bond investments. It is a small percentage of the value of your current holdings, usually in the range of 0.1-0.5% per year and often involving a minimum fee and/or a maximum cap. Relatively few brokers charge a custody fee, and even those who do often waive it above a certain account size or trading activity; so it sometimes works a bit like a soft inactivity fee.
  • Conversion fees must be paid at some brokers if you want to trade an asset that's in a different currency than your account - such as buying a US stock while having a euro-denominated account. It usually involves a small surcharge of up to 1% on top of the market exchange rate. You may also face a conversion fee when depositing money into your brokerage account from a bank account or credit/debit card that's in a different currency.

Other non-trading fees are less important for long-term equity investors, but it's still a good idea to be aware of them.

  • Account fees may be charged monthly or quarterly simply for the maintenance of your broker account. Very few online brokers have account fees any more.
  • Deposit fees may apply when you deposit money to your brokerage account. These days, deposit fees are virtually unheard of among online brokers.
  • Withdrawal fees are charged when you withdraw money from your broker account. If you're a buy-and-hold investor, this won't apply to you often; and thankfully, many brokers don't charge a fee for simple outgoing bank transfers. However, wire transfers or overseas bank transfers can sometimes be costly.
  • Margin rates are only applied for leveraged trading; for simple equity investors, margin rates are not relevant.

Looking for the best brokers with the most affordable fees?

If you are looking for a reliable and excellent broker with the best possible fees, check out our top list of the best discount brokers compiled by BrokerChooser's team of brokerage analysts after testing more than 100 brokers globally.

Check out this short video for a behind-the-scenes peek into how our experts personally test and evaluate brokers.

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Further reading

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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Adam Nasli
Author of this article
I bring extensive financial expertise as one of BrokerChooser's earliest team members. Personally, I tested nearly all 100+ brokers on our site, opening real-money accounts, executing trades, assessing customer services, and providing firsthand assessment. My professional background includes roles in the banking sector and a degree from Central European University, where I teach finance. My passions lies in in-depth research of the financial industry, building trading algorithms, and managing long-term investments.
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