Firstrade Review

Richard Montana | August 8, 2022

Firstrade provides you with convenient access to the US markets for trading a great selection of Stocks, ETFs, Options and 11,000+ Mutual Funds. I like how they have a professional yet user-friendly platform along with plenty of powerful trading tools to help you with your market analysis and strategies. You can choose from various account types to trade commission free in a regulated environment where you can get the most out of your trading. If you are a beginner, then you will be pleased to find lots of educational resources including guides and videos. You can even start trading with a minimum deposit of just $1. However, they do not offer CFD trading and I found the funding options to be rather limited compared to some other brokers.

Pros & Cons
  • Lots of financial instruments
  • Commission from $0
  • Comprehensive market research
  • Educational content to assist beginners
  • Variety of powerful trading tools
  • Various account types to choose from
  • Small $1 minimum deposit
  • Good customer service
  • No CFD trading instruments
  • Limited account funding options
  • Limited countries can open an account
  • Does not currently have any cryptos
  • No managed accounts

Summary

Firstrade are an award-winning online broker that offer $0 commission trading with no hidden fees. They provide trading platforms across multiple devices with access to US markets for trading Stocks, ETFs, Options, Fixed Income, 11,000+ Mutual Funds and more. A pioneer in online trading, the broker has been providing their trading products and services for over 30 years, all the way back to 1985. They offer a comprehensive solution and full range of investments tools to help all levels of clientele achieve their individual financial goals.

Firstrade Investment Suite

Firstrade Investment Suite

I like how Firstrade are committed to excellence and provide clients with the latest advanced trading technologies and a highly intuitive user interface, in order to make trading as simple and convenient as possible. Utilising proprietary technology alongside quality execution channels, they have execution speeds of 0.068 seconds on average with a 0.1 second trade execution guarantee. This means that your trades can executed at the best possible prices with minimal slippage.

Firstrade Advantages

Firstrade Advantages

I am impressed by the comprehensive market research and reports available that are provided by Morningstar, Briefing.com, Zacks and Benzinga. They have extended trading hours, which is great as it means that you can act on news, earnings, and research reports that are released prior to the market opening and after the closing bell rings. Over the years they have won multiple accolades including being rated as one of the best online brokers by respected publications such as Barron’s, Forbes, and Smart Money.

AvaTrade Logo

Our #1 Broker 2022
AvaTrade is an award-winning and multi-regulated broker offering a great selection of trading instruments including Forex, Cryptos, Stocks and Commodities. You can trade on all of your devices via user-friendly platforms with excellent trading conditions and no commission fees.

Between 74-89% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.

Regulation

Firstrade Securities is a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) in the United States. In the United States, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. is a private corporation that acts as a self-regulatory organisation. FINRA enables investors and firms to participate in the market with confidence by safeguarding its integrity. The Securities Investor Protection Corporation is a federally mandated, non-profit, member-funded, United States corporation created under the Securities Investor Protection Act of 1970 that mandates membership of most US-registered broker-dealers.

I am personally more than satisfied with this top-tier regulation and would therefore have no problems trusting the broker. However, if you are looking for a USA broker that is regulated acrosss the globe, then you may want to consider IG instead. They also have a huge range of trading instruments and intuitive platforms for a seamless trading experience.

Firstrade clients have account protection through their SIPC insurance membership and additional coverage with Apex Clearing Corp if SIPC cover is exhausted. SIPC insurance can protect securities customers of its members for up to $500,000 (including $250,000 for claims for cash). More information and terms on protection is available from the broker.

Firstrade Securities Inc. (“Firstrade”) must prepare reports on Routing of Customer Orders as required by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rule that requires all brokerage firms to make publicly available quarterly reports on their order routing practices. In addition to this, information regarding the specific routing or any orders executed on trading accounts for the previous six (6) months is available upon request.

Countries

Firstrade is a United States broker although they do offer their full suite of investment products to international clients from China, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Korea, Republic of (South), Macau, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore & Taiwan. If you find that your country is not accepted, you can check our broker ratings for an alternative option.

Platforms

Firstrade provide multiple ways for you to trade and have a selection of powerful trading platforms that are fully customisable and allow you to manage your account from desktop (Windows / Mac), web and mobile (iPhone / iPad / Android / Tablet). I prefer the desktop application if I am looking to do complex market analysis and use my trading strategy templates. I also like the trading app for checking the progress of my positions and latest market news as and when I feel like it.

Firstrade Platforms

Firstrade Platforms

The platforms make sure that you can have convenient access to your account information, order status, option chains and most updated market news via online or mobile devices at anywhere, anytime. The platforms are available in English, Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese. I think they could improve by supporting more languages. I would also like to see them offer the MetaTrader platform as these are very popular for the modern trader. You can get them from other brokers including Axiory.

Firstrade Online Dashboard

The Firstrade online dashboard is perhaps the most convenient way to place/manage/close orders and to keep track of your account activity. Users can view a snapshot of their account that displays your daily, weekly and monthly account and market activity. You can view market movers, instruments and news. You can also trade directly from your account dashboard by using the QuickBar Order Entry Panel.

Firstrade Dashboard

Firstrade Dashboard

Firstrade Online Dashboard Features:

  • Fully customisable
  • Check account balances
  • Review order status
  • Organise order status by orders and executions
  • Manage multiple accounts in one central location
  • Organise value charts for weekly, biweekly, monthly and bimonthly performance
  • Review market movement in all indices including the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 & Nasdaq
  • Read the market headlines as well as the day’s top stories
  • See a list of the day’s movers: watch the equities that have gained or lost the most throughout the day
Firstrade QuickBar Order Entry Panel

Firstrade QuickBar Order Entry Panel

Firstrade Navigator

The Firstrade Navigator trading platform lets you manage your account and trade from one screen. It is fully customisable and has a very user-friendly interface making it suitable for all levels of trader. You can view real time account information and market data. It contains a range of built-in technical indicators for conducting advanced market analysis.

Firstrade Navigator

Firstrade Navigator

Firstrade Navigator Features:

  • Quickly manage account & trade from one interface
  • Real time account information & market data
  • Fully customisable including various widgets
  • Technical indicators for advanced chart analysis

Firstrade Mobile Trading App

Firstrade have a flexible and freely available mobile app for download on both Android and iOS devices from the relevant app store. This is useful for those who need to trade whilst on the go from anywhere in the world, provided they have an internet connection. The Firstrade website contains a number of useful tutorials to help familiarise traders with the mobile app.

Firstrade Mobile Trading App

Firstrade Mobile Trading App

Firstrade Mobile App Features:

  • Swipe for Quick Actions
  • Consolidated Portfolio Dashboard
  • Enhanced Trading Workflow
  • Fast Options Trading with Advanced Strategies
  • Watchlists with Pre-defined Top Lists
  • Upgraded Research with Advanced Charts
  • Order History
  • Easy Account Funding

Broker Assisted

If for some reason you cannot place an order via the online or mobile platforms, Firstrade have a free number where a representative can place orders via telephone. This is an old school method of trading and they are one of a few brokers I have seen that actually still facilitate this service.

Tools

I really like how Firstrade provide clients with a comprehensive collection of online broker tools, market insights and stock analysis reports that can be used to assist with trading decisions and help clients to build an investment portfolio that meets their specific requirements. There really is a great selection that can greatly enhance your trading strategies. If tools are important to you, JFD Brokers also have a decent selection.

Firstrade Morningstar Research

Firstrade Morningstar Research

They also offer a variety of free professional tools such as the advanced screener, stock price alert, streaming watchlist. Serious investors can unlock investing opportunities with the professional-grade options analytics tool, OptionsWizard.

Streaming Watchlist

The streaming watchlist shows real time streaming quotes of all markets and assets. It is compatible across all modern browsers with no plug-ins required. You can create up to 10 different watchlists, add and view up to 50 symbols per watchlist. This is a great way to quickly and easily keep track of your favourite instruments.

Firstrade Streaming Watchlist

Firstrade Streaming Watchlist

Stock Reports

Morningstar’s analysts provide free weekly and daily expert insights into popular stocks. They aim to provide objective analysis with a detailed look at each company. I think it is great that you can conduct market research and trade all from the same screen. This can save a lot of time and hassle from switching between tabs.

Firstrade Stock Reports

Firstrade Stock Reports

Advanced Screeners

The advanced investment screener lets you easily specify the criteria for investment opportunities that you are looking for which can help save time and narrow down investment choices. You can search by minimum investment, load types, risk categories, beta, and other criteria. There are plenty of filters to make sure you only find what matters the most to you.

Firstrade Advanced Screeners

Firstrade Advanced Screeners

Fund Commentary

The fund commentary and profiles show you an overview of the fund’s performance history, asset allocation, manager information, and much more.

Periodic Investment Program

The periodic investment program for mutual funds enables clients to take advantage of dollar cost averaging which can reduce your need to watch the markets whilst helping to ensure that your portfolio is actively building.

Market Heatmap

The heatmap shows an overview of the market at a quick glance, for a visual representation of bullish and bearish areas in red and green respectively.

Firstrade Market Heatmap

Firstrade Market Heatmap

Sectors & Industries Tool

This tool can be used to identify industry trends and allows users to see the performance data of various sectors and individual companies all from one page.

Firstrade Sectors & Industries Tool

Firstrade Sectors & Industries Tool

Market News & Events

Market reports are provided by some of the most respected financial publications including Morningstar, Briefing.com, Zacks, Benzinga and PR newswire.

Fundamental Data

You can get access to comprehensive fundamental data all from one place where they can explore various companies and their financial statistics.

Firstrade Fundamental Data

Firstrade Fundamental Data

Economic Calendar

The economic calendar helps to ensure that you do not miss the latest events. It displays upcoming economical releases that can impact different countries and investment activities. This is often an integral tool as part of conducting fundamental market analysis.

Alerts

Through the brokers platform you can set alerts with fully customisable criteria to send you notifications when a specific event occurs such as a change in price. I really like this feature as it means you do not need to be staring at charts all day long for price to reach your desired level.

Firstrade Alerts

Firstrade Alerts

Options Wizard

The Options Wizard provided by the broker gives feedback on potential options trades according to a built-in analysis that transforms market data into actionable information. There are a series of helpful tutorial videos on the website explaining how to use the Options Wizard.

Firstrade Options Wizard

Firstrade Options Wizard

Options Wizard Features:

  • Trading strategy checklists
  • 1-month/6-month trend indicators
  • Support/resistance levels
  • Proprietary OptionsPlay Score
  • 65+ technical indicators
  • Technical/fundamental rankings
  • Profit and loss simulations
  • 40+ complex options strategies

Education

Firstrade have a dedicated education centre that provides a range of educational materials such as tools and services that are designed to help beginners improve their trading knowledge and skills. I think there is plenty of material to get even the most novice of traders up to speed. However, Fortrade also have a good selection if this is something that you are looking for.

Trading Guides

There are a variety of free trading guides covering the different types of markets (stocks, ETFs, options, mutual funds, fixed income, etc) with detailed explanations of each along with complimentary videos.

Trading Videos

The broker has a team of independent analysts that provide you with daily, weekly and quarterly video discussions on different topics and asset classes. Various ideas are discussed according to the latest earnings reports and the current economical market events. They also have a range of tutorial videos covering topics such as placing trades and funding your account.

Trading Glossary

There is a glossary of the most commonly used trading terminologies along with explanations of each. This can be a useful way to familiarise yourself with the frequently used trading terms.

Markets

I think this is another area in which the broker really excels. They offer you online trading on an excellent range of trading instruments in the US across multiple asset classes including Commodities, Stocks, Shares, Mutual Funds, Indices, Metals, Energies, Options, Bonds and ETFs. However, there do not provide CFDs, but you can see our best CFD brokers for some options if that is what you are looking for. They also do not currently support crypto trading, but Hugos Way do as another alternative.

Stocks

You can choose from a vast array of stocks listed on the NYSE and AMEX, the Nasdaq Stock Market, or the Over-the-Counter (OTC) markets such as the OTC Bulletin Board or Pink Sheets. Whether investing in Blue-Chips or Small-Caps, there are thousands of stocks to choose from.

Firstrade Stocks Trading

Firstrade Stocks Trading

Options

The broker offer options trading via buy and sell puts and calls or Complex Option Strategies.

Firstrade Options Trading

Firstrade Options Trading

Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs)

An ETF is a basket of securities that trades similar to a single stock and is designed to generally track an index – broad stock or bond market, stock industry sector, or international stock.

Firstrade ETFs Trading

Firstrade ETFs Trading

Mutual Funds

You can choose from a wide range of over 11,000+ different Mutual Funds. These can help traders to diversify their portfolio.

Firstrade Mutual Funds Trading

Firstrade Mutual Funds Trading

Bonds/CDs/Fixed Incomes

Firstrade also offer hedging and diversification though municipal and corporate bonds, CDs and Fixed Income Securities.

Firstrade Fixed Income Investing

Firstrade Fixed Income Investing

Margin Investing

Clients can leverage their investments through margin trading with competitive rates.

Dividend Reinvestment (DRIP)

Traders can reinvest dividends automatically, with no additional charge.

Securities Lending Income Program

Firstrade give clients the opportunity to earn an additional income from loans on fully paid shares of stocks in their account.

Firstrade Securities Lending Income Program

Firstrade Securities Lending Income Program

Accounts

I was pleased to see that Firstrade have a variety of different online brokerage accounts to choose from according to your own individual investment requirements. Each account enables clients to trade via online or mobile devices with $0 commission per trade and no minimum stock trading deposit. There are no minimum trading requirements on the number of shares per trade as well as no account maintenance fees. Clients can have as little as one share per trade. I found the overall costs to be competitively low especially for self-directed online trades.

Firstrade Account Features:

Monitor Daily Balance Changes

You can view dynamic real-time balances all day. They can also view linked accounts and how the balance changes affect ability to buy positions for their portfolio.

Firstrade Balances

Firstrade Balances

Fully Customisable

You can sort the content of all columns in real time using the drag and drop column customisation features to make account viewing quicker and easier.

Firstrade Fully Customisable Account

Firstrade Fully Customisable Account

Gains & Losses

You can get quick access to realised gains and losses with interactive and customisable functions. You can organise columns by the days held, date sold, sales proceeds, cost, total gain or loss (as a dollar amount), or percentage of gain/loss.

Firstrade Realized Gains & Losses

Firstrade Realized Gains & Losses

Message Centre

There is a message centre that has push technology where users can receive streaming, real-time notifications onto their screen when orders are executed.

Link Accounts

If you have different account types, they can all be linked to review the data from one area for easier access.

Firstrade Link Accounts

Firstrade Link Accounts

Account History

You can quickly review account history by searching for positions, filtering data and organizing results according to a specific criteria.

Firstrade Account History

Firstrade Account History

Account Protection

I like how I can trade with peace of mind knowing that I am protected as the broker is a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC).

Account Downloads

Users can download their Firstrade account details to integrate into personal finance planning software.

Firstrade Account Downloads

Firstrade Account Downloads

Account Types

Regular Investing

This is the traditional or joint online broker account for the regular investor.

IRA Retirement

This account can be used to plan and save for retirement.

International Accounts

This account provides traders access to Firstrade’s fast and powerful online trading platform from almost anywhere in the world.

Business Accounts

For those who would like to open an online trading account through a business account, Firstrade have the Investment Club, Corporate, LLC, Partnership, or Sole Proprietorship accounts.

ESA Education Planning

An Education Savings Account (ESA), formerly known as an Education IRA, is an account that helps you save money for the cost of elementary, high school or higher education for a designated beneficiary.

Custodial Account

The custodial account is an investment account that is set up for a child or minor where the account is under the control of a custodian until the minor reaches legal adulthood.

Firstrade Cash Management Account

This account enables clients to consolidate banking and brokerage services all in to one account.

Account Signup

Opening an account with Firstrade only takes a few minutes. There is a short registration form to complete after which you will need to verify your email address. Following on from that you will need to answer some questions to see your suitability for the investment products and services offered.

If accepted, you can verify your account using a form of identification such as a valid passport or driver’s license and proof of address such as a utility bill no more than 3 months old. Once your account has been verified by the accounts team, you can fund it and commence trading.

Firstrade save client trading records and financial documents for up to 7 years. You can easily check and print your statements, trading confirmations and tax documents at your convenience.

Support

Firstrade have a customer support centre that can help you get answers to your general or technical questions via live chat, telephone or email. Support can also be reached via social media channels Facebook and Twitter. The highly trained customer service representatives are ready to help you in your language of preference with support currently provided in English, Mandarin and Cantonese. I think it would be better if they provided support in some other languages. There is a handy frequently asked questions (FAQ) section on the website where you will find immediate answers to some of the most commonly asked questions.

Funding

Clients can use Firstrade’s deposit and withdrawal system to easily transfer funds from their bank account into an investment account with no fees and minimal hassle. They accept ACH and wire transfers as well as check. There is no minimum deposit for incoming wire transfer. To wire out there is a $30 domestic wire fee or a $50 international wire fee.

Bank transfers may take a few business days to clear. Firstrade strictly does not accept third-party payments. All funds deposited into your trading account must be under the same name as your Firstrade trading account. This is pretty much standard proceedure for all regulated brokers.

Funding can be done via desktop, mobile phone or land line. Some traders may have found online payment processors such as PayPal or Skrill more convenient but this are not currently available. Accounts can only be opened in USD ($) which I think is very limited. They could improve by adding support for digital wallets and more currencies. If you are looking for better funding options, FXChoice have a great selection.

Firstrade Account Funding

Firstrade Account Funding

Conclusion

Overall, I feel that Firstrade is a very good brokerage firm with a vast range of online trading products and services to cater for the needs of various retail and institutional clients. You will find that they do have a wide range of financial assets to trade on flexible trading platforms with a variety of account types offered for you to choose from. There is also a very good selection of additional trading tools. However, they are primarily US focused and do not provide CFD or crypto trading whilst I found the funding options to be limited.

Firstrade Logo

Min $1 Deposit

Firstrade provide traders with access to US markets for trading Stocks, ETFs, Options, 11,000+ Mutual Funds and lots more. They have a good range of platforms with powerful trading tools and versatile accounts. Fees start from as low as $0 but they do not offer CFD trading.

All investments involve risk and losses may exceed the principal invested.

About the Author

Avatar photo

Richard Montana
Richard has many years of experience in broker research, testing, analysis and reviews. He knows what to look for through years of trading himself with different brokers and listening to the feedback of others.

Review Methodology

For all of our broker reviews, we research, validate, analyse and compare what we deem to be the most important factors to consider when choosing a broker. This includes pros, cons and an overall rating based on our findings. We aim to help you find the best broker according to your own needs. You can read more about our review process.