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Charles Schwab review

Charles Schwab is the second largest brokerage firm in the United States, offering industry-leading customer service, local branches, and a powerful trading platform.

In this review, we’ll explain the many products and services Charles Schwab offers investors and why you may — or may not — want to invest with Schwab. We do not have any direct advertising relationship with Charles Schwab.

Providing a comprehensive range of investment products and services, Schwab is committed to helping its clients achieve financial success.

Key takeaways

  • Charles Schwab offers a wide range of investment options suitable for beginner and advanced investors, with competitive commissions and fees.
  • The broker provides trading platforms, research tools, robo-advisor services, educational resources & enhanced security features to ensure secure mobile access.
  • Charles Schwab has excellent customer service & security measures including 24/7 phone support.
  • Schwab acquired TD Ameritrade in 2020, with products and accounts brought over in 2023.

Who should invest with Charles Schwab?

Charles Schwab caters to a diverse range of investors, from beginners to advanced traders seeking sophisticated tools and research. With its low fees, no account minimum, and access to a wide selection of investment options, Schwab is an excellent choice for those looking to invest in stocks, ETFs, and mutual funds.

Advanced traders benefit from access to premium research, extensive options offerings, and integration with the thinkorswim platform through TD Ameritrade. The Charles Schwab mobile app also provides the convenience of trading on the go.

Schwab Intelligent Portfolios, their robo-advisor, can make investing as easy as possible for beginners who just want to invest it and forget it.

There is no cryptocurrency or foreign exchange (forex) trading with Charles Schwab. If trading crypto and stocks with one broker is important to you, Robinhood may be a better choice.

Charles Schwab commissions and fees

One of the key factors that make Charles Schwab stand out is its competitive pricing. You can trade stocks, ETFs, REITs, Treasuries, and thousands of mutual funds through Charles Schwab OneSource for free.

Some other common fees include:

  • $0.65 per option contract
  • $2.25 per future contract
  • Up to $49.95 per trade for mutual funds not included in Charles Schwab OneSource
  • $1 per bond trade with a minimum fee of $10 and maximum fee of $250

Charles Schwab earns payment for order flow, meaning they earn fees for processing trades with certain firms called “market makers”. This can arguably result in slightly less favorable pricing on trades, although we’re usually talking fractions of a cent per share. The difference really only matters if you’re moving millions of dollars in a single trade.

Schwab’s variable margin rates are about average. The lowest rates are reserved for loans over $250,000.

Charles Schwab does not charge monthly maintenance or inactivity fees. Transfers to outside accounts, checks and mobile deposits are free. There is a $25 fee for wire transfers.

Charles Schwab features and tech

In order to meet the varied needs of its clients, Charles Schwab provides multiple trading platforms such as StreetSmart Edge, StreetSmart Central, and mobile trading. These platforms provide a seamless trading experience, with access to advanced research tools, data providers like Morningstar, Argus, and S&P, as well as in-house generated commentary and tools.

The StreetSmart Edge platform is designed for active traders, offering customizable layouts, advanced charting, and a wide range of technical indicators. Trade Source, on the other hand, provides a more streamlined trading experience, with easy access to account information, market data, and trading tools.

Schwab Intelligent Portfolios, the robo-advisor service, offers a convenient way for investors to manage their portfolios. This automated investing solution uses algorithms to create and manage diversified portfolios based on the investor’s risk tolerance and investment goals.

Investors seeking to expand their investment knowledge can benefit from Charles Schwab’s comprehensive learning center, which includes:

  • Articles
  • Videos
  • Courses
  • Webinars
  • In-person workshops

On investing and personal finance education, including education savings accounts, Schwab provides podcasts for convenient learning, staying true to its customer-focused approach.

For a secure trading experience, the Charles Schwab mobile app provides authentication options such as face ID, fingerprint, or preset passcode. This not only provides an added layer of security to protect client information but also allows for quick and easy access to portfolios and trading tools on the go.

Charles Schwab investment options

Schwab offers a wide range of investment options, catering to various investor preferences. These options include:

  • Stocks
  • ETFs
  • Mutual funds
  • Fixed income
  • Retirement accounts

With such a comprehensive offering, investors can build well-diversified portfolios tailored to their specific goals and risk tolerance.

Stock and ETF investors can benefit from the Schwab Stock Slices feature, which allows them to purchase fractional shares of a stock instead of paying the full share price. This makes it easier for small investors to diversify their risks across different companies and industries.

For fixed income investors, Schwab provides access to a variety of bonds, including new-issue municipal and corporate bonds, as well as government options like Treasurys. Schwab BondSource, a tool designed to facilitate the selection of fixed-income investments, further simplifies the process of finding suitable bonds based on type, industry, maturity, and rating.

In terms of mutual funds, Schwab presents a broad range of options, including no transaction fee (NTF) and no load (NL) funds via its OneSource platform. Additionally, the brokerage offers a comprehensive selection of low-cost ETF and index investment options, including its own line of branded exchange traded funds.

Despite its extensive investment options, Charles Schwab currently does not support direct cryptocurrency or forex trading. However, clients can access over-the-counter crypto-based products, such as the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust, and look forward to the future availability of the thinkorswim platform for forex trading.

Charles Schwab customer service and security

A distinguishing feature of Charles Schwab is its dedication to superior customer service. The brokerage offers:

  • 24/7 phone and chat support
  • A secure message center for client inquiries
  • Over 90 branches located across the country, where clients can seek in-person assistance if needed.

Security is a top priority for Charles Schwab, and the firm has implemented robust measures to protect client information and assets. The Schwab mobile app, for instance, provides multiple authentication options, including face ID, fingerprint, or preset passcode.

Being a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC), Charles Schwab provides an additional layer of protection for investors’ assets. The brokerage also offers a satisfaction guarantee, promising to refund fees or commissions and work with clients to ensure their satisfaction.

Overall, this Schwab review highlights Charles Schwab’s dedication to customer service and security, setting it apart from other online brokers and further solidifying its reputation as a trusted and reliable investment platform.

About Charles Schwab

Established as the first discount broker in 1975, Charles Schwab rapidly expanded its operations, opening approximately 100 branch offices within a decade. The firm has consistently led in innovation, having offered 24-hour quotes and online services as far back as 1982, and launched in 1995.

Schwab’s mission is to prioritize the customer experience through its “Through Clients’ Eyes” strategy, focusing on the needs of Schwab customers. This commitment to customer satisfaction is evident in the wide range of investment products, services, and educational resources offered by the firm.

Apart from its brokerage services, Charles Schwab offers banking products including the Charles Schwab High Yield Investor Checking account, Certificates of Deposit, and credit cards. These products further enhance the financial capabilities of Schwab clients and help them meet their overall financial goals.

Acquisition of TDAmeritrade

In October 2020, Charles Schwab completed its acquisition of TD Ameritrade, a move set to further bolster its offerings and client services. With the integration of TD Ameritrade’s highly acclaimed thinkorswim trading platform, Schwab clients can anticipate gaining access to advanced trading tools and resources.

The acquisition is also expected to bring additional investment products, such as futures and forex trading, to Schwab clients. This will provide them with even more options to diversify their portfolios and enhance their investment strategies.

The integration of TD Ameritrade accounts and features, including access to the thinkorswim platform, with existing Schwab clients and the transitioning of TD Ameritrade clients was scheduled to be completed by the end of 2023.


In conclusion, Charles Schwab stands out as a leading US brokerage firm with a long history of innovation and customer-focused services. Offering a comprehensive suite of investment products and services, Schwab caters to a diverse range of investors, from beginners to advanced traders.

The competitive pricing, multiple trading platforms, and extensive investment options make Charles Schwab a top choice for investors seeking a reliable and feature-rich platform. The acquisition of TD Ameritrade further strengthens Schwab’s offerings, giving clients access to the acclaimed thinkorswim platform and additional investment products.

For those considering an investment platform that prioritizes customer satisfaction, security, and a wide range of investment options, Charles Schwab is undeniably a top contender in the world of finance.

FAQs about Charles Schwab

How trustworthy is Charles Schwab?

Charles Schwab is a highly trustworthy financial firm, consistently rated among the top two most trusted in categories such as ETF/Fund Company, Online Broker, Wealth Management and Banking. It is also protected by SIPC insurance and FDIC insurance, offers a range of trading tools and platforms suitable for all types of investors, and enjoys an execution quality of 96.6%.

How safe is my money with Charles Schwab?

Charles Schwab offers FDIC insurance for deposits up to $250,000 and protection up to $500,000 with the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC).

Is Charles Schwab a good bank?

Charles Schwab Bank is a great option for investors, offering no monthly service fees or account minimums and providing cash management solutions. Its checking accounts are excellent, paying interest and coming with an outstanding ATM policy. Moreover, their bank deposit accounts are protected by FDIC insurance up to FDIC limits.

What types of investors is Charles Schwab suitable for?

Charles Schwab is suitable for all types of investors, from beginners to experienced traders, offering low-cost index funds, premium research and a wide selection of investment options.

Are there any fees for stock and ETF trades at Charles Schwab?

Charles Schwab provides free online stock and ETF trades, so there are no fees associated with these trades.

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