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May 26, 2009


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My thoughts, too - I only have the Schwab account for that reason myself. I also have a Scottrade account, but I trade stocks infrequently enough that the few extra bucks may not be a problem if I decide to move to Schwab.

I use wells trade. I get 150 free trades a year with my PMA bank account.

I have accounts at TradeKing ($5/trade) and Zecco ($5/trade). TradeKing has some great online features and their customer service is really good. Zecco, on the other hand, gives you 10 free trades a month if you have $25k in your account. It's nice to trade for free, but if you want more personal care, I'd recommend TradeKing.

Interactive Brokers... without a doubt!

I have a Wells Trade and a Schwab account. The Schwab is ridiculously overpriced for mutual funds not run by Schwab ($50 a trade). Otherwise their platform is much better.

But the 100 free trades I get at Wells is a deal I couldn't refuse. I'm not a high roller so saving $5 or $10 on each trade when I re-balance my portfolio each quarter really makes a difference.

Banc of America, the broker, has some nice tie-ins with Bank of America, the [insolvent] bank. If you keep $25k in bank deposits, you get 30 free stock trades per month. If you are a "premier" customer ($100k combined bank/banc balances), stock trades are $5 each. You have a single online sign-on to both your banking and investment accounts and you can easily transfer money between them. In fact, it is possible to set up an automatic sweep between a bank account and the cash balance of an investment account - sell a position, and the cash shows up in your FDIC-insured savings account a few days later, and vice versa.

I have also used Schwab and Scottrade, and the bank tie-ins (with the formidable branch and ATM network) are the only real advantages I can think of for Banc of America. If you don't qualify for one of the aforementioned deals then trades are $7-$10 which is middle of the pack. Their web site looks slick and it's fine for buying and holding, but it's buggy and feature-lacking for active trading (no streaming quotes, spartan charting function, no mobile web site, and inexplicably no ability to export detailed account history for analysis and tax purposes).

I have been with eTrade for about 10 years now. I love them I have usd them to trade stocks. 3sec trade guarentee love that, I have a checking acount with them...they refund all atm fees. I also have a IRA with them. I have never had an issue and the service is great.

I currently use Zecco. It's pretty decent. However, for the options trading that I am doing, it's not the best. I've heard that OptionsHouse is pretty good. I will likely be switching my account over to OptionsHouse within the next few months.

TD Ameritrade - I like them the best
E*Trade - pretty good
Scottrade - OK, but website a little clunky
Firstrade - not so much,just haven't closed
Zecco and TradeKing, tried but did not like

I like Etrade because it has stock trading and banking all in one. Banking pays pretty good rates with low fees and small or no minimums.

I recently made the switch from Zecco to OptionsHouse. There was no way I was sticking around after they changed their free trade rules the very month that I had saved up a $2500 balance. I probably took that too personally but at least I got cheaper trades ($2.95) out of the deal. I haven't looked back.

Firstrade- simple, fast, and pretty good charts for what I want to do. (occasional trades in and out of ETFs) $6.95/trade. Does what it says it will do, and does it well.

TD Ameritrade- it's about $13 for a limit trade- they do a good job.

Put in $100K last year and got a free Garmin GPS and $400 gas card. Pretty good deal, especially since I made $35K in trades.


Fidelity.....Best of all in terms of value/price/features/size.

Not the lowest cost, but I am beyond that since I do not do that much trading.

I just opened 2 more accounts at Fidelity and going to make it my home for a couple of decades if they keep up and stay stable.

I have an "All In One" account now with Checking, MMkt, CD, Trading/Brokerage, Credit Card, Bill Payment, and Bond/Fund purchase account. No need to go all over the place with my medium size portfolio.

Take care.


ps: Please summarize the views of people of good, bad and ugly.

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