Review of Firstrade

Firstrade is a traditional stock broker that lets you invest in the stock market with low fees and in a wide variety of ways. It is a platform for both beginner and more experienced traders and provides lots of research material and tools for each type of investor.
By: Theodor Tonca
Theodor Tonca
Having worked for a decade as an analyst, investment partnership founder, and writer - Theodor is a keen sportsman. When not… read more.
Updated: Jun 4, 2021
4/5 Star rating
17 min read
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Firstrade is a platform that’s aimed more towards long term investors than short term traders. It provides lots of different ways to invest in the stock market and notably accepts customers from countries like China and the United States. Read on to learn more about Firstrade and whether you should sign up.

Pros & Cons

Pros:

$0 trades and no hidden fees
An easy-to-use platform for beginners
Free access to Morningstar trading reports and other news in English & Chinese
Automated alerts and streaming real-time quotes available

Cons:

What can I do with Firstrade?

Firstrade is a platform for investing in stocks, stock options, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and mutual funds. There are thousands of these assets available through Firstrade, which more than makes up for the fact that you can’t trade things like forex or cryptocurrency, or use CFDs to speculate on prices.

Firstrade is a versatile exchange that comes with a mobile app and lets you craft your long term plans from anywhere. That means it offers simple IRAs – tax free retirement accounts in the US – that come with no annual or maintenance fees.

Firstrade markets, assets, and options

What assets and products can you trade on Firstrade?

As a traditional stock broker, Firstrade offers investors a wide range of assets. You can trade stocks listed on the NYSE, AMEX, and NASDAQ, which includes virtually all of the most popular companies in the world, including the likes of Tesla and Amazon, as well as options, ETFs, and over 11,000 different mutual funds.

ProductOffering
Stocks
ETFs
Options
Mutual Funds11,000+
Bonds
Certificates of Deposit
See all assets available >

What leverage trading options are there?

Firstrade doesn’t specifically state the maximum leverage it provides, but it’s margin requirements range from as low as 30% up to 100% for some instruments.

ProductMaximum leverageMargin
Stocks45%
ETFs45%
Options
Mutual Funds
Bonds
CDs
See all leverage options >

What are the spreads?

Firstrade offers commission free stock, option, and ETF trades. All other securities traded are subject to a small, fixed fee instead of a spread.

Fees, limits, and payment options on Firstrade

What are the deposit and withdrawal fees, limits, and speeds?

Firstrade doesn’t ask for a minimum deposit to start trading, but also doesn’t offer many of the popular funding methods either. You can deposit funds to your account through wire transfer, checks, and account transfer but you cannot use debit/credit cards, Paypal, or cryptocurrency to deposit or make withdrawals.

Payment methodDepositWithdraw
Wire Transfer
– min/max
– fees
– speed
Yes
$50/N/A
Free (varying bank fees apply)
1 business day
Yes
$50/NA
$30
2-3 business days
Check (U.S. Only)
– min/max
– fees
– speed
Yes
None
Vary postage fees 
7-15 business days
No
Electronic Funds Transfer
– min/max
– fees
– speed
Yes
None
Free
2-3 business days
Yes
None
N/A
4-5 business days
See all deposit and withdrawal fees >

How much are Firstrade’s fees and commissions?

Firstrade trading fees vary depending on the stock or instrument you trade. Firstrade keeps things simple by offering investors free stock, ETF, mutual fund, and options trades. The company relies on payment for order flow (PFOF) to make money and also charges a $19.95 fee for all broker-assisted trades. 

Firstrade also doesn’t charge any inactivity fees on your account.

Fee typeFee amountCommission
ForexNone None
StocksNoneNone
ETFsNoneNone
Options NoneNone
Mutual FundNoneNone
BondsNoneNone
CDsNoneNone
Broker Assisted Trades$19.95
See all fees >

Firstrade trade sizes and limits

While Firstrade doesn’t require a minimum balance to open an account or to begin trading, it does ask for a minimum equity amount in order to place certain options orders.

ProductMinimum tradeMaximum trade
StocksNoneN/A
ETFsNoneN/A
OptionsNoneN/A
Mutual FundsNoneN/A
BondsNoneN/A
CDsNoneN/A
Spreads, Straddles, Butterfly, and Condor$2,000 + Margin requiredN/A
Uncovered Puts$10,000 + Margin requiredN/A
See all trading limits >

Firstrade trading platform

What devices can I use Firstrade on?

Firstrade offers multiple ways to trade, depending on your preferences. There is an online platform you can access any time you want and it is the most convenient way to place orders and monitor your account activity. 

The mobile app is available for free to download both from the App Store and from Google Play. It lacks some of the online version’s tools but offers flexibility and the ability to trade at the same low commissions. 

  • Web browser
  • Tablet
  • iOS mobile device
  • Android mobile device

Can I use Firstrade in my country?

Firstrade is currently available in 20 countries around the world, including Australia, China, France, and Germany. Select your country from the list below to see if it is available where you are.

Is Firstrade available in my language?

Firstrade’s website is available only in English and Chinese.

How easy is it to use Firstrade?

Firstrade’s trading interface is simple and designed to meet the needs of beginner traders as it is highly intuitive.

The proprietary trading platform is available to traders in a web-based and mobile version. There is no desktop version available at the moment, but both current versions of the platform provide an Order Entry bar. Allowing you to make quick trades regardless of where you navigate to in your dashboard.

Key features

Firstrade’s mission is to empower its clients with advanced technology to execute their investment strategies. Here are some of its main features:

Commission-free trades

Firstrade runs a fee-free policy that allows you to trade without any commissions or hidden fees. The broker instead makes money on payment for order flow (PFOF).

Full suite of products

As opposed to other less established brokers, Firstrade offers a full suite of products to trade – from stocks and ETFs to options, bonds, CDs, and over 11,000 mutual funds.

Enhanced research tools

This includes direct access to premium research from well known analysts at Morningstar and free individual stock reports on hundreds of stocks.

Security and regulation

Is Firstrade safe?

Firstrade is considered safe because it has a long track record and is overseen by top-tier regulators. The company maintains physical, electronic, and procedural safeguards that comply with federal standards to protect clients’ personal information. Firstrade protects its clients’ account information by using industrial strength firewalls and encryption technology.

The servers have been enabled with Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology to prevent unauthorized parties viewing nonpublic personal information. Moreover, Firstrade employs digital certificate services to encrypt the information exchange and uses an additional factor of authentication (PIN) to provide another layer of safety to all accounts. 

Am I and my funds protected?

U.S. accounts opened at Firstrade are insured by SIPC for up to $500,000. Firstrade has been a member of FINRA and SIPC since 1985 and takes protecting clients’ assets seriously. It also runs a segregated account policy, meaning your funds should never be at risk.

Is Firstrade regulated?

Yes, Firstrade is a U.S. based discount broker regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

Do I have to verify my account with Firstrade?

Depending on the type of account you wish to open, you will be requested to show proof of ID, proof of address, and a series of other documents. Each account is verified according to the standard anti-money laundering rules of the United States.

Extra information

Educational resources 

Firstrade offers a wide array of research tools and educational resources for both beginner and advanced traders. You can learn more about stocks, options, ETFs, mutual funds, bonds, margin loans, and others on the broker’s website through webinars, videos, podcasts, e-books, and a glossary of investing terms. 

Tools and charting

Firstrade’s trading platform offers multiple research features and tools, including trading strategy checklists, multi-timeframe trend indicators, and over 65 technical indicators.

There is also Firstrade Navigator available only to Firstrade Premier customers with an account balance of over $10,000. This comes equipped with advanced charting, an API, and trading bots.

Customer support

Firstrade offers two phone numbers for clients to get in contact with the support team – one for the U.S. and another one for international clients. Both phone numbers and a live chat option are available only during working hours, Monday-Friday, 8 AM – 6 PM, EST. 

Alternatively, you may also contact Firstrade support directly via email as well.

Our verdict

Firstrade is an established, long-standing, traditional discount broker offering thousands of products to invest in and trade, including retirement funds. It has a zero-fee policy in place to attract clients and even offers an interest rate of up to 3.6% annually for keeping funds locked in.

The trading platform is simple and easy to use, with multiple, dynamic columns on a single page and the ability to manage multiple accounts from a single dashboard. Firstrade is also regulated and insures its clients’ accounts up to $500,000. It is considered safe and provides numerous educational resources, from webinars to e-books, videos, and articles. 

If you are looking for a traditional stock broker with low fees and lots of tools and available research, then Firstrade is definitely for you.

How to open an account with Firstrade

  1. Complete the Firstrade Online Application by uploading images of your primary photo  and secondary ID
  2. Once approved, fund your account via Wire Transfer, ACH Electronic Funds Transfer or via Check
  3. Create an account and begin trading!

Keep in mind that the verification process usually takes 1-2 business days. Funding your account via Wire Transfer will also take up to 2 business days, which means opening an account with Firstrade will take 2-4 working days to complete.

Who owns Firstrade?
How does Firstrade make money?
Do I have to pay tax on Firstrade profits?
Does Firstrade offer CFD trading?
How do I sell on Firstrade?
How do I delete my Firstrade account?
How can I short on Firstrade?
What if I forget my account password?
Can I transfer from my Firstrade account into my PayPal account?
What if Firstrade closes down while I have open trades?
Can I access my full trading history on Firstrade?
Can I pay in cryptocurrency with Firstrade?
Does Firstrade offer bonuses?

Fact-checking & references

Our editors fact-check all content to ensure compliance with our strict editorial policy. The information in this article is supported by the following reliable sources.

Risk disclaimer

Invezz is a place where people can find reliable, unbiased information about finance, trading, and investing – but we do not offer financial advice and users should always carry out their own research. The assets covered on this website, including stocks, cryptocurrencies, and commodities can be highly volatile and new investors often lose money. Success in the financial markets is not guaranteed, and users should never invest more than they can afford to lose. You should consider your own personal circumstances and take the time to explore all your options before making any investment. Read our risk disclaimer >

Theodor Tonca
Financial analyst
Having worked for a decade as an analyst, investment partnership founder, and writer - Theodor is a keen sportsman. When not working, he can most commonly… read more.

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