Review of Firstrade
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
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.
|Certificates of Deposit||–|
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.
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.
Free (varying bank fees apply)
1 business day
2-3 business days
|Check (U.S. Only)|
Vary postage fees
7-15 business days
|Electronic Funds Transfer|
2-3 business days
4-5 business days
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 type||Fee amount||Commission|
|Broker Assisted Trades||$19.95||–|
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.
|Product||Minimum trade||Maximum trade|
|Spreads, Straddles, Butterfly, and Condor||$2,000 + Margin required||N/A|
|Uncovered Puts||$10,000 + Margin required||N/A|
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
- 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.
Firstrade’s mission is to empower its clients with advanced technology to execute their investment strategies. Here are some of its main features:
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.
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.
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.
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
- Complete the Firstrade Online Application by uploading images of your primary photo and secondary ID
- Once approved, fund your account via Wire Transfer, ACH Electronic Funds Transfer or via Check
- 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.
Firstrade Securities is a stock brokerage firm and broker-dealer headquartered in New York. It was founded in 1985 by John Liu, as First Flushing Securities and continues to be run by the founder and CEO to this day.
Firstrade makes its money on payment for order flow (PFOF), commissions on higher value trades, and withdrawal fees.
The U.S. government encourages global investors to invest in the U.S. market to take advantage of certain tax benefits, where they will not have to pay taxes on capital gains by filling out a W-8Ben form. In most cases, foreign investors can apply through the Internal Revenue Service for the tax refund that was previously charged on the dividends earned.
No, Firstrade doesn’t offer CFDs, Forex or cryptocurrencies for trading.
- Log into your Firstrade account
- Go to “Accounts” on the main page and select “Positions”
- Review your open positions and click on the stock/asset you want to sell
- From the “Actions” button on the right, select “Sell”
- Fill in the form with the amount of shares and the price you want to sell at and click “Sell”
If you decide to close your Firstrade account, contact the broker and request that your account be closed. A representative can be reached over the phone, Monday to Friday, from 8 AM to 6 PM EST.
Before you can place a short trade on Firstrade you must have a margin-enabled account with at least $2,000 in cash or marginable equities. Go to your Account and select “Positions”, then click on Stocks/ETFs.
Enter the symbol of the stock you want to short, number of shares, and the price you would like to short the stock for. Select “Sell Short” and then fill in the boxes with the limit price for which you would like to sell, as well as the duration. Hit “Preview”, to make sure everything is in order, then select “Send Order”.
Click on the “Need Login Help?” link below the login box in the homepage header. It will prompt you to enter your 8 digit Firstrade account number in order to reset your password.
No, you cannot use PayPal to transfer funds from or to your Firstrade account.
If Firstrade shuts down unexpectedly, all transactions will be suspended until you are given access to the trading platform again and can confirm the status of your orders.
In the event that Firstrade ceases operations altogether, it is insured by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC). SIPC is insurance that provides brokerage customers up to $500,000 coverage for cash and securities held by a registered firm.
Log into your Firstrade account, then go to “Accounts” on the main dashboard page. Select “History” from the list and you can see your entire trading history.
No, cryptocurrencies are not a payment option with Firstrade.
Firstrade offers a series of bonuses for new members and existing clients. Whenever you refer a friend who opens an account with the company and starts trading, you get the chance to be gifted shares of Apple, Boeing, and other companies.
Firstrade also pays interest on eligible free credit balances in a client’s account of 0.01% per day, which means 3.65% per year, regardless of how big your cash balance gets.