Charles Schwab is a US based discount broker which was founded in 1991. It is also listed on the New York Stock Exchange. It is regulated by financial regulators like; SEC, FINRA & FCA. It has a good operating history which makes it safe to deal with.
Account opening process at Charles Schwab is easy, hassle free and fully digital. It takes a few time to activate your account after which you can start trading.
What is the minimum deposit at Charles Schwab?
The required Charles Schwab minimum deposit is different for US and non-US clients:
- $0 for US clients
- $25,000 for non-US clients, which is very high
Charles Schwab is a US discount broker that primarily targets US clients, but its services are available to clients in more than 40 other countries as well, including e.g. the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates.
|Account Type||Short Description|
|Brokerage individual account||Account is owned and used by a single individual|
|Brokerage joint account||Account is owned and used by two or more individuals|
|Corporate Account||Account is owned and used by a legal entity|
|Trust, Estate Accounts||Account is held by a Trustee (separate legal entity) for your benefit. Estate accounts help you manage and distribute estate assets|
|Roth IRA AccountTraditional IRA AccountRollover IRA Account||Individual retirement accounts only available for US clients|
|Schwab Intelligent PortfoliosSchwab Intelligent Portfolios Premium||Robo-advisor accounts only available for US clients|
|Schwab Charitable Account||Tax-efficient account for a charitable giving, available only in the US|
|Checking, Savings Accounts||Individual savings account with variable interest rates or unlimited ATM rebates|
|Education, Custodial Accounts||College and education savings plans, and custodial accounts|
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Charles Schwab offers free trade for stocks and ETFs. Even some of the mutual funds are also free to trade, while others may have high trading fees. It charges low non-trading fees.
Charles Schwab Fee snapshot
|US stock||Free stock and ETF trading|
|Mutual fund||$49.5 for buying while selling is free; there are also around 4,000 free mutual funds|
|Inactivity fee||No inactivity fee|
Charles Schwab charges no commission for stock and ETF trading, which is amazing.
If you prefer stock trading on margin, you should check Charles Schwab’s margin rates.
Charles Schwab annual margin rate tiers
|Debit Balance||Rate||Base rate +/-|
|$250,000 – $499,999||6.575%||Base rate +0.075%|
|$100,000 – $249,999||6.825%||Base rate +0.325%|
|$50,000 – $99,999||6.875%||Base rate +0.375%|
|$25,000 – $49,999||7.825%||Base rate +1.325%|
|$0 – $24,999||8.325%||Base rate +1.825%|
Charles Schwab Commission rates
|US Treasury bond||$0.0|
|US stock index options||$6.5|
|US micro e-mini stock index futures||$15.0|
Deposit and Withdrawal
Charles Schwab doesn’t charge any deposit fee. You can make deposits only through bank transfer. On the other hand, they charge a high fee for wire withdrawal.
Charles Schwab provides only one currency as a base currency and that is USD.
It charges no deposit fees. US clients can make deposits through check, ACH and wire transfer. But the non-US clients can make deposits only through wire transfer.
Charles Schwab charges no withdrawal fees if you use ACH withdrawal, but wire transfers cost $25.
Charles Schwab trade platform comes in three format :
- Web Trading Platform
- Mobile Trading application
- Desktop Trading Platform
All of the trading platforms are easy to use and are beginner friendly. They provide a safe login and clear fee report. Mobile apps are available in both Android and iOS.
However, desktop trading platforms are not very suitable for beginners. Desktop trading platforms are so advanced and have so many functions.
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It offers you a vast amount of asset portfolio to trade. It offers everything, from stocks to futures. But the drawback is that it covers only the US and Canadian market.
Charles Schwab covers only North American markets. You can trade with stocks on the following stock exchanges: NYSE, NYSE MKT, NASDAQ and OTC.
Charles Schwab Asset selection
|Stock markets (#)||4|
|Fund providers (#)||600|
|Options markets (#)||8|
|Futures markets (#)||8|
Schwab Intelligent Portfolios
Charles Schwab offers a robo-advisory service called Schwab Intelligent Portfolios. It is great if you need an automated solution to manage your investments.
First, you have to answer questions about your investment goal, risk tolerance, and time horizon. Based on your preferences a portfolio is created and the robo-advisor will automatically rebalance the portfolio when needed. There is a $5,000 minimum amount to start, while there is no commission charged for this service.
If you choose Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Premium you will also get guidance from a personal financial expert. The minimum to start this premium account is $25,000 and there is also a $300 one-time fee. After this, a $30 per month fee is charged.
Charles Schwab education tools are average. They have provided high quality videos and articles but not in an organized manner. It also does not provide a demo account for practise.
At Charles Schwab you can learn in the following ways:
- Platform tutorial videos
- General educational videos
- Quality educational articles
Charles Schwab is regulated by the top financial institutions which makes it safer for clients. It also has a good transaction history which makes it clear that it has safely passed the previous economic crisis. Charles Schwab operates several legal entities globally, but all customers are covered by the US investor protection scheme, called the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC).
SIPC investor protection protects against the loss of cash and securities in case the broker goes bust. The limit of SIPC protection is $500,000, which includes a $250,000 limit for cash.
Charles Schwab investor protection and legal entities
|Country of Clients||Protection Amount||Regulator||Legal Entity|
|US and all other countries, except for UK, Hong Kong and Singapore||SIPC: $500,000 ($250,000 cash limit)||Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)||Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.|
|UK||SIPC: $500,000 ($250,000 cash limit)||Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)||Charles Schwab, U.K., Limited|
|Hong Kong||SIPC: $500,000 ($250,000 cash limit)||Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission||Charles Schwab, Hong Kong, Ltd.|
|Singapore||SIPC: $500,000 ($250,000 cash limit)||Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS)||Charles Schwab Singapore Pte. Ltd.|
|All countries – Futures accounts||No protection||Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)||Charles Schwab Futures, Inc.|
You can contact them in English via:
- live chat
The Charles Schwab support team is available 24/7, which is a big plus.
|Free stock and ETF trading||High fees for some mutual funds|
|Low non-trading fees||Poorly-structured educational platform|
|No minimum deposit||$25,000 minimum deposit for non-US clients|
|User-friendly||High fee for wire withdrawals|
|Data on asset fundamentals||No demo account|
Charles Schwabs’ fees are great. You can trade stocks and ETFs listed on major US markets for free. Account opening is easy, fully digital and fast. Customer service responds quickly and gives relevant answers.
It has some drawbacks though. It is available only for US clients. Its product portfolio is fairly limited, covering only US stocks, ETFs, and a few cryptocurrencies. Lastly, research tools are very basic.
As the account opening process is seamless and Charles Schwab offers commission-free stock and ETF trades, you should feel free to try it.
Who’s eligible to receive Social Security benefits?
To qualify for Social Security, you or your spouse need to have paid the Social Security payroll tax for at least 10 years. A nonworking spouse is potentially entitled up to half of a spouse’s benefit.
What is covered by the Satisfaction Guarantee?
We believe every investor deserves to work with a firm they can count on. At Schwab, our commitment to your satisfaction is backed by a guarantee. If for any reason you’re not completely satisfied, we’ll refund your eligible fee or commission and work with you to make things right. You won’t find that kind of promise everywhere—but you will find it here.
How much money do I need to get started?
Investment minimums vary by service, from as little as $5,000 for Schwab Intelligent Portfolios, to $500,000 for Schwab Advisor Network, and as much as $1 million for Schwab Private Client.
What account types are available for investment advice?
Our services are available in a wide variety of accounts, including individual and joint brokerage; traditional, Roth and rollover IRA; trust and custodial accounts.
Charles Schwab Review
- No minimum deposit
- No demo account
- High fee for wire withdrawals