Scottrade vs. Fidelity: Do You Need a Feature-Rich Platform or More Trading Options?

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    Scottrade and Fidelity Investments both offer solid features and tools to customers, but our review demonstrates some marked differences in fees and investment options that set them apart. Fidelity’s international investments and Virtual Assistant service offer flexibility to users, while Scottrade’s fees are just slightly more affordable.

    Features, Fees & Ratings Comparison Table

    FeaturesScottradeFidelity
    💰 Account Minimum$0 for brokerage accounts; $5,000 for automated investing; $25,000 for personalized portfolio management$0 for brokerage accounts; $0 for automated investing; $50,000 for personalized portfolio management
    💸 Commission Fees$0 for online US-listed stock, ETF, and options trades; $0.65 per contract fee for options; $1 per bond for secondary bond trades$0 for online US-listed stock, ETF, and options trades; $0.65 per contract fee for options; $1 per bond for secondary bond trades
    💼 Investment OptionsStocks, ETFs, mutual funds, bonds, options, futures, CDs, annuitiesStocks, ETFs, mutual funds, bonds, options, CDs, annuities
    🤖 Robo-AdvisorYes, they offer automated investing with Schwab Intelligent Portfolios and Schwab Intelligent Portfolios PremiumYes, they offer automated investing with Fidelity Go and Fidelity Personalized Planning & Advice
    📊 Research and AnalysisYes, they provide market insights, expert analysis, screeners, charts, and moreYes, they provide market insights, expert analysis, screeners, charts, and more
    📱 Mobile AppYes, they have a mobile app for iOS and Android devicesYes, they have a mobile app for iOS and Android devices
    🏦 Retirement AccountsYes, they offer traditional IRA, Roth IRA, rollover IRA, SEP IRA, SIMPLE IRA, and solo 401(k) accounts Yes, they offer traditional IRA, Roth IRA, rollover IRA, SEP IRA, SIMPLE IRA, and solo 401(k) accounts
    🎓 IRA AccountsYes, they offer custodial IRA accounts for minorsYes, they offer custodial IRA accounts for minors
    📈 Trading PlatformYes, they have a web-based platform and a desktop platform called StreetSmart EdgeYes, they have a web-based platform and a desktop platform called Active Trader Pro
    📞 Customer ServiceYes, they have 24/7 customer service via phone and chatYes, they have 24/7 customer service via phone and chat
    📚 Educational ResourcesYes, they have articles, videos, podcasts, webinars, workshops, and moreYes, they have articles, videos, podcasts, webinars, workshops, and more
    🌕 Fractional SharesYes, they offer fractional shares for S&P 500 stocks and ETFs through Schwab Stock SlicesYes, they offer fractional shares for US-listed stocks and ETFs through Fidelity Stock Slices
    🌱 Socially ResponsibleYes, they offer a range of socially responsible investing (SRI) funds and portfoliosYes, they offer a range of socially responsible investing (SRI) funds and portfolios
    🌎 International InvestingYes, they allow trading in international stocks and ETFs through their Global Account and International ServicesYes, they allow trading in international stocks and ETFs through their International Trading platform
    💳 Cash ManagementYes, they offer checking and savings accounts with FDIC insurance, unlimited ATM fee rebates, and no monthly service feesYes, they offer checking and savings accounts with FDIC insurance, free cash transfers, and competitive rates
    🔍 Margin TradingYes, they offer margin trading with competitive rates and flexible termsYes, they offer margin trading with competitive rates and flexible terms
    ⚙️ Options TradingYes, they offer options trading with $0 commissions and $0.65 per contract fee. They also provide advanced tools and education for options tradersYes, they offer options trading with $0 commissions and $0.65 per contract fee. They also provide advanced tools and education for options traders
    ₿ Cryptocurrency TradingNo, they do not offer cryptocurrency trading at this timeNo, they do not offer cryptocurrency trading at this time
    🛡️ Account SecurityYes, they use encryption, biometric authentication, secure logins, and other security measures to protect customer accounts. They also offer a Security Guarantee for unauthorized activityYes, they use encryption, biometric authentication, secure logins, and other security measures to protect customer accounts. They also offer a Customer Protection Guarantee for unauthorized activity
    💹 LeverageYes, they offer leverage up to 4:1 for day traders and 2:1 for overnight positionsYes, they offer leverage up to 4:1 for day traders and 2:1 for overnight positions
    ⚖ RegulationYes, they are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), and other regulatory agenciesYes, they are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), and other regulatory agencies

    Scottrade vs. Fidelity

    Choosing the right online broker is a critical decision for individual investors looking to navigate the world of investment opportunities. In this comparison, we will examine two well-established online brokerage firms, Scottrade and Fidelity. Both companies offer a wide range of investment products and services, but they also have notable differences in terms of fees, platform usability, research tools, and additional services. By comparing the pros and cons of each broker, we aim to provide a comprehensive analysis that will help investors make an informed decision based on their unique needs and preferences.

    Scottrade

    Scottrade Logo (1)

    Scottrade is a well-known online brokerage firm offering a variety of investment products and services, including stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, options, and more. In this module, we will explore the pros and cons of Scottrade for individual investors looking to open an account and compare them with Fidelity, another prominent online broker.

    Pros
    • Competitive trading fees
    • Wide variety of investment options
    • User-friendly platform
    Cons
    • Limited research tools
    • No robo-advisor service

    Fidelity

    Fidelity Logo

    Fidelity is a leading online broker known for its extensive range of investment products and services, including stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, options, and more. In this module, we will discuss the pros and cons of Fidelity for individual investors and compare them to Scottrade, another popular online brokerage firm.

    Pros
    • Comprehensive research tools
    • Robo-advisor service
    • High-quality customer service
    Cons
    • Slightly higher trading fees
    • Less user-friendly platform

    Fidelity is an excellent choice for investors who value comprehensive research tools, robo-advisor services, and high-quality customer service. However, for those prioritizing lower trading fees and a more user-friendly platform, Scottrade might be a better option. When deciding between the two brokers, individual investors should consider their specific needs and preferences to make the best choice.


    Features & Primary Uses

    As low-cost investment brokerage firms, Scottrade and Fidelity Investments both have a lot to offer their customers. From reputable trading platforms to affordable rates and fees, both are clearly focused on beginner-level traders who want a good support system as they begin their investment career.

    A major part of their work is active wealth management, which is handles through a roster of financial advisory services, online tools and asset management programs.

    One of Fidelity’s major features is the ability to conduct international trading, providing access to 25 different markets in 16 different currencies. Scottrade can’t quite match up to that level of global access, but it makes up for it by providing their endlessly useful Flexible Dividend Reinvestment Program, which permits clients to invest their dividends into stocks of any company.

    Central to their investment operations are their trading platforms — Scottrade has Scottrade ELITE, while Fidelity offers their web-based platform and Active Trader Pro. ScottradeELITE is a tremendously robust and detailed platform, with advanced features like watch-lists, detailed streaming quotes and charting, but requires a steep $25,000 to qualify for free use of the platform.

    Fidelity, meanwhile, requires no such restrictions to use its browser-based platform, including a trade ticket feature that is extremely useful. The real boon, however, is Active Trader Pro, which is only restricted to more active traders who make 36 or more trades within twelve months.

    Between the website and Active Trader Pro, Fidelity’s functionality is far more sophisticated, When combined with its much lower barrier to entry, these platforms put it ahead of Scottrade for performance, accuracy and broker advantages.

    Both companies need mobile apps to keep up with their increasingly modern marketplace, however, and they each have solid offerings. Fidelity’s basic mobile app lets you transfer funds from Fidelity to non-Fidelity accounts, talk to customer service, pay bills, place trades, and more. Scottrade’s app has similar features, including market news, but lack a few key features of Fidelity’s app. Despite that, their apps are equally good, for the most part.

    Scottrade and Fidelity also offer a few research tools for investors. Scottrade, for instance, offers some active research on numerous markets, which is a bit bare-bones but quite useful for traders who are just getting started and need to learn the basics. Scottrade also provides articles and Client Education events to aid starting traders with their education on their Knowledge Center.

    Fidelity, meanwhile, offers most of its research tools through its interface, though they are quite significant and appealing to active investors. On their website, free reports are offered from third-party providers like Zacks, Morningstar and S&P Capital IQ. They also have a virtual learning center complete with videos, articles and webinars on a number of topics related to online trading.

    When it comes down to basic features, Fidelity wins out; while both companies have great platforms, Fidelity doesn’t require as many steep requirements to access it, and they just have a few more features that Scottrade lacks. They also beat out Scottrade on research and education tools.

    When it comes to customer service, however, Scottrade ekes out a win — their 500 in-person locations and notably proactive phone service (running 5–midnight Monday through Friday, 8–6 weekends) is extremely personalized.

    Fidelity, meanwhile, offers phone, fax, email and chat services, and 180 physical branch locations, but their quality of service doesn’t quite match up to Scottrade, especially if you need comprehensive, detailed help with your investments.

    Investment Options

    Commission trades like stocks, options, and ETFs are all available from both companies. What’s more, Scottrade and Fidelity alike have made it affordable to maintain those accounts, with no account maintenance fees or inactivity fees with either company. Fidelity and Scottrade both have a $2,500 minimum initial deposit, and they also both have no-fee IRAs for those who want to start those kinds of accounts.

    They also offer mutual funds, though Scottrade has a larger roster of mutual funds to choose from (almost 15,000), while Fidelity has about 500 fewer. Scottrade’s mutual funds also feature more than 2500 no-transaction-fee mutual funds, which is excellent for the budget-minded trader.

    When it comes to ETFs, however, Fidelity has the edge, with more than 75 no-commission-fee ETFs, while Scottrade has none. In addition to that, Fidelity specializes in affordable index funds that provide low risk and give traders the most consistent, stable ROIs they could ask for. Both active and passive funds qualify here, so Fidelity has the advantage when it comes to variety.

    Fees

    When it comes down to commissions and fees, Scottrade and Fidelity are virtually identical in terms of stock and ETF trades. Fidelity asks for $7.95 per trade (with $0.65 per options contract), while Scottrade’s fees are just $7 ($0.70 per contract). The differences can certainly add up over time for more active investors, but the average trader will likely not notice overmuch.

    Fidelity Trading Fees:

    Scottrade’s mutual funds rates are actually quite affordable, with no-load mutual funds clocking in at $17 per trade. Fidelity, meanwhile, has a steep transaction fee of $49.99, with some funds going all the way up to $75.

    What’s more, Scottrade has more than 14,000 mutual funds to choose from, with almost 3,000 without any transaction fee or load costs. Fidelity only features about 10,000, which is a dramatically smaller number than Scottrade.

    When it comes down to it, the $1 difference between Scottrade and Fidelity’s fee structure is not incredibly high. Both services ask for a $2,500 account minimum as well, so the buy-in for each service is about the same. In that respect, Scottrade might just win out over Fidelity here, but just by a hair.

    Asset Allocation

    Both Scottrade and Fidelity offer some helpful tools to provide traders with the help they need to find their ideal levels of diversification for their accounts. Scottrade provides several nice asset allocation tools to let investors split their portfolio based on time horizons and risk tolerance, among other things.

    Among these tools are Current Allocation or Target Models in which you can select your ideal level of growth, My Action Plan Model which allows you to preview these changes, and Allocation Fields where those changes are actually put in place.

    However, Fidelity’s high-quality asset allocation funds allow customers to benefit from flexible, research-backed funds and portfolios that are cultivated through detailed quantitative, macroeconomic and fundamental analyses by Fidelity experts. While the process is a bit more automated than that all sounds, they result in heavily curated and vetted funds that most traders can count on.

    Which Should You Pick? Who Is Each Good For?

    Low-balance traders would do well to pick Fidelity over Scottrade; while Scottrade’s features are reputable, and their interface incredibly easy to use, many traders don’t have the $25,000 required to use them in a cost-effective way. The $2,500 account minimum alone gives Scottrade a higher barrier to entry than Fidelity, making it more suited to advanced, established traders.

    That said, Scottrade does reward those active traders quite well with slightly cheaper trades than Fidelity and their high number of no-transaction-fee mutual funds.

    One thing to keep in mind is that Scottrade has wonderful customer service, offering many diverse options for assistance. For instance, unlike Fidelity, you can get personal investment help at any of their 500 local branches across America, allowing you to get real-time tips from real human beings.

    While Scottrade’s initial deposits and account minimums are high, they’re a great resource for beginning traders to start themselves off in the investment biz due to their slightly lower commissions. However, if you want to work mostly with ETFs or Fidelity-family mutual funds, Fidelity might be the way to go.

    Conclusion

    In conclusion, both Scottrade and Fidelity are reputable online brokers with distinct offerings that cater to different investor needs. Scottrade stands out for its competitive trading fees and user-friendly platform, making it an appealing choice for cost-conscious investors and those who prefer a more intuitive trading experience. On the other hand, Fidelity shines with its comprehensive research tools, robo-advisor service, and high-quality customer service, making it an attractive option for investors seeking a more comprehensive suite of services and support.

    Ultimately, the decision between Scottrade and Fidelity will depend on each individual investor’s priorities and preferences. It is essential to carefully consider factors such as trading fees, investment options, research tools, and platform usability when making this important choice. By taking the time to compare these two brokers, investors can ensure they select the platform that best aligns with their financial goals and investment strategies.


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