Company DetailsTrading PlatformsWebTraderFirstrade NavigatorOptions WizardHow To Place A TradeProducts & MarketsTradingRetirementFees & ChargesTrading FeesAdditional ServicesRegulatory FeesMargin RatesMobile App ReviewFirstrade Payment MethodsDepositsWithdrawalsDemo AccountDeals & PromotionsRegulation & LicensingFirstrade Additional FeaturesEducationToolsSecurities Lending Income ProgramAccount TypesBrokerage AccountRetirement (IRA) AccountBenefitsDrawbacksTrading HoursExtended HoursCustomer ServiceSecurity & SafetyFirstrade Securities VerdictAccepted CountriesCompare FirstradeFirstrade Comparison TableCompare Trading InstrumentsFirstrade vs Other BrokersFAQWhat Is Firstrade Securities?Is Firstrade A Chinese Company?Who Owns Firstrade Securities?What Payment Methods Does Firstrade Offer?Is Firstrade Available In The UK?Does Firstrade Charge Fees?Is Firstrade Safe And Legit?Does Firstrade Offer Fractional Shares?Does Firstrade Offer Cryptocurrency?
Firstrade Securities is a leading US discount broker that offers thousands of trading products, including stocks, options, mutual funds, and cryptos. Commission-free investing, proprietary trading apps, and an instant execution model have made the online brokerage popular at home and with non-US citizens.
This 2022 review of Firstrade unpacks minimum deposits, account types, margin rates, withdrawal fees, customer service options, and more. Find out what our experts made of Firstrade.
Firstrade Securities was founded in 1985 and is headquartered in Flushing, New York.
With almost 40 years of service, the brokerage has built a solid reputation, with a string of awards and acknowledgments from industry-leading publications, including Forbes.
Firstrade aims to be a one-stop investing solution, enabling customers to take control of their financial future. The broker offers self-directed investing with proprietary trading platforms and commission-free executions. Account holders also benefit from professional-grade analysis tools, extended hours trading, and a rich video library for beginners. The company also provides retirement IRA accounts.
Firstrade is regulated by the SEC. The company is also a member of FINRA/SIPC. Accounts are insured up to $500,000, though crypto holdings are not insured.
Platforms & Apps
Firstrade offers three web-based trading platforms; WebTrader, Firstrade Navigator and Options Wizard.
Our experts were pleased with the stability and user-friendly design of the WebTrader. However, they were disappointed with the lack of customization available, particularly within the main desktop dashboard.
You can view a snapshot of your account, see daily market movers, and trade directly from the Order Entry Panel. But active retail traders may feel the platform lacks advanced analysis features. As a result, WebTrader is the best fit for beginners.
Firstrade Navigator allows day traders to manage their account and trade various assets within one screen.
You can add and drag market-related widgets with one click, access dozens of powerful technical studies, collapse columns and panels for an intuitive look and feel, and access live market data streaming. The pie chart summaries also show your overall account performance in a succinct view.
The advanced screener tool can also help narrow down your investment choices. Select from categories including large-cap growth stocks and other key trading criteria.
Options Wizard is a specialty options analytics tool.
The platform offers profit and loss simulations, more than 65 technical indicators, fundamental rankings, and over 40 complex strategy models. The covered call income generator is also a useful tool to pinpoint the optimal call to sell or purchase against your current positions.
Retail clients also have access to the bespoke OptionsPlay score. The evaluation model indicates whether your proposed strategy is too risky vs the potential reward. An OptionsPlay ranking of below 100 means you are potentially taking on too much risk. Review the levels before opening a position.
How To Place A Trade
For beginners, we would recommend placing orders via the Firstrade Securities Quick Bar tool.
The Quick Bar tool is positioned at the bottom of every screen within the WebTrader terminal. You can search for assets within the navigation bar, find price quotes, and track your account performance. It also won’t automatically close if you switch to another page.
Select stocks or options from the menu on the left-hand side of the screen
Search for the ticker/symbol in the top-left search bar
Choose the trade type (buy, sell, sell short or buy to cover)
Input the quantity
Select the order type
Add the limit/stop price if applicable
Add instructions and the duration
Select ‘Send Order’
Firstrade guarantees trade executions in 0.1 seconds.
Products & Markets
Firstrade offers thousands of instruments:
ETFs – Trade 2200+ commission-free exchange-traded funds including Vanguard, ProShares and WisdomTree
Cryptocurrency – Speculate on the price of 38+ popular crypto assets including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin, and Cardano
Mutual Funds – Choose from over 11,000 listed mutual funds across different sectors and varying risk levels. An automatic investing plan is also available
Fixed Products – Access long-term stability and hedging opportunities with fixed income vehicles. Products include Primary Market CDs, Treasury Bills, Notes & Bonds, and Municipal Bonds
Stocks – Trade global stocks on the Nasdaq, NYSE, AMEX exchanges, or over-the-counter (OTC) markets. This includes large, mid, and small-cap firms or penny stocks. Traders can also enrol in the broker’s dividend reinvestment programs
Options – Trade options contracts with no contract charges. Options are available on the S&P 500 index, Morgan Stanley Consumer Index, and CBOE Volatility Index. Use the OptionsPlay analytics solution to find opportunities
Note, the broker does not offer forex or futures.
Alongside traditional investment and trading opportunities, Firstrade offers no-fee IRA products:
Roth IRA – Benefit from tax-free growth. Contributions are not tax-deductible, but earnings and qualified withdrawals are tax-free
Traditional IRA – Gain tax-deferred savings. Contributions are tax-deductible and only taxed when you withdraw funds upon retirement
Rollover IRA – Similar to the traditional savings IRA account. The Rollover IRA enables investors to consolidate retirement savings and possibly evade tax penalties
It is worth being aware of Good Faith Violations (GFV) when trading with Firstrade. A good faith violation occurs when you buy a security and sell it before the settlement date (transaction day+2).
The broker holds each Good Faith Violation on its account log for 12 months. A total of four strikes can be made within a year. After this, your account will be restricted, in which only settled funds are permitted to be used for purchases.
Fees & Charges
When we used Firstrade, we were pleased with the pricing transparency. As well as no hidden charges, stocks, ETFs, options, and mutual funds can be traded commission-free. This is competitive vs Charles Schwab with a $0 online base commission + $0.65 per contract for options investments.
Fees for fixed-income bonds operate on a net yield basis.
Firstrade offers fee-free account maintenance including retirement account management. You can also access free real-time quotes, live stream pricing, and a dividend reinvestment plan (DRIP).
Withdrawal fees apply for international and domestic outgoing wire transfers. Currency conversion fees may also apply for deposits made outside of USD. Broker-assisted orders incur an average fee of $19.50.
There is no inactivity charge.
Regulatory fees include a SEC charge ($22.90 for every $1,000,000 in sale proceeds), an Options Regulatory Fee (aggregate rate of $0.01815 per contract), and a French Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) on the purchase of certain French equities.
Firstrade Securities offers margin loans to eligible day traders. Access additional funds to purchase securities with increased buying power.
But while Firstrade boasts some of the cheapest margin rates available; as low as 4.50%, our experts found this is only available on account balances of more than $1,000,000. A balance of up to $9,999 provides an industry base rate of +2% with an effective rate of 8.75%.
Retail clients must apply for a portfolio margin loan. You must demonstrate an understanding of the risks and benefits associated with trading on leverage. There is also a requirement that investors have a portfolio of $2,000 in their brokerage account.
Mobile App Review
Firstrade offers a mobile-compatible app, available for free download to iOS and Android devices.
The application offers all the powerful features and functionality of the desktop platforms in an interface compatible with smaller screens. You can track profits and losses in real-time, view pie chart account management data, see all asset data using horizontal scrolling, and access spark charts indicating a quick view of individual stocks within your portfolio.
Other features include:
View full order history
Enhanced trading workflow
Consolidated portfolio dashboard
Access user-friendly stock research pages
Deposit and withdraw from live trading accounts
Landscape mode compatibility for technical studies and advanced charting view
Useful integrated videos are also available within the app so you can learn how to place trades, manage your account and create a watchlist.
While using Firstrade’s mobile app, our experts were satisfied that it provided all the tools needed to trade on the move.
Firstrade Payment Methods
Firstrade accepts payments via domestic and international bank wire transfers, ACH electronic transfers, checks, and financial asset transactions out of an alternative brokerage account. Firstrade does not accept debit/credit card payments including Visa, Mastercard, or Amex.
There is no minimum deposit requirement. There are also no fees to fund a live account, though third-party charges may apply.
It can take up to four working days for deposits made via ACH to clear. Bank wire transfers offer immediate processing, while checks can take up to five working days and asset transfers are available the following working day.
For wire transfers, account details including the bank routing number can be found on Firstrade’s website.
The online broker provides a provisional $1000 in buying power until funds are settled.
How To Transfer Money To A Firstrade Account
Login to your profile
Choose ‘Fund Transfer’
Select ‘Electronic Funds (ACH)’ for example from the drop-down deposit menu
Enter the deposit value
How To Deposit
You can withdraw funds from your Firstrade account via bank wire transfer, check (US domestic accounts only), or ACH electronic transfer.
Typical withdrawal processing times are as follows:
ACH Transfer – 5 business days from the date of deposit
Asset Transfer – 30 days after the transfer completion date
Check – Available 10 business days from the date of deposit
Bank Wire Transfer – Available the next working day
Withdrawal Of Sale Proceeds – Settlement period of T+2 with fund withdrawal then available immediately
ACH electronic transfer withdrawals requested before 1 PM (ET) will be submitted to Apex for same-day processing. Note, there is a wise withdrawal limit of $50,000 per day via ACH transfer.
How To Withdraw Funds From A Firstrade Account
Login to your profile
Choose ‘Fund Transfer’
Select ‘Wire Transfer’ for example from the drop-down withdrawal menu
Choose ‘Start’ if it is your first fund request. You will need to provide a verification code
Complete the bank wire transfer request form
Review via the ‘Preview’ tab
Note, international and domestic bank wire transfer withdrawals are liable for a $25 fee.
Firstrade does not offer a demo account. This puts the broker at a disadvantage vs other major brokerages, including Interactive Brokers (IB), TD Ameritrade, Webull, TradeStation, and eToro.
Deals & Promotions
Ongoing promotions include a $200 transfer rebate when you switch from another broker or a $25 wire transfer refund when you send money directly from your bank account. Firstrade also occasionally offers a referral program with 2 or 3 free stocks available per new verified account.
Note, bonus eligibility may vary between jurisdictions. Also, always review bonus terms and conditions before signing up.
Regulation & Licensing
Firstrade is regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). These are top-tier financial authorities with stringent compliance requirements for all registered companies.
Firstrade is also a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC), which protects retail clients with up to $500,000 in compensation (including $250,000 of cash claims).
Additionally, the broker provides extra coverage via Apex Clearing Corporation. The firm purchased an insurance policy to supplement SIPC protection. This registration offers clients further securities protection including cash up to an aggregate limit of $150 million.
Firstrade Additional Features
Day traders benefit from a wealth of educational resources. This includes a live market news stream, details of upcoming IPOs, and a glossary of key terms.
The education center is helpfully split into asset classes so you can access information relevant to your preferred instruments. There are also useful integrated videos to support your learning.
In addition, Firstrade offers online webinars and courses for both beginners and experienced investors. This includes a weekly morning market overview webinar to share trade ideas, discuss best practices and review key instruments of interest. You can also subscribe to the broker’s YouTube channel for the latest webinar updates.
There is no shortage of research tools at Firstrade. These include the latest news publications from Morningstar, PR Newswire, and Zacks. Also available are:
Analyst Ratings – Access Morningstar ratings, reviews and reports from professional analysts
Video Commentary – Daily, weekly, and quarterly video discussions on specific topics from trusted independent experts
Screening – Fine-tune investment decisions with the predefined market screener, including on large-cap growth stocks
Market Heatmap – Access a visual representation of bullish and bearish markets demonstrating a stock’s performance
Fundamental Data – Explore detailed company statistics, Wall Street stock recommendations, and competitor trends
Economic Calendar – Monitor upcoming events, announcements, and activities specific to your asset class or investment portfolio. This includes dividend publications, IPOs, organization splits, and earnings announcements
Firstrade’s Options Wizard program provides instant feedback on the potential success of a trade. The solution offers insightful data to help you formulate a prosperous options trading strategy. It uses historical data and plain language analytics to offer suggestions and trend indicators in a digestible manner.
With the Options Wizard, day traders can make use of support/resistance levels, profit & loss simulations, 65+ technical indicators, fundamental data rankings, and more. These can be used alongside the Options Trading 101 course, integrated videos, and webinars.
Securities Lending Income Program
Firstrade offers an additional income opportunity on fully-paid shares held in your cash account. When stocks in your account are identified as ‘in-demand’ products, they will be loaned out. You retain full ownership of the assets under management and you can sell the shares when you decide.
Interest rate income is accrued daily and credited to your account on a monthly basis.
You will need to enrol within your account dashboard to get started.
Firstrade Securities offers several online trading accounts including investment profiles and retirement accounts. The most common solutions are the Individual Investment Account and the Traditional IRA Retirement Account.
You can link various accounts within one client portal and review all performance data from your dashboard.
Individual or Joint brokerage accounts with no minimum deposit. Access a wide selection of assets including stocks, cryptocurrencies, mutual funds, and options. All are available commission-free.
You can apply for an international account if you are a non-US citizen or resident without a Social Security Number (SSN) or Tax ID Number.
The broker complies with KYC and AML protocols, meaning you will need to provide identity verification to get started. This includes a copy of a passport, driving license, or state-issued ID (US residents only).
Retirement (IRA) Account
Long-term savings account to earn money for retirement in a tax-advantaged manner. Accrue retirement savings with a Traditional, Roth, or Rollover IRA.
A custodial account can be set up for a minor.
How To Open An Account
You can open a Firstrade international or domestic account in three minutes:
Select the ‘Open An Account’ logo located along the navigation bar on the official website
Add your contact telephone number to receive a verification code by text or phone call
Enter your country of residency and country of birth
Upload identity verification documentation
Complete personal information including email address and employment status
Provide additional information including annual income, investment experience, and financial objectives
Select account features such as margin trading, options trading, and access to extended hours investments
Create your individual user ID and password
Confirm your account
When we used Firstrade Securities, we found several advantages to opening a trading account:
Low OTC fees
Accepts US traders
No minimum deposit
Regulated by SEC and FINRA
Multiple customer support options
Access to education, research, and tools
Stop limit and trailing stop orders supported
Mobile app with advanced features and analysis
Downsides to signing up with Firstrade vs eTrade, Tastyworks, Degiro, Fidelity, and other competitors include:
Some withdrawal fees
Expensive margin rates
No 24/7 customer support
No forex or futures trading
No demo/paper trading account
Visa Credit/debit card deposits and withdrawals not accepted
Trading hours will vary by instrument. The cryptocurrency market for example is open 24/7, 365 days a year. Alternatively, stock markets can be traded Monday to Friday.
Keep an eye on the market holiday schedule within the trading platform. Note, public holiday dates or market closures can cause volatility.
A key advantage of Firstrade is its after-hours and pre-market trading opportunities with securities listed on the NYSE, NASDAQ, or AMEX exchanges. This means day traders can trade between 8 AM and 8 PM (ET) (vs regular market hours of 9 AM to 4 PM).
To place an extended hours trade:
Login to your account using your registered credentials
Select the ‘trading tab’
Click on the ‘order entry’ panel
Select the ‘duration’ dropdown navigation
Choose either ‘pre-mkt’, ‘after-mkt’, or ‘day+ext’
Note, only limit orders are permitted.
A help center is available on the broker’s website with detailed articles regarding account management, trading rules, promotions, cryptocurrency, and more.
The question-and-answer forum is ideal for quick self-help support and guidance. Topics include how to buy, sell, or short stocks, how to trade options, how to close a Firstrade account, and how to set a stop loss on Firstrade. Alternatively, it is a good source of information for login problems, setting up a beneficiary, evaluating a total account value, why a platform is not working, crypto trading fees, tax documents, username queries, and more.
Alternatively, you can contact Firstrade on the methods below. Customer service office hours are Monday to Friday 10 AM to 4 PM (ET):
Fax – 1-718-961-3919
Live chat – Virtual assistant link via the ‘Contact us’ webpage
Phone Number – 1.718.961.6600 (international), 1.800.869.8800 (US toll-free)
Email – email@example.com or find the online contact form via the ‘Contact us’ webpage
Headquarters Address – Firstrade Securities, Inc, 30-50 Whitestone Expwy, Ste. A301, Flushing, NY 11354
The brokerage is also present on social media sites including Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Our experts confirmed that posts are frequently updated with the latest market and product information.
Security & Safety
Firstrade offers a safe and secure trading environment. The broker maintains physical and electronic personal information safeguarding systems that comply with federal standards. All data is protected with industrial-strength firewalls and encryption technology. The platform servers use Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology and digital certificate services to encrypt information exchanged between customers and the platform.
Intraday traders can enable two-factor authentication (2FA) as an additional security layer. The Firstrade ‘online protection guarantee’ states that the brand will restore an account if it is concluded that unauthorized transactions were made resulting in a loss, so long as relevant online protection measures are adhered to. Note this does not include any trading losses experienced or activities when login credentials were given to someone else or a third party.
Firstrade Securities Verdict
Firstrade has built a solid reputation, with almost 40 years of providing investment solutions. Its commission-free trading model and proprietary technology and apps are also appealing. Firstrade is regulated by the SEC, offers extensive education and market resources and permits extended trading hours.
Overall, Firstrade is an excellent discount broker for stock and options traders based in the US and abroad.
Firstrade accepts traders from Australia, Thailand, United States, United Kingdom, South Africa, Singapore, Hong Kong, India, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Italy, Denmark, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Qatar and most other countries.
Traders can not use Firstrade from Canada, Ecuador, Greece, Netherlands, Romania, United Arab Emirates.
Compare Firstrade with similar brokers that accept traders from your location. Among available brokers these are the most similar to Firstrade:
ActivTrades – ActivTrades offers online trading on the MT4, MT5 and ActivTrader platforms. Over 93.60% of orders are executed at the requested price.
Zacks Trade – Zacks Trade is a US based brokerage, built for the active trader. Trade stocks, ETFs, bonds, mutual funds and more on a proprietary trading platform.
IG Group – IG offer spread betting, CFD and Forex trading across a range of markets. They are FCA regulated, boast a great trading app and have over 47 year track record of excellence.
Swissquote – Swissquote is an FCA-regulated forex CFD broker offering 400+ trading products.
Firstrade Comparison Table
|Stocks, Crypto||Forex, Stocks, Commodities, Crypto||Stocks, Crypto||Forex, Stocks, Commodities, Crypto||Forex, Stocks, Commodities, Crypto|
|$1||0.01 lots||$3||0.1 lots||0.01 lots|
|SEC, FINRA||FCA, SCB||FINRA||FCA, ASIC, MAS, FSCA, JFSA, FMA, CFTC, NFA, BMA, DFSA, FINMA, BaFin||FCA, FINMA, DFSA, SFC|
|–||Cashback on trades||–||–||–|
|–||MT4, MT5||–||MT4||MT4, MT5|
|–||Firstrade vs ActivTrades||Firstrade vs Zacks Trade||Firstrade vs IG Group||Firstrade vs Swissquote|
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What Is Firstrade Securities?
Firstrade Securities Inc is a US-based brokerage with headquarters in Flushing, New York. It provides commission-free investment opportunities on stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, options, and more. New traders can also get started with no minimum deposit requirement.
Is Firstrade A Chinese Company?
No, Firstrade is a US broker-dealer registered in New York. The company is regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).
Who Owns Firstrade Securities?
The company was founded in 1985 by John Liu as First Flushing Securities. Today it is a subsidiary of Firstrade Holding Corporation.
What Payment Methods Does Firstrade Offer?
You can fund your Firstrade account with domestic or international bank wire transfers, ACH electronic transfers, check, and financial asset transactions from other brokerage accounts, such as Robinhood. Incoming wire transfers to a Firstrade account are not accepted from any online money transfer services, including TransferWise or PayPal.
Is Firstrade Available In The UK?
Yes, retail traders can open a Firstrade account in the UK. The Firstrade approved/supported countries list also includes Austria, Belgium, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Macau, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, UAE, and the US.
See our full Firstrade review for a list of restricted countries, which includes Canada, Ecuador, Greece, Netherlands, Romania, and the UAE.
Does Firstrade Charge Fees?
Firstrade is a commission-free broker-dealer. Having said that there are some costs to be aware of, including regulatory charges, broker-assisted trades, exercise options, and some withdrawal fees. The broker is relatively transparent so you can view all potential costs before signing up. Alternatively, head to the ‘Fees & Charges’ section of our review.
Is Firstrade Safe And Legit?
Yes, Firstrade is a legitimate brokerage, offering investment services for almost 40 years. The company operates with top-tier regulation and provides tier-one security standards, including 2FA at the login stage.
Does Firstrade Offer Fractional Shares?
Firstrade offers penny stocks, suitable for those on a budget. These are available to traders from various locations, including non-US citizens.
Does Firstrade Offer Cryptocurrency?
Yes, the online brokerage offers 38 cryptos, including big names like Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH). Crypto investors can get started with $1.