Fidelity is the right choice for many long-term investors, with varying minimum account investments and a user-friendly platform. In October 2019, it went commission-free on U.S. stocks, ETFs, and options, following the lead of other low-cost online brokers like Charles Schwab, TD Ameritrade, E*TRADE, and Robinhood.
Fidelity promises “a wealth of research and advanced tools” that will help turn you into a smarter investor. In addition, it claims to offer commission-free trading and independent research from over 20 providers. Fidelity also boasts that it was named the No. 1 Online Broker in 2018 by Investor’s Business Daily.
Is it true?
Yes. Unequivocally, Fidelity provides the most advanced tools and research of any trading platform. In our full review of the best online stock trading sites, we concluded that when it comes to research, Fidelity is in a league of its own. That’s because it partners with independent firms like Recognia, Ned Davis, and McLean Capital Management to deliver insights that are normally reserved for professional brokers. And Fidelity is indeed commission-free on stocks, ETFs, and options. Previously, it charged $4.95 per trade.
As for Fidelity’s last claim — that it was named 2018’s No. 1 Online Broker by Investor’s Business Daily — this is also true. In its article naming the platform best overall, IBD wrote, “Fidelity’s overall customer experience score this year is the highest achieved by any of the best stock brokers since IBD started polling readers.”
Experienced traders making large investments
Beginners looking to start small
|Price||$0 per trade on U.S. stocks, ETFs, and options|
|Standout features|| User-friendly platform|
Best-in-class research tools
Excellent mobile app
|In business since||1946|
|Ratings|| Barron’s: 4.5/5 |
|Fees||Broker-assisted trades: $32.95 per trade|
|Terms||Minimum investment varies depending on account type|
With its sleek and intuitive design, Fidelity’s trading platform makes investing feel like less of a dark art. All of your trading options are color-coded in rankings and charts, so you can find the most essential information at a glance. You can also sort stocks through several filters like size, performance, and even commission-free offerings.
Best-in-class research tools
If you’re serious about gaining an edge in the investing world, Fidelity is the best platform bar none. With research from more than 20 top firms, it had by far the most impressive library of tools that we saw. Fidelity’s Learning Center covers everything from options trading to margins loans, giving you top-notch technical analysis to help inform your investment strategy.
Excellent mobile app
Fidelity offers mobile apps for a number of different devices so you can trade on the go. You can deposit checks directly into your Fidelity trading account, transfer funds, and even pay bills through the app. It also allows you to perform advanced trades and conduct research on individual stocks.
The Market’s Most Active list shows you a heat map of the day’s most active stocks, where you can find detailed research and news for every stock. It’s received overwhelmingly positive reviews, too, scoring 4.7 out of 5 on over 700,000 ratings in the Apple App Store and 4.6 out of 5 on over 40,000 reviews in the Google Play Store.
Potentially higher entry point
We found Fidelity to be slightly confusing when it came to pricing (despite its claim for straightforward pricing). For example, on its homepage, it boasts “no account fees, competitive prices, and no minimums to open an account.” However, we found that only to be the case for Fidelity Go® Digital Advisor accounts. If you want to take advantage of the advisory services offered by Fidelity® Wealth Services, you have to pony up a minimum investment of $25,000 for access to a team of advisors (and $250,000 for access to a dedicated advisor). See the Fidelity Wealth Services Program Fundamentals for program details or speak with a Fidelity advisor.
No virtual trading
Fidelity has levels of educational resources that are designated as beginner, intermediate, and advanced to get you started. Unfortunately, you won’t have the ability to test your strategies with virtual trading. And with the potential for such a high account minimum, there’s really no way for beginners to ease into trading.
*Offers commission-free or transaction-free trading
Fidelity vs. E*TRADE
If you’re new to investing and want to learn the basics, go with E*TRADE. It had the quickest learning curve of any platform we tested, along with educational resources to help beginners master the fundamentals of trading. As of October 2019, neither charge commission anymore on stocks, ETFs, and options — so thankfully, you’re saving money either way.
Fidelity vs. Ally Invest
Ally Invest doesn’t have as many research tools as Fidelity, but if you’re a high-volume trader who already knows they want, it’s a great option. Riding the wave of commission-free, both Ally Invest and Fidelity announced an end to commission associated with stocks, ETFs, and options.
Fidelity vs. TD Ameritrade
Fidelity is a better choice than TD Ameritrade for most traders, although it does come with the potential for high minimum investments should the need for advisory services arise. TD Ameritrade doesn’t have an account minimum, but it also doesn’t come close to providing the same resources that Fidelity does.
When you purchase a stock through an online trading platform, you’re essentially purchasing a small piece of ownership in a publicly traded company. Being a shareholder gives you the right to vote in shareholder meetings (if your stake is large enough), receive a portion of the company’s profits, and sell your shares.
Not only can you wire money into a Fidelity brokerage, mutual fund, or retirement account, you can also wire money out of one. Bear in mind, however, that while Fidelity does not charge a fee for transferring into a Fidelity account, your bank may charge a fee for the wire transfer.
Fidelity uses something it calls a “core position” to store your uninvested cash or recently sold securities. It works like a bank account: When you buy or sell stocks, the money comes from this core position. If you want to transfer that money to a separate bank account, it will generally take about five or six days — three days for it to become available in your core position after you sell and another two or three to transfer to your bank.
The Bottom Line
If you’re serious about taking your investment strategy to the next level, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better online stock trading platform than Fidelity. It gives you access to all the tools and research you’ll need to make better choices, but its potentially large account minimums might be a lot for new traders (especially if you need access to an advisor).