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Last updated on November 11, 2015

Fidelity Review

Fidelity is the right choice for long-term investors and anyone looking to start planning their financial future. If you just want to trade, and don't need retirement planning or advice, then you can find better trading tools and greater access to a variety of investment products from other brokers.

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The Good

Industry leader in terms of financial resources

If you’ve watched any television in the last few years, it’s likely that Fidelity’s “follow the green line” commercial has come across your screen. The commercials are a true representation of Fidelity’s position in the industry as a leader in investment guidance and retirement planning. Fidelity will help you create an investing plan for your retirement and stay on track with strategies to build your portfolio for the long haul.

Excellent new mobile app

Fidelity offers mobile apps for a number of different devices so you can trade on the go. The navigation is different than you’ll see elsewhere, but that’s not a bad thing. The best feature of the app is still the ability to deposit checks directly into your Fidelity trading account. You can also transfer funds and even pay bills. The new iPhone app allows you to perform advanced trades and conduct research on individual stocks, but new features like the Market’s Most Active list and the News + Video section really make it stand out above the competition. The Market’s Most Active list shows you a heat map of the day’s most active stocks. From this screen, you can click on any of the stocks for detailed research and news. The News + Videos section is organized very well and offers the ability to scroll sideways to view news stories on the topics that interest you. In this section of the mobile app, you can also view video news straight from Reuters.

Solid support network

Fidelity has local branches in over 140 locations throughout the country where you can speak to a representative in person. With a presence on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, Fidelity is also accessible on almost every major social media outlet, and they are very responsive on Facebook, routinely answering questions and posting almost daily. Their moderators are on Twitter during market hours, Monday through Friday.

No minimum deposit required to open an account

One of the best things about starting with Fidelity is that you don’t have to commit any funds when you open an account. You can get going with as little money as you feel comfortable with. In a sense, it’s like a free trial because you can dive in and try out all the features without making a significant financial commitment.

The Bad

Inconsistent navigation with difficult-to-find features

The navigation within a Fidelity account is relatively straightforward. By clicking on one of the main tabs, you get a dropdown menu of options within that tab, so you do not have to leave the current page. Oddly enough, this option isn’t consistent for each tab. For example, clicking the Guidance & Retirement tab takes you away from your current page. In addition, you may have difficulty finding some standard account features, such as Fidelity’s Learning Center, which is buried within the Research tab.

Educational tools could be stronger

While Fidelity offers a decent amount of research tools and advice, their depth and presentation fall short of the other major brokers. Fidelity offers levels of educational resources that are designated as beginner, intermediate, and advanced to get you started. Unfortunately, they don’t offer the ability to test your strategies with virtual trading, but the ability to open an account with no initial deposit may offset that (if you have the time).

No quick order entry on web-based platform

This means there is just one standard way of making a trade, and it’s not a very quick option. Most brokers offer some sort of detachable order ticket or button you can click to quickly make trades. It’s both a matter of convenience and time sensitivity if you are looking to get in or out of a trade quickly. This is further evidence that Fidelity is built for the long-term investor and not the daily trader.

The Details

Trading Costs and Fees

  • Broker Assisted Trades: $32.95
  • Futures Contract Fee: Not offered
  • Maintenance Fees: $0
  • Margin Rates: 3.75-8.575%
  • Minimum Account Balance Fee: $0
  • Mutual Funds Fee - Load: $0
  • Mutual Funds Fee - No-Load: $75
  • Options Contract Price: $0.75
  • Options Flat Fee: $7.95
  • Stock Flat Fee: $7.95

Other Fees

  • ACH/EFT Withdrawal: $15
  • Bounced Check: $0
  • Check Withdrawal: $0
  • Domestic Wire Withdrawal: $15
  • Forced Margin Sellout: Unknown
  • Full Account Transfer: $0
  • IRA Annual Fee: $25
  • Partial Account Transfer: $0
  • Stop Payment on Check: $15
  • Telephone Orders: $12.95 + $0.75/contract

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