How We Reviewed Fidelity
1 top-ranking company
3 weeks of research
15 trading sites compared
Fidelity is the right choice for many long-term investors, with varying minimum account investments and a user-friendly platform. However, if you just want to trade at the lowest possible cost without a potentially hefty account minimum and don't need retirement planning or advice, you can find better investment products from other brokers, like Ally Invest or E*TRADE.
Fidelity promises “a wealth of research and advanced tools” that will help turn you into a smarter investor. In addition, it claims to offer competitive commission rates 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 while “competitive commission rates” is fairly vague, we found this to be true as well when compared to the other major platforms — just $4.95 for every stock 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||$4.95 per trade|
|Standout features||User-friendly platform
Best-in-class research tools
Excellent mobile app
|In business since||1946|
|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 4.4 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 $50,000 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. And while the fees are a bit higher — $6.95 compared to Fidelity’s $4.95 — that’s offset by E*TRADE’s substantially lower $500 account minimum.
Fidelity vs. Ally Invest
If you love Fidelity’s rock-bottom commission fees but are scared off by its potentially huge minimum investment requirement, Ally Invest is a great compromise. It doesn’t force you to meet an account balance, and each trade costs just $4.95. It doesn’t have as many research tools as Fidelity, but if you’re a high-volume trader who already knows they want, Ally is a great option.
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 does charge $6.95 for every trade you make, and it doesn’t come close to providing the same resources that Fidelity does.