Charles Schwab vs Fidelity: What You Should Know about the Two Brokerages

When you finally decide to do some investments, you may have heard about Charles Schwab vs Fidelity – and you are comparing things of which one is the best. You are probably wondering which brokerage would be the most suitable for you – and perfect for your investment profile.


Charles Schwab vs Fidelity: About Investment Platforms

Fidelity and Charles Schwab are two most popular brokerage or financial investment platforms that can help you manage your assets. That’s why there are some debates of which one is better – leading to Charles Schwab vs Fidelity comparisons.

Charles Schwab vs Fidelity


If you have to compare the two things, they are apple-to-apple – exactly similar to services, features, and capabilities. They both have retail and personal advising services – and also long history of financial management. They are both (long-standing) brokerage places that are claimed to deliver the best services. Both of them have also introduced (and launched) online trading platforms as websites and apps. Both provide full service with various information and assets – also provided for individual traders. Despite the seemingly similar abilities and services, both aren’t exactly the same. They have their own differences – which we are going to dig further in the following sections.


The Differences in Fees

Online trading platform would generally charge for these 4 types of transactions or activities, such as:

  • Trading. There is a trading fee that refers to a fixed charge being attached to every trade you make. It can be either a flat fee or a spread. A spread is the charge (that your brokerage would apply) for the differences between an asset’s selling and buying price.
  • Commission. A trading commission happens when a broker charges you for every trade you make – based on the percentage of every trade’s value or volume
  • Inactivity. This would refer to any fee that the broker would charge you (for not trading) like keeping or saving money within the brokerage account
  • Other or non-trading. This is the fee for using the platform – and it hasn’t been covered in the above details. For instance, a broker may charge you for extra services’ sign up, making deposits (to your account), and others.

What about Charles Schwab vs Fidelity in terms of fees? Well, they are similar.

  • Both of them offer free trade for exchange-traded funds and stocks.
  • Both of them charge $50 a transactions for trading mutual funds
  • Both of them charge $0.65 a contract for trading options contracts
  • Both provide margin rates beginning at 8.33%. However, Charles Schwab charges around $1.50 a contract for futures contract trading while Fidelity doesn’t offer the service – at least not yet.
  • Both provide broker-assisted trading. While Fidelity adds around $33 for the service, Charles Schwab charges $25 for this.
  • Both provide financial advisors’ access – either through retail branches of the company or through online – for extra cost. In the meantime, the details for each financial service would depend on the company.
  • Both have (free-to-trade) mutual funds – thousands of them
  • In no-fee list, Charles Schwab has bigger options and lists. But both have enough (no-fee) mutual funds so retailer investor shouldn’t encounter any issue finding the ones that match their trading strategy. Moreover there is around $7 difference for every broker-assisted trade, but aside from that, the platforms have basically similar fees and rates.
  • Neither of them offers inactivity fees. None of them also have non-trading fees, for the basic usages (such as withdrawing money or depositing it). However, Charles Schwab charges for esoteric or rare services, like paper stock certificate issuing, wire fees, returned ACH transfers, and account transfers. Fidelity, on the other hand, offers more features (that are considered zero-cost) when compared to Charles Schwab. But don’t forget that users need to think about how often they are going to ask for wire transfer or paper stock certificate.


The Differences in Features and Services

What are the further details in Charles Schwab vs Fidelity comparison? Well, Fidelity has its own one trading platform running under the core brand. You should be able to access it through the app or the official website – Fidelity Mobile App. On the other hand, Charles Schwab has two trading platforms. The first one is under Schwab brand while the second one is named StreetSmart. Both are also available through the mobile app as well as the website

When it comes to services, both services are offering (again, almost) similar options. You can trade all kinds of (major) asset classes in both platforms, including mutual funds, options funds, ETFs, and stocks. As it was mentioned before, both have a lot of mutual funds, the no-fee types. Fidelity has around 3,500 no fee funds and Charles Schwab has 4,300 ones.

Each of them has its own signature style and appeal. Charles Schwab offers futures trading, while Fidelity doesn’t. In the mean time, Fidelity offers direct Forex Trading, while Charles Schwab doesn’t. For investors, it may not be a huge issue because both foreign and futures currencies are high-risk and volatile asset classes drawing several retail investors. For now, both don’t offer crypto direct investment. This is another comparison fact of Charles Schwab vs Fidelity.

Both also have a pretty wide range of analysis and information. Investors like you can access trading data easily on both platforms. Getting information would also be straightforward and direct, such as critical statistics and price history. You should be able to access to the technical indicators for any asset’s lifetime. Both even have their own robo-advising that gives you ‘permission’ to make investments in portfolios (with AI-driven manner) – based on your pre-selected parameters. Although both of them offer these services for free (at least for the basic level), Charles Schwab require you to have at least $5,000 of investment so users would be able to unlock the service.

Both have analysis and news full features. Users like you should be able to find not only data sets, but also edited analysis, white papers, and market reports – all designed and created to make better experience and financial decisions. Both services are helpful and good in quality, but for those who have tested both waters, most of them state that Charles Schwab has better offers because everything is presented in high quality. If trading analysis is super important for you (and the business), then you should consider this matter quite seriously. It does affect your view in choosing a particular platform.

In an overall service, though, both Charles Schwab and Fidelity are quite different. Charles Schwab doesn’t support some of retirement accounts’ popular styles, like CDs, money market funds, and annuities. But they offer standard retirement accounts like Roth IRAs, IRAs, and 401(k)s.


The Differences in Mobile and Online Experience

Another factor in Charles Schwab vs Fidelity is the online and mobile accessibility. When you have to compare the two, you’d see that Fidelity has better app. The so-called Fidelity Mobile App isn’t only easy to use but it also comes with the right layout and design. If you see at the user-interface, it is about basic info for all traders and investors. It focuses on the personal investment portfolio (of the user) as well as the major stock market indicators. There are also asset lists, buy or sell options, and pricing info. There is abundance to love about this app. However, the (more) sophisticated features may be ‘buried’ behind layers and layers of tab – which is quite too bad. For beginner traders or those who don’t need customization too much, Fidelity Mobile App is a huge help.

However, advanced traders who need more customization may think that Fidelity’s app doesn’t offer much. Charles Schwab’s app may be more sophisticated and complex, but that’s what experienced traders are typically looking for. For them, such an app would be suitable for their (also) complex and sophisticated strategies for trading. So, in conclusion, those who are inexperienced with the trading platform (or those who are beginners) may like Fidelity’s app more, while those who are more advanced and want to have a custom function for their trading platform may prefer the app from Charles Schwab.



You are free to make your own decision from these two popular trading platforms. Each of them has their own strength and flaws. As long as you know the facts about Charles Schwab vs Fidelity, you can make a better decision about which one suitable for you.

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