In this review, we discuss Scottrade. Founded in 1980, Scottrade is an online broker perfect for new investors. Their customer service is exemplary and the platform is one of the best in the industry, with over 500 branches all over the country. Although Scottrade may not be around forever due to a recent merger, it’s still worth a review – and a shot, if you’re looking to get into trading.
Scottrade is an online broker that was founded in 1980 and is perfect for beginner investors who want to start making their first trades. The platform is among some of the best in the industry and has over 500 branches all over the country, providing you with some of the best customer service I have ever experienced. They are a large company and, as of 2017, will be merging with TD Ameritrade. So although this service won’t be around forever, it is still worth a review.
I decided to get on the platform to see what all the fuss was about. In this review, you’re going to get a first-hand experience of the platform and everything it has to offer. I will be explaining the features of Scottrade and will be adding my thoughts as to whether it’s a good platform to use. If you’re interested in finding out more about this massive online platform, as well as its extensive features, I strongly suggest you continue to read.
- Easy-to-use platform
- Cheaper than competition
- Fantastic customer service
- Elite platform needs some work
- Customer support is not 24/7
- Third-party research could be improved
Features of Scottrade
As with any online broker, there are a ton of features that are available to full-time and part-time traders. Unlike some other trading platforms, Scottrade is not tiered so you don’t have to make lots of trades in order to upgrade your account. They have some fantastic features including an Elite section which entitles you to a few more benefits that normal users don’t have access to. I will go through the features I tried and will explain them in the best way I can.
The first thing that I noticed about Scottrade is that they have a mobile app you can download and use for free, along with your Scottrade account. I normally dismiss the mobile apps that these companies produce because they lack power and options when it comes to trading. Plus, I never feel too comfortable when it comes to placing orders while I’m away from the computer.
However, my thoughts were put to bed when I started using the mobile app supplied by Scottrade. I quickly realized that they may have one of the best mobile platforms I have ever tried. The app had a lot of power and allowed me to do in-depth research into stocks and also trade securities. I do enjoy the concept of mobile trading as it allows newer traders to experience an outside life that doesn’t require them to be sat at a computer day in and day out.
The mobile app was smooth and a pleasure to use. You can download the Scottrade app on either iPhone, Android or iPad. So there are a plenty of options when it comes to your preferred device.
Scottrade’s web application includes their Streaming Quotes platform and their general website. On first impressions, I really liked the design of the standard platform and it is clearly useable for all traders no matter what the skill level. I had no problem navigating my way through the site and navigating round the platform to make trades and perform research. They underwent a design change in 2016 and it has helped them a lot. I really liked the newer design and it made the platform more functional.
The client website gives you access to technical indicator analysis and portfolio review tools. Their main platform, Streaming Quotes, is where you will probably spend most of your time. This platform is a Java-Application and is not difficult to set up. It only took me a few minutes. The platform is a step up from the web client and allows for a number of customizations in terms of layout.
The platform gives users a lot of extra charts, advanced order entry along with provision trade commands and also allows for 30 technical indicators. You can also access watch lists and do in-depth research very easily. The watch list is nicely laid out and doesn’t require rocket science to work out. The lists can be drag and dropped and you can view up to 40 securities in one instance.
To be honest, there wasn’t much I could fault when it came to their box-standard trading platform. It is an all-rounder and perfect for casual investors. If you do want more power, you will either have to pay $10/month or make 10 trades a month, which gives you access to level II data.
If you prefer to trade options over stocks, you may want to take a look at Scottrade’s Pro platform, which is focused toward options trading. This is all thanks to the merge with Interactive Brokers in 2016. This platform is something I only glanced at but it looked very advanced when it comes to options trading.
Here, you get access to enhanced analytics and risk-assessment tools, as well as multileg options trading. Although this platform is excellent if you like to trade options, there are some requirements to get access. First off, you will need a $5000 minimum equity balance to open an account. The good thing here, however, is that you’ll have cheaper commissions for equity trades and options contracts
I did like the look at Scottrade Pro and the advanced tools they offers Options traders. Although I don’t trade Options myself I still think it is a fantastic platform to use.
As with every online broker, Scottrade has an Elite or upgraded platform for the less casual users. If you are a professional trader or day/swing trader, you will benefit from the upgraded platform Scottrade offers. The platform is not free like the Streaming Quotes platform, however, and you will need an account balance of $25,000+ or must have placed over 9 trades in the past 3 months.
On first impressions, the Elite platform was great but not as good as I first anticipated. When compared to the competition, the Elite version fell slightly short for its lack of depth. However, saying that, I couldn’t hurt the platform too much because it still was useful when it comes to more advanced features and ease of use.
With Elite, you essentially get more technical indicators and charting abilities. All the features have been cleaned up and improved following the 2016 redesign and it is very easy to use and navigate. Users have a choice of three colour schemes and there is an addition header bar making layout changes even easier. In terms of extra indicators, users get Ichimoku Cloud, Dividend Indicator, Earnings Indicator and many more.
Although the Elite platform is easy to use and great for active traders, I wouldn’t say it is the best among the competition. It lacks depth and also only provides 67 studies. It would be nice to see live TV streaming, alert viewings and watch list real-time filters as features in the future.
Now for the important bit, commissions and fees. You’d be glad to know that Scottrade is relatively cheap when it comes to fees and makes it easy for beginner traders.
Scottrade offers normal stock fees at $6.95 which sits on the lower end compared to the competition. The service uses a flat-fee structure so there’s no gimmicks and makes everything more straightforward.
In terms of Options, Scottrade actually offers some of the cheapest commissions compared to the competitions. They recently lowered they Options fees to $6.95 + $.70 per contract. If you want multi-legged trades, you will need access to the Pro platform as discussed above. Without this, you only have access to single-legged trades.
When discussing mutual funds, Scottrade has a massive selection so you will not be disappointed. The company offers a total of 14,000 mutual funds to trade and they cost $17, which is the best when compared to the competition. Unfortunately, Scottrade is let down by the lack of commission-free ETFs. If these are what you’re looking for, go and try out platforms like ETrade.
When it came to researching stocks and news, Scottrade provided me with a thorough understanding of each stock and gave me a number of options when it came to making the decision on whether to buy or not. Their platforms covers all the basics, including earnings, financials, SEC filing and much more. Their third-party providers could be improved on but they offer everything a casual investor would need, including Reuters, Standard and Poor’s and Market Edge. As I have just mentioned, they can be improved upon as their competitors offer six.
The research section is very simple to navigate and doesn’t require a lot of thinking. Pulling up a quote or stock chart was incredibly easy and was very beginner-friendly. As mentioned above, their SmartText is a really cool features, explaining technical indicators in simple language that anyone can understand. Their mutual fund research is powered by Morningstar and made decision making easier when it comes to buying mutual funds.
This is going to be one of Scottrade’s biggest appraisals. Their customer service is one of the best that I’ve ever experienced. They are one of the few providers that uses their local offices to help you with problems. They encourage you to use their local branches to answer problems. So when you call them, your zip code is locked in and you’re redirected to a local advisor.
When I was speaking to the advisor, they knew exactly what they were talking about and advised me in an appropriate manner. Although the service varied between people in the office, I still had a very pleasant experience talking to a local advisor about issues I had on my account. The only real issue I had with the service is that it’s not 24/7, unlike some of their competition. In terms of their email and live chat options, they were pretty average and nothing to jump up and down about.
Scottrade is one of the largest and best online brokers for beginner traders. They offer a ton of features that make trading easy and fun. Their platform received a remodel in 2016 and made it easier to navigate and understand. With features like SmartText, technical indicators can be easier to understand. This is definitely a broker I recommend you try because I enjoyed my experience and would happily do it again.