Looking at the website design of ChoiceTrade.com, you may be wondering if it can compete with more prevalent online discount brokers like TradeKing and Scottrade. Never judging a book by its cover, if you decide to dig down beneath the surface, you’ll find that ChoiceTrade.com has built a very impressive trading platform and can offer some of the best pricing available today in the online discount brokerage space.
Opening in 2000, ChoiceTrade.com has been relatively quiet in its competition with other emerging online brokers. While endless amounts of advertising continue for E*TRADE, TD Ameritrade and many others, ChoiceTrade has decided to sit back and watch. Headquartered in New Jersey, ChoiceTrade.com has finally decided to brand itself, but do they have an offer that can compare to other discount brokers?
ChoiceTrade.com Pricing and Fees
Looking at the basics, ChoiceTrade offers users a flat $5 commission on all stock trades made online. With no requirements to meet and no monthly quota’s to obtain, ChoiceTrade certainly ranks well in this regard. Should you need broker assistance over the phone, there is an additional $25.00 charge, bringing the total cost of the trade to $30.00. Options are also inexpensive, as each contract will run you $0.99, with a minimum purchase price of $8.95 needed to place your order.
If you’ve ever placed a trade on a penny stock or simply bought or sold a very large quantity of shares, then you’re probably familiar with the surcharge that most online discount brokers charge. Generally, if you are trading over 1,000 shares, an additional “per share” fee is charge, usually somewhere between 1% and 2% of the overall value of the trade. ChoiceTrade.com offers their $5 stock trading rate no matter the size of the trade.
One of the drawbacks to selecting ChoiceTrade as your discount broker is the list of fees that can be applied to your account for certain services. Many of the fees that are charged to customers of Choice Trade are charged by other brokers as well, however, fees such as yearly IRA maintenance ($30.00) and outgoing wire transfers ($20.00) can be found elsewhere at no additional charge.
ChoiceTrade.com Customer Service
Receiving four stars by Barron’s each of the last 5 years, ChoiceTrade has a quality customer service department. Help is available through telephone or live chat only during normal business hours and all email inquiries are responded to within a 24 hour period. While there’s no doubt the ChoiceTrade staff is a friendly and helpful bunch, offering extended customer service hours in the near future would be an improvement.
Choice Trade’s Trading Platform and Technology
You can see from the picture below that ChoiceTrade has a lot going on. Unfortunately, in order to take advantage of all the technology that ChoiceTrade has to offer, you are required to pay a monthly subscription fee of $14.95. New customers can take advantage of the first four months for free, as long as your total account equity exceeds $2,000. If you ever drop below this amount, you will automatically be billed $14.95 a month going forward.
There are four available plans to choose from as a ChoiceTrade.com member, all of which carry a few different tools to work with.
- No Plan – If trading tools are of little to no importance to you, you are not required to purchase a data feed plan. Your quotes will be delayed and most of the account features will be inaccessible.
- Basic Plan – Free for the first four months, $14.95 thereafter, the basic plan offers streaming quotes real time, with the ability to purchase news subscriptions and other services through ChoiceTrade at a discounted rate.
- Advanced Plan – $23.95 a month, offers everything the standard plan does, with three additional trading features.
- Select Plan with eSignal – $126.00 a month, the select plan provides users dozens of resource materials and services, which are paid for within the plan. The technology is still in “Demo” mode, so you can try the service for 30 days risk-free by filling out a quick 5 field form.
When you consider what ChoiceTrade.com has to offer, it certainly can be an attractive offer to an experienced investor. Offering a flat fee of $5 regardless of the quantity of shares is a nice feature. The website, however, is not for the faint of heart, and the monthly fees required to access all of Choice Trade’s trading tools makes this broker a reasonable alternative for those who trade frequently. For more information or to open a brokerage account, visit Choice Trade’s website.