Scottrade Review – Online Broker for the Retail Investor

by Sean Bryant on March 20, 2013

Scottrade ReviewWith so many different options, it is often tough for most people to pick an online broker to use for their investments. Some have great research tools, others have an easy to use trading platform, and then some pride themselves on low cost trades. The key is for you to decide what element is most important to you and go from there.

When I was fresh out of college and finally starting to make some real money, I had my heart set on starting my investment portfolio. I had been interested in the markets for awhile, but I never had the cash flow to really dive in. As I started to do my research on all of the online brokers, Scottrade immediately caught my eye.

In the mid 2000’s, they were just starting to really make a name for themselves alongside well-known companies like TD Ameritrade, E*Trade and others. After digging into them a little bit, I decided that their stock research tools, free streaming quotes and $7 trades were good enough for me.

For those of you who are looking to open a brokerage account with an online broker, here is a more detailed Scottrade review.

Scottrade Review

To give you the most detailed review possible, we need to dive into several different aspects. We will look at the commission and fee structure, as well as how it differs from the other online brokers. Then, we will look more into the different trading trading platforms available.

Scottrade Fees and Commissions

One of the biggest reasons why I made the choice to open an account at Scottrade was because of the low commissions and fees.  For each online trade you make, there is a $7 commission added. For options, there is also an additional $1.25 commission per contract. For those of you who are not day traders and want to hold your money with Scottrade in between trades, you can do so without worrying about being charged an inactivity fee. You also won’t be charged an annual maintenance fee, like you would be at other brokers.

Trading Platforms

Scottrade Trading Website

The Scottrade website is very easy to navigate and use. Scottrade is a web-based platform which is good for anyone who doesn’t want to be required to download any software to their computer. From the main page you can monitor your account, from balances and pending orders, to watch lists and alerts.


For investors with an account value that is greater than $25,000 you will have access to ScottradeELITE. This is made specifically for active traders who are looking for even more stock screens, trade ideas and stock charts. With ScottradeELITE you have the ability to customize your trading layout to help make more informed trading choices.


For those of you who trade options, Scottrade trade has launched OptionsFirst. This will give you access to virtual trading, hot lists, risk assessment and market watch. You can complete every type of options trade including straddles, strangles, collars, spreads and butterflies. Scottrade Mobile App

Scottrade Mobile

For those of you who like to have trading capabilities when you are on the go, Scottrade offers it for you. The Scottrade mobile app will give you a simple platform that allows for quick and easy trades to be made.

Scottrade Streaming Quotes

Some brokers will charge you for real time quotes. Scottrade is not one of them. I love the ability to create a list that includes all of my current positions and anything that I am keeping my eye on. It lets me track the price in real-time and also tracks any news that might pop up. If a stock hits a prices that I like, I can easily buy or sell right from the streaming quotes page.

Scottrade Streaming Quotes

Other Features

Customer Service

When I have a question that requires me to call the company, nothing frustrates me more than being required to dial zero ten times before I actually get to talk to a human. With Scottrade I have always been able to talk to someone right away. With over 500 Scottrade locations, it means there is always someone close by if you need help.

Low Minimum Opening Deposit

Scottrade requires an opening deposit of $500. While this isn’t the lowest (TD Ameritrade doesn’t have a required minimum), Scottrade is still better than others in the industry. Charles Schwab has a $1,000 minimum and Fidelity requires $2,500 to start.

Wide Range of Investment Options

Whether you only invest in stock, ETF’s and mutual funds, or you also enjoy investing in foreign markets and options, Scottrade has something for every investor. Scottrade offers over 14,000 mutual funds with 3,100 of them being no-transaction fee funds.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I made the choice to select Scottrade because they had everything I was looking for. They had low commission trades, free real time streaming quotes, and great customer service. Hopefully this Scottrade review helped you narrow down your choice on which online broker is best for you.

Sign up for a Scottrade Brokerage Account Today!
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Sean Bryant

Sean Bryant created in 2011 to help pass along his knowledge of finance and economics to others. After graduating from the University of Iowa with a degree in economics he worked as a construction superintendent before jumping into the world of finance. Sean has worked on the trade desk for a commodities brokerage firm, he was a project manager for an investment research company and was a CDO analyst at a big bank. That being said he brings a good understanding of the finance field to the One Smart Dollar community. When not working Sean and he wife are avid world travelers. He enjoys spending time with his daughter Colette and dog Charlie.

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  • John S @ Frugal Rules

    Great review Sean! I actually have a ST review going up next week, Lol!

  • I have been thinking about opening a non-retirement brokerage account for some time. For the first part of our adult life we opted for two goals: (1) Max out all retirement options and (2) pay off the house. We achieved #2 and now we’ve got some extra cash coming in even after all of our tax-deferred options are used up. While I was still in college I tried E-Trade for a few months but found that I didn’t really have enough money invested to make a profit and that I found “watching the market” to be a distraction from my studies 🙂

    Good review. Scottrade is on my list of options.

    • Congrats on paying off the house. Time to get into the market outside of retirement. 🙂

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