When you think of Fidelity, you probably think of the company that runs your parents’ retirement accounts.
Fidelity offers more than mutual funds for company retirement plans, though. As a full-service brokerage, the company provides you access to a trading platform and portfolio management services.
Learn more about what they have to offer in this comprehensive Fidelity review — and see how they can help you grow your money.
Fidelity offers a variety of account options and is known for its extensive research tools and access to thousands of mutual funds.
Plus, Fidelity recently lowered its trading fees. When you invest with Fidelity, you benefit from some of the best research out there, along with competitive pricing.
Fidelity investment accounts include individual and joint accounts. Want to get your kids started out on the right foot? You can open a custodial account on their behalf.
If you’re looking for a basic account, everything you need is right in the brokerage account.
One of the great features is that you don’t need a minimum amount to open an account. However, if you decide to trade mutual funds, you do need $2,500. This is a little bit different from some of the discount brokers, so you should decide what you want to trade before making a decision.
If you want to open an IRA, Fidelity has options for Traditional, Roth, and Rollover. This means that you can roll a former employer’s 401k into an IRA without too much trouble.
One of the nice features of retirement accounts at Fidelity is that you can get the minimum for mutual funds waived if you commit to a monthly contribution.
529 college savings
In addition to offering custodial accounts for minors, Fidelity investment accounts also include 529 college savings plans. If you want to save for your child’s education, you can access some of the thousands of mutual funds available.
You can also open a cash management account. This where Fidelity really shines.
Connect your cash account to your brokerage account. This account comes with no fees, a debit card, and reimbursement for nationwide ATM fees. It’s a great checking account without the hassles. And you can easily use it with your brokerage account.
Plus, you can also get a rewards credit card through Fidelity. Fidelity’s rewards credit card is generous as compared to many other cash back credit cards. You earn 2 percent back on every eligible $1 spent.
Manage retirement benefits
If you have an employer-sponsored retirement plan managed through Fidelity, you can access it easily. Fidelity benefits management allows you to see what’s going on with your employer-sponsored plan.
So, you might not need to open your account if you’re already investing through your work plan.
Fidelity has also introduced a range of managed portfolios that you can invest in. Each comes with different account minimums, ranging from $5,000 to $200,000.
Fees vary depending on the type of account you get, but range from 0.35 percent to 1.7 percent annually with portfolio advisory.
These are great choices for investors who want to be a little more hands-off. Additionally, the different choices and potential for customization provides an experience that goes beyond what you might get with a discount robo-advisor.
Fidelity fees and commissions
No Fidelity review is complete without a look at commissions and fees. Thankfully, Fidelity keeps things pretty simple. The company recently reduced its trading fees to be more competitive with online discount brokers. With other brokers lowering their fees, it makes sense for Fidelity to do the same.
For stock trades, the fee is a flat $4.95 per trade. You also pay $4.95 to trade ETFs.
You can also trade options for $4.95 plus $0.65 per contract. Often, you trade options by borrowing. Fidelity stock option accounts offer a margin rate that is relatively low at 4 percent. Many other brokers charge a higher rate of interest on margin accounts.
Fidelity has a collection of 91 ETFs that come with no transaction fees. This means you can trade without paying the $4.95 when you choose one of these ETFs.
This is smaller than E*TRADE and Charles Schwab fee-free ETF pools, but Fidelity’s offerings are still adequate for most traders. It’s important to note that even when you trade no-fee ETFs, you still have to pay the expense ratio.
One of the areas Fidelity investment offerings shine is in mutual funds. Fidelity offers access to thousands of mutual funds that don’t come with transaction fees. This is important because if you buy a mutual fund that isn’t fee-free, you’ll pay $49.95.
Finally, you can trade bonds with Fidelity at a cost of $1 per bond on the secondary market. You can buy U.S. Treasury bonds for free.
There is no minimum requirement to open an account, but you must have $2,500 to trade mutual funds and $5,000 if you want to trade on margin.
You can get account minimums waived for some accounts, as well, if you commit to a monthly contribution.
How to open a Fidelity investment account online
Opening an account is simple and quick. Fidelity takes you step-by-step through the process, asking questions to help you get set up.
You decide what kind of account you want and fill in the following information:
- Social Security number
- Driver’s license information
- Employer information
- Bank information (to fund the account)
If you aren’t sure what type of account you want, Fidelity’s handy Account Assistant can help you figure out which account is right for you.
Education and tools
Fidelity is well-known for its educational resources and tools. There’s a great deal of extensive research available on the website.
If you’re looking for information about a specific stock or fund, search for it and see all the relevant information about fundamentals and price movement.
One of the nice perks of using Fidelity’s research is that you also get access to real-time news about the company.
Fidelity offers more information than many discount brokers. Plus, you can see which index fund and ETF options are available. So, if you want to include Google in your portfolio, but don’t want to buy the stock individually, you can get it in a fund instead.
Use the Fidelity stock screener to find ideas for your portfolio. Fidelity also rates different funds and ETFs so you can see exactly what to expect. You can personalize your screener according to your own values.
Another cool feature of the stock screener is that you can choose stocks based on expert screens. So if you are looking for ideas for growth stocks or ETFs, you can choose the pre-set screen and get several good ideas.
Whether you’re looking for bargains or dividends, Fidelity’s stock screener goes above and beyond to give you ideas that you may not have thought of on your own.
Be sure to sign up for the Viewpoints newsletter. It provides insight into what’s happening with the markets, as well as tips for managing your investments and your money.
This is a great educational resource that often includes information and education tailored for different situations and goals.
Trading and platform
For the most part, the Fidelity investment trading platform is easy to use. You can easily execute trades by filling in a form that contains all the information you need.
You can get real-time quotes before you trade, and it’s even possible to make a limited order. You can quickly see your account value and how much is available to trade.
This is a pretty standard and intuitive platform. One bonus is that there educational links right on the order form. That way, if you have a question, you can double-check before submitting your order. Many other brokerages don’t offer these resources from the order page.
Fidelity does offer an active trading platform. To qualify, however, you have to make at least 36 qualified trades in a rolling 12-month period.
Fidelity also offers a mobile app for trading. Get a personalized experience with your mobile app’s dashboard, where you can see a quick summary of what’s happening in the markets and your own portfolio situation.
Do your research and make trades directly from the app. You can even take notes and get notifications about potential trades and other options.
The mobile app is easy to use and convenient on the go. However, you won’t get the same level of responsive research on the app as you get when you use the desktop to trade.
Fidelity also offers functionality with Amazon’s Alexa. Right now, TD Ameritrade is the only other broker that offers Alexa integration.
Fidelity contact info and customer service
Fidelity is known for its customer service and doesn’t disappoint. You can get help via phone, email, and live chat.
Fidelity’s customer service is the best through email. You can expect a rapid response that is detailed and helpful. But if you prefer to speak to someone in person, you can call 800-343-3548 anytime (24/7) for help.
Of course, Fidelity has investment centers around the country where you can walk in and get in-person help. At these branches, Fidelity also offers free seminars where you learn more about investing and managing your portfolio. See if there’s a location near you.
You can also get help from the interactive and extensive FAQs that Fidelity puts together.
Is a Fidelity investment account right for you?
Just about anyone can benefit from a Fidelity investment account. As long as you can meet the minimums required to start trading some assets, such as mutual funds, opening an account and managing your money is simple.
Beginner investors have access to extensive research and easy-to-use tools, and more advanced traders can use the active trading platform (if they meet the requirements). Plus, the portfolio advisory can be of use to those who are more hands-off.
If you’re looking for a low-cost brokerage with plenty of experience behind it, Fidelity might be a good choice for you.
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