Fidelity Review 2021

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Launched in 1946 and trusted by over 32 million investors, Fidelity is one of the best-established brokers in the scene. With attractive fees and a robust platform, it’s no wonder fidelity has been attracting so many users from over 24 countries.

But whether you’re a beginner or an expert in trading, you should take into consideration every aspect of the broker you wish to trade on, and if the broker you have in mind is Fidelity, you’re just in the right place.

In this review, we’re not only reviewing how great Fidelity is in terms of its platform, research, fees or security, but also we’re going to tackle the aspects in which Fidelity falls short. After that, you as an investor can decide if Fidelity is the right option for you.

Summary

Fidelity is a great broker in many regards; it offers users an easy-to-use platform and mobile app, a great source of educational content (especially for beginners), extensive research, and  Active Trader Pro desktop platform that is splendid for active trading and day trading. It also provides its clients with a robust customer service. All in all, it’s a great broker, but it can be slow in verification and features higher broker-assisted trade fees.

Overview

Here is an Fidelity overview with some of the basic information.

BrokerFidelity
Founded1946
HeadquartersBoston, Massachusetts, United States
Account minimum$0
FeesVaries
Inactivity Fees$0
Withdrawal Fee$0
Tradable SecuritiesStocks, ETFs, Fractional shares, Bonds ,Options, Mutual funds
Regulation(FINRA), (SEC), and (FDIC)
Tradable SecuritiesStocks, ETFs, Mutual funds, Bonds, Options, Foreign ADRs, IPOs for qualified accounts, Futures, Forex
Mobile AppYes
US-AcceptedYes
CurrenciesU.S. dollar (USD), Euro (EUR), British pound (GBP), Australian dollar (AUD), Canadian dollar (CAD), New Zealand dollar (NZD), Danish krone (DKK), Hong Kong dollar (HKD), Japanese yen (JPY), Mexican peso (MXN), Norwegian krone (NOK), Polish zloty (PLN), Singapore dollar (SGD), South African rand (ZAR), Swiss franc (CHF), Swedish krona (SEK)
Customer SupportPhone, email, live chat, texting, social media, and in-person support at branches
Number of Accepted Countries24+
Our Score4.6/5

Best Alternative to Fidelity is eToro

  • #1 Copy Trading Platform
  • Regulated by Top Tier Regulations
  • Safe & Secure
  • 0% Commission on Stocks*

Disclaimer: CFDs are complex instruments that come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 67% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. Make sure you understand how CFDs work and if you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

*on selected US stocks

Make sure to read our guide on trading platforms and reviews of eToro, Interactive Brokers, TD Ameritrade, and AvaTrade.

Pros & Cons

It’s not surprising that such an old broker in the industry like Fidelity has this much to offer, but it’s also worth noting what it does not offer or what it falls short in. Below is a table that compares the good side of Fidelity to its bad side to help you decide whether this broker is right for you or not.

ProsCons
Wide selection of research providersSlow account verification
Commission-free stock, options trades and ETFHigh broker-assisted trade fee
Outstanding trading platforms and researchLive chat
Expense-ratio-free index funds
Responsive customer service
Powerful mobile app
US and international stocks
Rich educational content

Fidelity Compared

See below to compare Fidelity to similar brokers.

BrokerFidelityeToroCharles SchwabTrading212Interactive Brokers
Founded19462007197120061978
Minimum Deposit$0$50$0$1$0
CommissionsNoZero commissions on U.S. stocks
NoNoZero commissions on U.S. stocks and ETFs
Inactivity feeNoYesNoNoNo

Offerings

Fidelity offers all of the benefits that a full-service brokerage does. Below is a list of the tradable securities it offers: 

  • Stocks
  • ETFs
  • Fractional shares
  • Bonds
  • Options
  • Mutual funds

Fractional shares trading allows investors to purchase a fraction of a share rather than the entire share. And Fidelity provides investors with fairly low cost executions.

Although futures, FX, and cryptocurrency (e.g. bitcoin) trading are not available, there’s still international trading, which allows customers to trade in 25 countries and 16 currencies. It’s worth noting that only Interactive Brokers, which is geared to professionals, gives broader global access in the international trading area.

Platform

Fidelity's main desktop product, Active Trader Pro, is packed with trading tools for active traders. In the website watch lists, for example, there are 48 total columns of data to pick from, as well as streaming quotes. Additionally, you’ll find it easy and seamless to transition into equity research or into the docked order ticket in order to place a trade.

Charting in Active Trader Pro is well-organized, with 166 optional studies, 22 different drawing tools, personalised user profiles, alerts, chart trading, notes, and other features.

Real-Time Analytics and Trade Armor are two unique, in-house features included in Active Trader Pro. Active Trader Pro's options trading offers a good range of analysis tools. 

Mobile Trading

Fidelity boasts highly rated apps that offer multi-leg options trading, real-time quotes, a  notebook where users can save ideas and articles from their mobile browser, and a consolidated version of the research offerings of the company.

Recently, Fidelity made some updates to its apps to simplify the trading process, as well as to make portfolio monitoring and research more efficient. Users can also book a meeting with their existing Fidelity advisor via the app. The mobile software includes live TV streaming from Bloomberg, which matches the Active Trader Pro desktop platform.

Once you log in, you’ll find a customizable dashboard right away displayed as a personalized feed. There are market cards floating on top of varying scenery pictures that rotate every time you login in your personalized feed, making it an experience unlike any other.

Fidelity’s research is powerful and meets the expectations of most traders. The note-taking feature, which allows you to enter your views on stocks and the broader markets, is one of the several features of the mobile app.

Fidelity also released Fidelity Spire, a new mobile app aimed towards young adults. More contextual explainers on trading terminology and topics, such as  “dividends” and “bid price” are included in the app. This app also helps you financially plan and set your goals.

While Fidelity gives us a wonderful mobile research experience, it falls short in the active trader department. The charting, for example, is nice and clean and includes after-hours charts, but there are only 7 indicators accessible with two in Android, which is far less than the industry average of more than 30. 

Research

Fidelity stands out in terms of research. It gives excellent in-house market commentary, the website is well-designed, and users can get portfolio updates via Google Assistant.

Fidelity's stock, mutual fund, and ETF screeners are packed with information, easy to use, and set the industry standard. There’s an extensive list of unique features, including thematic investing, Morningstar ratings, and ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) data.

Fidelity offers over 30 third-party providers (including Ned Davis Research, Recognia, Thomson Reuters and McLean Capital Management) and 5 for ETFs, which is the largest compared to other brokers. Despite Fidelity's availability of both Morningstar ratings and Lipper rankings, no third-party research reports are available for mutual funds.

The Equity Summary Score, which is a consolidation of the ratings from different research providers, is displayed on stock quote pages. This large number of research firm offers might seem overwhelming, but traders are able to take a short quiz to choose providers that match their investment approach. The accuracy of the provider's suggestions is evaluated using a research firm scorecard.

With Fidelity Viewpoints, Fidelity's research excellence extends to market commentary. Also, Fidelity's Active Trader Pro desktop platform includes streaming Bloomberg TV.

Education

The majority of traders won’t be disappointed by Fidelity’s educational offerings since it has something for everyone. Fidelity does an excellent job of arranging content into roadmaps that include progress tracking and the ability to sort by level, content type, and category. 

Users can access videos, articles, infographics, courses, webinars, and even podcasts. Fidelity's “In the Money” podcast, for example, is a series aimed at helping options traders with techniques and strategies for finding great trading opportunities.

Fidelity's Learning Center makes it easy for learners to find educational material in one place, introductory classes, including archived webinars, and a wide range of topics with many articles. There's even an AI-powered recommendation system that can help you find content.

Fidelity's YouTube channel offers an archive of old videos categorized by playlist, as well as relevant educational material that is published throughout the week.

Additionally, Fidelity's retirement education is truly exceptional; it offers a number of in-house tools that may help you diagnose your financial situation. Retirement Score, Financial Checkup, Guided Portfolio Summary, and Income Strategy Evaluator, are the main tools offered by Fidelity, each of which provides a unique insight.

Is Your Money Safe on Fidelity?

Fidelity is regarded as a safe broker since it has a long, successful track record and is regulated by top-tier financial regulators.

Fidelity is regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in the United States. It also manages over $8.3 trillion in assets and is trusted by over 32 million investors.

SIPC insurance protects money kept in a Fidelity investment account, which covers up to $500,000 in securities and $250,000 in cash (for a total of $750,000 per client). Additionally, Fidelity offers extra coverage in excess of SIPC limits — up to $1 billion across all client accounts, $1.9 million in cash per customer, and no limits on securities.

The funds in Fidelity's cash management account are swept to partner banks and insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

Customer Support

Fidelity offers 24-hour phone, chat, email support, and a network of more than 200 locations for in-person assistance. According to reviews, Fidelity has above-average customer service that is usually responsive, friendly, and helpful, but they may fall short in terms of how quickly they respond in live chat.

Phone number: 800-343-3548

Key Takeaways

Fidelity is one of the few brokers who can cater to both retirement investors and active traders. The broker excels in several areas — it offers no trading commissions, with over 3,700 no-transaction-fee mutual funds, an excellent research and trading platform, no-fee index funds, and a powerful customer service..

Fidelity provides Active Trader Pro, a downloadable program featuring streaming real-time data and a customizable trading interface, to more serious investors and traders. While the broker offers a wide range of offerings, it lacks a few important products, such as futures, commodities, and cryptocurrencies.

FAQ

How can I transfer cash online between my bank and my Fidelity account?

You must initiate an electronic funds transfer (EFT) between your bank and your Fidelity account in order to transfer money online. Your plan may allow you to put up bank account details for loan or withdrawal payments if you have an employer-sponsored account. Log in to your employer-sponsored account's Electronic Payments section to check whether you're qualified and for instructions on how to set up bank information.

How many trades can I execute on Fidelity in a day?

A pattern day trader is defined by Rule 4210 as someone who satisfies the following criteria: Any margin customer that makes four or more day trades in five business days.

How long does it take for Fidelity to settle cash?

Usually 1–2 days, depending on the fund family. For exchanges between members of the same family, next-day settlements are available. Funds can't be sold until they've been settled.

Are there any hidden fees on Fidelity?

When you have a self-directed brokerage account with Fidelity, there are almost no account service fees or other hidden fees.
Fidelity's pricing is completely clear across all of its platforms. Options trading costs $0.65 per contract, while new bond issues cost $1 per bond, and there’s a $19.95 flat fee for broker-assisted trades.
And since there’s no minimum investment and zero-dollar commissions for trading stocks, mutual funds, and ETFs, you can start trading with any budget at Fidelity. The only exception is if you trade non-Fidelity mutual funds, for which a $49.95 fee is charged at the time of trade initiation. The fee only applies if you close the trade within 60 days if it's a NTF mutual fund.
Some other fees are a foreign dividends fee (1%), a foreign exchange wire fee (up to 3%), $32.95 per margin liquidation and broker-assisted trades, and $100 per stock certificate transfer.