Firstrade vs tradeMONSTER

Get 250 Free Trades and more at Firstrade!   There are many reasons you might be looking for a new broker, maybe their service has dropped off and they’re not what they used to be, maybe you signed up to try them out but their platform isn’t up to scratch.

Whatever the reason, searching for a new broker is not easy. The trouble is there are just so many different kinds of traders to cater for. Most brokers have tailored their services for specific kinds of traders, so pick the wrong one and you’ll be like a dentist at a gynecologists convention.

To help you through the minefield of choosing the perfect broker for you, we’ve compared two medium sized brokers, Firstrade and tradeMONSTER. We’ve compared their trading platforms, customer service, commissions and much more.


Products & Services

Broker Firstrade tradeMONSTER
Rating [rating:3/5] [rating:3/5]
website Visit the Firstrade Website Visit the tradeMONSTER Website
Our Review Read Our Full Firstrade Review Read Our tradeMONSTER Review
Bank Deposits Bank Deposits
Bonds Bonds
Certificates of Deposits Certificates of Deposits
Day Trading Day Trading
Services Extended Hours Trading Extended Hours Trading
Mutual Funds Mutual Funds
Trading Community Trading Community


Services Overview

Comparing brokers by the number of services they offer used to be one of the easiest ways of separating them. Some brokers specialize in options others in stocks and mutual funds.

Today that’s all changed; most brokers offer the full range of services, so whilst they still specialize in options they offer a full range of products. This makes it difficult to separate them purely by services offered.

There is one small difference between these two however, Firstrade offers their clients Certificates of Deposit. This is only a minor thing as most people I know get CDs from their high street bank, but it’s always good to have choices.


Trading Tools

Firstrade tradeMONSTER
Automated Trading Automated Trading
Investor Resource Center Investor Resource Center
Mobile Trading Mobile Trading
Online Advisor Online Advisor
Trading Tools
Profit & Loss Calculator Profit & Loss Calculator
Streaming Charts Streaming Charts
Stock & Fund Screeners Stock & Fund Screeners
Tables & Graphs Tables & Graphs
Training & Education Training & Education
Virtual Trading Virtual Trading


Trading Tools Overview

This is where the biggest differences are to be found. Before you commit yourself it’s always a good idea to test drive each brokers trading platform, just to make sure they have all the tools you need to trade your strategy.

With Firstrade that’s going to be difficult because they don’t offer a virtual trading facility. This is inexcusable in this day and age, especially since they’ve just upgraded their platform.

Fortunately I’ve given it a quick once over for you. Launched in October 2010 Firstrade X-Stream is a very basic platform; it has a nice clean interface and is very easy to use, but it’s a bit lightweight compared to most of its rivals. There are no sophisticated tools like volatility charts and one click trading to make life easy.

tradeMONSTER’s platform is also far from perfect, It has the opposite problem to Firstrade’s X-Stream. They’ve tried too hard to make this platform suitable for too many different kinds of traders, making it both slow and cumbersome to use as a result.

They’d be better splitting the platforms up and having a separate platform for options traders, since that is clearly their desired market. This would make both platforms much easier to use and reduce the amount of lag during busy periods.


Fees & Commissions

Firstrade tradeMONSTER
Account Minimum $0.00 $2000
Margin Account Minimum $2000 $2000
Stocks & ETFs $6.95 $7.50
Options Base $6.95 $0.00
Options Per Contract $0.75 $0.50 per contract ($12.95 Min)
Account Management Fee $0.00 $0.00
Broker Assisted Trades $27.00 $15.00
Mutual Funds $9.95 $15.00
Bonds Net Yield (Included in Price) $15.00/bond
IRA Annual Fee $0.00 $0.00



So which broker should you choose? Well both brokers are far from perfect that’s for sure. There are real problems with both platforms, so it’s going to be a question of whether you can live with them or not.

If you’re an options trader I would give tradeMONSTER a try, part of the problem with their platform is the multitude of options tools they’ve tried to squeeze in. So if you’re an options trader you’re sure not going to be short of tools.

As for Firstrade, they’re really only suitable for smaller traders who trade once or twice a month. There platform isn’t suitable for more advanced traders and their training isn’t comprehensive enough for beginners.

If you’re a beginner you’re better off choosing one of the brokers that specialize in helping rookies like Zecco or TradeKing. Both these brokers offer excellent trading communities for you to learn from.

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