Review:Online Brokerage Comparison Part #1

During my year-end analysis I always check out different options for switching my brokerage account.  Normally I do not like to do this, but sometimes there are compelling reasons to make a change.

I do not complete a lot of transactions in the course of a year, so the cost per trade is not a huge factor in my decisions.  Here is a comparison of a couple of online brokerages that I have been considering.  Let me know what you think!

Scottrade, 1.800.619-SAVE (7283)
Products: Stocks, options, mutual funds, CDs, munis, Canadian stocks
Market Orders: $7.00
Limit Orders: $7.00
Mutual Funds: $17.00. Load funds also incur a $17.00 redemption fee. Also has NTF funds.
Options: $7.00+$1.25
Minimum to Open: $500
Inactivity Fee: $0.00
Maximum Margin Rate: Based on proprietary base rate
Extras: Checkwriting. Also has site in Chinese. Personal broker. Provides a variety of Standard and Poor’s research. No setup fees or maintenance fees for IRAs.
User Comments: “Scottrade is a great broker if you rarely have excess cash sitting in your account. However, the interest that they pay on excess cash is very poor, as of September 11, 2006 it was 3%

TD Ameritrade, 800-454-9272
Products: Stocks, bonds, mutual funds, options
Market Orders: $9.99, +$2.00 for paper confirmation if requested
Limit Orders: $9.99, +$2.00 for paper confirmation if requested
Mutual Funds: $49.99 for no-load funds. Also has NTF funds.
Options: $9.99/trade+$0.75/contract
Minimum to Open: $0, $2000 for margin account. “Accounts funded with less than $1,000 are not eligible for any promotions. Electronic funding minimum is $500.”
Inactivity Fee: Unknown
Maximum Margin Rate: Based on proprietary base rate
Extras: Check-writing privileges for accounts with a liquidation value of $5000 or more. Much independent research. Apparently accepts foreign accounts, since they have toll-free phone numbers from many countries, and remarks about legal restrictions for foreign accounts. Seem to be no setup fees or maintenance fees for IRAs.

These are two brokerages that I am considering for the upcoming year.  Does anyone have any suggestions on others that may offer similar services at similar pricing?
Thanks to Broker Reviews

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