Fidelity Registration

Updated Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Registration Grade: C


Fidelity's account registration process is average. At one point about halfway through my registration and without any excessive delay on my part, my session timed out. This forced me to restart registration from the beginning. The biggest flaw is that applying for margin and options trading is not as user friendly as it could be.


Minimum initial account deposit: $2500

I opened a standard Fidelity account.

Account opening - getting started screen (click on images for larger views):

I was asked three multiple choice questions to verify my identity. I had to verify the town I grew up in, one of my more recent addresses and my mother's birth month (I presume because she has an account at Fidelity):

Money market fund options:

Once the account was set up, I had several funding options:

I selected to transfer money electronically from my Bank of America checking account:

When registration was complete, I received a welcome email from Fidelity. The email does not contain any sort of useful information. It's good to get a confirmation that the account was opened properly but the email does not add much value. A few days later another email arrived notifying me that I have been automatically signed up for the Fidelity newsletter Investor's Monthly.

During the registration process I was never asked if I wanted to sign up for margin and options trading. When I logged in for the first time I had to do some digging to find out how to apply for these features. When I found the correct page, I selected to make my account margin eligible. I had to enter my employment and net worth info - a requirement at all online brokers. I was then submitted for margin. Then I had to enter this same information again to apply for options. This is not well done. I was also prompted to provide Fidelity with a list of other brokers I have an options account with, which is none of their business.

Over the next few days I received a number of physical mailings from Fidelity. One was a general welcome leaflet. Another notified me that I had activated the Money Line feature. Two separate mailings said my mailing address was updated. Yet another contained a thorough rundown of all my account features, a Fidelity fund prospectus and a book of deposit slips to send in with checks. Note to all companies: this is a quick and easy way to let the customer know that your various records departments are totally disorganized.

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