Firstrade Registration

Updated Sunday, January 31, 2010

Registration Grade: D


The initial stage of the account opening process found on the Firstrade website is excellent.  Unfortunately, once this is done, forms need to be printed out and mailed / faxed to Firstrade.  Beyond that, we also had a major hassle with funding our account.  Firstrade no longer accepts initial deposits electronically, even for those that link a checking account via electronic funds transfer.  Here at Online Broker Review, we think the whole account opening process should be done online.  Firstrade gets a poor grade because of its outdated registration process.


The Firstrade welcome screen (click on images for larger views):


We decided to open an individual account with margin, level II options and fund the account via electronic funds transfer.  This was all handled on one simple screen.  Note that there is no minimum initial account deposit:

The next page features a fairly standard electronic funds transfer initialization form.  We entered our bank information and checking account information and continued with the account opening process:

After a few more pages and only several minutes later, the initial account opening steps were complete.  This was very fast:

A mere ten minutes after completing the initial account opening process, we received an email notifying us that online access was enabled.  If this were the end of the process, Firstrade would receive an A+ grade.  Unfortunately, it was all downhill from here.

As you may have noticed in the last screen shot, the online account opening process simply generates a form which must be printed and mailed / faxed to Firstrade.  We decided to fax our forms, so we printed out the account opening forms and included a voided check so that our checking account could be linked to our Firstrade account.  Several days later, we received an email form Firstrade notifying us that since the address on the voided check did not match our current address, we needed to fax a copy of our bank statement that features our current address.  None of the other brokers hassled us about this but we complied and faxed a copy of our bank statement.  The next day, we received another email with the following notice:

We are emailing you to inform you of the recent changes to our ACH initial deposit policy. Effective immediately, we are unable to accept first time deposit via ACH transfers.

As Adam Sandler said in The Wedding Singer, that information might have been a little more useful to us yesterday!  If we were not opening an account to write a review for this site, we would have gave up right here.  Just for you, dear reader, we signed a check and mailed it to Firstrade in order to fund the account.

Firstrade needs to get its act together and make it easier for new accounts holders to fund their accounts.  This level of service is simply unacceptable considering the level of competition in the online broker space.