iPhone App Grade: C
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The Fidelity Investments iPhone app offers a merely average experience. All of the basic features such as account information, quotes, market news and watch lists are here. Welcome additions in recent updates to the app include funds transfer functionality and check depositing using the iPhone camera. The charts are very respectable if not quite fully featured. We dislike the stock and options trading interface and we are wary of the same limit price execution issues that we found with the full web based Fidelity application. Overall, the Fidelity iPhone app will handle the basic needs of the average investor but advanced traders looking for the ultimate mobile trading platform need to look elsewhere.
App Store Facts:
- App Name: Fidelity Investments
- Version: 1.7.2
- App Size: 4 MB
- User Rating: 3 / 5 stars
When users open the Fidelity Investments iPhone app they are greeted with the home page, which shows the latest quotes for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, NASDAQ, S&P500, Russell 3000 as well as a log in button:
Note that the application stores user names but will not store passwords. This means that all passwords must be typed in each time while opening the application, even if you close the app for five seconds. This makes multitasking with Fidelity and other apps nearly impossible so keep this in mind.
The accounts menu features screens that show positions, balances, orders and activity history. Here is a view of our lone existing position. If we select the position it will bring up a separate view with the detailed quote:
A new feature to version 1.4 of the app is the ability to transfer funds from an external bank account to Fidelity and vice versa. This is a welcome addition and is a feature that is sorely missing from many other broker apps.
New to version 1.5.1 is the ability to deposit checks by taking a photo on the iPhone. Enter this menu and then agree to the terms to instantly gain access. Very cool feature.
The quote menu allows users to get stock or option prices by searching by symbol. It also keeps track of search history for a quick references to recent searches. The quotes menu consists of detailed trading data, charts and company related news.
Charts are accessed from the quote page. Here is a look at the quote screen for Exxon Mobil (XOM). One nice chart feature is that users can touch and drag across the chart to see the exact price for any period of time. Below you can see that XOM traded at $61.29 at 12:10PM on the previous trading day:
Chart style is limited to line charts only and time periods available are 1d, 1w, 1m, 3m, 1y, 3y and 5y. Turning the iPhone horizontally shows an enlarged chart. In horizontal mode, two stocks can even be charted at once. For example, here is a 1 year chart comparing the performance of Exxon Mobil (XOM) with Chevron (CVX):
Watch lists are user customizable groupings of stock quotes. Creating new lists and adding stocks is a breeze.
The latest news menu features stories covering US markets, international markets, technology, mergers & acquisitions, IPOs and more. News articles are provided by Reuters, MarketWatch, CNNMoney and more.
To trade stocks, click on the trade button at the bottom of the screen or open a quote and select to trade from the button available in the top right corner of the screen. Trading from the quote menu simply opens up the trade ticket and populates the symbol. It would be a lot more convenient if the limit price and other fields were populated as well.
Order types available are market, limit, stop loss, stop limit, trailing stop loss $ / % and trailing stop limit $ / %. This is quite an extensive list of order types but is limited when compared to the full web based Fidelity trading platform and the desktop application Fidelity Active Trader Pro.
Here is an order we put in to trade Apple (APPL). Note that we took two snap shots and merged them together because the whole trade ticket cannot be displayed in a single view:
When we were satisfied with our order we click on the Preview Order button. A warning message appeared because our limit price was above the last traded price. This warning is annoying as we reguarly put in orders of this type but thankfully it can simply be ignored. Everything looked OK so we selected the Place Order button. After that, a message appeared noting that our order was received. We were also provided with an order confirmation number and a link to view the order status.
From the order status menu, open orders can be canceled but they cannot be modified. Once orders execute, all positions can be viewed in the Account Positions menu. Unfortunately, there is no functionality to close out holdings from this menu.
On a separate order, we attempted to submit a limit trade but the order was rejected. The error message noted that the limit price cannot be more than 30% away from the last trade. This is the same issue that is present in the standard web based Fidelity application. In most circumstances, this is a reasonable safeguard but in a few cases, such as before the market opens on very volatile securities, this limit price rule could cause major issues for traders. We really wish Fidelity would replace this restriction with a simple warning message that could be bypassed.
To trade options, click on the trade button at the bottom of the screen and select the Options tab or open a quote, open the options chain menu and select the desired contract. Trading from the options chain menu is far superior because the trade ticket does not help you determine the options contract name.
Here is a look at the option contracts for Apple (AAPL) that are set to expire on June 19:
Selecting any contract brings up a detailed contract information page. We found the contract that we were after so from this menu we selected to trade by clicking on the button at the top right. This brought up the options trade ticket with the symbol populated. Like with the stock trading functionality, it would be more convenient if the order type defaulted to limit and the most recent ask price was populated for us. An updated quote for this contract is not viewable from the trade ticket so we had to go back to the options chain to find the proper limit price. This is all more of a hassle than it needs to be.
When we were all set, we clicked the Preview Order button:
This brought up the Preview Order menu. After we reviewed the details we selected the Place Order button. After that, a message appeared noting that our order was received. We were also provided with an order confirmation number and a link to view the order status. As with stock orders, open option orders can be canceled but they cannot be modified.
Once orders execute, all positions can be viewed in the Account Positions menu. Unfortunately, there is no functionality to close out holdings from this menu.
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