Schwab Account Opening

Updated Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Account Opening Grade: C

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Schwab's account registration process is average. The pop-up window interface is a minor annoyance. Transferring funds from my checking account was a huge hassle and really needs to be improved. Besides these issues, everything else was acceptable.


Minimum initial account deposit: $1000

I opened a general brokerage account.

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

The registration process is done through a pop-up window. I would really prefer that websites get away from using unnecessary pop-up windows.

I chose to use the Schwab MoneyLink feature to transfer funds electronically from my Bank of America checking account:

MoneyLink requires trial deposit verification before users transfer funds from a checking account. This is a big annoyance and seems outdated:

The transactions posted the next day and I logged into my account to finish the verification process. Once I did this, I was told to call a 1-800 number to verify. On the phone, I was prompted to create a pin number for fund transfers and then I was automatically disconnected. Soon after, the website registration screen updated saying that my enrollment was expected to be completed two full weeks from that day! I waited the two weeks and then logged back into the site where there was no enrollment status update. I called Schwab and the representative told me that there was some sort of mistake with the process and he promptly enabled MoneyLink for me. The representative was prompt and courteous but the setup of the MoneyLink process needs a lot of improvement.

Back to the rest of the registration process. I have a student loan so I was prompted to verify my credit provider and monthly payment amount. My loan has been sold between several financial institutions over the years so I couldn't identify my provider among the five choices. I randomly picked one and it was wrong so I was told that I could not open an account. I closed the browser window and restarted the registration process. Next time, I guessed a different student loan provider, it was accepted, and then I continued the registration process. This is a great example of poor computer security (yes, I am a software developer):

Registration process complete:

Once the registration process was complete, I received a welcome email from Schwab. This 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.

I also received several physical mailings from Schwab. The first was a packet containing an offer for a free consultation, quick start guide and website usability guide. A second mailing thanked me for opening an account. A third mailing thanked me for signing up for eStatements. A fourth mailing thanked me for signing up for MoneyLink. A fifth mailing thanked me for using their phone services. Like Fidelity, Schwab really needs to consolidate their new account mailings.

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