Fidelity Vs Schwab: Which Low Cost Broker Is Best?

Two diverse crypto traders brokers stock exchange market investors discussing trading charts research reports growth using pc computer looking at screen analyzing invest strategy, financial risks.
Ground Picture /

Fidelity and Schwab are two titans in the full-service brokerage space. Both are known for their low fees, wide range of product offerings, and capacity to meet the needs of various types of investors.

But which one is right for you? Let’s take a closer look to find out.

Fidelity Investments: An overview

Smiling business woman trader analyst looking at laptop monitor, holding smartphone, wearing earphones. Investor broker analyzing indexes, trading online investment data on stock market graph at home
Source: Arsenii Palivoda /
Fidelity is one of the largest investment management companies in the country.

Fidelity has been supporting customers since 1946, when it first opened its doors in Boston. Today, Fidelity works with more than 44 million investors. And it oversees more than $4.9 trillion in assets under management (AUM).

Fidelity stands out for its proprietary mutual fund offerings, which includes a line of zero-expense ratio funds. It also offers robust research tools including its award-winning Active Trader Pro platform. Its popular robo-advisor platform Fidelity GO charges no advisory fees on balances below $25,000, making it noteworthy for hands-off investors looking for a low cost option.

And unlike many major brokers, Fidelity offers direct access to cryptocurrency.

Charles Schwab: An overview

Conference Business Meeting Presentation: CEO Businessman Shows Data to Group of Investors, Businessspeople. Projector Screen Shows Graphs, Product Sales, Revenue Growth Strategy, e-Commerce Analysis
Source: Gorodenkoff /
Schwab was one of the first major brokers to offer commission-free stock trading.

Schwab kicked off operations in 1971 out of San Francisco. It’s known for being one of the first major brokers to offer commission-free stock trading.

Schwab in 2023 began finalizing its merger with another major broker TD Ameritrade, amplifying its offerings. Today, Schwab supports more than 35 million brokerage accounts and has more than $9.12 trillion in total client assets.

Schwab stands out for its fund lineup, which includes more than 8,000 no-transaction-fee funds.

Active traders can utilize Schwab’s powerful research and trading platform thinkorswim. Hands-off investors can explore Schwab Intelligent Portfolios, a robo-advisor service that charges no advisory fee.

Fidelity Vs Schwab: Offerings

Strategy of diversified investment. Investor managing portfolio. Pie chart and candlestick charts.
Source: tadamichi /
Fidelity and Schwab both have an array of options.

Fidelity and Schwab both offer a large suite of products that would appeal to most investors. Both offer traditional investments like stocks, bonds, ETFs, mutual funds, and options.

But Fidelity stands out by offering direct access to Bitcoin and Ethereum, two popular crypto coins.

However, Schwab lets you indirectly access crypto through ETFs and mutual funds that provide exposure to companies that benefit from the technology that develops crypto including blockchain.

Plus, Schwab lets you invest in futures.

Moreover, both firms also offer various accounts. These include taxable brokerage accounts, individual retirement accounts (IRAs), and the Schwab Roth IRA and the Fidelity Roth IRA.

Fidelity vs. Schwab: Fees

A smart business woman who keeps a paper account using a calculator, an old woman manages the account's finances, calculates the tax on the cash budget, plans to pay off a bank loan debt
Source: Dragana Gordic /
Be sure to look at fees and commissions before trading.

Both Fidelity and Schwab let you trade commission-free U.S. stocks, ETFs and options. When it comes to proprietary ETF and mutual fund fees, both firms also have notable low-cost options.

At Fidelity, you can find the Fidelity Flex Funds. This is a family of zero-expense-ratio mutual funds. Expense ratios are management fees charged by fund companies. Additionally, some funds charge transaction fees when you buy fund shares. Fidelity offers more than 3,700 no-transaction fee funds from the company and other major providers.

But Schwab is also a leader in low-cost funds. It offers more than 8,000 no-transaction-fee mutual funds and more than 2,000 funds with expense ratios of 0.50% or less.

Schwab vs Fidelity: Robo-advisors

Robot assistant technology , industry 4.0 , artificial intelligence trend concept. Silhouette of business man talking to automation robo advisor. Bokeh flare light effect with building background.
Source: Zapp2Photo /
Robo-advisors may be best for hands-off investors.

Fidelity and Schwab each manage popular robo-advisors. These are digital investing platforms that recommend diversified portfolios based on factors like your financial goals, risk tolerance, and time horizon. Because these are automatically managed and rebalanced to stay in line with your goals, they may be a good fit if you’re a hands-off investor. But which one is right for you?

The Fidelity GO robo-advisor shines for its low barrier to entry. It has no account minimum and you can start investing with $10. Fidelity GO also boasts a 0% advisory fee on balances of less than $25,000. For accounts with larger balances, the annual advisory fee is 0.35%. But that also opens the door to one-on-one 30-minute phone calls with Fidelity advisors who can help you with other aspects of your financial life such as saving for retirement.

The Schwab Intelligent Portfolios robo has a 0% annual advisory fee on all balances. However, Schwab Intelligent Portfolios require a minimum investment of $5,000.

The Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Premium account offers unlimited access to a certified financial planner (CFP). This professional can build a financial roadmap that can help you reach various financial goals like saving for your child’s college education. However, the premium account requires a $300 opening fee along with a $30 monthly advisory fee.

Schwab Vs. Fidelity: The Verdict

Source: Thinkstock
Weigh the pros and cons before you choose between Fidelity or Schwab.

Fidelity and Schwab are both well-established brokers with plenty to offer. So the decision may simply come down to preference. If you want to trade Bitcoin and Ethereum or if you’re interested in a robo-advisor with little-to-no fees, then Fidelity may suit you best. But if you’re interested in low-fee ETF and mutual fund investing, Schwab may appeal to you. Or if you’re an active trader who wants advanced research tools applicable on multiple devices, Schwab may also suit you.

Why we covered this

With the growing number of discount brokers out there, it’s becoming easier to jump into the world of investing. But you should know what you’re getting yourself into before you take the plunge. Brokers are not one size fits all. So be sure to look under the hood of all your options. To make your search easier, we explored two of the biggest names out there: Fidelity and Schwab.

If you want to learn more about Fidelity, check out our regularly-updated list of Fidelity Investments guides, news, and coverage.

ALERT: Take This Retirement Quiz Now  (Sponsored)

Take the quiz below to get matched with a financial advisor today.

Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests.

Here’s how it works:
1. Answer SmartAsset advisor match quiz
2. Review your pre-screened matches at your leisure. Check out the advisors’ profiles.
3. Speak with advisors at no cost to you. Have an introductory call on the phone or introduction in person and choose whom to work with in the future

Take the retirement quiz right here.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us?
Contact the 24/7 Wall St. editorial team.