Unfortunately, many novice traders do not possess a large budget. And what with technology and the internet making trading more accessible than ever, those from all walks of life are poised to make a run at this potentially lucrative hobby, from disenfranchised labor hands to beaming desk jockeys recently graduated. In truth, stock trading can be both a rewarding hobby and profitable side hustle. But one can also lose money in the market if they are not careful and informed. In the days of yore, it felt like we all needed to lean on the advice of a licensed professional in some form or another. But those days are long past, and the era of the robo or auto advisor is clearly at hand. But what if you are just starting out and don’t want to pay the sometimes hefty monthly costs these state-of-the-art platforms entail? A service like Firstrade is a perfect solution for that sort of beginner. It is essentially a no fee service that provides all the basic features you need to get started. Firstrade offers simple charting options, zero fees on stocks and options, as well as very low fees on all electronically traded funds (ETFs). Firstrade has a colorful background, for it originated in 1985 as a service for Chinese immigrants who found it tough to navigate the dense business English of institutions. In a nutshell, Firstrade went about simplifying things – it worked for and with the customer. While maintaining this original identity and ethos, Firstrade has expanded to become a no-frills stocks and options trading platform. With a simple, intuitive interface aiming to get anyone on the fast-track to success, it’s made quite a splash in an industry oft charged with being exclusive. Modest Money’s review highlights the sheer ease of the service. While its simplistic approach and lack of options will probably be irksome to veterans of the trade, it really is one of the best platforms on the market for anyone who wants to “test the waters”, so to speak. Let’s look at some of its defining features. Firstrade Standout Features Commission-Free Trading: acting as a real pioneer in the field, Firstrade was one of the first platforms to offer commission-free, low cost investing. Many other companies have since followed suit, but Firstrade remains a unique broker, as they charge no per-contract fees. The only other platform able to make this claim, as far as we know, is Robinhood. Mutual Funds Trading: not only does Firstrade allow their users to trade in mutual funds, but there are also no trading fees attached to them. This is pretty unique in the world of online trading, as most services charge upwards of $50 dollars to trade mutual funds that are not shown on their “approved lists”. Platform Variety: Firstrade offers three different trading platforms, and they all sustain the company motto: simplicity, ease of use. The Firstrade Navigator, Options Wizard, and Firstrade desktop option all provide very streamlined, simple analyses. While lacking the robust features offered by some competitors, they work as great beginner tools. Free Market Research: one of the handy features of Firstrade is that it links up with top financial news sources to provide users with knowledge of the latest happenings and trends. This is the type of insider info that can turn vague hunches into concrete, educated guesses. Education: to boot, Firstrade offers free bi-weekly seminars which are ordered around pedagogy that will develop the novice trader. Preaching some of the lesser known intricacies of the market, these seminars/workshops can prove invaluable when you eventually begin to invest your hard-earned cash. Firstrade Pricing There are absolutely no initial fees when setting up an account with Firstrade, and what’s more, there are no account minimums, so potential investors are free to open an account and just play around with the software a bit. And there are no pesky “free trials”, or “basic membership” associated with Firstrade. Each and every user has access to the full range of tools offered by the platform, with the only catch being that users are charged $19.95 (+0.50) per broker assisted stocks/options trade. The Bottom Line Firstrade compares favorably to platforms like Robinhood, which offer users a no-frills approach to stock trading. With a pedigree dating back to 1985, it is also a name you can trust and rely on; this is a company that’s been there for the many ups and downs of the modern marketplace. And by offering their services to customers in more than 60 countries worldwide, we are talking about a potential mass financial movement. Investing has really never been so democratized as it is now. Technology has opened up many avenues in the world of investing, and it feels like just about anyone with free time and some tempered will can now navigate their way. A platform like Firstrade can be that “open door” you’ve been waiting for. We can wholeheartedly recommend it as a beginner stock trading platform.