Fidelity Review [2021]: Is This Traditional Brokerage Right for You?

Fidelity is a behemoth brokerage firm that offers a wide range of account types and investment options, but is it a good fit for you?
Last updated Jul 9, 2021 | By Lance Cothern | Edited By Jess Ullrich
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As you invest over your lifetime, your needs will change based on your goals and current situation. A particular investing platform could be a good fit for a specific time of your life, but not another. Once you outgrow that platform, you need to find the next solution to help you meet your goals and needs.

Thankfully, some companies offer enough options and features to support you throughout your entire investing journey. One of these companies is Fidelity, which focuses on keeping costs low for its investors. Find out if it’s a good fit for your investing needs in our Fidelity Investments review.

In this Fidelity Investments review:

What is Fidelity Investments?

Fidelity Investments, headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, is a brokerage firm that was founded in 1946. It offers retirement planning, wealth management, brokerage services, and much more to its customers. Today, the company works with 37 million investors, transacts 3.5 million trades per day, and its customers keep over $10.4 trillion of assets with the company.

Fidelity is an SEC-registered broker-dealer. It’s also a member of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC). As an SIPC member, qualifying accounts get coverage up to specific limits if Fidelity’s brokerage business fails and assets go missing. However, SIPC insurance does not cover losses due to market movements.

What does Fidelity Investments offer?

Fidelity is a large brokerage firm that offers a wide variety of services to its clients. It offers cash management, a credit card, life insurance, annuities, and several other products, but its core offering is its investment options. Here’s what you should know.

A wide range of account types

Fidelity offers a massive list of different account types depending on your needs. Account types include:

  • Taxable brokerage account
  • Cash management account
  • Rollover Individual Retirement Account (IRA)
  • Traditional IRA
  • Roth IRA
  • Inherited IRA
  • Inherited Roth IRA
  • SEP IRA
  • Self-employed 401(k)
  • SIMPLE IRA
  • Investment-only plans for small business
  • 401(k) plan for small business
  • Managed accounts including:
    • Fidelity Go
    • Fidelity Personalized Planning & Advice
    • Wealth Management
    • Private Wealth Management
  • 529 college savings account
  • Fidelity Youth Account
  • Custodial account
  • Roth IRA for Kids
  • The Attainable Savings Plan
  • Health Savings Account
  • Fidelity Charitable
  • Trust account
  • Estate
  • The Fidelity Account for Businesses

Several investment options

With many of its investment accounts, Fidelity allows you to invest in a wide range of strategies and asset classes. Investment choices supported could include the following, depending on the type of account you have with Fidelity:

  • Over 10,000 mutual funds, including hundreds with no transaction fees
  • Stocks
  • Initial public offerings (IPOs)
  • Over 75,000 individual bonds
  • Bond funds
  • Certificates of deposit (CDs)
  • Nearly every exchange-traded fund (ETF) available in the United States
  • Options trading
  • Forex trading

Fidelity does not currently offer cryptocurrency or futures trading for retail investors, though institutional investors have the option to invest in cryptocurrency through Fidelity’s Digital Assets platform.

Multiple investment platforms

If you’re interested in opening an investment account with Fidelity, you can choose to invest through its website, the Active Trader Pro platform, or Fidelity’s mobile apps. Fidelity’s website can help you make many of the trades you’ll likely want access to. However, you can choose to download its Active Trader Pro platform to place advanced order types, get real-time streaming market updates, and create a customized experience based on your needs.

Fidelity also offers mobile apps for iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, Android, and Amazon devices. Each app may deliver slightly different features based on the particular device you use. That said, you can generally use the apps to make trades, access information and research about markets, monitor and manage your portfolio, deposit checks, and receive alerts.

Low fees and low barriers to entry

In general, Fidelity charges low fees or no fees for many of its offerings to keep costs down for its clients. There’s no minimum amount required to open a basic brokerage account, either. You can even trade fractional shares with the Fidelity Mobile app, allowing you to build a diversified portfolio of stocks even if you don’t have a lot of money to invest.

As far as fees go, Fidelity doesn’t charge account fees, wire fees, insufficient funds fees, or IRA closeout fees. You also won’t pay trading fees on stocks, ETFs, or several mutual funds, and you only have to pay $0.65 per options contract when you make your options trades online.

Fidelity has even gone as far as offering four index mutual funds with zero expense ratios. These no-expense-ratio Fidelity funds were the first in the industry for investors. Generally, index funds come with expense ratios, though costs may vary depending on the fund you choose to invest in.

A multitude of stock trading tools

Fidelity offers trading tools to help you find investments and make trades. Like most investing platforms, you get access to news, quotes, stock research tools, and a helpful learning center with webinars and articles. Fidelity also offers alerts and watch lists to monitor for potential trades.

If you prefer to invest in ETFs, you can use Fidelity’s ETF screener tool, which screens over 2,000 commission-free ETFs for the characteristics you’re looking to invest in. Its Active Trader Pro platform offers a suite of solutions for active traders looking for an information edge when trading, too.

A robo-advisor and other advisor options

In addition to a traditional brokerage account where you choose your investments, Fidelity also offers robo-advisor and investment advisor services to those that prefer having others help manage their portfolios.

If you prefer to let technology handle everything, have a small initial balance, or prefer lower fees, Fidelity Go may be a good fit. This platform creates an investment strategy based on your goals, risk tolerance, and financial situation, though it doesn’t provide any one-on-one support to answer your questions.

Investors who prefer a personal touch may like Fidelity Personal Planning & Advice. To qualify for this type of account, you need a minimum balance of $25,000 managed, but it offers unlimited one-on-one planning calls with a team of Fidelity financial advisors. The fees are higher for this service, but it could be valuable if you prefer having a sounding board for financial advice.

Investors with significant wealth may want to look into Fidelity’s Wealth Management or Private Wealth Management options, which offer comprehensive planning and professional investment management.

Pros and cons of Fidelity Investments

Benefits of Fidelity Investments

  • Many account types to choose from, offering at least one option that will likely fit your needs
  • Extensive range of investment options
  • Multiple desktop and mobile trading platforms
  • A long history of providing low-cost investing services
  • Low barrier to entry for many investments, including no minimum account balances for some account types and fractional share investing
  • Multiple educational resources for investors, including articles, webinars, charting tools, and more
  • Options for both hands-on and hands-off investors

Drawbacks of Fidelity Investments

  • A large number of options could be overwhelming for new investors
  • No opportunity to invest in cryptocurrency for retail investors

Who can open an account with Fidelity Investments?

Fidelity does not list the requirements to open an account on its website, but the application process will determine your eligibility to open an account. To apply, you’ll need a Social Security Number or taxpayer identification number. The Fidelity website is only intended for U.S. investors; however, investors outside the United States can visit Fidelity International.

Fidelity offers services and options to help beginners learn how to invest money and higher-end strategies for experts to continue investing with the firm over the long term. Its low-cost products could help investors keep more of the money they earn, too.

How much can you earn with Fidelity Investments?

Multiple factors will impact how much you can earn with Fidelity, and all investments come with the risk of loss. Since you have so many different ways to invest, the investments you pick will play a huge role, as will market conditions and your overall investment strategy.

Investing is risky, and while the goal is to earn positive returns over the long term, that may not always happen. Make sure you invest within your risk tolerance and investment timelines to avoid potential panic selling if an investment decreases in value more than you’re comfortable with.

FAQs about Fidelity Investments

How do you contact Fidelity Investments customer support?

You can contact Fidelity Investments by phone at 1-800-343-3548. Fidelity account holders can also get support on Reddit at r/fidelityinvestments or via live chat on Fidelity’s website. Secure email is another support option, but you must be logged in to your account to access this feature. Fidelity customers that live near a Fidelity branch can choose to get help in person, too.

How much money do you need to open a Fidelity Investments account?

You can open a Fidelity brokerage account without a minimum investment. The same goes for a Fidelity Go robo-advisor account. Fidelity Personalized Planning & Advice requires a $25,000 account minimum. Wealth Management requires a $250,000 minimum deposit. Its highest tier, Private Wealth Management, requires a $2,000,000 account minimum and a total of $10,000,000 or more in total investable assets.

Is Fidelity Investments good for beginners?

Fidelity Investments could be a good choice for beginners due to its vast educational materials, no account minimums (for certain accounts), low-cost investment options, and a wide variety of account types. Fidelity Investments is a firm that can grow with you as you grow as an investor, which may help to prevent the headache of moving your money to a new brokerage account in the future.

Can you day trade on Fidelity Investments?

Yes, active traders can day trade on Fidelity. If you want to actively day trade within a Fidelity margin account, you could be classified as a pattern day trader on Fidelity. If this happens, you must maintain a $25,000 equity balance in your account at all times.

How to open a Fidelity Investments account

Opening an account with Fidelity can be completed online from the comfort of your home. First, you must decide which type of account you want to open. Then, after you decide on the account type, you have to fill out an application that asks for standard information such as your name, address, Social Security Number or taxpayer identification number, birth date, employment information, funding information, and more. Account approval can be almost instantaneous if there are no issues verifying your identity, though it may take up to a few business days in certain cases.

Other investing platforms to consider

Even though millions of people have chosen Fidelity as their brokerage firm, it might not feel like the best online broker for you. If that’s the case, plenty of other good options exist.

If you prefer an app-based approach and actively trading stocks, you might want to consider Robinhood. Robinhood allows you to buy fractional shares of stocks, which could help you build a diversified portfolio without needing thousands of dollars upfront. Robinhood also supports trading specific cryptocurrencies if you’re interested in investing in digital assets.

Read our Robinhood review to learn more.

TD Ameritrade is another option to consider if you prefer actively trading stocks and other investments. TD Ameritrade is a more traditional online brokerage firm with a much longer track record than Robinhood. It offers a wide variety of account types and investment options that could be useful for those further along their investing journey. Its basic brokerage account doesn’t have account minimums, either.

Find out more by reading our TD Ameritrade review.

TD Ameritrade Benefits

  • Enjoy $0.00 commission trades on stocks and ETFs
  • Open an account in less than 5 minutes
  • Intuitive online trading platform
  • 24/7 customer support

Author Details

Lance Cothern Lance Cothern, CPA is a personal finance writer and founder of MoneyManifesto.com. Lance's work covering several personal finance topics has been published in U.S. News & World Report, Business Insider, Credit Karma, Investopedia, and several other publications.