Sharebuilder Account Review
Last August I opened a Sharebuilder account with a $50 deposit to give it a test drive. In addition, I recently started an investment in Johnson & Johnson in my account.
Overall I am very pleased with my Sharebuilder account. When you consider the cost to buy stock is $4 vs $15.95 for my Etrade account its hard not to like that fact that your savings money.
-A $4 purchase fee is hard to beat (on the Basic no subscription fee plan)
-Professional site, easy to navigate like most major brokerages
-No fee dividend reinvestment plans for holdings
-No minimums or account maintenance fees. This is probably the biggest benefit to me. I have had brokerage accounts at Olde/H&R Block and Etrade and both periodically raised minimums and account maintenance fees to reduce my returns.
-The site allows you to download transaction files for MS Money/Quicken, however it doesn't have the autosync feature that most major brokerages offer that allow you to download transaction directly from your personal finance software. This is my biggest drawback.
-It is not intuitive how the purchase fee is charged. When you make an investment the site prompts you for the amount you want to invest, but doesn't tell you that your purchase fee will be deduct from the investment amount. Once you understand how the fee is deducted, its no big deal.
-I couldn't find any indepth research reports on stocks as I would expect for most major brokerages.
-Sharebuilder is not an ACATS (Automated Customer Account Transfer System) eligible broker which means transferring holdings from another brokerage to your Sharebuilder account could take longer than normal.
-The company is still building its customer base so its fee structure could become more expensive once the company's new customer growth slows.
I am going to continue using my Sharebuilder account and begin to consolidate some of my accounts to it. I am going to start by looking at my Etrade account and Merck DRIP account to see if I can save money by consolidating them to this account.
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