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.

Sharebuilder Pros
-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.

Sharebuilder Cons
-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.

Related in Sharebuilder:

Merging Sharebuilder Accounts (Aug 27, 2008) Previous my wife and opened multiple Sharebuilder accounts to take advantage of the bonus money offered with the accounts (Sharebuilder review). While they might not be a service for everyone who is investing, taking advantage of their offer for free...

Just Earned My 3rd $50 Bonus (Aug 24, 2006) Last month, I wrote about the possibility of getting multiple Sharebuilder bonuses by opening multiple accounts.I was able to confirm this morning that I have now received my 3rd $50 Sharebuilder bonus by opening my 3rd account with them.This is...

Get Multiple $50 Sharebuilder Bonuses (Jul 24, 2006) I have been able to confirm that you can take advantage of multiple Sharebuilder promotion codes for the same person for more free investments.I established a Sharebuilder account last year with a free $50 bonus and have been happy with...

Comments (11)

DATE: 3:02 PM
Sharebuilder charges $4 for ACH purchases. If you make a buy outside an ACH, it's $15.95 per trade. Therefore, if you have a monthly automatic deduction of $100 to purchase shares, the $4 is 4% of the transaction. However, if you deposit $1500 and make a purchase, the fee is only approximately 1%.

DATE: 9:29 AM
That's an interesting point.How do you know which trades qualify for the $15.95/trade vs. $4.00 / trade?Regards,

DATE: 9:51 AM
The higher fees are for real time market/limit orders. The $4 purchase fee is for one time buys or recurring purchases using the Sharebuilder Plan. This basically means they do bulk buys I think on Tuesdays of each week and your purchase will get lumped into these transactions. If your trying to time the market; Sharebuilder is definitley not the account for you.

DATE: 11:05 AM
Either you are not looking at the whole picture, or I'm missing something. Buying and selling a stock through Sharebuilder costs $20 ($4 to buy+$16 to sell). Buying a stock through Etrade costs $14 ($7 to buy+$7 to sell)This is the reason why I didn't sign up for their $50 bonus, because that bonus is essentially $30 because of fees.

DATE: 2:18 PM
Maybe we are looking at different pictures. I am definitely a buy and hold investor. I have been with Eatrade since 1998 and never had a trade for $7 (you must need to be a frequent trader to qualify for that).For example lets look at an investment in a stock every 6mos then selling it Sharebuilder EtradeBuy 6/2006 $ 4 $14.99 Buy 1/2007 $ 4 $14.99 Buy 6/2007 $ 4 $14.99 Buy 1/2008 $ 4 $14.99 Sell 2008 $15.95 $14.99---------------------------------- Total $27.95 $74.95It looks to me in my circumstances I come out way ahead on fees using Shrebuilder instead of Etrade. This doesnt even include all those nagging fees Etrades sticks on you.

DATE: 12:32 AM
Scottrade is $7/trade (market and limit) and there are no other fees, ever. Much better value and flexibility than sharebuilder, in my opinion. E-trade is a rip-off.

DATE: 4:43 PM
If you are planning to move your account away from Sharebuilder into another company, brace yourselves because Sharebuilder actually earns commissions ($15.95) for EACH stock and then on top of it, charges you $50 for your rollover.if you want to maintain your account with Sharebuilder, better not move it if you dare.

DATE: 8:16 PM
Im not sure I follow, Sharebuilder charges $50 for a full account transfer to another company if you decide to close you account. I don't see anything indicating they charge $15.95 per stock for the transfer.I suspect that what you might be referring is that sharebuilder could possible charge you $15.95 for the liquidation of any fractional share which they cannot transfer. Would this be what you are referring to? If that is the case I would just leave these fractional shares in the Sharebuilder account since the account has no maintenance fees.

DATE: 12:28 AM
Another vote for Scottrade! Great prices, easy-to-use, fast site with quick trades. They also have beautiful java-based charts and are very easy to deal with regarding customer service issues.

First of all, make sure the “low” fees are that low — as it will depend on how much you can afford to invest each month. Depending on that, it could be quite a high percentage fee. Second, make sure you don’t need customer service. I have been a customer for about 2-3 years — and when I had a serious problem in not being able to access my account, I found the customer service so slow, unhelpful, and uncaring that I am looking to move. It would be one thing if everything worked seamlessly and the fees were the best — but neither is the case. I have also had other problems, such as not being able to access my tax documents; and a bank as common and prevalent as Wells Fargo gives me a number of no-fee transactions per year. Given that, who needs Sharebuilder’s attitude?

It does allow you to download the transactions to MS Money. I have the 2007 version not sure if its different for earlier versions. I like my Sharebuilder account!

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