Capital One Investing Review

By Adam Hayes, CFA  | October 5, 2017

Capital One has expanded its retail banking and financial services with an easy-to-use online brokerage platform for the self-directed investor

Overall Rating

3.5/
5.0
Products & Fees
3.0
Trust
4.2
Special Features
2.5
Desktop Experience
3.5
Mobile Experience
3.3
Customer Support
2.5
Research & Insights
4.2
Education
3.2
Banking
5.0

Capital One Investing Fast Facts

Capital One may be best known for its line of credit cards and ubiquitous commercials (“What’s in your wallet?”), but it has also grown through acquisitions into a global banking and financial services powerhouse. In 2012, Capital One purchased ING Direct, including its popular online brokerage, ShareBuilder®, which it subsequently renamed Capital One Investing.

Today, Capital One Investing is a full-service brokerage offering a range of investment services, including advised and self-directed accounts. Investors can trade stocks, bonds, options, mutual funds, and ETFs as whole or partial shares via its ShareBuilder and PortfolioBuilder plans, and its Fund Evaluator can help them decide which funds are the best fit. Trading is available via the web or on mobile devices. Capital One Investing provides basic research and analysis tools, with a particular focus on long-term asset selection and portfolio construction. In addition, personal financial advisors are available to customers by phone through Advisor Connect. With relatively high pricing compared to some competitors, Capital One Investing is best for existing banking customers of Capital One.

pros

  • Full-Service Finances
    Seamless integration with your Capital One banking accounts and products
  • Unique Investment Tools
    ShareBuilder and PortfolioBuilder tools to help implement your investing strategy
  • Familiar Layout
    Easy to navigate web platform

cons

  • Pricing is on the High Side
    $6.95 online trades, $6.95 + $0.75 per contract options trades
  • Doesn’t Offer Free ETFs
    You’ll pay full commissions to trade ETFs
  • No After-Hours Trading
    You’ll have to wait until the next trading day to place an order after the market closes
  • Education & Research Lag Behind Peers
    No videos, tutorials, progress tracking, or webinars

Products & Fees

3.0

Capital One Investing gives customers access to U.S. stocks, ETFs, options, and mutual funds. Pricing is at the higher end compared to its peers, with $6.95 stock trades and $19.95 mutual fund orders. Screeners for stocks, ETFs, and mutual funds can help you find the investments that best match your criteria. You can also use the PortfolioBuilder tool to customize a portfolio of ETFs for your goals and risk profile. What you won’t find here is access to bonds or other fixed-income markets, forex, futures, or CFDs.

  • Stocks and ETFs
    $6.95*/trade
  • Options
    Base pay + $0.75 per contract
  • Mutual Funds
    $19.95/trade
  • Account Minimum
    $0
  • Commission-Free ETFs
    Not Available
  • Bonds and CDs
    Not Available

Trust

4.2

Capital One Investing is a member of both FINRA and SIPC, so it is a regulated investment house. The Capital One brand name has a high degree of recognition and trust, and the company has a national presence, with hundreds of banking branch locations.

What you need to know

Capital One is a household name with a solid reputation, and the trust associated with its brand is valuable. You can be assured that your accounts are safe, and your privacy is respected.

Special Features

2.5
Special Features

There are a few special features that give Capital One Investing an edge against the competition. For example, you can fund your account up to $5,000 per day from your linked Capital One banking accounts, instantly and for free, via Express Funding. The ShareBuilder tool lets you set up a recurring automatic investment plan, and the PortfolioBuilder tool can help you create a portfolio of ETFs that fits your long-term goals.

What you need to know

Capital One has some unique and useful tools that beginner and intermediate-level investors can benefit from. Setting up a recurring investment plan is easy with the ShareBuilder tool, and those automated trades will cost you a reduced $3.95 each. PortfolioBuilder lets you create a customized basket of ETFs. The “What if I Had Invested” tool is a neat way to learn from your trading mistakes and see how much more (or less) your portfolio would be worth if you had done things differently. If you’d prefer to have someone else make your investment decisions, Capital One Advisors Managed Portfolios could be for you. The minimum balance is $25,000, and fees start at 0.9% a year, which is a little pricey compared with other services, such as robo-advisors.

Desktop Experience

3.5
Desktop Platform Experience

Capital One Investing relies entirely on its desktop web experience for trading, research, and account management – without a dedicated trading platform like other online brokers are adding to their toolkit. Still, the web experience is intuitive and easy to navigate.

Pros

Capital One Investing’s traditional online brokerage layout is clean and simple to use, with an intuitive trade interface and menus. It’s especially convenient if you’re also a Capital One banking customer because you can use the same web-based platform for your investment and banking accounts and move money between them.

Cons

The basic website platform is all you get: Capital One lacks a dedicated professional trading platform, which more advanced traders may prefer and some other providers offer. Security might also be an issue. The site requests a One-Time Code for account verification but lacks in other added security measures for web login.

Mobile Experience

3.3
Mobile Platform Experience

The Capital One Investing mobile app is available for iOS and Android. The app is easy to install and can be used to monitor markets or get market news without having to log in. The app lets you trade, monitor your portfolio, and transfer funds – but it lacks a number of important tools that you’d expect to find in a trading app. The app gets quite low user ratings in both the iTunes and Google Play stores.

Pros

Capital One Investing’s mobile app is easy to use on the fly and even offers some functionality even when you’re not logged in. You can manage your accounts and transfer funds in and out using the app.

Cons

As with Capital One Investing’s desktop platform, the mobile app is also lacking in some common mobile app functionality, such as charting tools, screeners, and alerts.

Customer Support

2.5

Customer service is available by phone, live chat, or email (via a form), Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern time but live phone help isn't available 24/7. There is no dedicated line for the hearing impaired and you can't get help in person, but on the upside, Capital One seems to be responsive to customer queries on its social media accounts.

What you need to know

Capital One Investing’s customer service seems to be responsive, receptive, and friendly – accessible by phone, email form, live chat, or by tweeting to its social media handle.

Research & Insights

4.2

Capital One Investing has the research tools that you’d expect from a self-directed platform focusing on investment selection and portfolio construction as opposed to short-term indicators generated by fundamental or technical analysis.

Screeners
Narrow your investment universe with screeners for stocks, ETFs, and mutual funds
Fund Evaluator
Get the lowdown on specific no-load mutual funds and ETFs
Retire MyWay® Tool
Simplify your retirement account planning
What If I Had Invested?
See how your portfolio would have performed if you’d made certain trades
Heat Maps
See what stocks or sectors are hot or not
Analyst Reports
Read what the experts on Wall Street think about a stock’s potential

Pros

Capital One Investing has built some unique tools that you won’t find elsewhere. Its research tools are tailored for the long-term strategic investor, not short-term day traders. Capital One also provides useful third-party research, including analyst reports and ratings from partners such as Morningstar, Sabrient, The Street, and Markit On Demand.

Cons

The Capital One Investing platform is not designed for technicians. Its technical analysis is basic, and you won’t find signals or pattern recognition. Fundamental analysts may also be disappointed by the lack of pre-calculated financial ratios. While some of its competitors are integrating sentiment indicators from social media like Twitter, Capital One has not taken that step yet.

Education

3.2

The educational resources Capital One Investing provides are a bit skimpy. The Knowledge Center has instructional articles, but there are no educational videos, webinars, or other more interactive resources you’ll find elsewhere.

What you need to know

Capital One Investing lags behind the competition in its suite of educational resources, which are limited to text articles and lacking in videos and webinars. In addition, there is no progress tracking or online classroom to help you gauge your knowledge. Still, you’ll find a good number of articles that you can filter by topic or by skill level.

Banking

5.0

Banking is where Capital One shines, and customers with Capital One bank accounts or credit cards will have easy access for funding accounts, consolidating statements, and viewing account details all in one place online.

What you need to know

Capital One customers can enjoy an integrated experience for their banking and investing needs. Account transfers are straightforward, with no need to wait days for the money to clear. With an investing account you’ll have free checking and debit card service, plus you can pay your Capital One credit card balances with money from your brokerage account. In addition, you can consolidate your statements to cut down on paperwork. If you’re a former ING or ING Direct customer, you’ll also be able to link your accounts to Capital One Investing.

Bottom Line

Capital One Investing offers a self-directed brokerage platform that is easy to navigate. It is most suitable for beginners, long-term investors, and existing clients of Capital One’s banking services. There are plenty of research and investment tools tailored to the long-term strategic investor who wants, for example, to save for retirement. Because Capital One lacks its own professional trading platform, however, more advanced or active investors may find it inappropriate for day trades and technical analysis. The platform also lacks the depth and variety of educational resources found elsewhere. Capital One’s pricing isn’t cheap, but if you’re not trading frequently you probably won’t notice – and if you establish a regular investment plan, you will be eligible for reduced commissions.

Adam Hayes, CFA
Reviewed by Adam Hayes, CFA

Adam graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor of Science degree in 2001, and earned his MA in Economics from the New School for Social Research in New York City. He is also a CFA charterholder. Adam has a keen interest in the financial markets, economics, the value of prudent money management and a real desire to educate and help others to succeed financially. He began his professional career as a floor trader in listed options at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, where he gained the extensive knowledge and experience that he carries with him today.  With over a dozen years of financial market experience Adam takes an analytical approach to financial markets. An outdoor enthusiast, Adam enjoys skiing, golf, camping and loves to travel. He also enjoys cooking and fine wines. Adam resides in Rockland County, NY where he lives with his wife and son.

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