Charles Schwab Platform Overview
Schwab’s web-based trading platform offers a variety of tools and resources designed to help self-directed investors research, place and manage their own trades. Schwab’s fees do not differ significantly from the industry average, however, its platform offers a robust set of tools and resources for analysts and traders looking for deeper insights into stocks, bonds, preferred shares, and other products. Users can also find third party resources like analyst reports and forecasts from experts in the industry. Active traders who require advanced charting and testing capabilities should consider using Schwab’s StreetSmart edge, a fully customizable trading platform available to Schwab clients.
In this Broker Guide, we’ll introduce some of the key features that Schwab clients can access through the Schwab.com website, including portfolio and account management, news and market insight, and investing in bonds, CDs, stocks, ETFs, mutual funds and options.
Learn more about Schwab’s platform by following our Brokerage User Experience Review. Scroll down for detailed, side-by- side comparisons of each section offered by Charles Schwab. You can get to a specific comparison even faster by clicking on the name of the section you want to look at, in the nav bar at left. For more information about this broker, you can read our full Charles Schwab review.
Welcome Page - The Charles Schwab Corporation (NYSE: SCHW) is a financial services company founded in April 1971 that offers online brokerage, investing, advisory and banking solutions for active traders and investors. While Schwab offers the StreetSmart Edge trading software platform – which is ideal for active traders and those who require advanced charting options – self-directed traders and investors can research, buy and sell stocks, ETFs, bonds, options, mutual funds and other securities from within the Schwab.com website.
Summary - After logging into your Schwab account, you’ll be directed first to the Accounts Summary page, which provides a snapshot of your current balances and other information for all your Schwab accounts. The summary displays the Total Accounts Value (the value of all accounts), along with the value of each account and the Account Day Change (the change in value from the previous day’s close), as both a percentage and a dollar amount.
Resources - The Schwab platform offers a variety of tools to help you stay on top of market-moving news. To access the news, click the Research tab at the top of any page and select Markets. The first tab on the Markets page covers U.S. Markets; click Market News to view Breaking News, including today’s top headlines, the most popular stories and your saved stories, as well as the Schwab Market Update. Toward the bottom of the page, you’ll find recent headlines for Market & Stock News, Company News, Sectors & Industries, Economics-Gov’t Money and Press Releases.
Find Stocks - You can screen for stocks by clicking the Screeners tab and selecting the Screen For Stocks option. Filter more than 6,000 stocks based on criteria you select – such as dividends, analyst ratings, price performance and technical. Choose from three main sections: Predefined Screens – a good starting point for beginners, Screen for Stocks – lets you build a new screen from scratch, My Saved Screens – lets you access your previously saved screens.
Order Entry - To place a trade, click the Trade tab from the top menu and select the appropriate option. To place a stock order, for example, click the Trade tab and select Stocks & ETFs. To enter an order, enter a symbol (or use the Lookup link to find the correct symbol), choose an action (buy, sell or sell short), enter a quantity, choose an order type (e.g., market, limit, etc.) and select a duration (e.g., GTC).
Portfolio & Account Management
Summary - After logging into your Schwab account, you’ll be directed first to the Accounts Summary page, which provides a snapshot of your current balances and other information for all your Schwab accounts. The summary displays the Total Accounts Value (the value of all accounts), along with the value of each account and the Account Day Change (the change in value from the previous day’s close), as both a percentage and a dollar amount.
Balances - The Balances page provides details about your current account balances and the current value of funds available to trade and to withdraw.
Positions - The Positions page lists each open position, grouped by security type (e.g., Equities, ETFs, Cash, etc.), along with each position’s quantity, price, price change (by $ and %), market value, and day change.
Gains & Losses - This view shows Unrealized Gains & Losses for every open position, along with quantity, price, market value, and day change.
Positions Monitor - The last tab in the Positions page is the Positions Monitor, which breaks down each position by asset class and security type (i.e., equities, mutual funds, ETFs). Detailed information is shown, including cumulative returns, average annualized returns, ratings (overall and risk level), five-year growth of $10,000, risk level (measured in Beta), industry averages, expense ratios, growth since inception and earnings estimates (actual metrics vary by security type).
Transactions - The Transactions tab lists activity (e.g., buy and sell orders, reinvestment of shares) by date, action, symbol, description, quantity, price, fees/commissions and the transaction amount. By default, it lists all transactions for the past 24 months; however, you can filter your search to view activities by symbol and a specified date range.
Statements & Reports - The Statements & Reports tab contains important electronic documents that you can view, print and/or save to your computer. Search by date range to view monthly statements, trade confirmations, tax forms, reports & plans, letters or all available statements and reports. The maximum lookback range is 10 years, and you can narrow your search by entering a ticker symbol along with a date range.
Realized Gains & Losses - The Realized Gain/Loss tab displays information for all closed transactions. Filter by date to view symbol, name, date closed, quantity, proceeds and cost basis, as well as total, long term and short term gains and losses (by $ and %) for each individual transaction. The top of the page provides a snapshot of your overall proceeds, cost basis and total gain/loss. Click on any header to sort in ascending/descending order by that metric.
Learning Center - The Schwab website has educational resources to help investors and traders learn more about particular topics. To access the Learning Center, click the Research tab at the top of any page and select Learning Center. From there, you can access two “catalogs.” The first is the Investor Catalog, which contains four sections: Getting Started, Planning for Retirement, Building a Portfolio and Understanding Investment Products. The second is the Trader Catalog, which covers Platforms & Tools, Trading Strategies, Research & Analytics, and Options, ETFs & Global.
Financial Guidance - For help making trading and investing decisions, click the Guidance tab at the top of any page and select Financial Guidance. This takes you to a page with three main sections: Invest on Your Own, Occasional Guidance and Portfolio Management. Each section has sub-sections, as well as numerous resources to help you achieve your goals – whether that’s learning about advanced trading tools or retirement planning.
Schwab Portfolio Checkup - The Portfolio Performance page (under the Accounts tab) shows the difference in allocation between your current portfolio and the target asset allocation you chose in the Portfolio Setup step. An alert appears (⚠) if your current holdings from the six asset classes (large cap equity, small cap equity, international equity, fixed income, cash investments and other) differ from your target by 5% or more. You can also view checkups for sector diversification, equity concentration, fixed income and overall portfolio quality (based on Schwab Equity and Morningstar Ratings).
Portfolio Management Services - Schwab’s Portfolio Management Services (found under the Guidance tab from any webpage) include personalized advice, managed portfolios and specialized strategies (e.g., focused investment strategy, dividend growth strategy and global diversification). Scroll down to view a comparison of the different portfolio management services, along with a description of what you get, the minimum investment, and fees, if any.
News & Market Insights
Market News - The Schwab platform offers a variety of tools to help you stay on top of market-moving news. To access the news, click the Research tab at the top of any page and select Markets. The first tab on the Markets page covers U.S. Markets; click Market News to view Breaking News, including today’s top headlines, the most popular stories and your saved stories, as well as the Schwab Market Update. Toward the bottom of the page, you’ll find recent headlines for Market & Stock News, Company News, Sectors & Industries, Economics-Gov’t Money and Press Releases.
Most Actives - The Most Actives tab displays a market summary, including real-time quotes and daily charts for the major indices (DJIA, NASDAQ, NYSE, S&P 500 and Russell 2000). Scroll down to see today’s market movers, grouped by exchange and sortable by % Price Increase, % Price Decrease, $ Price Increase, $ Price Decrease, 52-week highs and 52-week lows. Hover your mouse over any trading symbol to view a Stock Snapshot. There’s also a chart showing today’s advancers/decliners for the NYSE, NASDAQ, NYSE MKT and TSX (Toronto Stock Exchange), as well as top/bottom performing sectors, industries and sub-industries.
Indices - The Indices tab provides information about major market indices, grouped by the Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific. The index value, today’s change (by $ and %), today’s range and the 52-week range are shown for each index, along with a small line graph depicting the index’s movement so far this week (click the blue chart icon on the right side of the table to view advanced charting options). Note that U.S. and Canadian index quotes are shown in real time; all other index quotes are delayed at least 15 minutes.
Search News - The Search News tab shows headlines and the first couple of lines of the 10 most recent news stories; click on any headline to read the entire story and click the “Next” link at the bottom of the page to see additional headlines. Using the Advanced Search feature, you can filter stories by keyword, symbol, company, sources, sectors and topics, as well as by date range. Select the Recent Searches tab to view your recent search results.
Overview - By default, the Overview tab shows weekly charts of the S&P United Kingdom, S&P Japan and S&P Hong Kong, plus a table that displays data for five other indices (last, change, 52-week range, session status and five-day trend). Click the Customize button to select different charts, and up to 15 indices for the table (click Save to keep your changes). Scroll down for News & Commentary, Global Currencies (including 5-day, 3-month, 6-month, 1-year and 5-year charts) and Cross Rates for USD, GBP, JPY and EUR.
Regions & Countries - The Regions & Countries tab displays about four dozen countries, grouped by region, with the risk level and market type (i.e., developed or emerging) for each, and checkmarks to indicate whether each country is covered by Schwab Equity Ratings International (SERI), has online U.S. OTC trading and online foreign market trading. Click on any country to view charts, economic data and investment options, as well as a country profile and commentary from the Economist Intelligence Unit.
Country Profiles - The Country Profiles tab takes you to the same place as clicking on any country in the Regions & Countries tab. At the top of the page, click on the “Select another country” link to choose a country from a list of developed and emerging markets, grouped by region. View charts, economic data and ways to invest in that country, plus a country profile and commentary from the Economist Intelligence Unit.
Allocation Guidelines - The Allocation Guidelines tab is an educational page intended to help you make smarter investment decisions. You’ll find guidelines for international equity asset allocation, subdividing your assets in international equities and international investing by region. Accompanying pie charts show recommended allocation based on risk profile, across developed and emerging markets and across regions.
Understanding International Investing - The Understanding International Investing tab is another educational page. A table shows international equity investing options, including ETFs, mutual funds (active and index) and individual stocks (ADRs and foreign equity – both in foreign markets and U.S. OTC stocks). The table also provides a description and details about inherent diversification, minimum position size, liquidity, margin eligibility, trading hours, settlement dates, ongoing management expenses, commissions, online trading, foreign currency exposure, foreign currency diversification and tax efficiency.
Futures - The Futures tab displays market data – including product, symbol, last price, change, open, high, low, volume and open interest – for six futures products (ES, NQ, YM, CL, NG and GC). Click on the “Show More Active Futures” link to load additional symbols (SI, HG, US, TY, EC, JY, AD, CK, SK and LC). Scroll down to view daily continuation charts of the ES, US, GC and CL. All quotes on the page are delayed 30 seconds. Note: If you don’t see the Futures tab, click Research at the top of the page and select Futures under the Markets heading.
Industries - A yearly chart of the top performing sector vs. the S&P 500 appears by default at the top of the Industries tab. Click the Select a Sector or Industry button, or enter a symbol to customize the chart. Scroll down to research industries by performance, valuation, fundamentals, consensus and technical, and filter by clicking the All Companies button to select market cap size and Schwab Equity Rating. Note that the sector or industry you select for the chart at the top of the page is what appears in the research table.
Calendar - The Calendar tab lists today’s events, grouped by economic, earnings, dividends, splits, conference calls and ratings changes. Use the calendar to research a particular date in the future, up to five months from today (you can also look back five months). Note that all quotes on the page are delayed by at least 15 minutes.
ETFs - The Stock tab within Ideas & Strategies displays information about recent ratings upgrades from Schwab Equity Ratings, Morningstar, Argus, S&P Capital IQ, Credit Suisse and Ned Davis Research. By default, the 10 most recent rating changes appear; click the “View More Ratings Changes” link to see more. Scroll down to view price quotes and news headlines for companies making news today.
Stocks - The Stock tab within Ideas & Strategies displays information about recent ratings upgrades from Schwab Equity Ratings, Morningstar, Argus, S&P Capital IQ, Credit Suisse and Ned Davis Research. By default, the 10 most recent rating changes appear; click the “View More Ratings Changes” link to see more. Scroll down to view price quotes and news headlines for companies making news today.
Markets & Economy - The Market Insight tab displays fresh updates on the market and investing trends on various topics, including Markets & Economy, Investment Strategies and Retirement, plus educational videos (such as Back to Bond Basics – Why Own Bonds?). Editor’s Picks appear on the right side of the webpage, as well as answers to user-submitted questions (see the “Ask Carrie” box). From the Market Insight tab, you can click to view five additional sections: Markets & Economy, Investment Strategies, Retirement, Personal Finance & Planning, and Webcasts.
Webcasts - Click on the Webcasts tab within the Market Insight tab to participate in online events and access on-demand webcasts and podcasts that feature Schwab experts discussing a variety of investing topics. Click the “email alerts” link to receive email updates, or click the link for “podcasts” to be added to that email list.
Reports - The Reports tab takes you to a list of market reports, grouped by research firm, including Morningstar, Argus, Credit Suisse and Ned Davis Research. Each research firm offers different types of market reports. Morningstar, for example, offers Morning Notes, Stock Strategist and Industry Focus reports, to name a few. Argus, on the other hand, publishes Market Watch, Market Movers and Model Portfolios reports. Click on any report title to view the entire report, or click on the PDF icon to download the report.
Stock Trading & Investing
Overview - To access the Stock Trading & Investing section of the website, click Research from the top of any page and select Stocks. The Overview tab displays lists of stocks, including companies you’ve recently searched and those with ratings changes, as well as links to various stock research tools. Scroll down to watch Morningstar video commentary, and to view Schwab Stock Lists to find top-ranked stocks by market cap, sector or Schwab Equity Ratings. Note that price quotes are delayed by at least 15 minutes.
Schwab Stock Lists - Each week, the Schwab Center for Financial Research (SCFR) creates a list of top-rated stocks in different categories, which appears in the Schwab Stock Lists tab. The SCFR rates about 3,000 U.S. and international stocks, excluding penny stocks and those with market caps below $250 million and prices below $5 (to limit volatility). The list can be accessed in five views (Basic, Analyst Ratings, Price Performance, Fundamentals and Valuation) and each shows different data points. Click the box next to the trading symbol to compare up to five stocks. Note that price quotes are delayed by at least 15 minutes.
Charts Guidelines - The Charts tab is an educational resource designed to help you learn about Schwab’s charting features. Click Features Overview, Indicators, Quick Charts or Historical Chart to find answers to commonly asked questions, such as “How do I save custom charts?” and “How do I add indicators to the chart?” Enter a symbol in the View Our Interactive Chart box and click View Chart to view advanced charting options.
Charts - Once you enter a symbol in the View Our Interactive Chart box and click View Chart, you’ll be taken to a page with advanced charting options. View market data, including real-time quotes (as of the time the chart opens), bid/ask size, today’s volume and Schwab Equity Rating. View different timeframes by selecting one of the charting interval options (e.g., 1 day, 1 month, YTD). You can also add technical indicators, comparisons, events and tools to the charts, and change the style (e.g., OHLC, candlestick) and scale of the chart, as well.
Compare Stocks - The Compare Stocks tab allows you to enter up to five symbols or company names to view data and chart comparisons. Data comparisons include a summary, as well as a comparison of fundamentals, earnings, Schwab’s Viewpoint and Other Ratings (e.g., Morningstar). The chart comparison places all symbols on one chart interval of your choosing. If you plan to compare the same set of stocks again in the future, click the Save Comparison button, name your comparison and click Save.
Schwab Equity Ratings Performance - The Schwab Equity Ratings Performance tab is designed to help investors research individual equities. Ratings are usually updated weekly and track the performance of all rated stocks, including the average percentage return of all 52-week periods over the previous 15 years. View the fine print at the bottom of the page to learn how the Schwab Equity Ratings Performance is calculated.
Rating Changes - The Rating Changes tab displays rating upgrades and downgrades from Schwab Equity Ratings, Morningstar Equity Research, Argus Research, S&P Capital IQ, Briefing.com, Credit Suisse and Ned Davis Research. Each rating change shows the symbol, description, previous and current rating, and date, as well as links to PDF reports and charts. Lists are shown alphabetically by default, but you can click on any header to sort differently.
Screen for Stocks - You can screen for stocks by clicking the Screeners tab and selecting the Screen For Stocks option. Filter more than 6,000 stocks based on criteria you select – such as dividends, analyst ratings, price performance and technical. Choose from three main sections: Predefined Screens – a good starting point for beginners, Screen for Stocks – lets you build a new screen from scratch, My Saved Screens – lets you access your previously saved screens
Preferred Shares - You can screen for preferred shares by clicking the Screeners tab and selecting Preferred Shares. Make selections for Current Yield, S&P Capital IQ Rating and Moody’s Rating, choose Sectors & Industries to include in your screen, and choose a status for Stated Call, Cumulative, Convertible and Last Close Price. Once you have completed your selections, click the View Matches button to view the results. For help with preferred investments, call the phone number at the top of the page.
International - You can screen for international stocks by clicking the Screeners tab and selecting International. Select a Schwab Equity Rating International rating (A, B, C, D or F), and narrow your results by region and the Economist Intelligence Unit Country Risk Level, sector and market capitalization (normalized to USD, displayed in millions).
Report Archive - You can screen for reports by clicking the Screeners tab and selecting Report Archive. The 20 most recent reports – with the report name, provider and release date – appear by default. Search the report archive by selecting at least one provider (e.g., Morningstar, Credit Suisse), entering a date range and selecting a search parameter (by company ticker, headline or free text). You can also enter a ticker. Click the Search button to display results.
Enter Order - To place a trade, click the Trade tab from the top menu and select the appropriate option. To place a stock order, for example, click the Trade tab and select Stocks & ETFs. To enter an order, enter a symbol (or use the Lookup link to find the correct symbol), choose an action (buy, sell or sell short), enter a quantity, choose an order type (e.g., market, limit, etc.) and select a duration (e.g., GTC).(Learn about different order types in Introduction to Order Types.)
Verify Order - After you enter an order and click the Review Orders button, you’ll be taken to the Order Verification page. Review your trade order information, and click Do Not Place Order to cancel the order, Change to edit the order, or Place Order to send it to the market. If you place an order, you will be directed to the Order Received page.
Stock Education - Learn about stock investing by clicking the Research tab at the top of any page and selecting Learning Center. From here, open the Understanding Investment Products section of the Investor Catalog, and choose Stocks. A list of articles and workshops appears; click on the title to view a brief description, or click on the icon to read the article or register for an in-person or online event.
Create Watchlist - To access the Watchlist page, click Trade from the top of any page and select Watchlist. From there you can view detailed quotes and fundamental analysis of securities you have added to your Watchlist, as well as view any open positions. To make a new Watchlist, click the “Create List” link near the top of the page. Enter up to 40 symbols for each Watchlist. For listed bonds, add “.d” and for options, enter either the OCC symbol or use this format: XYZ MM/DD/YYYY 25.0 C. Click the “Alphabetize Symbols” link to view the list in alphabetical order.
Watchlist View - You can view your Watchlist in a number of different ways; each shows different market data. The Quotes view, for example, shows each symbol in your Watchlist along with its rating, last price, change (by $ and %), bid, ask, volume and trade time/date. Click a dropdown menu in the Links column (far right) to select Trade, Chart, Set Alert, Options or News. Note that all quotes on this page are real-time when they are initially displayed.
Overview - The ETFs Overview page shows the research and tools available for Exchange-Traded Funds; access the page by clicking Research at the top of any page and selecting Exchange-Traded Products. Find ETFs by investment category (Domestic Equity, International Equity, Bond, Sector or Real Assets), and select one of the options to view ETFs that match your criteria. Scroll down to view ETF products, including Schwab ETFs, $0 commission ETFs and Expert Picks, as well as Recent ETFs and Largest ETFs by total assets. Note that all quotes are delayed at least 15 minutes.
ETF Portfolios - The ETF Portfolios tab takes you to the Schwab ETF Portfolio Builder, which allows you to invest in your own portfolio of ETFs. To get started, select your account, choose a risk profile (e.g., conservative, moderately aggressive) and enter the dollar amount that you want to invest. Click the View Portfolios button to see a list of recommended ETFs, along with the risk profile allocation. Hover your mouse above any ETF symbol to view a snapshot. To buy an ETF, click the Trade button beneath the results. Note that all quotes are delayed at least 15 minutes.
ETF Comparison - The Compare tab allows you to enter up to five ETFs to view data and chart comparisons. The Fact & Fees comparison includes a summary of each fund, along with fund strategy, quotes, yields, fundamentals, Morningstar ratings and opinions and views. The Performance & Chart comparison has a table that displays monthly market and NAV returns, plus quarterly market and NAV returns. There’s also a chart that shows how each ETF performed over a time interval you select. If you plan to compare the same set of ETFs again in the future, click the Save Comparison button, name your comparison and click Save. Note that all quotes are delayed at least 15 minutes.
ETF Screener - The Screener tab allows you to filter 600+ ETFs based on criteria you select – such as fund performance, sector exposure and risk analysis. Choose from three main sections: Predefined Screens – a good starting point for beginners, Screen for Funds – lets you build a new screen from scratch, My Saved Screens – lets you access your previously saved screens. Note that all quotes are delayed at least 15 minutes.
ETF OneSource - Schwab ETF OneSource is a group of more than 200 commission-free ETFs, from 16 ETF providers including Guggenheim, JP Morgan, PowerShares and Schwab. View ETFs by category (Domestic Equity, International Equity, Bond, Sector, Specialty and Real Assets) or by ETF Company. Each list includes the symbol, name, last price, today’s change, expense ratios, Morningstar category and a link to the fund’s prospectus. Select up to five funds and click the Compare button to see a side-by-side comparison. Note that all quotes are delayed at least 15 minutes.
Schwab ETFs - The Schwab ETFs tab features ETFs with low expenses and commission-free online trading. Sort by Domestic Equity, International Equity and Fixed-Income products to view a list of ETFs, along with the symbol, description, ETF strategy, NAV and expense ratio for each. Note that all quotes are delayed at least 15 minutes.
ETF Select List - The ETF Select List tab is intended to help you narrow your ETF choices and make more confident investing decisions. The ETFs on the Select List are chosen based on their low cost of ownership. In addition, they meet certain standards for liquidity, viability and structural stability. Sort by Domestic Equity, International Equity, Fixed Income, Sector, Specialty and Real Assets to view each ETF’s symbol, fund name/benchmark index/description, Morningstar category, gross expense ratio and commission details. Note that all quotes are delayed at least 15 minutes.
Closed-End Funds - The CEFs tab lists closed-end funds (which are not the same as ETFs). Sort by Diversified Domestic, Balanced, International, Sector, Alternative, Commodities, Taxable Bond and Tax-Free Bond to view market data for the corresponding ETFs. Note that all quotes are delayed at least 15 minutes.
Enter Order (ETF) - To place a trade, click the Trade tab at the top of any page and select the appropriate option. To place an ETF order, click the Trade tab and select Stocks & ETFs. To enter an order, enter a symbol (or use the Lookup link to find the correct symbol), choose an action (buy, sell or sell short), enter a quantity, choose an order type (e.g., market, limit) and select a duration (e.g., GTC). To place more than one order, click the “Add an Order” link. Click the Review Orders button to display the Order Verification page. (Learn about different order types in Introduction to Order Types.)
Verify Order (ETF) - After you enter an order and click the Review Orders button, you will be taken to the Order Verification page. Review your trade order information, and click Do Not Place Order to cancel the order, Change to edit the order, or Place Order to send it to the market. If you place an order, you will be directed to the Order Received page. Notice estimated commission is 0.00 for Schwab ETFs or ETF OneSource.
Order Received (ETF) - Once you place an order, you’ll see an Order Received notification. This trade confirmation shows the symbol, action (buy, sell or sell short), quantity, order type and timing, as well as the order number. Click on the “Order Status” link to view more information.
Understanding ETFs - Click on the Understanding ETFs tab to watch tutorials such as “How ETFs Work and How to Use Them” and read educational content designed to help you improve your knowledge of ETFs. Scroll down to view the Top 10 ETF questions and corresponding answers.
ETFs - Learn more about ETFs on the Understanding Investment Products – ETFs webpage. To access the page, click on Research at the top of any page, select Learning Center, open the Understanding Investment Products menu and select ETFs. A list of articles and workshops appears; click on the title to view a brief description, or click on the icon to read the article or watch a video.
Overview - To learn about options, click the Research tab from the top of any webpage and select Options. The Overview tab has information about options trading essentials and different options strategies. Enter a ticker symbol in the Option Chains box to view quotes, calls and puts. Scroll down for Today’s Options Market Update, expert insight, links to educational content, an events calendar and a chart of the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) – you choose the chart interval. Note that all quotes are delayed at least 15 minutes. (Read Options Pricing: A Review of Basic Terms to catch up on option terminology.)
Tools - The Tools tab introduces the various analytical tools available to options traders. Tools include an Option Builder, Beginner Strategy Finder, Option Screener, an options expiration calendar and pricing calculators (basic and advanced). You’ll need to be approved for options trading to access some of these tools. To apply, click the Apply Now button on the Overview tab.
Trading Policies - Learn about approval levels, Schwab’s exercise policy, equity requirements and costs in the Trading Policies tab. There are four approval levels: level 0, for example, allows you to place covered and protective strategies only. Level 3 (the highest level) allows you to place virtually any type of options trade, including spreads, condors, butterflies, and uncovered calls, puts, roll-outs and ratio spreads.
Chains - To view option chains, enter a symbol in the Option Chains box on the overview tab and click the View button. Market data – including symbol, description, bid, ask and volume – appears at the top of the page; click the “Refresh All Quotes” link for current prices. Filter chains by selecting a strategy (calls & puts, calls, puts and Greeks), an expiration and type of strike (e.g., around the money). A list displays all the calls and puts, along with bid/ask and volume/open interest information.
Understanding Options - The Understanding Options tab is an educational resource for options traders. Learn about key concepts; foundational, intermediate and advanced strategies; choosing your own options strategy; and placing options trades. There’s also a glossary, plus a link to in-depth options education including articles, webinars and an events calendar for live online and in-person events.
Options Article Library - Click on the Options Article Library tab to read about various options-related topics, including introductory and advanced topics. Article examples include Short Condor Spreads: Finding Good Candidates and Long Iron Butterfly Spreads: Understanding the Basics. Most articles include graphics and screenshots to emphasize learning points.
Options Video Library - Visit the Options Video Library tab to watch educational videos that provide insights for trading strategies, answer frequently asked questions and more. Click the “Watch Now” link to view the video or read a transcript.
Mutual Fund Investing
Overview - Click on the Research tab at the top of any page and select Mutual Funds to access a variety of tools and resources for mutual fund investing. The Overview tab provides a snapshot of Schwab’s Fund Screener, a variety of mutual fund investing solutions (including the Schwab Mutual Fund Portfolio Builder), plus a list of your recent fund searches, as well as the top performing Morningstar fund categories.
Mutual Fund Portfolio Builder - Click on the Mutual Fund Portfolios tab to access the Schwab Mutual Fund Portfolio Builder, which allows you to create your own portfolio of mutual funds using the Mutual Fund Select List. To get started, select your account, choose a risk profile (e.g., conservative, moderate) and enter the dollar amount you want to invest (there’s a $5,000 minimum). Click the View Portfolios button to see a list of recommended funds, along with a description, category, risk profile allocation, investment amount and prospectus for each. Click the Trade button to buy the funds.
Schwab Target Date Funds - Click on the Schwab Target Date Funds tab (within the Mutual Fund Portfolios tab) to learn about funds that are professionally managed according to your approximate target date for retirement and investment objective. These funds automatically adjust asset allocation to become more conservative as you approach retirement. Scroll down to view a list of funds, along with the retirement date, description, symbol, net expense ratio and prospectus for each. Click the Trade button to buy a fund.
Schwab MarketTrack Portfolios - Click on the Schwab MarketTrack Portfolios tab (within the Mutual Fund Portfolios tab) to learn about four passively managed fund portfolios, each with a different mix of investments to match your investment goals and risk tolerance. Scroll down to see charts, fees and performance for equity, growth, balanced and conservative funds.
Mutual Fund Comparison - The Compare Funds tab allows you to enter up to five symbols or company names to view data and performance comparisons. Data comparisons include a summary, as well as a comparison of fees & expenses, yields, initial minimums, Morningstar ratings, risk & return, and manager information. The performance comparison shows a table with various performance measures (e.g., monthly pre-tax, quarterly after-tax), as well as a price chart that shows all the symbols (you choose the charting interval). If you plan to compare the same set of funds again in the future, click the Save Comparison button, name your comparison and click Save.
Mutual Fund Screener - You can screen for mutual funds by clicking the Fund Screener tab. Use the Fund Screener to find funds using your choice of filter criteria, including fees/loads, investing category, Morningstar rating, expense ratio and performance. Once you’ve selected your criteria, click the View Matches button to see results. Select the Predefined Screens tab to view a selection of existing screens, including sector, taxable bond, municipal bond, commodity and small cap. Scroll down to compare up to four funds.
Mutual Fund OneSource Select List - Click the Select Lists tab to view Schwab’s Mutual Fund OneSource Select List. This is a list of about 175 funds that Schwab has identified as having the best combination of eligibility, quantitative assessment and qualitative review, and that are expected to outperform their peers over the next 12-36 months. Sort the list by category: Choose large-cap U.S. stocks, small- & mid-cap U.S. stocks, international, specialty, taxable bond, tax-free bond and additional fund categories.
Schwab Funds - The Schwab Funds tab introduces funds that are managed by Schwab – including more than 50 no-load, no-transaction fee funds. Scroll down to read about the various types of funds offered (e.g., active equity, real estate, equity index, etc.), and click any type to view all the funds offered in that category. The bottom of the page has links to prospectuses, reports and portfolio holdings, as well as annual distribution and supplementary tax information documents.
Laudus Funds - The Laudus Funds tab explains how to invest in Laudus Funds, a select line-up of funds managed by sub-advisers chosen by Charles Schwab Investment Management (CSIM) on the basis of their performance and investment process. They are all no-load funds that are available with no transaction fees if you buy them through Schwab.com or via the automated phone channels (a $25 service charge applies for orders placed through a broker).
Enter Order (Mutual Funds) - To place an order, click the Trade tab from the top of any page and select Mutual Funds. You’ll be directed to a basic order entry interface. Enter a symbol, or use the Lookup feature to find the correct symbol. Next, select an action (Buy, Sell, or Sell and Buy Another) and then click the Continue button to advance to the next step in the process.
Enter Order pt 2 (Mutual Funds) - Once you’ve entered a symbol and action, you’ll advance to the second order-entry screen. Here, you’ll enter a trade amount in dollars (there’s a $100 minimum), and select a reinvestment option (dividends and capital gains; capital gains only; or none). Click the Review Order button to advance to the next step.
Verify Order (Mutual Funds) - The Review Order button takes you to a screen that shows all of the order details, including symbol, action, amount in dollars, directions for reinvesting, trade date and transaction fee. Click Do Not Place Order to cancel the order, Change to edit the order, or Place Order to send it to the market. If you place an order, you will be directed to the Order Received page.
Order Received (Mutual Funds) - Once you place an order, you’ll see an Order Received notification. This trade confirmation shows the symbol, action (buy, sell or sell short), amount in dollars, directions for reinvesting, as well as the order number. Click on the “Go To Order Status” link to view more information.
Mutual Funds - Learn more about mutual funds on the Understanding Investment Products – Mutual Funds webpage. To access the page, click on Research at the top of any page, select Learning Center, open the Understanding Investment Products menu and select Mutual Funds. You’ll see a list of titles, with icons that indicate whether the content is delivered as an article or a video. Some topics have links to register for live online or in-person events.
Investing in Bonds
Overview - Click Research at the top of any page and select Bonds & Fixed Income to access tools and resources designed to help you learn about bonds and other fixed income investments. The Overview tab highlights the best available rates for each maturity range and product based on a $25,000 face value amount; click on the individual rates for the bond details (rates and yields are delayed 15 minutes). Scroll down for Treasury auctions, the new-issue municipal calendar, retail notes and mortgage-backed securities, plus market data including key rates, the U.S. Treasury yield curve and the latest economic news.
Find Bonds - Use the Find Bonds & Fixed Income tab to search for fixed income securities. You can search by product (bond type, sector/industry), maturity/yield, ratings and CUSIP number, and you can filter results to show only zero coupon, variable rate, stepped-rate coupon, non-callable, callable, survivor’s option and recently issued products. Search results are sorted by Maturity, and then Yield to Maturity, for the bond type you select. Click on any hyperlinked column to re-sort the results.
Bond Results - After you enter your search criteria, click the View Search Results button to display the results. The results table shows detailed information for each bond including its S&P rating, Moody’s rating, description, coupon, maturity date, price, accrued interest and estimated total. Click the icon in the Action column to place an order, or click on the bond’s description to learn more about that particular bond.
Enter Order (Bonds) - To place an order, click Trade from the top of any page and select the appropriate option under the Bonds heading (Buy Bonds or Sell Bonds). To buy bonds, review the Fixed Income Offerings matrix and click on the product and maturity that you want to buy. Choose a product and click the Buy link in the Action column. Enter a quantity (face value), select an order type and click the Review Order button. Review your order to check for accuracy and either cancel, edit or submit the order.
Understanding Fixed Income - The Understanding Fixed Income tab is an educational page that covers a variety of topics including bond basics, ways to invest in fixed income, common fixed income risks, and how to build, plan and monitor your fixed income portfolio. If you have any questions or need help, click the Live Chat icon or call the phone number listed to speak with a fixed income specialist.
Fixed Income - Learn more about bonds and other fixed income products on the Understanding Investment Products – Fixed Income webpage. To access the page, click on Research at the top of any page, select Learning Center, open the Understanding Investment Products menu and select Fixed Income. A list of articles and workshops appears; click on the title icon to read the article or watch a video.
Investing in CDs
Overview - Click on the Research tab from the top of any page and select CDs & Money Markets to view a snapshot of CD offerings from Schwab. You’ll find links to learn more about CDs, money market funds and cash management, as well as a link to view frequently asked questions – such as "How do I buy CDs through Schwab?" and "How does FDIC insurance work for CDs?"
Find CDs - To find CDs, click on the Research tab from the top of any webpage, select Find Bonds & Fixed Income (below the Bonds & Fixed Income header) and choose CDs. From the dropdown menu at the top, select CDs. Enter your search criteria (e.g., maturity date, yield) and click the View Search Results button to view a list of available CDs.
CDs Results - After you click the View Search Results button, you’ll be directed to a page that displays a list of all CDs that match your criteria (to load more pages, click the “Next” link at the top or bottom of the list). You can sort the list by clicking any of the hyperlinked column headers, or edit your search by clicking the Modify Search button. To learn more about a particular CD, click the hyperlinked text in the Description column. To place an order, click Buy in the Action column.
CD Rate Table - To view current CD rates, click the Trade tab at the top of any webpage and select CDs. Choose a maturity (e.g., 1 month, 1 year, 5 years) to view a list of all available CDs. You can sort the table by clicking on any of the hyperlinked column headers. Click on any description to learn more about that particular CD, including CUSIP, institution location, maturity date and current yield.
Enter Order (CDs) - To buy a CD, review the CD Rate Table matrix and click the maturity you want. Choose a product and click the Buy link in the Action column. Enter a quantity (face value; $1,000 minimum) and click the Review Button order. To buy more than the maximum quantity, call the CD Specialist phone number listed on the entry order. Review your order to check for accuracy and either cancel, edit or submit the order.
Learn About CDs - From the previous page, click the Learn About CDs tab, or click the Trade tab from the top of any webpage and select Learn About CDs (beneath the CDs heading) to access educational resources. Learn more about how FDIC insurance works for CDs, benefits of buying CDs at Schwab and how to buy CDs through Schwab CD OneSource.
Investing in IPOs
Offer Calendar & Status - The Offer Calendar & Status tab lists information for any upcoming IPOs. To learn more about an offering and review the preliminary prospectus, click on the offering name and you’ll be directed to the Offering Details page. Schwab notes that it’s important for customers to monitor the Offer Calendar & Status page for any updates or added information, including the appearance of a free-writing prospectus or amended preliminary prospectus related to the subject offering. To begin the offering process, click the “Start COTP” (“Start Conditional Offer to Purchase”) button at the bottom of the page and follow the instructions.
About IPOs - Initial Public Offerings are generally considered high-risk investments. The About IPOs tab explains the basic steps you must follow to participate in an IPO through Schwab. It is recommended that you read through each step before initiating the offering process to ensure you understand the process. For help, contact Schwab IPO services at the phone number listed at the top and bottom of the page.
Online Transfer - Click the Accounts tab at the top of any page to access the accounts Summary page, as well as Balances, Transfers & Payments, Positions, Portfolio Performance and History & Statements. One feature found in the Accounts tab is the option to securely transfer cash between eligible Schwab Brokerage accounts. To transfer money between accounts, choose the Transfers & Payments option from the Account tab. From there, select the appropriate accounts to transfer From and To, enter a cash amount, and then click the Continue button.
Transfer Account - You can transfer securities and/or funds from another financial institution into your Schwab account. To access this feature, click on the Accounts tab and select Transfer Account (beneath the Transfers & Payments heading). To get started, enter the name of the firm you’re transferring the account from, or click on one of the listed firms (e.g., Fidelity, TD Ameritrade). Enter your account number, choose a full or partial transfer, and select the Schwab account into which you want the securities and/or funds to go. Then, click the Continue button and follow the instructions on the next screen.
Resources - You may need to contact Schwab for anything from help placing orders to technical support. To access customer support options, click the Service tab at the top of any page and choose Contact Us. You’ll be directed to a page that lists various methods of contact, organized in four tabs: Phone, Fax & Messaging; Mailing Address; Find a Branch; and Find a Consultant. Click on the appropriate tab to view your options for contacting Schwab. Note: you can also click Contact Us at the top of any page of the Schwab.com customer website for contact options.
Online Chat - Schwab’s Live Chat feature is a quick way to get help. From the Phone, Fax & Messaging tab, click on the Live Chat link (or icon) to launch a chat. Enter your question or comment, and click the Start Chat button to get started. You can also launch a chat by clicking on the Chat link that appears on virtually every page of the Schwab.com customer website.