Charles Schwab Review: Worth the Switch?

Charles Schwab Review: Worth the Switch?

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  • Post last modified:July 4, 2020
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I recently switched my checking account to Schwab, so I thought I would give you my honest opinion in this Charles Schwab Bank review.

In the past, I have exclusively used more traditional banks. But I tend to be a bit of a nomad, so I wanted something that would suit that lifestyle better.

But that’s just me. Your mileage may vary, and there are endless reasons you might be considering Schwab.

So, the question: is it worth the switch? Let’s find out.

Services Offered

Charles Schwab offers a number of accounts and services for its customers. It used to be that some companies would offer investing, while some would offer savings.

Increasingly, most financial institutions out there are offering the whole gamut of products and services.

Schwab is no exception. It began in 1971 as an investing firm, but began adding banking services in the 2000s.

As a result, Schwab now offers checking and savings accounts in addition to its brokerage and retirement accounts. We’ll break down some of those here.

Charles Schwab High Yield Investor Checking®

This account was introduced in 2007 and is an excellent alternative to traditional checking accounts.

There are no account minimums or service fees and no foreign transaction fees. In addition, it has a generous interest rate for a checking account; you can expect it to be many times higher than most banks.

Another thing that is nice about this account in particular is that there are no ATM fees. That means that no matter where you are in the world, you’ll never pay an ATM fee, even if you aren’t using a Schwab ATM.

That makes this account ideal if you travel frequently–especially if you prefer to pay in cash.

Schwab High Yield Investor Checking® accounts also come with a brokerage account free of charge, which reflects its long history as an investing firm.

Another nice thing is mobile deposit, which lets you deposit checks via the Schwab mobile app.

This account does have its share of shortfalls, though. The most glaring ones are that Schab has a limited number of physical locations.

And even if you do have a Schwab branch nearby, it’s not possible to deposit cash into your Schwab Investor Checking account. The only option you have to deposit cash is to buy a money order and deposit it that way.

Charles Schwab High Yield Investor Savings™

Schwab offers a savings account that can be used in conjunction with your checking and brokerage accounts (if you have them).

Despite Schwab’s calling this account “high-yield,” I hesitate to use that term. It has a chart that shows its interest rates higher than banks such as Chase and Bank of America, but it’s nowhere near as high as many online banks.

On the plus side, there are no monthly fees, no account minimums, and no minimum balances.

And if you are someone who prefers simplicity, this account gives you the option to have your checking, savings, and brokerage all in one place.

Schwab Brokerage Account

Schwab has been adding features to its trading that makes it competitive with all the best investment firms. Such features include no-commission trading and fractional shares.

That said, you can’t go quite as low with Schwab as you can with other investing platforms. Schwab only lets you you go as low as $5, while other investing platforms such as M1 Finance let you go all the way down to $0.01.

Still, $5 is still a much easier pill to swallow than buying entire shares of some stocks; $TSLA and $GOOG are both over $1,000, for example.

Schwab has a wide range of mutual funds and ETFs available including total-market, giving plenty of options to tailor your investing strategy.

Schwab Customer Service

Customer service is one of Schwab’s strong points. You’ll have access to around-the-clock support via its online chat.

And phone support is available Monday-Friday 4:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m. Pacific. Saturday and Sunday, it’s available 6:00 a.m.–7:30 p.m Pacific.

The general contact number is 866-855-9102; for brokerage services, the number is 800-435-4000.

Schwab’s customer service regularly receives high marks, and it’s easy to see why with its generous hours for phone support.

In addition, customers who have called the support line have generally had a positive experience and said they would recommend it.

Charles Schwab Mobile Banking

As with most banks, Schwab has apps available for both Android and Apple. The apps have a 4.2 and 4.8 rating, respectively.

The app has useful features such as biometric (fingerprint) login and mobile check deposits. It also allows you to do banking on-the-go, which users appreciate.

Note that some users have expressed frustration with the mobile app for its recent updates. Hopefully, Schwab will address these concerns.

Charles Schwab Bank Review: Conclusion

While Schwab does leave a few things to be desired, such as the ability to deposit cash, it’s a great bank for those who can take advantage of its strong points.

Still, its high yield on checking account balances, no ATM fees across the board, and excellent customer service make it a compelling choice for many.

If these features would make it worth the switch for you, head over to Schwab’s website to get started. You can get up to $500 when you sign up and make a deposit.

Charles Schwab Bank Summary

8.4

Fees

9.0/10

Features

7.5/10

Mobile Banking

8.0/10

Customer Service

9.0/10

Pros

  • Generally no account minimums
  • No ATM fees for checking
  • Excellent customer service
  • Robust trading platform

Cons

  • Not easy to deposit cash
  • Low yield on savings
  • Fractional shares start at $5

Hey there. My name is Bob Haegele and I'm an expert at frugal living and saving money. I’m also an EV enthusiast and have recently become mostly-vegetarian. Another thing I started doing recently? Dog walking. I’m working toward financial independence making money via my own ventures. Interested in starting a blog of your own? Check out my post on starting a blog.

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