Firstrade International Brokerage Account Review [2024] - Investing in the U.S. Stock Market

Firstrade International Brokerage Account Review [2024] - Investing in the U.S. Stock Market

Invest in the US stock market seamlessly with Firstrade's international brokerage account, specifically designed to meet your global investing needs.

By Kane Pepi

Last Updated:

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This article was originally written by Kane Pepi and has since been updated by the TraderHQ content staff.

If you’ve ever been captivated by the cool demeanor and suave interrogation techniques of a skilled detective, you’re not alone. Shows like "Sherlock" and "True Detective" have turned the art of observation and deduction into something of an obsession for many.

But have you ever wondered how you could sharpen your own observation skills?

Becoming a keen observer requires practice and a bit of intelligence. Let’s walk through some effective ways to enhance your ability to notice details that others might overlook.

1. Engage Your Senses

Most of us rely heavily on sight, but a true observer uses all five senses. Make it a habit to consciously engage your sense of smell, hearing, taste, and touch. The aroma of coffee, the hum of a computer, or the texture of a fabric can tell you a lot about your surroundings.

2. Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment. When you are mindful, you pay full attention to your current environment, fully engaging with it. This enables you to notice details that may otherwise escape your attention.

Start with a simple exercise: sit in a quiet place and focus on your breathing. Gradually extend this focus to notice the sounds, smells, and sights around you. Practicing this regularly can greatly enhance your ability to observe.

3. Take Notes

Don’t underestimate the power of jotting things down. Carry a small notebook with you and make it a habit to write down observations about your environment, people you meet, or any peculiar details you notice.

Over time, this simple practice can significantly improve your observational skills.

4. Play Memory Games

Memory games can be a fun and effective way to sharpen your observation skills. Games like "Simon Says," matching card games, or even apps designed for memory improvement can help enhance your focus and ability to recall details.

5. Slow Down

In our fast-paced lives, it’s easy to overlook the details. Take your time when you walk down the street or sit in a café. Slow down and truly notice your surroundings.

This will help you catch the little things that others might miss.

6. Observe People

Watching people can be incredibly informative. Notice their behavior, body language, and interactions. What are they wearing? How do they move? These details can offer you rich insights into their lives and personalities.

Next time you’re in a public place, take a few minutes to quietly observe those around you. This can be a fascinating exercise and a great way to practice your observation skills.

7. Reflect and Review

At the end of each day, take a few minutes to reflect on your observations. What did you notice that was new or interesting? Reviewing your day helps reinforce what you’ve learned and keeps your observation skills sharp.

By integrating these practices into your daily routine, you’ll find that your sense of observation improves over time. The world is full of fascinating details just waiting to be noticed.

Happy observing!

Maximize Your Gains: You strive for high returns, and Firstrade International offers a cost-effective way to access the US markets. With zero commissions on trades, you can optimize your investments. For tailored strategies, consult the best stock advisor and explore best stock advisor websites.

Firstrade International Fees and Commissions

The primary draw of Firstrade International is its zero-commission model on US stock trades. This zero-cost structure extends to all supported asset classes, which is an incredible perk for investors aiming to maximize their gains by avoiding trading fees. Investors can significantly boost their returns over time by eliminating such financial barriers.

Furthermore, the platform doesn't impose any registration fees or ongoing monthly or annual subscription fees, positioning itself as a genuinely low-cost alternative among brokers.

This raises an interesting question - how does Firstrade generate revenue if it doesn't charge fees? The answer lies in its other revenue streams. Firstrade earns interest on the funds clients hold in their accounts that are not actively invested. Additionally, the firm charges for margin trading services, which come with financing costs.

Be mindful, however, of the 3% FX charge when funding your account with non-USD currencies. This fee can add up, so it’s advisable to transact in USD wherever possible.

Core Firstrade International Features and Tools

Beyond zero commissions and the absence of ongoing fees, Firstrade International provides several appealing features:

Pricing Alerts

While many brokers offer pricing alerts, Firstrade elevates the concept. Not only does it alert you when a stock hits a specific price, but it also provides alerts for percentage changes, breaches of 52-week highs or lows, and sudden trading volume shifts. These tools can be crucial for making timely, well-informed investment decisions. For deeper trading insights, explore these best stock advisor websites offering detailed market analyses and automated alerts.


Firstrade International offers a comprehensive suite of research tools. These include real-time streaming quotes, extensive market commentary throughout the trading day, and in-depth stock reports. This robust library can be a valuable asset for both novice and experienced investors, helping you stay ahead of market trends and make well-informed investment choices. Many investors rely on real-time data for optimal decision-making; further explore such tools on this leading stock analysis website.

Margin Trading

Firstrade International allows margin trading, enabling you to leverage more than your account balance. For instance, you can purchase $5,000 worth of Apple stock with just $2,500 in your account due to the platform's 50% margin requirement. This capability can greatly enhance your purchasing power. However, a margin account requires a minimum of $2,000, in line with SEC regulations. For expert strategies and risk management tips, consider these top investment subscription services.

Short Selling

Another advantage of a Margin Account at Firstrade International is the ability to short-sell stocks. This feature can be invaluable if you believe a particular stock is overvalued and wish to benefit from potential price drops.

Open an International Firstrade Brokerage Account

Maximize Your Gains: You strive for high returns, and Firstrade International offers a cost-effective way to access the US markets. With zero commissions on trades, you can optimize your investments. For tailored strategies, consult the best stock advisor and explore best stock advisor websites.

Firstrade International Trading Platform

There is nothing complicated about the Firstrade International trading platform. In fact, if you're a first-time investor looking for a simple and straightforward way to invest, Firstrade is well worth considering. With its user-friendly interface, even those with minimal technical know-how can navigate and manage their investments effortlessly.

You don't need to download or install any software, as all account features are available through the main website. This convenience makes it extremely accessible across different devices.

Firstrade Mobile App

In addition to the main desktop website, Firstrade International also offers a native mobile app. Available for free from the Apple and Google Play stores, the app's intuitive design ensures that you can buy and sell on the move. This flexibility is essential for active traders like you, looking to respond quickly to market changes.

The application has been fully optimized for smaller screens, integrating search and filter facilities to help you find your preferred market. However, one major drawback is the lack of pricing alerts. Alerts on mobile devices are critical for making timely decisions on the go. Also, while you can trade stocks, ETFs, and options on the app, trading bonds and mutual funds is not supported.

Is Firstrade International Legit?

When searching for a new online broker, it's easy to focus solely on metrics like commissions and tradable markets. However, your safety must always be a priority. Firstrade International is heavily regulated by the SEC and is a member of FINRA and SIPC, ensuring a secure trading environment.

The SIPC safeguard at Firstrade International covers your brokerage account up to $500,000 in case the platform faces financial instability. Given Firstrade's robust regulatory framework and longstanding history, it remains a credible choice for investors globally.

Firstrade International Deposits and Withdrawals

Firstrade International supports traditional bank transfers for payments. For international clients, this usually means a wire transfer. If you have access to a US-based bank account, ACH is another option, although somewhat cumbersome due to additional documentation requirements.

It's disappointing that the platform doesn't accept debit/credit cards or e-wallets, which could be more convenient for you. However, there are no fees for deposits unless they involve currency conversion, in which case a 3% FX fee applies.

Firstrade International Customer Support

Firstrade International is backed by a highly rated customer service team, including a live chat facility for real-time assistance without international dialing fees. Additionally, they offer phone support and email services. However, with operations limited to Monday-Friday, 8 am to 6 pm ET, this could pose challenges depending on your time zone.

How to Join Firstrade International - Step-by-Step Walkthrough

If you're based overseas and think that Firstrade International is the right stock broker for you, follow these steps:

Step 1: Register an Account

Head over to the Firstrade website and opt to open an International Account. Complete the application form with your name, country of residence, home address, date of birth, and tax identification number.

Step 2: Upload ID

After filling out the form, you'll need to upload a copy of your passport. Ensure the document is easily readable and in color. Firstrade typically takes 1-2 working days to validate your documents.

Step 3: Deposit Funds

Upon receiving email confirmation of your account activation, deposit funds. If using an international bank, find the details within your account dashboard. Include your 8-digit Firstrade International account number in the reference field. For US ACH transfers, submit an Electronic Fund Transfer agreement.

Step 4: Invest or Trade

Once your deposit is credited, you can begin investing. The broker's online and mobile versions are user-friendly, making asset navigation and investment straightforward. You can either search directly for assets or employ filter buttons for easy access.

Firstrade International Review: The Bottom Line

Initially, Firstrade International’s website may look outdated, but don't let this deter you. The platform is efficient and feature-rich, offering access to US-listed stocks, ETFs, bonds, and mutual funds without commission fees. Additionally, it provides valuable research tools and real-time streaming quotes, enhancing your overall investment experience.

With its strong regulatory framework and user-centric features, Firstrade International makes a compelling choice for you if you seek low-cost, straightforward access to US markets from overseas.

Safety and Security: Your investments deserve a secure platform. Firstrade International is heavily regulated by the SEC and is a member of FINRA and SIPC. For peace of mind and reliable advice, explore stock research sites or get insights from the best investment advice sites.

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