Zecco Free Trades Broker Review, Part 1: Introduction and Opening Process Overview

I decided to open a brokerage account with Zecco.com. This is not going to be my main brokerage account just yet, but I do plan on using it. (I’m going to revive my Play Money account, for those that have been reading for a while. More on this later.) For now, since I think a lot of people are curious about this account, here are my experiences with the account itself.

Introduction: Why open a Zecco account?
Two words: Free Trades. As of 10/1, they offer 10 free market/limit trades per month, if you have $2,500 in total account equity (stocks + cash). There is no minimum balance to open, but if you have under $2,500 trades will cost $4.50. Finally, with no inactivity fees it seems like a great account even for someone who doesn’t trade frequently. Some other brokers offer free trades, but none with such a low balance requirement. There is a $30 annual fee for IRAs.

Why wouldn’t you open a Zecco account?
This is also simple – free trades aren’t everything. Zecco has been around almost a year now, and I don’t see Chuck Schwab declaring bankruptcy. Trust and customer service are big. Can Zecco execute the trades in a timely manner, and can the online interface and customer support match the other brokerages? (Or at least come close enough.) Hopefully, this review will help answer some of these questions.

Also, can they make enough money off of ads and margin interest to stay in business? If not, you’ll be faced with a $50 transfer-out fee and possible commissions elsewhere if you need to sell.

Opening Process Overview

1. Sign up for your MyZecco account. It is important to note that there are two parts to the Zecco website. First is the myZecco layer, which a more informal area that allows you to post on blogs and forums without an actual trading account. They will actually e-mail you this username and password, which I think is fine because no financial information is included in this layer. You don’t even need to enter your name or address.

2. Apply for a trading account. This seemed like a pretty standard brokerage application. One thing to note is that you may want to apply for a margin account, even if you don’t plan on trading on margin (borrowed money). Here’s why:

In a cash account the proceeds of a sell order will not affect your buying power until settlement, which is T+3 (trade date plus three business days). To avoid this situation you may want to consider establishing margin on your account. With a margin account the proceeds of a sell order will update your buying power immediately. To establish a margin account you can request it at the time you open your account or if your account is already established you can complete the Combined Customer Agreement Form…

3. Wait for application approval. You’ll get an e-mail saying that your application is approved, mine arrived the next morning. You will get information on how to set your Trading Key. This separate password gives you access to the second part of the Zecco website, the Trading area. This layer is a secure encrypted area and does contain sensitive information. I wouldn’t make your Trading Key the same as your myZecco password!

4. Send in your new account paperwork and copy of government ID. You should mail this in as soon as possible, as without it they will assume that you are subject to backup withholding. (Update: Now, it appears they have implemented system that allows most people to get their paperwork processed electronically.)

Still, you need to make sure it is processed before you can start trading. To check, log into your trading account at myInfo tab > Customer Info > Outstanding Paperwork. You want it to say “No” as shown below:

altext

5. Fund your account. If you want to fund online (which is what I did), you need to first link up your bank account first if that’s how you will be making your deposit. The popular 2-small-deposit verification system is used, and takes a couple of days to show up. Other ways to fund include via check or bank wire.

6. Request money market sweep. By default, free cash in your account only earns 1% APR. But you have the option of setting up a money market sweep account by sending in this form. There are three options by Scudder Investments, and I think the symbol for the taxable money market is CSAXX, currently with a 4.38% yield. Why they don’t make this higher yield the default in the first place is beyond me. :? The Treasury Money Market option might be a good bet for those with state income tax rates.

7. Next Steps. After you fund and your paperwork is processed, you should be ready to trade. I’m currently waiting on my opening deposit to arrive, and will report back once I’ve done more with the website and maybe made a few trades. Here are some things I’ve noticed so far:

- The administrative back end of Zecco is clearly provided by Penson Financial Services, as it looks identical to the back end of MB Trading, another broker that I have used which is popular amongst active traders. This actually provides me with some familiarity, although the contrast between the “Web 2.0-style” Zecco website and the bare-bones Penson interface is very stark and makes the site overall feel a bit unpolished.

- Zecco does not receive payment for order flow. All orders are routed and executed by Penson Financial Services. Hopefully this will lead to good fills.

- Zecco is insured by the SIPC, like most other brokers.

- You can set up dividend reinvestment if you wish, although you can’t buy partial shares:

Dividend reinvestment is a feature that is available to our clients and can be setup during the account opening process. If you would like to add this feature after the account opening process is complete, you must submit the request in writing to our customer service department.

For the rest of my experiences, see the second part of my Zecco Review.

Navigation
Zecco Review, Part 1
Zecco Review, Part 2

Comments

  1. Did you say you E-MAILED your forms and ID in? Isn’t that really unsafe?

  2. I am also in the process of opening up the Zecco account. A couple of addition to the account opening process:
    1. While funding opening deposit normally show up the forthcoming night. There are 2 deposits and 2 withdrawals (So people using savings account be careful that you won’t hit the 6 transaction limit. I already had 4 transactions this month and they became 6).
    2. I requested opening deposit to move Thursday and they have been deducted from my bank account. They have not still shown up at Zecco.
    3. For people working in the NASD member firms (investment firms, brokerage houses etc like I do) you need to pay $2 for Zecco to provide duplicate confirmation of your trades / statements to your compliance department (This is a SEC requirement and my compliance department lady said no borkerage should charge anything). I got actually two mails in this regard. One said they won’t charge any money if you have requested duplicate confirmation (I did not find that option on the account opening form nor their is an option on my accounts profile tab to reqeust it now). Another CSR mailed with the $2. I am a little bit angry about it coz it is not even mentioned on their “What is not free” web page.
    4. If you work for a firm as outlined in 3, your compliance depatment needs to send a letter 407 to Zecco in order for you to trade on the account.

    In all I did not have a smooth sailing. I hope everything works out in future.

  3. Thanks for all the usefull info. I just opened a zecco and my first thought was wow, now I can make short term speculative stock gains.

    As I thought about it more I am going to use it to spread my monthly paycheck across the 6 stocks in my portfolio (unless I see one as too expensive or too risky…in this case it shouldn’t be in my portfolio anyhow).

    So I am giving zecco a try but I had a few questions/concerns.

    1. Once the account is funded and lets say I am am holding off buy a few stocks and I have my funds in a money market account…how quickly can I transfer this money into zecco to trade?

    2. Is it just as easy to electronically transfer money out of zecco as it is to transfer in? What is the average time table on each (etrade seems to take a week to transfer in and 3 days to transfer out).

  4. I had Zecco account for a while. It was a rough ride initially. But, they are making constant improvements. In fact, I suggested some myself on their forum, like the daily history of dividends etc. Before that, I had to wait for my monthly statements to look at that information.

    As far as money transfers are concerned, they are pretty fast. It takes only one day both ways, unlike IB (Interactive Brokers) trading, where incoming transfers take 4 business days.

    Ofcourse, you can’t beat free trading, which attracted all of us in the first place.

  5. E-mail definitely isn’t the most secure option. If you use secure webmail system, it’s encrypted at least from your computer to your mail server. I figure with fax it’s about the same level of security if they convert fax-to-email on their end. If you don’t feel comfortable with fax or e-mail, then you just need to trust snail mail instead and be willing to wait for a bit longer.

    The funds in the money market account sweep should be ready to trade whenever you want to. If you mean an external bank account, I haven’t seen how fast their transfers are yet. Hopefully just 1 business day each way.

    I’m not an options expert, but I did apply for options ability and was approved. I can’t find my specific level of approval though. From their site:

    With the addition of our complex options trading platform, clients are now eligible to trade spreads, straddles, combinations, covered calls, and married puts (cash-covered puts). Based on your level of option approval (see below), you may be eligible to trade some, or all, of these complex options strategies.

  6. Thanks guys, one day isnt bad at all.

    Also another question. You have to sign up as a margin customer in order to trade right away after a sale right? Does that mean for those three days or so it takes for your funds to be settled… you are on margin?

    Not like that would be any substantial money at all.. : )

  7. Please keep us updated on how Zecco is working for you, because I would like to start an account with them if everything goes well for you and everyone else.

  8. “Why they don?t make this higher yield the default in the first place is beyond me.”

    Float, no? They expect most people to be lazy and not set up the money market fund.

  9. As I understand it, if you have enough cash to pay for your trades in full by the time of settlement in a margin account, you will not be charged interest. Taken from E-Trade:

    Suppose you have $5,000 in cash, and one day you make a trade for $2,200. The next day you check your balances, and you find that you have a margin debit showing in your account for $2,200, with $5,000 still sitting in cash. What gives?

    What happened in this instance is the trade hasn’t yet settled. Stock trades settle on the third business day after the day of execution. This means that if you place a trade on a Thursday, it won’t settle until Tuesday. The amount of the trade will show as a margin debit until the trade settles, at which time funds will be drawn from your cash and/or sweep account.

    Note:
    If you have enough funds available to cover the trade at settlement, you will not be charged margin interest.

    Why is this being done? Since the money isn’t taken until the settlement date, it stays in your account until the last possible moment. This way, it can earn interest for you for as long as possible.

    In fact, if you sell stocks in a margin account, the proceeds will show as a margin credit until settlement. You’ll then see the credit move back to cash or your money market in a similar fashion.

    Here’s how I see it:

    If you sell stock A today, you won’t actually get the money until it’s settled 3 days later. (Trade day+3 days, or T+3).

    If you want to buy stock B today as well, you don’t actually have the money yet. BUT, you don’t technically need the money until three days later either (again, T+3) . Margin will let you promise that this money will be available at T+3. But as long as everything works out, the money will come in from the selling of A to pay for the buying of B, so you really didn’t need to borrow any money. If not, then you’ll be borrowing money and accruing interest.

  10. Im curious as to what you’re planning on buying. Is it the ETF’s you’ve been talking about?

  11. Anyone notice that Zecco does not interface w/ Yodlee?

    Very annoying.

  12. “Why they don?t make this higher yield the default in the first place is beyond me. ”

    The reason why they don’t is simple. They make more money when you are getting 1% interest. They take your money and invest it. If they make 4% and pay you 1%, then that is a risk free profit of 3%.

  13. I’ve had an account with Zecco for about 6 months, about when they first opened. When you make a trade, write down what you think its going to cost, because you won’t know until the next day how much cash you have left over. This can be extremely frustrating if you are selling something and trying to buy something else a few minutes later. You won’t know how exactly how much cash you have in your account so you can easily deep into margin unintentionally. (Remember that they make all their profits from margin). I probably wouldn’t recommend this service if you are low volume trader.

  14. dc_publius says:

    Does Zecco offer real time quotes?

    How fast do they execute trades?

    Sounds like a very interesting broker.

    BTW, the reason why Zecco (and almost all brokers) don’t sweep all the idle money into higher yielding accounts is because this is one of the biggest sources of profit for brokers. They sweep idle money into higher yield investments and take the profit for themselves.

  15. mailing all those forms in sounds annoying. wasnt there a zecco before that closed up shop? deja vu imho

  16. Is anyone else here concerned about the strength of Zecco’s online security? My initial impresssion of Zecco’s security was very disappointing…

    The very first email from Zecco, the welcome email, contained my password in plain text. This is NOT a good security practice, and it made me change my mind about opening a trading account. Is Zecco unaware of, or do they care about the sensitivity of the unencrypted data traveling between their own, and also outside servers!?

    Passwords are NEVER sent unencrypted, this is a basic practice in systems administration and network security. Each Zecco account contains thousands of dollars (perhaps millions for you rich folks). How can Zecco send unencrypted usernames and passwords across countless and unknown servers!? This is not trivial information that is being thrown out into the net, with a slim, but very real possibility of being intercepted.

  17. dc – From Zecco site: “We do not provide level II quotes at this time, we do however provide real time level I quotes and charts to account holders.”

    gt – There was FreeTrade, with which I also had an account. The difference is that FreeTrade was barebones, and sought to save money by removing human interaction. Zecco’s solution is to create a community of blogs and forums talking about stock trading and investing, and thus getting traffic and making money off of advertising. Both also made money off of margin interest. I think this has a better chance of making it, but who knows.

    KG – This is why I said there are two sections of the Zecco site – the myZecco username/password and the Trading area username/password. Think of the myZecco section as a public forum site. I get forum passwords sent to me unencrypted all the time. If I have your myZecco password, I can’t actually access anything sensitive at all. Try it. The Trading key is need to access your brokerage info and is not sent via e-mail, and you have to call in if you forget it.

  18. I have more info about the account opening process:
    1) Good luck if you need Customer service. It is impossible (and by impossible i mean IMPOSSIBLE) to reach a human voice who could assist you. No I am not talking about long hold times. Their novel idea is to use a voicemail. So you call them and it straight goes to a voicemail system. I have read in another blogs that it is kind of a black box which never respond back.
    2) They do reply to emails that you sent. AFAIK that is the only form of Customer service available. Be prepared to wait indefinitely to have your question answered back and there is a very good chance it won’t be answered.
    3) I funded my account with $2500 after I received the trading key and the email saying that my account was approved. Today I went in happily to enter some trades and all the trades rejected with the message that “Only trades to liquidate positions are allowed at this time”. I don’t know what that means and it is not mentioned anywhere on their site. I really wanted to buy some stuff today but could not.
    4) Wrote an email to them asking what the error message was. Almost 8 hours now and no response so far!

    I am getting skeptical about this free stuff!!

  19. Jonathan – thanks for your feedback, i didnt get that far, like i mentioned earlier :)

    so there is an additional password needed for trading, which is kept more securely? that makes things sound a little better. maybe i’ll give it another shot.

  20. I’ve had a margin account with Zecco for about 2 months. Here are some complaints.

    They send paper confirms. Not a big deal if you don’t trade alot.

    Their charts fail to work for me if I reload alot. They’re provided by bigcharts.com. The charts aren’t that big.

    I’ve had a stop fail to work for me once. “ECN communication problems (line down)” was the excuse. Fortunately, I benefited from the problem.

    They had a feedback forum once, but it’s been closed down (last time I checked). They still have a forum though.

    As someone mentioned the cash balance is not updated immediately, although buying power is.

    There’s probably more I’ve forgotten, but I’m still very satisfied with Zecco. BTW, even without sending my info by email/fax my account was up and ready to trade within 10 days of signup.

  21. On the Zecco sweep form you linked, what goes in the “Account registration” line?

    Thanks.

  22. Sounds good on paper, but I’m a little concerned about how Zecco makes it’s money. Wouldn’t it be too easy to make up their overhead by charging a little larger bid/ask spread. Just a little off market and you could unknowingly be paying $10, $20, $30 per trade behind the scenes.

    I’m not saying ther ARE, but they have costs and those costs must be paid somehow. How else could they be doing it – assuming ad revenues aren’t happening yet as they are too new and small.

  23. Meloni I kinda thought the same things, who knows if they do it this way i think it would be pretty illegal. I am going to set all my orders on limit instead of market just in case. All and all if scottrade can do 7 dollar trades with a 3.5% sweep (interest you earn with money sitting in a account) I can see zecco doing free trades with a 1% sweep (i dont know how many people are adept enough to send in the money market application)….plus zecco doesnt have all those offices/employees too worry about

    Also obviously they are cutting corners on customer service…which isn’t a big deal for me at this time…

  24. questions about the money market sweep request form:

    1. what do i need to fill in the “account registration” field, is that my screen name?

    2. do i circle the money market portfolio that i want my extra cash to be swept to? how would they know which one to invest into out of the three?

    Thanks

  25. Ace, i had the same confusion as you lol.

    anyways if u goto the myinfo page you’ll see the account registration field refer to your account type, eg. cash-individual or something like that.

    and I just circled the money market I wanted

  26. Hi Jonathan,

    Did they pull a hard on your credit reports? How many and which CRAs?

    Newbie investor here, I was thinking of opening a no margin account but not at the expense of a hard pull.

    I imagine they pull a hard for the high interest money market sweep account. Filling out that form is a great help from you. I would never had known what that was.

    Thanks!
    Nanette

  27. More stuff…
    1) I tried changing trading key so far about 4 times in last 48 hours. Their screen shows that the trading key is successfully changed. But if you logout and log back in it won’t recognize your new trading key. Did anybody have any luck changing it? I am not sure if it is a temp glitch or a bug in their system. If it is a bug it is a big one!!
    2) They finally replied to my email and I was somehow able to reach a representative. Looks like until your paperwork is reached by mail they won’t let you trade. I posted my papers on Friday Apr 13. Application was approved Tuesday April 17. Minimum funds were in the Account as of Monday Apr 23 morning. So far I am unable to trade.

  28. Whoops! I didn’t circle which money market I wanted. I thought they were just telling me the options for me to select later on.

    I also have problem with account registration field….but yea I ended up putting the account type.

  29. jpsfranks says:

    Anyone notice that Zecco does not interface w/ Yodlee?

    There is thread on the Yodlee forums about Zecco. They say they are working on it, but that frequent changes to the site aren’t helping.

  30. I also could not change my trading key even though the screen confirmed the change…

  31. Is anyone getting through to a customer service rep or even voicemail? If so, how did you do it?

  32. It looks like they are pretty backed up processing the applications. I somehow reached a technical representative and she said It has been only 12 days you posted your application. I got an email saying that they are pretty backed up because of the huge demand to open up new accounts. They won’t allow you to trade unless they have processed your paper application. I am getting ticked but being patient. I will give it another week. I am bailing out from Zecco next Friday if I can’t enter a trade by that time.

    Also their web site says that buying powers are not being reflected correctly on their site because of the glitches. I am wondering how reliable their systems are!!

  33. I am bailing from Zecco. It has been three weeks and I still can’t trade. Customer Service keeps telling me they will take care of my issues, but nothing is done.

  34. Yea im still pretty confident in them.
    That is….a year from now, once their growing pains are over.

  35. Has anyone transferred any money from the Zecco Margin account to outside bank account. I sold some stock on Friday, and yesterday was the settlement date. So I transferred whatever are the proceeds from that sale by selecting ‘Margin’, option on the ACH transfer screen. But today, when I see my balances, it shows the Money was swept into my Zecco Money market sweep account, and my Matgin balance is showing negative. I am concerned that Zecco will be charging me interest on that negative amount, which of course is much more than what they pay in the sweep account. I used to select ‘Cash’ option, before, for transferring money, but Zecco was charging me interest for a business day (which could be more than one calendar day, depending on weekends). That’s why I thought, I will use ‘Margin’ option. There is no way for me to know till my monthly statement is generated, to see if they charged any interest. They are supposed to take it from sweep account and then transfer.

  36. First of all, thank you very much for superb article. I opened my TRADING account with Zecco sometime in Feb this year. Overall it went smooth. However, they called me couple of times for sending all docs by mail but in reality I mailed it on the same day when opened an account. After re-sending all docs twice by fax and by mail fixed the issue.

    Yes, calling them is pain. However one CS rep told me to dial main number and then punching 1,1,1,1 will put you in touch with human after continuous phone ringing for 2-3 mins (I am not sure 1111 is pointing to any specific person or department in zecco but helps you to by pass automatic voice menu)

    Here comes PAINFUL part: I decided to open my (and my wife’s) IRA account with them. They have some serious bug in their money transfer (ACH) system. I initiate ONE transfer request from my bank to IRA account but zecco withdraw DOUBLE amount from my bank than I originally requested. I called them about this issue, in reply I got the answer that I initiated TWO request within 5 mins on that day. Its very difficult to believe that I did that mistake. In reality I still remember that I did only one transfer request. I am a kind of person to verify anything twice before commit something and after committing I verity again just to make sure that what I did it exactly what I intended to. So, this so called “mistake” cost me unnecessary and unintentional big investment. (It is an IRA account so I can not withdraw surplus amount as big penalty attached with it if I do so.)

    Overall, they need improvement for website design and navigation.

  37. Friday is gone and so am I from Zecco. They are too unreliable to keep your investments. 3 Weeks after sending my paperwork and opening up my account I still can’t enter trades. Every time you send an email to Customer Service they say that it will take 2-3 business days to setup your account. Guess what, they are saying that for last 2 weeks which is 10 business days. They should say it will take 2-3 business YEARS to setup your account.

    Stay away from Zecco.

  38. gattaca says:

    Same experiences here, I first sent in a email of my paperwork and after receiving a confirmation saying they got it, still nothing. I called in to check and the guy said they couldn’t find the email…

    Since I had also mailed in a copy, he mentioned the 2-3 days timeframe, however its been a week. If the account doesnt get authorized to trade by tuesday, I’ll probably cancel also.

  39. matnakishu says:

    great blog ,
    i wonder about zecco and i found that they declare they are a department of EQUINOX SECURITIES INC .
    how can you be sure?
    i did check on EQUINOX SECURITIES INC in SIPC and it is a member however i was not convinced zecco is actually a department of EQUINOX SECURITIES INC .
    looking in the internet for EQUINOX SECURITIES INC i found nothing.
    how can you be sure?

  40. mike smith says:

    Hi, just set up account and every time i go to place a trade it is rejected because i have not liquidated entire position. What the hell does that mean how do i get around it. the customer service is awful any help would be greatly appreciated. thanks, Mike

  41. Richard says:

    About the complaints about the length of time taken to have paperwork filled and get onto customer service, I wrote them and they apologized and said:

    “April was a very busy month for us due to the IRA contribution deadline. We have increased our staff to make sure our customers, receive the customer service they deserve.”

    I must say in the last few days, I’m able to get someone via phone AND email relatively quickly (unlike at the end of April). Maybe we should give them a break, April being tax and IRA time and all… :)

    All the paperwork to send IS a real pain though. Just mailed off about 60 pages of various documents to open an individual account and a Roth IRA with them (included account transfer forms, option & margin forms, driver’s license, US Visa, US Presence Test form, money market sweep forms). Helluva hassle. Hope it’s worth it.

  42. Richard says:

    This is new on their website today…

    “If you applied for an Individual or Joint account on or after Thursday, May 10th, and you have a US Social Security Number, you?re all set.

    However, if you either:

    *applied prior to Thursday, May 10th for any account;
    *applied on or after May 10th, but you were asked to mail your documents;
    *applied for an IRA account;
    *do not have a US Social Security number:

    please provide your required paperwork”.

    A move towards a paperless Zecco? Thumbs up I say!!!

  43. zecco problem you should know. customer service at zecco is
    very very very bad. If you send a margin call via email. They
    need to tell the client what is needed to put the account
    back in order. I recieved no email telling me the amount
    needed also no phone call. no phone call for the 15 times
    i called to find out what they needed to fix the account. the
    emails provided no guidence. One email i revieved told me
    my account was in order. only to find out 3 days later
    they closed my account. the boss should look at my
    experience and make sure it does not happen to another client
    why burn money advertising if they can not keep clients. If i had known the amount needed, in my cases less then
    $500 i would have wired the money.
    they should also have a comment section
    so they could fix other problems that
    would arise in a new business.

  44. CD_Vision says:

    Has anyone tried transferring in shares from Sharebuilder? If so, do you pay fees to both brokers?

  45. Richard says:

    I’m about halfway through that process (Sharebuilder –> Zecco). You only pay the transfer FROM brokerage… so, in this case, only Sharebuilder will charge you a Transfer Out fee (for Sharebuilder, $50 per account… so I had brokerage and Roth IRA = $100).

  46. I?ve tried to open an account from outside USA.
    They have lost 5 times my pdf file and one time my documents sent by Express AirMail.
    Everytime they say that the documents are ok and they will open the account within 2 or 3 days, but after one month still nothing, all the document lost.
    I think Zecco is not a serious company. Really messy. No one able to follow your application form and to solve a problem.
    One day to answer your online question, everytime an another consummer representative take your question and say the same automatic answer?.
    Very disapointing.

  47. Michael says:

    I am extremely happy to report that Zecco now works with Yodlee! I guess all of our service requests paid off. Be warned though, if you have have been manually updating your Zecco account in Yodlee and then erase it, all your history of that account with be gone. In other words, if you remove that manual account and add it in new automatic Yodlee, it is as if you just made all of your money in your Zecco account today. You will see a huge increase in your net worth, and your net worth charts will be all messed up.

    Annoying, yes, but I am just happy that Zecco and Yodlee work together now.

  48. Richard says:

    Michael, you had me ALLLLLL excited… till I tried to add Zecco (still marked as Beta on Yodlee) to my Yodlee account for the zillionth time, and I get the same old error. Sigh. Haven’t seen anything about it recently on Yodlee Forums either.

  49. Michael says:

    Richard,

    That is strange you are having issues, but it does work. I tried it just now at 9:34 PST 6/28/07. No errors or anything. Try completely removing it from Yodlee and re-adding it. Also, I am not sure if this affects anything, but I don’t do any options trading or anything. I just have the vanilla stock trading account. I was thinking that maybe you have a different type of account and Yodlee has trouble displaying it.

    Try deleting it and re-adding and tell me if it works.

  50. Michael says:

    By the way, my Zecco is still marked with Beta also. But it works.

  51. Still no go for me.. added and removed twice and all. But then.. I have 2 zecco accounts… an individual brokerage and an IRA. MAybe that’s messing it up.

  52. Well the last thing I can think of (and may be silly to ask), are you sure you are using the correct account and trading key? If that does not work for you, then I don’t know.

    Can someone else try view their Zecco account through Yodlee and post the experience?

  53. Accessing Zecco from yodlee works great. Definitely helpful, especially in looking at that Net Worth Number

  54. Richard says:

    Has anyone with more than 1 Zecco account had success with accessing one or both accoutns with Yodlee?

  55. Zecco’s technology sucks, customer service sucks, ASP.NET platform is totally unreliable. Investment has nothing to do with saving couple of bucks in your trading guys. Keep that in mind. Zecco is only for cheapskate amateur traders and that’s about it. Real seasoned traders will go back to Etrade, TDAmeritrade, and OptionsXpress.

  56. Richard says:

    Lol@Jonny. Sure the CS isn’t exactly up to par. Sure the interface is a bit clunky at times. But you know what? I have a few extra C-notes in my pockets in trading fees thanks to Zecco, and I executed the exact same trades that you did with Etrade, TD, OptionsXpress, except you paid for it,and I didn’t.

    So you can call me whatever the hell you want — I’m fine with that.

  57. I can’t believe that I should thank my lucky stars…It took me two days to begin trading with Zecco. I mean in comparison to some of the blogs I see. From TD to Schwab it was within an hour!!( I closed all my positions). I’m comfortable doing that. Zecco though, gave me only 25% more for my margin account. They said they will give the rest by tomorrow, Friday. As far as customer service, I sorta expected the long hold. But I can get through. For free trades of 40 a month, that’s $400 for anything. Right now, they are just totally surprised and disorganized due to the huge volume of business.

    The only thing I have not done is to wire transfer (going out) to my bank account or to another broker. I hope it’ll be smooth.

    Bottomline–> I miss the services of TDAmeritrade or Schwab. But I sure do not miss the $400/month average charges trading fees. For an active or day trader, Zecco is a dream. All you have to do is hope that everything gets better. It seems to be. Comparing my expreriences with them vs yours(months ago)….I should not be complaining. $400/month and more savings if you trade more in comparison to Etrade, TD, or Schwab. They charge you $3.50 after the 40th trade, $6.50 savings.

    Still, I’m in an early stage with Zecco, and the jury is still muching on their burgers and fries.

  58. How is reliable Zecco’s web-site.
    How are good their chart?
    I enjoyed both trades and real-time charts at TDAmeritrade, does Zecco offers the same?

  59. Watchout. It will cost you. It had cost me a lot already. Caveat Emptor, is that the buyer beware?

  60. Is there more to “it will cost you”, “the world is coming to an end”?

  61. I have an account with zecco for past 3 months and some times even though I have pending orders my Order Status screen says I don’t have any outstanding orders. Clicking on different links and coming back to order status page sometimes helps to bring it back but not always. I sometimes want to make quick and change my limit orders before they are executed but I cannot because they are not there.

    Has someone else come across this problem because Zecco is not accepting and saying it is a browser issue but it is happening on me on both Firefox and Internet explorer. And do you know a work around to fix it?

  62. I’ve had the same issue MJ… happened as recently as yesterday. Brwoser issue? Sounds like a crap excuse to me. Happened to me in both Firefox and IE.

    Workaround? Who knows. It usually comes back when it’s good and ready (lol).

  63. I opened a Zecco account about a week ago. I can not get real time quotes although the e-mails I received from customer service informed me that it has been repaired and it is working. This is still not true. I have to go outside of Zecco to one of my other accounts to get a quote and then go back to trade at Zecco. In addition, I do not receive immediate cash settlement after a successful trade. A real time quote is needed before one can trade and if Zecco does not straighten this out, I will cancel my account. Looks like you get what you pay for.

  64. A few weeks ago, I had problems getting real-time options quotes. What I had to do at the time though, was call them everyday and have them reset it — a pain for sure. They said it was a system-wide problem, and as of last week, it seems to have been fixed.

    As for immediate cash settlement, as far as I know (and they tell you this on some form or the other), settlements usually take about 3 days or so, UNLESS, you have a margin account.

  65. I’m trying to get the word out onto all of the blogs I can find… sorry if you’ve seen this already. My husband decided to open a Zecco account after reading about positive experiences, and I want to make sure that people don’t make the same mistake. If you’re considering opening an account with Zecco, please read their reviews through the Better Business Bureau (www.labbb.org). If I had, I would have known that it was a scam. Zecco took my money, froze my account, and refused to give it back to me until I sent in paperwork. I sent in the paperwork, they still wouldn’t give it back to me. After I reported them to the FBI (Internet Crimes task force), Zecco agreed to make a “one-time courtesy exception” and unfroze my account.

  66. I have an account with Zecco and would say that you have to pay for these free trades one way or another.
    Most execution have been OK but on several occasions had stops triggered when the price was still 10% away ( I am not joking)
    When I complained about it, was told to take my business somewhere else.( thats customer service for you)
    For what I gathered customer service doesnt seem very knowlegable about trading.
    I m waiting to find a better broker and will indeed take my business somewhere else as suggested.

  67. Great Blog site …

    As an experienced stock investor, I have had 7 or 8 internet brokerage accounts and Zecco does not measure up due to a site that is so diffcult to navigate and limited customer service. I think that they have a great idea and it could work but they have to be as good as their peers and they are not yet there! Two items they need work on … Customer Service and Web Site Navigation.

    Like Melinda said above, You may have a hard time getting your funds back from Zecco. So, the word to the wise is to OPEN AN ACCOUNT AND FUND LATER. That way you will be able to explore the site and see how difficult it is to navigate.

    Whew! I finally got my $50K back from Zecco after 2 weeks of trying — what a hassel. If you are having problems you might want to try emailing CEO Jeroen Veth at Jeroen.Veth@zecco.net .

    Remember try the site BEFORE you fund your acccount.

    They seem to make many errors — such as sending the money wire to my checking account and not to the bank wire account as required … they did this twice and both times their wire out failed.

    Finally, I sent them the account number for the brokerage firm that I wanted the funds wired back into. They initiated the wire not me, but I thought they knew the correct procedure for the wire out to the largest, private national brokerage firm — but they did not.

    On the plus side, the original ACH to them worked fine and it showed up on the 2nd day in my Zecco account — it was hard to find but was there after looking in 4 or 5 screens. But, they do not tell you anywhere on their website that if you want the ACH funds back, then there is a 5 day hold on the funds — BUSINESS DAYS.

    So, the bottom line is that it has been a tough 2 weeks and I may or may not try them when I do not need the $50K for an emergency that came up suddenly.

    In the meantime, I will be reading this blog to see if Zecco improves it’s operation. I hope that they do!

  68. how come i have use it for 3 months with no problem?

  69. I’ve used Zecco for several months now. I will agree with everyone here who says their CS SUCKS. It does. Many times you’re put on hold forever. They also tend to be a bit unfriendly… rude even. On at least 4 different occasions, they said that they would call/email me back — never happened.

    That said, once you don’t NEED to talk to CS, their service works fine. Stock trades are free and options are dirt cheap. I trade a LOT more now with Zecco than I did in the past (with Sharebuilder). I’d probably be in the RED right now if I had to pay Sharebuilder’s trade fees for every trade I’ve made in the last few months.

    Sure I’d love the site to be more intuitive. Sure I’d love CS to have a clue. But as has been said… you get what you pay for (or don’t pay for as the case may be). But I’m willing to put up with their negatives (for now) in exchange for saving hundreds in trade execution fees per month. If you’re not, then by all means, go use a full-service broker. Do your thing.

    Bottom line: Dirt-cheap trading? Yes. Clunky web interface and poor CS? Also yes.

    You decide what’s important to you.

  70. It looks like zecco has decided to change their pricing rates starting Oct 1, 2007. No more 10 free trades a day, 40 free trades a month. From now on it’s 10 free trades a month and only for accounts with a minimum balance of $2,500. Accounts with less than $2,500 will get to trade for $4.50. Those with the required minimum balance will pay $4.50 as well once they hit their 11th trade of the month.

    Those lucky enough to have opened their accounts before today (Oct 1st) are grandfathered in on the previous offer until the end of the year.

    I finally funded my account just this past week and have yet to execute a single trade but have been unimpressed so far with their site. During this same period I also opened and funded an account on Scottrade and the process was much smother plus their site is much more intuitive. My biggest problem with zecco thus far is that navigating their site is painfully slow and sluggish. Additionally it needs some redesign work as everything just seems a bit cluttered to me. For what it’s worth it seems that part of the reason for the price hike is to address some of these same issues. We’ll see… For now, Scottrade strikes a better balance of cost and ease of use for me compared to what zecco has to offer at this time. However, I’m willing to stick around through these growing pains and see what how they improve over the next few months.

  71. Well Zecco is really poor. For 2 weeks my balance was not updating and I was wondering where my trades are going. Then I put in an outgoing ACH transfer request so that I can take some of my profits. It has been in status “pending broker approval” for a week. So I put in a wire transfer request today. Lets see what happens now. Moreover if you trading for more than $5000, why not use Interactive Brokers. Both the stock and option trading commission are significantly lower in the long run. Their interface is smarter too. CS is a human being and easy to reach.

    So, guys do check out if Zecco lets you move your money out or not.

  72. If you do 1-5 stock trades a month.. ZECCO is a fine choice.. but if you are a trader or deal with options… DON’T (I REPEAT!!!) Don’t consider ZECCO.. This company is the worse.. BEYOND worse with customer service an accountablity. Its stone age mentality! I’ve gotten soo many unsubstantiated margin calls..and fighting them constantly to refund my REG T extension charges! Its just not worth it!!! Their problems are beyond gorwing pains… they are still in diapers!!! Just SAY NO! and find someone else..

  73. There seems to be two different versions of this blog. This one is much more negative and more reflective of my experience with Zecco. The site never worked well for me and when they wouldn’t accept my $3000 ACH transfer I decided to just close the account. I opened one at Just2Trade. I have a Choicetrade and Firstrade account as well. Just2Trade is 2.50 a trade. 2 if you have $50,000 in your account. It’s a very plain site but it works and they acually offer customer service. Still free is free and if Zecco ever gets there act even a little together I’d like to give them another try. Maybe like it’s been pointed out here their new commisions will enable them to spend some money and improve things a little.

  74. Zecco is a classic bait and switch scheme and I fell for it. First they offer a large amount of free trades to get people to sign up, then they change the rules by reducing the number of free trades and requiring minimum balances. Normally that’s not a problem, but they said and advertised that they were free. So it is a bait and switch lie. How in the world would one trust them with thier money? The trust is instantly broken with terrible customer service and not keeping thier word. They knew what they were doing from the start. If you want some free trades go elsewhere such as Wells Fargo, Bank of America or several others offering an amount of free trades. You will get better customer service where the reps will “thank you for your business” instead of the “I am too busy to help you” at Zecco.

  75. I am looking at Zecco – and reading the blogs – I am not sure – I have been with Buy and Hold – unlimited trades for 14.99 per month \I have been very happy – trades are limited to 3 times a day for that price – more trades are available for an additioonal fee

  76. I have been watching Zecco for a few months now. Is there some reason this blog stopped on Nov 1st? Can anybody give me a more recent update on their zecco experience?

  77. CD_Vision says:

    I still use and love Zecco for the free trades. I’ve really had no problems with their service.

  78. Same.

  79. I currently dollar cost average by investing in Vanguard Mutual Funds. I am interested in using the zero commission trades on Zecco to invest in ETFs instead.

    I am curious as to how long it would take me to buy shares each week. I get paid through direct deposit on Friday into my checking account. Does anyone know how quickly could I get the money to Zecco and make a market order for a Vanguard ETF every week?

    Thanks for your help. This site is awesome!

  80. In general, I’ve found that it takes 2-3 business days to ACH the money over… so if I initiate the transfer on Friday, I’d expect to see it in Zecco on Tuesday or Wednesday morning.

  81. Thanks Richard!

  82. Wow, these boards are full of negative feedback.

    Just offering my honest opinion. i really like Zecco. i’ve held an account for over a year now and though i only have a small account i’ve enjoyed playing the stock market with the free trades.

    i’ve just recently become more active with trading using my allotted 10 free the last 3 months. i’m doing alright and glad i’m not losing money moving into and out of positions. this is somewhat of a “learning” brokerage account or my play account if you will. i’ve had my scottrade account for a few years now which is where my roth ira is. if i were paying $7 a trade i simply would make much less trades and in effect probably hold onto positions longer than i should in this downward market.

  83. There are a lot of negative comments on this blog, but most of these are from several months ago. Does anyone know if Zecco’s service has improved? Specifically, I’d like to know the length of time it takes to buy and sell. Right now I’m with E-Trade, and I’m really disappointed with the amount of time it takes to do a transaction. If anyone has any information about this, I’d appreciate some feedback.

  84. Richard says:

    I still use them… have been with them for over a year now. Buying and selling is REALLY speedy… if you place a market order, I’d say it’s instantaneous. I haven’t had cause to call customer service in several months, so I can’t speak to that, but for the most part, I’m satisfied with the service.

  85. What is a new account paperwork? Is it the same as Customer Agreement paperwork?

  86. With a Zecco margin account, does your cash reset the same day that you sell a stock? Also, will it reset the same day if you decide to buy-to-cover a short sell?

    Thanks :)

  87. Josh,

    What does “ZECCO” (which means “ZERO COMMISSIONS”) customer service have to say? If you have read all of the posts here and investigated ZECCO, I am surprised you or anyone would bother with them. You have so many quality choices out there with whom you can trade with. My advice is to stay away.

  88. Dave,

    I’m new to the investing world. I have never had a broker before. Perhaps I will choose a different broker. I’m still exploring options.

    But one thing I really want to know right now is rather ANY margin accounts – based on your experience – reset your cash immediately after buying-to-cover a short sale.

    Thanks,

    Josh

  89. Josh,

    I am sorry I do not have an answer for you on that as I do not trade on margin. I would just call any investment house and ask a broker and you will get an answer. As for ZECCO, I was not impressed. I had an account but switched to another firm. There are investment firms out there including banks that have brokerage accounts where you can get free trades and superior customer service. Best of luck to you.

  90. CD_Vision says:

    If you’re new to investing, short selling is probably not a practice I’d recommend you do, but to answer your question, yes, they reset your cash right away on a margin account.

    I love Zecco. I think it’s the best thing ever.

  91. CD_Vision,

    I appreciate your advice about holding off on the short selling, since there is certainly more risk to it than going long.

    Dave,

    While I also appreciate your advice to find a more reliable broker, I think I will give Zecco a shot. I can always cancel.

    Thank you both.

  92. I just opened an account in Zecco and I am very about their CS so far. After reading so many negative posts, I was expecting to take some time (and hassels) for my account opening process. I filled in the applications last Saturday night (close to midnight) following the review. I realized my acoount was approved on the next day (YES. it was Sunday!) My ACH link is connected today (Tuesday). While I emailed CSR the MM Sweep form and other forms this afternoon, they responded to my email in 1 hr and saying they will take care of the MMSweep and I don’t need all other forms since my account has been approved. I was actually “shocked” by their efficiency.

  93. Fidelity Gold Customer says:

    It tooks Zecco more than a month to open my account. They keep request for several stupid letters of explanations. Some of them are really obvious but they still asked for them.

    I have several brokerage accounts and Zecco is the worst of all.
    It is not really worth the money and time to open the account with Zecco to save a few dollars which you could gain from trading with another brokerage. For me, i like fidelity the most. However, several of my friends like scottrades; however, i have never heard any one recommend Zecco. Well, don’t know how long Zecco can stay in this business…

  94. I just read the “Fidelity Gold” customer comment and agree. I have several posts here where I tried to warn people of this Zecco scam. When it comes to my money I better be treated seriously and professionally or that’s it. That did not happen with Zecco. I was literally told by a customer service agent at Zecco that she was “too busy” to help me. Great. Then I am too busy to give you my money.

  95. I got a very bad experience, I made a deposit through ACH and find my bank account has been closed. Their web site has no way to cancel the transaction and the phone are holding too long that I am able to talk to the customer serive after trading hour. There’s no way to cancel the deposit request and they charge $25 with magin calls on my account. Now I have to paid the interest on negative balance. That’s the first time I heard that no way to cancel the ACH transaction during business hours. Now I know “no free lunch”. I have confident that some day you lost your money and they have something coming up for it.
    p.s. you couldn’t find the way to cash out from you account too. check their web, I spend 45 min and just couldn’t find one

  96. If you never have to call customer service, Zecco would serve you fine. If you never have any problems with your account, Zecco would serve you fine. But what are the possibilities of that, especially with Zecco’s rudimentary way of doing things! I opened a Zecco account several months ago. I still have an account, but I don’t trade much with them because I have had many many problems. First, their website went down one too many times. Second, my buying power was cut in half one too many times (money just disappeared for a day because of their “system glitch”). Third, it is like pulling teeth getting money I am due. I was due money for a fractional share when the company merged with another. After about a dozen e-mails and several phone calls, they finally paid the fractional share about a month later. Also, a friend of mine opened an account through their Friends Referral Program. I was supposed to receive $50 for the referral. Guess what? Didn’t get it. There have been other issues, but there isn’t enough space. Customer service sucks!!! They are rude and lack knowledge.

  97. Zecco is the worst broker I’ve ever dealt with in my life… I’ve had accounts with about 6 in the past 5 years. I, like everyone else, figured I could save $1k a year on my swing trades. Everything was working out OK, until late August.
    I had 2 stocks march through my stops. Stop market order of 32.17, daily volume about 8 million… Zecco did not execute my stop until 31.87 (an hour later) turning a large gain, into a moderate loss. This happened again costing turning an $800 gain into a $400 loss. Also, I have never had their trailing stops work ever. The simply execute, almost like market orders.
    Completely unacceptable, totally unreliable. I have ZERO confidence in Zecco and am awaiting their demise. Also, yesterday on the 500 DJ drop, the entire site was unaccessable.
    What a POS, you get what you pay for… Have since moved account to SogoElite and am much more satisfied.

  98. I have to agree with Johnny.

    I tried out Zecco primarily based on Jonathan’s recommendation, but I’ve been hating it with an unbridled passion. The free trades are nice, but having to deal with their poorly coded site (pre-loaders?! are you serious?), their inability to scale, and their poor customer service just wasn’t worth it for me in the end.

    There was a full day where I couldn’t log in because they were having scaling issues on their backend – that’s enough for me to know it’s time to get out. Their slow ACH transfers (up to 7 business days) were just salt on the wound.

  99. I had difficulty twice with Zecco in September that cost me.
    Couldn’t get to my account and also, a funds transfer that was submitted didn’t go through. Was told there was technical difficult from Sept. 12-15 and orders had to be resubmitted. This caused overdraft fees at the other account. $50.00
    I’d like this to get reimbursed.
    Everything else has gone smoothly. Been trading in October and is good.

  100. Marcia,

    I have to admit that I am somewhat confused. You have had some serious problems there with ZECCO yet you seem willing to stick with them. I have several posts here regarding poor customer service…many others here indicate problems as well. I do not mean to be disrespectful to you or anyone, but please explain to me why it is so important to continue to do business with a company that continues to make mistakes with other people’s money, especially during these difficult financial times? This makes no sense whatsoever. Reputable brokerage houses generally do not receive this kind of criticism.

  101. I’m going to transfer my account at the end of the month back to a local company where I can talk in person with the people and the customer service has always been excellent. Someone referred me to Zecco a couple of months ago and I transferred my account. The 10 free trades was a lure I couldn’t resist.
    My financial planner had also given me the green light on it.

  102. Come on, let’s be honest here. Ya don’t drive an old kia because you think it’s the best car. It’s cheap, sips gas, and works. Sure it’ll break down once a while, but you’re broke and it gets you where you need to go. That’s why we use Zecco. I’m happy they are around.

    I’m off to make more unlimited free trades for the rest of October. Everyone else can keep paying twenty bucks a roundtrip trade.

  103. Marcia,

    I think that is a wise move. My ZECCO experience from start to finish was sub-par at best. The ZECCO business model is nothing but a con game, it’s all been been done before by other companies (ZECCO started by offering 100% free trading. After they signed up thousands of customers they changed the rules of the game). Your point about being able to deal with someone in person is well taken. I have a brokerage account with a large, well known financial institution where I get 100 free trades a year. There are other firms out there that will do the same, or better. I wish you financial success and the very best of luck!

  104. That’s right. I’ve had a Kia, and now it’s a Toyota Yaris. My style is very economical and low cost…but the Yaris never has given me a problem.
    I’m liking all the free trades too, so maybe I’ll have changed my mind by the end of the month.

  105. I have had bad experience with zecco as well. They have on 2 occasions not honored ACH depositis to my trading account and on one occasion, they missed executing my limit buy order. Customer service is full of a bunch of uninformed teenagers. Forwarding notes to supervisors doesn’t get addressed at all. Customer service doesn’t even know that low and high of the day comes from intraday stock price – I was told in an email that the limit order didn’t get executed because the low of the day was from pre-market trading. I guess cutting corners obviously won’t make them that big. I don’t discourage others from signing up for zecco but if you’re going to be trading in big dollar amounts then I would look somewhere else.

    Penson is their clearing firm so those who have worked with them will be able to understand the user interface for looking up trades, statements, etc. However, not sure if it is because of Penson’s fault or zecco’s but I cannot find my past account statements.

    Rollover IRA also carries a fee of 35 a year.

    Good luck to those who are considering zecco. I am about to cancel my relationship with them.

  106. drgold2001 says:

    Dave,

    Who do you use for your 100 free trades a year? How is the service and the web trades?

    I think Wells Fargo and Bank America have free trades if you have $25K in deposits with them.

    I had a Zecco account but found it too much of a hassle with their customer service and beware of a late, late 1099 at year end — I had to file an amended tax return last year due to their ineptness!

  107. DataIsGold says:

    Received an email from Zecco. You need a minimum 25K for free trades now. Or if you make 25 trades per month they’ll give you 10 free.

  108. I received that email as well, DataIsGold. Very upsetting, the free trades were the only reason I stuck with them. Such a big change in minimum balance makes me wonder about them. Oh well, it was good while it lasted… Thanks JON for the free trades you found me!!!

  109. Just noticing these posts regarding minimum balances at ZECCO. Some time ago I posted several messages here warning about ZECCO. Their business model from the start was the classic “BAIT AND SWITCH” scheme where they reel you in with free offers and change the rules later, in their favor. That is not the kind of company I want to deal with; nor would I trust them with one cent of my money. I no longer deal with them and neither should anyone else. There are so many options available and lots of competition between reputable firms where you can get real service and talk to real stock brokers and pay very little or nothing in some cases for your trades.

  110. joeblow69 says:

    I stuck with Zecco too despite reducing the free trades to 10 from 40 per month and increasing their minimum from $0 to $2500. This is the last straw….I am out for good.

  111. I have had an account with Zecco from the start when they offered 40 Free trades no minimum balance until now where they are offering 10 free trades with a 25k balance. Their computer system has improved, but not enough to excuse the 25k minimum. The social model web 2.0 model they bet on to make money, is a failure. If I read the tea leaves correctly, they are planning major changes soon to allow them to function as a “going concern”. But, I lack confidence in the management team to see the situation through. The free trades made Zecco a good place to try new trading techniques. It’s obvious that Zecco’s growth has exceeded the capability of their current system architecture and talent of the development staff. They have rolled out system changes Sunday, that end up crashing the system on Monday, and then take hours to restore the system. The system still crashes under heavy activity, so nervous investors go crazy trying to login at the beginning or end of the day – this is an ongoing issue, it happened several times in 2007, 2008 and again in March 2009. On April 1st 2009, they rolled out a untested change that allowed each account at least $6,839,590.83 in trading power – yes you read it correctly 6 million dollars, some accounts had $13 million.

    It’s obvious there are no internal controls; it’s time to run(not walk) to another online discount brokerage firm.

  112. Anonymous says:

    The 6million dollar issue was caused by the clearing firm and trading platform provider. It affected numerous brokerages that utilize the same products

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