Firstrade Broker Deposit or ACAT Transfer Bonus: Up to $4,000

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Firstrade is a broker unique in that they include $0 online stock/ETF trades, $0 options + $0 per contract, and $0 mutual fund trades (including no-load). Most of the major brokers charge per options contract and for no-load mutual fund trades. They are also unique in that they originally started out catering to the Chinese-speaking community in New York, and thus offer a Chinese language version of their site (Simplified and Traditional) and Chinese-speaking customer service reps (Mandarin and Cantonese). Right now, the are offering up to a $4,000 ACAT transfer bonus depending on the size of transferred assets:

  • $50 with $5,000 in transferred assets or deposits
  • $100 with $10,000 in transferred assets or deposits
  • $300 with $25,000 in transferred assets or deposits
  • $700 with $100,000 in transferred assets or deposits
  • $1,500 with $500,000 in transferred assets or deposits
  • $3,000 with $1,000,000 in transferred assets or deposits
  • $4,000 with $1,500,000 in transferred assets or deposits

Offer details.

  • New taxable and IRA accounts are eligible.
  • Firstrade will also cover up to $200 in ACAT transfer fees and up to $25 in wire transfer fees.
  • You must keep the assets there for at least 12 months.
  • Must open by 11/10/22 and fund within 30 days of account opening.

Offer valid for new Firstrade Brokerage or IRA accounts opened from 10/10/2022 to 11/10/2022 and funded within 30 days of account opening with $5,000 or more. To be eligible for the bonus, the new account must be opened using the specific “Open an Account” button associated with this promotional offer. Limit one offer per account type.

This offer is open to U.S. residents only and excludes current and former Firstrade account holders who have closed their accounts within the past 90 days. This offer is not transferable.

Important: The account must remain open for 12 months with the minimum funding or assets required for participating in the offer (minus any trading losses), or Firstrade may charge the account for the cost of the offer at its sole discretion. Firstrade reserves the right to restrict or revoke this offer at any time.

Commentary. This is an overall solid promotion, although right now other offers may be slightly better at any given tier amount. For example, the Public offer of $10,000 for $1,000,000 in new assets is still tops. However, I would classify Firstrade as a much more established and reputable broker with a history of solid customer service than the Public app. (I know that some people had some concerns about moving a million dollars of assets to a little-known startup.) Also, Public doesn’t allow IRAs, which is where a lot of people have their assets held. The highest ratio they offer is the $300 for $25,000 tier at slightly over 1%. Historically, paying out a 0.3% ratio ($3,000 for $1,000,000 transferred) is not bad at the $1,000,000 tier. Note the 12-month minimum holding period.

Reminder: Brokerage Asset Bonuses vs. Bank Deposit Bonuses. There is an important difference between brokerage asset bonuses and bank deposit bonuses. A bank deposit bonus pays you extra interest for holding a certain amount of cash with them. A brokerage asset bonus requires you to transfer over your existing investments like index funds, individual shares of Apple or Berkshire Hathaway, individual shares of REITs, and so on. You still own the asset and it’s still doing its thing. The brokerage bonus is on top.

In this example, if you really wanted to compare it directly against an interest rate, you should at least assume you will be holding a T-Bill ETF like GBIL or BIL (current SEC yield roughly 2.5%) and then adding this bonus on top of the yield. However, the real benefit for patient, long-term investors that you can just keep your existing assets and essentially get paid a DIY “management fee”.

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Comments

  1. The promotion page on their website says $500,000 for $700 (which of course does not make sense) instead of the $50,000 in this post. The T&Cs has the following table:
    Cash Bonus Deposit or Transfer
    $4,000 – 1,500,000+
    $3,000 – 1,000,000-1,499,999
    $1,500 – 500,000-999,999
    $700 – 100,000-499,999
    $300 – 25,000-99,999
    $100 – 10,000-24,999
    $50 – 5,000+

  2. I just wanted to point out that $3000 for $1,000,000 isn’t 3%. It is 0.03%. For that reason, the $100k asset transfer is their best reward tier from a ratio perspective as it is about 1.5%.

  3. Yes, they are inconsistent; says $1,500k for $100k on their chart, but only $700 for $100k on the table:

    Cash Bonus Deposit or Transfer
    $4,000 1,500,000+
    $3,000 1,000,000-1,499,999
    $1,500 500,000-999,999
    $700 100,000-499,999
    $300 25,000-99,999
    $100 10,000-24,999
    $50 5,000+

  4. Jason Boxman says

    I beg of you, don’t do this if you’re considering it. I transferred shares of a single security over to my decade old Firstrade account a year ago. They screwed it up, badly. Shares of IBM, right before the IBM-KD split.

    They neither received the cost basis information nor did they make the post-split adjustment. For nearly a year I begged, cajoled, and threatened by email, phone, and registered mail. I was told they were going to take care of it, that Apex had my back. No follow up ever. The last time I called, I had to explain to the service rep what a stock spin-off was. Why my KD shares had zero cost basis and where they came from was apparently a mystery to this person. I was told they’d call me once they fixed it; I wasn’t given any kind of ticket number, rebuffed when asked, no suggestion as to how I’d be contacted, never was. Registered mail was received and ignored.

    I finally moved all my money to Merrill. My attempts were rejected by Firstrade again and again on outbound ACAT for various reasons before the transfer went through. After some back and forth, Merrill stepped up and fixed the cost basis issue.

    So at Firstrade, for nearly a year, I had invalid or missing cost basis information from a simple ACAT transfer.

    Don’t move your money, I beg of you. It isn’t worth it. This is the most insulting and confounding service I’ve ever experienced. And the account balances weren’t particularly small either.

  5. Just to clarify the part about a 3% ratio in the Commentary section (“… Indeed, normally a 3% ratio is pretty great ($3,000 for $1,000,000 transferred)…) – a 3% bonus for a million dollar transfer would be $30,000, not $3000. The bonus is less than half of 1% (.3%).

  6. The chart has now been corrected to show a $700 bonus for a $100k deposit

  7. I emailed Firstrade a couple questions earlier, and in their response to me a few minutes ago they said “Mutual funds and fixed income does not apply to this promotion.”

    • That’s a good catch, it is in their terms and conditions:

      Qualifying net new assets are calculated by adding total incoming assets or transfers, including cash, securities and/or margin debit balance transfers from external accounts (ACATS only). This offer does not apply to internal transfers from current Firstrade account holders and cannot be combined with certain other offers. Mutual Funds & Fixed Income products are excluded from this promotion.

  8. I started signing up for a Firstrade acct, but before they will open the account, they wanted me to send an image of my id and to verify my assets. I don’t mind sending an image of my id, but it irks me that they want me to send them proof of all of my assets. I only planned to transfer in 100k of assets to get the bonus, but they want to verify all my assets. Other than proving the assets I was going to transfer in, I’ve never had this request from any other brokerage where I’ve opened an account. I’m not sure why this is required other than them being able to know what I have and where I have it.

    Is this something particular to FIrstrade? Maybe I’ve just been lucky and only had to verify the assets I was transferring in before.

    I was going to try and edit my profile to show I only had the assets I was going to transfer in, but I can’t edit my profile until I confirm my acct (which means I would need to send in the proof of assets).

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