Thank you for reaching out in Community. I'm sure you have a lot of questions and concerns before making such decisions. I will engage a colleague to reach out to you to answer any specific questions you may have about our brokerage services.
If you are actually going to be trading individual stocks rather than investing in mutual funds, I would very highly recommend Robinhood, which is an app that charges nothing for straightforward trades (I think that they charge for futures or other derivatives, which is how they make money). I hold most of my investments according to a traditional investment plan, but I put a few bets on individual equities just for fun and so I'll have a little skin in the game as I track companies in adjacent industries. I use Robinhood so that I can trade when I feel like it without worrying about fees/commissions. As far as I can tell, there is no catch.
I was disappointed when USAA rolled out its brokerage commission schedule. It's reminiscent of a pre-2008 financial crisis corporation fee schedule. USAA charges $8.95 if you have less than $50K in a brokerage account (or if you trade less than 25 times in a 90-day period). If you have less than $50K, you should not be trading more than $25K. It's $5.95 a trade if you have more than $50K. I've used Fidelity for more than a decade. It's $7.95 for all trades, free for their own mutual funds. I have a bit more than $50K saved up, so I may be "losing" money compared to USAA, but I've not heard a lot of good things about USAA brokerage services. USAA's Mortgage and Brokerage businesses do not have the same customer service as their banking and insurance does. Anyways, I hope some of this information, from a non-USAA employee helps.
Brandon J (not a Certified Financial Planner)
USAA may be middle of the road when it comes to brokerage fees. However, beware if you try to purchase any products from Vanguard, using your USAA investment portal. I made a naive mistake when I first starting investing through USAA: I was not aware that I would have to pay $45 for the "privilege" of having an account transferred to USAA. It is called a "transfer fee", and it is devastating unless you are ready for it. I now purchase mostly Fidelity funds and ETFs, as they have no transfer fees for those of us using USAA. In other matters, I think USAA mutual fund managers are greatly overcompensated for the returns they deliver; look at the net management fees compared to Fidelity for similar funds. You will be shocked. Most brokerages are reducing fees to be competitive. USAA is not. I am greatly disappointed in USAA in this regards. Banking services are superb. Investment services have a long way to go to be competitive. And, as an added comment, it has been over 28 hours since markets closed on Friday, and USAA has yet to find the time to update my investments for close of business yesterday. Abominal...that's the best way I can describe it. Worse, investment folks at USAA seem to care little about customer dissatisfaction.
And it is amazing that we need a 16 page monthly statement to tell me that I bought something in 2008. The monthly statement should really just have the activity for that month plus one line for unrealized long term gains/losses, one line for unrealized short term gains/losses and any applicable realized gains or losses. Again I don't need to see that I purchased a mutual fund in 2008 and every individual dividend that has paid out since then (except this month's dividend). Best suggestion from USAA was to sell one of my investments because I got tired of the pages and pages of information about it - great suggestion as it wasn't making as much as my Dreyfus or Vanguard investments. If felt good to get rid of that USAA mutual fund and all that excess paper.
Also USAA, after their conversion, had a lot of problems syncing up with Quicken and once in awhile still doesn't get the balances correct. This never happened before the conversion. It certainly drives this accountant crazy.
I have a SEP IRA at USAA, but am thinking on moving it to Vanguard. I just want to buy into two Vanguard index funds, because they are solid and have low expense ratios. But USAA charges $45 per transaction I think for this non-USAA fund. And everytime I want to change the funds over the coming years, it would be $45 again? I want to have all my banking / insurance / investment products in one tidy place (USAA), but I'm not seeing the benefit of having the IRA at USAA. If anybody knows a way around these fees, I'm glad to listen, but otherwise I'm gonna have to get the IRA going at Vanguard. Thanks