If you’re interested in trading, you may be aware that Axos has some excellent managed portfolios with their robo-advisor.
The Axos platform also has a great option for self-directed trading.
In this article, we’ll delve into the Axos Self-Directed Trading platform in fine detail to help you to determine if this investing platform is a good fit for you.
- No trading fees on stocks and ETFs.
- $0 minimum to open an account.
- Generous welcome bonus.
- Multiple account types.
The Axos Basics
The Axos brokerage has been operating since 2000. Axos Self-Directed investing allows you control over low-cost portfolios and addresses some of the potential issues you may encounter with the company’s Managed Portfolio. This makes it a good fit for newbie traders who want a brokerage that will help them to improve their trading skills.
The Self Directed Investment platform has no minimum investment requirements and you can open a retirement, individual, or joint account. In addition to investing, you can open checking and savings accounts to manage your money fee-free using the one app.
Additionally, new customers who open an account and maintain a balance of $1,000 plus for 90 days, will get a $150 deposit into their account as a welcome bonus.
How Axos Self-Directed Trading Works
Once you open your self-directed trading account, you’ll see the Axos trading platform, offering access to stocks, ETFs, and mutual funds. If you obtain approved status, you’ll also gain access to margin and options trading.
There is no minimum investment needed for the Axos Self-Directed Trading platform, but if you want to open an IRA, you’ll need to invest $50 or more. It is possible to open an individual or joint investment account, Traditional IRA or Roth IRA.
All of these accounts will provide you with access to commission-free ETF and stock trading.
If you prefer, you can sign up for an Axos Elite membership. This costs $10 per month, but we’ll discuss what perks you get with membership in a little more detail below.
Axos also offers numerous other financial services, so you can use the Axos platform and app to manage checking, savings, personal loans, and mortgage accounts.
While the Axos Self-Directed Trading platform does offer commission-free ETF and stock trading, there are some other costs you will need to consider. However, the fee structure is quite transparent and straightforward.
One of the most notable costs you will need to bear in mind is that if you have a basic Axos Self-Directed Trading account, you’ll need to pay $1 per options contract. This is a little more than some competing platforms, but the $9.95 per mutual fund trade fee is far less than most other platforms.
The other platform fees are fairly typical for an online brokerage. For example, if you want to transfer your entire portfolio to another platform or broker, there is a $75 fee. There is also a $40 annual custodial fee for IRA accounts. Margin trading is also available from rates of 5.5%.
- Stocks: $0 per trade.
- ETFs: $0 per trade.
- Options: $0.80-$1 per contract.
- Mutual Funds: $9.95 per trade (no-load).
- Transfer account: $75
- Annual custodial fee for IRAs: $40.
So the most common fees people typically run into, fees for trading stocks and ETFs, are free on Axos. While they do have some other fees, they are in line with fees charged by other brokerages. Please see their site for a complete breakdown of less common fees.
Axos Platform Features
Since Axos offers a number of financial products, it makes sense that it has tried to consolidate all its assets within one platform. The main investing platform is quite basic, but this makes it fairly straightforward to use. This includes a number of interesting features that will appeal to investors of all experience levels.
This platform allows you to trade in over 17,000 stocks including IPOs and penny stocks. The information for each stock includes company profiles, charts, detailed quotes, earnings estimates, fundamentals, dividends, analyst rankings, sector views, and news.
There are approximately 2,700 available ETFs, with charts, holdings, ownership, options ratios, dividends, detailed quotes, and news.
The platform also has an Option Radar vertical, which includes price, change and strike, an overview of open interest ratios for calls and puts, and volume interest ratios. This should be more than sufficient for casual options traders.
There are also a number of order types including limit, market, stop, stop limit, GTC (good til canceled), and AON (all or none).
The variety of research tools on the Axos platform is suitable for both beginners and intermediate investors. This includes screeners and a quite comprehensive market news.
The market news is sourced from a variety of aggregators and it includes sector and overall information. There are also links to filings from the Securities and Exchange Commission and a heat map feature, which is an innovative tool that illustrates the relative weaknesses and strengths of major market sectors.
Within the Elite plan, there is also Elite TipRanks, which provides a unique combination of ranked investment ideas and expert opinions.
What is interesting for a low-cost platform is that Axos also offers a very useful stock screener. This has numerous preset screens and there are over 10 customizable screens, which include:
- Market cap
- P E ratio
There is both a general screener and a sector screener you can use to find your next potential trade.
This is an area where Axos is a little lacking. Unlike many online platforms, there are no investing video tutorials or other in-depth resources. There is a blog with some decent educational articles, particularly in the investing section.
However, if you’re a complete newbie to investing, you may need to look elsewhere to learn about the basics and investing fundamentals before jumping on to this platform. You will need to be prepared to have the platform and other resources open at the same time to help you navigate your first few trades.
The Axos App
One of the stand-out features of the Axos platform is that it is integrated into the Axos Bank app. This is available for both Android and iOS devices and you can log in to manage all your accounts.
You can use the app to check the balance on your existing Axos bank accounts, transfer funds, and pay bills.
If you’re an Elite member, you can also use the app to set up a watchlist, see market overviews, check the news, index, and sector performance, and access research within the app.
This level of integration is something quite unique with online trading platforms. While many online brokerages do have an app, most are stand-alone. This means that you need to do a little juggling to get your finances organized and work out your current investment fund. Since Axos is a bank with checking, savings, loans, mortgages, and other financial products, you can manage all your money under one roof and with the one app.
While it is possible to access commission-free trading on stocks and ETFs with a basic membership, if you want more extensive features and reduced fees on other investing activities, you’ll need to upgrade to Axos Elite. This is a subscription membership, which costs $10 per month.
Although newbie traders are likely to find the basic plan sufficient, the cost of upgrading to Elite can be offset by some fee savings. For example, upgrading to Elite will mean you pay $0.80 per options trading contract compared to $1 with a basic plan.
Other perks of Axos Elite include access to margin trading, real-time market data, Instant Trade settlement credit, and extended trading hours. As we mentioned above, you can also access TipRanks research reports with an Elite membership.
These features should more than offset the $10 membership cost if you’re an active trader. However, casual or newbie investors may find that the optional upgrade is not worth the cost for them.
The Axos Self-Directed Trading User Experience
The Axos Self-Directed Trading platform has a fairly stripped-down layout which does make it quite straightforward to use. While it may be lacking some of the bells and whistles of its competition, there isn’t a steep learning curve. This makes it easy to open an account and get started immediately.
The stock screeners are customizable and the customization is intuitive. This makes it easy to explore your potential investment possibilities according to your designated criteria.
Unfortunately, the research tools are a little limited with a basic account and you may need to upgrade to Elite or use another platform if you want to deep delve into market trends.
Additionally, there are limited educational resources, so you’ll need to know the fundamentals already before you start using this platform.
Overall Axos bank has a great reputation for its customer support and service. The bank has an A+ accredited Better Business Bureau status, but the Axos Invest arm does not have accreditation.
You can contact a member of the Axos customer support team at any time by logging into your account online or through the app and sending a direct message. While Axos does have a dedicated email for its investing platform, messaging through the app is a quicker and easier way to get in touch.
Since Axos is an online company, you won’t have access to a physical bricks-and-mortar brand for any customer service issues. However, there is a customer service phone line if you want to speak to a representative.
The customer support is quite responsive whether you’re contacting via phone, chat or email. The quickest way to access the team is to click on the Contact icon in the app or on the web platform and you should receive a prompt response, with helpful information. Although the chatbot may not be able to answer any specific questions, it will provide a customer service number if you need more in-depth help. This differs from many online brokerage platforms where you can only request support via email.
The website customer support pages are well laid out and organized by category. When you select a category, you’ll be directed to an appropriate contact form.
Pros And Cons
Of course, no financial product or platform is perfect and there are both positives and potential negatives of the Axos Self-Directed Trading platform. It is important to be aware of both of these to make an informed decision about whether Axos is a good choice for you.
- Low Cost Trading: There is no commission on stocks and ETF trading, with $1 per contract for options trades and a very reasonable $9.95 fee per trade on mutual funds trading.
- Good Range of Services: You can not only access stocks, ETFs, options and mutual funds, but Axos also offers a variety of banking products and services. You can manage all your Axos products via the same app or using the internet banking platform.
- No Investment Minimums: Another attractive feature of Axos Invest is that there are no investment minimums for a self directed account. There is only a $50 minimum for an IRA and a $500 minimum for managed portfolios.
- Welcome Bonus: New customers can qualify for a $150 welcome bonus with an account balance of $1,000+ for at least the first 90 days.
- Options Trading: You can trade options with a free basic account, with a fee of $1 per trade. However, if you upgrade to an Elite plan, you’ll only pay $0.80 per trade.
- Margin Trading: You’ll need an Axos Elite account to access margin trading, but it is available at a reasonable 5.5%.
- No Human Advisors: This is fairly common with online brokers, particularly low-cost brokerages. If you do need guidance with your portfolio, you’re likely to be better suited to using the Managed Portfolio and auto-invest options which are directed using a robo-advisor.
- Limited Customer Service: While you can access the customer service team via phone, email, or direct message, you will need to be prepared for a day or two’s wait for specific inquiries. Additionally, since there are no branches, you cannot access in-person support.
- Monthly Fee: If you want access to the full catalog of Axos Self-Directed Trading features, you’ll need to upgrade to an Elite membership, which carries a $10 monthly fee. Some of the features offered with this membership are available for free with other platforms.
- Limited Educational Tools: While there are other online brokerages that offer video tutorials and other educational resources, Axos only offers blog articles. So, if you are a complete newbie, you may find the educational tools and resources severely limited.
Who is Axos Self-Directed Trading Best Suited For?
While the Axos Invest robo-advisor is a good option for newbies who want to take a hands-off approach to investing, the Self Directed-Trading arm is better suited to more experienced investors who want to access advanced trading options with low fees.
It is also a good fit if you’re an existing Axos Bank customer and want to keep all of your finances under one umbrella.
The Axos app and internet banking platform allow you to manage your investments, checking and saving accounts, loans and mortgages without needing multiple login details. You can even access the research tools through the app if you’re an Elite member.
Axos Self-Directed Trading: A Great Low-Cost Platform
With the addition of Self-Directed Trading, Axos has rounded out its platform to appeal to active and more experienced traders.
Although the managed portfolio side of the platform is a great option for those who want to take a hands-off approach to investing, the Self-Directed Trading platform allows investors to have greater control without worrying about hefty fees.
The fee structure with Axos is very straightforward and you can enjoy commission-free trading of ETFs and stocks. While the options contract fee is a little more than some of Axos’s competition, the mutual funds contract fee is far less than the typical at just $9.99 per contract. This means that if you’re an active investor and want to create a well-balanced investment portfolio, Axos can help you to achieve this with minimal fees and charges.
If you choose to upgrade to Axos Elite, you will pay a $10 per month subscription fee, but this further opens up the platform with additional research resources, reduced options trading fees, and access to trading on margin, with very reasonable rates.
So, if you’re considering a platform that allows you to take a more hands-on approach to your investments, Axos is certainly worthy of serious consideration.
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