Costs of Investing

Costs of Investing: A Breakdown

It's not always easy to get a handle on your investing costs. Depending on where you invest, it might be difficult to get a good understanding of what the costs are and what investors might expect to pay for them. We believe it shouldn't be that way. You should always know what you're paying—and finding that information should be easy.

Stocks and Options

Stock options
What are the costs? What you pay with Schwab
Trade Commissions 
Every time you buy or sell a stock or option, your brokerage company may charge you a trade commission. This includes costs for routing, executing, and clearing the trade. 
US$0 commissions on online listed stock and options trades.1 
US$0.65 per options contract.2

Stock options disclosure

1. Standard online US$0 commission does not apply to over-the-counter (OTC) equities, futures, fixed-income investments, or trades placed directly on a foreign exchange or in the Canadian market. Options trades will be subject to the standard US$0.65 per-contract fee. Service charges apply for trades placed through a broker (US$25). Exchange process, ADR, and Stock Borrow fees still apply. Schwab One International® accounts require a minimum deposit to open. Please contact Schwab for details. See the Charles Schwab Pricing Guide for Individual Investors for full fee and commission schedules.

2. Please see the Charles Schwab Pricing Guide for detailed information on equity and options commissions. Multiple-leg options strategies will involve multiple commissions.

Multiple leg online option orders such as spreads, straddles, combinations, and rollouts are charged per-contract fees for the total number of option contracts. Complex online option orders involving both an equity and an option leg, including Buy/Writes or Write/Unwinds, are charged per-contract fees for the option leg. Service charges apply for trades placed through a broker (US$25) or by automated phone (US$5).

Special Service Fees
Exchange Process Fee - This is a fee Schwab charges to offset fees imposed on us directly or indirectly by national securities exchanges, self-regulatory organizations, or U.S. option exchanges. Schwab shall have the right to determine the amount of such fees it charges in its reasonable discretion, and such fees may differ from or exceed the actual third-party fees properly paid by Schwab in connection with any transaction. These differences may be caused by various internal and external factors, including, among other things, the rounding methodology used, the use of allocation accounts, transactions or settlement movements for which a fee may not be assessed, timing differences in changes, third-party rate caps and floors, calculation errors, and various other anomalous reasons.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) assesses transaction fees on national securities exchanges and self-regulatory organizations based on the aggregate dollar amount of sales of certain securities. The SEC recalculates the amount of this fee periodically – at least once per year but sometimes more often. National securities and self-regulatory organizations offset the transaction fees by charging their member broker-dealers such as Schwab, and Schwab, in turn, offsets this fee by charging you an Exchange Process Fee for covered sell transactions.


U.S. option exchanges charge Schwab the other broker-dealers per-contract fees for purchases and sales of exchange-listed options. The exchanges may charge these fees even on transactions executed on other exchanges, which can result in multiple fees being imposed on Schwab for a single transaction. Schwab offsets these fees by charging you a single Exchange Process Fee for each covered transaction. Any Exchange Process Fee that appears on your trade confirmation for a sale of an exchange-listed option combines the offsets for the fees charged by the U.S. option exchanges, national securities exchanges, and self-regulatory organizations. 

Schwab's Exchange Process Fee will rise or fall periodically depending upon the rates set by the SEC, self-regulatory organizations, or by the U.S. option exchanges, as applicable. 

Exchange Process Fee for American Depository Receipts (ADR) – This is a fee Schwab charges to offset fees imposed on Schwab by executing brokers. It is associated with transaction taxes assessed by certain governments as a percentage of the purchase amount of certain securities, and the rate is subject to change. The fee will appear as an “Exchange Process Fee” on your trade confirmation. 



What are the costs? What you pay with Schwab
Price Markup
Generally, this is the difference between the market price of the bond and the price at which it's sold to you, including transaction fees.
US$1 per bond transaction fee for most secondary market bonds traded online (US$10 minimum/US$250 maximum).3

Bonds disclosure

3. Broker-assisted trades: Online pricing + US$25 per trade service charge

Schwab reserves the right to act as principal on any fixed income transaction, public offering or securities transaction. When Schwab acts as principal, the bond price includes our transaction fee and may also include a markup that reflects the bid-ask spread and is not subject to a minimum or maximum. When trading as principal, Schwab may also be holding the security in its own account prior to selling it to you and, therefore, may make (or lose) money depending on whether the price of the security has risen or fallen while Schwab has held it. When Schwab acts as agent, a commission will be charged on the transaction.

Portfolio Management Fees

What are the costs? What you pay with Schwab
Annual Portfolio Management Fees 
If you choose to have your portfolio of investments professionally managed or to obtain advice for a fee, there may be additional periodic costs. Usually based on a percentage of your assets, the costs can vary depending on the level of assets held in your portfolio and the level of service you receive. 

 Keep in mind that you may also be paying investment costs specific to the underlying assets in your portfolio, such as ETF or trade commissions.
Dedicated financial advice4 
Starts at 0.80% for Schwab Wealth Advisory™ 
(Fee rates decrease at higher asset levels) 

See disclosures on portfolio management fees

4. Example model for Dedicated Financial Advice is limited to services defined as non-discretionary advice for a wrap fee. Additional discretionary advice or advised offers may be available and typically come with higher management fees versus non-discretionary advice.

5. Schwab Wealth Advisory™ ("SWA") is a non‐discretionary investment advisory program sponsored by Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. ("Schwab"). Schwab Wealth Advisory, Inc. ("SWAI") is a Registered Investment Adviser and provides portfolio management for the SWA program. Schwab and SWAI are affiliates and are subsidiaries of The Charles Schwab Corporation.


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