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Is Zecco A Scam or Legitimate?

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(Updated Sept. 17, 2009) Zecco recently updated their free trades program to have a requirement of a $25,000 balance!

Anytime I hear free I immediately think “scam.” Let’s be honest, the person offering up something for free is looking for some sort of benefit and unless I can find out what the benefit is (especially if I’m giving them all the information they need to steal my identity), I’m going to assume the benefit for them is to steal my identity.

So, is Zecco legitimate or a scam? I let time do the testing because most people are savvy enough to sniff out a scam relatively soon, especially if you let mainstream media do the vetting. Right now, they appear legitimate and that’s because they’re actually a division of Equinox Securities, Inc. According to the NASD Broker Check, Equinox Securities (CRD# 135398, SEC# 8-66916) registered as a corporation in California on 01/21/2005 and is located in Ontario, CA. It’s currently not suspended by any regulator and has not yet had any Arbitration Awards, Disciplinary and/or Regulatory Events. I downloaded the full Equinox Securities report and you can see Zecco Trading listed on page 4.

So, the NASD knows about them but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re 100% legit, brokers with fraudulent intentions can register – they just can’t have committed fraud yet. That’s where the second line in their little fine print comes into play, they are a member of SIPC (Securities Investor Protection Corporation), an organization created by Congress in 1970. What do they do?

When a brokerage firm is closed due to bankruptcy or other financial difficulties and customer assets are missing, SIPC steps in as quickly as possible and, within certain limits, works to return customers’ cash, stock and other securities. Without SIPC, investors at financially troubled brokerage firms might lose their securities or money forever or wait for years while their assets are tied up in court.

Now, just because they say they’re in the SIPC doesn’t make it so, but I was able to confirm it through SIPC’s member check. Equinox Securities Inc. located at 2084 E Francis Street, Ontario CA 91761, an address that matches the NASD information. It’s a Cold Fusion script so I couldn’t link directly to the results but they’re in there.

Again, is participation in this program a guarantee it’s not fraudulent? Of course not, but that’s a lot of hoops to jump through if you’re a scam. So, after a brief bit of research, Zecco passed the extensive sniff test for me but to be honest, all the talk of their abysmal customer service makes me think you get what you paid for. Trades are cheap, why not go with a firm that has some credibility in the marketplace? I, for one, am going with TradeKing, twice named Smart Money’s #1 Discount Brokerage of the Year 2006 & 2007 (they removed the discount category after 2007), where trades are only $4.95. Smart Money put Zecco dead last in customer service.

I think customer service in a brokerage is crucial. If I have a problem, I don’t want to wait on hold.

{ 205 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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205 Responses to “Is Zecco A Scam or Legitimate?”

  1. shas says:

    I am having live accounts with both Tradeking and Zecco.Had lost some money through tradeking (never dissatisfied)wanted to buy some via zecco.Let me check my luch via zecco.wanted to buy some penny stocks..

  2. New_at_This says:

    I just opened an account with Zecco. The reason I chose them is because on all the other sites, you need at least $500 to open an account. I’m just starting to dabble in trading and I don’t have $500 lying around. So, I’m slowly starting to fund my account at Zecco. I’m just hoping to start turning over a little money here and there to pay off some debt.

    Is it true they don’t charge for penny stock trades?

    Any info from EXPERIENCED Zecco traders would be greatly appreciated. Also, advice and tips for someone who’s really new at all this.

    Thanks

  3. DANSter says:

    Zecco is great for buying long, especially if you have $25,000 in your account they give you 10 free trades a month. Their customer service is fine as long as you talk directly with a supervisor because they only hire people raised in caves, but they can change that if they test there employees reading skills.

    Their customer service is pretty good considering most of their staff can’t read so i give them a thumbs up for that achievment.

    I use Scottrade too but man I have been saving roughly $2000 a year and i can’t over look that.

  4. Greg says:

    I have been using Zecco for about two years but recently closed my account. Their website has always been buggy, but I tolerated it because of the low commissions. I was unable to make trades or perform basic account functions on a fairly regular basis because of software glitches. Last month was the last straw. I had a sell order in their system with a limit of $16.70. The stock had been trading in the mid $16′s. I went in over the weekend (market closed) and modified my limit price to $16.80 and successfully submitted the order. Next day, the stock jumps to over $17. I check my account and find that Zecco sold my shares at $16.73. That’s odd, I think, but maybe I made a typo – doubtful, since I’m very careful. At any rate, I figure it’s not much money and I was happy to have unloaded the shares. This was on a Wednesday. Friday afternoon, 30 minutes after the market closes, I get an e-mail from Zecco saying that the sell order was executed in error, and they see that I had actually cancelled it. Guess what? My shares are back and proceeds gone from my account. What the…?! I called and explained that I didn’t cancel any order, I modified the order. So if I did cancel, I also placed a new order (at a higher price) with the very same stroke. The rep seemed very concerned and promised to check into the situation and call me back 30 minutes before the market opened on Monday with a solution. As predicted, I got no call. Luckily, the stock briefly bounced up on Monday and I was unable to sell it. But Zecco totally screwed up the trade and very nearly cost me major money in the process. There is no way I would go back to Zecco. I switched to SogoTrade, which is actually even cheaper than Zecco, and so far, so good.

    • very concerned says:

      See
      VERY CONCERNED says:
      05/27/2009

      Since this period thing have seemed to get better but I use zecco for long holds and loss dumps since Oct2008. After reading this Greg i see they are p to their old tricks again , maybe a bit more refined. They ned better internal security. The brkers can easily switch your profits to thiers when yo make a good sale. Or so it seems.

  5. Ian says:

    I used Zecco in 2007. That nightmare can NEVER be forgotten. Horrible customer service made me almost feel I was dealing scam. I was really scared so I decided to sell all stocks and withdraw the cash. The irresponsible customer service made me completely lose my confidence on them. And, not to my surprise, it was soooooooo hard to get my money back (I almost thought I needed to go through law suit), finally I got my money back. These days they still send me advertisement email, forget about it, I will never ever give it a second try !!

  6. mark says:

    Everybody knows Zecco sucks. I am surprised to see so many posts saying “good” things about it… Well, hope some of them are not hired by Zecco to do it…

  7. TDmatt says:

    Mark, you must be right. I keep getting emails saying someone else responded to this, and a lot of them are people actually saying Zecco is legit!

    It’s the WORST of the companies. It goes in order like this..

    1. TD Ameritrade
    2. Charles Schwab
    3. eTrade
    4. Scottrade
    5 (or lower) – zecco

  8. Glenn says:

    I see from other posts that I am not the only one to discover that Zecco’s software is buggy. And their customer service is useless. They don’t seem to understand their own forms and their own site. I started having problems with customers service approving forms I filed for various things when I first opened the account and then changing their minds and sating the forms were no good. But the real horror occurred when I had bought back to close a covered call that was in the money. I didn’t want to lose the stock. So I closed out the call. The next day I discovered that the stock was gone. They sold that too. When I called, they claimed that by closing out the covered call, the entire trade closes out. That is just plain silly. No other broker does that. If I would have left it alone, I would have had the same thing happen (the stock would have sold when the option exercised), but I would have kept the option premium. What they did caused me to lose the stock just before a bit rise AND they cheated me out of the option premium. Zecco does not know how to handle option trades. And that wasn’t even a complicated one. They claimed I clicked on the wrong thing. But I am computer savvy. I am a computer systems analyst. I don’t make those mistakes. They just didn’t want to take the blame, nor the responsibility for setting things right. I just transferred everything from Zecco to Fidelity with a ACAT transfer and waiting for that to complete. I am done with Zecco after just three weeks.

  9. Darren says:

    Zecco is great and anybody who doesn’t think so are just idiots to the fact of the way they use it. I must admit in the early years and even now zecco has a lot of issues, but they are a new company and they will have problems like any other. Their customer service is increasingly getting a lot better and the site is undergoing a lot of changes so there will be problems. Bottom line if you think zecco is bad you are just too damn cheap to get a broker or use the other high volume online brokers. If you are a person who executes more than 5 trades a day Zecco might not be for you as they are not fully established yet like they would be to handle large issues but will be very soon I estimate; as they site functionality and customer service is getting exponentially better everyday.

  10. TDmatt says:

    yeah that’s quite an argument there for zecco. first you say anybody who doesn’t think that zecco is great is just an idiot. yeah great point. then you say they “will have problems like any other” — well ameritrade doesn’t have these problems!! the you say they’re “undergoing a lot of changes so there will be problems” oh okay! well that’s what we’re talking about! PROBLEMS WITH ZECCO. and if i think zecco is bad i’m “just too damn cheap to get a broker” ?? what does that even mean? how can thinking zecco is bad make you cheap? then you continue with “they are not fully established yet” … you “estimate” that they will be able to handle more trades soon? yeah good argument there buddy. i’ll stick with ameritrade and pay the extra $5 a trade.

    • Greg says:

      Zecco has a lot of issues (read, problems), but if you don’t like it, you’re an idiot. Mmm hmm. Okay, Darren. Okay.

  11. undisclosed says:

    Zecco isn’t a bad online broker. No frills, but cheap commissions. All online brokers have issues with their software/platforms every now and then. Zecco is great for penny stock traders because you can actually buy any stock you want, as you won’t be restricted from buying certain stocks, like will happen with TD Ameritrade and Scottrade, both of whom seem to have allegiances to the market maker NITE, as that’s the one they use for penny stocks. The general consensus is when NITE has a large short position in a stock those two brokers will restrict your ability to buy that same stock, in order to protect NITE’s interest and help drive the stock price lower by reducing demand. Keep that in mind. There is a lot of corruption with these brokers.

    • Amber says:

      Undisclosed,

      We would like to clarify a few points you made regarding trading execution through Scottrade. We use several partners for the execution of Bulletin Boards/Pink Sheet stocks. Our responsibility lies with ensuring that our customers receive quality executions for their orders. For more information about this process, visit http://www.scottrade.com/online_trading_documents/online_investing_order_routing/index.asp.

      Also, while restrictions are placed on certain stocks, this does not restrict you from buying; it only directs you to a branch to conduct your transaction. To place a trade, a local branch can be reached by calling 800-619-7283.

      Best,

      Amber
      Online PR Specialist, Scottrade

  12. Sue says:

    I have used Zecco for almost a year, it is okay. But now I found interactivebrokers (IB), the commission is even cheaper for stocks. I have just started using, still learning. The platform is quite complicated.

  13. Outta Here... says:

    I’ve had zecco for about a year. OMG… anybody on this site that says no problem is a PR rep for zecco. I’m a pretty patient guy but, zecco finally pushed me over the edge. Bugs, more like monsters. New company, getting the bugs out, bull… they’re designing the game plan as they go, and not in our favor. I found out the hard way and it cost me. Stay away, really!

  14. chris says:

    i’ve had zecco for a couple years now. it’s easy as shit and i’ve never had any issues that weren’t resolved as quickly as they were with my old scottrade account (i had to call twice, but both times it was my own fault…the calls lasted about 1-2 minutes each). $4.50 per trade is fine with me. the site is as fast as i need it to be. i’ve made übergeld through zecco, so i have no complaints.

    i wouldn’t call it a scam, per se – maybe there are cheaper, better sites. i don’t really care either way. as for comparing it to scottrade (which is all i can do since that’s the only stock-trading account i’ve had in the past), scottrade’s service was inferior to that of zecco. when i called scottrade to change my address, since i wanted to talk to someone just to see what the service would be like, the rep seemed confused with the request. i was like wtf mate, let’s change my addy, k thx bai! and it took like 10 minutes since i was put on hold and all. geez….

    anyway, zecco’s cool. :D buy lots of stupid penny stocks and make a couple hundred at a time like i do! whee!! :D

  15. Cesar says:

    Zecco shows every sign of a very poorly managed software development/deployment/maintenance cycle. Their software team is probably very cheap (in every sense).
    Their site crashes at every peak of traffic, which always happen when the customer needs most (so the peak).
    Moreover, they show complete disregard for their customers by bringing down the trading platform for maintenance during market hours, like an ordinary advertising/informational site.
    If they don’t hire competent developers, they will have to hire lawyer very soon.

  16. Jimmy DimeBag says:

    Zecco is horrible! I have never even traded a stock before but I’m going to talk shit. But in reality, I’m going to open a Zecco account this week to start trading penny stocks, cuz thats all I would think they’d be good for

  17. SimonSays says:

    Folks you get what you pay for, I am a customer of Zecco for about 3 years , I keep my “play Money” there not much just could but about 1000 lattes, when started they gave free trades (10), then they pulled the “carpet” below me ans said you don’t qualify as you don’t have 10,000 lattes, I said ok, you breached my contract , I will support you as you are trying to help a a small investor. Then they started introducing additional product s and started trying to charge for every feature. Their “IT trading infrastructure” stinks, and need lot of improvement. The dashboard are not very “user friendly”. Well folks I am enjoying it just because Zecco was my first shot at trading-I would not recommend that for pros…that is my 2-cent.

  18. Chris says:

    I’ve had some minor problems with them, similar to the above.

    I sold my positions on Friday to transfer funds out. I tried to transfer the funds out the next Monday. It said the fee for this transaction would be $0. On Tuesday (today) I logged into the account to check the status. The transaction was cancelled and it says there is a $20 fee because ‘the trade still needs to be settled’. Under executions, it says the trades were executed last Friday. We’ll see what happens next. I know it’s not that much but the ethics of it really bothers me. How they react next will determine my next action.

    • lucas says:

      I’ve had the same issue with other brokers. It’s a trade settlement issue (T+3), not a Zecco issue. With a margin account, the trades settle immediately insofar as making another purchase, but they still need to have a final settlement before they can actually release the funds back to you.

      • Chris says:

        Yes, I understand the settlement issue. They should set it up so that it shows which funds are still awaiting settlement for clarification. They have cancelled the $20 fee, so I thank them for that. It also looks like my funds were successfully transfered too. I think they have potential as a company. There are a lot of little things that they could improve. I know they have been slowly improving.

  19. SimonSays says:

    Chris,

    I think you frustrations around the “ethics” what bother me too, please express this on Zecco’s forum also so that they try to improve,once I was on phone with their rep and expressed the frustrations around the balances which is displayed “Available Balance” etc, sometime they did not add up, and she mentioned she is also unhappy with the system….that was a surprise for me.

  20. aussie says:

    I’ve been trading with Zecco almost three years. I wouldn’t have stayed with Zecco for three years if I wasn’t satisfied. I’m not really interested in paying higher commissions for a prettier web site or instant customer service at 2 AM. Sure, there are occasional glitches, but that’s the Internet. Any site can be brought down at any time if there is enough traffic. I can imagine that not everyone gets what they want when crazy things happen, such as last Thursday, but I’m sure that’s true with every broker.

    It looks like some of you would have been happier with Zecco if you did some general research on investing, and maybe you’re happier with your second broker because you know a little more the second time. It’s kind of like a second marriage.

  21. SimonSays says:

    Chris & Aussie

    I think they have a niche market investors as their clients “MICRO INVESTORS”.If they provide the technology platform along with tools at reasonable cost,(as you know price of technology drops like a rock with time), I think Zecco has lot of potential. I will still support them as they are the only who are looking out for small main stream investors.

  22. Rick says:

    I use both Zecco and E-trade — I prefer Zecco hands down. Zecco (for my number of trades…i.e., a few traders per quarter) is completely free and has never presented any problems (unlike my experience with E-trade). I like the Zecco trading platform and the user interface/experience. To me, E-trade commissions are a waste of money. I’ve moved almost all my stocks and cash over to Zecco, but I still keep some in E-trade, as well as cash in traditional banks. Frankly, I have only high praise for Zecco. (I’ve been a customer for about 1 year.)

  23. Tom says:

    I just opened an accound with Zecco havent traded nothing yet because I’m still doing my homework on were to put my money. I opened it with $200 that is what I can afford to lose. But after reading all these bad comments I am definetly closing my account there is no point in doing business with these people. thanks for the guy that said I need to leave 50 bucks in order to close the account. I will change to trade king or ameritrade for sure.

  24. Glenn says:

    I closed my account back in March after Zecco messed up every trade I made in the first month of having the account. Now after reading the posts from others since I left, I am wondering why they are still in business. Conclusion…they make money from all those $50 fees for closing accounts. You want your money back? … You need to pay $50 to get it out of Zecco.

  25. bolene says:

    When I left Zeco they hit me with charges also. But after contacting th BBB, I received some of the cash back.


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