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ShareBuilder to Lower Commissions March 1st

I just received an email from Sharebuilder [3], now owned by Capital One, and it seems one benefit of the ING Direct acquisition by Capital One [4] is that commissions on trades at Sharebuilder will be going down on March 1st. A bit.

Before the change, Sharebuilder Basic customers were paying $9.95 a trade while Sharebuilder Advantage customers paid $7.95 a trade. While not expensive from an absolute perspective, there are plenty of brokers who charge more, it’s a lot compared to many discount brokers. I use TradeKing and they’ve only charged $4.95 a trade for quite some time now. You can get even cheaper trades from OptionsHouse [5] at $3.95 a trade.

On March 1st, online trades will go to $6.95 for real time online trades. For Basic customers, it’s a $3 drop; only $1 for Advantage customers. This is still higher than the $4 they charge for automatic investments.

If you’re looking for a discount broker [6], Sharebuilder, even with the lowered rates, wouldn’t be on my list. I’ve never used OptionsHouse so I can’t say much about them but TradeKing has always treated me well. If you qualify for Vanguard’s Voyager Select ($500k-$1mm in invested assets) or Flagship ($1mm+), you get $2 trades (Flagship customers get 25 commission free) – but that’s not exactly a fair comparison.