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Under Pressure: The 3 Fastest Broker Sites

When making an online trade, every second counts. In alphabetical order, the winners from Monday are Charles Schwab, E-Trade and Fidelity Investments. Their sites had the fastest online trades, according to data from website monitoring site On Monday, the average response time to buy or sell a stock was 9.4 seconds, according to data released to Pay Dirt exclusively by Gomez. The fastest time was 3.1 seconds, but the slowest was 20.8 seconds.

Charles Schwab and Fidelity declined to comment on topping the list of the fastest online trades, but E-Trade spokeswoman Alison Cahill said that Monday was “extraordinarily active” when U.S. stocks fell 5.5% and Tuesday was “even busier” when they rose 4% by the closing bell. “Our systems have sustained throughout the last few days,” Cahill says. “Our service teams have dealt with these levels of volumes efficiently and effectively.”

Still, Gomez says the average trade was faster – 8.3 seconds – for the previous three Mondays. “When measuring the performance of a key business process such as making a stock trade, a response time of 8 seconds is consistent with providing users with an acceptable online experience,” said Jonathan Ranger, Gomez Benchmarks Practice Director at Compuware. When a broker’s website performs poorly, customers will further clog up the phone lines, he says.

Ranger say web and mobile sites that are slow to load or crash when traffic soars gradually erode investor trust in a company’s brand. Put bluntly, a 20.8-second wait will seem like an electronic eternity when you want to unload or buy a stock fast, especially given the recent heart-stopping stock movements. (Gomez declined to say whose site was the slowest.) Fidelity topped the list as the fastest website at 4 seconds in SmartMoney’s 2011 Broker Survey.

Have you been frustrated by the speed of your online trading?


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About Pay Dirt

  • Pay Dirt examines the millions of consumer decisions Americans make every day: What to buy, how much to pay, whether to rave or complain. Lead written by Quentin Fottrell, the blog examines these interactions, providing readers with news, insight and tips on shopping, spending, customer service, and companies that do right – and wrong – by their customers. Send items, questions and comments to or tweet @SMPayDirt.