Zions Direct

1 800 524 8875
Zions Bancorporation Salt Lake City, Utah, United States

Almost every online brokerage offers bond trading, but few specialize in them. However, Zions Direct, affiliated with western banking chain Zions First National Bank, does just that, with a selection of over 30,000 fixed-income securities. The firm also provides most asset classes and investment vehicles, though it caters primarily to long-term investors.

What really sets Zions apart, aside from its bond selection, is its unique, auction-style platform for both bonds and CDs. The layout and is clean and user-friendly, and members rave about it. By comparison, the brokerage’s platform for equities and other trades is nothing special. Though lacking in third-party research, the firm provides users – and non-users – access to a somewhat-active blog. Its education resources are fairly basic, and only apply to bonds and retirement accounts. 

Not surprisingly, Zions’ commissions for bonds not purchased at auction – at $9.95 – are much cheaper, especially in small volumes, than many competitors. Mutual funds are about average, at $19.95; broker-assists are similarly average at $25 plus standard commission. Its charges for other asset classes are less competitive, and penny stocks incur a large base fee of $29.95, plus an additional $ .01 per share. The firm’s caveat-ridden list of fees can be difficult to parse, but users can save a lot of trouble at Zions by electing not to receive paper statements. Simply opting for e-statements waives the annual account fee, saving investors $60 each year. There’s also a $100 fee for inactive accounts, though members can avoid this by making even one trade. 

Zions’ customer service reps are available between 6 AM and 10 PM MT each weekday, and during shorter hours on Saturdays. The firm doesn’t offer live chat, just phone and email support. Users can also find in-person help at one of the firm’s nearly 500 financial centers, or could open an account at Zions First National Bank for easy account-linking. 

For bond traders, or current Zions Bank customers, Zions Direct is a great place to start or continue trading. Others could probably find a more sophisticated platform and more relevant educational resources at another brokerage. 

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • "Has left most rivals in the dust." -Bloomberg Businessweek
  • Provides broker-assisted market orders
  • Commission per trade is below $10
  • Account minimum is below average
Cons
  • Does not offer commission-free ETFs
Founded in: 1873
Licensed:
Platforms:
Capital:
Fees:
Broker: 9.95
Exchange:
Withdrawal:
Minimum Deposit: 0

Mobile Trading

User Reviews

Mike

If you are an individual corporate or municipal bond buyer, the bond platform rocks with no markup prices,quick execution, huge selection and ability to actually offer a price on a bond all for $10.00 a trade. Buying equity's though is a chore. The trading platform and it's irritating 15 minute delay, makes it difficult to buy stocks at $9.95. Best to trade stocks at a different online broker like Scottrade or TD.

Jal

Expensive fees, No after hr trading, primitive software that won't allow day trading! Horrible!!!

John

Expensive costs, No after he trading, you will get banned for 90 days if you buy and sell same stock on same date! Seems to be the customers fault that they haven't upgraded their software to Handle a little day trading ! Most of their associates need ALOT more training, most questions they don't have a clue, always deferring to the one employee with a high school degree! Look elsewhere for a broker!

Kevin

Best place to buy bonds...but they have a low credit rating...what does that mean for their future?--not sure.

oslagbar

I've been with Zions for almost 10 years and they have quickly become the worst possible banking experience ever. They offer products in which the local branches are unable to handle and need to call the Salt Lake City office for everything, They must provide little or no employee training as they customer service is no service at all. When doing an internal transfer of funds from the savings account to the checking account they hold the funds for a day. These are internal funds from balances that are supposed to be available balances. I have never had a bank put a hold on their their own funds. The branch manager has no interest in customer service and the HQ in SLC really don't care. I've tried to resolve issues in a calm and professional manner and have no results. Closing accounts and would never do business with them again.