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You pay the $12.00 regardless of the whether or not you make any trades. ShareBuilder is nice enough to allow you 6 free trades for choosing this plan

The other way of looking at this, which I choose, is that you pay them $12 per month for 6 trades whether you use them or not. If you don't trade during a month, it's an account maintenance fee.

As I said before, AFAIK this isn't a settled question, and it may be a long time, if ever, before it is. Until it is, I'd take the perfectly supportable more agressive position.

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