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Hi there jimth123:

I will also encourage you to take the plunge. I personally use Scottrade, and I have had excellent service and response for the last 18 months. I read a number of Scottrade response time problems on the Discount Brokers Message Board back when I first started, but I never experienced any problems (that I didn't generate myself). They have an office about 20 minutes drive from my home, I have actually been there about twice. I am into my account nearly every week for one reason or another. I've had about three experiences with their customer service department when I couldn't get something to work, and they always knew exactly what I had done wrong. I keep a sizable sum with them, so I don't get any fees other than their advertised $7 trade fee. They get a high rating from this Fool. Dont know Firsttrade, but you can probably find out about them on the Fools Discount Broker Message Board.

Fool on jimth123fool

The Nerdifool

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