The Jersey City, N.J.-based online brokerage firm will deduct an inactivity fee of $15 a quarter starting September 30 to accounts that make fewer than four trades in the prior six-month period, or that have a balance below $5,000, Datek spokeswoman Marissa Hermo said.
If any one of a customer's multiple accounts meets the four-trade or $5,000 account value criteria, then none of the accounts will be charged a fee. In addition, retirement accounts will be exempt from the fee.
The move by Datek comes as online trading has slowed dramatically. Many companies have cut staff to meet the challenges of the market downturn. Online trading companies have also increased their fees to create new sources of revenue.
In November, E*Trade began charging customers a similar quarterly fee for not making enough trades or not maintaining a minimum balance in their accounts. Earlier this week, the company launched E*Trade Mortgage in an attempt to diversify its business.
Datek also said it will start charging a $2 postage and handling per-trade fee for paper trade confirmations beginning July 1. No fee will be charged for electronic confirmations.
A $25 fee will be charged for liquidations that Datek has to perform on a customer's behalf, or for returned checks. In addition, a $75 fee will be charged for issued stock certificates.