Charles Schwab is my fee-based brokerage of choice these days. They have an incredible loss-leader checking account you should strongly consider. There aren’t many bank accounts that can match it.
1.) They rebate any ATM fees, anywhere in the world. There’s a great sense of freedom being able to get money from any ATM that’s hard to describe.
2.) There are no foreign transaction fees on the debit card. Withdrawing cash overseas from an ATM gets you the fair interbank rate. You don’t often see that. Bank of America and Wells Fargo literally charge a 3% fee to access your own money abroad. And a $5 bank fee per withdrawal on top of that, plus whatever the ATM owner charges. It’s absurd.
3.) No monthly fees. $0.
4.) Unlimited free checks. $0.
5.) It pays interest. 3x more than your Bank of America Savings account too.
6.) They literally give you $100 to open the account. No requirements. You just have to put $1 in.
Here’s a link: http://www.schwab.com/public/schwab/nn/refer-prospect.html
You want the brokerage + checking account. (Don’t apply from a foreign IP address. It’s a PITA).
Schwab also has some of the lowest cost index funds (SWPPX is great) on the market, so you can do very well centralizing your brokerage around the account. I highly recommend it.