Charles Schwab's plan to lure millennial investors

Charles Schwab is about to take the broker wars to a whole new level.

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The Boston-based brokerage firm will soon allow its customers to buy partial shares, founder and Chairman Charles Schwab told The Wall Street Journal.

Schwab did not immediately respond to FOX Business’ request for comment.

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The hope is that doing so will entice younger investors to become more involved in investing.

A recent study conducted by the financial-services firm Northwestern Mutual found millennials are carrying an average of $36,000 in debt and allocate 34 percent of their monthly income toward paying it down. After factoring in other expenses, that leaves little left for investing. Eighty-two percent of millennials who responded to the survey said their financial planning needs improvement.

The hope is that allowing customers to buy fractional shares will change that.

The concept of fractional share purchases is not new. Investing apps including Stockpile and Stash allow their customers to buy and sell partial shares, but charge for trades and account maintenance, respectively. Neither immediately responded to FOX Business' inquiry as to whether they would be changing their business models in response to Schwab.

Schwab’s revelation comes after the brokerage firm announced earlier this month it was slashing its commissions for online trades to zero. That caused rivals E-Trade, Fidelity and TD Ameritrade to follow suit.

Eliminating the $4.95 per trade commission will cost Schwab $90 million to $100 million in quarterly revenue, or about 3-4 percent of its total revenue.

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Chief Financial Officer Peter Crawford said eliminating the fees removes “the last remaining barriers to make investing accessible to everyone.”