- Almost 40 years of experience
- Powerful desktop, web, and mobile platforms
- Highly customizable software
- Many financial instruments available
- No account service fee
- Generous promotions
- Commission-free trading plans
- Trading systems with a 99.999% uptime
If you’re at all interested in the world of securities trading, TradeStation should definitely be on your radar. For a long time, TradeStation has exclusively been catering to the needs of professional traders but its new pricing scheme and services have made it accessible to novice investors as well. Our TradeStation Review will tell you all about these innovations.
Broker-assisted fee: $0
- No forex trading
- No watchlist syncing between desktop and web platforms
TradeStation’s story is proof that the American dream isn’t just a fairy tale. The company was founded by two Cuban-born brothers, William and Rafael Cruz, who became interested in trading at a very young age – they were both teenagers. After having collected $2,400 to try their hand at futures trading and then losing all of it, they realized that reading other people’s advice just couldn’t beat the knowledge they could gain from testing their own strategies on past market situations.
That was only the brothers’ first step toward creating one of the best online brokerages in the industry, with many more ahead of them. In 1982, they started their own trading software company, Omega Research, which was renamed TradeStation in 2001 to reflect the shift to a more direct approach to trading services. Nowadays, William and Rafael are semi-retired but the company they founded nearly 40 years ago continues to flourish.
TradeStation’s stellar ratings and numerous awards from StockBrokers.com confirm what we already know – the company provides exceptional brokerage services matched only by its high-quality trading platforms.
How does TradeStation compare to other brokerage companies?
Should You Choose TradeStation?
TradeStation’s main appeal lies in its impressive collection of trading tools. Experienced traders will have a hard time finding more powerful platforms anywhere else but, naturally, there’s a downside to it all. Faced with such advanced instruments, beginners might feel a bit overwhelmed and will have to rely heavily on TradeStation’s educational resources. Luckily, there’s plenty of them.
With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at what exactly the TradeStation software can do so you can decide if this company is the right fit for you.
TradeStation grants you access to an extensive assortment of financial instruments such as stocks, IPOs, stock options, ETFs, futures, futures options, bonds, mutual funds, and even cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ether, Litecoin, USDC, and XRP). However, if forex trading is what you’re searching for, you’d better look elsewhere.
You can use three types of platforms to access various markets: desktop, web, and mobile. They are highly stable, with a noteworthy uptime of 99.999%.
This TradeStation platform is the company’s flagship product and for good reason. Its key features include:
EasyLanguage – The company’s proprietary programming language that doesn’t require a coding specialist’s level of expertise. It allows you to create customized indicators and trading strategies, as well as your very own apps that you can make available in TradeStation’s TradingApp Store.
RadarScreen – With this real-time scanner, you won’t miss a single trading opportunity ever again. It monitors up to 1,000 symbols in real time, with each row representing a chart that has access to customizable historical data.
Strategy Backtesting – You can use TradeStation to review the performance of your strategies based on historical data and then automate your trading ideas accordingly. The best way to learn how to trade is by practicing, and this platform lets you do precisely that – all without putting your money at risk.
Matrix – The Matrix window provides a graphical representation of market depth and trade activity. What we like most about it, though, is its lightning-fast trade execution capability. Both one-click and drag-and-drop ordering methods are available.
OptionStation Pro – The TradeStation options trading analysis tool enables you to chart theoretical positions using interactive 3D graphs, calculate options prices and Greeks, place trades directly from the theoretical positions, and much, much more.
If you don’t have enough space on your computer to install a new piece of software or you simply don’t want to be tied to a single machine, TradeStation’s web trading platform is the perfect solution.
The web platform’s core capabilities are the same as those the desktop version incorporates, like streaming market data, conducting stock chart analysis, and executing advanced orders. You can easily access it by going to the TradeStation Client Center or by clicking on the “Log In” button from any of the website’s pages.
Those who wish to use both desktop and web versions should know that watchlists don’t sync between these two platforms. Nevertheless, the TradeStation Web Trading is much more feature-rich and reliable than the majority of other systems we’ve seen.
A company rarely manages to develop a trading app that’s almost as good as its other products but that’s exactly what this online broker did. The primary TradeStation mobile platform gives you the ability to trade anywhere at any time without having to resort to a more robust alternative when making complex orders.
Although the app is easy to use, having a larger-screen device to access it from is recommendable since you’ll probably need to sift through a lot of data. The software automatically syncs your watchlists with the web-based platform and, best of all, it’s fully customizable. So much so, in fact, that you can even create personalized alerts.
If you wish to trade options on futures, though, you’ll have to download the TradeStation FuturesPlus app.
Pricing and Promotions
TradeStation offers two main pricing plans for trading securities – TS GO and TS SELECT. The TS SELECT users have $0 commissions on all three of TradeStation’s platforms, while TS GO clients pay an extra fee of $10 for equity and options trades, as well as an additional $1.40 for each futures trade made through TradeStation’s desktop platform. However, even with no commissions, you’ll still have to pay per contract costs, which range from $0.50 to $1.50.
The TS GO plan includes slightly lower stock options and futures fees and has no minimum account balance requirement. On the other hand, if you choose the TS SELECT TradeStation pricing scheme, you’ll need to deposit at least $2,000.
If you’re the kind of trader that prefers to trade often and in small blocks, you might want to consider the per-share plan. The starting price is as low as $0.01 per share for the first 500 shares, after which you’ll only pay $0.006 for every share, per trade.
Another pricing option to familiarize yourself with is the unbundled plan, which is great for high-volume trading. At first glance, this TradeStation cost kit may seem similar to the per-share pricing. However, the more shares you trade per month the lower the fees are. For instance, if you execute more than 100,000 shares per month, your commission per share will be $0.007.
TradeStation’s cryptocurrency rates are a whole different story. First of all, they are based on your account balance and not your trading volume. Secondly, there’s no minimum deposit requirement and, finally, you can incur either the maker or the taker TradeStation fees. The maker fees apply to orders that are not immediately marketable, and the taker fees to those that are. That said, all maker fees are $0, while taker fees for any account balance of up to $100,000 are 0.60%. They change to 0.30% for sums over $100,000 and if the amount exceeds $1 million, they total 0.15%.
Compared to other brokerage companies, most of TradeStation’s non-trading fees are average. However, there are a few exceptions that make it more affordable than some.
The TradeStation fee for account services is waived if you’re on one of the commission-free trading plans or if you have met at least one of the following conditions in the preceding month:
- Trading 10 round-turn futures and/or futures options contracts
- Trading 50 options contracts
- Trading 5,000 shares
- Maintaining an account balance of $100,000
Additionally, broker-assisted transactions, deposits, and receiving wire transfers are all free of charge.
TradeStation clients can take advantage of several generous promotions the company offers. Therefore, we’ve dedicated this part of our TradeStation review to quickly go over them.
If you’re opening a new account, you can type in the promo code CASHAFRV and receive cash rewards for deposited funds. Check out our table below to find out more details about this offer:
|$50||$5,000 – $24,999|
|$200||$25,000 – $99,999|
|$300||$100,000 – $199,999|
|$600||$200,000 – $499,999|
|$1,200||$500,000 – $999,999|
|$2,500||$1,000,000 – $1,999,999|
|$3,500||$2,000,000 – $4,999,999|
|$5,000||$5,000,000 and more|
The TradeStation futures margin reduction promotion keeps day-trade rates overnight. US equity index futures, full-sized crude oil, 30-year treasury bond, 10-year treasury note, and full-sized gold and silver futures are eligible for this discount.
You can also earn by letting TradeStation lend out your shares. It’s a pretty good deal considering that on top of the interest you’ll also receive monthly deposits equaling your dividend payments. Your lent stocks are backed by US dollar collateral, ensuring the safety of the entire process, and you can exit the program at any time by selling the securities.
Lastly, we’d like to mention the TradeStation futures trading offer, which allows you to trade futures in your IRA account at just $0.65 per contract per side. The offer goes for all types of accounts, so you only need to remember to use the promo code 0035AEZP.
Speaking of account types, TradeStation will not let you down, as it’s nearly impossible not to find one that fits your needs down to a T.
The accounts are grouped into three main categories: Individual and Joint, Retirement, and Entity. According to TradeStation reviews, the first category is the most popular due to the flexibility of the accounts included, which are Individual, Joint with Right of Survivorship, Joint Tenants in Common, and Custodial. The second account group involves traditional, Roth, Simplified Employee Pension (SEP), and Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees (SIMPLE) IRA accounts. Businesses can open trust, corporation, general partnership, limited partnership, limited liability, and sole proprietorship entity accounts.
It is also worth mentioning that although clients from anywhere in the world can create the TradeStation securities trading accounts, only US customers will have access to all the company’s products, platform features, account types, and pricing plans.
After having thoroughly examined the company and everything it has to offer, we can honestly say that there’s little to dislike about it. The pricing plans are very affordable and TradeStation’s platforms, although a bit puzzling to beginners at first, are every experienced trader’s dream come true. If you’re not in the latter category but you’re up for the challenge, you can learn a lot by using the TradeStation paper trading feature as well as its copious educational resources.
Clients that choose commission-free trading plans, TS GO and TS SELECT, won’t be charged an account service fee and nor will those with per-share, per-trade, and unbundled accounts if they meet the minimum activity requirements. Traders that don’t qualify, however, will have to pay $149.95 per month.
There’s a bit of a learning curve when it comes to the company’s platforms but, with the help of the TradeStation demo tools, you can practice risk-free. Not to mention that you can watch numerous free video tutorials and read articles available on the website.
TradeStation does charge both trading and non-trading fees, but with its two $0 commission plans and its free broker-assisted transactions, deposits, and incoming wire transfers, it’s one of the most budget-friendly online brokerage firms in the industry.
TradeStation provides exceptional desktop, web, and mobile platforms with superb trade execution and research tools, which are perfect for active traders. If you’d like to know more about the company and its products, our full TradeStation review will fill you in on all the details.