PROS / TradeStation's platform allows you to customize windows and gadgets within the program.
CONS / If you plan to trade infrequently, this service's prices are not as good as other services' prices.
VERDICT / While some of the fees with this service are higher than with other services, it benefits those trading large numbers of investments.
The TradeStation desktop platform is completely customizable, so you can adjust and move the windows and add gadgets to help with your research and online stock trading. The streaming ticker provides real-time quotes, and you can create your own watch lists with alerts and view analytic charts. With its tiered pricing for stocks, options and other equities, the more you trade, the better the value as the price per trade and per contract decreases, so TradeStation is one of the better values in online stock trading for high-volume traders.
TradeStation's platform stands out as one of the most customizable and comprehensive yet simple to use. You can add windows and gadgets, adjust the size of the windows, and customize the information within it. You can create option chains with bid, ask and strike prices for calls and puts. Creating windows for your positions, orders and account balances and generating charts or reports for stocks help you identify when you should jump on a trade or investment.
If you choose to trade on your mobile device, you can download apps for your iPhone, iPad and Android devices. These apps are trimmed-down versions of the full app, but you still have access to quotes, analytic charts and the symbol search. You can place trades, monitor your positions and view your watch lists.
The price buy stocks online varies depending on the number you trade. The trading fee for stocks, ETFs and options starts at $9.99 per trade – $0.70 per options contract – when you trade less than 10 contracts in a single month. That drops to $6.99 – $0.40 per options contact – for 30 to 99 trades a month, and you see the lowest price if you order more than 200 trades in a single month, which is $4.99 per trade and only $0.20 per option contract. This means that if you plan to order a substantial number of trades in a single month, TradeStation is one of the best values. Conversely, if you do not plan to trade on a regular basis, it is more expensive than many other services.
Other fees with this service are more expensive than those of other online brokerages. The fee for an option exercise or assignment is $14.95, and the broker-assisted fee is $50, which is the highest of any service on our brokerage comparison. The interest rates for margin accounts are standard; however, you must have over 10 million dollars in the account to receive the lowest, 6.25%, which is a tier amount set much higher than most online trading services.
If you need help understanding the basics of trading or even more in-depth information on the market and investment choices, the TradeStation website is a great resource, with its labs that explain investments and analytics, or the university with tips and video tutorials. If you wish to contact customer service, you can call, chat and email. Client service is available during regular business hours, but technical support is available 24 hours on weekdays.
TradeStation's platform makes it stand out among its competition, offering plenty of tools for monitoring stocks, resources for research, and charts and reports for analytics. While some of its fees are higher than other services, for investors planning on active trading, TradeStation is one of the best values and offers a solid platform from which to trade.