PROS / TradeStation's platform allows you to customize windows and gadgets within the program.
CONS / This broker requires a minimum of $5,000 to begin trading.
VERDICT / While some of its fees are high, this service 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 view your own analytic charts and create your own watch lists with alerts. With its tiered pricing for stocks, options and other equities, the more you trade, the better the value, 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 helps 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.
TradeStation has recently updated its pricing. The price to buy stocks online as well as ETFs and options is now $5.00 per trade, and $0.50 per options contract. This makes TradeStation’s pricing competitive with most of the other online brokers we reviewed. Be aware that you may be assessed a $50 fee if your average end-of-month account balance is less than $2,000 or you haven’t made at least five trades in the preceding 12 months.
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 in our brokerage comparison. The interest rates for margin accounts are standard; however, you must have over $10 million in the account to receive the lowest rate, 6.25%, which is a tier amount set much higher than most online trading services.
If you need help understanding the basics of stock trading or more in-depth information on the market and investment choices, the TradeStation website is a great resource as it has labs that explain investments and analytics as well as a university with tips and video tutorials. If you wish to contact customer service, you can by phone, online chat and email. Client service is available during regular business hours, but technical support is available 24 hours a day 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.