Pros / TradeStation's platform includes tutorials and training to get you up to speed quickly.
Cons / This broker requires a minimum of $500 to begin trading.
Verdict / TradeStation has good pricing for high-volume traders, but beginning traders will find the platform frustrating and limited.
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 is highly 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. Unfortunately, this trading platform isn’t as simple as others we used. Watch lists are difficult to set up and alerts are only available for a limited number of criteria, usually related to analytic measures. This means you can’t receive alerts for basic pricing information or when a security you’ve purchased issues a dividend. Another frustrating aspect of this platform is the fact that you’ll need to download tools that are commonplace for other platforms.
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.
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.