This resource-rich derivatives-focused platform may overwhelm new investors.
finder.com’s rating: 4.0 / 5.0
Tastyworks is the investment arm of Tastytrade, a live network of trading shows and learning resources for investors. Tastyworks offers access to stocks, ETFs, options and futures but investors report a steep learning curve — especially on the platform’s mobile app.
Consider Tastyworks if you’re an experienced derivatives trader.
Look elsewhere if you’re new to investing or want to invest in bonds or funds.
Shannon Terrell is a writer for Finder who studied communications and English literature at the University of Toronto. On any given day, you can find her researching everything from equine financing and business loans to student debt refinancing and how to start a trust. She loves hot coffee, the smell of fresh books and discovering new ways to save her pennies.
Stocks are commission-free and futures are competitively priced but you’ll pay $1 to open an options contract.
A Tastyworks account offers access to stocks, options, ETFs and futures.
Support can quickly be reached by phone or email.
A number of Tastyworks traders prefer its desktop platform over its mobile app.
Research and tools
This platform is well known for its comprehensive charting and research tools.
No major outages have been reported but traders complain of mobile app crashes.
We awarded a bonus star for live access to Tastytrade programming.
Tastyworks offers traders access to the following investment products:
Stocks. Buy and sell commission-free stocks and ETFs.
Options. Trade stock, ETF and futures options with opening commissions of $1 to $2.50 per contract.
Futures. For $1.25 per contract, swap a wide range of futures products, including equity index, interest rate, energy, metals, grain and foreign currency futures.
Who is Tastyworks best for?
With a platform built for options trading accompanied by in-house derivatives analytics, Tastyworks is well suited for:
Options traders. Options traders can take advantage of no closing commissions and a myriad of trading tools, including curve analysis and quick roll features.
Futures traders. Mini and micro futures are available alongside plenty of the standards, with tools designed to help you assess your delta exposure.
In addition to options and futures — the two mainstays of the Tastyworks platform — you can trade commission-free stocks and ETFs. But the platform’s tools and features are aimed at derivatives trading, designed to help you evaluate volatility, risk and profit.
Available accounts include individual margin and cash accounts, IRAs, corporate accounts and trust accounts.
As far as new features are concerned, we had the opportunity to interview the CEO of Tastyworks, Scott Sheridan, about upcoming plans for the platform.
“Order chains are a big one,” he explained. “We have complex orders already, but we’re going to be adding conditional orders.”
Scott says the platform also plans to introduce an open API with scripting language, allocation tools, kids accounts, Coverdell education accounts and eventually cryptocurrency trading.
What makes Tastyworks different?
One thing that immediately jumped out in our Tastyworks research is that unlike many other platforms, it’s not aimed at beginners — and that’s intentional. Tastyworks doesn’t offer mutual funds or a simple one-click mobile platform to buy stocks. According to its CEO, “We are born and bred traders. We focus strictly on trading — we build platforms for traders.”
We are born and bred traders. We focus strictly on trading — we build platforms for traders.
This means that traders can benefit from a plethora of targeted tools and research. But casual investors looking for a simple, low-risk way to earn interest may want to look elsewhere.
We asked Scott about what separates Tastyworks from other trading platforms. He says that Tastyworks was built from scratch — a lightweight platform designed from the ground up primarily targeted at options traders.
“We are a boutique firm, with a big, broad reach, and we are really good at what we do,” he explained. “And we really care about our customers. I think that is one of the biggest differences between us and everybody else.”
How easy is it to use?
Signing up for a Tastyworks account is fairly straightforward and only requires some basic personal information, including your name, residential address and Social Security number. The platform can be downloaded as a desktop application, mobile application or accessed by a web browser.
But while there are few hurdles to clear during the signup process, a number of Tastyworks investors report the platform has a steep learning curve that could overwhelm new users. Google Play and Apple’s App Store reviews indicate the mobile platform’s user interface is complex, cluttered and difficult to navigate, with frequent crash reports from both Android and iOS users.
What research does it provide?
Tastyworks integrated platform features help you keep your finger on the pulse of the market with research and charting tools to help you project risk and profit. There are seven types of tools to help you make informed trades.
1. Charting tools
Review charts for symbols in your watchlist and filter data by aggregation and time period. View data as a bar, candle, line or area chart and add any number of chart indicators, including:
Average directional index (ADX)
Moving average convergence divergence (MACD)
Relative strength index (RSI)
Use the chart-drawing tool to add drawings to your chart, like trend lines equipped with Fibonacci retracement, to identify trend breakouts.
2. Curve analysis
Visually track profit and loss zones of a pending trade and adjust your strikes and expirations accordingly.
3. Tastytrade integration
Investors have access to in-platform video feeds from the platform’s parent company, Tastytrade. Watch trades in real time and listen to expert commentary on market conditions, trading concepts and investment strategies — all from an integrated Tastytrade viewer.
4. Follow feeds
Track the movement and actions of fellow traders with the Tastyworks follow feature. Add or remove select traders to track earnings plays, pair trades and more.
5. Quick roll
Set default rolls by weekly or monthly expiration cycles and roll your position into the next cycle with a click.
6. Percent of profit limit orders
Use percent of profit limit orders to select a price with better odds of occurring based on your current position.
7. ETF-equivalent futures delta
Review a future’s delta equivalent to its ETF to better gauge your delta exposure.
What is Tastytrade?
Tastytrade is a live network of trading shows and learning resources for investors. Its the parent company of the Tastyworks trading platform and offers expert commentary on the stock market, investment strategies and more. Tastytrade content is available for free to Tastyworks investors through in-platform video feeds.
We asked Scott which shows he recommends to sharpen your trading skills. He suggests:
It comes as little surprise that Tastyworks’s pricing structure is built around the opening and closing of derivatives contracts. In terms of what’s free, you won’t pay commissions on stocks or ETFs — increasingly common in the industry. Options are free to close and you’ll pay between $0.85 to $1.25 to close a futures contract. Commissions are capped on opening equity option trades to $10 per leg for listed options. Margin account rates range from 5% to 8%, depending on your account balance.
Stocks and ETFs
Options on stocks and ETFs ($10 max per leg)
$1 per contract to open, $0 to close
Options on futures
$2.50 per contract to open, $0 to close
$1.25 per contract to open, $1.25 to close
$0.85 per contract to open, $0.85 to close
ACH deposits and withdrawals
Account transfer fee
What is The Small Exchange?
The Small Exchange is a futures market exchange founded in 2019 by the same minds responsible for the Tastytrade and Tastyworks platforms. The Small Exchange aims to pair the efficiency of futures with the simplicity of stock trading. All Smalls are offered in increments of $0.01 and expire on the same day of the month.
While the exchange hasn’t yet gone live, lifetime memberships are available on its website for $100.
Scott provides a window into what’s to come for the Small Exchange, “We’ll be going live with the equities index, the metals index and the FX index first,” he says, “global oil and treasuries will follow.”
Is Tastyworks safe?
Tastyworks was launched by CBOE floor traders, Scott Sheridan and Tom Sosnoff — the same minds responsible for the platform’s parent company, Tastytrade. Tastyworks was approved as a Broker-Dealer by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in 2016 and launched to the general public in 2017.
Tastyworks futures accounts are not protected by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation.
How does Tastyworks keep my money safe?
Tastyworks uses SSL (Secure Socket Layer) technology to secure transactions conducted on its investments platform and uses real-time monitoring systems to protect investor data. You can further secure your account by enabling two-factor authentication for your account.
Tastyworks reviews and complaints
Tastyworks reviews are mixed. As of October 2020, the investing platform has its own Better Business Bureau (BBB) page but its single customer review isn’t enough information for the BBB to assign a rating. Its Trustpilot page is similarly sparse, with its five reviews, at least one of which appears to be spam, resulting in a composite TrustScore of 2.7 out of 5.
The platform’s mobile app isn’t well-liked by investors. On Google Play, the app earns 3 out of 5 stars after 462 reviews. And its Apple App Store rating isn’t much better: a lukewarm 3.1 out of 5 stars based on 424 ratings. A number of reviews mention app crashes and urge investors to use the desktop platform instead of the mobile app.
Redditors agree that the Tastyworks platform can be tough to learn but appreciate the access to Tastytrade’s live programming. They say the best way for new investors to learn the ropes is by exploring the Tastyworks YouTube channel.
What do other reviewers say?
Popular review sites rate Tastyworks at the mid to high end of the scale. InvestorJunkie gave it one of the lowest scores, a 7/10, citing lack of access to cryptocurrency, bonds, mutual funds and forex as a consideration. BrokerChooser gave it the highest score, a 4.7/5, citing how fast and user-friendly the account opening process is.
Theresa W. Carey
Pros and cons
No minimum deposit. Open an account with any amount.
Convenient access. Access the platform from a web browser or downloaded as a desktop application or mobile app.
Referral program. Each time you make a qualified referral, you’ll earn referral credits to redeem for prizes, including a Google Home system, a year of high-speed Internet access or a MacBook Pro for 50 referrals.
Poorly reviewed app. Despite making the platform accessible, customers say the mobile platform is tricky to use.
Limited investment products. The Tastyworks platform doesn’t offer access to mutual funds, bonds, forex or cryptocurrency trading.
Limited support. Support by phone is only available on weekdays during business hours.
How do I sign up?
Begin the signup process from the Tastyworks website:
On the Tastyworks homepage, click Open an account.
Enter your email address and create a username and password. Click Continue.
Select the type of account you’d like to apply for.
Enter your full name, residential address and mobile phone number.
Enter your Social Security number and date of birth.
Enter the personal information for a trusted contact you’d like to add to your account.
A member of the Tastyworks team will review your application. Once approved, fund your account and begin trading on the Tastyworks platform.
How do I contact Tastyworks support?
Tastyworks support is available by:
Phone. Call 888-247-1963 from Monday to Thursday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Fridays, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. CT.
Email. Fill out a secure online form on the Tastyworks website for a response from the support team.
Compare other trading platforms
With access to its parent company’s live programming, a referral program and commission-free stocks, Tastyworks has much to offer the active investor. But its mobile app has a poor reputation and the platform’s investment products are limited.
Funded your accounts with an ACH transfer, wire transfer, check or by transferring funds from another brokerage account.
No — money invested in stocks and other securities isn’t covered by FDIC deposit insurance.
Tastyworks offers C Corp, S Corp, LLC and Partnership accounts.
How we rate trading platforms
★★★★★5/5 — Excellent
★★★★★4/5 — Good
★★★★★3/5 — Average
★★★★★2/5 — Subpar
★★★★★1/5 — Poor
We analyze top online trading platforms and rate them one to five stars based on factors that are most important to you. These factors include fees, securities available for trade, customer support, customer feedback, platform resources and overall reliability.
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