This resource-rich, derivatives-focused platform is a solid option for active traders.
finder.com’s rating: 3.9 / 5.0
Tastyworks is the investment arm of tastytrade, a live network of trading shows and learning resources for investors. Tastyworks offers sophisticated tools and access to stocks, ETFs, options, futures and crypto, 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.
The platform tastyworks has carved a unique identity in the online trading sphere. And that’s because platforms with a laser-like focus on derivatives are few and far between.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a platform better equipped to accommodate options and futures trades. Research offerings include charting tools, curve analysis and more.
The quality of offerings shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Not when you consider the background of Scott Sheridan and Tom Sosnoff, who founded tastyworks and its parent company, respectively. Prior to tastyworks, Sheridan and Sosnoff cofounded the notoriously sophisticated thinkorswim, a platform now owned and operated by TD Ameritrade.
Now, here’s the thing: The platform is a solid play for derivatives traders, but it’s not beginner-friendly. And that’s by design, actually. While it’s possible to trade stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) on the platform, you may not want to, especially if you’re a beginner. That’s because investors report a steep learning curve for the platform, and newbies may find the interface overwhelming.
All told, tastyworks is ideal for traders who swap options and futures. But those new to investing will likely want to look elsewhere.
What investments does tastyworks offer?
Traders have access to the following investment products:
Stocks. Buy and sell commission-free stocks and ETFs.
Options. Trade stock and ETF and futures options.
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.
Crypto. Trade 25 different coins 24 hours a day, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Cardano.
Who is tastyworks best for?
With a platform built for options trading accompanied by in-house derivatives analytics, the platform 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, joint 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 and Coverdell education accounts.
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. It 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.”
This means traders can benefit from a plethora of targeted tools and research. But casual investors seeking 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’re a boutique firm, with a big, broad reach, and we’re 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.”
Explains Nick Battista, host of Options Trading Concepts Live with tastytrade, “tastyworks is faster and more efficient because it’s built on brand new technology. Speed is the biggest benefit, and it’s a big deal for traders.”
The interface is quick, clean and intuitive
While tastyworks is available on both desktop and mobile, most of its traders prefer the desktop platform, as it offers the most functionality.
The tastyworks interface is everything you’d expect of a sophisticated platform geared towards derivatives traders. It’s not surprising that its founders also built thinkorswim — at first glance, they feel pretty similar. But personally, I’ve found the tabs on thinkorswim a bit clunky and slow to use in real life. In contrast, tastyworks’ homepage is a lot faster to navigate and easier to wrap my head around.
Three gutters, each with a distinct set of features, offer traders the opportunity to customize and monitor positions while executing trades. Tap into numerous prebuilt watchlists to view up to three watchlists at one time while you toggle between accounts and execute trades in the middle gutter.
Simple order execution allows for trades that are executed in seconds. But it doesn’t offer hotkeys. If you trade options or futures contracts, this isn’t a big deal.
But if you primarily day-trade stocks, evaluate how reliant your strategy is on hotkeys before making the jump to tastyworks.
The platform also offers popout charts that feel similar to the tools on DAS Trader but on a sleeker interface. And unlike DAS Trader, the bulk of the platform sits in one predesigned window, with just the charts popping out to add additional information to the screen.
What research does it provide?
The integrated tastyworks platform features help you keep your finger on the pulse of the market with research and charting tools to help project risk and profit. There are 9 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. There are also 111 built-in indicators to choose from, 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. Or, use the Tastycharts feature to pull a detachable chart onto another screen to add different scripts and indicators while you execute trades.
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. Quick roll
Set default rolls by weekly or monthly expiration cycles and roll your position into the next cycle with a click.
5. 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.
6. ETF-equivalent futures delta
Review a future’s delta equivalent to its ETF to better gauge your delta exposure.
7. Order chains
Track positions from open to close with tastyworks’ order chains feature. Order chains automatically group trades and track average trade prices and profit/loss each time you adjust a position.
8. Capital requirement report
Tap into a detailed breakdown of buying power effect, buying power usage, initial margin requirements and maintenance requirements for each of your portfolio’s open positions.
9. Risk analysis tool
Complete a comprehensive risk analysis of your entire portfolio with the click of a button. Explore theoretical profit and loss risk arrays on positions and your portfolio based on date ranges, percentage points and more.
What is tastytrade?
Tastytrade is a live network of trading shows and learning resources for investors. It’s 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, though note that tastyworks does not endorse the content in shows.
Current content includes:
Shows for beginners
Johnny Trades: Wednesdays 9:40 to 10 a.m. CT
Tasty Bites: Weekdays 8 to 8:20 a.m. CT
Good Trade Bad Trade: Weekdays 9:20 to 9:40 a.m. CT
Shows for advanced investors
Market Measures: Weekdays 9 to 9:20 a.m. CT
Talkin’ With Tom and Tony: Weekdays 9:40 to 10:10 a.m. CT
Pricing and fees
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
Options on micro futures
$1.50 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
$0.25 per contract to open, $0.25 to close
1% of total crypto purchase and sale up to $10 max
ACH deposits and withdrawals
Account transfer fee
In addition to tastyworks’ fees, you’ll pay applicable exchange, clearing and regulatory fees on all opening and closing trades. These fees do not apply on cryptocurrency orders.
Is tastyworks legit?
Yes, tastyworks is a legitimate brokerage. The company is registered with the US Securities and Exchange Commission and was approved as a broker-dealer by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in 2016. It launched to the general public in 2017.
Keep in mind that futures accounts at any brokerage are not protected by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC). Futures account positions and cash balances with tastyworks are segregated by Apex Clearing Corporation.
How does tastyworks keep my money safe?
The platform uses Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology to secure transactions conducted on its investments platform and uses real-time monitoring systems to protect investor data. Secure your account further by enabling two-factor authentication for your account.
tastyworks reviews and complaints
Reviews are mixed. As of January 2022, it receives a Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating of A- after only six complaints in the last three years. It receives a TrustScore of 2.2 out of 5 after 33 reviews and has no complaints to its name with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
The platform’s mobile app isn’t well-liked by investors. On Google Play, the app earns 2.4 out of 5 stars after 1,112 reviews.
And its Apple App Store rating isn’t much better: a lukewarm 2.9 out of 5 stars based on 883 ratings. Some reviews mention app crashes and urge investors to use the desktop platform instead of the mobile app.
BBB customer rating
1/5 based on 2 customer reviews
2.2/5 out of 34 customer reviews
Google Play app
2.4/5 stars based on 1,112 reviews
Apple app store
2.9/5 stars based on 883 reviews
Customer reviews verified as of
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 middle to high end of the scale. InvestorJunkie gave it one of the lowest scores, a 7/10, citing lack of access to 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.
Pros and cons
No minimum deposit. Open an account with any amount.
Convenient access. Access the platform from a web browser, desktop application or mobile app.
Referral program. Each time you make a qualified referral, you 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 support. Support by phone is only available on weekdays during business hours.
No hotkeys. The platform doesn’t offer access to hotkeys — a tool popular among the day trading crowd.
No external crypto wallets. Crypto investments can’t be transferred to an external wallet. Instead, tastyworks has partnered with Zero Hash to offer hot wallet storage for tastyworks traders’ crypto investments.
How do I sign up?
Begin the signup process from the tastyworks website:
Choose Open an account on the tastyworks homepage.
Enter your email address and create a username and password. Select Continue.
Select the type of account you’d like to apply for.
Enter your personal information, including your full name, residential address, Social Security number and date of birth. Then, enter the personal information for a trusted contact you’d like to add to your account.
Provide information about your trading experience and finances.
Confirm your identity by answering security questions, and then enable two factor authentication. Select Continue To Important Documents when finished.
Read and agree to tastyworks’s agreements. Then, review and submit your application.
A member of the tastyworks team will review your application. Once approved, fund your account with an ACH transfer, wire transfer, check or by transferring funds from another brokerage account. Once funded, you can begin trading on the tastyworks platform.
How do I contact tastyworks support?
Customer 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
There are plenty of trading platforms out there and tastyworks may not be for you. Compare your options by research tools, trading fees and investor feedback to find the account best suited to your needs.
1 - 5 of 5
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.
Not sure tastyworks is the right call? Compare other trading platforms to find the one that best fits your investment goals.
How we rate trading platforms
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★★★★★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.
Shannon Terrell is an editor for Finder who has written over 400 personal finance guides. With a focus on investments and personal finance, she breaks down jargon-laden topics to help others make informed financial decisions. She studied communications and English literature at the University of Toronto.
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