This online platform caters to experienced traders — beginners may struggle to use it.TradeStation offers a unique trading platform complete with analytics technology and a trading-specific coding language. It may be best for experienced traders with a high monthly volume. Its fees and learning curve might turn away newcomers and low-volume traders.
Stock trade fee
$99.95 per month
Who is TradeStation best for?
Due to its extensive and often complex capabilities, TradeStation may be best for:
- Active traders. Monthly volume requirements might not turn away active traders, who can focus on using the site’s capabilities to the fullest.
- Traders looking for a complete platform. The ability to trade in almost anything from penny stocks to bonds, coupled with its analytics and historical data, gives TradeStation longevity and value.
- Those wanting to take their trading to the next level. TradeStation offers an extensive amount of educational resources that can help anyone make trading more than a casual hobby.
How easy is it to use?
Reddit investors say TradeStation’s desktop platform is comprehensive and feature-rich but not beginner-friendly. This sentiment is echoed in a number of TradeStation mobile app reviews — a number of investors complain that the app’s user interface is overwhelming.
That said, the signup process is fairly straightforward. You can sign up for a TradeStation account from a desktop or mobile device and the six-step application process can be completed in under 10 minutes. You’ll need to enter some basic personal information, submit details about your employment status and answer questions about your investment goals. Before you gain access to the platform, you’ll be asked to sign an account agreement and fund your account.
What research and tools does it provide?
TradeStation’s research offerings are designed to help the advanced investor test trading strategies against historical data:
- RadarScreen. Monitor and organize up to 1,000 symbols in real-time with the help of more than 180 technical indicators.
- EasyLanguage. Design custom indicators to test trading strategies with TradeStation’s proprietary programming language.
- Strategy back-testing. Back-test trade ideas across stocks and futures with decades of historical market data.
- Matrix. Enter, track and change orders through a detailed market depth window.
- Trading apps. Add trading applications from independent developers from the TradeStation TradingApp Store.
- OpenStation Pro. Map options chains to analyze your break-even potential.
- Simulated trading. Take advantage of risk-free paper trading to design and test strategies and build trading skills.
What are the benefits of TradeStation?
TradeStation offers a number of features that could help develop and enhance your trading experience.
- Analytical systems and market updates. Award-winning analytics tools include a complete-options trading program and a real-time market scanning and ranking tool.
- Fast software across devices. Its desktop platform and mobile app offer dynamic trading platforms.
- Extensive educational resources. Access hundreds of educational webinars, YouTube videos, live-streaming events or attend a live Master Class or the online TradeStation University. TradeStation also offers historical market data going back over 50 years.
- EasyLanguage coding system. A custom-built coding language for back-testing trading strategies and creating customer alerts — a useful advantage for serious traders.
- Free trading for active duty military. All commissions are waived for active duty military members, though the minimum account requirements are still there.
What to watch out for
There are a few things that might make TradeStation less than ideal for some users.
- Difficult learning curve for beginners. The trading system is designed for people already familiar with trading, which might make it challenging for newcomers.
- High fees for low volume trading. TradeStation penalizes people trading in less than 50 options trades per month with higher fees. And some of its advanced features cost extra money.
- No commission-free ETFs. Some trading platforms offer some exchange-traded funds without commission, but TradeStation has commissions on all ETFs.
- No forex trading and limited international options. TradeStation stopped its forex trading platform a few years ago. It now only offers limited options for traders looking at overseas markets.
Compare with other stock trading platforms
TradeStation reviews and complaints
The Better Business Bureau awards TradeStation an A- rating, but the company isn’t accredited with the BBB. Most of the reviews are positive, although there’s a fair number that highlight poor customer service.
Most of the concerns online relate to the high inactivity fees, making it critical to hit the minimum number of trades each month.
TradeStation is owned by Monex Group, a large online financial services company based out of Japan who acquired it in 2011 from Omega Research. TradeStation was founded in 1982 by two brothers, who developed the EasyLanguage coding system themselves.
How do I get started?
- You can sign up on the website via your desktop or mobile app.
- Go to the TradeStation home page and click Open an Account in the top menu.
- Click Register. There will be a separate place to click to open a Futures IRA account or an Entity account.
- Enter your name, email address, phone number and country of residence.
- Create a username and password.
- Complete an application, which includes personal information, employment information, financials and experience. Sign the documents.
- Select your monthly plan, fund your account and start trading.
You’ll need to meet these eligibility criteria to start trading:
- At least 18 years old
- US resident with a valid Social Security number or taxpayer ID
- International residents and business entities may apply using a paper application
- Name, date of birth, address and personal contact information
- Social Security number for US residents
- Valid passport for international residents
- International residents must provide proof of US residency by showing utility bills, bank statements, and/or lease agreements
- Employment information
- Investment history
- Financial information, such as bank statements, that show net worth
The minimum amount to open an account depends on which one you select:
- Stock and options accounts: $500 minimum
- Margin accounts: $2,000 minimum
- Futures and future options: $5,000 minimum
I’ve made my first trade with TradeStation. Now what?
After you’ve successfully submitted the application, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the platform.
- Fund your account. You can transfer funds from a US bank via wire transfer, check or electronic transfer.
- Get educated. Learn about the platform by watching the training and educational videos, browse the forums and explore the TradeStation University.
- Upgrade your tools. It’s advanced analytics tools offer next-level trading — for a fee.
- Try the mobile app. Download the app and take your trading with you wherever you go.
- Understand the tax implications. Speak with a certified accountant to get tax advice on your online trades.
TradeStation customer service
TradeStation offers a number of ways to reach out if you need support.
Live Chat: Speak with a representative weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET.
- For new accounts, call 800-770-4049, Monday to Thursday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET.
- To make a trade, call 800-822-0512, Monday to Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET.
- For technical support, call 800-822-0512, Sunday at 3:30 p.m. to Friday 8 p.m. ET.
TradeStation offers several features that could make it a good fit for active and serious traders, including its analytical tools, coding system and educational resources.
But if you’re not an experienced trader and want something else to ease into, there are other platforms out there that don’t have the steep learning curve or high fees. Compare options and platforms before you commit.