TradeStation review

It has sophisticated charting tools but its service fees are higher than most.

finder.com’s rating: 4.1 / 5.0

★★★★★

TradeStation offers a sophisticated trading platform with analytics and research tools. Because of that, experienced investors and day traders will find the highest value out of the platform. But beginners may find it useful just as well, especially with the option to learn how to trade with virtual money.

  • Choose TradeStation if you’re an experienced active trader.
  • Consider something else if you want to invest in foreign stocks, fractional shares or use robo advisors.

Details

Option trade fee$0 + $0.50/contract
Asset typesStocks, Bonds, Options, Mutual funds, ETFs, Cryptocurrency
Account typesBrokerage, Retirement
Account transfer fee$125

What we think of TradeStation

TradeStation has the full package and is suitable for beginners, experienced investors and day traders alike. You can trade stocks, ETFs, crypto, options, futures, mutual funds and bonds. This is a far more comprehensive lineup than you’ll get with competitors like Robinhood and SoFi Invest.

Similar to these platforms, you get to:

  • Trade stocks and ETFs without paying a commission — although other investments come with fees.
  • Open a TradeStation Go account without a minimum deposit requirement. There are two account types: TS Select and TS Go. The first requires a minimum of $2,000 in your account, but for TS Go, there are no minimum requirements.

These features are great — and pretty much standard these days. What makes TradeStation stand out, though, are its sophisticated research tools and charting features. You’ll gain access to stock screeners, Level 2 market data and real-time market quotes. TradeStation offers these advanced tools for free — a huge perk, considering these would cost the average trader hundreds of dollars annually.

For these reasons, TradeStation is worth considering if you’re an experienced investor or a day trader.

Overview

Fees

★★★★★ 3.25/5

Stocks are commission-free, but minimum deposits are steeper than most for the TS Select account type. With the TS GO account, TradeStation charges a $10 fee for each equities and options trade made on the TradeStation Desktop platform.
Available securities

★★★★★ 5/5

It offers all the standards, including stocks, mutual funds, bonds and options.
Customer support

★★★★★ 4/5

Support can be reached several ways, but we had to wait 15 minutes to speak to a rep.
Mobile app

★★★★★ 4.5/5

The mobile app is well-received on both Google Play and the Apple App Store.
Research and tools

★★★★★ 4.5/5

Investors have access to numerous screeners, top-notch charting, industry news and third-party research.
Reliability

★★★★★ 4/5

No major service outages, but mobile app crashes have been reported.

To learn how our star ratings are calculated, read the methodology at the bottom of the page.

TradeStation is best for experienced traders

Due to its extensive research tools and investment, TradeStation is best for experienced traders. You can perform technical analysis with the platform’s vast number of charting tools or you can scan and search for stocks based on parameters you set.

Because TradeStation offers so much more, it can also be a good choice for:

  • Derivatives traders. TradeStation offers access to options, futures and futures options at competitive prices.
  • Cryptocurrency traders. TradeStation lets you earn between 0.1% and 6% interest on your crypto holdings. The amount you earn depends upon the crypto. For example, Bitcoin earns 0.1%, Ether earns 1% and USD Stablecoin earns 6%.
  • Beginner traders. Beginners get to use the simulated trading – or paper trading – feature that can help them learn and grow.

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Analytical tools and market updates. Take advantage of sophisticated analytical tools include advanced market scanning and Level 2 market data.
  • Extensive educational resources. Explore hundreds of educational webinars, YouTube videos, live-streaming events or attend Master Class at TradeStation’s affiliated educational website YouCanTrade.com.
  • Easy language coding system. Access a custom-built coding language for back-testing trading strategies and creating customer alerts. Use the application programing interface (API) to create your own trading platform or applications.
  • Free trading for active-duty military. All commissions are waived for active-duty military members and futures commissions are available at a discount.

Cons

  • No fractional shares. Those who can’t afford or don’t want to buy full shares will need to turn to TradeStation’s competitors, Robinhood and SoFi.
  • No forex trading. If you’re interested in trading forex, check out IBKR or Thinkorswim.
  • Many fees. From IRA account fees to inactivity fees for accounts under $2,000, expect to encounter numerous account fees with this trading platform.
  • No robo-advisors. TradeStation doesn’t offer robo advisors like the ones offered by SoFi Invest or Acorns.

TradeStation’s fees are higher than most

TradeStation’s stocks and ETFs are available commission-free, but traders can expect to encounter commissions for options, futures and crypto. And TradeStation’s account fees are higher than most. There’s a $35 annual fee for your IRA account, a 0.3% fee for trading crypto and a $50 annual inactivity fee for accounts of less than $2,000. These fees aren’t imposed by a number of TradeStation’s competitors, including Robinhood and SoFi Invest.

TradeStation’s two primary service tiers — TradeStation Go and TradeStation Select — have different sets of fees. But both services offer access to the same securities lineup and allow trades to be executed across TradeStation’s web and mobile applications.

Here’s a breakdown of TradeStation’s fees:

TradeStation GoTradeStation Select
Minimum deposit$0$2,000
Stocks and ETFs trading fee$0$0
Options trading fee$0.50 per contract$0.60 per contract
Futures trading fee$0.85 per contract, per side$1.50 per contract, per side
Futures options trading fee$1.50 per contract, per side$1.50 per contract, per side
TradeStation desktop platform$10 per equities and options trade, $1.40 per futures contractFree
Inactivity fee$50$50
Account transfer fee$125$125

How do I sign up?

  1. Start the signup process on TradeStation’s website via your desktop or mobile app.
  2. Go to the TradeStation homepage and select Open an Account from the top menu.
  3. Select Register and enter your name, email address, phone number and country of residence.
  4. Create a username and password.
  5. Complete an application, which includes personal information, employment information, financials and experience.
  6. Sign the documents.
  7. Select your monthly plan, fund your account and start trading.

TradeStation application process

Eligibility

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

Required Information

  • 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:

  • TS Select: $2,000
  • TS Go: Any amount

TradeStation’s research tools are comprehensive

TradeStation’s research offerings are designed to help the advanced investor test trading strategies against historical data, to create their own trading tools and platforms or to find the perfect stock.

  • RadarScreen. This feature lets you set up parameters, such as chart patterns or indicators, and then RadarScreen will scan thousands of stocks to find these patterns. This can greatly simplify the search for stocks that have a certain technical setup, say bullish reversal patterns or double tops.
  • EasyLanguage. This is TradeStation’s programming language, which you can use to create your own custom indicators, to test trading strategies or create your own trading applications.
  • Strategy back-testing. TradeStation lets you back-test trade ideas across stocks and futures with decades of historical market data.
  • Matrix. Matrix is how TradeStation refers to its level 2 market data. This helps you see at which price orders are waiting to be executed. What’s cool about Matrix is that you an use it in the web platform. All other tools require TradeStation’s desktop platform.
  • Simulated trading. This is often a great feature for beginners, but experienced traders could use it to to test new strategies.

The platform has a steep learning curve

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.

Compare with other stock trading platforms

Name Product Asset types Option trade fee Annual fee Signup bonus
Sofi Invest
Stocks, ETFs, Cryptocurrency
N/A
0%
Get one free stock worth up to $1,000
Open an account
A free way to invest in stocks, ETFs and crypto.
Webull
Stocks, Options, ETFs
$0
0%
Get one free stock valued between $3.00 and $300 when you open an account, one more with a deposit
Open an account
Margin financing rates start at 3.99%. No monthly subscription fees for margin.
Public
Stocks, ETFs
N/A
$0 per month
Download and sign up with Public.com; approved accounts receive a free stock slice worth up to $70, selected from 9 popular stocks.
Open an account
Commission-free trading in stocks and ETFs with a social networking twist.
J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing
Stocks, Bonds, Options, Mutual funds, ETFs
$0 + $0.65/contract
0%
N/A
INVESTMENT AND INSURANCE PRODUCTS ARE: NOT A DEPOSIT • NOT FDIC INSURED • NO BANK GUARANTEE • MAY LOSE VALUE
Robinhood
Stocks, Options, ETFs
$0
0%
Free stock (chosen randomly with a value anywhere between $2.50 and $200)
Sign up using the "go to site" link
Make unlimited commission-free trades in stocks, funds, and options with Robinhood Financial.
Moomoo
Stocks, Options, ETFs
$0
$0 per year
N/A
Trade stocks on the US, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Shenzhen markets.
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Compare up to 4 providers

*Signup bonus information updated weekly.

Disclaimer: The value of any investment can go up or down depending on news, trends and market conditions. We are not investment advisers, so do your own due diligence to understand the risks before you invest.

Is TradeStation legit?

TradeStation is owned by Monex Group, a large online financial services company based out of Japan. TradeStation formed in 1982 as Omega Research. It launched its trading platform in 1991 and is headquartered in Plantation, Florida. It’s a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC), the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

TradeStation lacks Better Business Bureau accreditation but maintains an A+ rating based on its length of time in business and its complaint history. The platform has two complaints to its name with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Both complaints mention hiccups during the account closure process with one referencing an incorrect transfer amount and the other complaining of documentation requests during the account closure process.

TradeStation feedback is mixed

As of June 2021, the Better Business Bureau awards TradeStation an A+ rating, but the company isn’t accredited with the BBB. Most of the reviews on the BBB website are negative with many citing technical difficulties and poor customer service.

Reviews on Trustpilot are also negative: the platform receives a TrustScore of 1.4 out of 5 after 102 reviews. Investors complain of account transfer delays and long wait times — sometimes in excess of an hour — to connect with customer service.

On the plus side, TradeStation’s mobile app receives solid feedback from both Android and Apple users. It scores 4 out of 5 on Google Play after 3,958 reviews and 4.6 out of 5 in the Apple App Store after 14,956 reviews.

Contact support by phone, email or live chat

TradeStation can be reached by:

  • Live chat. Speak with a representative from TradeStation’s website weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET.
  • Phone. Request a call from the support team by selecting the “Call Me” phone icon on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET.
  • Email. Send an email to newaccountservices@tradestation.com for a reply within one to two business days.

      Bottom line

      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.

      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.

      For a complete breakdown of how we score each category, read the full methodology of how we rate trading platforms.

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