TradeStation review

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This online platform caters to experienced traders — beginners may struggle to use it.

finder.com’s rating: 4.1 / 5.0

★★★★★

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.

  • Choose TradeStation if you’re an experienced active trader.
  • Consider something else if you want access to forex.

$0

Stock trade fee

$2,000

Minimum deposit to open

Details

Stock trade fee$0
Option trade fee$0 + $0.50/contract
Asset typesStocks, Bonds, Options, Mutual funds, ETFs, Cryptocurrency
Account typesBrokerage, Retirement
Minimum deposit to open$2,000
Account transfer fee$125

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 in 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.

What investments does TradeStation offer?

TradeStation stands out for its investment menu. With a wide variety of securities and asset classes, experienced investors have plenty to choose from.

  • Stocks
  • Bonds
  • Mutual funds
  • ETFs
  • Cryptocurrency
  • Options
  • Futures
  • Futures options

Who is TradeStation best for?

Due to its extensive and often complex research tools, TradeStation may be best for:

  • Active investors. Experienced traders ready to perform their own technical analysis stand to benefit from the platform’s comprehensive charting tools.
  • Derivatives traders. TradeStation offers access to options, futures and futures options at competitive prices.

You can even set orders for stocks of companies expected to deliver initial public offerings (IPOs). With the ClickIPO app, you can browse price ranges and expected offering dates. TradeStation lets you place conditional orders and if shares become available, they’re put into your account.

Fees and costs

TradeStation offers commission-free stocks and ETFs — but so do many other trading platforms. When it comes to derivatives, TradeStation’s fees are competitive. Most platforms, like Fidelity and TD Ameritrade, charge $0.65 per options contract. Where TradeStation falls short are its account fees.

TradeStation offers two primary service tiers: TradeStation Go and TradeStation Select. Both services offer access to the same securities lineup and allow for trades to be executed across TradeStation’s web and mobile applications. But investors looking to execute trades on TradeStation’s desktop platform must be mindful of the service they select: desktop trading fees for TradeStation Go users clock in at a whopping $10 per trade.

TradeStation’s account transfer fees are also quite steep. While most platforms charge $75 per transfer, you can expect to pay nearly double this with TradeStation as your broker. Inactivity fees are also a concern but can be avoided if a $2,000 average end-of-month equity balance is maintained or you place a minimum of five trades over a 12-month period.

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

Research tools

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.

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.

Pros and cons

Pros

  • 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 Master Class at TradeStation’s affiliated educational website YouCanTrade.com. 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. They also get discounts on futures commissions.

Cons

  • Difficult for beginners. The trading system is designed for people already familiar with trading, which might make it challenging for newcomers.
  • High minimum deposit. While many of its competitors don’t impose minimum opening deposits, TradeStation asks TS Select investors to fund their account with a deposit of at least $2,000.
  • No forex trading. If you’re interested in trading forex, you’ll need to look elsewhere: TradeStation abandoned its forex platform years ago.

Compare with other stock trading platforms

Name Product Stock trade fee Asset types Option trade fee Annual fee Signup bonus
Sofi Invest
$0
Stocks, ETFs, Cryptocurrency
N/A
0%
A free way to invest in stocks, ETFs and crypto.
Robinhood
$0
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.
Interactive Brokers
$0
Stocks, Bonds, Options, Mutual funds, ETFs, Currencies
$0 + $0.65/contract, $1 minimum
0%
N/A
IBKR Lite offers $0 commissions, and IBKR Pro offers advanced tools for professional traders.
Webull
$0
Stocks, Options, ETFs
$0
0%
Get one free stock valued between $2.50 and $250 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
$0
Stocks, ETFs
N/A
$0 per month
N/A
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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: one referencing an incorrect transfer amount and the other complaining of documentation requests during the account closure process.

TradeStation reviews and complaints

As of March 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 1.5 out of 5 after 76 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 4.0 out of 5 on Google Play after 3,616 reviews and 4.6 out of 5 in the Apple App Store after 14,584 reviews.

Redditors offer mixed feedback. Some praise the platform for its swift execution rates — others complain that the desktop platform’s user interface is clunky and difficult to navigate.

How do I contact TradeStation support?

TradeStation offers a number of ways to reach out if you need support.

Live Chat: Speak with a representative on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET.

Phone:

  • For new accounts, you have to visit the Contact section of the website and click on the “Call Me” phone icon. This service is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST.
  • To make a trade, call 800-822-0512
  • For technical support, visit the Contact section of the website and click on the “Call Me” phone icon Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST.

Email: NewAccountServices@TradeStation.com

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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