Our pick for beginner investors: Robinhood
- $0 commissions
- Download the app or trade online
- Start trading right away with instant deposits
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TradeStation is an online brokerage service that offers a professional-level trading experience with powerful trading technology. But its high minimum activity requirements, $150 account service fee and $50 inactivity fee may turn you off. Here are five alternatives that may be a better fit.
Interactive Brokers has an impressive lineup of advanced charting tools, including international trading info and real-time scans. Its research tools are customizable and fully equipped with hundreds of indicators. It also offers access to global markets, including major exchanges in Japan, India, Germany and Australia.
The TradeStation platform currently only runs on a Mac through a Windows emulator. A big factor that makes Interactive Brokers a solid alternative to TradeStation is its desktop platform for Mac OSX designed to operate seamlessly without jumping through hoops. But you’ll need a net worth of at least $20,000 to qualify for an Interactive Brokers account.
TD Ameritrade appeals to a variety of investors. Newer traders can access a plethora of educational resources and test drive their trading strategies before risking real money with paper trading. Unlike TradeStation, casual traders won’t pay an inactivity fee. And active traders can take advantage of TD Ameritrade’s full suite of research tools, including heat mapping, watch lists and technical analysis tools.
An extra perk of TD Ameritrade is its advisory services. Speak to a financial professional to help you pursue your financial goals according to the level of portfolio management you’re comfortable with. Advisory fees range from 0.3% to 0.9%, with minimum investment amounts starting at $500.
Webull is a discount brokerage firm with a powerful mobile app and zero commission fees. Although Webull has fewer technical indicators and drawing tools than TradeStation, day traders pay less for Level II advanced data than TradeStation. For example, Webull charges $1.99 per month to access Level 2 Nasdaq TotalView, whereas TradeStation’s Nasdaq TotalView costs $17 per month for nonprofessionals ($153 for professionals) on top of its required $25 monthly market data package.
Webull traders also enjoy increased buying power with competitive margin interest rates. For instance, Webull charges 6.99% for balances up to $25,000, compared to TradeStation’s 9.5%. Both platforms require a minimum of $2,000 to qualify for a margin account.
Robinhood is a free, no-frills trading platform that lets you trade stocks, options, ETFs and crypto without commissions or fees. You won’t find any account minimums, inactivity fees or annual fees. The app has a simple design and an intuitive interface, making it a good option for rookie investors.
Unlike TradeStation, Robinhood doesn’t offer in-depth research tools such as stock screeners or options analysis. But you can upgrade to Robinhood Gold for $5 a month to access premium features, including professional research from Morningstar and Level II market data, so you can still make informed decisions on a user-friendly platform.
E-Trade is a well-known trading platform with a wealth of professional trading tools. Access free streaming market data, live market commentary and stock screeners. You can also identify trading opportunities for your watch list using over 100 technical studies and more than 30 drawing tools. But where E-Trade shines is its mutual funds selection totaling over 9,000, including over 4,400 no-load, no-transaction-fee mutual funds.
Unlike TradeStation, E-Trade also offers low-fee banking services that are fully integrated with your E-Trade investment account. You can view both your investing and savings account in one place and earn competitive interest rates, so your money is always working.
Here’s what makes TradeStation a unique trading platform and a few things to consider before signing up.
TradeStation uses the Automated Customer Account Transfer Service (ACATS) to transfer cash and securities electronically. So if you’re breaking up with TradeStation, you should expect to pay $125 to move your funds and close your current one. Steps include:
Note: You may not be able to transfer your old broker’s proprietary funds.
*Signup bonus information updated weekly.
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