TradeStation is best for active and expert-level traders. It offers top-tier platforms and tools. However, there are inactivity fees and account service fees if you don’t meet specific minimums.
TradeStation is a popular US brokerage among active and professional traders. It offers powerful trading tools and special pricing for high-volume traders. And its trading tools and data are so good that many people pay for access to those even without a trading account.
Due to inactivity fees and the advanced nature of TradeStation tools, it may not be ideal for newer traders or people looking for passive, long-term investments. But if you are interested in becoming an active trader and already have a basic understanding of trading platforms, TradeStation offers great resources to improve your skills and knowledge.
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TradeStation offers standard pricing just five cents per trade above the market leading rates for discount brokers. It also offers per-share trading and tiered pricing that can help active traders save on a busy account.
The basic trade fee at TradeStation is $5 per trade. That is the trade fee for stocks and similar instruments like ETFs. Options cost $5 plus 0.50 cents per contract, which is a very-low cost. Futures are $1.50 per contract per side.
More active traders can move into tiered and per-share plans. At this rate, you would pay $1 for 100 shares, $5 for 500 shares, and $8 for 1,000 shares with a $1 minimum. This breaks down to 1 cent per share up to 500 shares and .006 cents per additional share.
Options per-contract plans cost $1 per contract with no ticket charge or minimum. For futures, tiered pricing ranges from .25 cents to $1.20 per contract per side based on volume.
Most data is included with the plans above, but you can pay a la carte for additional data services or get them without a trading account.
Overall, TradeStation scores very well for fees and pricing.
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Most people will find their needs met by a brokerage account at TradeStation. Retirement, custodial, and business accounts are available in addition to individual and joint accounts.
TradeStation offers two main types of accounts. First is an equities and options account, which gives you access to the majority of investments supported. Futures trading requires a separate account. Stock and options accounts require a $500 minimum balance for cash accounts and $2,000 for margin accounts. Futures require a minimum $5,000 opening balance.
Individual, joint, or IRA (traditional, Roth, SEP, and SIMPLE) are the most popular types of brokerage accounts for most people. It also supports custodial accounts for a minor and entity accounts for corporations, partnerships, trusts, LLCs, and sole proprietorships.
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TradeStation is focused on active traders and the types of securities they like most. Stocks, ETFs, options, futures, and cryptocurrencies get the biggest focus at TradeStation.
TradeStation does not offer the widest range of possible investments, but it does support the most popular instruments for active and expert traders. While mutual funds and bonds are a noteworthy hole in TradeStation’s offerings, it makes up for those passive securities with Bitcoin and extensive options and futures support.
Day trading is allowed, though it requires a higher $25,000 minimum account balance. Equities accounts include IPOs. Bitcoin is tradable on two different futures, one on the Cboe and one on the CME exchange.
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Opening a new TradeStation is easiest online. You can open an account with a straightforward online form. Expect to supply basic personal information including contact information and your Social Security number.
International customers are accepted from many locations. Have your tax ID ready where applicable to complete the application in one sitting. Business entities may need to supply relevant organization forms.
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The strongest offering at TradeStation is its excellent trading platforms. Optimized for active, expert, and professional traders, these platforms leave experienced traders satisfied.
TradeStation’s brightest spot is its trading platforms. For active traders, this brokerage offers a best-in-class experience.
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The default TradeStation dashboard for the web trading platform
Trading tools for options, futures, stocks, and other investments give you a ton of control and flexibility. Mobile apps are available that give you much of the same functionality as the web-based and desktop-based platforms.
The desktop version is Windows only. Mac users will need a program like Boot Camp or Parallels. That may be a deal breaker for some Mac-based computer users.
There is no free demo. You have to open a real account to get access to the platform. However, paper trading (fake trading) is available. The only big thing missing compared to some other platforms is built-in streaming TV. But you can just turn CNBC or Bloomberg on using your regular TV and save that bandwidth for your trades.
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The TradeStation platform features customizable views
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Track multiple stocks, options, and other investments with live market data.
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Easy order entry with up-to-the-minute market data
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The mobile app offers many useful features that allow you to manage your portfolio on your couch, on a plane, or on the beach
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TradeStation offers standard trades as well as advanced options orders, conditional orders, and other expert trade strategies.
The four basic order types at TradeStation are market, limit, stop market, and stop limit. Like at most brokers, you can also enter short trades with basic order criteria.
Things get more interesting when it comes to advanced trades. TradeStation allows for complex options trades and conditional orders. You can do just about everything on mobile as well as desktop. This makes it easy to manage and close trades on the go as well as your home base.
Streaming options chains help you get an edge. Complex options are supported with up to four legs.
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TradeStation does not offer bank accounts.
Banking is not available at TradeStation.
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Help is available by phone and chat support. Technical and trade support is available 24 hours a day during the trading week.
TradeStation customer support is easy to reach by phone or web-based chat. On the right side of any page at the website, you can click a button to access live chat or get a phone call back. New account support is also available via email.
Client services are available from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Eastern Monday to Friday. Technical support and trade desk support is available 24 hours a day from Sunday evening to Friday evening so you can always get help during the trading week.
Chat support is open Monday to Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Eastern. Outside of that time, you should call in for help or request a call back with the online form.
It has won awards from Investor’s Business Daily, Barron’s, Investopedia, StockBrokers.com, and Technical Analysis of Stocks & Commodities. Most awards are for its trading tools and overall rankings for frequent traders.
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TradeStation does not offer any cash or free trade promotions for new accounts.
TradeStation lists a few items on its promotions page, but they are not traditional promotions. Instead, they are more like account features. Here’s a quick list of what you’ll find:
- Interest sharing – Earn interest on your uninvested cash balance. Get 0.30% with $250,000 or more in an account and 0.55% interest with $500,000 or more.
- Fully paid lending – This program allows you to enroll your account to lend out securities for things like short sales and margin accounts. You get 50% of the interest TradeStation earns. You must have an account balance of at least $75,000 or 5-years of trading experience to qualify.
- TradeStation Salutes – Military members can qualify for commission-free stock, ETF, and options trades as well as discounted futures pricing.
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TradeStation is a well-regulated US brokerage and accounts are insured by the SIPC.
TradeStation is a member of NYSE, FINRA, CME, and SIPC. It is regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Equity accounts are insured by the SIPC and an additional policy through Lloyd’s of London. Total protection for each account is $24.5 million with a $900,000 limit for cash.
TradeStation is a subsidiary of Monex Group. Monex Group is a financial company based in Tokyo, Japan.
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TradeStation offers focused education resources around its tools and overall success in the markets it serves. It does not offer a depth of coverage in all investing topics.
For active trading strategies, options, and futures, TradeStation offers helpful lessons and educational resources that can help you succeed and improve your strategy in these competitive markets. The TradeStation University section of the website is free to use.
Education resources are split between its trading technology and trader education. The website has live webinar events, videos, articles, and news. It offers research tools to learn more about
TradeStation isn’t a platform for passive, long-term investors. If you want a bunch of mutual funds, TradeStation isn’t for you. It does not offer education or research in those areas.
TradeStation is geared toward expert and advanced traders. If you are a beginner and want to learn to trade, TradeStation offers resources to get you started.
Beginners can learn enough to get started at TradeStation University, but overall tools are made for the pros or those willing to invest the time to learn expert-level trading. If you are at least an intermediate trader and have some experience with online trading platforms, you should be able to find your way around.
TradeStation tools are so good it is used by institutional investors, such as fund managers and family offices. Professionals who use other brokers still sign up to get access to the top-quality data from TradeStation. If you are serious about trading, you can put those tools to work in your own strategy.
Is TradeStation regulated?
Where is TradeStation based?
When was TradeStation founded?
How does TradeStation make money?
Trade commissions, data/software access, margin charges, fees
How do I deposit in TradeStation account?
How do I withdraw money from TradeStation?
How do I open an account with TradeStation?
Online or by phone
Does TradeStation offer margin accounts?
Are funds at TradeStation secured or insured?
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TradeStation offers a combination of excellent trading tools and competitive pricing that make it a perfect fit for expert and advanced traders looking for the best experience tailored to their needs.
For the customers it targets, active and expert traders, TradeStation is best-in-class. Between its good pricing and professional tier platform, most experts will be very happy with the TradeStation experience.
For those interested in passive, long-term investing, TradeStation is not the best choice. For some people with a mix of trading goals, TradeStation isn’t going to be the only brokerage you use. But for those active trading needs, particularly focused on futures and options, TradeStation is a great choice.