TradeStation Broker Review
TradeStation is a premier online brokerage service that started back in 1982 and has focused on providing industry-leading trading technology accompanied with exceptional customer service and commission structures. They have created a product and service that caters to the most demanding active trader with tools and features that range from direct market access, hotkey abilities, robust charting software and scanning tools to name a few. TradeStation offers all asset classes from equities and options to futures, mutual funds and fixed income products. Whether you’re a new or experienced trader this is a broker that you need to seriously consider and I’ll explain why below.
Commissions & Fees
TradeStation has very competitive commissions rates compared to most full service broker but what I really like about their pricing is you have the option to choose a commission fee structure based on your trading style. One fee that all traders need to be aware of is the $99.95 monthly software fee to use their trading platform that is charged to the account if you don’t meet their trading requirements (trade more than 5,000 shares in stock or 50 contracts in options in a single month) or have an account with equity over $100,000. This is important to keep in mind because if you don’t trade a lot then this fee could add up over time along with your commissions and market data fees. So this could be a deterrent to new traders looking to build their account.
Looking at equities first you can choose between a per-trade rate or the per-share rate based on how much you’re trading. For their base rate you are looking at $4.99 per trade no matter how much size you are trading. If you decide to do their per share rate then you are looking at $0.01 per share with a $1 minimum and if you trade more than 500 shares then it is reduced to $0.006 per share. So if you trade 1,000 shares under this commission schedule you will be charged $6 in commissions.
Options also have a per-trade or per-contract commission rate. For the per-trade commission you are looking at a commission rate based on how many option contracts you trade in a month. Below is the rate guide:
As you can see with the above rate structure, the more contracts you trade the better commission rate you get. If you choose to do the per-contract commission rate then you are looking at just $1.00 per contract with no base rate. This commission schedule also favors traders who trade more and with their best commission rate of $4.99 plus $0.20 per contract you will have one of the better rates in the industry.
Trading Platform & Tools
This is where TradeStation excels past any of their competitors. Their trading technology is far superior and far more powerful than anything I’ve seen so far. They have a platform that is rich with graphics and fully customizable with robust charting capabilities, powerful scanners and research center, one-click trading and much more. They have one of the most extensive data banks with over 40 years of historical pricing data so you can back-test strategies thoroughly and gain a deeper insight into market analysis. You won’t find a better place to back test strategies for retail traders.
Their proprietary coding language, EasyLanguage, allows traders to build powerful trading strategies, back-test them, and then activate them to trade their accounts based on their risk tolerance or they can customize trading indicators and sell them along with trading strategies on the TradingApp store where apps can run for free or they can cost up to hundreds of dollars per month. There are literally thousands of apps to choose from depending on your trading style and risk tolerance that can be added right on your platform. TradeStation is one of the only brokers that I’ve seen that has this for retail traders and is a very useful feature that can really add an edge to a traders strategy.
With TradeStation the possibilities are nearly endless. They have superb customer service, industry-leading technology and competitive commission rates. Their services will fulfill the needs of the most demanding full time trader to the casual investors, however, they probably aren’t the best for new traders just looking to learn the ropes as the fees can add up if you’re not trading enough. I highly recommend TradeStation as long as you can meet their monthly minimum trading activity so you don’t get hit with the fee but if you’re serious about your trading and are looking for a new broker, then you really should check these guys out. I promise you won’t be disappointed!
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