Richard Montana | August 2, 2022
TradeStation offer a professional and highly sophisticated trading platform along with a vast range of robust tools to active traders who are looking to trade and invest in thousands of instruments online with low commission fees. You can buy and sell stocks and ETFs with $0 commission, while the fee for futures is quite low when compared to other brokerages. I think they are a great choice of broker for serious traders who are looking for an industry leading trading experience. They are also a good option for beginner traders as they have an abundance of free educational content. TradeStation is considered an extremely reliable and secure platform with minimal downtime.
Pros & Cons
- Industry leading trading technology
- Wide range of tradable securities
- Superb web and mobile trading platforms
- Commission-free ETF, stock, and option trading
- Free premium trading tools for market analysis
- Extensive research and educational tools
- No minimum funding requirements
- Excellent customer service via multiple channels
- $2k minimum required for free trading on the desktop platform
- Transaction fee on mutual funds
- Restricted account funding options
- Slightly confusing pricing structure
- No forex trading
TradeStation is an online US brokerage targeted towards active and institutional traders worldwide. TradeStation is a subsidiary of Monex Group, Inc., who are listed on the Tokyo stock exchange and one of the largest online financial services providers in Japan. They are headquartered in Plantation, Florida, and have global offices in New York; Chicago; Richardson, Texas; London; Sydney; and Costa Rica. TradeStation Technologies engages in the development, marketing, analysis and trading strategy testing and automation software tools.
TradeStation are well known for their innovative trading platform that contains a vast array of built in tools for conducting detailed chart analysis and market research. The platform has a user-friendly interface and short learning curve that helps ensure it is a suitable solution for new traders whilst having enough advanced functionality to satisfy the more experienced traders. They offer the sleek and modern TradeStation App which puts the power of TradeStation in the palm of your hand.
This brokerage puts emphasis on delivering top class market data and trading technologies that deliver a stable online trading environment during various market conditions with reliable execution speeds. They are also committed to offering good customer service whatever your experience or level of investment. I think they certainly go above and beyond to achieve this, as evident by the industry awards that they have won over the years.
TradeStation was founded in 1982 by Cuban-born brothers William “Bill” and Rafael “Ralph” Cruz. The brothers initially started out trading themselves and come up with the idea for TradeStation when they realised that manually back testing a trading strategy over historical data was very time consuming and thus wanted a way to fully automate the process – this planted the seed from which the TradeStation that we know today was born.
When choosing a broker, regulation is one of the first things that I look for. I would always prefer to trade with a regulated broker as they must comply with rules and procedures that have been put in place to protect investors. I am therefore pleased that TradeStation is regulated in the United States by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and National Futures Association (NFA). I consider this to be top-tier regulation and wouldn’t have any problem using them for my day trading activities.
In addition to this strict regulation, eligible US clients are protected under the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) scheme. The SIPC is an investor protection scheme established in order to protect clients against the loss of cash and securities in case the broker cannot fulfil their financial obligations. The SIPC protection is limited to $500,000 with a $250,000 limit for cash. SIPC coverage is available only for equities and equities options accounts. It is important to carefully read through all of the brokers terms and conditions so that you have a clear understanding of the protection offered before you open an account with any online brokerage.
TradeStation is primarily a USA brokerage but they do offer their services to clients across the globe in certain countries via their international offering. If you discover that they do not serve clients in your country for whatever reason, then please feel free to peruse our broker reviews for some alternative options.
I think that the TradeStation web and mobile trading platforms are very good, I found them to be user-friendly and well-designed. I like how the platforms can be customized with apps and even strategies coded by users. The technical tools and screeners that it offers are among the best you will find. As a leader in trader technology, you would expect them to deliver some of the best trading platforms in the industry and that is exactly what they do. The platforms are versatile so you can choose to trade via your web browser, desktop and mobile devices.
TradeStation Desktop Platform
The TradeStation Desktop Platform has won multiple awards for delivering a superior and professional trading experience. The desktop platform gives a powerful, efficient and flexible trading experience for all styles of trader. You can monitor the markets and utilise an expansive selection of charting and analysis tools. It incorporates dynamic market-scanning tools, fully customisable charting, reliable trade execution speeds, advanced order management, fully automated strategy trading, back testing and more. Users can conduct thorough technical analysis and statistical modelling of various trading strategies. The TradeStation desktop trading platform is incredibly advanced and a great fit for serious investors and day traders. This platform offers customizable charts for research, automated strategy trading and advanced order management
In the TradeStation Platform, you can test your ideas before ever placing your first trade. With EasyLanguage, TradeStation’s proprietary computer language designed for traders, you can write your very own program to back-test and automate your boldest trading ideas. TradeStation’s powerful RadarScreen scans for trading opportunities in real-time. They have combined the power of computer-based trading algorithms with the efficiency of a quote window. I think this is an excellent platform that really packs a punch. It has everything you need to conduct in-depth market analysis, place and manage trades with maximum results.
TradeStation Desktop Platform Features
- User-friendly and fully customisable
- Loaded with high quality trading tools
- Suitable for manual and automated trading
- Strategy Back-Testing
- OptionStation Pro
- Simulated Trading Mode
TradeStation Web Platform
Provided you have an internet connection, you can connect on any device to the TradeStation web trading platform. It is accessible from most modern web browsers such as Firefox, Edge, Safari and Chrome. The web platform includes features such as streaming real-time data, one click trading, news feeds and maintains most of the other capabilities that the desktop platform has. I think this platform is great for when you are not around your computer and need to access your account. The powerful, easy-to-use web platform works in conjunction with TradeStation’s iOS and Android apps for a unified experience that uses TradeStation’s cloud technology.
TradeStation Web Platform Features
- Powerful TradeStation Charts with dozens of technical studies
- The Matrix, an advanced one-click order-entry tool and order-tracking application
- Options Chains analysis capabilities
- Streaming market data
- TradeStation’s massive historical market data
- Fast and efficient order placement capabilities
- Monitoring of Accounts Positions, Balances and Orders
- Watch lists and Hot List
- Get instant access to breaking news
TradeStation Mobile Platform
The TradeStation Mobile Platform is compatible with iOS and Android devices. It is useful for those who need to access their account and manage their investment portfolio whilst on the go from anywhere in the world at any time, provided there is an internet connection. The TradeStation app has an abundance of features for studying different instrument price feeds, analysing charts, placing or managing orders, setting alert notifications and more. I found the app to be smooth and easy to use, so you shouldn’t have problems getting used to it. It seamlessly syncs to your online account, allowing you to check your positions, trade stocks and crypto.
Backed by more than 30 years of experience, TradeStation delivers an intuitive, easy to navigate trading app to trade stocks, ETFs, options, futures, and crypto on the go. The all-in-one TradeStation mobile app gives you the tools to trade the way you want right in the palm of your hands.
TradeStation App Features
- Get streaming quotes in real time
- Analyze and trade options spreads on the go
- Monitor market depth and trade from the Matrix
- Get mobile alerts on price and volume swings
- Analyze charts with indicators – anytime, anywhere
- Place orders with ease and split-second precision
- Track your positions, orders and balances
There is a range of easy-to-use professional trading and analysis tools that can be used to help you trade with confidence, find potential opportunities and to achieve your individual trading goals. The RadarScreen scanner can help scan the markets for trading opportunities, whilst the Matrix market depth window can assist with entry and exit signals. You can also discover options trading via the OptionStation Pro platform.
TradeStation FuturesPlus is a package they offer that provides traders with innovative market analysis and tools (custom alerts, watchlists, etc) for assisting with trading futures options. It also has simplified pricing, educational materials and 24/7 customer service. TradeStation FuturesPlus prices for futures options start at just $1.50 per contract. FuturesPlus can be used across all of your devices including web browser and mobile application.
TradeStation has a wide range of educational resources that are designed to help clients of all experience levels to improve their trading skills. There is a market knowledge centre that contains lots of educational materials including tutorial videos, trading guides, news, events, classes, trading glossary, etc. A range of relevant topics are covered including types of markets, trading strategies, trading platforms, trading instruments and more. It is great to see the broker show so much support for new traders and investors, with the right resources to help them make informed decisions. In addition to the vast array of educational resources, TradeStation also provide frequently updated global market insights with detailed technical and fundamental analysis across a variety of different asset classes.
TradeStation offers commission-free trading on stocks, ETFs, options, and futures, plus free market data and no monthly platform fees. They currently do not offer forex trading but IG do if that is something you are looking for. Other than that, I feel there is an excellent selection of financial instruments with something for everyone to build a diversified portfolio, regardless of your interests.
Enjoy commission-free stock trading with full access to all of the brokers award-winning trading technology, free real-time market data packages, and massive historical stock market data.
You can look to strengthen and diversify your portfolio with access to over 2,000 commission-free ETFs. With an array of advanced tools, you can explore opportunities to meet your investing goals.
Whether you are new to Options or a seasoned veteran, they have you covered with great tools, vast education, and competitive pricing.
Trade a great variety of Futures contracts with competitive pricing. Many futures contracts are highly liquid and could provide a great opportunity if you’re interested in day trading.
Gain access to the next generation of Futures Options trading with the FuturesPlus offering.
You can start trading cryptos by adding digital currencies to your arsenal. Trade Bitcoin, Ethereum, and more, in a single platform.
Be among the first to access shares of rising companies before they go public.
You can look to diversify your trading portfolio with Mutual Funds aligned to a variety of investment strategies.
Access a broad range of bond choices, including the U.S. Treasury, Corporate and Municipal Bonds.
It is great to see that TradeStation has a variety of different account types to choose from that are designed to meet the needs of individual traders and investors including, Individual, Joint, IRA, Entity, Institutional, and Custodial accounts. They have an easy to understand, transparent and competitive commission pricing structure that can even be tailored to adjust to any individual trading style and budget. There are no fees for the software, market data and premium tools.
Individual & Joint
Gain access to the trading tools and research you need with one of the most popular and flexible accounts for traders. They can be individual or joint accounts and can be upgraded for options or futures, as well.
This is an account for corporations, limited liability companies, partnerships, trusts and sole proprietorships to accommodate the structure you want to use to invest.
Choose from a variety of flexible retirement accounts, including the Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, or SEP IRA, to meet your retirement goals.
This is an individual account that is managed by an adult for the benefit of a minor (for equity accounts only).
Margin Trading Account
A margin account can help you execute your trading strategy. Margin trading allows you to increase your buying power by leveraging your account assets. TradeStation offers equities margin interest rates as low as 3.5 percent to help put the buying power in your hands.
It is good to see that TradeStation can provide tailored brokerage solutions for a broad range of institutional clients, including money managers, advisors, and hedge funds. They offer flexible pricing based on your trading volumes in addition to competitive margin and interest rates.
TradeStation give clients a personalised customer service experience with highly skilled, trained and fully licensed brokerage professionals. Customer support is available to answer all your general, technical or account questions via online chat, telephone and email. They usually respond in a prompt and efficient manner.
There are a few different ways in which you can fund your account. There is no minimum initial deposit required for funding stock and options accounts but there is a $2,000 for margin trading. To be honest I think they could improve in this area by adding support for some online payment processors. I find this more convenient for getting quick and easy access to funds in my trading accounts.
Transfer cash assets to or from your domestic linked bank account or another TradeStation account. 3 days, free, $50,000 max.
Transfer money electronically from one of your existing bank or brokerage accounts to your TradeStation Securities Equities account. Next Day (if done before 4 p.m. ET), free.
Send a check via U.S. Mail, overnight, or certified mail, along with your signed documents. 3 days, free.
Electronic Transfer (ACAT)
Transfer cash and most securities electronically from an account at another financial institution to a TradeStation Securities account (including IRA accounts). 7-10 business days, free.
TradeStation offer competitively priced online trading through powerful trading platforms with a collection of free premium analysis tools. They also have a dedicated educational section which beginners will find useful. I was blown away by the quality of their platforms and tools.
On the negative side, I found the funding options are limited and there is no support for trading forex. The TradeStation platform fees are quite high and unlike some other brokers, they do charge inactivity fees and for mutual funds transactions.
Overall, I would say TradeStation is one of the best brokers for active traders who want to take advantage of commission free trades and a feature-rich trading platform. It only takes a few minutes to open an account today and start trading with TradeStation. If you are looking to compare brokers, then TD Ameritrade are a close competitor you might want to consider.