Securities offers three commission plans for stocks and ETFs: pay-per-share, flat-rate, and unbundled. Flat-rate commissions are higher than the average in the industry - $9.99 per stock and ETF trade if making less than 10 trades per month, but it gets much cheaper for active traders with rates dropping to as low as $4.95. Pay-per-share commission plan, on the other hand, is very cheap: first 500 shares are $0.01 per share, $0.006 per share thereafter, with $1 minimum per trade. Unbundled plan should only be used by professional traders.
There is potentially a huge additional cost for account holders: customers have to trade at least 5,000 shares or 50 options contracts a month to avoid very steep $99.95 monthly fee (excluded from the fee are also accounts with $100,000 balance and clients making 10 round-turn futures or futures option contracts or 50 round-turn single stock futures).
TradeStation is known for offering one of the best trading platforms among online brokers with powerful strategy creation, useful testing tools, and custom-built analytics. The firm is targeting very active investors (daytraders), and it is most popular among futures traders because of great software and low futures commissions.
Barron's magazine gave TradeStation the highest star rating for both "Best for Frequent Traders" and "Best for International Traders" categories. The firm also received top ratings in six major categories in Technical Analysis of Stocks and Commodities (TASC) Readers' Choice Awards. TASC readers voted TradeStation "Best Trading System for Stocks" and "Best Trading System for Futures" for the eleventh consecutive year. TradeStation also won "Best Institutional Platform" and "Best Professional Platform" for the thirteenth year in a row as well as "Best for Real-Time Data" for the sixth time.
In 2016 we rated TradeStation "Best for Futures Trading" and "Best for International Investors" for the fourth year in a row. We also included it into our list of recommended brokers for options trading.
TradeStation charges $35 annual IRA fee. Because of this and the platform fee, it's not the best choice for an individual retirement account. For beginners in investing or trading the firm's powerful trading platform will have a steep learning curve, and they probably should look elsewhere.
In summary, we recommend TradeStation for institutional investors. It is also great for active stocks, ETFs, options, and futures traders provided they could avoid an inactivity fee. For mutual funds, retirement, beginner, inactive and "buy-an-hold" investors we suggest researching Top Online Brokerages , all of which do not charge platform fees and are easier to use.
|Trading Platforms||TradeStation Platform, TradeStation Web Trading, TradeStation Mobile|
|Phone:||800 808 9336|
|Address:||Plantation, Florida, United States|
It took 12 days after I submitted my application for my account to be opened. It remains a mystery why opening an account takes such extraordinary effort, further resulting in extensive delay. Also a mystery is the delay in having funds credited to your account. When attempting to fund my account, my bank informed me that they completed the ACH request on the day my account was finally opened. However, it took TradeStation another 7 days to make my funds available. I have a TD Ameritrade account and funds move within 24 hours, which I know is the standard. But aside from what I stated above, it's the thorough incompetence of customer service coupled with an "I don't know and I don't care" attitude that will keep you up at night. It's the, "that's not my department", "we didn't get your fax. You're going to have to resend it", and "the proper department didn't get your signature card", that will convince you to give it up and run at unparalleled "breakneck" speed to another discount broker. As for me, as soon as my funds cleared I entered an ACH withdrawal, which only took another 11 days to complete. Immediately after I completed an online application at TradeKing and finished in 20 minutes. The application was approved via email literally 1 minute later, and my ACH completed in 3 days. The point is this; even if the platform is great, what's the sense if there's no confidence in support and whatever support you do get leaves you feeling concerned? What's the sense if customer service has no care that you have no confidence? Finally, I think this statement by a TS rep says it much better than I am able: "Okay, so you know we suck (meaning customer service) but the good news is that once you open your account you'll probably never have to deal with us again." This is only my second ever review I have written, so that should say something. Go to IB or TradeKing and save yourself from what will unquestionably be an upsetting situation.  RoughlyRight   2016/10/07 15:07
If you intend to use the Trade Station (ST) trading thru the web platform I suggest you look elsewhere. I make most of my trades from work so I have to rely on the web platform to do my trading. TS's web platform is severely lacking. I tried to do a Double diagonal SPX spread trade and was unable to. It was also not allowed on the main platform. The web platform also does not allow you to do a close a spread order. You will have to do each side of the trade separately. Since I was unable to do close a spread order I called the Trading Desk and they confirmed it is not allowed. The indicators on the charting screen take up as much space as the chart. Therefore if you have 2 indicators on the screen they take up more than half of the charting screen. You cannot change the font size or colors on the chart screen. In this day and age I expect more from an online trading platform.  Tim   2016/10/07 15:07
I just signed up with 2 accounts. I submitted the application on May 20 and the transfer of my accounts finished June 4th, 16 days to complete. I had open positions and was unable to trades them during that time. So if you do a transfer make sure all of your transaction are taken care of or you could face possible losses or gains. You will spend a lot of hours setting up the different modules as you initially get blank screens. Some of the documentation for the module/screen setups are not up to date, so it may be confusing. Depending on your problem you may have to select from several phone numbers to get a resolution. I have to rely on the web platform, as I am at work during trading hours, and it is very basic. When I add indicators to the chart screen, 2 indicators take up half the screen and you cannot adjust them. Today June 7th, I tried to do a calendar spread trade and I was unable to figure out how to do it with the web platform. During work I can only email them but I was unable to email the department I needed to contact because you can only contact that department them by phone. I tried to contact them by emailing Client Services to assist, but they only emailed me back to call the department, catch 22 situation. I am completely frustrated with their account setup and if I knew I would encounter the problems I have had I would not transfer my accounts. I have spent over 6 hours setting up the platform and I am still confused and will have to spend additional hours to get familiar with the platform and doing trades.  Stan   2016/10/07 15:07
It seems most of the negatives about TS are due to the customer support. I never use customer support so I have no complaints in that department. The software works great, is rarely down and the fills have been fine. I day trade the E-Mini every day and am very happy with the brokerage and the platform. It is a bit of a mystery why it takes so long to get funds in and out of the account, but they get it done eventually. Expect over a week to get an account funded or more funded.  ChicagoTex   2016/10/07 15:07
I have never used the platform because of technical issues, that did not stop them from charging me $99.00 per month for it. You can put this on hold if you are not trading but it is a hassle to call in and set that up and then call back to start it up again. I was dissatisfied for several reasons so I requested a funds transfer to another brokerage, it was a bad experience, it took me over two weeks and several phone calls to get the funds transferred, various problems including confusion with the account number.  omegaelec   2016/10/07 15:07
If you trade options, I would not recommend Tradestation. They close out trades as early as 3:00pm on expiration Friday (usually your potential winning trades first). Also, there customer service is horrible. The platform is pretty good once you learn how to use it, but if you take longer than their trial offer of discounted or free trading, they will not extend the offer. Also, if you do not use the platform they will still charge you the fees even though you just needed more time to learn how to trade within their environment. The experience is not what I expected based on my research, I will stick with other platforms like TradeKing & TD Ameritrade for now.  OptionsTrader1   2016/10/07 15:07
I just opened my account with TS a week ago, so far it is a great trading platform, but their support is really bad. I don't agree you need to be an experienced trader to use this platform, it's a software interface and while it is complex and has a ton of features, the order bar is sufficient and simple enough that anyone can use it, if you want to use a lot of the features beyond buy and sell, you will have to learn your way around the software no matter how much trading experience you have. Point being, that being an experienced trader and knowing your way around this software, are 2 separate things. The fees may be high for some, but for others that place sizable trades, the fees may be insignificant. I have seen no video help anywhere in this platform, maybe I just have not found it yet... but that's not much help if you cant find it. I had Ameritrade before this and found the TOS platform was just not that user friendly, the functionality just never fit into my way of thinking, I found it far more complicated than tradestation, it's very proprietary and still lives in the mindset of the developer who wrote it. The TDA web interface is separate from TOS, it is real easy but I had to switch screens a lot to switch between accounts and the thing was always slow and locking up, there were times I spent 10 minutes selling positions or could not get quotes or just lost the quote screen. What I realize looking at all these broker reviews, is that they are always based on what the reviewer wants or needs and never matched my criteria. The "Cons" in this review are mostly about fees (which I really don't care about). The steep learning curve I also disagree, anyone that could stand to sit thru their boring videos could use this thing and anyone that feels a need to use any more advanced features is probably a more advanced trader anyway or they probably are not going to even look for these features, nobody is going to use everything in this software. I found the platform is laid out in a very logical way, everything is where I would logically expect it, TOS was not. I have so far, found their support to be so bad, they might as well not offer any support at all which would save people the 20 minute hold on the phone and at least people would know upfront the support is worthless. I have contacted them a couple times and my impression was they just had an attitude, seemed that the objective was to get rid of me. I wanted to get a walk thru of the platform when it first funded (The account rep. had said that I would get a walk thru and could be trading next day) but the help desk guy said all he could do was refer me to their setup guy and schedule an appointment, but the first available appointment was 4 weeks out. then I contacted them about which program folders to back up so I would not lose my configurations and he could not (Or would not) tell me. Later I found there is a backup utility built in, why didn't the help desk guy bother to mention it? I contacted their support group by email and 2 days later got a response that I need to call... I probably wont need much support but if you do then... IDK. But I do love the platform!  jman56   2016/10/07 15:07
I've been trying to get up and running on the Tradestation Platform, moved funds to their account in December requested a session with someone to help set up the software but did not get that until 5 January. Requested a customizing session but did not get that session with a representative until the 16th of January. I've also called for support twice each time I spent in excess of 30 minutes on hold, they do not have sufficient staff to handle the calls. And both times when I was finally connected they told me that my system was not set up like theirs so they couldn't help me. One fourth of the questions I had during the customizing session were unanswered as there was not enough time and they can only spend one hour for any client!  JDavidBenson   2016/10/07 15:07
I have been a TradeStation client for some years and for the most part I would normally have had great things to say about the TS platform, brokerage, and tech support, however, I have come to believe that TS tech support has intentionally corrupted the stability of two different computers of which I have traded on over the past 6/7 years that I have been a TS client. Most recently, about three weeks ago, while installing an update WITH a tech support specialist on the phone the so called tech professional STRONGLY URGED AND ADVISED that I should delete a file within my system which he INSISTED that wasn't needed to run TS or any other function within my computer. This, mind you, is a custom built, high end workstation, not even one years old that was working flawlessly for almost a year until that file was deleted upon the repeated INSISTENCE of the TS tech support personnel. As soon as the file was deleted both myself and the tech expert heard a devastating alarm fire off and my platform and computer was immediately destabilized. When asked what was that file? the tech support individual stated "I DON'T KNOW" ... If he didn't know what the file is/was then why would he insist that it be deleted or that it wasn't needed or that it wasn't needed for TS? This similar tactic was done about three years ago with a completely different computer that was running efficiently until the TS tech "expert" was physically in my computer making changes and deleting files so rapidly that I couldn't keep up with him; after which, that particular computer also became unstable and the platform no longer loaded charts correctly. This TACTIC of destabilizing client computers is both frustrating to the end user and a conflict of interest in that TS "claims" to SELL high end workstations. To this end the builder of MY workstation reviewed the TS website and informed me that the so-called highest end workstation sold by TS was far inferior to the system that Tech support recently destabilized by almost 50%. To prove that my system is superior I had my system bench marked against the system types offered by TS and my system beat them hands down. I'll use TS to trade and I'll use TS because you can't find a cheaper round trip broker, BUT I WILL NEVER TRUST TS TECH SUPPORT AGAIN!!!! Nor will I EVER, EVER believe that they did not intentionally screw up TWO different computers for the sole purpose of selling one of their high priced, inferior systems. To this point, I was informed by different TS tech support "expert" that I did not have a trading workstation and that in order to run TS that I would need to keep a constant Memory usage of under 2.5GB to 2.75GB and only run tradeStation. Prior to tech support screwing up another computer system I was able to run 175 processes (yep 175, you read that right) and never use more than 6-7GB of memory. After tech support's "expertise" I was barely able to run 70 processes from the start up and my memory usage would creep up to max out my ram and destabilize the platform and the computer ... I've sense restored my computer AFTER WIPING MY HARD DRIVE and re-installing EVERYTHING from scratch as well as re-installing TS and starting from the beginning to re-create ALL of my charts and necessary "MY WORK" files ... DO NOT, DO NOT, DO NOT allow TS tech support INSIST, URGE, or ENCOURAGE you to delete ANYTHING from your system that has nothing to do with TS!!!!! If your told YOU DON'T NEED A FILE that's already running on your system to run TS or to run your system DON'T BELIEVE IT!!!! Any file, any program, or any other thing that is running on your system NEEDS TO BE THERE!!!! Don't fall for this TS SCAM of destabilizing your computer ... Any organization that has something to sell you and that claims to support your needs at the same time is in direct conflict with your needs and their bottom line revenue and P/E.  MM   2016/10/07 15:07
know the feeling. opened and closed my account in a week but they are still jerking me around. Their customer service is the worst I have ever experienced. Minimum of 10 minute wait for a customer service rep. My account rep Kelly Lane once she got my account, never returned another call. major difficulty just getting my user name and password to work properly with no on line help.  rick   2016/10/07 15:07
Terrible margins and terrible customer service. Trying to close my account and they are making me jump through hoops. Process is going to 4 days for them to process my wire request. They are making me send the same withdraw request with the exact information because it has a negative euro balance but overall positive balance with all the currencies. So they said they have to convert the negative Euro balance to U.S. first and then I have to send another request for them to wire my money out. The conversion can take up to 3 days. I'm really frustrated with them right now. Never again!! And I'm not a complainer.  mark   2016/10/07 15:07
I couldn’t imagine a worse experience with Customer Service. Tradestation over charged me and then refused to reverse the charges. Further, they refused to send me receipts when requested or confirmation emails. So, they can pretty much do whatever they want once they have your money . They treat this place like a Casino. Please first try any other Broker.  Frank   2016/10/07 15:07
Been using Tradestation platform running on VMWare Fusion on a MacBook Pro for years. Works flawlessly. Your investment of $49 to purchase VMWare Fusion and $90 for Windows 7 (Amazon.com) is a lot less expensive than buying a new PC, and it works just as well. Better actually than buying a new PC. I can drag and drop files across my Mac to the virtual PC desktop and vice versa. Print and email from either platform, etc.  Jeff   2016/10/07 15:07
Been a Tradestation customer for over three years. Have several accounts with both the retail side and the institutional/advisor side of the business. Generally would give them good marks although the retail side is actually superior to the institutional side of the house. On the retail side they handle all trade data internally whereas on the institutional side they use their platform (or several others) as a front end to JPMorgan Clearing. Their Tradestation trading platform is elegant in design and execution and works well with both retail and institutional accounts, however their record keeping and trade data are well integrated into their website and platforms for the retail investor but generally suck for the institutional/advisor accounts. Amazingly, many of the website, reporting and data aggregation features available for the retail customer are not available for the institutional/advisory customer. I have found customer service to be a mixed bag. Customer service for trading and executions have been excellent once I got them on the phone, but sometimes involve a wait of up to 10 minutes. Customer service for platform and technology issues have also been helpful, responsive and generally excellent to deal with. But customer service for back office, accounts, paperwork, etc are sometimes diffident and not always helpful. Commissions of $0.01 per share and $1.00 per option contract are not the lowest (nor the highest) in the industry but are reasonable when you factor in the free use of the TS platform (if you trade enough to avoid the monthly charge).  JBM   2016/10/07 15:07
Tradestation customer service is very sub-par. They are condescending, rude and It seems when you call we are bothering them. Now for the platform, it is good. Good charting, love the Matrix ordering, goofy on the data delay sometimes, but overall the system is good..not great...not wonderful...not awesome, but just good.  TexDak   2016/10/07 15:07
TS's smug videos turn me off. Plus, their platforms are more suited to options and day traders. I'm an investor.  RPR   2016/10/07 15:07
Thank u all. I was going to open an account after getting an email from them with their low commissions. I wll look elsewhere. Need alternative to IB  frank_doolin   2016/10/07 15:07
I can tell you for a FACT ToS charts are not on point! I have an acct with TDameritrade now and have been TRYing to use their platform but the tos chart price and the ladder price is not even close to synced! The ladder is 2-10 seconds BEHIND the tos chart price! That's huge when your trading futures!!! I'v been through ALL the suggestions given by their tech team....(even turning over control of my computer to fix the problem) but it hasn't done any good whatsoever. The last I heard, they are looking into it, which to me means nothing!!!! If you're a daytrader, stay away from TDameritrade and their coveted Think or Swim platform! You're garanteed to be forced into placing market orders (if you want to get in on a move) and you'll pay a premium EVERYTIME!  Stan   2016/10/07 15:07
So I am thinking about opening a TS account. I like Tradestation's charting and I want to get live feeds like Q's and ES. I'm told Tradestation has better fills than ToS. Can anyone confirm? Also I heard ToS's feeds are not on point.  Mike   2016/10/07 15:07
A couple of years ago I rolled over my 401k into an IRA and opened an account with Think or Swim. I only swing trade equities and follow an options newsletter but I can't say enough about the great customer service at ToS. To say I'm a bumbler with options is putting it mildly (although I am getting better) -- theToS is always there, they answer the phones, and help place the trade if necessary. I took a trading course from a group that refers their student to TradeStation with a special "deal," but after reading this I'm not sure it's worth making the switch. I usually call for assistance about once every week fo two and Think or Swim representatives are always polite and helpful. I appreciate all the comments here.  Diane23   2016/10/07 15:07
All the complaints above, can anyone recommend a broker they actually like?  David_Jones   2016/10/07 15:07
I concur with those users of Tradestation who are not happy with TS customer service. Their year end reporting is one of the worst in the industry. Their 1099 report requires many hours of work sorting out transactions that were carried from a previous year. For example: In 2012 I had 50 shares of AMZN that I carried from 2011, and an aditional 150 shares that I bought 2012. I sold all 200 shares of AMZN in 2012. The 1099 shows that I sold only the 150 shares that I bought in 2012, and ignored alltogether the 50 shares that I carried from 2011. Now imagine yourself sifting through hundreds of transactions to ascertain that all sales were accounted for, including the positions that you carried from previous years. I also found discrepencies between their reporting on the "Trade Manager" screen, and my end of month paper reports. In another instance they reported a disallowed wash sale loss that was a mistake. Calls I have placed three days ago to their tech support have not been answered to this day. Beware!!! There is more to a brokerage company that a glitzy platform!  Emmanuel   2016/10/07 15:07
TradeStation offered an account without platform fees, which are $99.95 per month. After 3 months of not being charged, my account was charged the platform fees, since January 2012. I have been unable to get TradeStation to respond to my e-mails or phone calls.  Bill   2016/10/07 15:07
Huge mistake opening an account at TRADE STATION. Wrote check to open on February 17; cleared BofA 2/21; TRADE STATION Account showed cleared funds 2/28... Log in would not work, took 2 days to get that corrected. Then, live data would not work... Demanded refund and close account 3/1/2012 - Client "services" stated could not send out refund for 10 days from the "cleared" date. In other words: BofA say check cleared 2/21 and TRADE STATION stating funds cleared 2/28 are meaningless terms! Customer service and system is absolutely worthless.  Gary7   2016/10/07 15:07
I've used Tradestation for 4 years, after using Etrade and Interactive Brokers. They are by far the most powerful trading platform out there as most of their awards demonstrate, 1 cent per share commissions, Fast execution, cheap forex and futures trades. I trade over 5000 shares per month so the platform is free.  john_n   2016/10/07 15:07