Tastytrade Review 2024

Tastytrade logo

Tastytrade

8.5

Millennial Money rating

Expert Take

If you’re an active trader, trading options and futures and are mindful of the fees, Tastytrade can be a great option. I wouldn’t recommend it for new investors or anyone trading strictly stocks and ETFs. However, if options are your preferred investment, it packs quite a punch giving investors many choices, including complicated trades with maximized commissions.

Pros

  • Low-Commission Broker
  • Cryptocurrency Access

Cons

  • Slow Setup Process

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If you’re ready to trade options and futures or already do, Tastytrade is a platform you’ll want to know quite well.

Check out my review on Tastytrade, what it does, its pros and cons, and how it compares to others below.

About Tastytrade

Tastytrade is a low-cost investment platform meant for active traders. They are a DIY investment platform that offers stocks, ETFs, futures, and crypto trades.

Tastytrade is a 100% online brokerage based in Chicago, Illinois. They’re somewhat new to the scene, as they opened in 2017, and in their words, they provide professional-grade tools for retail investors.

Despite being a younger company, the owners of Tastytrade are anything but new to the scene. Scott Sheridan and Tom Sosnoff founded Thinkorswim, the former TD Ameritrade trading platform for active traders.

Pros and Cons

It’s always a good idea to compare the pros and cons of any trading platform. Here’s what I find best about Tastytrade.

Pros

  • Commission: Low-commission broker that offers many trades for free. For example, stocks and ETFs trade for free, while other investments, such as cryptocurrency, have low, capped commissions.
  • Cryptocurrency Access: It’s difficult to find online brokerages offering crypto access, but Tastytrade is one of the brave ones. Like most other trades at Tastytrade, you’ll pay lower commissions and, in the case of crypto, have a $10 max commission on buying and selling crypto. Offers access to 22 cryptocurrencies with the most prevalent names, including Dogecoin and Bitcoin.
  • Fractional Shares: Fractional shares make investing easier no matter how much money you have. Similar to Robinhood, Tastytrade now supports fractional shares. Fractional shares make it easy to make all money work for you, even small dividend payments. Normally you would have to wait until you had enough money to buy a full share to invest.

Cons

  • Slow-Moving Setup Process: The setup process is anything but fast. Most brokerage accounts take 10 to 15 minutes to set up, but Tastytrade takes days. When you sign up, you’ll receive a message stating you’ll receive an email in 3 to 5 days telling you when the account is ready for funding. That can damper the excitement of opening a brokerage account if you’re ready to invest. You may also have to wait a few more days for the account to be approved for trading.
  • Lack of Research Resources: Tastytrade doesn’t have extensive research resources. This is often the case with platforms for active traders, but it’s definitely a downside. If you’re looking for in-depth research and an active trading platform, you won’t find it at Tastytrade.

Products

All trading platforms have certain investments they offer, and Tastytrade is no exception. You can primarily trade stocks, ETFs, cryptocurrency, options, and futures.

Account Types

Account types should matter, too, when choosing an online broker. Never assume a broker offers taxable and tax-advantaged accounts; fortunately, Tastytrade does.

Here are the account types they offer:

  • Individual accounts – Individuals can open a cash or margin account.
  • Joint accounts – You can open an account with your spouse or another family member as tenants in common or with rights of survivorship account.
  • Retirement accountsTax-advantaged accounts, like IRAs, are available on Tastytrade. Not only do they offer traditional IRAs, but Roth and SEP IRAs too.
  • Entity accounts – You can open a business investment account on Tastytrade for your S-corp, LLC, or partnership.

Top Features

Tastytrade has many features that are great for active traders. I’ve reviewed the top features below to help you determine if it’s right for you.

Usability

Tastytrade is pretty user-friendly. Once approved for an account, you can customize your dashboard to suit your needs. You can use the platform on your computer or mobile phone and get the same usability, laying out your columns, chart settings, and widgets how you want.

At the top of every dashboard are the net earnings in real-time. The lefthand menu takes you to your portfolio, watchlists, trading history, and the option to follow feed or copy trades of other professional traders on the platform.

Trade Platform and Experience

Users can access Tastytrade on a computer or mobile device. On the computer, you can use the platform online or via the desktop program. All forms of the program are customizable, and you can view streaming quotes and charts in real-time to make fast trading decisions.

If you want to execute more complicated orders, such as one-triggers-the-other, you must use the desktop program. Likewise, the desktop version provides more options if you want charting and graphing tools.

Screeners

Tastytrade offers stock, ETF, and options screeners, but the focus is on pricing trends, as Tastytrade focuses on technical analysis.

Tastytrade has preset watch lists, but you can sort them by what’s most important to you, such as liquidity, volume, biggest move, or bid/ask prices.

Where Tastytrade stands out is its options screeners. You can set up complicated options trades and create the scenarios you want by creating customized lists.

Research Amenities

Research is an area where Tastytrade leaves a little more to be desired. There’s no third party data and analyst ratings.

This is mainly because it is a platform for active traders who don’t spend a lot of time doing in-depth research but instead do technical analysis.

They’ve recently launched a new dedicated research tab in addition to being affiliated with tastylive.

Education

Whereas Tastytrade is still improving in the research department, they make up for it in the educational department.

Tastytrade’s affiliated company tastylive carries a large library of educational content, including daily live videos about options, investment strategies, and other stock market-related content. You can stream tastylive within the tastytrade platform.

They also now have a dedicated tab for Education on the website in addition to what tastylive offers, and are continually improving them with more information.

Analytics

All investors can see their real-time portfolio statistics on the dashboard. This includes key factors such as:

  • Profit
  • Theta
  • Liquidity
  • Buying power

Calculators and Tools

Sticking with its technical analysis theme, Tastytrade’s calculators and tools work mostly with options, helping investors understand their profitability and/or volatility.

Generators

The trading idea generator helps investors come up with new trades. Each weekday, tastylive, tastytrade’s affiliated company, posts trades the show hosts make throughout the day. The trades are posted live so investors can mimic them in real-time. They are also posted to the educational page for future views for more investing ideas.

DRIP Program

If you invested in dividend-paying stocks, you can sign up for the DRIP (dividend reinvestment program) and have your dividends reinvested in whole or fractional shares.

Range of Offers

Tastytrade’s main offerings are options and futures, but investors can also choose stocks, ETFs, and cryptocurrency. Their range of products is smaller than most online brokers, but that’s because they focus on active traders, not buy-and-hold traders.

Types of Orders

Investors using the desktop version can enter conditional and complicated orders. If you’re using any other version, though, you’re limited to the following types of orders:

  • Limit
  • Market
  • Stop Limit
  • Stop Market
  • Bracket Orders

Transparency

Tastytrade doesn’t hide their fees or spring unexpected fees on you. Instead, I like their transparency with all fees and commissions, even before you sign up for an account.

The fees are broken down into easy-to-understand categories so you can tell how much you’ll pay on cash balances, margins, trading commissions, and other miscellaneous fees.

Safety and Security

Safety and security are always big issues with online brokers.

You’re providing some of your most private information, so knowing the platform is secure is important.

Tastytrade hasn’t had any security breaches, and they haven’t had any recent outages.

Because Tastytrade takes security seriously, they use many measures to ensure their platform is safe, including using two-factor authentication, facial recognition, and bank-level security.

Tastytrade also has excess SIPC coverage available to meet customer claims up to $500,000, which includes a maximum of $250,000 for cash claims.

Customer Support Services

Tastytrade offers a couple of options for customer service.

You can chat online with a bot or live chat with customer support. These features are available on every device, whether desktop, online, or mobile.

Tastytrade also offers phone support Monday through Friday, 7 AM to 5 PM CST. If you need advice, you’ll talk to a customer service representative or a live broker.

In my experience, there is very little, if any, hold time.

Pricing and Fees

Tastytrade has a unique pricing model called ‘better than free.’

They offer the typical commission-free trades on ETFs like many brokers, but they have other advantages in their pricing that are favorable for active traders, especially options traders.

  • Stock and ETF commissions: $0 to buy or sell
  • Options on stocks and ETFs: $1 to open the trade and $10 max per leg; no commission to close the leg
  • Options on futures: $2.50 per contract to open and no commission to close
  • Options on micro futures: $1.50 per contract to open and no commission to close
  • Futures: $1.25 per contract to open and close
  • Micro futures: $0.85 per contract to open and close
  • Small futures: $0.25 per contract to open and close
  • Cryptocurrency: 1% of the amount traded to open or close, but with a $10 max

Margin rates vary from 8% to 11%, and other fees include:

  • Outgoing domestic wire: $25
  • Outgoing foreign wire: $45
  • IRA closing fee: $60
  • Transfer on Death account transfer fee: $50
  • Dividend check: $5
  • Check copies: $15
  • Prepayment fee: 0.2% or $20, whichever is greater

You can see the full list of Tastytrade pricing here.

Signing Up

Opening a Tastytrade account is free, and you don’t have to meet a minimum opening deposit amount. However, if you plan to invest on margin, you’ll need at least a $2,000 cash balance.

It takes only a few minutes on your part to open an account, but as I said earlier, the entire process takes a handful of days because of the approval process they use.

  • To start, you’ll enter your email address and choose a username.
  • You’ll then answer questions about your country and the type of account you want to open, such as individual, joint, retirement, etc.
  • To complete the process, you must provide your personally identifying information to prove you are the person you say you are. This includes your name, address, birth date, Social Security number, phone number, and employment information.
  • Tastytrade will also look at credit header information to verify new users. This doesn’t affect your credit score but allows them to validate your identifying information. This is standard practice across the industry.

The entire process may take up to a week, depending on how long it takes to get you the Welcome email and final approval of your account.

Alternatives to Tastytrade

Tastytrade has plenty of competition, including platforms meant for active traders. You have many choices for investment options on Tastytrade, including stocks and ETFs, but the competing brokers offer similar options.

InterativeBrokers is one of Tastytrades largest competitors.

It offers commission-free stock and ETF trades like Tastytrade, and caps its per-contract options fees at $0.65 per contract. However, it doesn’t have the commission cap per leg like Tastytrade offers.

Some investors prefer fractional shares or at least having the option. Tastytrade now offers fractional shares, similar to other major brokerages.

Frequently Asked Questions

Tastytrade is a good option for active investors or options traders. They are low-cost and have many valuable features. But no two investors have the same needs, so always compare your options.

Is Tastytrade a good beginner-level broker?

Most beginning traders don’t start with options or futures, which is where Tastytrade excels. While you can trade stocks and ETFs, there are much more beginner-friendly platforms to consider before using Tastytrade.

What can you trade on Tastytrade?

Tastytrade offers various trading options, including stocks, ETFs, crypto, options, futures, and commodities. In addition, you can make complicated trades and multi-leg options, each with a maximum on their commissions.

How does Tastytrade compare to others?

Tastytrade is a strong competitor in the options and futures market. They are user-friendly but lack in the research department, which is common for active trading platforms. However, as long as you aren’t looking to trade fractional shares, Tastytrade offers many options and minimizes your commissions with its caps.

Should You Use Tastytrade?

If you’re an active trader, trading options and futures and are mindful of the fees, Tastytrade can be a great option. I wouldn’t recommend it for new investors or anyone trading strictly stocks and ETFs.

However, if options are your preferred investment, it packs quite a punch giving investors many choices, including complicated trades with maximized commissions.

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