TradeStation is a trading platform owned by the TradeStation Group, and offering a vast number of trading options traders can choose from.
Tradestation offers a slightly more advanced trading platform for everything from stock trading, to ETFs to crypto and more. You’ll find a range of products to trade that will help you both build as well as diversify and hedge your portfolio.
- Commission-Free Trades
- Crypto Trading
- Educational Resources
- Add-On Fees
- Commission Confusion
TradeStation platform – the company’s flagship – was launched in 1991, while TradeStation Group was a NASDAQ listed company between 1997 and 2011 when it was acquired by Monex Group.
TradeStation was rated the ‘Best Trading System’ by Technical Analysis of Stocks & Commodities magazine for the 10th year in a row, which is pretty impressive!
It has also won plenty of other awards, including the Best for Frequent Traders award in 2015, and has been ranked as one of the top five online brokers for two years in a row by Investor’s Business Daily.
In this TradeStation review, I’m looking at everything that this trading platform has to offer, including account features, available products, pricing, and how to sign up, among other things.
While the platform might be more beneficial to active traders since it can be quite vast, everyone can enjoy the free trades on offer with 0% commission and several offers to help you get started in the world of investing.
TradeStation Trading Products
TradeStation has a number of different trading products available. You can trade stocks, mutual funds, ETFs, futures & options, bonds, foreign securities, and forex trades.
From crypto to stock trading, you’ll find a range of products to trade that will help you both build as well as diversify and hedge your portfolio.
We will now take a look at the trading products available on this platform.
When stock trading with TradeStation, you’ll get access to a diverse range of stocks, including big-name companies like Facebook, Google, and Amazon. The platform offers enough flexibility to allow you to execute your stocks strategy easily, whether you’re looking to go long or short. TradeStation is definitely one of the best online stockbrokers out there right now – the trading technology it uses gives it many advantages over other online brokerage platforms.
Options are just one of the many derivatives that TradeStation offers, helping investors trading on their platform take more control of the risk and hedge their positions. Options trades offer competitive pricing, which you can even execute while on the go through the mobile app.
Tradestation offers Futures contracts on a wide variety of different investments, including indices, currencies, treasuries, and many others. There is no minimum account value to execute multiple trades, and you get access to round-the-clock trading that’s practically available 24/7.
With access to over 250 futures accounts, you can employ different strategies to manage risk. Thanks to the extended trading hours and diversification that future options offer, you can not only trade for longer but also benefit from different outlooks and volatility expansions equally.
TradeStation offers access to ClickIPO with access to a number of IPOs, secondary offers, as well as follow-on offers. You can view available IPOs, including expected price, dates, the SEC prospectus, and other useful information. You can place a conditional order for any shares you would like to purchase, and if an allocation is made, the shares will go directly into your TradeStation user account
With more than 2,000 ETFs to choose from, TradeStation makes it easy to diversify your portfolio and manage your risk. Available ETFs track entire sectors, indices, currencies as well as commodities. U.S. customers also get to enjoy commission-free trading when trading ETF, although some limits may apply.
TradeStation offers a number of cryptocurrencies to invest in, including bitcoin. Eligible cryptocurrency assets can also earn up to 5% of compounded interest, offering even more ways to make money. If you’re new to crypto, the company also offers a number of learning resources to help you quickly get up to speed with everything that you need to know about distributed ledger currencies to help make your investments a success.
If you’re looking to easily diversify your trading portfolio, TradeStation also offers a number of mutual funds to invest in. There are more than 2,000 different funds from export fund-managers that will allow you to manage your risk with the full list easily available from their website.
If you’re looking for a regular source of income that has low volatility, you’ll find a number of different bonds available here. Choices include bonds from the U.S. Treasury, municipal bonds, as well as corporate bonds.
Tradestation Training Options
One other feature of TradeStation worth noting is the training opportunities offered. Not only can you find training on the app itself, but you also get access to webinars, market insights, and support forums.
The company also offers a number of training options through YouCanTrade.com, where you can find a trading coach to help you learn the ropes. YouCanTrade is a training platform owned by the TradeStation Group.
It offers channels and courses to help you become a better trader. Creating the account is free, but access to some of the features requires monthly subscriptions.
The cost varies according to the resource you want to access. Courses, on the other hand, require a one-time payment that offers unlimited access.
One other feature of Tradestation is that of simulated training. Using simulated trading accounts, you’re able to test any trading strategies you want to use in real-time without putting your capital at risk. You can also make use of historical data to see how a specific strategy would have worked in the past.
The historical data spans decades and is available on a number of products, including stocks, futures, as well as options. This can prove to be a very useful feature to improve your approach to investing through learning by doing without risking your money.
The company also offers a Web API that allows you to connect to a number of different services. From market data (real and historical) to account information, position information, and order execution, the API offers a lot of flexibility and integration options.
The Web API integrates with most languages that can access the internet, including Python, Ruby, PHP, and C#, among others.
TradeStation Account Types
Tradestation offers quite a few different accounts to choose from. The one you go with will depend on your financial needs and requirements, as these can vary a lot between one another.
Individual & Joint
- Individual accounts can have one trader who is the account holder
- Joint with Right of Survivorship. This type of account has two account owners with the rights passing to the surviving party should one of the account holders pass away
- Joint Tenants in Common. This account can have a minimum of 2 account holders and a maximum of 3 with each party holding a specific share of the account
- This account can be set up for a minor but managed by a guardian
- Traditional IRA. Traditional IRAs allow you to save money for when you retire by making tax-deductible contributions
- Roth IRA. Using this type of IRA, you can save for your retirement by making after-tax contributions and defer tax payments
- SEP IRA. SEP stands for Simplified Employee Pension with employers making contributions to an employee’s IRA against a signed agreement
- SIMPLE IRA. SIMPLE stands for Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees with employers making either non-elective or matching contributions to an employee’s IRA
- Trust accounts need to be opened under the trust’s name in accordance with the trust agreement, as governed by state law
- Corporate accounts need to be opened under the corporation’s name as listed in the certificate of incorporation and administered by an appointed offer or officers
- General Partnership accounts need to be opened under the partnership’s name as listed in the agreement.
Tradestation also offers a number of other entity accounts, including Limited Partnership, Limited Liability Company, and Sole Proprietorship.
Getting Started with TradeStation
To get started using the platform, you will first need to create an account using our links above. The good news is that creating an account is quite easy.
On the first screen, you can set up your account where you need to input basic information about yourself, including name and last name, email and telephone number, country of legal residence, as well as your email. You will also need to set up your account password.
In the following section, you can configure your account. Here you will need to choose between an Individual or Joint account. Once you make this option, you can then choose what you would like to trade, with available options including:
- Equities and Options
- Futures Options
For each one of these four options you choose, a separate account will be opened. To open a Crypto account, you will also need to open an Equities and Options account. Should you choose to open an Equities and Options account, you will get to configure the equities account settings. These are as follows:
Enable Margin Trading. Select this option if you would like to trade on margin. Qualification criteria may apply here.
Enable Options Trading. When it comes to options trading, you can also choose the investment risk tolerance, which ranges from Income to Speculations, and the Options Trading level, where you can choose from Level 1 to Level 5.
- Level 1 – Sell Covered Calls and Protective Puts
- Level 2 – Everything in Level 1 + Buy Calls and Puts and Covered Puts
- Level 3 – Everything in Level 2 + Call and Put Spreads
- Level 4 – Everything in Level 3 + Sell Uncovered Puts
- Level 5 – Everything in Level 4 + Sell Uncovered Calls and Straddles
Once you have made all of the required selections, you can proceed with the application. You’ll need to enter your personal and employment information, financials, and experience, and then agree to the agreements before finishing off the application.
When it comes to pricing, TradeStation can get a bit complex making it difficult to understand how much you’ll have to pay in the end.
There are two plans to choose from called T.S. Go and T.S. Select. It is also worth noting that while trades are commission-free, this depends on which app you execute the trade. Using the desktop version, each trade will set you back $10.00.
The T.S. Select offers access to all features, including the TradeStation Desktop app. All equities, options, and futures are commission-free, but there are some charges on contracts. These are set as follows:
- Stock options have a $0.60 per contract charge.
- Futures have a $1.50 per contract per side charge.
- Futures Micro E-Minis have a $0.50 per contract per side charge.
- Futures Options have a $1.50 per contract per side charge.
T.S. Select also has a minimum deposit funding requirement of $2,000.
T.S. Go has no minimum funding requirements, but access is more restricted. While the desktop version of the software can be used, trading surcharges may apply.
Just like T.S. Select, it also offers commission-free trading with charges set on contacts as per the following schedule:
- Stock options have a $0.50 per contract charge.
- Futures have a $.85 per contract per side charge.
- Futures Micro E-Minis have a $0.50 per contract per side charge.
- Futures Options have a $1.50 per contract per side charge.
Maker and Taker
When it comes to cryptocurrency trading, there are another two other plans to choose from called Maker and Taker.
Both accounts have no account minimum (aka minimum deposit) requirements, and pricing is set according to your account balance rather than transaction volume.
At the moment, there is an introductory offer that’s been extended until December 31, 2020. Through this offer, most rates are being discounted by 50% with others by 100%. These are set as follows:
|$0 – $100,000||0.50%|
|$100,000 – $1,000,000||0.25%|
|$1,000,001 and over||0.125%|
|$0 – $100,000||0.50%|
|$100,000 – $1,000,000||0%|
|$1,000,001 and over||0%|
TradeStation Platform and Apps
TradeStation offers a number of different ways to trade from wherever you are. Not all of the apps offer the same functionality, with the desktop platform version offering way more than the investment apps available on other platforms.
Desktop Trading Platform
The Desktop platform is the strongest of all available and promises a professional solution that will allow you to trade with speed and flexibility. The platform comes with a few proprietary technologies such as RadarScreen and EasyLanguage, as well as many other functions to help you succeed.
The Tradestation Platform is currently in its 10th version with the latest iteration featuring a new user interface and a new process for updates that is more streamlined than ever before.
The web version of TradeStation is available from P.C. and Mac web browsers offering access from virtually anywhere. It’s pretty easy to use, and you can manage your trades, place trades, watch lists, do a bit of stock chart analysis – and more. While it does not offer all of the capabilities that are available in the desktop version, all of the essential features are there, including:
- TradeStation charts
- The Matrix
- Analysis of options chains
- Market data streaming
- Historical market data
- Order placement
- Account monitoring
- Breaking news
If you’re into mobile trading, you’re going to love Tradestation’s mobile apps for Android and iOS. You can download the Android version directly from Google’s Play Store, and if you have an iPhone, you can go directly to the App Store. While both apps are designed for two different platforms, they both offer easy access to core features. These include:
- Real-time quotes
- Customizable strategies
- Mobile quotes
- Manage and place orders
- Chart analysis
- Position and order tracking
One unusual feature that comes with TradeStation is the TradingApp Store. Here you’ll find a number of different apps that you can download to enhance the capabilities of the TradeStation Desktop app.
There are hundreds of apps to choose from. Some are completely free, while others come with a monthly subscription. Monthly subscriptions start from as little as $1.00 per month, with the most expensive one clocking in at $9,900.00 per month.
TradeStation offers a number of promotions aimed at different users. There are offers for new users who are just starting as well as offers for more seasoned investors who have been trading for quite some time. This helps make sure that there is something for everyone. We will now look at the top promotions and offers available today.
1-Month Free Access to YouCanTrade.com Resources
Signing up to YouCanTrade is free but accessing some of the content requires a monthly subscription. At the moment, there is an ongoing promotion where you can get one month for free when subscribing to paid resources that require a monthly fee with subsequent months charged on a monthly basis depending on the required access fee.
$5,000 Bonus Cash Offer
TradeStation is currently running a bonus cash offer where you can get up to $5,000 in cash rewards. The offer is open to both new as well as existing customers. All you need to do to get the offer is transfer funds to your TradeStation account using the coupon code ‘CASHAFRV.’ You need to deposit a minimum of $5,000 to get a cash reward of $50 while depositing $5,000,000 will get you the full $5,000 cash bonus reward.
Extra Income On Eligible Stock Positions
If you’re trading securities on fully paid or excess margins, you may be eligible to receive a percentage of the interest TradeStation earns. Interest is accrued on a daily basis and posted into your account on a monthly basis.
There are some eligibility criteria to qualify for this promotion, including:
- Holding a minimum of $25,000 in assets or have one year of trading experience or more
- Have an equities account (custodial not eligible)
- An MSLA *Master Securities Lending Agreement) and related disclosures and schedules
When it comes to supporting their customers, TradeStation offers a few options to make sure that you’re able to find all of the help you need.
As one would expect, there are both telephone and email support. There are separate contact details for technical support, client services, the trading desk, and other services.
There is also a live chat system where you get to speak to one of their agents through chat, offering an easy and accessible solution to the answers you need. All of these options are available during office hours.
There is also a FAQ section offering quick and easy answers to a number of different questions. You can also ask a question directly to their virtual agent, and it will provide you with the answer you’re looking for.
Pros and Cons
There are excellent things about TradeStation – but, as with all online brokerage platforms, there are some drawbacks. I’ve listed the main pros and cons below.
- Commission-free trades: TradeStation offers excellent commission-free trades on options, stocks, and exchange-traded funds on the web and mobile-based platforms.
- Research: TradeStation also shines when it comes to providing comprehensive and very advanced research. The TradeStation platform includes more than 270 indicators – while you can download and create many more. You can back-test strategies, thanks to historical market data – and receive notifications about upcoming earnings and important market moves.
- Crypto Trading: This was added to TradeStation’s offering in November 2019. You can now trade Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Lincoln, Etherium, and Ripple – though you get charged 1% per trade on balances of $100,000 or less.
- Educational Resources: TradeStation University offers plenty of educational resources, including articles, free video tutorials, and e-books. At TradeStation Labs, you get access to daily pre-market briefings and trader interviews, also completely free. There’s also real-time news and tutorials at TradeStation Today – meaning there’s plenty of resources to help you learn, develop your strategies, and get better at trading.
- Add-on Fees: You’ll get charged to access many of TradeStation’s features in addition to the account fees.
- Commission Confusion: TradeStation offers a range of pricing plans, but it can be quite difficult to navigate the company’s pricing and understand what you’ll pay.
- Inactivity Fee: Where TradeStation falls short is that it charges an annual inactivity fee of $50 on accounts that don’t meet the average equity balance of $2,000 at the end of the month or execute a minimum of five trades in the 12-months following the anniversary of when you first funded the account.
Is Your Money Safe With TradeStation?
Yes, your money is protected in a range of scenarios (like bankruptcy, failure, etc.). TradeStation is a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) – meaning TradeStation accounts are guaranteed for up to $500,000, should something go wrong.
Is TradeStation For You?
With more and more people taking up web trading, online trading platforms are facing increasing demand across the board.
Different kinds of traders might look for different functionality when choosing a platform to trade on since what might appeal to volume traders might not necessarily be what day traders would look for.
The investment strategy a trader uses will also determine the kind of functionality he or she needs.
And this is where TradeStation shines. Regardless of your trading experience or the type of trading you do, you’ll be able to derive value from using this platform, especially if you trade in high volumes.
Not only do they have commission-free trades, but the functionality offered can help anyone adapt it to their needs.
The biggest downside of this platform is the lack of clarity on pricing, but it is abundantly clear that the bigger the trading volume, the better the prices.
The bottom line is, if you’re looking to open a brokerage account, TradeStation is definitely worth considering. You might just need to spend a bit of extra time to get your head around the different pricing plans.
One other advantage of TradeStation is the extensive list of training options on offer, delivered through YouCanTrade.com. Here you can find both free and paid content available – and can very easily invest in yourself and learn the ropes of trading. You will also find support forums and trading coaches should you need a little hand-holding until you settle in.
Do keep in mind that there are also a number of offers and promotions that can help you get started and make the most out of everything that it has to offer.
Whether you’re into day trading or like to hold your positions for longer, TradeStation is definitely worth checking out.