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TradeStation Overview – Should you choose this service?

Kurtis Avatar By: Kurtis | Last updated April 25, 2019

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Stock trading is a risky business but it can also be a prosperous one, if you know what you’re doing. The stock market can be one of the quickest ways to turn money around and the more you risk, the more you can earn.

Fortunately for all the wannabe traders out there, nowadays stock trading has become accessible to anyone who wants to try their luck. Everything can be done online and there are a plethora of online stock trading services you can sign up for.

What to have in mind before investing your money in the stock market

If you are a beginner when it comes to stock trading, you might want to consider these tips before doing any investments:

  • Choose a company that is reputable, has good ratings and it is transparent about its fees
  • Try to opt for a service that doesn’t require an initial deposit and has low commissions or no commissions at all (see Firstrade)
  • Aim for a service that also has a mobile app
  • Don’t invest all you money in a single stock, try to invest in a variety of stocks, so in case one of them doesn’t work out, you don’t lose too much money
  • Stay away from penny stocks because most of the times they turn out to be scams
  • Do your homework and educate yourself on stock trading; most services offer comprehensive educational materials, including videos, on this topic

TradeStation Overview – Is it a good option to consider?

TradeStation is an online electronic brokerage service owned by Monex Group Inc. Monex is one of the largest online financial services providers in Japan. TradeStation has offices all over the world. It is headquartered in Florida, but also has offices in Chicago, New York, London, Sydney, Costa Rica and more.

TradeStation is especially tailored for the professional and active investor, because it has low-flat-rate commissions that are based on volume and a variety of technical features that might be too much to take in for a beginner.

For newbies, this service might not be the best to consider and it might be a bit intimidating, because it has its shortcomings, such as the fact that it doesn’t offer fee-free funds. The complexity of the platform can also be overwhelming at first.

What is the pricing of TradeStation?

TradeStation offers free market data and premium tools and has no software fees.

If you want to open a stock and options account you need an opening deposit of $500 and a $2,000 one for margin accounts. The opening balance for futures is $5,000.

Stocks are $5 per trade.

Options are 50c per contract and $5 per trade.

Futures are $1.50 per contract, per side.

There’s also a per-share plan priced at $0.01/share and after the first 500 shares in a single order, the price drops at $0.006. The minimum required per order is $1.

The ‘unbundled plan’ is another option and a great one for traders who have a lot of volume. You have to pay $0.01 per share for fewer than 100,000 shares traded in a month. If you have over 5 million shares in a month, the price drops at $0.002 per share.

TradeStation also charges a $50 penalty fee if by the end of the month your balance is less than $2,000 in average or if you’ve made less than 5 sales in the past 12 months.

There is also a $14.95 fee for option exercise or assignment and a $50 charge for broker-assisted trading.

TradeStation has standard interest rates for margin accounts. However, if you want to benefit from the lowest 6.25%, you have to have a balance of more than $10 million dollars, which is an extremely high amount.

Features and interface

TradeStation allows you to trade stocks, options, futures, bonds, mutual funds and ETFs (exchange traded funds).

Creating an account is straightforward and quick. You need to provide your personal information (name, address, phone number, SSN) and a financial account.

TradeStation has a complex and highly customizable interface. You can either choose their premium desktop platform or the web-based one, which is better for inexperienced investors.

The desktop platform includes over 10 charting types and there are dozens of technical indicators. If you want to, you can also create your own.

The cloud-based interface provides streaming real-time quotes and it is very user-friendly. It also includes all the basic functions found in the desktop version. You can set up watchlists, you can move and resize the main windows and add new windows and widgets.

TradeStation has a mobile app as well, which is compatible with iOS and Android devices. It includes quotes, order entry, you can use it to analyze charts with technical indicators, monitor watchlists of up to 30 securities and more.

Other note-worthy tools are the RadarScreen which is basically a market scanner, simulated trading, the OptionStation Pro, which is an advanced options trading platform that lets you build graphs, charts on the fly and more.

All in all, TradeStation is definitely a competitive online broker and a very complex one. While newbies might be intimidated by some of its fees and the complexity of its platform, TradeStation offers everything you need as an active, professional trader.  

See our recommendations for best online stock trading services.