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Alpaca Trading Review 2024

Written by
Adam N.
Fact checked by
Gyula L.
Updated
2d ago
Trusted by BrokerChooser
  • Regulated by the top-tier SEC and FINRA in the US
  • Founded in 2015
  • Investor protection is $500k (securities up to $500k, cash up to $250k)
  • Clean track record: no major regulatory incidents or fines
21,794 people picked this broker at BrokerChooser in the last 6 months

Our take on Alpaca Trading

Alpaca Securities LLC is US-based broker providing commission-free API stock trading.

Alpaca Trading provides great API tools for algorithmic trading, zero-commission stock and ETF trading, and great charting tools through a web platform. Users dedicated to learning how to use the API and the programs will find that Alpaca provides a unique service. It is a good choice for beginner investors.

On the other hand, Alpaca Trading relies heavily on its GitHub/Slack/other community forums for user support, as there is only extremely limited customer service. Furthermore, deposit or withdrawal is only possible via bank transfer. Finally, the product selection covers only US stocks, ETFs and crypto.

BrokerChooser gave Alpaca Trading a 4.4/5 rating based on analyzing 600+ criteria and testing via opening a live account.

BrokerChooser score
4.4 4.4 /5
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Alpaca Trading is available in the United States
Pros
  • Great API trading service
  • Free stock & ETF trading
  • Fantastic charting tools
Cons
  • Limited customer support
  • Limited deposit and withdrawal options
  • Only US stocks, ETFs and crypto available
“I recommend Alpaca Trading for traders interested in algorithmic stock trading.”

Alpaca Trading summary

Snapshot of key data
🗺 Country of regulationUSA
💰 US stock feeCommission-free stock trading
💰 Inactivity fee chargedNo
💰 Withdrawal fee$0
💰 Minimum deposit$0
🕖 Time to open an account1 day
🎮 Demo account providedYes
🛍️ Products offeredStock, ETF, Crypto
Fees
Account opening
Deposit and withdrawal
Desktop platform

For a more comprehensive, in-depth look at the broker's services and features, simply expand on the sections below.

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Fees

Score: 4.6/5
Alpaca Trading offers zero-commission stock and ETF trading and low margin rates. Non-trading fees are also competitive as no fee is charged for inactivity or most withdrawals.
Pros
  • Commission-free stock and ETF trading
  • No inactivity fee
  • No withdrawal fee
Cons
None
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Account opening

Score: 5/5
Opening an account with Alpaca is quick, and requires no minimum deposit. Integrating your account with third-party softwares can be tricky, but Alpaca offers great guidance.
Pros
  • Fast
  • Fully digital
  • No minimum deposit
Cons
  • Bit complex process for integrating third-party tools
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Deposit and withdrawal

Score: 1.2/5
Bank transfer deposit/withdrawal is easy and free, but like other US brokers, Alpaca doesn't support multiple currencies or credit/debit card funding, and wire withdrawal is costly. Crypto transfer is available.
Pros
  • Free withdrawal
  • No deposit fee
  • User-friendly
Cons
  • Credit/Debit card not available
  • Only one account base currency
  • High withdrawal fee for wire transfers
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Web trading platform

Score: 3.7/5
Alpaca's web trading platform feels safe, user-friendly, and visually pleasing. However, it does not allow customization, there are no price alerts, and the search function is limited.
Pros
  • User-friendly
  • Two-step (safer) login
  • Modern design
Cons
  • Poor search function
  • Limited customizability (for charts, workspace)
  • No price alerts
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Mobile trading platform

Score: 4.2/5
The mobile platform is even simpler than the web platform. It is similarly easy to use, but likewise has a poor search function and no price alerts. Logging in can also be complicated.
Pros
  • User-friendly
  • Two-step (safer) login
  • Order confirmation
Cons
  • Poor search function
  • No price alerts
  • No Touch/Face ID login
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Desktop trading platform

Alpaca Trading does not offer a desktop trading platform.
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Markets and products

Score: 2.4/5
Alpaca Trading currently only provides access to US stocks, ETFs and crypto. Other asset classes, like options or bonds, as well as international market coverage, are not available.
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Research

Score: 4.5/5
Alpaca provides a highly capable API and great charting tools. You can also find some fundamental data, but unfortunately no trading recommendations or news.
Pros
  • Access to highly functional API
  • Great charting tools
  • Data on asset fundamentals
Cons
  • No trading ideas
  • No/poor quality news flow
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Customer service

Score: 3.4/5
Alpaca Trading has great user community forums where developers can easily get help, but its own email support is mediocre, while phone support is missing entirely.
Pros
  • Great Slack and community forums
Cons
  • No phone support
  • Mediocre email support
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Education

Score: 5/5
Alpaca offers videos and step-by-step guides for investing, algorithm trading and use of their API, including detailed manuals and FAQs for beginners.
Pros
  • Demo account
  • Trading platform tutorial
  • Educational videos
Cons
None
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Safety

Alpaca Trading is overseen by top-tier US regulators and comes with strong investor protection, but its lack of a banking license or a public listing means less transparency.
Pros
  • Majority of clients belong to a top-tier financial authority
  • High level of investor protection
Cons
  • Does not hold a banking license
  • Not listed on stock exchange
  • Financial information is not publicly available
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Bottom line

Alpaca Trading is a great broker for traders looking to build their own algorithms and focusing on the US market.

Its API tools are outstanding, and fees are low: zero stock/ETF commission, and no inactivity or deposit fees. In addition, Alpaca provides free access to software such as Polygon, Alpha Vantage and TradingView, all of which have great research capabilities.

On the negative side, Alpaca has limited customer support, meaning that users must often turn to GitHub and other community forums for suggestions or peer help to debug code. Among other shortcomings, you can use only bank transfer to deposit or withdraw, while Alpaca only provides access to US stocks, ETFs and crypto.

Overall, Alpaca is an up-and-coming broker that is unique in its current space and provides a great product for traders from all experience levels who are interested in algo trading. If you are looking for a strong and savvy API stockbroker, try Alpaca and see what the hype is about.

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FAQ

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Author of this review

Adam Nasli

Financial Wizard | Trading • Safety • Market Analysis

I bring extensive financial expertise as one of BrokerChooser's earliest team members. Personally, I tested nearly all 100+ brokers on our site, opening real-money accounts, executing trades, assessing customer services, and providing firsthand assessment. My professional background includes roles in the banking sector and a degree from Central European University, where I teach finance. My passions lies in in-depth research of the financial industry, building trading algorithms, and managing long-term investments.

Everything you find on BrokerChooser is based on reliable data and unbiased information. We combine our 10+ years finance experience with readers feedback. Read more about our methodology.

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