TradeStation is a US stockbroker founded in 1982. It is regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Clients are eligible for up to $500,000 investor protection per account (including cash up to $250,000).
TradeStation is considered safe because it has a long track record; discloses its financials; and its parent company, the Monex Group, is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
TradeStation pros and cons
TradeStation's web and mobile platforms are great, as they are user-friendly and well-designed. Stock and ETF fees are low, and the education section is high quality and well-structured.
Deposit and withdrawal are inconvenient as you can only use bank transfer. There is no forex trading, and customer service could be improved.
|• Great web and mobile trading platform||• Not user-friendly deposit and withdrawal|
|• Low stock and ETF fees||• No forex trading|
|• High-quality educational tools||• Mediocre customer service|
|🗺️ Country of regulation||USA|
|💰 Trading fees class||Low|
|💰 Inactivity fee charged||Yes|
|💰 Withdrawal fee amount||$0|
|💰 Minimum deposit||$0|
|🕖 Time to open an account||1 day|
|💳 Deposit with bank card||Not available|
|👛 Depositing with electronic wallet||Not available|
|💱 Number of base currencies supported||9|
|🎮 Demo account provided||Yes|
|🛍️ Products offered||Stock, ETF, Fund, Options, Futures, Crypto|
TradeStation has low trading fees, and you can choose from multiple fee structures. On the negative side, withdrawals can be costly.
|• Low trading fees||• Withdrawal fee|
|• Low stock and ETF fees / Free stock trading|
|• Multiple fee structures to choose from|
|Assets||Fee level||Fee terms|
|US stock||Low||$0.01 per share; min $1|
|Mutual fund||Average||$14.95 per transaction|
|Inactivity fee||Low||$50 per year if balance <$2,000 or if less than 5 trades per year|
How we ranked fees
We ranked TradeStation's fee levels as low, average or high based on how they compare to those of all reviewed brokers.
First, let's go over some basic terms related to broker fees. What you need to keep an eye on are trading fees and non-trading fees.
- Trading fees occur when you trade. These can be commissions, spreads, financing rates and conversion fees.
- Non-trading fees include charges not directly related to trading, like withdrawal fees or inactivity fees.
In the sections below, you will find the most relevant fees of TradeStation for each asset class. For example, in the case of stock investing the most important fees are commissions.
We also compared TradeStation's fees with those of two similar brokers we selected, tastyworks and Interactive Brokers. This selection is based on objective factors such as products offered, client profile, fee structure, etc. See a more detailed rundown of TradeStation alternatives.
To have a clear overview of TradeStation, let's start with the trading fees.
TradeStation trading fees are low. You can select one of three fee packages:
- Per trade: all trades cost a fixed $5 per trade. It is recommended if you tend to trade higher volumes.
- Per share: the commission is $0.01 per share, but there is a $1 minimum. We recommend this structure if you trade frequently but in smaller volumes.
- Unbundled pricing: trades are priced like the 'per share' option. However, if you trade more than 100,000 shares a month, fees decrease gradually. This option is recommended for very high-volume traders.
Stock fees and ETF fees
TradeStation has generally low stock and ETF commissions.
Commission-free trading of equities and ETFs is available if you are a US resident and apply for the TS GO or TS Select scheme. Click here for further information.
If you prefer stock trading on margin, you should check TradeStation's margin rates.
Trading on margin basically means that you borrow money from your broker to trade. For this borrowed money you have to pay an interest. This is the margin rate. It can be a significant proportion of your trading costs.
TradeStation's margin rates are high.
|USD margin rate||9.5%||8.0%||1.6%|
|Debit balance||Rate %|
|$50,000 - $499,999||8.75%|
|$500,000 - $1,999,999||5.50%|
TradeStation fund fees are average.
TradeStation has generally low bond fees compared with most other brokers we have reviewed. Nevertheless, they are still higher than IB's bond fees.
|US Treasury bond||$20.0||-||$5.0|
TradeStation options fees are low. However, there is a flat fee of $14.95 for exercising or being assigned an option.
|US stock index options||$10.0||$12.5||$6.5|
TradeStation futures fees are low, though not the cheapest on the market. We checked the prices of Micro E-Mini contracts.
|US micro e-mini stock index futures||$5.0||$8.5||$2.5|
Crypto fees depend on your account balance. The bigger your balance, the less your orders will cost.
|Account Balance||Maker orders||Taker orders|
Maker fees apply when your orders are not marketable immediately, while taker fees apply when your orders are marketable.
TradeStation has average non-trading fees. There is no deposit fee and no account fee. Also, ACH withdrawals are free of charge.
On the other hand, non-trading fees can be high if you don't pay attention to certain criteria. There is an inactivity fee that kicks in after one year, and wire withdrawal comes with a high fee: it is $25 for wire transfers within the US and $35 for international wire transfers.
The TradeStation inactivity fee is $50 per year if you use the per-trade fee structure and
- your balance drops below $2,000 OR
- you make less than 5 trades per year
The inactivity fee is $149.95 per month if you use the per-share fee structure; however, the fee is waived if:
- you hold 10 round-turn futures and/or futures options contracts OR
- your balance is above $100,000 OR
- you make more than 5,000 stock or 50 options trades per month
These fees favor high-volume traders.
TradeStation account opening is fully digital, user-friendly and fast. On the other hand, USD is the only available base currency (except for futures accounts).
|• Fast||• Only USD accounts (unless you trade futures)|
|• Fully digital|
Can you open an account?
TradeStation is a US broker, but clients from all over the world can open an account. Note that as a non-US customer, you will have access to fewer products, account types and fee structures (such as no-commission trading).
There isn't a definitive list of eligible countries, but unless you are a citizen of a country that is usually banned from financial markets such as North Korea or Sudan, you will most likely be able to open an account with TradeStation.
What is the minimum deposit at TradeStation?
The minimum deposit differs by account type.
- Equities account
- Cash account: $1 minimum deposit
- Margin account: $2,000 minimum deposit
- Day-trading account: $25,000 minimum deposit
- Futures account: $5,000 minimum deposit
You can choose from a wide range of account types at TradeStation.
1. TradeStation accounts by tradable products
- An equities account gives you access to stocks, ETFs, bonds, funds and options
- A futures account gives you access to futures
- A futures options account gives access to futures options
- A crypto account allows you to trade cryptocurrencies
TradeStation Crypto was introduced in June 2020. If you already have an account at TradeStation, you can easily apply for crypto access through the TradeStation Client Center. If you don't have an account yet, you have to open both a TradeStation Crypto and a TradeStation Securities (Equities) account. The crypto account uses assets (cash) in the equities account for trading.
2. TradeStation accounts by ownership and taxation
- Individual - owned by a single person
- Joint - owned by multiple clients
- IRA - individual retirement account (only for US clients)
- Entity - when the owner is a business entity
- Custodial - for minors (18 to 21 years old); an adult must manage the account
You can find further information on TradeStation's account types page.
3. TradeStation accounts by leverage (margin availability)
- Cash account - there is a $1 minimum deposit; trading on margin is not possible
- Margin account - $2,000 minimum deposit; trading on margin is allowed
How to open your account
TradeStation account opening is fully digital and user-friendly. For regulatory reasons, US brokers cannot open your account instantly. Still, TradeStation's account opening is one of the fastest among US brokers. It usually takes 1-2 business days for your account to be approved.
To open an account at TradeStation, you have to go through the following steps:
- Account setup: choose the account type. You can also choose a personal account manager.
- Personal information: enter personal information, like your address or date of birth.
- Employment information: add details about your employment status and your employer.
- Financials and experience: answer a short questionnaire about your trading experience. You also have to estimate your annual income and net worth.
- Verification: verify your identity and address. For identification, TradeStation acceppts a driver’s license, passport or national ID card. For proof of address, you can upload a utility bill or bank statement.
Deposit and withdrawal
TradeStation's deposit and withdrawal functions are somewhat limited, as you can use only bank transfer; and the fee for wire transfer withdrawals is high.
|• No deposit fee||• Credit/Debit card not available|
|• Deposit and withdrawal in cryptocurrencies||• High fee for wire withdrawal|
|• Only USD accounts (unless you trade futures)|
If you open an equities account, only USD is available. For futures accounts, you can choose from a great selection of base currencies: USD, EUR, GBP, AUD, CAD, HKD, SGD, CHF, and JPY.
|Number of base currencies||9||1||22|
Why does this matter? For two reasons. If you fund your trading account in the same currency as your bank account or you trade assets in the same currency as your trading account base currency, you don't have to pay a conversion fee.
A convenient way to save on currency conversion fees is by opening a multi-currency bank account at a digital bank. These usually offer bank accounts in several currencies with great currency exchange rates, as well as free or cheap international bank transfers. Opening an account only takes a few minutes on your phone.
TradeStation deposit is free of charge. However, you can use only bank transfer. This is a bit of a letdown, though quite common at other US brokers too.
If you are from the US, you can also use ACH or checks. Additionally, if you have an equities account, you can set up an Automated Account Transfer (ACAT) to transfer cash and securities electronically from an account at another financial institution.
Bank transfers for US clients are usually completed in one day, but for non-US clients this can take up to 15 business days. We tested it and it took us 4 business days as non-US customers.
You can only deposit money from sources that are in your name.
TradeStation's ACH withdrawal is free of charge. However, wire withdrawal costs $35 for non-US clients and $25 for US clients.
Withdrawing money can be done in the same way as deposits, i.e. only via wire transfer for non-US citizens; and ACH, wire transfer or checks for US citizens.
How long does it take to withdraw money from TradeStation? We tested the bank transfer withdrawal and it took 1 business day.
You can only withdraw money to accounts in your name.
How do you withdraw money from TradeStation?
- Log in to the TradeStation Client Center
- Click the 'Transfer Funds' tab
- Choose your preferred method of withdrawal
- Enter the desired amount, currency, and scheduled date
- Preview and confirm the withdrawal request
Both deposits and withdrawals can be done using cryptos. The available cryptocurrencies for both processes are the following:
- Bitcoin (BTC)
- Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
- Ethereum (ETH)
- Litecoin (LTC)
- US Dollar Coin (USDC)
- Ripple (XRP)
Withdrawals are processed only on banking days, between Monday and Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
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Web trading platform
TradeStation has a nice-looking, user-friendly web trading platform with a safe login process, but it lacks price alerts.
|• User-friendly||• No price alerts|
|• Clear fee report|
|• Two-step (safer) login|
TradeStation revamped its web trading platform in 2018. It has a good design and user interface, offering a comfortable trading experience for both first-timers and professionals.
The web trading platform is available only in English.
Look and feel
The TradeStation web trading platform is user-friendly and it has a neat design.
The platform is customizable: you can choose from 9 layout types, and you can also create your own. The tabs can be easily resized and moved around.
Login and security
TradeStation offers the option to set up a safer two-step login.
We recommend using it for additional security. To enable it, you have to download the Symantec VIP Access mobile app.
TradeStation's search function works well, but ironically, the search function itself is not easy to find at first. Instead of a conventional 'magnifying glass' search field, you can search for products under the 'Quotes' tab.
TradeStation has outstanding order management functions.
You will find orders from the most basic to the professional level:
- Trailing Stop
- Order-sends-order (OSO)
- One-cancels-the-other (OCO)
To get a better understanding of these terms, read this overview of order types.
You can also choose from a great variety of order terms:
- Good-'til-canceled (GTC)
- Good-'til-day (GTD)
- Immediate or cancel (IOC)
- Fill or kill (FOK)
- At the opening
- At the close
- 1/3/5 minute
Alerts and notifications
We could not find a way to set order notifications or price alerts. This feature would be useful to have in future updates.
Portfolio and fee reports
You can check your account performance and the fees you have paid through the Client Center. Here, you can see your performance under the 'Account' tab, which clearly shows your profit/loss history and how much you have paid in fees.
Mobile trading platform
TradeStation's mobile platform is great. It is very user-friendly and well-designed, offering price alerts and excellent order management. However, search functions could be better.
|• User-friendly||• Limited search functions|
|• Two-step (safer) login|
|• Good variety of order types|
The TradeStation mobile trading platform is available on both iOS and Android devices. It's only available in English.
It has very similar functions to the web platform, so we'll focus only on the differences here.
Look and feel
The TradeStation mobile trading platform is user-friendly and has a neat design.
Login and security
TradeStation offers safe login functions. You can log in using two-step verification, and then set up biometric authentication.
Search functions on the mobile platform are OK. You can search by typing the symbol you are looking for, but you cannot filter according to asset types.
You can use the same order types and order terms as on the web trading platform.
Alerts and notifications
You can set price alerts and notifications on the TradeStation mobile platform, unlike on the web platform.
Desktop trading platform
TradeStation offers a desktop trading platform with many advanced features and customization options. For that reason, though, it is not very suitable for beginners.
|• Good customizability (for charts, workspace)||• Not user-friendly|
|• Good variety of order types||• Poor search function|
|• Two-step (safer) login||• Poor design|
TradeStation's desktop trading platform is so advanced and has so many functions that even a separate review would not be able to cover them all. Still, we have tried to provide a comprehensive summary.
At the time of our review, the desktop platform was only available for Windows and only in English.
Look and feel
TradeStation's desktop platform is not user-friendly and has an outdated look. If you are an advanced and professional trader, the platform is ideal. However, if you are a first-timer or a long-term investor, you'll struggle to take advantage of many of its features.
The platform has good customizability. You can also choose from pre-defined workspaces, like a day trader or a futures trader workspace.
Login and security
Similarly to the web trading platform, you can set up a safer two-step login.
The search function is hard to use, as each tab has its own different search feature.
You can use the same order types and order terms as on the web trading platform. You can also set some advanced features, like an activation rule.
However, it's not easy to find where you can actually place an order. If you open the Active Trader layout, there is a tab on top called 'Trade'.
Alerts and notifications
You can set up price alerts and order notifications on the desktop trading platform. However, we were unable to figure out how to do that because of the complexity of the platform.
Portfolio and fee reports
You can see your profit/loss balance under 'Trade Manager', but you can't view the fees you have paid.
Markets and products
TradeStation grants access to a wide variety of US products, but its non-US market coverage is poor. Also, forex and CFDs are not available.
TradeStation has a good US stock offer. Its fund, options and futures selections fall roughly between those of its most immediate competitors.
Stocks and ETFs
At TradeStation, you can trade on the biggest US stock markets, like the NYSE or NASDAQ. You cannot trade on non-US stock exchanges.
You can buy ETFs traded on US exchanges even if you are a European client. This is a unique opportunity that most European brokers do not provide.
TradeStation's stock and ETF coverage matches that of tastyworks, but lags behind Interactive Brokers, which covers markets all over the world.
|Stock markets (#)||5||4||78|
TradeStation's fund coverage is mid-range. However, it does include the biggest names, such as BlackRock or Vanguard.
|Fund providers (#)||55||-||260|
TradeStation only allows you to trade bonds over the phone; they're not available on any of the online platforms.
At TradeStation, you can trade options on equities and futures. The options coverage is wider than at tastyworks, but lags behind that of Interactive Brokers.
|Options markets (#)||10||8||33|
TradeStation gives you access to the biggest US futures markets, like CBOT or ICEUS.
Weighed against its immediate competitors, TradeStation has a wider futures selection than tastyworks, but ranks behind Interactive Brokers, which covers markets all over the world.
|Futures markets (#)||11||8||32|
As of June 2020, TradeStation introduced crypto trading. You can choose from among more cryptos than at Interactive Brokers or tastyworks.
At TradeStation, you can trade the following crypto and cross pairs:
- Bitcoin (BTCUSD)
- Bitcoin Cash (BCHUSD)
- Ethereum (ETHUSD)
- Litecoin (LTCUSD)
- XRP (XRPUSD)
- Ethereum / Bitcoin (ETHBTC)
- Litecoin / Bitcoin (LTCBTC)
TradeStation offers great research, including detailed fundamental data and high-quality news. On the flip side, some research tools are not free.
|• Good interactive chart||• Many add-on research tools are not free|
|• Trading ideas|
|• Data on asset fundamentals|
TradeStation provides trading ideas, but only on the desktop platform. You will find recommendations about each asset class written by TradeStation staff.
TradeStation offers very detailed fundamental data, provided by Yahoo. However, it is likewise only available on the desktop trading platform.
You will find many types of data, from financial statements to earnings ratios.
TradeStation offers a high-quality news feed. It can be found under the 'Market Insights' section of the public TradeStation website, as well as on the trading platforms.
At Market Insights, news is categorized based on products and sectors. On the trading platforms, you can filter news based on several criteria, and you can also search for an asset symbol.
Other research tools
You can access a wide range of research add-ons by TradeStation and external developers, available on the desktop platform. Some of these are free, but many are available only for a hefty subscription fee.
TradeStation's phone, live chat and email support are okay, but you can only contact them on weekdays.
|• Phone support||• No 24/7 support|
|• Live chat|
You can contact TradeStation via:
- live chat
Customer service is available only in English.
TradeStation's phone support is okay, as most of the time they give quick and relevant answers.
TradeStation also has a live chat function. Waiting times can be a bit long, but we got relevant answers during our test.
The quality of email support was okay, as we got replies within 1-2 business days, but the relevancy of the answers was not always the best.
We also missed 24/7 availability.
TradeStation's educational materials are great, including high-quality tools such as a demo account, educational videos and articles.
|• Demo account||None|
|• Trading platform tutorial|
|• Educational videos|
At TradeStation, you can learn in the following ways:
- Demo/Simulation account
- Platform tutorial videos
- General educational videos
- Quality educational articles
- Live events
You can use a demo account to familiarize yourself with the platform. We think this is the best way to learn how the TradeStation trading platform works. However, only those with a funded account can use it.
There are two pages where you can find education tools:
- TradeStation University
- Education section under the 'Market Insights' tab
At TradeStation University, you can watch platform tutorial and general educational videos. You can search for keywords, or filter items based on your experience level.
Under this tab, you can also find some scheduled live events, although these are mainly US-based.
TradeStation is overseen by top-tier US regulators; and its parent company is publicly listed, boosting transparency. However, negative balance protection is not provided.
|• Majority of clients belong to a top-tier financial authority||• No negative balance protection|
|• High level of investor protection||• Does not hold a banking license|
|• Financial information is publicly available|
|• Parent company listed on stock exchange|
Is TradeStation regulated?
Yes, it is regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).
TradeStation is based in the US and was founded in 1982.
Is TradeStation safe?
To be certain, we highly advise that you check two facts:
- how you are protected if something goes wrong
- what the background of the broker is
How you are protected
|Country of clients||Protection amount||Regulator||Legal entity|
|All Clients||$500,000 ($250,000 cash limit)||Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)||TradeStation Securities, Inc.|
TradeStation handles all customers through one US legal entity.
This matters because you are covered by the US investor protection amount, called SIPC. However, only equities accounts are eligible for this scheme. So, if you have a futures account, your assets on that account won't be eligible for protection.
SIPC investor protection protects against the loss of cash and securities in case the broker goes bust. The limit of SIPC protection is $500,000, which includes a $250,000 limit for cash. A non-U.S. citizen with TradeStation is treated by the SIPC the same as a US resident in case something goes bad. These amounts are substantially higher than what most European investor protection schemes offer.
Not all investments are protected by SIPC. In general, SIPC covers notes, stocks, bonds, mutual fund and other investment company shares, and other registered securities. It does not cover instruments such as unregistered investment contracts, unregistered limited partnerships, fixed annuity contracts, currency, and interests in gold, silver, or other commodity futures contracts or commodity options.
On the flip side, TradeStation does not provide negative balance protection.
TradeStation was established in 1982. The longer track record a broker has, the more proof we have that it has successfully survived previous financial crises.
Furthermore, TradeStation is owned by Monex Group, a Japanese online broker. It is one of the largest online brokers in Japan and is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. This is a good sign, as listed companies are more transparent and are under stricter scrutiny than private companies.
Providing annual financial statements, and being regulated by the SEC and FINRA are all great signs for TradeStation's safety.
TradeStation is a great US broker.
The web and mobile platforms are very user-friendly with many functions. It also offers low stock and ETF trading fees. On top of that, TradeStation's education materials are well-structured and high quality.
On the other hand, the deposit and withdrawal functions are not user-friendly as you can only use bank transfer. There is no forex trading, and customer service has room for improvement.
Feel free to try TradeStation if you prefer trading on US markets. We recommend it for buy and hold investors with at least some experience.