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 (cash up to $250,000) investor protection per account.
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.
We selected Tradestation as Best app for stock trading for 2020, based on an in-depth analysis of 57 online brokers that included testing their live accounts.
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 lastly, the education section is high-quality and well-structured.
The deposit and withdrawal are not user-friendly and you can only use bank transfer. There is no forex trading and the customer service is of poor quality.
|• Great web and mobile trading platform||• Not user-friendly deposit and withdrawal|
|• Low stock and ETF fees||• No forex trading|
|• High-quality educational tools||• Poor customer service|
|🗺️ Country of regulation||USA|
|💰 Trading fees class||Low|
|💰 Inactivity fee charged||Yes|
|💰 Withdrawal fee amount||$35|
|💰 Minimum deposit||$500|
|🕖 Time to open an account||1 day|
|💳 Deposit with credit card||Not available|
|👛 Depositing with electronic wallet||Not available|
|💱 Number of base currencies supported||9|
|🎮 Demo account provided||Yes|
|🛍️ Products offered||Stock, ETF, Fund, Bond, Options, Futures|
Tradestation has low trading fees and high non-trading fees. You can choose from multiple fee structures, but you still have to pay withdrawal.
|• Low trading fees||• High non-trading fees|
|• Low stock and ETF fees||• Withdrawal fee|
|• 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 USD per year if less than 2000 USD on balance or less than 5 trades per year.|
We ranked Tradestation's fee levels as low, average or high based on how they compare to those of all reviewed brokers.
To get things rolling, let's go over some lingo 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, commissions are the most important fees.
We also compared Tradestation's fees with those of two similar brokers we selected, Interactive Brokers and tastyworks. 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 trade higher volumes.
- Per share: the commission is $0.01 per share, but there is a minimum $1. We recommend this structure if you trade frequently but in a smaller volume.
- Unbundled pricing: trades are priced like the 'per share' option. However, if you trade more than 100,000 shares a month, fees decrease gradually. It's recommended for very high volume traders.
Stock fees and ETF fees
Tradestation has generally low stock and ETF commission.
Commission-free trading on equities and ETFs is available for US residents if you apply for the TSgo scheme. Click here for further information.
If you prefer stock trading on margin or short sale, you should check Tradestation's financing rates.
Financing rates or margin rate is charged when you trade on margin or short a stock. This basically means that you borrow money or stocks from your broker to trade. For this borrowed money/stock you have to pay interest. This is the financing rate. It can be a significant proportion of your trading costs.
Tradestation financing rates are high. The financing rates vary based on the base currency of your margin account.
|USD margin rate||9.5%||3.4%||8.0%|
|GBP margin rate||-||1.5%||-|
|EUR margin rate||-||1.5%||-|
The financing rates above are also applied for the options and futures trading.
Tradestation fund fees are average. It's the same as IB's fund fee.
Tradestation has generally low bond fees compared to all other brokers we have reviewed. Nevertheless, they are still higher than IB's bond fees.
|US Treasury bond||$20.0||$5.0||-|
|EU government bond||-||$10.0||-|
Tradestation options fees are average.
|US stock index options||$10.0||$7.0||$6.5|
|UK stock index options||-||$20.4||-|
|German stock index options||-||$12.1||-|
Tradestation futures fees are considered low in general, but still higher than its closest peers, IB, and tastyworks.
|US stock index futures||$15.0||$8.5||$12.5|
|UK stock index futures||-||$20.4||-|
|German stock index futures||-||$22.0||-|
The futures commissions are based on the traded volume. The more you trade, the less commission you pay.
|Commission per contract||$1.20||$1||$0.65||$0.45||$0.25|
|Monthly contracts||Less than 300||301 - 1,000||1,001 - 10,000||10,001 - 20,000||More than 20,001|
Tradestation has high non-trading fees as the withdrawal fee is high and inactivity fee is charged after one year. On the other hand, there is no deposit fee and account fee.
Tradestation inactivity fee is $50 per year if you use the per trade fee structure and
- your balance goes below $2,000
- you have less than 5 trades per year
The inactivity fee is $100 per month if you use the per-share fee structure and
- you hold 10 round-turn futures and/or futures options contracts
- your balance goes below $100,000
- you have less 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, the minimum deposit is $500 and multiple base currencies are only available for futures accounts.
|• Fast||• $500 minimum deposit|
|• Fully digital||• Multiple base currencies only for futures accounts|
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 list of eligible countries. But, if you are not a citizen of a usually banned country, e.g. North Korea or Sudan, you will likely be able to open an account with TradeStation.
What is the minimum deposit at Tradestation?
The minimum deposit differs by account types.
- Equities account
- Cash account: $500 minimum deposit
- Margin account: $2000 minimum deposit
- Day trading account: $25,000 minimum deposit
- Futures account has a $5,000 minimum
You can choose from a wide range of account types at Tradestation.
1. Tradestation accounts according to the 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
2. Tradestation accounts according to the ownership and taxation
- Individual - one person is the owner
- Joint - multiple customers are the owners
- IRA - individual retirement account (only for US clients)
- Entity - a business entity is an owner
- Custodial - this is for minors (from 18 to 21 years old), but an adult manages the account
You can find further information on Tradestation's account types page.
3. Tradestation accounts according to the leverage
- Cash account - non-leveraged and there is a $500 minimum deposit
- Margin account - leveraged and there is a $2000 minimum deposit
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: add personal information, like your address or date of birth.
- Employment information: provide 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, driver’s license / passport / national ID are accepted. For the proof of address, you can upload a utility bill / bank statement.
Deposit and withdrawal
Tradestation's deposit and withdrawal could be better. For example, you can only use bank transfer and there is a high withdrawal fee. On the upside, the deposit is free and you can choose from multiple base currencies with a futures account.
|• No deposit fee||• Credit/Debit card not available|
|• Several account base currencies||• High withdrawal fee|
|• Slow withdrawal - over 3 days|
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||19||1|
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. Revolut or Transferwise both 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.
Deposit fees and options
Tradestation deposit is free of charge. On the other hand, you can use only bank transfer. This is a bit of a letdown, but quite common at other US brokers too.
If you are from the US, you can also use 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.
The bank transfer time for US clients usually takes one day, while for non-US clients it can be even 15 business days. We tested it and it took 4 business days as non-US customers.
You can only deposit money from sources which are on your name.
Tradestation withdrawal fees and options
Tradestation withdrawal costs $35 for non-US clients, while $25 for US clients. Withdrawing money can be done in the same way as making deposits, i.e. only wire transfer for non-US citizens, and checks for US citizens.
How long does it take to withdraw money from Tradestation? We tested the bank transfer withdrawal and it took more than 3 business days.
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 on the 'Transfer Funds' tab
- Choose your preferred method of withdrawal
- Enter the desired amount, currency, and scheduled date
- Preview and confirm the withdrawal request
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Web trading platform
Tradestation has a good web trading platform. It is user-friendly and it looks nice, and it provides a two-step verification. On the flip side, it lacks price alerts.
|• User-friendly||• No price alerts|
|• Clear fee report|
|• Two-step (safer) login|
|Web||5 / 5 stars||Yes|
|Mobile||5 / 5 stars||Yes|
|Desktop||3 / 5 stars||Yes|
Tradestation renewed its web trading platform in 2018. It has a good design and user experience, where both first-timers and professionals can feel comfortable trading.
The web trading platform is available in English.
Look and feel
The Tradestation web trading platform is user-friendly and it has a clean design.
The platform is customizable: you can choose from 9 layout types, and you can also make your own. The tabs can be easily resized and moved around.
Login and security
Tradestation provides a safer two-step login if you want to set it up.
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 it is not intuitive where you can find it. We missed a conventional 'magnifying glass' search field. Instead, you can search for products on the 'Quotes' tab.
Tradestation has outstanding order management.
You will find orders from the basic to the professional level:
- Trailing Stop
- Order-sends-order (OSO)
- One-cancel-the-other (OCO)
To get a better understanding of these terms, read this overview of order types.
You can also choose from a variety of order terms:
- Good-til-cancelled (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 paid through the Client Center. Here, you can see your performance on the 'Account' tab, which clearly shows your profit/loss history and how much you paid for fees.
Mobile trading platform
Tradestation's mobile platform is great. It is very user-friendly and well-designed. You will also find all important functions, like the price alert or order management features. On the other hand, the search functions could be better.
|• User-friendly||• Limited search functions|
|• Two-step (safer) login|
|• Good variety of order types|
Tradestation mobile trading platform is available both on any iOS or Android devices. It's only available in English.
It has very similar functions to the web platform, so we only detail what is different.
Look and feel
The Tradestation mobile trading platform is user-friendly and it has a neat design.
Login and security
Tradestation provides a safe login. You can log in using two-step verification, and then set up a biometric authentication.
The search functions are OK. You can search by typing the symbol that you are looking for, but you cannot filter based on the 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. These are not available on the web.
Desktop trading platform
Tradestation offers a desktop trading platform with advanced features and many customizing options. However, the platform is not user-friendly for beginners. It's best suited for advanced traders.
|• Clear fee report||• Not user-friendly|
|• Good customizability (for charts, workspace)||• Poor search function|
|• Good variety of order types||• Poor design|
Tradestation's desktop platform is so advanced and has so many functions that even a separate review would not be able to cover it all. Anyhow, we tried to provide a comprehensive summary.
At the time of the review, the desktop platform was only available for Windows and only in English.
Look and feel
Tradestation's desktop platform is not user-friendly with an outdated look. If you are an advanced and professional user, the platform is ideal. However, if you are a first-timer or long-term investor, you can hardly take advantage of all its features.
Nevertheless, the platform has good customizability. You also can choose from pre-defined workspaces, for example, there is 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 a 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 is not easy to find where you can 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 platform's complexity.
Portfolio and fee reports
You can see your profit/loss balances on the "Trade Manager" but you can't see the fees you paid.
Markets and products
Tradestation gives you access to a wide variety of US products, but its non-US market coverage is not competitive. Forex, CFDs and cryptos are missing.
Tradestation has a good US stock offer. The fund, options and futures ranges float between Interactive Brokers and tastyworks.
Stocks and ETFs
At TradeStation you can trade on the biggest US stock markets, like NYSE or NASDAQ. You cannot trade on non-US stock exchanges.
You can buy ETFs traded on the US exchanges even if you are a European client. This is quite a unique opportunity most of the European brokers do not provide.
The stock and ETF coverage is the same as tastyworks, but lags behind Interactive Brokers which covers markets all over the world.
|Stock markets (#)||11||78||15|
Tradestation's fund coverage is mid-range. On the flip side, you can find the largest names, such as BlackRock or Vanguard.
|Fund providers (#)||55||257||-|
Tradestation doesn't offer information about how many bonds you can trade with.
At Tradestation, you can trade with options on equities and futures. The options coverage lags behind Interactive Brokers and tastyworks.
|Options markets (#)||10||33||13|
Tradestation gives you access to the biggest US futures markets, like CBOT or ICEUS.
The number of Tradestation futures is almost the same as tastyworks, but ranks behind Interactive Brokers which covers markets all over the world.
|Futures markets (#)||9||32||15|
Tradestation is shortly launching cryptocurrency trading. We haven't found any extensive information on it, but you can sign up for early access and more info here. You can also read our blogpost on crypto trading.
Tradestation research is great. You can use many tools, including detailed fundamental data and good 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. This is only available on the desktop platform. You will find recommendations about each asset classes written by Tradestation staff.
There is a very detailed fundamental data provided by Yahoo. However, it is only available on the desktop trading platform.
You will find many data from financial statements to earning reports.
The charting is really advanced and covers advanced features on all platforms. There are over 170 technical indicators. On the flip side, it is not user-friendly.
Tradestation offers a high-quality news feed. They can be found on the Market Insights and on the trading platforms.
At Market Insights, the news is categorized based on the products and sectors.
On the trading platforms, you can filter the news based on several categories, channels, and you can also search for a symbol.
Other research tools
You can access a wide range of research add-ons by Tradestation and external developers, available for the desktop platform. Some of these are free, but many of them want you to pay a pricey subscription fee.
Tradestation has an okay telephone and email support. It also provides a live chat but unfortunately, it doesn't seem to work. Furthermore, you can contact them only on weekdays.
|• Phone support||• No 24/7 support|
|• Fast response time||• Live chat doesn't work|
You can contact Tradestation via:
- live chat
The customer service is available only in English.
Tradestation's telephone support is very good, as they give fast and relevant answers.
Tradestation also has a live chat function, however, it always showed up as "offline" to us. It may not be available for European customers.
The email contact was okay, we got replies within 1-2 business days, but the relevancy of the answers was mid-range.
We also missed the 24/7 availability.
Tradestation's educational material is great. It offers many tools of great quality. You can use a demo account, watch educational videos, or read 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 or simulation account to get familiar with the platform. We think this is the best way to learn how the Tradestation trading platform works.
There are two pages where you can find the education tools:
- Tradestation University
- Education section within 'Market Insights' tab
At Tradestation University, you can watch platform tutorial and general educational videos. You can search for keywords, and filter based on your experience level.
Within this tab, you can also find some scheduled live events, although these are mainly US-based.
When you check out 'Market Insights' and then scroll to the 'Education' category, you will find high-quality articles.
Tradestation is regulated by top-tier US regulators, the SEC and FINRA. In addition, the parent company is listed on a stock exchange. On the flip side, 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|
|• 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 USA and it 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 covers all customers through one US legal entity.
This matters because you get the US investor protection amount, called SIPC. However, only clients with equities accounts are eligible for this scheme. So, if you have a futures account, you are not eligible for that.
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 south. The provided amount is a substantially higher amount than most European investor protection schemes.
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 it is listed on the Japanese Stock Exchange. This is a good sign as listed companies are under more scrutiny than private companies.
Providing annual financial statements, and being regulated by 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. Lastly, education is well-structured and high-quality.
On the other hand, the deposit and withdrawal are not user-friendly and you can use only bank transfer. There is no forex trading, and the customer service is of poor quality.
Feel free to try Tradestation if you prefer trading on US markets. We recommend it for buy and hold investors with some experience.