Tradestation Review 2019

4.4 4 stars · Dec 2018
Compare to best alternative broker
Tradestation logo

TradeStation is a US broker with a long history dating back to 1982. Its parent company, the Monex Group is listed on the Tokyo stock exchange.

TradeStation is considered safe as it is regulated by a top-tier regulator, the US FINRA. Clients are eligible for the SIPC investor protection scheme which offers up to $500,000 (cash up to $250,000) per account.

Recommended for traders wanting great research tools and preferring the US markets.

Pros
  • Great mobile trading platform
  • Wide range of reserach tools
  • High-quality educational tools
Cons
  • Not user-friendly deposit and withdrawal
  • No forex
  • Bad customer service

Tradestation pros and cons

TradeStation mobile platform is great. It is user-friendly and well-designed. You can use a wide range of research tools, e.g. detailed fundamental data. Lastly, the education section is high-quality and well-structured. 

The deposit and withdrawal are not user-friendly and you can use only bank transfer. There is no forex. The customer service can be improved as the response time on email and live chat is very slow.

Compare to other brokers

Tradestation review
Fees 4 stars

TradeStation has low trading fees and there are multiple fee structures to choose from. Non-trading fees, like inactivity fees are high.

Pros
  • Low trading fees
  • More fee structures you can choose from
Cons
  • High non-trading fees
Tradestation Fees snapshot
AssetsFee levelFee terms
US stock feeLow$0.01 per share; min $1
EURUSD fee-Not available
US tech fund feeHigh$14.95 per transaction
Inactivity feeHigh$50 USD per year if less than 2000 USD on balance or less than 5 trades per year.

To get things rolling, let's go over some broker fee lingo. You need to keep an eye on trading fees, financing rates, and non-trading fees.

We compare Tradestation fees with its peers, Interactive Brokerstastyworks, Saxo Bank and DEGIRO.

Let's start with the trading fees.

Trading Fees

TradeStation trading fees are low.

You can choose from more fee structures. For example, if you trade stock rarely and in a high volume you want a the fixed $5 per trade deal. If you trade frequently with a few stocks you want to pay a vairable fee, which is $0.01 per share with a minimum of $1. You can change the fee structure whenever you want. 

Stock fees

You can use from three fee packages:

  • Per trade: all trade costs a fixed $5 per trade. It is recommended if you don't trade frequently, but in a higher volume.
  • Per share: the commission is $0.01 per share, but there is a minimum $1. It is recommended if you trade frequently but in a smaller volume.
  • Unbundled pricing: trades are priced like the 'per share', but if you trade more than 100,000 shares per month, fees decrease gradually. It is recommended for very high volume traders.

We calculated with the per share comission, because for our benchmark this was more favorable, and the brokers we compare TradeStation to also charge per share.

TradeStation stock trading fees are low. It is the same as Interactive Brokers and better than tastyworks or Saxo Bank. 

If you plan to trade with more than ~$10,000, switch to the per trade structure.

Stock fees of a $2,000 trade
  Tradestation Interactive Brokers Tastyworks Saxo Bank
USA $1.0 $1.0 $2.5 $9.9

Fund fees

TradeStation's mutual fund fees are high. It is mainly because of the high $14.95 fix commission per trade.

On the US market, it has the same fee as IB, but it is higher than DEGIRO. On the European market, it has higher fees than its competitors.

A $2,000 fund buy fees
  Tradestation Interactive Brokers Tastyworks DEGIRO
USA tech fund buy $15.0 $15.0 - $10.6
Europe stock fund buy $15.0 $4.6 - $10.6

Bond fees

TradeStation bond fees are high. 

  Tradestation Interactive Brokers Tastyworks
USA $20.0 $5.0 -

The bond fees include a fix $14.95 and a $5 per bond fee.

Options fees

You can choose from two fee structures:

  • Per contract + per trade: there is a fix $0.5 per contract and $5 per trade commissions. It is recommended if you don't trade frequently, but in a higher volume.
  • Per contract: the commission is $1 per contract. It is recommended if you trade frequently but in a smaller volume.

We calculated with the the per contract fee structure because for our benchmark this was more favorable, and the brokers we compare TradeStation to also charge per contract.

TradeStation's options fees are low, but a slightly higher than IB and tastyworks.

If you plan to trade with more than 10 contracts, the per contract + per trade fee structure is more favorable.

Stock index option fees of 10 contracts
  Tradestation Interactive Brokers Tastyworks
USA $10.0 $7.0 $5.0

Futures fees

TradeStation's futures fees are low at the European markets. However, it has higher US futures fees than Interactive Brokers or tastyworks.

Stock index futures fee of 10 contracts
  Tradestation Interactive Brokers Tastyworks
USA $15.0 $8.5 $12.5

The futures commissions are based on the traded volume. The more you trade, the less commission you pay.

TradeStation futures fees
Commission per contract $1.2 $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

Financing rates

If you want to trade on margin and prefer to hold your positions long, financing costs can be significants.

TradeStation financing rates are high compared to its peers.

Yearly financing rates
  Tradestation Interactive Brokers Tastyworks
Apple financing rate 9.3% 5.8% 8.0%

Non-trading fees

TradeStation non-trading fees are high. As a plus, there is no deposit fee. However, there are high withdrawal and inactivity fees.

  Tradestation Interactive Brokers Tastyworks
Account fee No No No
Inactivity fee Yes Yes No
Withdrawal fee $35 $0 $45

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 12 trades per year

The inactivity fee is $100 per year if you use the per share fee structure and

  • your balance goes below $100,000
  • you have less than 5,000 stock or 50 options trades per month

These fees favor the high volume traders.

Tradestation review
Account opening 4 stars

TradeStation account opening is fully digital and user-friendly. On the other hand, it takes more days until your account is approved.

Pros
  • Fully digital account opening
  • User-friendly
Cons
  • Slow account opening

Can you open an account?

TradeStation is a US broker, but clients from all over the world can open an account.

There isn't a list who can open an account. 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.

Minimum deposit

The minimum deposit differs at the different account types.

  • Equities account
    • Cash account: $500 minimum deposit
    • Margin account: $2000 minimum deposit
    • Day trading: $25,000 minimum deposit
  • Futures account has a $5,000 minimum

Account types

You can choose from a lot of account types.

Tradestation review - Account opening - Account types

There are three questions you need to consider when you select an account type. What products do you want to trade with? Who will be the ownership of the accounts? Do you want to trade with leverage?

1, TradeStation accounts according to the products

  • Equities account gives you access to stocks, ETFs, bonds, funds, and options.
  • Futures account gives you access to futures. 

2, TradeStation accounts according to the ownership and taxation

  • Individual - one person is the owner
  • Joint - more than one person is the owner
  • IRA - individual retirement account. This is 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 may find further information on TradeStation's account type's page.

3, TradeStation accounts according to the leverage

  • Cash account - non-leveraged and there is $500 minimum deposit
  • Margin account - leveraged and there is $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. TradeStation's account opening is one of the fastest among US brokers. It usually takes 1-2 business days from registration to the account approval.

To open an account at TradeStation, you have to go through the following steps.

  1. Account setup: you choose the account type. You can also choose your personal manager.
  2. Personal information: you give your personal information, like your address or birth of date.
  3. Employment information: you give the details about your employment status and employee.
  4. Financials and experience: you answer a short questionnaire about your trading experience. You also give an estimation of your annual income and net worth.
  5. Verification:  you verify your identity and proof address. For ID identification, driver’s license / passport / national ID are accepted. For proof of, address you can upload a utility bill / bank statement.Tradestation review - Account opening

Tradestation review
Deposit and withdrawal 2 stars

TradeStation deposit and withdrawal can be improved. As a plus, the deposit is free. However, you can use only bank transfer and there is a high, $35 withdrawal fee.

Pros
  • No deposit fee
Cons
  • Credit/Debit card deposit and withdrawal not available
  • Not user-friendly
  • High withdrawal fee (for non-US clients $35 /tansaction)

Account Base Currencies

If you open an equity 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.

Why does this matter? Because if you fund your account in the same currency as your bank account, currency conversion fees won't be charged.

A convenient way to save on the currency conversion fees can be to open a multi-currency bank account. Revolut or Transferwise both offer bank accounts in several currencies with great currency exchange rates as well as free or cheap international bank transfers. The account opening only takes a few minutes on your phone.

Compare digital banks

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

  • ACH (automated clearing house)
  • Check
Deposit options
  Tradestation Interactive Brokers Tastyworks
Bank transfer Yes Yes Yes
Credit/Debit card No No No
Electronic wallets No No No

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.

You can only deposit money from sources which are on your name.

Tradestation review - Deposit and withdrawal - Deposit

Withdrawal fees and options

TradeStation withdrawal costs $35 for non-US clients, while $25 for US clients. Withdrawing money can be done the same way as making deposits, e.g. only wire transfer for non-US citizens, plus ACH and check for US citizens.

Withdrawal fees and options
  Tradestation Interactive Brokers Tastyworks
Bank Transfer Yes Yes Yes
Credit/Debit card No No No
Electronic wallets No No No
Withdrawal fee $35 $0 $45

TradeStation does not provide information on how many days the withdrawal can take. We tested the non-US bank withdrawal and it took 3 business days.

You can only withdraw money to accounts on your name.

More funding and withdrawal info

Tradestation review
Web trading platform 4 stars

TradeStation has a good web trading platform. It is user-friendly with and looks nice. It also offers a great order management. On the flip side, it lacks the alerts and the clear fee reports.

Pros
  • User-friendly
  • Good customizability (for charts, workspace)
  • Good variety of order types
Cons
  • No clear fee report available
  • No price alerts
Tradestation Platforms to Choose From
Trading platformScoreAvailable
Web4 / 5 starsYes
Mobile5 / 5 starsYes
Desktop3 / 5 starsYes

TradeStation renewed its web trading platform in 2018. This platform has a good design and user experience. Both first timers and professionals can feel comfortable with the platform.

Currently, TradeStation's web platform is available only in English.

Look and feel

TradeStation web trading platform is easy-to-use and has a clean design. 

It has also a great customizability. You can choose from several layouts but you can also make your own. The tabs can be easily resized and replaced.

Tradestation review - Web trading platform

Login

You can choose between a one-step and a two-step authentication.

We recommend the last as it is an additional security. For using it, you have to download the Symantec VIP Access mobile app.

Search function

TradeStation 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 the preferred products at the quotes tab.

Tradestation review - Web trading platform - Search

Placing orders

TradeStation has a very sophisticated order management.

You will find orders from the basic to the professional level.

  • Market
  • Limit
  • Stop
  • Trailing Stop
  • Order-sends-order (OSO)
  • One-cancel-the-other (OCO)
  • Bracket

If you are not familiar with the order types, read this overview.

You can also choose from a great variety of order terms: 

  • Day
  • 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

Tradestation review - Web trading platform - Order panel

Alerts and Notifications

We could not find a way to set notifications or alerts. It would be useful if you can easily set up a push notification.

Portfolio and fee reports

You can check your account performance and the fees you paid at the Client center. They are really transparent. You can see your performance on the Account tab. It clearly shows what is your historical profit/loss balance and how much costs you paid.

Visit broker

Tradestation review
Mobile trading platform 5 stars

TradeStation 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.

Pros
  • User-friendly
  • Good variety of order types
  • Price alerts
Cons
None

TradeStation mobile trading platform is available both on any iOS or Android devices. We tested it on Android. 

TradeStation mobile platform has all major functionalities than the web platform. We only detail what is different.

Tradestation review - Mobile trading platform

Login and security

You can log in with your TouchID.

Alerts and notifications

You can set price alerts which are not available on the web.

Visit broker

Tradestation review
Desktop trading platform 3 stars

TradeStation offers a desktop trading platform with advanced features and many customizable options. However, the platform is not user-friendly and best suited for advanced trader.

Pros
  • Good customizability (for charts, workspace)
  • Good variety of order types
Cons
  • Not user-friendly
  • No clear fee report available

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 desktop platform is not user-friendly with a very 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.

As a plus, the platform has a good customizability. Also, you can choose from pre-defined workspaces. E.g. there is a day trader or a futures trader workspace. 

Tradestation review - Desktop trading platform

Login and security

Similarly to the web trading platform, you can set a two-step login.

Search function

The search function is hard to use as each tab uses a different search feature.

 

Placing orders

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".

Tradestation review - Desktop trading platform - Order panel

Alerts and Notifications

We have read that there are price alerts you can set. However, were unable to figure out how to do that because of the platform's complexity.

Portfolio and fee reports

You can see on the "TradeManager" tab what is your profit/loss balances. But, you can't see the fees you paid.

Visit broker

Tradestation review
Markets and products 2 stars

TradeStation gives you access to a wide variety of US products. However, its non-US offer is not competitive. The forex, CFDs and cryptos are missing.

  Tradestation Interactive Brokers Tastyworks
Stock Yes Yes Yes
ETF Yes Yes Yes
Forex No Yes No
Fund Yes Yes No
Bond No Yes No
Options Yes Yes Yes
Futures Yes Yes Yes
CFD No Yes No
Crypto No Yes No

TradeStation has a good US stock offer. The fund, options and futures offers float between Interactive Brokers and tastyworks.

Stock and ETF

At TradeStation you can trade only on the biggest US stock markets, like NYSE or NASDAQ. During our test we did not find any international market. 

This stock and ETF coverage is the same as tastyworks, but lags behind Interactive Brokers which covers markets all over the world.

Fund

TradeStation offers funds from ~60 fund providers. It is a mid-range coverage. As a plus, you can find the largest names, such as BlackRock or Vanguard. 

Fund providers
  Tradestation Interactive Brokers Tastyworks DEGIRO
Fund providers (#) 60 200 - 68

Bonds

TradeStation doesn't offer information about how many bonds you can trade with.

Options

At TadeStation you can trade with options on equities and futures.

This options coverage is better than at tastyworks, but lags behind Interactive Brokers which has one of the most extensive options offer.

Futures

TradeStation gives you access to the biggest US futures markets, like CBOT or ICEUS.

TradeStation futures offer is almost the same as tastyworks, but lags behind Interactive Brokers which covers markets all over the world.

Tradestation review
Research 4 stars

TradeStation research is great. You can use many tools, including detailed fundamental data and good quality news. On the flip side, some research tool are hard to find and not easy-to-use.

Pros
  • Data on asset fundamentals
  • Good quality news flow
  • Good set of analytical tools
Cons
  • Not user-friendly

Recommendations

This is only available on the desktop platform. You will find recommendations about each asset classes written by TradeStation staff.

Fundamental data

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.

 

Charting

The charting on the desktop platform is really advanced and covers advanced features. E.g. there are over 170 technical indicators.

On the flip side, it is not user-friendly. 

The charting on the web trading platform is not user-friendly and lacks advanced features. 

Tradestation review - Research - Charting

News feed

TradeStation offers high-quality news. 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.

At the trading platforms, you will see the news only if you search for a product. It is not convenient as you have to type a product's symbol and not the name. E.g. you will find news for Apple if you type AAPL.

Tradestation review - Research - News feed

More research info

Tradestation review
Customer service 3 stars

TradeStation has a great telephone support, but a slow live chat support. You can contact them only weekdays.

Pros
  • Live chat
  • Relevant and fast telephone support
Cons
  • Practically no email support
  • No 24/7

You can contact TradeStation via:

  • phone
  • live chat

The customer service is available only in English.

TradeStation telephone support is very good. They give fast and relevant answers. The customer support persons are very kind as well.

It is great that you can use live chat, but its quality is mediocre. It is available only between EST 9 am and 5 pm. We got relevant information, but the response time was slow as we had to wait an average of 10-15 minutes.

Tradestation review - Customer service

Contact customer service

Tradestation review
Education 5 stars

TradeStation education is great. It offers many educational tools with a great quality. You can use a demo account, watch educational videos, or read articles.

Pros
  • Demo account
  • Trading platform tutorial videos
  • Educational videos
  • Good production quality
Cons
None

You can learn in many ways:

  • Demo/Stimulating account
  • Educational videos
  • Platform tutorial videos
  • Webinars
  • Texts and booklets

You can use the demo or stimulating account for getting 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

At TradeStation university, you can watch many platforms and general educational videos. It is very good that they are structured based on your knowledge and the products. 

When you go to Market insights and then the Education, you will find high-quality videos and articles. 

Tradestation review - Education

Visit broker

Tradestation review
Safety

TradeStation is regulated by top-tier US regulator, FINRA. In addition, the parent company is listed on a stock exchange. On the flip side, negative balance protection is not provided.

Pros
  • Regulated by top tier financial authority
  • High level of investor protection
  • Parent company listed on stock exchange
Cons
  • No negative balance protection

TradeStation is a US broker established in 1982 serving clients from all over the globe. Is TradeStation safe? To be certain, it is best to check two things: how you are protected if something goes south and what the background of the broker is.

How you are protected

TradeStation covers all customers by one US legal entity. It is regulated by FINRA.

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. 

On the flip side, TradeStation doesn't provide negative balance protection.

Background

The background of the broker matters as a strong parent company reduces the chance the company goes bust. TradeStation is owned by Monex Group, a Japanese online broker.

Monex Group is one of the largest online brokers in Japan and it is listed on the Japanese Stock Exchange. It is a good sign as listed companies are under more scrutiny than private companies.

TradeStation's foundation dates back to 1982. During this more than 35 years, a lot of economic crisis occurred and TradeStation is still on the top among the brokers. This is also a sign for you that TradeStation is a safe broker.

Being regulated by the FINRA and offering a great amount of investor protection are all great signs for TradeStation's safety.

Filter the brokers by investor protection

Tradestation review
Bottom line

TradeStation is a great US broker.

The mobile platform is very user-friendly with many functions. It also offers great research tools, including a wide range of analytical tools. 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. It lacks many asset classes, e.g. forex or CFDs. The customer service can be improved as the response time at email and chat support are very slow.

Feel free to try TradeStation if you prefer Recommended for buy and hold investors with any experience level.

Visit broker

Tradestation logo

TradeStation is a US broker with a long history dating back to 1982. Its parent company, the Monex Group is listed on the Tokyo stock exchange.

TradeStation is considered safe as it is regulated by a top-tier regulator, the US FINRA. Clients are eligible for the SIPC investor protection scheme which offers up to $500,000 (cash up to $250,000) per account.

Recommended for traders wanting great research tools and preferring the US markets.

Compare to other brokers

Overall 4 stars

Pros
  • Great mobile trading platform
  • Wide range of reserach tools
  • High-quality educational tools
Cons
  • Not user-friendly deposit and withdrawal
  • No forex
  • Bad customer service

Fees 4 stars

Pros
  • Low trading fees
  • More fee structures you can choose from
Cons
  • High non-trading fees

Account opening 4 stars

Pros
  • Fully digital account opening
  • User-friendly
Cons
  • Slow account opening

Deposit and withdrawal 2 stars

Pros
  • No deposit fee
Cons
  • Credit/Debit card deposit and withdrawal not available
  • Not user-friendly
  • High withdrawal fee (for non-US clients $35 /tansaction)

Web trading platform 4 stars

Pros
  • User-friendly
  • Good customizability (for charts, workspace)
  • Good variety of order types
Cons
  • No clear fee report available
  • No price alerts

Mobile trading platform 5 stars

Pros
  • User-friendly
  • Good variety of order types
  • Price alerts
Cons
None

Desktop trading platform 3 stars

Pros
  • Good customizability (for charts, workspace)
  • Good variety of order types
Cons
  • Not user-friendly
  • No clear fee report available

Markets and products 2 stars

The available asset classes to trade:

  • Stock
  • ETF
  • Fund
  • Bond
  • Options
  • Futures

Research 4 stars

Pros
  • Data on asset fundamentals
  • Good quality news flow
  • Good set of analytical tools
Cons
  • Not user-friendly

Customer service 3 stars

Pros
  • Live chat
  • Relevant and fast telephone support
Cons
  • Practically no email support
  • No 24/7

Education 5 stars

Pros
  • Demo account
  • Trading platform tutorial videos
  • Educational videos
  • Good production quality
Cons
None

Safety

Pros
  • Regulated by top tier financial authority
  • High level of investor protection
  • Parent company listed on stock exchange
Cons
  • No negative balance protection

AUTHOR OF THIS REVIEW

Gergely Korpos
Gergely Korpos
Co-founder, CPO
Gergely's aim is to bring more clarity into personal investing. He has 10 years of experience in financial markets with GE Money, KPMG and MOL. He concluded thousands of trades as a commodity trader and financial portfolio manager

METHODOLOGY

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

Follow Brokerchooser on Twitter

Share

Comments