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TradeStation is an online broker preferred by active, experienced day traders. Founded in 1982, the brokerage has provided advanced tools and a robust platform for professional investors who trade with high volume. But while this sounds great to the experienced investor, it can be overwhelming for a new investor.
To date, the Florida based company has won a handful of industry awards for its platform technology. It also features a simulated trading environment so you can test your ideas when investing real capital.
In 2001, TradeStation turned into an online stock brokerage and now charges zero commissions on trades, stocks, futures and stock options.
Newer investors can participate in an incentivized trading environment and become more empowered, informed investors through the free educational resources, where one can learn about the basics of the market. TradeStation’s educational YouCanTrade platform offers live coaching, an active online community of fellow traders, and courses. Participation is free, but many of the courses have a fee.
There are some caveats to keep in mind. To unlock the commission-free stocks and ETFs, you must meet a minimum requirement of $2,000 or have placed at least five trades over any 12-month period from the anniversary of when you deposited your account. TradeStation plans to phase out its TS GO level and TS Select will be the default commission plan soon.
The prices as presented on the TradeStation website can be a bit confusing, so be sure to do your homework so you don’t get caught off guard by a slew of fees. For example, if you have a TS GO account, the company’s mobile or web-based trading platform, you may face different fees if you use the desktop version instead of the web and mobile version, so keep that in mind. In addition, professionals may incur additional fees to access TradeStation’s market data.
Read on to learn more about TradeStation.
Pros and Cons of TradeStation
Robust, premium suite of tools and technology for active traders
No commission costs on shares and ETFs on TS Select
Advanced Incentive Trading Environment
No minimum funding requirements, just a $2,000 average end-of-month balance for TS Select, which offers free trading and unlocks a full suite of tools
Sophisticated tools and interface can be overwhelming and intimidating for newer investors
$50 annual inactivity fee on account
Price levels are a bit confusing
TradeStation at a glance
Self-directed online brokerage accounts, IRAs and stock accounts available Investments include over 2,000 mutual funds and over 2,000 available ETFs Robust technology and tools — RadarScreen monitors and ranks up to 1,000 symbols in real time; TradeStation allows investors to back-test and optimize and automate before trading; The TradeStation platform offers more than a dozen trading apps; incentivized trading environment available No minimum to open account $2,000 average at month-end stock balance or minimum of five active trades within any 12-month period required for TS Select, which offers no commission fees on stocks and ETFs (up to 10,000 shares per trade) , fees for other types of investments will be charged for an annual inactivity fee of $50 if the account minimum is not met or the activity thresholds are not enforced
Investments available on TradeStation
TradeStation has a variety of different securities to invest in, including over 2,000 ETFs:
CompensationAmount ofTS Select trading and commission fees: $0 on stocks and ETFs; stock options: $0.60 per contract; futures: $1.50 per contract, per side; microfutures: $0.50 per contract, per side; futures options: $1.50 per contract, per side
TS GO: $10 fee for stock and option trades when made on the TS desktop platform; $1.40 surcharge per contract for futures trades
Account Minimum for Brokerage and Trading Services TS Select: $0; TS Go: $0 Account Maintenance Fee for Brokerage and Trading Services Free if monthly account balance of $2,000 or five trades per year is met; otherwise TradeStation: $5 per trade for non-professionals; other account types for non-professionals is $99.95 monthly account fee, plus other fees
Who is TradeStation best suited for?
TradeStation can be a solid choice for novice investors, as long as they can sustain the account minimum. And just as driving a fancy car with streamlined features and all the bells and whistles may require a bit of a learning curve, those new to investing should prepare to spend time getting to the bottom of all the advanced technologies and robust tools that TradeStation brings. has to offer.
For those who don’t have much to invest with and want a more simplified approach, you might be better off with another online brokerage.
Open an account with TradeStation
1. Focus on what you’re looking for in an online brokerage account† Start by accessing your investment needs, goals, and timelines. From there, you can limit the tools, technology, guidance level, and resources you want to access. That can help you identify your top contenders and gauge whether TradeStation is right for you.
2. Do your homework. Spend time looking up fees and charges, pricing levels, account and investment types, tools, and available resources. How accessible is their customer support and is there a steep learning curve to use the tools on offer? If there is an investment app, how advanced and easy to use is it? It is also important to know what types of investments are available and what costs are included in the trade.
3. Open a TradeStation account. To open a TS account, the easiest way is to open it online. You must be a US resident with a valid Social Security number or taxpayer ID. Other basic information must be provided, such as your address, date of birth. The application also asks questions about your current financial situation, including income, assets and years of investment experience.
TradeStation compared to others
TradeStationTD AmeritradeCharles SchwabTypes of Investment Accounts Brokerage and Trading, IRAs, Entity Accounts Brokerage and Trading, IRAs and Other Retirement Accounts, Managed Accounts Brokerage and Trading, IRAs and Other Retirement Accounts, Managed Accounts, College and Education Savings Plans Fees $0 Trading Commissions on Online Transactions for Stocks and ETFs; other fees vary (with an account minimum of $2,000 or at least five trades during any 12-month period from the account opening date, up to 10,000 shares per trade); otherwise $5 per trade $0 trading commission fees on online trades for stocks, ETFs and options trades; other fees range from $0 trading commissions for online trades for stocks and ETFs; other fees vary Account fees $50 annual inactivity fee, free if you meet minimum activity requirements No annual fee No annual, inactivity, maintenance fees Index funds Over 2,000 ETFs Over 2,300 ETFs Third largest index fund provider, over 2,000 Mobile app Investment app available Investment app Available Investment App Available Customer Service Account Support Available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday via phone and live chat Account Support Available 24/7 by phone 24/7 via phone and chat, physical locations
Frequently Asked Questions:
Who is TradeStation suitable for?
TradeStation can be a strong choice for seasoned, active traders who are familiar with robust technology and advanced, sophisticated trading platforms. While there is no commission on online trades for stocks and ETFs, newer investors can expect that there will be a steep learning curve to get their heads around the platforms and tools at their disposal.
Those with a TS Select account should be aware of maintaining the minimum account requirements. While there is no minimum to open an account, investors must maintain an average stock balance of at least $2,000 or place at least five trades each 12-month cycle.
Can you lose money with TradeStation?
As with any investment activity, investing in the stock market involves risk. One can lose the value of their shares. Before investing with a brokerage, you should check out the pricing details.
How much money do you need to open a TradeStation account?
There is no minimum amount required to open a TradeStation account. But investors should consider minimum activity and equity accounts to waive the $50 annual fee. Furthermore, professionals may be charged a fee to access market data.
Can I start trading with $100?
Investors can start trading with TradeStation for $100. There is also no minimum to open an account. In turn, with $100 to begin with, investors won’t be able to buy fractional shares of stock with expensive single share prices.