2020 TradeStation Review
TradeStation is a reliable broker with a useful web-based platform. Traders will use their award-winning, professional desktop platform with $0 ETF and stock trades.
Summary For 2020
We tested 15 leading online brokers for over 5 months to create our Annual Comparison. Here is what we found out about TradeStation:
- Our assessment shows that TradeStation is a leader in trading technology. It has one of the most reliable desktop platforms in the industry. Also, this online broker ranks first in the following categories: Mobile Trading, Futures Trading, Options Trading, Professional Trading, and Day Trading.
- TradeStation has several excellent tools thanks to a platform suite with web-based, desktop, and mobile variants. We think all of these are outstanding. Besides, the $0 trading cost with TS Go and TS Select accounts make TradeStation the best broker choice in 2020.
- As is the case with its competitors, TradeStation might disappoint when it comes to standard research for casual investors. We discovered that the platform is just 'ok' for research and education materials.
Offers At TradeStation:
- No commission on ETFs, Options, and Stock trades. Open Account
Fees & Commissions
Tools & Platforms
Ease of Use
Fees & Commissions
TradeStation has several commission structures, which might be challenging to understand. However, it is a big plus that the main pricing plans used (TS Go and TS Select), come with $0 trading fees. Also, these plans are simple to understand and come with free market data and no additional monthly fees.
TS Go comes with unlimited $0 ETF and stock trades, no minimum deposit, $0.85 for future trades contracts (per side), and $0.50 for options trades contracts. The only real downside of TS Go is that trading with TradeStation desktop comes with an additional fee of $10.
TS Select is one of the most popular pricing structures at TradeStation. It comes with a minimum deposit of $2,000, and it lets you use all three of this broker's platforms. Also, every stock trade (including ETFs) costs $0, while futures cost $1.50 for every contract (per side), and options trades are $0.60 for each contract.
Both TS Go and TS Select offer penny stock trades. The cost is $0 for the first 10,000 shares and only $0.001 for each share when you reach the limit.
Additional Pricing Plans:
Besides $0 trades, TradeStation has two additional commission structures for professional traders. You can opt for an unbundled or per share trade. Also, you can check out all pricing details in our commission notes comparison for TradeStation.
An interesting aspect of TradeStation, which you won't find with other online brokers, is the Salutes Program. This program was designed for veterans, military personnel, and first responders. It offers options trades, ETFs, and 100% free stocks.
Summing up TradeStation's Pricing System:
Stock Trade Fee (per trade)
ETF Trade Fee
Options Base Fee
Options Per Contract Fee
Mutual Fund Trade Fee
Broker Assisted Trades Fee
Tools & Platforms
TradeStation has two trading platforms. Web Trading is the browser-based platform created for those looking for a simple-to-use tool. TradeStation Desktop is the broker's main product and has comprehensive features.
TradeStation Desktop Tools:
The TradeStation desktop platform comes with great functionality. Some of the tools available are the Scanner (custom screening), Matrix (ladder trading), Radar Screen (329 customizable columns with real-time streaming watch lists), and the Walk-Forward Optimizer (professional strategy testing). What is even more interesting is that you can use the proprietary coding language offered by TradeStation called EasyLanguage. This language allows you to code apps for the platform and even distribute them through the TradingApp Store.
TradeStation Desktop Charting:
This platform is an asset for any trader since it gets you access to more than 40 years of historical data. Beyond that, you can use more than 274 studies or indicators to adjust or redesign your charts using EasyLanguage. Still, there are a couple of downsides worth mentioning. First, you won't find any plot basic y-axis markers for corporate events, like earnings calls, splits, or dividend distribution. Second, automated technical analysis is completely missing.
TradeStation Web Trading:
We like that TradeStation Web Trading is user-friendly and straightforward. It allows traders to perform several actions with ease, such as performing stock chart analysis, open orders, watch lists, control active positions, or trade with no hassle (ladder trading with Matrix is featured). The chart-trading feature is superior to similar trading platforms. Still, you should know that TradeStation Web Trading doesn't synchronize with the desktop version, which might be a downside for those using both platforms.
If you use OptionStation Pro, options trading will feel easy and intuitive. It allows for reliable analysis and improved trading from within the TradeStation desktop platform. This tool can stream real-time greeks, gather existing positions in a personalized group, or allow you to perform advanced position analysis.
Futures trading is a tool within the TradeStation desktop, similar to Options trading. Overall, most of the advanced tools available for trading equities are available with futures trading for improved trading experience.
TradeStation is similar to its main competitors, as it doesn't feature professional company research. Several advantages of TradeStation are equity back-testing, full stock and options screening, forex data, and futures streaming. The downside might be that there is no standard fundamental research for stocks, no standard revenue research, no mutual fund, and almost no ETF research knowledge.
For this review, we used data from Confero's customer experience research group. This provider gathered information via telephone from several areas in the United States. Specifically, our 2020 review for TradeStation is based on the data from 280 customer service tests done over approximately ten weeks.
Our findings are:
- Average Connection Time: <1 minute
- Average Net Promoter Score: 8.6 / 10
- Average Professionalism Score: 7.9 / 10
- Overall Score: 8.46 / 10
- Ranking: 7th (14 brokers)
Mobile trading at TradeStation is reliable. The mobile app offers excellent functionality and design, meant to be used by both beginner and professional traders. Also, you can opt for full-day trading with the help of the Matrix (ladder trading) and professional options trading support. Keep in mind that to use Matrix, you will need Level II market data. This option requires an extra monthly fee of $11.
We think that the TradeStation mobile app comes with reliable charting. It is simple, useful, and it has almost anything a trader might need: 43 additional indicators, date range, and full chart type flexibility, filled and active order visibility, and many more. What is even more interesting is that you can use drawing tools, too, to create anything ranging from Fibonacci retracements on charts to trend lines. Our inside tip is to use a large smartphone screen so that you can observe everything with ease.
Watch List Synchronization:
We discovered that the mobile watch lists don't synchronize with the desktop platform at TradeStation. These lists only sync with the web trading platform.
TradeStation gives you access to an individual app (trading platform) named FuturesPlus. This app is for futures options traders, and it was created by Trading Technologies together with TradeStation. FuturesPlus offers several professional tools you might want to have with TradeStation. Some of the best tools are custom strategy and predefined builders, price visualization, expert contract analysis, risk management through greeks, and real-time sales and time.
TradeStation has almost a complete offering of trading products. As an example, you can get full access to options and stock trading, along with several professional order types, in-depth direct-market routing, and several other trading products.
We conclude that there are two drawbacks to TradeStation. First of all, it doesn't come with international trading. Secondly, you will have to telephone their customer service team to use the mutual funds' orders feature. However, this isn't a major issue because we don't think you should be trading mutual funds anyway.
TradeStation is one of the rare online brokers that pays customers for any non-invested cash in their accounts. They offer an APR of 0.55% (fluctuates based on the Fed Funds Rate). Also, you should know that at TradeStation, equity accounts require a $500,000 minimum account balance, while futures accounts need $250,000.
For 2020, TradeStation has several changes planned. And we can't wait to see how trader education will develop during this multi-year transition.
TradeStation released the YouCanTrade website in 2019. This website is an independent platform focused on education and managed apart from TradeStation brokerage. Even though it is continuously changing, this educational platform is reliable. Traders can purchase access to in-depth courses, such as real-time alerts, live trading room access, and webinars.
If you pay close attention to this education-focused website, you will discover that what TradeStation offers is basic at best. There's almost no educational content. It might be a good idea for TradeStation to release some free learning possibilities (like videos or articles) to teach beginners about trading basics. Also, in our opinion, every TradeStation customer needs unrestricted access to YouCanTrade technology, which would resolve TradeStation's education handicap.
TradeStation offers learning materials to its new customers. You can discover additional information on how to use the TradeStation desktop platform with their help guides and tutorials. Still, if you're a professional trader looking forward to customizable private training, you will have to pay $150 for an individual learning session of 60 minutes.
TradeStation has more than 30 years of experience in online trading, which is why it is considered an innovator and market leader. We believe that both the desktop platform and mobile app are reliable and filled with useful tools. The Web Trader platform is excellent for traders of all levels of experience, due to its user-friendly and straightforward approach.
We conclude that TradeStation is a successful trading solution for all types of investors and asset classes.
TradeStation has its headquarters in Plantation, Florida, being a wholly owned subsidiary of Monex Group, Inc., the leading online financial services provider in Japan. TradeStation was established back in 1982 with the name Omega Research. The iconic TradeStation platform was launched in 1991. Also, the TradeStation Group was listed under NASDAQ between 1997 and 2011. Afterward, it was purchased by Monex Group.
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