TradeStation Review

TradeStation Promotion for 2017: Get up to $1,500 in commissions rebates.

TradeStation Commissions, Fees, and Minimum Deposit

Stocks and ETFs flat-rate plan$8.99 (1 to 49 trades/month); $6.99 (50 to 199 trades/month); $4.99 (200 or more)
Stocks and ETFs per-share plan $0.01 per share first 500 shares, $0.006 per share after that; $1.00 minimum per trade
Options per trade plan $8.99 + $0.70 per contract (1 to 49 trades/month); $6.99 + $0.50 per contract (50 to 199 trades/month); $4.99 + $0.30 per contract (200 or more)
Options per contract plan $1.00, no base or ticket charge, market or limit orders
Futures from $1.20 (1 to 300 monthly contracts) to $0.25 (20,000+ monthly contracts) per side, per contract + exchange, regulatory & overnight fees
Mutual funds $14.95
Bonds $14.95 + $5 per bond
Forexcommission-free with tight spreads and fractional pips

Investments stocks, options, mutual funds, bonds, futures, forex, ETFs
Tradestation minimum deposit to open account $5,000 for non-daytraders, $5,500 for IRA accounts, and $30,000 for daytraders
FeesTradestation fees
Promotion linkTradestation promotions

The first section of our 2017 TradeStation review is broker commissions. The firm has three pricing plans: per-trade, per-share, and unbundled. With per-share plan traders pay $0.01 per share for the first 500 shares, and $0.006 per share after that with $1.00 minimum per trade. With this pricing schedule all trades of up to 100 shares will cost $1, and trades of up to 500 shares will cost $5 or less.

With TradeStation's per-trade plan customers' commission depend on their trading activity: if they trade up to 49 times per month commission will be $8.99. That rate drops to $6.99 for 50-200 trades per month; and all the way to down to $4.99 per trade for those who execute 200 or more trades per month.

Minimum amount required to open an account at TradeStation is $5,000 for non-daytraders, and $30,000 for daytraders. For IRA accounts the broker has $5,500 minimum account balance requirement.

TradeStation New Account Setup

It took us about 12 minutes to complete online account application. When filling out the forms, users will get a chance to choose which pricing plan suits them more: per-share, flat-rate or unbundled. Per-share plan works best for small trades of up to 1,000 shares, while flat-rate is for clients that are often making trades with 1,000 shares or more. Unbundled plan is for professional traders.

After application is approved (took 20 minutes for us) the company will email account funding instructions. Users could transfer funds with wire transfer, by mailing a check, or by moving account from a different broker. The company does offer ACH transfer - but for some reason users need to contact customer service to set it up. For ACH setup a client will need to print and fax a form TradeStation sends and a copy of driver's license. Website/Trading Platform/Tools

Advanced Trading Platform

TradeStation's direct-access platform is one of the best we've seen! It offers all the bells and whistles traders expect from the professional trading software. Users have an ability to trade equities, futures, options, and forex from one place.

TradeStation is one of the very few online brokers offering automated trading. Firm's technical analysis and back-testing software has been recognized as the most popular among futures traders for many years. The order entry and execution part of the software makes TradeStation a superior product. All the trading tools are fully customizable.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of TradeStation is the TradeStation Simulator, which allows members to test their trading plans and ideas in real-life simulated scenario without actually risking anything. Users can create different custom trading strategies and do back testing to improve those strategies before trading. They can even follow multiple market trends and plan strategies accordingly. All of this is possible through a comprehensive database, consisting of historical market data and analysis that the platform offers.

There are numerous Webinars available throughout the week to keep customers in touch with the markets, from a weekly futures market outlook to a daily stock-market session.

Mobile Trading

TradeStation offers one of the best in the industry mobile smartphone and tablet applications for iOS and Android devices. The apps allow users to trade stocks, options, futures or forex. Among other features, customers can set up real-time alerts, get streaming quotes in real time, and analyze charts with indicators. The apps are rated very highly by customers: 4.5 stars in Google Play and 4 stars at iTunes.

TradeStation Pros

  • Very low commissions for active traders
  • Great direct-access platform
  • Best charting package
  • Trading modeling functionality
  • Rich selection of investment products
  • Active online trader community
  • Virtual trading (practice account)
  • Good mutual funds pricing at $15 per transaction

TradeStation Cons

  • $99.95 monthly fee if not traded at least 5,000 shares in previous month (or 50 options contracts a month; or 10 round-turn futures or futures option contracts; or 50 round-turn single stock futures). Fee doesn't apply for accounts with $100,000+ balance
  • $35 annual IRA fee
  • Steep learning curve to master the trading platform
  • Only about 100 mutual funds available
  • Minimum amount to open account is high: $5,000 for non-daytraders and $30,000 for daytraders
  • Direct routing fee of $0.004 per share applies. Orders greater than 10,000 shares will be charged $0.001/share for all shares in excess of 10,000 in the same order.


New clients who open and fund a brokerage account with TradeStation will receive $500 worth of commissions. The broker requires a minimum deposit of $5,000 for this special. The new account must be opened and funded by March 31, 2017. The free trades expire on June 30, 2017. They can be used for orders of stocks, options, and futures. TradeStation is one of the few brokers to have a promo for both equities and futures. Also included in this promo is a trial of RadarScreen, the company's advanced software tool that scans markets for trading opportunities.


TradeStation Securities offers three commission plans for stocks and ETFs: pay-per-share, flat-rate, and unbundled. Flat-rate commissions are higher than the average in the industry - $8.99 per stock and ETF trade if making less than 49 trades per month, but it gets much cheaper for active traders with rates dropping to as low as $4.99. Pay-per-share commission plan, on the other hand, is very cheap: first 500 shares are $0.01 per share, $0.006 per share thereafter, with $1 minimum per trade. Unbundled plan is used by professional traders.

There is potentially a huge additional cost for account holders: customers have to trade at least 5,000 shares or 50 options contracts a month to avoid very steep $99.95 monthly fee (excluded from the fee are also accounts with $100,000 balance and clients making 10 round-turn futures or futures option contracts or 50 round-turn single stock futures).

TradeStation is known for offering one of the best trading platforms among online brokers with powerful strategy creation, useful testing tools, and custom-built analytics. The firm is targeting very active investors (daytraders), and it is most popular among futures traders because of great trading and analysis software and low futures commissions.

Barron's magazine gave TradeStation the highest star rating for both "Best for Frequent Traders" and "Best for International Traders" categories. The firm also received top ratings in six major categories in Technical Analysis of Stocks and Commodities (TASC) Readers Choice Awards. TASC readers voted TradeStation "Best Trading System for Stocks" and "Best Trading System for Futures" for the eleventh consecutive year. TradeStation also won "Best Institutional Platform" and "Best Professional Platform" for the thirteenth year in a row as well as "Best for Real-Time Data" for the sixth time.

In 2017 we rated TradeStation "Best for Futures Trading" and "Best for International Investors" for the sixth year in a row. We also included it into our list of recommended brokers for options trading.

TradeStation charges $35 annual IRA fee. Because of this and the platform fee, it's not the best choice for an individual retirement account. For beginners in investing or trading the firm's powerful trading platform will have a steep learning curve, and they probably should look elsewhere.

In summarize TradeStation review: we recommend the broker for institutional investors as well as for active stocks, ETFs, options, and futures traders provided they could avoid an inactivity fee. For mutual funds, retirement, beginner, inactive and "buy-an-hold" investors we suggest researching Top Online Brokerages, all of which do not charge platform fees, have smaller initial deposit requirements and are easier to use.

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TradeStation reviewed by on . Rating: 4

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