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Best Trading Platform For Scalping Stocks (2024)

Tradestation: Best Broker for Scalping

If you’re looking for a brokerage firm that offers scalping resources, look no further than TradeStation. We have all the details you need.

Fees and Minimums on Scalping at TradeStation

Scalping is a form of day trading where large numbers of trades are executed during the market day in hopes of realizing lots of small profits. Although this form of trading involves many transactions, TradeStation helps scalpers with $0 commissions on most equity trades.

There is a surcharge on transactions with more than 10,000 shares. It is half a penny per share on the share amount above 10,000. There is a second surcharge for directly-routed orders. It is also half a penny per share. Foreign stocks will have a variety of commissions, depending on the exchange.

Options and futures have per-contract fees. The charge for option trades is 60¢ per contract. Futures are $1.50 each, although TradeStation is running a special right now for 50% off futures commissions for life.

Cryptocurrency trades are priced based on account type (taxable or IRA) and volume. The steepest commission is $2 plus 0.60%.

Although taxable accounts at TradeStation have no recurring fees or minimums, there is an annual inactivity fee, which scalpers should be able to avoid in a single day (five trades per year are required to avoid it).

Individual Retirement Accounts, which scalpers will probably want to use to avoid a lengthy 1099-B during tax season, do have fees at TradeStation. A securities IRA costs $35 per year (and $50 to close). A crypto IRA has a $100 annual fee. Futures IRAs have fees, too.

But there are no software fees at TradeStation, which adds value for scalpers. Like other U.S.-based brokerage firms, TradeStation has a $25k minimum for a PDT (pattern day trading) account.


On top of all the other services for scalp traders already mentioned, TradeStation also offers margin accounts. An IRA at TradeStation can sign up for limited margin, which allows it to day trade with unsettled funds (although not borrowed funds).

Most stocks will have 4:1 intraday leverage at TradeStation. However, some stocks will have lower levels of margin. TradeStation has a dedicated webpage with a list of stocks that have special margin requirements. There is also a list of stocks that are easy to borrow.

Another resource TradeStation offers for scalpers is a list of threshold securities. These are securities that have been deemed by market centers to be restricted for short selling.

The price for trading on margin at TradeStation is on a tiered schedule:

Debit Balance Margin Rate
under $25,000 13.5%
$25,000 - $49,999.99 13.5%
$50,000 - $499,999.99 12.5%
$500,000+ call 800-770-4049

Market Data

TradeStation offers a long list of data packages. Generally, real-time data is available at no cost for equities, options, futures, indices, and cryptocurrencies for non-professional traders. Level II packages typically cost something, depending on the exact package chosen. Here are some examples of different packages available:

ARCA Book Data $11 $61
Nasdaq, Level II $11 $112
OTC Markets, Level I $6 $36
CBOT Floor-Traded, Level 1 $131 $131

It’s easy to sign up or delete data packages on a TradeStation account. Just log into the website and click on the Customer Profile tab in the top menu. Next, select the link for software & data packages in the left-hand column. Here, you’ll be able to subscribe to any of the available packages.

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Scalping on the Tradestation Platform

Once an account is set up and ready to go, there are a variety of software platforms available to it. The first one we’ll look at is TradeStation 10, the latest release of the company’s desktop software. An account does have to be funded to access it.

best platform for scalp trading

TradeStation 10 has many tools scalp traders will want to become familiar with. Charting, of course, is high on the list. The software delivers a right-click menu that has links for trading, drawing tools, technical indicators, and plot styles. We found over 20 drawing tools, including:

- Arrow down
- Rectangle
- Horizontal line
- Fibonacci Cycles

Technical studies number over 150 in total. Examples include:

- Moving average – 3 lines
- Bollinger Bandwidth
- Chaikin Volatility

There are multiple order tickets on the desktop platform, and these provide lots of trading methods. A Quick Trade Bar can be found in the Apps menu (located in the upper-left corner). It is basically a forex dealing box that can send an order (long or short) to the exchanges with a click of the mouse. There are many other advanced order types available on the platform, including bracket and OCO orders.

TradeStation 10 comes with some pre-installed layouts, one of which is a day-trading workspace. To find it, click on the TS Today tab in the bottom-left corner and look for the section of workspaces.

A host of other scalping tools can be found under the Apps menu already mentioned. Examples we found include a time & sales widget, TSAlgos (an algorithmic-trading tool), and a price ladder (labeled Matrix).

Scalping on the Tradestation Website

Website trading is possible in multiple forms. There are three platforms scalpers in particular should be aware of: main platform, crypto platform, and FuturesPlus. The last of the three is for options on futures.

best trading platform for scalping

The main platform has multiple order tickets. Examples of trade types include:

- Exit – 1 limit and 1 stop market level
- OSO - Entry short – with exit – stop limit only
- Trailing stop

A trading matrix is on the right-hand side. Clicking on a bid or ask price on the ladder will quickly send a stop or limit order at that price for the entered ticker symbol.

Charting on the platform is on a little lower level than what we saw on TradeStation 10. There is no right-click menu, for instance, and there are fewer technical studies. Nevertheless, there are some drawing tools and 4 plot styles. Candlesticks can be set to 1-minute intervals, and the asset’s price and candlestick both update instantly on the vertical axis. At the top of the chart sits the standard order ticket with routing choices (for securities).

Futures contracts can be scalped on the main platform. The E-mini contract on the S&P 500 Index is available for trading (just type ‘ES’ in the symbol box to get a drop-down menu of available expiration months).

Cryptocurrencies are traded on their own platform. Once again, the platform has multiple order tickets. Each setup can be used to quickly send orders to the exchanges. Scalping traders will definitely want to try out the “Classic View” system, which has dealing boxes with big red and green buttons for quick order submission. Confirmations can be turned off in the settings menu for an even faster experience. Hotkeys can be turned on in the same menu.

Scalping on the Tradestation Mobile App

Scalping is certainly possible on TradeStation’s mobile app. The login screen has a separate section for crypto trading. This will produce a mobile-enhanced website with similar tools that we looked at above.

The securities app has tools for options, futures, and equities. The order ticket has bracket, trailing, limit, and stop orders (and many others). A price ladder once again appears.

Although charting isn’t overly advanced on the app, it does have a pop-up OHLC window with a trade link. Just tap on the chart to pull up the window.

Paper Trading

Scalpers can practice their trading techniques on the main web-based platform, the mobile app, and TradeStation 10. Doings so is highly recommended as the order tickets do take some time to learn, especially with the various settings that are available.

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Best Broker for Scalping Final Thoughts

TradeStation has lots of resources that can be used in scalping. There are fees in some situations, however, so traders need to do their homework here first before diving in.

Updated on 12/13/2023.

Ben Wright
About the Author
Ben Wright is an investor, a trader, an educator, and something of an explorer. He spends his days in the markets when he is not teaching or spending time with his family. Ben writes about stockbrokers, markets, investment vehicles, promotional offers, and tools that help investors make the most of their time in the markets.