Lighspeed Trading rating

Lightspeed Trading Review

Lightspeed Trading review and rating for 2021. Sterling, Livevol, Trader platforms cost. Broker stock, futures, and options trading fees. Investment account minimums.

Lightspeed Trading Offers More Than Day Trading

Day traders have good resources at Lightspeed Trading, a brokerage firm that specializes in this type of investing. The broker is unique in the industry by offering several different platforms plus trading in futures contracts. Let’s make a detailed analysis of Lightspeed and see how it compares to some of its competitors.

Lightspeed Trading Commissions, Fees, and Minimum Deposit

RealTick PlatformPrice
Stocks and ETFs $4.50 per trade
Stocks and ETFs per share plan $0.0045 per share, $1 minimum
Options $0.60 per contract
Futures $0.60 per contract
Monthly Software Fee: $100 for Lighspeed Trader; $130 for Sterling; $275 for RealTick Pro; $0 for WebTrader
On Lightspeed Trader and Sterling Trader, a minimum commission charge of $1.00 will be applied to any order
On RealTick, a minimum commission of $3.00 will be applied to any order
On WebTrader, minimum commission of $4.50 will be applied to any options order. Per-share equities pricing not available on WebTrader

Investments stocks, options, futures, ETFs
Lightspeed Trading minimum deposit to open account $5,000 for Web Trader, $25,000 for RealTick and Trader plans
Promotion linkLightspeed Trading promotions

Lightspeed Pricing Schedule

Under U.S. securities regulations, all pattern day-trading accounts must have a balance of at least $25,000. Because Lightspeed Trading caters to day traders, it requires a minimum deposit of $25,000 to open any account that uses one of its advanced desktop platforms. Customers who plan to use the website and don’t plan to day trade can deposit just $10,000.

After an account is funded, some account types will have lower minimums to maintain trading privileges. Cash and margin accounts that don’t have day-trading activity have a very low $2,000 minimum, while option accounts need to maintain $10,000.

There is a $25 monthly fee for accounts that have less than $15,000 in assets. This fee is reduced by any commissions that are paid in the previous month.

There are two commission schedules at Lightspeed for stocks and ETFs. One is a per-share plan, and the other is a per-trade schedule. On the per-share plan, trades start at 0.45¢ per share with a $1 minimum commission. After reaching a monthly volume of 250,000 shares, the per-share rate drops to 0.35¢. (Traders need to contact the broker to activate the reduced commission schedule). The rate continues dropping until reaching 15,000,000 shares per month, at which point the commission is a very low 0.1¢ per share.

The per-trade plan, as the name implies, uses the number of trades per month to figure the commission. Trades start at $4.50 each. After an account reaches 250 trades in a month, the commission drops to $4. As with the per-share plan, customers must contact the broker to activate the reduced pricing. The commission continues dropping until an account reaches 10,000 trades in a month at which point the commission is $2.50.

Option contracts at Lightspeed cost 60¢ each up until 500 contracts are traded in a month. The commission then drops to 50¢ and continues dropping until an account reaches 100,000 contracts in a month, when the commission is just 20¢. There is no base charge at Lightspeed.

Lightspeed is one of the few securities brokers to also offer trading in futures. The commission schedule begins at 60¢ per contract. The commission then drops to 50¢ once an account reaches 500 contracts. It finally arrives at 25¢ once an account reaches 100,000 contracts.

Based on Lightspeed’s tiered commission schedules, it’s obvious that this broker-dealer caters to very large customers who have the ability to trade large amounts of securities every month. Typically, these will be institutions, professional traders, hedge funds, and other whales, as they are known in the industry.

Customer Service

A Lightspeed Trading associate can be reached by phone anytime from 7 am until 8 pm, EST, Monday through Friday. Besides its domestic phone number, it also offers an international number. Unfortunately, the broker is closed on the weekend. A Lightspeed representative can also be reached by e-mail or a convenient web-based contact form. Regrettably, the broker does not have a network of branch locations.

Trading Technology

Lightspeed Trading offers several platforms that have a variety of functions. Each software program is designed for a specific type of trader. The broker-dealer also offers trading through its website and mobile app.

Lightspeed Trading Review

Website and Mobile

The website is designed for amateur traders rather than hedge funds and other professionals. It offers Level I but not Level II quotes. Watchlists and after-hours trading are both available, but not other functions that some of the other programs offer, such as hot keys. Both the website and Apple and Android apps cost nothing to use. They also require just $10,000 to start for non-day traders. The per-share commission plan is not available with website trading, and there is a $4.50 minimum commission on derivative orders.

Lightspeed Trader Review

LS Trader

The Lightspeed Trader platform is designed for professional and sophisticated traders. It is a desktop program, and it is the only software the broker offers that has security research and up to 40 screens of custom layouts. Customers who want to use this program must deposit at least $25,000. There is a monthly $100 fee, although this is reduced by the amount spent in the previous month on commissions.

Lightspeed Trading Review: Sterling


Sterling is another platform that Lightspeed Trading offers. It has Level II quotes, hot keys, direct market access, and a host of other useful features. Like LS Trader, the software has a $100 monthly fee, which can be reduced by the prior’s months trading fees.

Livevol X

Livevol X is designed for both professional and amateur investors. It can be used to trade options. It does not offer customizable order routes or front-end API, which the other two programs do offer. But Livevol X can be accessed 24/7, which the other two programs don’t offer. The platform also has some handy option tools that the other programs don’t have. Livevol X has no monthly software fee.

Lightspeed Review: Livevol X

RealTick Pro

The most advanced platform is RealTick Pro. It is the only software that can be used to trade futures contracts. It has many of the same robust features that the other programs offer. However, Lightspeed charges $325 per month for this platform. The broker will rebate some of this fee based on the prior month’s trading fees. Any trade placed on this platform has a $3 minimum commission.

Alternative Investments

Although Lightspeed Trading is often used by day traders to buy and sell stocks frequently, the broker does offer futures contracts and ETF’s. Pink sheet and other OTC stocks can be traded, too. Unfortunately, Lightspeed does not offer trading in bonds or other fixed-income products. Forex is not available, either.

Security Education and Research

The only platform that offers security research is LS Trader. Here, research tools are slim. There are market movers for the day’s activity. There is also news stories that can be accessed. The broker does offer more in-depth security research via TipRanks.

On the Lightspeed website, there are recorded webinars and links to upcoming live webinars. These resources cover a wide variety of financial topics, including ETF trading, swing trading, options investing, technical analysis, order routing, and day trading.

There are also short on-demand videos that discuss many investment topics, such as Level II quotes, day trading margin, and platform layout. There is only limited information on futures, however. A financial glossary is available on the Lightspeed site as well.

Lightspeed Reviews

Supplemental Insurance

All brokerage accounts at Lightspeed Trading are protected up to $500,000 by SIPC, the primary insurer in the brokerage industry. Accounts larger than this amount also receive supplemental insurance through a private policy with Lloyd’s of London. Each account is insured up to $25,000,000, which can be applied to both cash and securities. There is a brokerage house limit of $100,000,000, however.

Lightspeed Trading Review: Pros

Lightspeed’s selection of trading platforms is excellent. Most brokers, including TradeStation and Interactive Brokers, provide just one or two. Some firms, such as Vanguard, don’t even offer one.

The broker’s commission schedule provides great discounts to active traders. Some brokers, such as Ally Invest, offer discounts to frequent traders, but the concessions are much smaller than Lightspeed’s.

Most brokerage houses don’t offer trading in futures. Some of the better known brokers, such as Fidelity and Schwab, are good examples.

Lightspeed Trading Review: Cons

Without any mutual funds, Lightspeed clients miss out on some great investment opportunities that other brokerage houses provide. Ally Invest and WellsTrade both offer large selections of funds, for instance.

Lightspeed Trading does not offer any commission-free ETF’s, a major failure compared against its rivals, who do provide at least some. E*Trade customers, for example, can buy and sell more than 120 exchange-traded funds without paying a dime.

The lack of forex and fixed-income investments is a disappointment. Ally Invest offers currency trading, and Merrill Edge customers have access to bonds.

Lightspeed is geared toward large institutions, but its supplemental insurance policy is actually smaller than Fidelity’s, E*Trade’s, and Vanguard’s.

The customer service hours at Lightspeed are rather disappointing. Other broker-dealers, such as WellsTrade, offer 24/7 service. Capital One Investing has a convenient on-line chat function, which is sorely missing at the Lightspeed site.

Lightspeed Trading Review Summary

Lightspeed Trading offers great technology to day traders and institutional clients. Home gamers can also open an account and take advantage of the broker’s services. Active stock and option traders will do especially well here.

LightSpeed Trading Website

Open Lightspeed Account