Firstrade
Speedtrader rating

SpeedTrader Review



SpeedTrader Pricing and Minimum Deposit


InvestmentsCommissions
Stocks and ETFs per trade plan $6.95 for accounts under $25,000
Stocks and ETFs per trade plan $4.49 for accounts above $25,000
Stocks and ETFs per share plan $0.0044 per share, $1.99 min per trade (only for accounts above $25,000)
Options$0.40 per contract ($1.99 min per trade) + routing and other fees

Investments stocks, options, ETFs
SpeedTrader minimum deposit to open account $0 for cash account, $2,000 for margin account


Overview of SpeedTrader


If you’re a day trader or other active equity trader, you may want to check out SpeedTrader. While it’s not especially well-known, it does offer several features that you may find appealing. In this 2018 Speedtrader review we’ll go through this brokerage house category by category, and see how it performs against some of its major competitors.


Customer Support


SpeedTrader Customer Rating

SpeedTrader provides customer service Monday through Friday from 8 o’clock in the morning until 5 o’clock in the afternoon. This is Eastern Standard Time. We’re disappointed that there are no weekend or evening hours; but this brokerage house does cater to experienced traders, so the limited hours aren’t unexpected.

A feature that we did like was on-line chat. This is available only during normal business hours, however. If you try to use the chat function outside of customer service hours, the pop-up window will present an e-mail form instead; and we thought this was a helpful feature.

During a test chat on a weekday morning, we were able to connect to an agent in less than 30 seconds. Our questions were promptly answered, definitely a good sign.

There is also a service e-mail address and a fax number. The brokerage firm has one physical location in Carmel, New York, which is about an hour and a half from Manhattan.

In the future, we hope to see a chatbot added to the broker’s website, which could be used when the human chat service is unavailable.


Banking Features


SpeedTrader Banking Rating

Although customer service wasn’t spectacular, cash management is much worse. SpeedTrader doesn’t provide a debit card or checks with its accounts. When you need to move money, ACH and wire service are available, though.


ETF's


SpeedTrader ETF Rating

If you’re interested in exchange-traded funds, SpeedTrader offers all US-listed products. However, the broker-dealer does not have a list of commission-free ETF’s; and this puts it at a pretty significant disadvantage here. Furthermore, we did not find much in terms of ETF resources, such as articles or videos on ETF basics, which are available at other brokers.


Other Investment Vehicles


SpeedTrader Investments Rating

SpeedTrader emphasizes day trading of equities. Thus, it does not offer bonds, futures, or forex. More significantly for some investors will be the lack of mutual funds. Options are available.


SpeedTrader Commissions, Fees, and Account Requirements


SpeedTrader Fees Rating

There are two pricing schedules at SpeedTrader: a per-trade plan and a per-share schedule. There are also two clearing firms available: COR Clearing and ETC Clearing.

Under the per-trade system, equity trades are $4.49 each. ETC Clearing charges a $30 quarterly inactivity fee, which can be avoided by trading at least 50,000 shares in NMS or listed securities. COR Clearing charges the same fee, although to avoid it you need 15 trades per quarter.

Per-share pricing differs depending on which clearing firm you sign up with. For accounts above $25,000, COR Clearing charges 0.44¢ per share for equity trades. There is a $1.99 minimum commission. If your account falls below $25,000, trades are charged at a flat $6.95. COR offers discounted rates for accounts that place more than 400 trades in a month.

ETC Clearing has a tiered commission schedule. It begins at 0.4¢ per share for accounts that do less than 250,000 shares per month. The commission begins dropping after this point and reaches 0.1¢ per share at 15,000,000 shares. The minimum commission is $2.

Options at SpeedTrader are available with COR. The commission is 40¢ per contract.

There is a $30,000 minimum deposit requirement to open an account at SpeedTrader.

On top of the commissions and fees, SpeedTrader charges for software. We’ll look at those prices in the trading tools section.


IRAs


SpeedTrader IRA Rating

Because of SpeedTrader’s emphasis on day trading, the broker-dealer does not offer any retirement accounts.


Investment Advice


SpeedTrader Investing Rating

Besides its failure to provide IRA’s, SpeedTrader fails to offer any portfolio management. A robo-advisory service would be a welcome addition.


Trading Tools


SpeedTrader Trading Rating

SpeedTrader offers three trading platforms (in addition to a mobile app). Here’s the results of our testing:


ActiveWeb

The simplest platform SpeedTrader offers is a browser-based system created by DAS. SpeedTrader calls it ActiveWeb. The software offers watchlists, positions information (including average price paid and unrealized profit or loss), option chains, streaming news, Level I (not Level II) data, and real-time charting.


SpeedTrader Review


ActiveWeb works within any browser, and it can be used in a multi-screen mode. Traders who use multiple tools at the same time would benefit from this feature. There is a unique feature on the platform that allows customers to send messages to each other simply by entering their User ID and typing in a message.

Another nice feature that ActiveWeb offers is the ability to send orders to a specific venue. Although the platform is rather simple, this is an advanced feature that will appeal to day traders and other active equity traders.

In the middle of the screen sits a section with a series of tabs, one of which is order status. Here, we could see the time an order was sent and which specific ECN or market maker received the order. Other pieces of information, such as quantity and order type, are also displayed.

One part of the software we didn’t like was the lack of multi-leg strategies under the option chains tab. There are calls and puts only. ActiveWeb shows bid, ask, last, and volume. These are rather basic pieces of information, although we should only expect so much from a browser-based platform.

As for news, the program offers the ability to look for articles by typing in a ticker symbol. A dedicated news tab displays current articles that are trending for the day. There is also a Twitter feed that tells you what other investors are thinking about a particular stock, although we think this is not the best way to do security research.

Charting comes with only two display choices: candlestick or price line. Moving average is the only technical indicator available, and there are no comparisons, either. Furthermore, we couldn’t find company events. The software does not offer the ability to blow up a graph full screen.

One feature we did like in the charting program is a small pop-up window that is displayed when we moused over a chart. Data included volume and OHLC. A chart can be downloaded or printed, another nice characteristic.

Finally, in the right-hand column of the platform sits a quick overview of any entered ticker symbol. Information displayed includes the market a security trades on, the 52-week range, and the bid-ask spread. A small chart sits underneath this, and there’s also time & sales data shown.

SpeedTrader charges $25 per month for using ActiveWeb. If you can reach $199 in commissions for the month, the fee is waived. Data for options costs $15 and pink sheets are $20.


SpeedTrader Pro

SpeedTrader has two desktop platforms. The first one we’re going to look at is also built by DAS. With this brokerage firm, the software is called SpeedTrader Pro.


SpeedTrader Pro Review


This platform comes with Level I or II information, which is a step up from the browser platform. Orders can be placed straight from the Level II window, which makes trading quick and easy.

SpeedTrader Pro also comes with point-and-click trading, hot keys, and technical indicators within its charting program. We found over 100 pre-programmed functions for hot keys. We also liked the ability to custom-build a layout and save it and use it later.

The brokerage firm pledges “fast trade executions” with the software; so we suspect the program is faster than its browser cousin.

Something that professional traders might benefit from is multi-account management. SpeedTrader Pro offers access to multiple accounts with just one login.

A chart in SpeedTrader Pro can be detached and expanded the width of the monitor. We definitely liked this better than ActiveWeb. There are more technical indicators as well.

This robust software program of course costs more than ActiveWeb. The price is $49 per month if you choose Level I data and $104 if you go with Level II. The $49 fee is waived with $199 in commissions, and the $104 fee can be circumvented with $499 in commissions. Pink sheet and option data are the same price as ActiveWeb, and other data packages are available but carry price tags.


SpeedTrader Elite

Now we come to SpeedTrader Elite. This very advanced desktop program is simply Sterling Trader Pro with SpeedTrader’s logo on it. The software offers API access (either ActiveX or FIX) for clients who want to use their own self-created software programs. This is SpeedTrader’s only trading platform with this capability.


SpeedTrader Elite Review


Also on tap is basket trading. It’s possible to create, manage, and trade multiple orders within a single order ticket. This would definitely benefit professional and high-volume traders.

Like SpeedTrader Pro, this platform offers customizable hot keys and option chains. One advantage we found with Elite was Greeks. Option traders who need Greek calculations will definitely want to use Elite instead of Pro.

Elite also comes with real-time security scanners and market news. Alerts can be customized. As with Pro, direct-order routing is a standard feature.

As for the price, Elite comes in at the most expensive: it’s $120 per month. The charge is waived for clients who generate at least $700 in monthly commissions. There are many data packages for this platform as well. The cost ranges from $2.00 up to $100, depending on the exact package chosen.


Mobile App


SpeedTrader App Rating

SpeedTrader clients who don’t have access to a laptop or PC can buy and sell securities using the broker’s mobile app. This one is again courtesy of DAS. The platform offers real-time Level II data, a feature not very common on mobile platforms. Market news is available (from Yahoo), and so are option chains. The platform also has advanced charting with technical studies and multiple timeframes. A trade button appears on a chart for quick order entry. Watchlists are on tap as well; the day’s change is shown along with last trade price.


SpeedTrader App Review


A portfolio section displays the securities held in an account. Average cost is shown along with unrealized profit (in green) or loss (in red). An accounts section shows buying power, overnight buying power, and total unrealized profit or loss on the account.


Shorting Stocks


SpeedTrader Stocks Rating

Because SpeedTrader caters to experienced investors, shorting stocks of course is on the menu. A nice short locate tool is available on the broker’s website. It can be found (without having to login) by going to the top menu, clicking on ‘Resources,’ and selecting ‘Short List’ from the drop-down menu.


Review of SpeedTrader


When we did our own testing with this feature, we found different answers for COR and ETC Clearing firms. For example, Tesla was labeled easy to borrow at ETC, while the same stock was hard to borrow from COR.

The DasTraderPro platform has a short locate feature. The day’s file is loaded at 8 o’clock in the morning. The browser-based platform has another service called the Corelli Locate system. This feature displays the cost of shorting these equities. If you like the price, you simply send a message to SpeedTrader and the requested shares will be loaded into the desktop platform. There are nearly 5,000 stocks on the broker’s short list.


Investment Education and Security Research


SpeedTrader Research Rating

SpeedTrader’s emphasis is on active trading by experienced investors. As such, the brokerage firm does not offer a lot of educational resources. We did find a blog on the SpeedTrader website. A recent post covered the basics of clearing firms and their importance. Graphics are included in the posts, which make them a little more user-friendly.


SpeedTrader Reviews


In the right-hand column of the screen, there is a list of categories, which makes finding specific types of articles a little easier. We found articles on chart patterns, swing trading, and fundamental analysis.

We also found articles on the basics of ETF and option trading. While most of the broker’s customers will be experienced traders, these could be useful as a refresher or review.

There’s also a weekly SpeedTrader newsletter, and you don’t need to be an account holder to receive this. A convenient link on the broker’s website makes signing up a breeze.

We also found helpful videos that explain how to use the broker’s platforms. Topics that are covered include how to use trigger orders, how to trade from a Level II window, how to use buy stop orders, and how to save and load a chart. Most of the videos are just a few minutes long and can be found on YouTube. What we didn’t like about them is that they are all in standard definition.

For longer sessions, SpeedTrader hosts webinars. We did not find an upcoming one, but we did find on-demand videos of previous sessions. Some of these lasted around an hour. We found topics on trading with artificial intelligence and how to use short squeezes.

The platforms SpeedTrader offers provide news articles, but they don’t have a live stream of business or financial news, such as Bloomberg or CNBC. We also didn’t find third-party equity reports, which some investors will definitely want.

One final note: SpeedTrader offers a trial demo of its Pro platform. This is a great opportunity to practice the software and learn as much as possible without risking real dollars.


Comparison


SpeedTrader Comparison Rating

SpeedTrader’s flat $4.49 commission isn’t that competitive when compared to other online brokerage firms. Fidelity and Schwab are at $4.95; and they don’t charge quarterly account fees or require any minimum deposit amount. Firstrade charges $0 for stock, ETF, options and mutual fund trades.

Moving to SpeedTrader’s per-share plan, the broker-dealer looks much better. TradeStation charges between 1¢ and 0.6¢ per share, which is quite a bit higher than SpeedTrader. TradeStation also charges for its software; although its per-share schedule only has a $1 minimum commission.

SpeedTrader’s lack of commission-free ETF’s puts it at a major disadvantage when pitted against Vanguard and Firstrade, both of whom offer more than 1,000. When compared against brokers with advanced trading tools like TD Ameritrade, it still underperforms. TD Ameritrade has more than 300 commission-free ETF’s.

One of SpeedTrader’s major day-trading rivals, Lightspeed, offers access to the futures markets. Lightspeed also provides one extra platform than SpeedTrader. It too offers a per-trade commission schedule, but the commission decreases for high-volume traders, reaching just $2.50 after 10,000 trades in a month.


Recommendation


Although we were impressed by SpeedTrader’s commission schedules, we cannot recommend the broker for new investors due to lack of 24/7 customer service and an insufficient level of learning materials.

We can endorse SpeedTrader for active and day traders due to the broker’s advanced tools and decent commission schedule. But for day traders there are better options available.

With a $30,000 minimum opening deposit requirement, we obviously won’t suggest this broker for small accounts. For equally obvious reasons, we cannot recommend SpeedTrader for retirement savers or mutual fund investors.


SpeedTrader Review Summary


To summarize this review, SpeedTrader is a decent option for day traders. Other investors will find the brokerage firm hard to justify due to its minimum opening deposit requirement and lack of financial products.


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SpeedTrader reviewed by Brokerage-Review.com on . Rating: 2