Trading Block rating

Trading Block Review

Trading Block Commissions, Fees, and Minimum Deposit

Stocks and ETFs $0.001 per share; $7.50 minimum
Options $7.50 + $0.75 per contract
Mutual funds $30
Bonds $1 per bond; $50 minimum

Investments stocks, options, mutual funds, bonds, ETFs
Trading Block minimum deposit to open account $2,000

Trading Block Review: Pros

  • No surcharges on penny stocks, large orders, or extended hours trades
  • 11,000 mutual funds are available

Trading Block Review: Cons

  • High commissions on stocks and ETFs if trading 800+ shares per order
  • $30 per year inactive account fee (if no trades in 12 months)
  • $45 annual IRA custodian fee
  • High margin interest rates
  • Not available on mobile devices
  • Few research amenities
  • Poor trading tools

Trading Block Review

Trading Block is a relatively new discount online brokerage firm that began providing its services in September of 2010. The company offers about average in the industry commissions: stocks and ETFs are $0.001 per share with $7.50 minimum per trade, and mutual funds are $30 per transaction. The firm does not have surcharges on penny stock, large-size, or extended hours orders (whereas the majority of online brokers have at least one of these additional fees). There is, however, a $30 per year inactivity fee if the user did not trade at least one time in that year. Cash and a margin accounts opening minimums are about average for discount online brokers at $2,000.

Trading Block charges a $45 annual custodian IRA fee, though there is no IRA setup fee. Because of this fee, the firm is not a good option for a free brokerage individual retirement account.

Every trading day TradingBlock sends to its clients four strategy ideas on top stocks and ETFs based on targets from guest market analysts. Also, the company offers weekly email update on upcoming education webcasts and events, latest site enhancements, new investor and trade services, and special offers.

To help investors protect gains in their equity portfolio against market volatility, TradingBlock offers Portfolio Hedger, a query-based tool that lets investors quickly create and rank protection strategies for nearly any stock or ETF in their portfolio. Clients choose one or more stocks or ETFs in their portfolio or watch list, and specify what type of protection they want based on two basic criteria: 1) how much downside risk they are willing to accept; and 2) how long they wish to maintain the protection.

Another helpful tool - TradeBuilder - quickly produces up to 40 stock and option strategies ranked by their probability of breakeven (or better) or their maximum profit opportunity. Additionally, TradingBlock offers Trade Analyzer system that can graph your position’s potential profit and loss to help you understand risk before you trade. You can change dates, prices and volatility to see how the trade may react under dynamic market conditions.

Trading Block has been ranked second from the bottom of the list in Barrons magazine annual broker survey (it was fourth from the bottom in prior year). It got very poor results in most categories, with truly horrible scores in Trading and Technology, Research Amenities, Portfolio Analysis and Reports, Customer Service and Education, and Costs categories.

In summary, Trading Block is a below average brokerage firm with not much to offer customers as of now. We recommend researching companies in our recommended brokerage firms list instead.

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Trading Block reviewed by Rating: 3

Trading Direct rating

Trading Direct Review

Trading Direct Commissions, Fees, and Minimum Deposit

Stocks and ETFs $10.95
Stock and ETFs Broker Assisted $19.95
A foreign stock trading fee of $80 (in addition to the normal commission) will be applied to executions of stocks dually listed on the NASDAQ Bulletin Board Foreign Market and foreign stock exchanges or markets. These stocks are indicated by 5 letter symbols which end in an “F”. Example ABCDF.
The online commission for stocks under $1 per share is $19.95, for up to 1 million shares.
Pre-Market and Post-Market eligible stock trade commissions are $19.95. For orders over 1000 shares, an additional fee of $0.003 per share will be passed through from the market center for liquidity takers.
Options $9.95 + $1 per contract with no minimum, $19.95 option assignment
Mutual funds $21.95
Bonds $35

Investments stocks, options, mutual funds, bonds, ETFs
Trading Direct minimum deposit to open account (cash, margin) ($500, $2,000)

Trading Direct Review: Pros

  • Only $500 initial deposit
  • Thousands of mutual funds are available
  • Low margin rates

Trading Direct Review: Cons

  • Extremely high stock, ETF, and options commissions
  • Extended hours trading and penny stock trades surcharges
  • $50 annual IRA maintenance fee
  • $60 annual inactivity fee (per account)
  • Poorly designed website and trading tools

Trading Direct Review

Trading Direct has some of the highest commissions among online brokers: $10.95 for stock and ETF trades, and $9.95 plus $1 per contract with no minimum for options trades. Mutual funds are much more reasonably priced at $21.95 per transaction.

Trading Direct offers thousands of open-end mutual funds. Company's minimum mutual fund purchase amount is $250, even if an individual fund has a lower stated minimum.

For short sales on stocks which are deemed ‘hard to borrow’, there may be interest-like fees (known in the industry as "negative rebates") associated with carrying the short position. This interest company accrues from settlement date of the short sale until settlement date of the buy-to-cover, and charges daily.

Trading Direct charges lots of fees: brokerage account inactivity fee, annual IRA fee, penny stocks and extended hours surcharges. Margin interest rates are quite low, but considering high commissions, the firm isn’t attractive to neither beginners nor experienced traders.

In summary, Trading Direct is just too expensive with way too many fees. Aside from low margin rates it has little to offer.

Trading Direct reviewed by Rating: 2