ZacksTrade rating

ZacksTrade Review


ZacksTrade Pricing and Minimum Deposit


InvestmentsCommissions
Stocks and ETFs $0.01 per share with $3 minimum
Stocks and ETFs (less than $1 per share) 1% of trade value with $3 minimum
Options $3 for first contract + $0.75 per additional
Options exercise/assignment fee free
Mutual funds $27.50
Corporate and municipal bonds 0.1% * face value + $3 per bond if <= $10,000 face value; 0.025% * face value + $3 per bond if > $10,000 face value
Treasuries (bills, notes, bonds) 0.025% * face value + $3 per bond if <= $1,000,000 face value; 0.005% * face value + $3 per bond if > $1,000,000 face value

Investments stocks, options, mutual funds, ETFs, bonds
ZacksTrade minimum deposit to open account $2,500
FeesZacksTrade fees
Promotion link ZacksTrade promotions


Overview of ZacksTrade


Led by Len Zacks, the same founder of the famous Zacks Investment Research, Zacks Trade is an online discount broker that provides a wide range of financial products plus access to global exchanges. In this 2018 Zacks Trade review we're going to take an in-depth look under the hood and see how the brokerage firm stacks up against its competition.


Mutual Funds


Zacks Trade Mutual Funds Rating

We contacted ZacksTrade to find out how many mutual funds the broker-dealer offers its clients. We couldn't get an exact number. We were told they offer around 50-75 fund families. This is a very good figure, and it includes Fidelity and Vanguard. On the downside, every fund has a transaction fee at Zacks. The charge is $27.50. There is no surcharge for broker-assisted mutual fund trades, a very rare service in the industry.


ETF's


Zacks Trade ETF Rating

ETF traders will be glad to know that ZacksTrade offers all exchange-traded funds in the US investment space. As we'll see in another section, the brokerage firm also offers many foreign ETF's. We weren't able to find a lot of ETF resources, such as educational materials; Zacks customers do get free ETF research from Alta Vista and ETFguide. The broker's desktop platform does offer a few ETF tools.

ZacksTrade does not have a list of commission-free ETF's. However, their pricing on trading ETF's is one of the best in the industry.


Customer Support


Zacks Trade Customer Rating

It's possible to reach a ZacksTrade associate between the hours of 9 am and 6 pm, EST, Monday through Friday. The brokerage house is closed on the weekend and on market holidays.

Besides phone support, the broker also has an online chat feature and Facebook and Twitter accounts. The social media sites aren't very active. During a test chat we did, the broker didn't have any agents available during normal business hours. When we were able to reach someone, they didn't always have an answer to our question. If Zacks is going to offer these contact channels, it needs to support them.

The ZacksTrade website has an extensive account management section where it's possible to perform a variety of functions, such as link an external bank account, change your password, or update an address. There is also a FAQ section on the website that answers many account management questions. Unfortunately, ZacksTrade doesn't have any branch locations.


ZacksTrade Commissions, Fees, and Account Requirements


Zacks Trade Fees Rating

The broker starts off this section with zero account fees. There is no annual fee or any charge for a low balance or inactivity. The broker-dealer does require a $2,500 deposit to open a securities account.

Equity transactions cost 1¢ per share with a $3 minimum. The stock or ETF price must be at least $1 to qualify for this rate. Penny stocks cost 1% of trade value with the same $3 minimum. Amazingly, there is no additional charge for using a live broker to submit an order.

For options, ZacksTrade charges $3 for the first contract and 75¢ for each additional derivative. A great feature we really liked about ZacksTrade is that the broker charges absolutely nothing for option exercises and assignments.

Bonds are available at Zacks, and they cost 0.1% of face value plus $3 per individual bond. After reaching $10,000 of face value, the rate goes down to 0.025%. These prices are for corporate debt. U.S. Treasuries cost 0.025% of face value for the first million dollars; after reaching that level, the price drops to 0.005%. The same $3 per-bond charge is applied.

As already mentioned, ZacksTrade offers access to international markets. Trades can be placed on a range of national exchanges. For example, Canadian stocks cost $0.02 CAD per share with a $4.50 CAD minimum. Canadian penny stocks can be traded at 1% of trade value.

British stocks are 0.3% of trade value with a £12 minimum per order. Stocks on EU exchanges have the same pricing except that instead of pounds, you'll be looking at euros.

Moving to Asia, the same 0.3% price remains. In Hong Kong, the minimum commission is $120 HKD; in Japan it is ¥1200; in Australia it's $16 AUD; and in Singapore it is $20 SGD.

ZacksTrade doesn't charge a dime for its software. However, the broker does charge for data, and we found the prices to be rather steep. For example, U.S. stock and futures data cost $10 per month. This charge will be waived if you trade 20,000 shares of stock or 55 option contracts per month. Data from NYSE and Nasdaq costs anywhere from $1 per month up to $25, depending on the specific package you need. Bond data is free. Data on foreign exchanges also comes with fees. Professional traders face steep prices on both domestic and foreign exchanges.

Sticking with its budget model, ZacksTrade has very low margin rates. At the high end of the scale, the APR is 5.69%, and at this rate, you can borrow up to $100,000. The rate goes down from there, reaching a bottom at 4.3%, although you have to borrow at least $3,000,000 to reach that point.

In exchange for its low fees, ZacksTrade has one obnoxious charge: every ACH after one in the month costs $1. Making a withdrawal by paper check or wire won't circumvent the charge because these actions carry fees, too ($4 and $10).


ZacksTrade Promotion




IRAs


Zacks Trade IRA Rating

ZacksTrade has IRA's, and they carry zero fees, just as the broker's taxable accounts do. Traditional and Roth varieties are available, and it's also possible to roll over an employer's retirement account into a Zacks IRA. We were disappointed to discover that SEP and SIMPLE accounts aren't offered, and we couldn't find any information on solo 401(k)'s, another disappointment.


Trading Tools


Zacks Trade Trading Tools Rating

Website

Now we come to ZacksTrade's software. The website itself is used for account management. It doesn't offer any trading capacity, even in very simple form.


Zacks Trade Review: Website


Browser Platform

For trading, Zacks offers a simple browser-based platform called ZacksTrader. We call it simple because it is easier to use than the desktop software we're going to look at momentarily; but ZacksTrader still has a lot of useful tools.


Zacks Trader Review


The platform is divided into two sections. The top has several tabs. These include Market, Account, Options, Products, Scanner, Market Pulse, Search, and Zacks Research. The Market tab doesn't present much information about the markets. It is actually a watch list of various assets. These include not just stocks, but also futures and currencies. There is a default list and it's possible to create your own.

The Account tab shows buying power, maintenance margin, and other data points of the account. It is divided into securities and commodities, which is strange because Zacks doesn't offer futures trading.

Clicking on the Options tab produces an option chain for any entered ticker symbol. Unfortunately, only calls and puts are available on this screen. We did like the fact that the columns in the chain can be deleted and new ones added. For example, we were able to get rid of ‘% change' and replace it with ‘exchange.' When we clicked on a bid or ask price of a specific contract we were able to create an order ticket from a drop-down menu, and this included multi-leg strategies.

Up next is the Product tab. Here, there is a small chart of a single ticker symbol. We were disappointed in the functionality of this simple graph. We found no technical indicators, drawing tools, or comparisons.


Zacks Trade Review: Website


Next is Market Pulse. This is similar to a heat map. It shows red and green bars of equities, sovereign debt, and currencies. Unfortunately, the bars don't always show enough information to know what they represent. For example, the U.S. bar for equities doesn't specify which index it refers to.


ZacksTrade Market Pulse


Now we come to the bottom portion, which is where the order ticket sits. While we weren't overly impressed with the top section, the order ticket did have some advanced features. Several tabs allow for the trading of many different products. A mutual fund tab permits the trading of mutual funds, for example. The stock tab has several order types, including market on close, trailing, and stop limit.

Desktop Platform

When we opened ZacksTrade Pro, the company's desktop platform, the first thing we noticed is that it has the same interface as Interactive Brokers' platform Trader Workstation. In the upper-left sits the order ticket. Here, there is a variety of inputs, such as time-in-force, order type, and quantity. These all can be adjusted. The advanced tab allows for order routing.

In the upper-right of the trading ticket is a drop-down menu that presents more choices. One of these is Market Depth, which is pretty similar to Level II quotes. It presents bid and ask prices along with their sizes.


Zacks Trade Desktop Review


Another selection in this menu is option chains. Choosing this produces a discrete window where derivatives are shown along with a strategy builder at the bottom of the window. Clicking on a bid or ask price on a particular contract will send the security down to the strategy builder at the bottom. A small payoff chart shows the maximum profit and loss. The option order can then be submitted using many order types.


Zacks Trade Options Trading Review


Underneath the order ticket appears a small chart. This can be expanded full screen for better analysis. Once we blew it up, we noticed two icons. These increase and decrease the width of the price candlesticks, a nice feature not found on most platforms.


Zacks Trade Charting Review


A variety of technical indicators and drawing tools can be added to a chart. These include lines, arrows, volume oscillator, and Fibonacci tools. A crosshair can be turned on or off, and commentary can be added to a chart.

On the right-hand side of the desktop trading environment is a selection of US movers. Stocks are sorted by largest gainers and losers, which are coded in red and green. Below this section sits a list of Zacks reports, a nice benefit that's free of charge.


Mobile App


Zacks Trade App Rating

For busy traders, ZacksTrade offers a mobile platform. The phone app has this annoying name—Handy Trader—while the tablet app is named TabletTrader. The phone platform offers direct access routing, one of the few mobile platforms to do so. It also comes with charting and real-time streaming quotes. Besides options and equities, bonds and mutual funds can also be traded.


ZacksTrade Mobile App Review


Price alerts can be set up; these come with e-mail notification. Watchlists are integrated. If the phone rings while using the app, you can answer the call, and then go back to the app without having to log back in.


ZacksTrade TableTrader Review


TabletTrader has the same features as the phone platform, but with more room. There is also an app for Apple Watch.


Investment Education and Stock Research


ZacksTrade Research Rating

The brokerage firm has a few resources for its trading platforms. It also has materials from a wide variety of investment companies. These of course include Zacks Investment Research. Other sources of information include Briefing.com, AcessWire, 24/7 Wall Street, Interactive Brokers, Morningstar, Seeking Alpha, Market Realist, TipRanks, Thomson Reuters, and the Motley Fool. What we really liked about this list is that they are all free even for professional traders. There are some premium news services, such as Dow Jones, that do come with monthly fees.

On the desktop platform, there is a stock screener. It is not very user friendly and doesn't have a lot of search criteria that can be implemented. We were much more impressed with the fixed-income screener, which has many search variables. Other useful tools include a market scanner, short interest data, and a dividend calendar. One research feature we really liked on the desktop platform was free Zacks reports. Bloomberg TV is also available.


International Brokerage Accounts


ZacksTrade offers a brokerage account to investors who aren’t permanent residents or citizens of the U.S. and don’t have a Social Security number or tax ID number. Residents of some countries are not eligible: Canada and Japan.


Comparison


Now we come to the ultimate examination, which is the comparison to ZacksTrade's rivals. We were disappointed in the ZacksTrade website. It doesn't have any trading capability, which underperforms compared to Fidelity, Schwab, and TD Ameritrade. These three firms offer desktop platforms plus website trading.

In terms of pricing, ZacksTrade offers lower commissions for small or medium-sized orders - up to 500 shares which is what most people trade. Trades above 500 shares will be cheaper at Zacks' rivals. Firstrade actually has a flat $0 commission.

The same situation exists for option orders; small orders will be cheaper at ZacksTrade, but large orders will be more expensive. ZacksTrade is the only brokerage firm we know of that doesn't charge for exercises and assignments, one nice advantage.

ZacksTrade and Interactive Brokers also the only brokers we know of that charge for ACH withdrawals, a real disappointment if you plan to make more than one withdrawal per month.


Recommendation


We cannot recommend ZacksTrade for beginner investors. The broker-dealer simply doesn't have enough educational resources to help these people. The lack of 24/7 customer service is another lapse that just won't work. The broker's software is also difficult to learn.

ZacksTrade also would not be an ideal broker for small accounts because there is a $2,500 minimum deposit requirement. Other companies have lower thresholds.

Moving on to mutual funds, we once again don't recommend ZacksTrade. The broker has little emphasis on these products.

We do recommend the brokerage house for active traders who place a lot of trades under 495 shares - which is most of us. Also, anyone who wants to use margin will find this broker hard to beat.

ZacksTrade's low pricing and ability to trade many products make it one of the best companies for trading in IRA account.

We do recommend ZacksTrade for bond traders due to the broker's transparent pricing and good fixed-income search tools. And investors who need access to global markets will be really well served here.


Awards





ZacksTrade Review Summary


Zacks has a good name in the investment world due to its extensive research library. In our 2018 review of ZacksTrade brokerage services, the firm showed great value especially for active traders, international investors, and anyone who wants to actively trade on their IRA account.


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ZacksTrade reviewed by Brokerage-Review.com on . Rating: 4