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Tradestation Options Trading Review and Cost

Tradestation options cost, trading fees and commissions, platform review, trader level 2 quotes.

Overview of Trading Options at TradeStation

Investors at TradeStation who want to buy and sell option contracts have some excellent trading tools available to them. While the broker’s technology does carry fees on some commission schedules, trading tools are free on other plans. Let’s take a look at resources available to option traders at this brokerage house.


There are two commission schedules for option traders. One is a per-contract plan, while the other is a per-trade plan. As the names imply, the commission charged is either based on the trade, or the number of contracts.

Under the per-trade plan, the broker charges 50¢ per contract plus a flat fee of $5. This plan charges nothing for TradeStation’s advanced software. Real-time data is also free. A multiple leg order is assessed just one base charge.

Under the per-contract schedule, the broker charges $1 per contract with no base charge. With a minimum of just one contract per trade, this plan would be ideal for investors who place low-volume trades. However, the broker’s desktop trading software costs $99.95 per month in the per-share plan; although the fee can be waived with 50 option trades per month or a $100,000 balance.

A per-trade account at TradeStation does carry a $50 annual fee. This charge can be waived by maintaining a $2,000 account balance or placing 5 equity or option trades per year. The per-share plan has no account fee other than some software fees. OptionStation Pro®, the broker’s advanced derivative analysis tool, is free in both commission schedules (see all Tradestation fees).

Options on the TradeStation Mobile App

Derivative trading is possible on the broker’s mobile app, which is compatible with Apple and Android devices. The software can display not just calls and puts, but many different spread types. These include such strategies as butterflies, straddles, collars, and diagonals. For the spread plays, the app has an feature that allows the user to choose a spread amount in dollars.

There are many columns that display a variety of data, such as implied volatility, bid and ask prices, volume, and strikes. The chart can be rotated horizontally on an iPhone 5, but doing so causes the data to be unviewable. Larger devices may not experience this problem.

Tapping on a bid or ask price produces a trade setup. You still need to tap on the ‘Trade’ button to reach the order form. It includes many choices for setting up the order. These include not just limit and market orders, but also stop choices. There are several routing and duration choices as well. The quantity of contracts can easily be adjusted using convenient plus and minus buttons.

Alerts can also be sent to TradeStation’s smartwatch platform, which is compatible with Apple Watch.

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Trading Derivatives on the Broker’s Simple Platform

Besides mobile trading, TradeStation also offers a really nice and simple computer trading system that operates within a browsing window. Besides stock trading and account information, the software offers option chains and spreads. Trading is similar to trading on the broker’s mobile app, although there are more column options than the app offers.

Clicking on a bid or ask price in the list of option contracts generates an order ticket that appears at the top of the window. Here, a number of variables can be adjusted. At the bottom of the ticket, quantity can be changed, for example, along with duration, routing, and order type. The same choices that the mobile app offers are here as well.

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Trading Option Contracts on the Desktop Platform

TradeStation’s most advanced investment software is its desktop platform. As already mentioned, OptionStation Pro® is available on it at no cost. To open it, you just need to click on the ‘TradingApps’ tab on the left-hand side of the desktop platform, and then select the option software. It will open in an independent window. Derivative orders can be submitted on OptionStation Pro, or at the top of the platform window.

The desktop platform has more routing and duration choices than the mobile app, OptionStation Pro, and the browser platform.

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Option Research and Education

All three programs at TradeStation—the app, browser platform, and desktop system—have simulated versions where users can practice trading without any worries about losing real money. This service would be ideal for new option traders who need more experience with derivatives.

The broker’s website doesn’t have a lot of materials on it. There is a section that hosts trading videos, and some of these cover options. There is also a customer forum where traders can discuss financial topics, but it’s not very active.

OptionStation Pro has very advanced search tools that can scan the derivative markets to look for possible option trades. An analysis tool graphically shows various option metrics, such as delta, theta, and rho. Option chains are available in call/put format and spread format. The software has the ability to display spreads as short positions, a unique feature.


TradeStation (account review) offers derivative investors a lot of helpful features. While educational materials are on the slim side, the broker’s pricing schedule is more competitive than at other firms.

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