Tradestation vs M1 Finance


2022: M1 Finance versus Tradestation for online investing. Compare cost, brokerage fees, IRA accounts, and differences. Which firm is better?



Overview of M1 Finance vs Tradestation


M1 Finance and TradeStation are very different brokerage firms with completely different ideas on investment management. Be sure to take a look at the following comparison before opening an account at either firm.


Pricing


Broker Fees Stock/ETF
Commission
Mutual Fund
Commission
Options
Commission
Maintenance
Fee
Annual IRA
Fee
M1 Finance $0 na na $0 $0
Tradestation $0 $14.95 $0.50 per contract $0 $0


Promotions


M1 Finance: Up to $500 cash bonus for funding account at M1 Finance.

Tradestation: $150 cash bonus when you transfer funds into TradeStation.



Services


Broker Review Cost Investment Products Trading Tools Customer Service Research Overall Rating
M1 Finance
Tradestation


Available Investments


M1 Finance emphasizes long-term investing in Pies. These are collections of stocks, ETF’s, and closed-end funds listed on the major American exchanges. M1 Finance accounts are all self-directed, which means customers have to make their own trading decisions. M1 does, however, create some of its own Pies with themes like moderately aggressive and long-term bonds. Customers can create Pies by choosing their own underlying securities.

TradeStation’s accounts are also self-directed. There are no Pies, however. Instead, the broker-dealer offers trading in the following assets:

  • Cryptocurrencies
  • Bonds
  • Futures
  • Option contracts
  • Stocks (including both foreign and over-the-counter securities)
  • Mutual funds
  • Exchange-traded funds
  • Closed-end funds

Winner: TradeStation


Websites


The TradeStation website is composed of multiple parts. First up is the client center. This is strictly for account management functions like downloading statements. For actual trading, the broker offers a trading platform. Although it sits in a browsing window, it nevertheless has a lot of great features. These include charting with several graphing tools and a price ladder. A simulated trading mode makes practice really easy.


Tradestation vs M1


M1 Finance keeps things very simple with a website that delivers only basic charting (there are no tools of any kind) and no order ticket at all. Placing securities inside a Pie lets M1 Finance know that an order needs to be sent to the exchanges, and it’s M1 that sends orders.


M1 or Tradestation


Winner: TradeStation


Mobile Apps


The M1 Finance mobile app is just as simple as its website parent. Charting is very basic, and there is no order ticket.


TradeStation vs M1


The TradeStation mobile app is a different experience altogether. Charting has many tools, and the platform’s trade ticket has several advanced order types that even professionals will love.


TradeStation Review: Mobile


Winner: TradeStation


Desktop Platforms


In case its browser platform isn’t enough, TradeStation has an advanced desktop platform that delivers some really impressive features. These include high-level option tools, a strategy backtesting widget, a trading matrix, and simulated trading.





Due to M1 Finance’s emphasis on simplicity, it does not have a desktop program.

Winner: TradeStation


Trading on Margin


TradeStation clients can open margin accounts. The broker-dealer has a tiered interest rate schedule that starts at 9.5% and ends at 3.5%.

M1 Finance charges margin interest on a flat schedule. The rate is 5% for regular customers. M1 clients who sign up for a Plus membership get a 1.5% discount on the regular margin rate.

Winner: M1 Finance


M1 Finance


Swing and Day Trading


Shorting: TradeStation customers can short securities, and the broker has a short locate tool. Neither is true for M1 Finance.

Level II quotes: Security quotes with details on venue and bid and ask prices are available to TradeStation customers, but not M1 Finance customers.

Direct-access routing: Same story here.

Routing fees and rebates: Same story again.

Winner: TradeStation


Miscellaneous Services


Banking Tools: Only M1 Finance offers a free Visa debit card and early direct deposit.

Fractional-share Trading: It’s possible to trade stocks and ETF’s in whole dollars with an M1 Finance account (but not a TradeStation account).

IRA’s: M1 Finance customers can open SEP, traditional, and Roth IRA’s. TradeStation adds SIMPLE IRA’s to this list.

IPO Availability: Through a partnership with ClickIPO, TradeStation offers access to upcoming IPO’s and secondary offerings. M1 Finance has no such service.

Dividend Reinvestment Program: M1 Finance customers can enroll in dividend reinvesting. TradeStation customers cannot.

Extended Hours: TradeStation offers both after-hours and pre-market trading. M1 Finance does not.

Winner: Tie


Recommendations


Long-Term Investors and Retirement Savers: In addition to an extra IRA type, TradeStation also has target-date mutual funds. We endorse TradeStation.

Stock/ETF Trading: TradeStation is it.

Small Accounts: TradeStation continues to charge a $50 annual inactivity fee that requires a $2,000 account balance to avoid. We recommend M1 Finance.

Beginners: TradeStation is designed for sophisticated traders only. Novices should definitely go with M1 Finance.


Promotions


M1 Finance: Up to $500 cash bonus for funding account at M1 Finance.

Tradestation: $150 cash bonus when you transfer funds into TradeStation.



Tradestation vs M1 Finance - Judgment


Although M1 Finance does outperform its rival here in a few areas, TradeStation is clearly the better choice for active trading.



About the Author
Chad Morris is a financial writer with more than 20 years experience as both an English teacher and an avid trader. When he isn’t writing expert content for Brokerage-Review.com, Chad can usually be found managing his portfolio or building a new home computer.