TradeStation Review 2018 – Navigate the markets

TradeStation is one of the biggest and best-known online brokers, so it should be reviewed here, with the aim of providing the basic information for interested traders.

Unfortunately this is a provider whose website contains no information at all about the company – something that is rare indeed. It does not make for a positive first impression, as users are keen to know more about the company and the people behind it.

Information about how long a company has been in business is helpful as well, as it is a mark about the professional experience involved.

What does TradeStation offer?

TradeStation presents itself as a destination for day trading ​stocks, options, ETFs and futures.  They promise that due to their service, traders will never leave any promising trade behind and will never miss any trading opportunity with high potential. 

To this end they offer their user friendly tools for finding the best trading ideas and making well informed decisions.

These tools may be individually adjusted to fit with users’ preferences and TradeStation seems convinced that these tools, though not mentioned in detail, will give anyone the power to become their own boss.

​One point in favour may be found. TradeStation's historic data base enables traders o test their trade ideas before executing them. Does this really work? And what does TradeStation offer in detail? We shall try to find out and give you a general overview about this online broker and their services below.

TradeStation - new website

TradeStation - new website

Layout and user-friendliness of the TradeStation website

Checking out the website of this provider – with their claims of user-friendliness – one has to say that there is simply too much not easily found. Using the search function one returns to the starting point time and again.

Trying to investigate more closely cost a lost of time without producing much result. The structure of this website does not impress.

For those who want to give it a try, TradeStation offers the choice between professional trading and part-time activity. Experts may be able to deal with this platform easily, but for beginners it does not seem recommendable.

The desktop is presented as “outstanding” and “award winning”, but users will search in vain for a list of these rewards. There is only one review of the Barron's magazine published in 2017 with high scores for products and services. But is the score in a review truly an award?

​TradeStation's description of the desktop as a perfectly tuned race car as far as power, flexibility and speed are concerned is rather quaint. They do promise the tools needed for successful trading, like scanning the market, the means for an extremely fast trade execution, customizable charts, a well organized order management and automated trading strategies. All this is meant for professionals.

Data and Execution

Regarding the data and the execution, TradeStation promises an impressing infrastructure, advanced market data and an innovative execution technology for speed, agility and reliability. They mention a big amount of historical data enabling users to research and to back-test trading ideas without any risk before starting for real and with much more confidence and information. But what is TradeStation offering and providing in detail? Let's explain this below.

TradeStation – Products, costs and tools

The platform conveys the idea that TradeStation wants users to think big and to trade smart. They offer their user friendly tools to assist in turning trade ideas into reality and in achieving personal goals.

Unfortunately there is no description of these tools on the platform. Users have to sign in to check them out and to see how and if they are working.

Educational Resources

To make up for this disadvantage, TradeStation offers free training opportunities providing beginners, advanced traders and all traders with free information about trading technology and about the execution of trades. In this section users can choose the topics they are interested in to sign in to them.

There is a short introduction of the 12 professors holding pre-market briefings every morning. This helps to stay informed with all of the latest news and predictions. Besides, there is also the opportunity to read older parts of the lessons one may have missed.

In addition, users may register for upcoming live teaching events of their choice. All that is needed for registration is a user’s personal data.

​What is convincing is that TradeStation calls your brain your best investment stating that an expanded market knowledge and improved trading skills are the key to more success.

After deciding to sign in there is a choice between 5 different account types:

  • Individual - a personal account in the name of the person who signs in
  • Joint - an account being owned by two or more persons that includes two different options just in case that one of these persons dies
  • ​IRA - with four different options for retirement accounts or a retirement plan
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    Entity - an account for U.S. business entities with the following options: corporate, general partnership, limited partnership, trust, limited liability company and sole proprietorship
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    Custodial - an individual account for the benefit of a minor below the age of 18 or 21 (depending on the state of residence and the applicable laws) that is managed by an adult

The platform provides more details about the rules for these types of accounts to help users make the right decision.

Funding and Account

TradeStation offers several ways for funding an account. Among them are wire transfer, check deposit and electronic transfer (ACAT). The matching options are shown after choosing the type of account.

For stock and for options accounts TradeStation requires the initial funding of $ 500 for cash and of $ 2,000 for margin.

For futures and for futures options accounts TradeStation requires the initial funding of $ 5,000.

Costs and Fees

Now let's see what the service costs. TradeStation promises to make the price simple and transparent.

In general, there are the following fees:

  • ​Stocks: $ 5 per trade
  • ​Options: $ 0.50 per contract plus $ 5 per trade
  • ​Futures: $ 1.50 per contract, per side

All this includes the free use of the software, free market data and free premium tools, but one should check the platform for further details as TradeStation encourages users to do this.

TradeStation - simple pricing options

TradeStation - simple pricing options

Going into the details, one will find the following prices:

Stocks and ETFs:

$ 5 per trade including free software, free premium tools and free real-time data

Further pricing options:

Per share: This may be interesting for those who trade frequently in small blocks as it could save costs with per-share payments starting at $ 0.01 per share.

Unbundled: This option enables high volume traders to get execution rebates cutting their cost down to $ 0.002 per share while they may participate in liquidity rebates.


$0.50 per contract plus $ 5 per trade including free software, free premium tools and free real-time data

Further pricing options:
Per contract:
Those trading in small blocks may save with $ 1.00 per contract with no base/ticket charge. The minimum for this option is one contract market or limit.


$ 1.50 per contract, per side including free software, free premium tools and free real-time data. One should be aware of the possible exchange execution and clearing fees and the futures margin rates.

Further pricing options:
Tiered Plan: Here the price per contract, per side depends on the number of monthly contracts. All details on the platform.

Futures+ and platform (for futures options trades):
$ 1.50 per contract, per side for futures options and futures contracts that are traded through the Futures+ platform.

At this point, please note the standard exchange, regulatory and overnight fees that may apply. We recommend contacting the customer service for more details

Mutual Funds:

$ 14.95 per trade with a choice between hundreds of funds out of 79 fund families.


$ 14.95 plus $ 5 per bond to trade government, corporate and municipal bonds.      

One may conclude that the costs are explained in a detailed and transparent way.

Tradestation ​Accessibility and Mobile Devices

Another important point is the possibility to get access to an account and to TradeStation web trading using any PC or Mac with an internet connection, with all features like at the personal desktop.

Additionally there is the mobile app working with all mobile devices and enabling traders to open their online account to watch quotes, to analyze charts, to check positions and to place orders – everything in real time, seven days a week and around the clock.

All products are available for download from TradeStation's TradingApp Store directly to the desktop platform and installed within seconds.

TradeStation - mobile app

TradeStation - mobile app

Customer Service

TradeStation offers different customer service options available at different times:​

  • The Trade Desk to place orders: For stocks and options:  from Monday to Thursday from 7.30 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. ET and on Friday from 7.30 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. ET
  • ​For futures: with a 24 hours-service from Sunday 5.00 p.m. ET to Friday 6.00 p.m. ET
  • The Client Service to answer questions: From Monday to Friday from 8.00 a.m. to 8.00 p.m. ET
  • The Technical Support: with a 24 hours-service from Sunday 3.30 p.m. ET to Friday 8.00 p.m. ET

Those who want to know more about the safety of their funds will find links to a personal message from the President of TradeStation on the website, explaining this and confirming again  the importance of the safety of client funds for the company.

​TradeStation review – ​a personal opinion

​To start with the positive points, it is commendable that TradeStation's offers the opportunity to use the historic data base to test trade ideas before starting trading for real.

Also the free training opportunities in the TradeStation University have a positive impact. All prices and fees are explained clearly and understandably.

One may consider it an advantage that TradeStation encourages users to check further details and find out if additional fees apply.

The different customer service departments can be reached during the most important times for trading, and it is one more plus that mobile trading is available wherever and whenever it is required using the app.



The navigation on this platform fails to impress when one searches for basic information instead of signing in to start with trading. Besides there is no information about TradeStation itself, its background, history and experience, and the mentioned awards.

To make matters worse there is no detailed information about the highly advanced tools that are promised. Those who want to find out if TradeStation is able to keep all the big promises have to give it a try.

To give an overview of the advantages and disadvantages 

  • ​well explained, transparent prices
  • ​opportunity to test trade ideas with historic data
  • ​free training offers in the TradeStation University
  • ​opportunity for unlimited mobile trading
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    customer service being available during the most important times
  • ​difficult, time consuming n​​​​avigation on this platform
  • ​total lack of information regarding the tools, the company itself and its background
  • ​no free trial
  • ​no detailed information about the mentioned awards and the safety of client funds
  • ​no testimonials to check what the users think about the service

In any case it is recommended to check out the site and find out if this online broker is worthy of consideration

Investopedia sums up the advantages stating “If you're an advanced trader or have a background in I.T., TradeStation offers unique advantages that few in the industry can replicate.

The brokerage provides a comprehensive suite of professional-grade tools, allowing you to scan the market for opportunities easily and efficiently. 

Tech-savvy users also have the unique opportunity to customize their own trading strategy through EasyLanguage, a programming language developed exclusively for TradeStation.

With EasyLanguage, you can build and customize your own set of analytical tools, tailored to your specific trading methodology.”