TradeStation Account Review: Brokerage Fees, IRA Investing, Pros and Cons, Mutual Fund Offerings

TradeStation Review - Pricing

  • Stocks and ETFs flat-rate plan: $5 per trade ($4 per trade for IRA accounts)
  • Stocks and ETFs per-share plan: $0.01 per share first 500 shares, $0.006 per share after that; $1.00 minimum per trade
  • Options: $5 + $0.50 per contract ($4 + $0.30 per contract for IRA accounts)
  • Futures: from $1.20 (1 to 300 monthly contracts) to $0.25 (20,000+ monthly contracts) per side, per contract + exchange, regulatory & overnight fees
  • Mutual funds: $14.95
  • Bonds: $14.95 + $5 per bond
  • T-Bills: $50

TradeStation Important Fees and Surcharges

  • Extended hours surcharge: $0
  • Penny stocks surcharge: $0
  • IRA setup fee: $0
  • Annual IRA fee: $0
  • Maintenance fee: $0
  • Inactivity fee: $50 annual fee if client makes less than 5 trades and average account balance is less than $2,000

TradeStation Advantages

  • Very low commissions, especially with per-share plan
  • Best direct-access trading platform
  • Fantastic charting tools
  • Trading modeling functionality
  • Virtual trading account
  • Large selection of investment products
  • Active online trader community

TradeStation Disadvantages

  • $50 annual fee if client makes less than 5 trades and average account balance is less than $2,000
  • Difficult to learn the trading platform
  • Minimum opening deposit is steep: $5,000 for non-day traders and $30,000 for day traders

TradeStation Account Types

  • Individual
  • Joint with Right of Survivorship
  • Joint as Tenants-in-Common
  • Traditional IRA
  • Roth IRA
  • Sep IRA
  • Corporate
  • General Partnership
  • Limited Partnership
  • Trust
  • Limited Liability Company
  • Sole Proprietorship

TradeStation Overview

TradeStation is an on-line brokerage firm catering to active traders, day traders, and professional investors. With an award-winning trading platform and a wide selection of investment products, this broker is well worth checking out.

New Account Setup

It takes less than 15 minutes to submit the broker's online account application. After submitting it, you have to wait for the application to be approved, which takes about 20 minutes. After establishing the account, the broker emails funding instructions. Several different funding methods are available, including wire transfer, mailing in a check, or moving securities from a different broker. TradeStation also offers ACH transfer. In order to establish ACH capability, customers need to print and fax a form along with a copy of their driver's license.

TradeStation Cost Of Trading

TradeStation offers two commission plans for trading stocks and ETFs: flat-rate and pay-per-share. Flat-rate commissions are $5 per stock or ETF trade for non-IRA accounts and $4 per trade for IRA's. The pay-per-share commission plan is very good for clients who trade a lower amount of shares: the first 500 shares are $0.01 per share, and $0.006 per share thereafter. There is a $1 minimum per trade.

Trading Tools

TradeStation's direct-access platform is one of the best in the industry. It offers all the sophisticated trading tools investors can expect to find in professional trading software. Equities, futures, options, and forex can all be traded from the platform.

TradeStation is one of the few online brokers that offers automated trading. The broker's back-testing software is very popular among futures traders. Order entry and execution are flawless. The platform is fully customizable.

One of the most valuable tools in the platform is the simulator, which allows users to try out their trading plans and ideas in a simulated scenario without putting real money on the line. Traders can create different custom trading strategies and back test them before placing an actual trade. Users can also follow market trends and plan strategies according to the trends. TradeStation delivers this through a comprehensive database, consisting of historical market data and analysis.

TradeStation Review

The platform has useful testing tools, powerful strategy creation, and custom-built analytics. It is very popular among futures traders because of excellent futures trading tools and low commissions ($1.20 to $0.25 per contract). The advanced trading platform is difficult to learn, and might be too complex for novice investors.

Sophisticated smartphone and tablet applications are available for Apple and Android. Users rated apps at 4.5 stars at iTunes and Google Play stores. TradeStation app clients can access core features of award-winning desktop platform and their TradeStation accounts in real time. They can set price and volume alerts or use their iPhone or iPad to chart, trade and monitor their portfolio on the go.

TradeStation review


Customers who open and fund a new TradeStation brokerage account are eligible to receive 20% off trading fees, up to $1,500. The account must have a minimum opening deposit of $5,000. Promotion link: Get $5 per trade stock and ETF commissions. $4 per trade for IRAs.


TradeStation has won numerous awards. For example, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance named TradeStation as “Best for Active Stock Traders”. Barron's gave TradeStation the highest rating for "Best for Frequent Traders" and "Best for International Traders" categories. The broker also received high ratings in six major categories in the Technical Analysis of Stocks and Commodities (TASC) Readers' Choice Awards. TASC readers voted TradeStation "Best Trading System for Stocks" and "Best Trading System for Futures". TradeStation has also won awards for "Best Institutional Platform", "Best Professional Platform", and "Best for Real-Time Data". For several years, we have rated TradeStation "Best for Futures Trading" and "Best for International Investors".

Alternative Investments

In addition to stocks and ETF's, TradeStation also offers options, mutual funds, fixed income, forex, futures, and over-the-counter stocks.

Brokerage Highlights

TradeStation offers webinars throughout the week to keep investors knowledgeable of market trends. For example, traders can take webinars on the futures market or a daily stock market session.


We recommend TradeStation for all customers who can avoid a $50 annual inactivity fee (simply having over $2,000 account will do it). The broker is a great value for active stock, options and futures traders. However, considering very few mutual funds choices, mutual fund investors should look elsewhere.

TradeStation Promotion Offer

Get $5 per trade stock and ETF commissions. $4 per trade for IRAs.

TradeStation Reviewed by on . Rating: 5
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