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TradeStation® review 2023

Updated June 28, 2023
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TradeStation: Best for

  • Active trading
  • Trading platform
  • Options trading

TradeStation aims to attract active traders and offers many features that customers should enjoy. You’ll get low commissions on stock, ETF and options trades, along with an advanced trading platform that comes with a variety of different technical tools. But if you’re just starting out with investing, there are a number of drawbacks to TradeStation’s offering. You won’t be able to trade fractional shares and fees for mutual fund trades are high compared to industry leaders. There are also a handful of account fees to watch out for and its research resources are limited.

Active traders might also consider Interactive Brokers, which offers one of the best experiences for professional-minded traders. Those looking to trade on the go might check out Robinhood or Webull, which, like TradeStation, offers some crypto trading. For newer investors looking for a great all-around broker, Fidelity Investments and Charles Schwab are two of the best choices.

TradeStation: In the details

Broker logo
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Bankrate Score
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Accounts & Trading
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Research and Education
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Customer Experience
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
About Bankrate Score
Minimum Balance
Cost per stock trade
Cost per options trade
$0.60 per contract
Commission-free ETFs
No-transaction-fee mutual funds
Securities tradable
Stocks, options, futures, ETFs, mutual funds, bonds and cryptocurrency
Customer service
Phone, email and chat M-F 8 a.m.-5 p.m. ET; trade desk open longer hours with crypto desk open 24/7 and futures desk open 24/5
Account fees
$35 IRA annual account fee and $50 termination fee; $125 outgoing transfer fee; $50 inactivity fee; $100 per year crypto admin fee in IRAs
Mobile app
TradeStation offers the TradeStation Mobile app on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

Pros: Where TradeStation stands out

OptionsStation Pro

This well-regarded tool allows you to evaluate your option positions or potential strategies. OptionsStation Pro provides a graphic visualization of a strategy’s profit and loss, and you’ll be able to set up options trades quickly and efficiently, even multi-leg options. The tool is incorporated into TradeStation’s desktop trading platform for ease of use. This tool is available on the broker’s TS SELECT platform at no additional cost.

Portfolio Maestro

This backtesting tool provides portfolio-level reporting on your performance, analyzing the risk of your holdings and can optimize the portfolio for almost any combination of holdings. Portfolio Maestro helps you reduce your downside and avoid overexposure to risks across the portfolio. It’s also integrated into the broker’s high-powered desktop trading platform. This feature is available on the broker’s TS SELECT platform at no additional cost.

Trading commissions

TradeStation offers a simplified pricing plan that gives customers access to low commissions, multiple trading platforms and real-time data.

TS SELECT: The broker charges $0 commissions for stock and ETF trades, putting it right in line with other major rivals such as Fidelity Investments and Charles Schwab, though it doesn’t offer all their benefits (see more below). With this plan, you’ll pay $0.60 per contract for options trading and receive access to all the broker’s trading tools, such as OptionsStation Pro and Portfolio Maestro, via the TradeStation desktop platform at no additional charge. There is no account minimum required. 

TradeStation offers competitive commissions on stock and ETF trades as well as undiscounted options commissions that are among the best in the industry from a full-service online broker. For options, the industry standard is $0.65 per contract. So, TradeStation beats that figure by $0.05 per contract.

Trading platforms

TradeStation offers a pair of platforms — one desktop and the other web-based — that bring the power of the broker to the forefront.

The desktop platform is the flagship and offers a fully customizable experience that should appeal to professional traders. Traders can use the broker’s own built-in charting indicators or create their own. The platform features more than 180 technical and fundamental indicators, and you can create your own too. Plus, decades of historical data allow you to backtest any strategy you develop. The capabilities go on and on. The web-based platform offers the core functionality of the desktop platform but will be easier for less-experienced investors to navigate. This platform also provides streaming real-time quotes, one-click trade execution, dozens of technical studies, historical market data, streaming market data, watchlists and more. 

In addition, the broker offers a mobile trading app called TradeStation Mobile that allows you to analyze charts with technical indicators, including many from the desktop platform. You can also monitor a watchlist of securities with streaming quotes as well as place trades, among other functions. You’ll also be able to see detailed options pricing with up-to-the-second data and set up trade alerts based on technical factors that you’re watching. 

Tradable securities

TradeStation delivers the range of securities that you’d expect from a broker geared toward advanced traders. In addition to the usual offerings of stocks, bonds, ETFs and mutual funds, investors can swap futures contracts and futures options, too. The only major category missing is forex, a rarely offered asset class, and TradeStation also offers cryptocurrency trading (more below).

Cryptocurrency trading

Unlike many brokers, TradeStation offers direct cryptocurrency trading, allowing traders to buy and sell Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin, USD Coin and a handful of other coins. Pricing on crypto trades is better than what you’d find on other sites, with commissions starting at 0.6 percent of trade value and declining to as low as 0.025 percent for those with more than $10 million of 30-day crypto trading volume.

You’ll be able to trade your assets or withdraw them at any time without penalty. The broker has its own trading platform for crypto, with one-click order entry, charting, pricing from multiple markets and more features.

In late 2021, TradeStation rolled out the ability of IRAs to trade cryptocurrency. So clients will have the ability to trade this high-risk product in their retirement accounts, if they so decide.

Cons: Where TradeStation could improve

Mutual funds and fees

The broker offers funds from more than 50 fund families, including some of the largest and most popular such as Vanguard, Blackrock and Fidelity. However, its list of available funds is decidedly thin, with just 2,000 offerings, in comparison to more than 10,000 at some other brokers. That said, TradeStation does include many of the top fund companies, so you’ll still likely find what you’re looking for.

And unlike other brokers, which offer literally thousands of mutual funds without a transaction fee, it’ll cost you $14.95 to buy and sell a fund at TradeStation. Many large brokers, including Fidelity and Vanguard themselves, have thousands of funds without a transaction fee. So TradeStation is not well-suited to mutual fund investors.

No fractional shares

TradeStation does not support fractional shares, either as purchases or dividend reinvestments. That may not matter for the active traders who are likely to find TradeStation an attractive partner, but beginning investors likely won’t find it an endearing characteristic in a new broker. 

Account fees

TradeStation can hit you with a number of costly account fees:

  • The broker charges a $50 inactivity fee per year if you don’t trade at least five times in the prior 12 months or maintain an average end-of-month equity balance of $2,000. While this fee is not especially tough to avoid, other major brokers have eliminated inactivity fees entirely.
  • The broker levies a $35 fee annually for any IRA accounts.
  • The fee for terminating an IRA is $50.
  • An outgoing account transfer costs $125, the highest of all the brokers surveyed by Bankrate.
  • Annual crypto admin fee of $100 in an IRA

While they may not encounter these fees all that often as customers, investors will likely find them pesky when they do. And virtually no other broker has an inactivity fee or an annual IRA fee. Heck, Fidelity and Interactive Brokers don’t even charge you to transfer out your account.

Research and education

TradeStation provides very limited research offerings and reports, all while leaving investment selection largely up to the investor. That may be fine if you’re an advanced or professional investor and have already developed resources to fill this need. You’ll know what you want, but newer investors will likely need more guidance. That said, you’ll have access to a number of screeners that may help whittle down the field of interesting securities for you.

And if you’re a new investor and looking for investing education, TradeStation’s limited abilities here may not suffice. A number of other brokers make it much easier for newer investors to get up to speed and learn what to do.

Review methodology

Bankrate evaluates brokers and robo-advisors on factors that matter to individual investors, including commissions, account fees, available securities, trading platforms, research and many more. After weighting these objective measures according to their importance, we then systematically score the brokers and robo-advisors and scale the data to ensure that you are seeing the top options among a field of high-quality companies. Read our full methodology.