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Finding the best online stock broker often comes down to what you’re looking for. Whether it’s stock trading or education, different online stock brokers offer different things. In this online stock broker review, we take a look at TradeStation and Trade King.

TradeStation

History of the company

Originally founded in 1982, TradeStation first made its name as a provider of trading software. After going public in 1997, they expanded into the online trading realm in 1999. The company has since acquired other online brokers, expanding their hold on the market.

Products, (Stocks, Bonds, ETFs, Futures)

Stocks, Options, Futures, Forex, ETFs, Mutual Funds, Bonds, T-Bills, Bulletin Board and Pink Sheet Stocks.

Margin rates

Margin rates range from 8.50% for balances of less than $25,000 to 6.25% for balances of $10,000,000 and above.

Financial security

Member NYSE, FINRA, NFA, SIPC.

Customer service

Online help is available through live chat, but trades and account set up cannot be handled via chat. Telephone customer service, including account set up and trades, is available within business hours. Telephone support is available 24 hours a day, Sunday through Friday, for technical support and client services.

Commission and fees

TradeStation offers both a per share commission fee and flat fee trading. For per share commissions on stocks and ETFs, the price is $0.01 per share up to 500 shares and $0.006 per share thereafter, with a minimum fee of $1.00. Flat fee trading starts at $9.99 for 1 to 9 trades per month and drops to $4.99 per trade for 200 or more trades per month, with interim pricing for other brackets. Futures contracts range from $0.25 to $1.20 per contract, and options contracts are $1.00 per contract, with flat fee trading packages also available.

Research and education

TradeStation excels in its educational services. They offer two classes of information — Labs and University. The former offers market analysis and other such data, while the latter offers more general guidance on investing strategies and market trends. Both types of education is also offered in their events, which allow traders to get information in online or in person educational events.

Platforms and tools

Having come from a software background, this is still a strength for TradeStation. They offer a wide variety of platforms, including browser based and mobile trading options. Their main platform is a powerful desktop program that offers traders plenty of detailed information. They also offer additional tools to help chart the market, including market tracking and pattern analysis.

Awards

– Barron’s (4.5/5 overall, with high marks for Best for Frequent Traders and Best for International Traders)-
– Stockbrokers.com (Best Platform Technology, Platform & Tools, Active Trading, Options Trading)
– Technical Analysis of Stocks and Commodities (TASC) Readers’ Choice Awards (Best Trading System – Stocks, Best Trading System – Futures, Best Institutional Platform, Best Professional Platform, Best Real-Time Data)

Mobile trading

Apps are available for both Android and iOS devices.

Pros and cons

Pros: Great platform with plenty of details; lots of educational resources.
Cons: High rates and fees; limited customer support.

TradeKing

History of the company

Founded in 2005, TradeKing started as an online brokerage. It expanded in 2012 when it merged with Zecco.

Products, (Stocks, Bonds, ETFs, Futures)

Stocks, ETFs, Options, Mutual Funds, Fixed Income plans, Forex

Margin rates

Margins range from 8.75% on balances up to $4,999 to 4% for balances of $500,000 and above.

Financial security

Member FINRA, SIPC, NFA

Customer service

Live online chat and telephone customer service is available during business hours, Monday through Friday. Customer service emails are generally responded to within 2 hours during business hours and within 24 hours on weekends. The company also promotes its social network of traders as an additional resource for many questions.

Commission and fees

Stocks can be traded at a flat fee of $4.95, with an additional fee of $0.01 per share for stocks priced less than $2.00. The maximum commission is capped at 5% of the trade value. Options are priced at $0.65 per contract. A $50 annual charge is placed on inactive accounts with a balance of $2,500 or less that have not executed any trades in 12 months.

Research and education

TradeKing offers a large amount of educational resources, and investors can find information by their skill level, market type, or product. In addition to this, they offer a daily market call with investing ideas. Their educational materials are a mix of downloadable articles, online articles, and multimedia presentations.

Platforms and tools

Trades are handled through TradeKing’s browser based platform. A mobile option is also available, and developers can access the TradeKing API for creating third party applications. The platform includes options for autotrading based on parameters set by the user as well as out of hours trading for early and late trades. They also offer a wide range of tools and calculators, helping traders with market analysis and other research.

Awards

– SmartMoney Magazine, the Wall Street Journal Magazine (#1 in Customer Service)
– Barron’s (4/5 overall)
– Kiplinger’s (Top 5 Online Brokers; top ranked for Customer Service)

Mobile trading

Apps are available for Android and iOS devices, and a mobile version of the website is also available.

Pros and cons

Pros: Low fees and rates, combined with an extensive educational resource.
Cons: Customer service is time limited, platform is website-only.

Final thoughts

TradeStation wins when it comes to its platform, and if you’re looking for a powerful desktop trading programme, this is the way to go. However, TradeKing does stand its ground as an accessible, easy to use brokerage with a great fee structure and the lowest commissions, provided you make regular trades.

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