TradeStation Review for Options Trading 2017

July 21, 2017 0
TradeStation Platform Layout

4.5/5

Review by:

QUICK FACTS:

-$1.00/contract or $5.00 + $0.50/contract
-$14.95 Option Exercise & Assignment Fee
-Professional Downloadable Platform (PC)
-International Futures Trading
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Founded in 1982, TradeStation is one of the longest operating online discount brokerages in the world. It’s now owned by Monex Group, which is a Tokyo based financial services company. To ensure quality and accuracy, this TradeStation review is conducted with a live, funded account.

TradeStation offers clients access to a broad range of products, domestic and international including futures, futures options, equities, equity options, and forex.

TradeStation offers three platform choices: their downloadable Windows platform, the online web-based platform, and their mobile application.

 

Likes

-Downloadable Platform

-International Futures Trading

-$1.00 per option contract

-OptionStation Pro

-Ability to Create Algos in TS EasyLanguage

-Eliminated Service/Activity Fees for New Accounts

Dislikes

-Platform is Windows Only

-No 24/7 Customer Service

-ACH Setup Process is Slow

 

Commissions

Alternative Option Pricing: $1.00 per contract

Regular Trader Rate: $5.00 + $0.50/contract

Option Exercise/Assignment: $14.95

Futures and Futures Options: $1.20 per contract <300 contracts/mo *Rates go as low as $0.25

Inactivity Fee and Service Fee: None for New Accounts Opened After 03/03/17

Outgoing Domestic Wire Transfer: $25.00

Prior to TradeStation changing their logo and undergoing their rebranding efforts, they charged a huge monthly service fee of $99 for accounts with less than $100,000 or fewer than 10 futures trades or 5,000 shares of stock per month.

This fee has been completely waived for new accounts, along with the minimum activity fee. In addition to offering better pricing, like $1.00 per options contract for smaller traders, TradeStation is now offering OptionStation Pro and RadarScreen Scanner completely free of charge.

There are no software or data fees as well. This makes TradeStation highly attractive for options traders. Some of the biggest complaints traders had were software and account fees and those have both been axed.

 

Trading Platform

The downloadable TradeStation platform has everything a modern-day options trader needs. Unfortunately, it only works on PCs, but Mac users can run it using a desktop parallels program.

Or Mac users might find that the web-based platform is just as capable, along with the mobile version.

One of the best features of TradeStation platform is the ease of customization. You can drag and drop windows wherever you want them.

Know one thing…the downloadable TradeStation platform is a professional trading platform. Market Makers at the NYSE use this…It’s quick, it’s sophisticated, and it offers order entry algorithms and routing options that other platforms don’t even know about.

TradeStation Platform Layout

Customizing the layout of the main screen.


Incredible 3D option profit & loss graphing and analytics.


Option chain inside of the OptionStation feature on the platform.


Side dashboard to choose which trading feature you want to display on the main layout.


Programmers can use EasyLanguage to create custom algorithms and order types.


OptionStation Pro features an options scanner to filter by option probabilities on different underlyings with varying IV.


Web-Based Platform

The web-based platform will suit all equity and index option traders just fine. We had no issues loading option chain data or quickly finding symbols.

The web-based option chain is every bit as fast as it is useful.


We love the customization abilities and how each feature is a “tab”. The “NEWS” feature includes pictures.


 

Mobile Application

Great mobile charting capabilities.    Option chain functions the same as the web-based platform.

TradeStation’s mobile application has improved dramatically in recent years. It’s strikingly similar to thinkorswim. We were successfully able to manage our options positions on the fly when using TradeStation.

 

Trading Data

This is definitely one of TradeStation’s strongest selling points. All of their level II data is now completely free, which it should be.

We never experienced any lagging or delayed quotes. Plus, when calling in to speak with TS customer service, there is an option to report a “questionable data point.” Safe to say they’re on top of their stuff.

 

Options Trading Capabilities

When we signed up for an account we were immediately approved for level 5 options trading. We have open and funded accounts with 10+ options brokers, and options trading approval isn’t always this easy.

It saves everyone time when approval is quick. The minimum requirement for sophisticated options trading strategies, like selling index calls, is only $5,000.

 

Customer Support

 

TradeStation doesn’t offer 24/7 support like many other brokers, but we didn’t encounter a situation where we needed it. During the account setup process, we called in a few times as a test, and customer service representatives were always friendly and helpful.

 

Final Word

4.5/5

As active options traders, we love TradeStation. We definitely would not review TradeStation with 4.5/5 stars if they still charged for data, had monthly account service fees, and had high pricing.

Luckily, all of this has changed. Traders can choose from $1.00 a contract or $5.00 + $0.50 a contract.

Pricing is cheap and flexible. Data is free. The only thing that would make TradeStation perfect is formatting their platform for Macs.

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