TradeKing offers a number of compelling reasons to switch, including extremely competitive fees and top-rated customer service.
- Pricing Packages
- The Good
- The Bad
TradeKing Investment Products
Stocks: Traders can trade stocks.
Bonds: Traders can trade bonds.
ETFs: Commission-free exchange-traded-funds (ETFs) and standard ETFs are available.
Forex: Traders can trade Forex and access foreign exchange markets.
Mutual Funds: Traders can access over 8,000+ mutual funds.
Easy-to-Borrow Stocks: Traders can sell short by buying easy-to-borrow stocks.
Options: Traders can trade options.
No Futures Markets: Traders cannot access futures markets.
No International Markets: Traders cannot access international markets outside of the United States.
TradeKing Trading Tools
Trade Alerts: Traders can create trade alerts for investment products and their own portfolio.
Automated Trading: Traders can create automated trades when certain triggers are met.
Online User Interface: TradeKing’s UI isn’t the best, nor is it the worst. Traders cannot customize the UI.
Trailing Stops: Traders can create trailing stops to cancel or trigger trades when conditions are met.
TradeKing Financial Resources
Online Banking: TradeKing does not offer extensive financial tools or online banking services.
Account Withdrawals: Traders can withdraw money from their account using wire withdrawals and check withdrawals.
Tax Manager: TradeKing offers a tax management tool called Maxit Tax Manger which simplifies tax reporting and easily explains the tax impacts of your portfolio.
Investment Protection: Your assets are protected against losses due to unauthorized access up to $500,000 via the SIPC. Further protection is available through London underwriters for losses exceeding $500,000.
Other Features of TradeKing
Security: TradeKing offers strong security, frequently displays security questions, and prevents multiple failed login attempts.
Tech Support: Tech support is available Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm ET via toll-free phone and online live chat.
Active Community: TradeKing has a unique and active community through its blog, social media, and online forums.
No Branch Locations: TradeKing is based wholly online and there are no physical locations available for customers.
Mobile Trading: TradeKing offers apps for Android, iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. Apps allow full portfolio access to perform trades and view market data.
Stocks: $4.95 flat rate
Options: $4.95 plus 65 cents per contract
10 Contracts: $11.45
50 Contracts: $37.45
100 Contracts: $69.95
Mutual Fund Trade Fee: $9.95
Broker Assisted Trades Fee: $20
The Good On TradeKing
Extremely Competitive Pricing
If you’re looking for the lowest online brokerage pricing, then OptionsHouse is likely your best option. However, TradeKing is only slightly higher than OptionsHouse for most trades and both services are extremely competitive in terms of fees. TradeKing offers rates of $4.95 per stock trade, $4.95 per options trade, and 65 cents per contract. Most other brokers don’t even come close to those prices. The only broker that does come close is OptionsHouse, which charges $4.75 for stock trades and $1 for options trades. If you plan on buying lots of mutual funds or performing broker-assisted trades, however, then you may find that TradeKing’s pricing isn’t quite as competitive.
Excellent Tech Support
TradeKing has licensed brokers standing by to take your calls. It’s a level of personalized service we don’t see with many other top brokerages. You can call TradeKing via a toll-free number or chat with experts using live online chat. No matter how you contact TradeKing, you can typically expect short hold times and fast responses. If you don’t want to chat over the phone or instant messaging, you can also email TradeKing to get a fast response. All of these reasons have led to TradeKing achieving near-perfect customer service ratings over the last few years from SmartMoney and other publications.
Access All Popular Investment Products
TradeKing offers a full suite of investment products. You can buy stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs, and options. You can also trade foreign currencies with Forex. There are a few investment products missing here. You cannot purchase stocks in international markets, for example, nor can you access futures markets. If you don’t plan on utilizing either of those two investment tools, then you’ll find TradeKing has an excellent lineup of investment products to offer.
TradeKing proudly displays its numerous awards across its website. Those awards include the best customer service ratings for five years in a row from Smart Money (2008 to 2012) as well as the best online brokerage for usability award from Barron’s in 2011. In addition, Barron’s has rated TradeKing with 4 stars out of 5 every year since 2007. Awards aren’t the most important quality on which to judge an online brokerage, but they’re something to consider if you’re on the fence between two platforms.
Social Trading Experience
If you like to talk to other traders, then you’ll appreciate the social features of TradeKing. You can participate in the TradeKing forums, view recent trade activity, build your own public trading profile, view other trading profiles, and even create a public trading group. TradeKing is also very active on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Many traders also enjoy the TradeKing blog, which features weekly updates from TradeKing’s CEO and guest posts from expert investors across the industry.
No Account Minimums
Some online brokers require a minimum account balance, while others do not. E-Trade, for example, requires a minimum account balance of $10,000. TradeKing, however, does not require a minimum account balance and you’re free to move your money in and out as you wish.
Strong Options Trading Tools
Some traders frequently engage in options trading, while others do not. If you like options, then you’ll find a number of strong options trading tools with TradeKing. TradeKing makes it easy to find bid, ask, midpoint, quotes, implied volatility, and other important factors for options. Advanced options traders will also appreciate advanced tools like trailing stops, where sets of conditions can trigger one another or cancel one another.
Excellent Mobile Apps
Most online brokers offer mobile apps these days. TradeKing is no exception. TradeKing offers apps for Android devices as well as the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. The app is well-designed and lets users trade stocks and options on-the-go. You can also view detailed quotes and charts, monitor the latest market news, and check your account activity.
Account Protection Up to $500,000
If you like safety nets, then you’ll appreciate the large safety net offered by TradeKing. If someone gains unauthorized access to your account that leads to a loss, you are protected against that loss up to $500,000. TradeKing offers this protection through the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC). Additionally, TradeKing supplements SIPC protection with “a group of London underwriters” for cases where losses exceed $500,000. Whether you lose $2,000 because of unauthorized account access or you lose $1 million, TradeKing has you covered.
The Bad On TradeKing
Not All Investment Products Offered
If you’re planning to invest in futures markets or buy international stocks, then TradeKing isn’t for you. Neither of those investment products are available through TradeKing. Other than those limitations, however, TradeKing typically offers the same range of investment products as other services – including over 8,000 different mutual funds.
Average Website Navigation and User Interface
TradeKing’s online UI isn’t necessarily bad, but it’s not one of the best either. The website features a triple-level navigation system that can make things confusing and frustrating when you first start out. Once you get used to the UI, it’s relatively easy to navigate. However, the steep learning curve will turn away some traders. Since you cannot customize your UI, you either have to get used to the interface or switch to another trader. The final UI complaint is that there may be too much security on the site: users are constantly asked security questions during the login process, which is good for security but can get annoying after typing in your security answer hundreds of times.
The Verdict On TradeKing
When it comes to low-cost online brokers, TradeKing is at the top of the list right next to OptionsHouse. If you plan on only trading options, then OptionsHouse will be significantly cheaper. If you plan on filling your portfolio with a diverse range of stocks, bonds, and other investment products, then TradeKing is the cheaper option.
Of course, with TradeKing, low-cost doesn’t mean low-quality. Customers enjoy premium customer service and fast responses from licensed professional brokers.
The only major thing you’re giving up with TradeKing is access to premium research and trading platforms – like the ones offered by TD Ameritrade. Of course, TD Ameritrade charges twice the price of TradeKing, so investors will need to decide how much those premium features are worth.
Don’t let the competitive pricing fool you: with TradeKing, traders enjoy an excellent online brokerage that provides access to most of the investment tools you could ever need. Aside from minor UI problems, TradeKing is one of the top rated online brokerages for good reason.