TradeKing has taken the discount brokerage model and made it better. Although low trading fees and commissions are great, TradeKing isn’t the only discount broker who charges $4.95 per trade since OptionsHouse offers a very similar pricing model. However, TradeKing brings considerable value with their price, making them a worthy consideration if a low trading price is important to you. This TradeKing review will help you see that there is much more below the surface of their killer $4.95 commissions.
TradeKing has been in the discount brokerage space for roughly 10 years, having started in 2005. Thanks to their low commission structure and award winning customer service, they’ve risen in popularity.
TradeKing has not been passive in growing the brokerage and offerings. They purchased Zecco in 2012, which allowed them to add forex trading to their offerings. TradeKing followed that up by launching their Advisors Program in late 2014 as a means to offer virtual financial advising to clients – allowing them to take on robo-advisors like Betterment and Wealthfront.
With a bit of background out of the way, it’s time to move on to a more in-depth TradeKing review.
TradeKing has one of the most competitive fee structures within the discount brokerage space.
Stock Trade: $4.95 per stock trade. TradeKing does add $.01 per share for stocks under $2, which is a fairly common practice in the industry.
Options Trade: $4.95 plus $.65 per contract.
Mutual Fund Trades: $9.95 per trade.
Inactivity Fee: TradeKing does, unfortunately, charge an inactivity fee of $50 per year, but it can be waived if you have at least $2,500 in your account or make at least one trade per 12 months.
You can see a comparison of their commission structure versus other major discount brokerages below:
With the fee structure out of the way, it’s time to move on to some of the features found at TradeKing.
- Stellar trading platform. Many discount brokers tout their trading platform, even if they don’t measure up. This is not the case with TradeKing, who has been regularly recognized by publications like Barron’s as having one of the best platforms available, especially for options trading.
- Free streaming quotes. This is fairly common now and honestly is expected, but TradeKing offers free streaming quotes after filling out short paperwork.
- Forex trading. Thanks to their acquisition of Zecco in 2012, TradeKing offers forex trading. While carrying significant risk, this helps set them apart from other online brokers. If you’d like to dabble in forex trading, but don’t have adequate experience, TradeKing does offer a free $50,000 virtual forex trading account.
- TradeKing Live. TradeKing Live is an upgrade to their already stellar platform. Rolled out in late 2014, it allows for full customization of your platform.
- TradeKing Advisors. As touched on earlier, TradeKing Advisors is an attempt to offer virtual financial planning to those who are new to investing or want investing guidance. You can start with as low as $500 and will have no fees the first year of service. Check out TradeKing Advisors!
- AutoTrade. Like OptionsHouse, TradeKing offers the AutoTrade feature, which allows you to automate trading, based on different investment newsletters.
- Education. Many discount brokerages offer educational courses and webinars, so this isn’t that unique. TradeKing takes it to the next level though with offerings like their Options Playbook, YouTube channel and live webinars offering different ways to grow in your investment and trading knowledge.
- Trader Network. TradeKing is ahead of the pack, integrating a serious social media focus to their platform. This includes the use of social media and blogs with their forum, but more impressively the Trader Network, which boasts over 200,000 active members who share real-time ideas and assistance with those wanting additional trading insight or wisdom.
TradeKing has carved out a niche for itself within the online brokerage space. Beyond the features listed above, following are some of the advantages TradeKing brings to the table:
- Killer pricing. At $4.95 per stock trade, it’s hard to find someone who beats TradeKing in the price department.
- No minimum balance requirement. TradeKing does not require a certain balance at account opening. This is great for someone just starting out with little to invest.
- A lot of mutual funds. If mutual funds are your thing, you won’t be disappointed with TradeKing as they offer over 12,000 funds. This puts them on the high end in the brokerage space, as does the $9.95 per trade.
- Free real–time support. Whether it be through the Trader Network feature or live instant chat, TradeKing offers free real-time support.
- Excellent customer service. What online broker is going to claim their customer service is bad? Not many, though TradeKing stands apart from the rest with consistent recognition from SmartMoney rating them as 5 out of 5 stars for customer service.
- Has something for everyone. This is what sets TradeKing apart from someone like OptionsHouse. With tools for active options traders, forex trading, cheap prices and virtual financial management, TradeKing has become more of a one-stop shop to help investors with their investing needs.
No online broker is perfect, and that’s the case with TradeKing. The following is the main thing TradeKing could improve:
- Inactivity fee. As we discussed earlier, TradeKing can charge you an annual inactivity fee of $50. However, you can avoid the inactivity fee if you have an account balance of at least $2,500 or have placed at least one trade in the prior 12 months.
The only other real issue to be aware of is the TradeKing Live feature. Starting out as an invitation-only platform, it has now been rolled out to all active clients. This leads us to believe many of the known bugs have been rectified.
TradeKing Review – The Final Analysis
For the right individual, TradeKing is going to be an excellent fit. Their commission structure is hard to beat and with their addition of their Advisor program, they offer something for those wanting assistance with their investing needs. While their target market is typically more active traders, the pricing, mutual fund offerings, and advisory services make TradeKing one of the best discount brokers to consider.
There are plenty of options to choose from when it comes to online brokerage firms. Each has their own unique features to differentiate from the competition. TradeKing has a number of things that make them a quality fit for most investors.
If you are thinking of opening a TradeKing account, make sure to take advantage of the promotions they offer, such as a refund of any fees to rollover an old 401(k) or $1,000 in free commissions for 60 days. Make sure to check out our TradeKing promotional code post for up-to-date promotions!
If you're looking for a brokerage to manage all your investing needs, you can't go wrong with $4.95 trades!