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Lightspeed Trading Review

securely through Lightspeed Trading's website

1 Minute Review

Lightspeed Trading offers volume discounts for frequent traders, low pay-per share commissions, direct access to ECNs and exchanges, and traders are also allowed a free practice account.

Best For

  • Frequent traders looking for volume discounts
  • Professionals who need a powerful platform: Lightspeed's Level II, Livevol X, and RealTick Pro
  • Intermediates who are looking to advance their trading knowledge and strategy

Pros

  • Low trading fees for active traders
  • Excellent customer service available
  • Several excellent trading platforms to choose from

Cons

  • No mutual funds offered
  • No commission-free ETFs
  • No forex opportunities

In addition to professional traders, trading groups, institutions and hedge funds, day traders who are considered “hyperactive traders” are the meat and potatoes of Lightspeed Trading’s clientele. “Students” new to day trading may be put off by higher fees if they’re not high-volume traders.

Who's it for?

It’s not uncommon for a single trader to make thousands of trades on Lightspeed during any given month. Therefore, Lightspeed Trading is an active trader’s paradise because it caters directly to that type of client.

Commissions and fees

Lightspeed divides its clients up into two categories: active traders (who receive different, deeply discounted commissions) and standard commissions for the rest of its clients.

For active traders, stocks and ETFs per share:

Per share rate

Monthly volume

$0.0010 Over 15,000,000 shares
$0.0015 Over 6,000,000 shares
$0.0020 Over 3,000,000 shares
$0.0025 Over 1,000,000 shares
$0.0035 Over 250,000 shares
$0.0045 Under 249,999 shares

For active traders, stocks and ETFs per trade:

Per trade rate

Monthly volume

$2.50 Over 10,000 trades
$2.75 Over 3,000 trades
$3.00 Over 1,500 trades
$3.50 Over 750 trades
$4.00 Over 250 trades
$4.50 Under 250 trades

For active traders, options per contract:

Per contract rate Monthly volume
$0.20 Over 100,000 contracts
$0.25 Over 50,000 contracts
$0.35 Over 10,000 contracts
$0.45 Over 2,000 contracts
$0.50 Over 500 contracts
$0.60 Under 500 contracts

For active traders, futures per contract:

Per contract rate Monthly volume
$0.25 Over 100,000 contracts
$0.30 Over 50,000 contracts
$0.35 Over 10,000 contracts
$0.45 Over 2,000 contracts
$0.50 Over 500 contracts
$0.60 Under 500 contracts

Standard commissions (for less-active traders)

Product Type Rate
Stocks and ETFs Per share $0.0045
Stocks and ETFs Per trade $4.50
Options Per contract $0.60
Futures Per contract $0.60

Software fees include a monthly fee of $100 for Lightspeed Trader, $130 for Sterling, $325 for RealTick Pro, $125 for RealTick Express and $0 for WebTrader.

Account minimums are $5,000 for Web Trader software and a hefty $25,000 for RealTick and  Lightspeed and Sterling Trader plans (the amount makes sense because of the SEC’s pattern-day trading rule).

As for margin rates, Lightspeed’s rate changes depending on amounts:

Debit balance Rate
$0-$49,999.99 7.75%
$50,000-$249,999.99 $6.75%
$250,000-$499,999.99 6%
$500,000-$999,999.99 $5.50%
$1,000,000+ 5.25%

 

Investment products

Lightspeed offers the following investment products:

  • Stocks
  • Options
  • Futures
  • ETFs

Platform and tools

Aptly named, Lightspeed’s lightning-fast executions don’t disappoint on its various platforms. Because it offers several primary software platforms from which to choose, traders can hardly complain that they’re not offered an array of possibilities.

Lightspeed Trader

As you might imagine, Lightspeed Trader is Lightspeed’s flagship trading software and is for active and professional traders. Lightspeed Trader offers in-depth technical analysis and customization, as well as real-time option chains and Block Ticker Alert and Ticker Alert.

On Lightspeed Trader, a minimum commission charge is applied to any order less than 100 shares. The charge is equal to the per share rate times 100.

Sterling Trader

Sterling Trader is Lightspeed’s Level II trading platform for professionals. Complete with hot keys, direct access to all markets and ECNs and an advanced charting package, Sterling Trader has all the bells and whistles.

On Sterling Trader, a minimum commission charge is applied to any order less than 100 shares. The charge is equal to the per share rate times 100.

Livevol X Platform

LIvevol X can give beginning traders a break, as it’s possible to for newer and advanced individuals to trade options. Replete with concrete risk, position and trade analysis, options analytical components and options market scanners, its list of features make it an excellent choice for options traders.

Livevol X has its own pricing strategy, but no monthly software fee:

U.S. stocks U.S. options U.S. futures and futures options
$0.0065 per share $0.65 per contract $1.50 per contract

 

RealTick Pro and Express

Primarily for hedge funds, active traders and registered investment advisors, Lightspeed’s most advanced platform, RealTick Pro offers trading tools that are unmatched. Futures traders can only use RealTick. RealTick Pro offers real-time data, charting, analytics and tools that are among the best in the industry.

RealTick Express is a lower costing alternative to the Pro version, and eliminates a few features.

On RealTick, a minimum commission of $3 is applied to any order.

Lightspeed web/mobile

For less-savvy traders who want the best bang for their buck, Lightspeed’s web/mobile might be the way to go. Of course, web/mobile options are fewer, but the website and apps cost nothing to use per month.

On WebTrader, minimum commission of $4.50 will be applied to any options order.

Customer service

Via email or on the phone, Lightspeed’s customer service professionals are available during regular and extended market hours. From 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, Lightspeed can be contacted in the United States and also offers an international number. Unfortunately, Lightspeed is not available 24/7.

Ease of use

The best part of Lightspeed’s technology is that it’s filled with options based on your comfort level and expertise as a trader. While inexperienced traders can be stymied by some of Lightspeed’s more complex platforms, there really is an option for everyone.

If potential customers hem and haw about whether to sign on the dotted line, Lightspeed offers demos on most of its products, allowing potential clients to gauge for themselves whether Lightspeed really does offer “highly personalized and intuitive software,” as its website claims.

Final thoughts

It’s unfortunate that commission-free ETFs, mutual funds and forex are unavailable through Lightspeed.

However, for what it does offer, Lightspeed’s trading technology is unmatched and overall, Lightspeed is a technological pace-setter for the industry.