MultiCharts vs. TradeStation

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Contributor, Benzinga
March 24, 2020

When you think about it, online brokers are software companies first. They compete to develop the best trading technology to attract and keep new users. This makes a comparison between MultiCharts and TradeStation very relevant. These companies pursue the same type of trader for their customer bases. Learning how they fare against each other will help you decide the best online trading option for you. 

Who is MultiCharts for?

MultiCharts is a technical analysis and strategy platform. It primarily appeals to active day traders seeking to create and improve profitable trading strategies. It accommodates advanced traders who already have ideas for functional strategies. If you don’t have the advanced technical knowledge, you are better off with more user-friendly programs like TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim. Plus, finance professionals use MultiCharts to provide accurate stock and asset information to its clients.

Over 10,000 traders in 175 countries get vital stock exchange information from the MultiCharts platform. It allows users to combine historical data from outside sources with real-time data. MultiCharts modified TradeStation’s EasyLanguage to help its users perform a wide variety of tasks with algorithmics. EasyLanguage is a programming language that helps traders develop powerful trading strategies, indicators and customized trading apps.

MultiCharts main features are:

  • Charting: MultiCharts charting applications compete soundly with TradeStation’s charts. The high-definition charts have clear indicators and tick marks. You can work on multiple charts simultaneously without getting confused.
  • Stock scanner: MultiCharts allows you to set your automatic market updates at intervals as low as 1 minute. The scans are highly customizable.
  • Backtesting your strategy: Backtesting is the process of traders using historical data to test a strategy’s predictive accuracy on an actual event. MultiCharts backtesting feature leads the industry in customization, visibility and functionality.
  • Market replay: At the end of every day, you can replay market activities by minutes, hours or days. Plus, market replay integrates with multiple charts at once.

MultiCharts Ultra HD trading platform gives you access to simulated trading, optimized reports, chart analysis, walk-forward testing, global hotkeys and a forex board. Also, the platform features drawing tools marketing data playback and exit strategies. 

Web Application Programming Interface (API) is a portal that allows you to get vital trading information through 3rd-party trading applications. MultiCharts Data API permits you to integrate any 3rd-party historical or real-time data feeds to MultiCharts. This enables you to use data from anywhere.

Keep in mind that MultiCharts is not a broker. You can load your MultiCharts data on the platform of the online broker of your choice. Your broker’s platform, however, must be compatible with MultiCharts. Two of the most notable compatible brokers are Interactive Brokers and OANDA. Take a look at the complete list of compatible brokers. 

Who is TradeStation for?

TradeStation combines superior technology and online brokerage services to attract active traders who want a stellar trading environment. Most reviewers rate TradeStation’s supercharged desktop platform ahead of the MultiCharts platform.

These are key features of TradeStation’s platform, TS Direct:

  • RadarScreen continuously tracks and racks up 1,000 symbols in real-time with more than 180 technical and fundamental indicators.
  • Easy Language allows you to customize strategy and indicators by converting complicated algorithmic expressions into English-like language. 
  • Strategy Backtesting enables you to backtest, automate and optimize your trade strategy with a mega-collection of historical data.
  • OptionStation Pro is a signature app that does a thorough and powerful option analysis. It shows you the probability of your strategy’s break-even point. 

When it created its award-winning mobile app, TradeStation had day traders in mind. TS GO features the Matrix tool for ladder trading and full-service charts with nighttime visibility. TS GO has 43 real-time streaming quotes and 43 optional indicators. It uses greeks for pro-level risk management and contracts analysis — greeks define various levels of risk. Also, TS GO offers Future Plus and custom strategy building.

TradeStation Web API gives you 3rd-party access to its historical and real-time data, fast-order advantages and position information. This portal grants you the versatility to run other trading applications independently from TradeStation Display Screen. TS Web API has an advantage over MultiCharts Data API — you can execute trades while you work from the TS platforms.

TradeStation has a great reputation for platform stability. This broker claims an uptime average of 99.999%.  If you are a casual user, TradeStation’s web-based platform may suit you. But remember, there is a high learning curve between you and developing your own trading strategies. It takes investing a lot of time. Although the company is making overtures to casual users, it still remains an advanced, active trader domain. 

Unlike MultiCharts, TradeStation offers a wide range of tradable instruments. It is a leader in options trading, futures trading, mobile trading, day trading and cryptocurrency. Also, it has penny stocks and multi-leg options. A multi-leg option enables you to simultaneously trade a batch of buy or sell options. In earlier times, this type of deal required multiple electronic orders. 

TradeStation doesn’t deal in international markets. So, forex traders must look elsewhere. Nevertheless, TradeStation outshines MultiCharts in several key platform and service categories.

MultiCharts Fees and Commissions

MultiCharts makes its money through subscription plans. After a 30-day free trial, you have the option of subscribing for 3 months up to a lifetime. The free trial has no restrictions or obligations. During the trial, you use virtual money. This gives you a risk-free opportunity to create and test your trade ideas. You pay nothing for making trades through its software. However, you will eventually pay the broker of your choice for your trades. So, you’ll end up paying software subscription fees to MultiCharts and broker fees. 

The MultiCharts subscription plan is detailed below. 

Pay Structure3-Month Plan6-Month Plan1-Year PlanLifetime Plan
Full Payment$297$497$797$1,497
Monthly Payment$99$82$66$0

TradeStation offers about the same software features as MultiCharts for free. It offers a more complete fee structure than MultiCharts. 

TradeStation’s Fees and Commissions

TradeStation has a $2,000 minimum deposit for use of the TS Select platform, $0 minimum deposit for its mobile app, TS GO. Stock and options trades cost $0. But, there is a $0.005 per share commission for up to 500 stock shares. That equates to $2.50 for 500 shares. ETFs trades are completely free. Benzinga gives you a graphic look at the TS Select pricing structure. 

InstrumentCommission per TradeCommission per Share Fee
Stocks$0$.005/500 shares$0
Mutual funds$0$0$14.95
Penny shares$0$0$0.005/share
Futures Options$0$0$1.50/contract/side

TradeStation provides its software and historical data for free. It doesn’t charge for the live streaming data. Plus, commissions and fees are lower on TS GO. Innovative and highly competitive pricing is one of the reasons it stays on top of the automatic trading industry.

If you trade less than 5,000 shares per month, TradeStation will charge you a $99 per month inactivity fee.  You can avoid this fee by keeping $100,000 in your account. Otherwise, casual traders can struggle with this trading platform. As you can see, TradeStation wins out in the cost category. 

MultiCharts Research Offerings

MultiCharts provide research for its traders in the form of studies. Studies are a collection of trading concepts and strategies serving as a resource for technical analysis tools. Traders use studies to assess market behavior and trade decision making. 

The MultiCharts platform has 270 prebuilt, customizable studies. It features some of the most renowned indicators and trading concepts. You can import more studies from several sources. Plus, PowerLanguage enables you to customize studies or create new ones.  Read more about creating studies.

TradeStation Research Offerings

TradeStation is a discount broker. By its nature, it doesn’t offer much in the form of research. No analyst reports are accessible. You can get some market news, analysis and advice on TradeStation’s blog, Market Insights. It features posts from the Monex Crypto Market Weekly, in-house stock market analysis and market trends.

You won’t find much 3rd-party research on this trading platform. For an added fee, you can buy a subscription to research through the Trading App Store. Otherwise, you’ll probably use your own research sources. 

MultiCharts vs. TradeStation Bottomline

Do you have a favorite forex broker you want to keep? MultiCharts may be the likely choice for you. Otherwise, TradeStation is the best choice. It is superior to MultiCharts in trading platforms, performance, tools and costs. TradeStation gives you the ability to create your own trade strategy and trade on the same platform. This helps it outpace MultiCharts in attracting more advanced traders and casual users wanting to explore algorithmic trading.