tastyworks Review

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Tastyworks is a sophisticated options and futures broker aimed toward experienced traders. The platform was designed by the founders of thinkorswim with functionality and precision for complicated options trades and strategies. Tastyworks offers stocks and ETFs to trade too, but the main focus is options. 

Options on tastyworks are only charged a 1-way, $1 commission —  far cheaper than almost all competitors. Commissions on futures and micro futures are also affordable, and there’s no minimum required to open a cash account. It’s $2,000 if you want to use margin.

Best For

  • Options traders
  • Futures traders
  • Advanced traders

Pros

  • Powerful platform inspired by thinkorswim
  • Multiple order types and strategies
  • Cheap options commissions

Cons

  • Advanced platform could intimidate new traders
  • No demo or paper trading
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TastyWorks is a US-based brokerage firm that targets options traders, specifically those who trade the short-volatility style espoused by the firm’s founder Tom Sosnoff on his financial network TastyTrade. The Tastyworks trading platform and fee model are optimized for trading the high probability-of-profit, short-volatility options spreads that the TastyTraders are such a fan of.

Why tastyworks Over Others?  

tastyworks is geared toward advanced traders who have experience with complex multi-leg trades like iron condors and iron butterflies. Its 3 platforms offer a variety of charting and analysis tools and offer several advantages over competitors, such as:

  • Easy onboarding. tastyworks might be a platform for advanced traders, but signing up and getting an account funded certainly isn’t an advanced process. It takes less than 5 minutes and all necessary documents and forms can be easily found on the tastyworks website. Accounts can be funded via ACH from any bank account with U.S. currency. 
  • Strong leadership. tastyworks was created by the brains behind 1 of the world’s most powerful trading platforms — thinkorswim. The 4 main executives are thinkorswim co-creators Scott Sheridan and Tom Sosnoff, along with former CFO Kristi Ross and CTO Linwood Ma. 
  • Affordable derivatives. Most brokers have gone commission-free for stock, ETF and mutual fund trades but finding cheap derivatives remains an obstacle. Webull and Robinhood offer free options trading but with limited choices and high spreads. The standard options fee is $0.65 per contract, but that means a commission is paid both opening and closing a trade. You wind up paying $1.30 for a round-trip options trade.

tastyworks is different. When trading options and micro futures, you only pay a commission to open the trade. That’s just $1 per contract for a round-trip trade.

Futures trades do have an open and close commission, but at a mere $1.25 per contract, they’re still far cheaper than most competitors. Stocks and ETF trades are completely free at tastyworks.

tastyworks Quick Summary 

Tastyworks Desktop

tastyworks is part of tastytrade, a financial news network with 8 hours of live programming each day. tastyworks doesn’t have much for investor education, but tastytrade is loaded with helpful tips, videos and guides on a broad range of trading topics.

Asset Classes Stocks, ETFs, options, futures, micro futures, options on futures
Platformtastyworks desktop, tastyworks web, tastyworks mobile
Mobile AppAvailable for iOS, retains most functionality from desktop and browser apps
Account MinimumAsset Classes Stocks, ETFs, options, futures, micro futures, options on futures
Platformtastyworks desktop, tastyworks web, tastyworks mobile
Mobile AppAvailable for iOS, retains most functionality from desktop and browser apps
Account MinimumAsset Classes Stocks, ETFs, options, futures, micro futures, options on futures
Platformtastyworks desktop, tastyworks web, tastyworks mobile
Mobile AppAvailable for iOS, retains most functionality from desktop and browser apps
Account Minimum$0 for cash and retirement accounts, $2,000 for margin accounts for cash and retirement accounts, ,000 for margin accounts for cash and retirement accounts, ,000 for margin accounts
Note: Certain futures trading in IRA accounts require $5,000 to $25,000.
Available Account TypesTaxable margin joint IRA (traditional, Roth, SEP)
Corporate trust (C-corp, S-corp, LLC, partnership)

tastyworks Users

To put it shortly, TastyWorks is suited best to the TastyTrader. That is, someone who agrees with the core tenants of the TastyTrade philosophy of being a mechanical seller of volatility (when it’s historically expensive) in highly liquid underlyings. See the “TastyTrade Strategy” section of this article for a more in-depth explanation. The platform is created with this trading style in mind, as is the commission structure.

Still, if you’re an active options trader applying a different strategy, the commission structure will still be hugely beneficial to you if you frequently trade spreads.

If you frequently trade multi-legged options spreads like Butterflies or Iron Condors, you know how much commissions can eat into your P&L, especially in the lower-priced underlyings. Even at today’s low industry average rates of about $0.65/contract, just five lots of an at-the-money Iron Condor in SPY would cost you $26 in commission for a round trip (opening and closing the position).

Under the TastyWorks commission structure, you pay $1 per contract to open a trade, but closing the trade is free. So those same five lots of the Iron Condor would cost you $20 for a round trip.

Before we get more into the finer details of the TastyWorks platform and such, let’s cover the basics like fees and account types.

tastyworks Fees and Commissions

TastyWorks uses a different commission model for options than most other brokers, but it’s easy to understand, and the majority of the time, it reduces your commission costs.

TastyWorks charges $1.00 per contract to open, and $0.00 per contract to close trades. So the round-trip for one contract is $1.00. This is in contrast to the rest of the industry, which charges $0.65 per contract, but charges you on both opening and closing transactions, making a round trip cost $1.30 per contract.

TastyWorks also gives significant discounts to large orders, capping the commissions at $10 per leg. This is where you will see really significant savings. Do keep in mind that if you’re consistently doing high volume at a different broker, they’re very likely to offer you significant commissions savings if you call them up and negotiate a different rate. But this comparison is meant to show you how much the commission savings at TastyWorks compound when you trade in larger size.

Let’s look at a few example trades to illustrate this:

PositionTastyWorks Round-trip CommissionIndustry Standard Round-trip Commission
1 contract$1.00$1.30
Vertical Spread, 1 lot (2 contracts)$2.002.60
Vertical Spread, 10 lots (20 contracts)$20.00$26.00
Vertical Spread, 50 lots (100 contracts$20.00$260.00
Iron Condor, 1 lot (4 contracts)$4.00$5.20
Iron Condor, 50 lots (200 contracts)$40.00$520.00

tastyworks Usability

Tastyworks Usability

tastyworks has a learning curve, especially if you’re new to derivatives. Buying and selling stocks is still as simple as clicking the bid or ask price and entering your order, but inexperienced traders are going to have no idea what uncovered puts or iron condors are. 

There’s no demo or paper trading account, so you’ll need a strong knowledge base going in. If options and futures bewilder you, tastytrade.com offers educational materials about types of options orders and futures strategies.

With tastyworks, you can expect to find:

  • Easy-to-execute trades with multiple order types. Complex options trades are simplified thanks to tastyworks’ interface. You’ll be able to enter multi-leg trades with a handful of clicks, set up limit or stop-loss orders and rollover option positions with ease. Orders are easily replaced or canceled and several different order fill methods are available.
  • Follow feed and in-platform video. Tastyworks offers some social media features on the platform like the Follow Feed. Much like Twitter, users can follow their favorite traders and copy their moves and strategies. You’ll be able to see market pros act in real-time. Then there’s the in-platform video, where you’ll hear the market pros acting and discussing strategies in real-time right on your screen.
  • Videos and articles explain how to use the platform. Research sources are limited to the tastytrade sphere, but the platform instructional materials are terrific. If you’re unsure how to use the platform efficiently, tastyworks’ video library will demonstrate how to trade stocks, options and futures, as well as manage positions properly.

    Know how to roll over options trades? If not, there’s a YouTube video for you! Navigating the platform might be intimidating at 1st, but tastyworks’ library of educational materials cover every bell and whistle.

tastyworks Education

When you sign up for an account with tastyworks, it’s a good idea to already know what you’re doing in the options and futures markets. If you’re looking for a brokerage to hold your hand while learning to trade, you’ve downloaded the wrong platform. You won’t find advice on retirement or mutual funds in the tastyworks education library. 

But you will find is a wealth of how-to articles and videos discussing the nuances of the platform. The support section is broken down into 6 different pillars:

  • Account opening and management
  • Getting started
  • Software, platform and tech support
  • Deposits, withdrawals and transfers
  • Trading, buying power and margin
  • Tax center

The support section not only teaches users how to use the service’s many features but also how platform plumbing works. You’ll get answers to questions about transfers, margin calls, trading techniques, account types, account management, order entry and more. 

To get access to tastytrade’s market research, you’ll need to sign up for an account at both tastyworks and tastytrade. tastytrade’s newsletter is free to join.

tastyworks vs tastytrade

This is a different review for us because it’s impossible to talk about TastyWorks without mentioning TastyTrade, the engine that fueled it’s growth. Without the TastyTrade network, there is no TastyWorks. And the content of TastyTrade dictated TastyWorks’ trajectory.

And because we see the TastyWorks platform as one of the broker’s main value propositions, it’s important to understand the thinking behind the structure of this platform and if makes sense given your market approach.

There’s thousands of episodes of TastyTrade online and countless interviews with Sosnoff and the other hosts. There’s plenty of nuance to their strategies, but we can sum them up as this:

  • Implied volatility is overstated: over the long run, implied volatility is higher than the volatility realized in the market. Sellers of volatility are essentially sellers of optionality, and they need to be compensated for taking on that risk. The TastyTrade philosophy concludes that for this reason, shorting option premium (when it’s expensive) is a positive expected value trading strategy.
  • Trade small, trade often: even if you have a coin weighted in your favor, betting a large portion of your wealth into any single flip could still ruin you. By making many small bets with a positive expected value, you reduce your variance and allow the law of large numbers to play in your favor.

If you want a deeper understanding of this strategy, the TastyTrade YouTube channel has a video series called the “Trading Pillars,” where Tom Sosnoff explains his ten pillars of trading options.

tastyworks Customer Support

Click the “Get Help” box at the bottom of each tastyworks webpage to get a standard support request form. You’ll get a canned answer from a chatbot that usually directs you to a help article. For better options, see the contact table below.

Emailsupport@tastytrade.com
Phone855-GO-TASTY
ChatN/A

Tastyworks Offerings

Tastyworks Offerings

tastyworks is focused on options trading, but it still has a great selection of stocks, ETFs and other derivatives like futures and micro futures. Stocks and ETFs trade commission-free and options are only charged commission when the position is opened.

Standard futures contracts still carry commissions to open and close, but commissions are capped on complex options trades with multiple legs.

tastyworks Stocks and ETFs 

You can trade stocks and ETFs on tastyworks. Trading stocks and ETFs can be done simply by clicking on the bid or ask price.

However, screeners and in-depth market analysis from 3rd parties are absent, which is a big loss for any broker operating in 2020. Stocks and ETFs are always free to trade. Watchlists are easy to create and charts are smooth and interactive.

tastyworks Options 

tastyworks offers options not only on equities but on futures contracts as well. The platform is specialized for complex, multi-leg options trades like iron condors and vertical spreads.

Active traders will be happy to see the capped commissions on these multi-leg option trades, which are sometimes significantly lower than those offered by competitors. Options trades are only charged a single-way $1 fee per contract, which maxes out at $10. There’s no commission on closing trades!

tastyworks Futures 

tastyworks clients can trade both normal futures contracts and micro futures. Regular futures contracts have a $1.25 per contract fee on both open and close, but the micro contracts are only charged $0.85 on open.

Users can trade futures contracts on U.S. indices, interest rates, foreign currencies, energy, metals and grains. Overall, only 21 different futures products are available, which pales in comparison to tastyworks’ strongest competitors.

tastyworks Mobile App

The tastyworks mobile app is available for iOS and Android, and you won’t find any loss in on-the-go functionality. Features like curve roll and percent of profit orders are still available. Trade execution can be just as quick and flawless as the desktop platform. 

The social aspects carry over to the mobile platform as well, including the trader feed which allows users to copy trade their favorite follows. However, some reviews claim the app is clunky, freezes often and can make it difficult to execute trades. 

tastyworks Overall Rating

tastyworks makes options trading a breeze. Commissions are cheap, the platform is functional and intuitive and your choice of securities stretches into the territory of futures.

But stock and ETF traders will find simpler, more accessible platforms elsewhere and experienced futures traders may prefer a more varied list of securities. There’s no forex trading and fixed-income products like bonds or mortgage-backed securities are unavailable. If you want more than just efficient options trading, tastyworks might leave you disappointed.

Overall, tastyworks is a great offshoot of the tastytrade brand. tastyworks offers the technology, management team and price points to remain a threat to legacy brokers for a long time.

tastyworks Tutorial

Frequently Asked Questions

Q

Does tastyworks offer any promotions?

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Does tastyworks offer any promotions?
asked
A
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Yes. The broker has offered some solid promotions for new users in the past. You can expect to see promos like 100 shares of stock when you open a margin or cash account or a $250 credit to try a simulated account. Promotions normally last a limited time. Visit tastyworks online to check out its latest promotion.

answered
Q

How can I learn to trade options or futures?

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How can I learn to trade options or futures?
asked
A
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You can find reputable online courses to get you started trading options or futures. Take a look at our review of the best courses to learn options trading. We highlight 9 options you can enroll in now.

Review how to trade futures in this guide, and comb through our top picks for the best futures trading classes.

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Methodology

For brokerage reviews, Benzinga created a weighted scale based on the following criteria: usability, services offered, customer service, education, research, mobile app, account minimums and fees. We aim to provide the most up-to-date, impactful and trustworthy reviews. For an in-depth look at our process, read the full methodology process.

How do you like Tastyworks?




User Reviews

Patrick B. Murphey

Tell Us Your Experience With "Tastyworks"

I'm looking into getting this. It's quite interesting and is capable of seeing the detail at a glance like I like it

peter

Tell Us Your Experience With "Tastyworks"

i dont...the fills on options are terrible as good as the visuals are....what can it matter if you cant buy and sell on it as well as TDA or Schwab

Andrea

Tell Us Your Experience With "Tastyworks"

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