TradeStation is a top broker choice for active investors and those looking for a comprehensive set of included educational tools. With affordable commissions and a wealth of asset classes, TradeStation may be an excellent choice for short-term investors. However, if you’re looking for a platform aimed toward beginning investors or you prefer to take a long-term approach to your investing goals, other brokers may be more in tune with your needs.
Thinking about transferring your TradeStation account to a new broker? Our guide will help you compare some of the most popular TradeStation alternatives.
Best Alternatives to TradeStation
- Lowest Cost Broker: Interactive Brokers
- Best for Paper Trading: Webull
- Best for Simple Setups: Robinhood
- Best for Customer Service: E*TRADE
- Best for Automated Investing: moomoo
Ready to begin exploring alternatives to TradeStation? Browse a few of our favorite brokers below.
Lowest Cost Broker: Interactive Brokers
IBKR Lite provides unlimited, commission-free trading in US listed stocks and ETFs while enjoying a simplified trading experience via Client Portal and IBKR Mobile.
For options, tiered plans charge low broker commissions, decrease based on volume, plus exchange, regulatory, and clearing fees, plus VAT where applicable. In cases where an exchange provides a rebate, IBKR will pass some or all of the savings directly back to you.
Fixed plans charge a single flat rate per contract that includes all commissions and all exchange, regulatory and other third party fees, plus VAT where applicable.
Thousands of US mutual funds may be purchased with no transaction fee while others use a simple price structure that includes all regulatory and exchange fees. Invest with the lowest cost broker, Interactive Brokers, today.
- You can trade in your own time and learn on the go
- The platform helps you pinpoint unique investment opportunities
- While IBKR offers a lot of extra tools, you may not have a need for many of them
Best for Paper Trading: Webull
If you’ve never invested before or want to take a more active role in your investments for the first time, starting with a paper trading account can save you both time and money.
A paper trading account is a type of investing practice account that allows you to use virtual funds to practice investing with real-time market movements.
Webull offers investors full real-time paper trading using its professional-grade platform. Refine your strategies, test out new trading ideas and monitor your progress over time without risking any of your own funds.
When you’re ready to enter the market with real cash, you’ll already have a handle on Webull’s unique platform and tools.
- You can practice with a paper trading account
- Anyone of any experience level can use this platform and succeed
- You may be looking for more unique trading tools
Best for Simple Setups: Robinhood
Be sure to consider Robinhood if you’re looking for simplicity. Robinhood is an intuitive broker that caters to beginners in the investing sphere.
Robinhood offers commission-free trading on stocks and options and has recently added cryptocurrency investing as well. Monitor your investments with an easily navigable mobile and desktop platform and trade with just a few taps.
Though you won’t find the same types of advanced charting options with Robinhood as you would with TradeStation, the broker’s easy signups and straightforward navigation can be a less intimidating choice for new investors.
- You can save money with this platform
- You can switch back and forth between the desktop and mobile version of the platform
- The platform has a history of halting trading
Best for Customer Service: E*TRADE
TradeStation offers a comprehensive range of customer service options when compared to many other competing brokers. However, if you’re looking for around-the-clock connection with a customer service team, you may want to choose E*TRADE as your broker.
E*TRADE offers 24/7 customer service by both phone and live chat, which can be comforting if you prefer a more personal touch when setting up your accounts. Though most of E*TRADE’s physical branches closed due to COVID-19, you can still schedule a call with a representative at your local branch for more personalized advice.
- 24/7 customer service helps you trade with confidence
- You can connect with local branches if you need
- You can get a competitive APY on uninvested cash
- You may prefer to use a platform that offers more unique assets
Best for Automated Investing: Moomoo
Moomoo was designed as a platform for smart trading, but is also offers the benefit of low fees. You pay $0 commission on stocks and ETFs.
This mobile trading platform features advanced tools in a well-organized app. It’s free and easy-to-use for both beginners and experienced traders.
A host of research tools can help you make smart investment decisions. There’s also a paper trading feature with real-time data if you want to simulate the investment experience before going all in.
Moomoo allows you to invest when it’s convenient for you. You can initiate trades whether on-the-go or at home with your customized set-ups synced on different devices. Plus, there’s no minimum deposit to open an account.
- The app appeals to all types of traders
- You can paper trade and practice with help from this platform
- No minimum deposit helps you get started on your terms
- 5.1% APY on uninvested cash with a 3.0% APY boost for qualified users
- There’s no support for crypto or retirement accounts
What is TradeStation?
TradeStation is an online stockbroker that provides retail investors with access to a variety of financial markets and instruments. TradeStation is headquartered in Plantation, Florida, after being founded in 1982 as Omega Research Inc. The broker now has offices in New York City, London, Sydney, Chicago and other major finance hubs.
TradeStation is best known for its range of online investing platforms, which include:
- Access to a range of securities and account types: Investors who need an all-in-one platform can find it in TradeStation. TradeStation offers access to stock and ETF trading, investing in mutual funds, ETFs, options trading, futures contracts and even cryptocurrencies. You can also open a variety of account types, ranging from taxable brokerage accounts to joint IRAs.
- Impressive desktop platform: TradeStation’s desktop platform is one of the company’s most notable offerings. You won’t pay commissions on most tradable assets on TS Select and TS GO. You’ll find every type of indicator or charting tool that you could need through TradeStation.
- Comprehensive range of education tools: Though TradeStation isn’t a go-to broker for new investors, it offers an impressive selection of tools that newcomers can use to learn more about general market terms and assets. From how-to videos that show you how to use the platform to downloadable e-books, TradeStation University helps you cover your bases.
Why TradeStation Might Not Be Right for You
Though TradeStation offers plenty of features and tools, it does fall short in a few areas. If any of the following are must-haves for you, TradeStation might not be the best broker for you:
- Simple platforms and pricing: Though more experienced investors might appreciate TradeStation’s multiple pricing packages and platforms, new investors might have trouble choosing a platform. These multi-tiered commission schedules can confuse you and quickly cut into profits if you aren’t careful.
Many of TradeStation’s advanced features and tools must be purchased with a subscription. New investors might prefer a broker that provides a single platform with all features included — even if it means sacrificing access to select markets or analysis tools.
- No inactivity fees or minimum balances: If you’re a passive investor or you’re an investor who isn’t looking to become an active trader, minimum account balances and fees can cause unnecessary financial strain on your account. Though TradeStation offers a TS GO account with $0 minimums, investors who want the features of the TS Select plan will need to deposit a minimum of $2,000 to open their account.
TradeStation is also one of the only brokers on the market that still charges inactivity fees. IRA account holders will pay $35 annually, regardless of how many deposits they make. Investors who do not maintain a balance of $2,000 or more or who don’t make five trades a month are also subject to a $50 inactivity fee. If you’re searching for a completely free broker (especially for buy-and-hold investment strategies), TradeStation might not be the best broker for you.
Make Your First Investment
If you’re getting ready to open your first brokerage account or transferring a TradeStation account to a new broker, be sure to compare all of your investment options before you make your choice. Though you typically won’t be required to deposit a minimum balance into your brokerage account when you open an account for the first time, most brokers charge outgoing transfer fees if you need to move an existing portfolio. Take some time to do your research before opening a new account to save the most money possible on fees and account charges.
About Sarah Horvath
Sarah is an expert in the insurance, investing for retirement and cryptocurrency space.