TradeKing Review

Welcome to the NerdWallet review of TradeKing! We’ve included all the information you need to make an informed decision. Do you already have an account with TradeKing? We’d love to hear your opinion in the comments section so that others can learn from your experiences.

One Sentence Summary

TradeKing provides the same essential tools as the well-known guys (research, data, execution, customer service) at half the cost (only $4.95/trade) because they spend less on advertising.

About the Company

Don’t be fooled by TradeKing’s discount price point. The online brokerage consistently ranks well, even when compared to higher-priced firms like Schwab and TD Ameritrade. Founded in 2005, and merging with Zecco in 2012, TradeKing emphasizes allowing investors to form ideas and strategies by interacting with one another. Through the Trader Network, clients can share information about their trades and rationale with other clients, and even TradeKing staff, some of whom are active members of the community.

Since its merger with Zecco, TradeKing has drastically improved its research offerings. Like most discount brokers, TradeKing offers little in the way of third-party research (only one source), but the resources it does have – including customizable and thorough charting – are user-friendly and visually appealing, and all can be accessed for free by any member.

Of course, TradeKing is not without its drawbacks. While its research functions receive high marks, some customers found the trading tools on the website to be poorly designed. Subscribers sometimes complain that they might have to navigate through two or three pages to execute a trade. Users can also trade through the new, browser-based TradeKing LIVE platform. At this point, its tools are limited, with a watchlist, detailed quotes, and not much else. On the other hand, Barron’s rated TradeKing #1 for site usability in 2011 so the site is definitely functional. It just doesn’t have as many bells and whistles as some competitors.

Although TradeKing boasts very low commissions, it offers a range of financial products typical of a more expensive broker – including forex trading, although not futures – and free IRAs and DRIPs. Multi-leg options orders cost no more than a single-leg. However, like some other discount brokers, TradeKing compensates for some of its discounted commissions with fees, like its new $50 annual inactivity fee, for accounts totaling less than $2,500 and without trades in the last year.

Many of TradeKing’s drawbacks are common to discount brokers, but the selection and research it offers are truly outstanding at its price point. Any investor looking to save substantially on their trades, without sacrificing too much, should absolutely consider TradeKing.

Pricing
  • Minimum initial deposit: $0
  • Stock Trades: $4.95 per trade
  • Options Trades: $4.95 per trade + $0.65 per contract
  • Company Research: Free
  • Data: Free
  • Trading Platforms: Free
  • Learn more about TradeKing
Promotions
  • Receive a $50 bonus if you fund your account with at least $3,000 in assets
  • Refer a friend and both of you will receive $50 once they fund a new account with at least $3,000 and make 3 trades.
Research
  • MarketGrader research reports are free for account holders. These are fundamental investment analysis reports to help you identify undervalued stocks. Over 5,500 publicly traded companies are covered.
  • Earnings Calendar: Free access to an earnings calendar with upcoming earnings releases and expected EPS, downgrades, upgrades, and more.
Advice
  • TradeKing does not have physical locations or provide advice. This is a trading account for those who want to make their own investment decisions.
Trading Platforms
  • Barron’s rated TradeKing #1 for Site Usability in 2011 (4 stars out of 4)
  • The platform is usable, but isn’t fancy with unnecessary bells and whistles. It’s great for fundamental traders who just want to research and execute straightforward stock trades
  • Free Calculators include: Options Pricing Calculator, Implied Volatility Probability Calculator, Profit & Loss Calculator, and more
Data
  • Free access to real-time streaming quotes and data with TradeKing LIVE (available to those who trade at least once per year or have $2,500 in their account)
  • Frequent traders (10 trades or more per month) get free access to Quotestream, a premium service to track and analyze your existing or potential investment.
Premium Features
Mutual Funds
  • Offers over 8,000 mutual funds including load and no-load funds from most leading fund families
  • TradeKing’s Mutual Fund Center makes it easy to screen according to your own criteria and find top performers
Asset Classes
  • Stocks
  • Bonds
  • Mutual Funds
  • ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds)
  • Options
  • Foreign Exchange (Currency)
Comparison to other Brokerages
  • Service & Features:
    • TradeKing offers the same services and features as TD Ameritrade and E*trade, but with fewer bells and whistles. The features are more than adequate for basic trade research and execution, but you will not have access to the premium research and trading platforms that TD Ameritrade offers (for twice the price).
  • Pricing:
    • TradeKing is one of the best values in trading.
    • Pricing at $4.95/trade is about half the cost of E*trade and TD Ameritrade.
  • For a full comparison to EVERY other brokerage, check out our brokerage comparison tool.
Awards
  • #1 for Site Usability 2011 (Barron’s)
  • Top Rated ustome Service 2008-2012 (Smart Money)
  • 4 out of 5 stars 2007-2013 (Barron’s)
Customer Opinions
  • “I’ve been with them since 2006 and have never had any problems”
  • “Great customer service”
  • “Overall I am happy as a TK customer”
  • “It’s not perfect, but at this price I can’t complain”
  • “The platform is pretty simple. I hope they add some more features.”
  • “It’s the best cheap broker”
  • “I wish they had better charting and tracking tools”
  • “Very helpful with the live chat feature”
  • “Love the educational resources”

Do you use TradeKing? Please share your opinions in the comments section to help others make informed decisions.

Does TradeKing sound like the right brokerage for you? If so, visit their website to learn more or to sign up for an account.

  • Doug

    They will charge you $50/year if you do not make any trades. I found out the hard way.

    • Maxime Rieman

      TradeKing doesn’t charge the $50 inactivity fee unless your combined account values are less than $2,500 and you haven’t made any trades within the past year.

      • Xiao

        $50 out of $2500! that is a big chunk for small investors. A company that making money out of small investors are not a good company for small investors.

        • Clint

          The inactivity fee is only if A) you haven’t traded all year and B) your balance is below $2500. This really isn’t much different than a bank that charges fees monthly if you don’t keep a minimum balance.

  • rob s

    I am interested in opening an ira. I would only be a casual investor a few trades per year. seem that tradeking would be good, paying for what you need, half of what the big online services charge.

  • mo

    r there any limits to how much u can trade on tradeking?(the price sounds a little suspicious to me)

    • Maxime Rieman

      No, there are no limits to the amount you can trade. However, you pay the $4.95 commission each time you make a trade, not once to cover all trading.

      • Steve

        Customer service with Trade King is some of the worst pretty much a joke. I just called and customer service rep was chewing gum. When I called him out on it he hung up the phone. Are you serious, what kind of brokerage shop is this?

        • Maxime Rieman

          Hi Steve,
          I’m sorry you had such a poor experience with a TradeKing representative. If you have the rep’s name or any specific details, I’d be happy to follow up with TradeKing.

  • fuzzies

    can I invest in a couple specific penny stocks here at trade king please

    • Maxime Rieman

      If you know which penny stocks you’d like to invest in, but aren’t sure if they’ll be offered by TradeKing, you can give them a call at (877) 495-5464

      • wentdair

        Tradeking has an issue with penny stocks and charge an extra .01 per stock on both ends. A penny stock is described by them as any stock below $2. This is especially expensive when trading options below $2 or when the strike price minus the premium is under $2.

  • Ty

    i dont live in the us what are my options?

    • Maxime Rieman

      TradeKing is only available to US citizens, however other brokerage firms have international branches. For example, TD Ameritrade is available in several countries:
      http://www.tdwaterhouse.com/

      • Steve

        Customer service with TK is some of the worst. I just called and customer service rep was chewing gum. When I called him out on it he hung up the phone. Are you serious, what kind of brokerage shop is this?

  • Dave

    What is the minimum amount of shares you can purchase?

    • Maxime Rieman

      For stocks, the minimum number you can purchase at a time is one.

  • ITZJUSQ

    Question. So if I buy 100 shares of 1 stock. I have to pay 4.95 per share?

    • Maxime Rieman

      You have to pay $4.95 per trade. So, if you purchase 100 shares of 1 stock in a single trade, you only have to pay $4.95 once.

      • adam

        If you;re asking that question you should not be buying stock

        • duh_adam

          And you shouldn’t be trolling legitimate questions. Not everyone was “born” to invest and trade. We all learn different ways dude.

  • Chris Meier

    Do not do trades with them they will find anywayto take your money they stolle $1500 from me sold my stock with out permission for $50 then charged me $50 my stock is way above what I paid for it and I find out I don’t own it any more wtf etrade here I come!

    • Maxime Rieman

      Hi Chris,
      That sounds like a very unusual situation; I’ve never heard of such an issue with TradeKing. Could you please send further details? I’d be happy to look into what happened.

  • gb

    Max you said “TradeKing is only available to US citizens” is that correct or did you meant US residents

    • Maxime Rieman

      My mistake, I meant US residents. Here is TradeKing’s full policy regarding who may open an account:

      “Foreign citizens with a social security number and legally residing in the USA may open a TradeKing account with the exception of citizens from the following countries: Albania, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Chad, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Croatia, Cuba, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Ghana, Iran, Iraq, Kenya, Kosovo, Lebanon, Libya, Macedonia, Montenegro, Myanmar (Burma), Nigeria, North Korea, Romania, Sao Tome and Principe, Serbia, Slovenia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, Yemen, Zimbabwe.

      All customers including US citizens must be living in the USA to maintain a TradeKing account. Exceptions may be made for active military personnel stationed abroad.”

  • Ken

    Does anyone know what is “house call”? TradeKing charge me $32.19 in the name as house call I have to pay the amount or else they will liquidate my stocks. It began with my account in Zecco, then merged with TradeKing. All my portfolios were transferred to TradeKing. They are all penny stocks, my account balance still have around $18 in cash. That was two years ago. Then I have not a single transaction since that. I got e-mail for the house call to pay Tradeking $32.18 last month to avoid liquidation of my stock. What a freak baster.

    • Maxime Rieman

      A house call is a type of margin call which is generated if at any point your account equity falls below our minimum maintenance requirements. This can occur any time you don’t have enough money to cover the current risk or obligation in your account.

      You can learn more about TradeKing’s margin requirements here:
      https://www.tradeking.com/rates/margin

      If you are seeing a margin call notice on your account which you don’t understand, you should call Client Services at 877-495-5464 and they can help answer any questions you have about how the call was generated or what you can do to satisfy the call.

      If you aren’t comfortable with all the risks associated with margin trading and penny stock trading, I would strongly suggest you avoid these areas.

  • joseph

    lol..its funny reading all these complaints
    just by reading them you can tell these people have ZERO experience in trading

    • RC

      Likely true, we can’t all be experts on everything. Any helpful advice?

  • Bishop

    Is paper trading allowed before you jump in and is back testing available?

  • Jason

    If I have less than $2,500 in my account, but I make trades, will I still be hit with the $50 fee?

    • Maxime Rieman

      No, if you make trades regularly, there will be no inactivity fee

  • bandoogiemanz

    Hello, I am looking to buy some stock for the first time. I do not see myself making multiple trades a year as my budget is very limited(probably about $500.) I am looking to purchase a particular stock. What is your recommendation for the best broker for me? Is TDAmeritrade good for me orshould I use Tradeking or someone else? Thanks.

    • Maxime Rieman

      If you will have $500 in the account and don’t expect to trade at least once per year, TradeKing probably isn’t the best broker for you. You’ll want to go with a firm like TD Ameritrade, which doesn’t have an inactivity fee.

      However, if this is your first time investing, I’d suggest you look into mutual funds instead of putting your money into a single stock. As they say, it can be dangerous to put all your eggs in one basket. Diversifying your portfolio will dramatically reduce the risk you’re taking.

  • tjc11

    I’ve also had problems with TradeKing support, they are very unprofessional. Also, the fees on their website are not clearly explained. I’d suggest clarification from them before you do ANYTHING.

    • Maxime Rieman

      As of yet, I haven’t heard of any TradeKing fees that aren’t laid out here:
      https://www.tradeking.com/rates/fees

      Are there any specifically you’ve run into?

      • Xiao

        Wow That is a long list of fees. Sooner or later those fees will catch us if we aren’t being careful.

        I see for IRA, it has IRA Transfer Out Fee of $50 and IRA Closure Fee of $50. If I move an existing IRA account to another company, do I get charged $100 for both transfer out and closure? If I move both traditional IRA and Roth IRA accounts to another company, do I get charged a total of $200?

        Do most investing brokers charge the same amount for this?

        • TradeKing Client Services

          If you decide to transfer out your IRA from TradeKing to another brokerage firm, you would be charged a $50 IRA closure fee and a $50 transfer fee. This would be a total of $100 to move the account. Please note that if you elect to close your IRA and send out funds by a check, you would only be charged the $50 IRA closure fee.

  • Mike

    I’ll be doing schooling in Europe for the next two years – will I have able to hold an account and trade while abroad?

    • Maxime Rieman

      According to TradeKing’s policy, you must be living in the US to maintain your account. Given that you will be out of the country temporarily (and I’m assuming returning to the US periodically), I would call TradeKing to ask if an exception can be made.

  • Denise barnes

    I am a new investor. I really enjoy the chat feature, it give me an opportunity to ask questions. They have been very helpful.

  • Esther

    Is there a limit on the number of trades you can make in a day. Can I buy and sell the same stock on same day?

    • Maxime Rieman

      There’s no limit on the number of trades you can make in a day, and you can certainly buy and sell the same stock on the same day. One thing you need to be aware of is that you might qualify as a day trader, which has some implications:
      http://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/investing/2012/day-trader/

  • jojo

    I am planning to buy stock from a company that is offering stock only to its employees and customers. Could I use Tradeking to help me when I need to buy or sell even though I didn’t purchase the stock
    using them?

    • Maxime Rieman

      Without knowing more details of your situation, I’d suggest you give TradeKing a call, I’m sure they’d be happy to talk you through everything.

  • RM

    If you don’t have $2500 in your account but do more than 1 trade a year do you still have the $50 yearly charge?

    • Maxime Rieman

      Nope, as long as you make at least 1 trade per year, there’s no fee

      • Clint

        Just curious, is that Jan-Dec or fiscal year? That part I haven’t read anywhere…

        • Maxime Rieman

          It’s a rolling 12-month period. So, if you made a trade last April and haven’t made any trades since then, you’ll be charged the fee (unless you meet the minimum balance to be exempt).

  • Wes

    Does any one know how to get my money back from TradersKing? They went into my credit card account and withdrew $599 without my authorization or request. As any one had that experience with them?

    • Maxime Rieman

      Just to clarify, do you mean TradersKing, the binary options trading site? Or TradeKing?

  • tbsan

    In ACH transfers, even after the funds are cleared, you have to wait three days for trading. When I tried to transfer money out when they received the funds via ACH, they won’t release the funds for 10 DAYS!

  • shuaib

    Does this platform apply the day traders rule ( 3 trades per week)????and does it have level 2 quotes????

    • Maxime Rieman

      If you qualify as a day trader, you must follow certain rules no matter which brokerage firm you’re using. Here are some more details:
      http://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/investing/2012/day-trader/

      Level II quotes are available through TradeKing, but you need to contact them to get them activated.

  • Ken

    Do you use TradeKing right now? If so I’d like a referral.

  • Maxime Rieman

    TradeKing should provide you access to trade every stock available on a major US exchange. The total number of US listed companies is only 5,008 according to the Wall Street Journal:
    http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304851104579363272107177430
    With $500 to trade with, you will have a restricted set of companies to invest in (for example, Google’s stock is currently over $500).
    Markets.com only lets you trade Forex and CFD, not equities.

  • Vivek

    I like tradeking for stock trading. No hidden rules for number of trades. I don’t trade much though. I feel fee for MF is higher. I guess same for all online brokers. I prefer MF website like vanguard who does not charge for all their funds…
    Happy trading…

  • maxfact

    i have been trading with king since February of this year. they dont support afterhours tradingand all equity tradespriced less than 2.00 a share they charge an additional .01 per $hare. also they hit you for a 12percent book keeping fee on dividend payments. i use light speed for all pf my under 2.00equities. they only charge .005 per share.