TradeKing, a discount broker known for its $4.95 trade commissions, last year launched TradeKing LIVE, a Web-based trading platform for account holders. The company has been on a roll recently, making significant updates to the platform in August 2015, then announcing the acquisition of MB Trading, a move that will allow TradeKing to further cater to active, experienced traders.
TradeKing LIVE offers real-time streaming quotes and data as well as a customizable workspace. The addition of new features — such as advanced charting and options tools — makes it a strong contender against premium platforms like TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim.
TradeKing LIVE is best for:
- Active stock traders
- Advanced traders
- Options traders
- Fee-conscious investors
Where TradeKing LIVE shines
Commissions: As we noted in our full TradeKing review, not only are TradeKing’s commissions low, they’re clear cut: The broker charges $4.95 for stock and ETF trades, and options are just $4.95 plus 65 cents per contract. This is half the cost of TD Ameritrade and several dollars cheaper than the likes of large brokers like Fidelity and Charles Schwab.
Options trading: Many of the new updates to TradeKing LIVE focused on improving the platform for options traders, and it shows. Additions include a strategy workbench, so traders can quickly analyze all of the options contracts in a strategy; a calculator to assess the likelihood of a stock, ETF or index hitting a target price by a set date; and tools to analyze the profit and loss of a potential trade over time.
Browser access: Customers who frequently trade from various computers — home and work, for example — will appreciate this Web-based platform, which doesn’t require any downloads.
Easy navigation: TradeKing LIVE has everything you need, and nothing you don’t. It’s clean, streamlined and customizable; users can move modules on the dashboard to organize information in the way they want to view it, removing items they don’t need and putting data and features they do front and center. All accounts can be viewed on one page, and trades can be executed with a single click (or tap, on mobile). Alerts are available to inform users about market events, and users can also set custom alerts on stocks and options. The experience is consistent across all devices, including mobile and tablet.
Charts and research: The newest updates to the platform include expansions here, including over 80 technical indicators and the ability to compare symbols. TradeKing LIVE also has a research center, features real-time news from Benzinga, and all TradeKing customers have access to MarketGrader research reports. (The purchase of MB Trading promises to help TradeKing make even greater leaps, as that platform has more-robust features, including enhanced market data, over 100 technical indicators for charting and expanded order types.)
Where TradeKing LIVE falls short
Commission-free ETFs: TradeKing (like many discount brokers) doesn’t offer any ETFs commission-free; all ETF trades are subject to the $4.95 trade fee.
Account minimum: Most active traders won’t have trouble hitting the requirements to use the platform, but it’s worth pointing out: To access TradeKing LIVE, users must either maintain a $2,500 account balance or execute one trade per year. TradeKing charges a $50 inactivity fee to all customers who don’t meet that minimum.
No mock trading: TradeKing LIVE lacks paper trading technology, which would make it more accessible to beginners and allow all traders to practice strategies without risk. That said, the announcement about the MB Trading acquisition noted paper trading as a feature of that platform, so perhaps it will eventually be brought to LIVE as well.
The bottom line
There’s not a lot about TradeKing LIVE that we don’t like. It allows investors to take advantage of TradeKing’s low commissions on a comprehensive, customizable, feature-rich platform, with no added fees. The platform is particularly attractive for options traders. And the addition of MB Trading to the company’s lineup can only bring good things; investors should be sure to follow those developments as they unfold.