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TradeKing Review – 2013

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.

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NerdWallet’s Rating: 5 / 5 stars

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.

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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.

  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • #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”

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