The following TradeKing review includes affiliate links. If you choose to use TradeKing, we’d love it if you used our links to open your account. We do receive a small commission for the referral, and would be extremely grateful! Thanks for your support!
Over the past several years, we’ve written about several investment sites, including reviews on Personal Capital and Motif Investing. Those sites certainly provide unique options for the right customers, and I highly recommend them both. Today, however, we’re going to focus more on investors who prefer to make a few more trades than those subscribing to a buy and hold strategy.
TradeKing is an online brokerage firm that offers a wealth of powerful trading options at a deeply discounted price. Founded in 2005, TradeKing merged with Zecco in 2012, broadening their brokerage offerings even further. Although they are best known for their $4.95 trades, TradeKing’s excellent customer service, premium research tools, and exceptional use of social media and customer forums have positioned it as one of the top online brokerage firms around.
- $4.95 trade commissions
- $9.95 mutual fund trades
- No account minimums to open
- Option for managed accounts
- Free Streaming Quotes
- “Trader Network”
- Excellent customer service
- Free educational webinars
- Options and Forex trading available
TradeKing regularly runs promotions for investors who are interested in opening new accounts. With their standard promotion you’ll receive up to $1,000 in free trade commissions when you open a new account. You can also switch to TradeKing from another firm and get up to $150 in transfer fees reimbursed. You’re also eligible to get $25 back on wire transfer fees if you initially fund your account with more than $5,000 (does not apply to retirement accounts). Finally, if you refer a friend, you’ll get a cool $50!
At a Glance
|Types of Securities|
|Stock & ETF Commissions||$4.95 per trade|
|Mutual Fund Commissions||$9.95 per trade|
|Options||$4.95 + $0.65 per contract|
|Inactivity Fee||$50 annually (see below)|
|IRA Transfer Out/Closure||$50|
|TradeKing Advisors Fees||0.25-0.50% (None first year)|
One of the most important features to any online trader is the brokerage’s trading platform, and TradeKing doesn’t disappoint. The platform itself is easy to understand and simple to use. For those who like to watch the market, the platform is fast – providing streaming quotes so that you can execute trades at the price you want. TradeKing’s platform also allows you to customize your dashboard, making for a better all-around user experience. Investors are also able to execute trades via the platform on their mobile device.
The relatively new TradeKing Advisors program provides investors with the opportunity to have their portfolio managed in a more active way. Similar to other robo advisors like Betterment, the Advisors platform helps investors who need a little bit more guidance investing their hard-earned money. There are 2 levels from which to choose – Core and Momentum. Core accounts are adjusted as needed while Momentum accounts are reviewed on a monthly basis. Unlike with the regular trading accounts, TradeKing Advisor accounts do have an account minimums. You are required to invest at least $500 into a Core account, while $5,000 is the minimum amount needed to invest in the Momentum tier. TradeKing Advisors operates as an RIA, which means that the company does not receive commissions based on the products they sell to you. Instead, they charge a flat fee based on a percentage of the total amount of money you have invested in your portfolio, effectively eliminating potential conflicts of interest. Fees on Core accounts are $1/month for accounts under $5,000 and 0.25% annually on accounts with balances above that. For Momentum accounts, fees are locked in at an annual 0.50% of your total balance.
One of the best features offered by TradeKing is their Trader Network. Basically, the Trader Network is like a social media site for the trading community. It’s a place where you connect with other investors, share your ideas, and see what others are trading. With over 200,000 members, there are plenty of people with whom you can connect.
TradeKing Select is a membership program built exclusively for TradeKing’s best clients. Members receive priority call and email routing, as well as free support when placing trades over the phone. TradeKing Select also offers “no wire transfer fees” and “no overnight express fees” on deposits of $5,000 and up. Members also receive paper trade confirmations, paper statements, and additional 1099 paperwork at no additional cost. To qualify for TradeKing Select, your account value must stay above $25,000. You must also complete at least 3 trades over a three-month period.
Free Online Support and Customer Service
By all accounts, TradeKing’s customer service is second to none. In addition to the Trader Network, TradeKing representatives do a great job of answering your questions in real-time. Their educational tools are extensive and are broken down by experience level. You can also attend the free classes and webinars that they regularly make available to clients.
Advantages of TradeKing
Low Pricing Structure – When it comes to value, TradeKing is hard to beat! If you’re a frequent trader, and even if you’re not, you’ll love their $4.95 commissions on stock trades. You can also make mutual fund trades for just $9.95 each. You’ll be hard pressed to find all the quality features that TradeKing offers at lower prices.
Free Online Support and Customer Service – By all accounts, TradeKing’s customer service is second to none. In addition to the Trader Network, TradeKing representatives do a great job of answering your questions in real-time. Their educational tools are extensive and are broken down by experience level. You can also attend the free classes and webinars that they regularly make available to clients.
No Account Minimums – If you plan to open a regular trading account, you can do so without having to worry about an account minimum. This makes it easy for you to open a TradeKing account, even if you don’t have a ton of cash flow. Be advised, however, that if you’re looking for more actively managed funds through TradeKing Advisors, you will need at least $500 to start investing through on the Core tier.
Full Slate of Securities – TradeKing has plenty of securities available that will satisfy almost any investor. You already know that you can invest in individual stocks. However, you can also invest your money into bonds, ETFs, and over 8,000 mutual funds. More adventurous traders will also find Forex and Options trading available through TradeKing. While there are no account minimums required, those wishing to trade on margin (a loan from the company) must deposit at least $2,000 by federal law.
Disadvantages of TradeKing
Inactivity Fee – Honestly, it is pretty hard to find a lot of disadvantages to TradeKing. They pretty much have all of your trading needs taken care of at very low prices. However, if I have to come up with one it would be the $50 annual inactivity fee. So, while there is technically no account minimum, you can be whacked with a $50 inactivity fee if your balance is below $2,500. As far as disadvantages go, even this is a bit of a stretch. The fee is waived if you make one commissionable trade per year or your household balance stays above $2,500. So, it is pretty easy to avoid the fee if you’re worried about it.
Who Is TradeKing Good For?
- Active Traders – TradeKing was built with active traders in mind. With their low $4.95 commissions on trades, active traders will have a hard time finding better value elsewhere.
- Investors with Small Amounts to Invest – Investors with little money to invest will love their no minimum balance requirements. While most brokerage firms have a minimum balance required to start investing, TradeKing allows you to get started immediately, no matter how much money you have to invest.
- DIY Traders – With excellent research and educational resources, TradeKing is perfect for investors who like to do it themselves. The low commission structure is also a bonus.
- Millenials and Tech Savvy Investors – Investors who are technologically savvy will appreciate being able to complete trades via their mobile devices. With mobile options and a $4.95/trade pricetag, TradeKing is a great place for millenials to invest.
- Investors Requiring Extra Guidance – TradeKing’s relatively recent addition of TradeKing Advisors is a huge asset to those investors who wish to have their portfolios managed in a more active fashion. Investors just need to fill out a simple questionnaire and TradeKing Advisors will help them create a balanced portfolio. (Please note that the TradeKing Advisors option does include a minimum balance requirement.)
Who Is TradeKing Not Good For?
- Investors Who Trade Less than Once a Year or Have Extremely Low Balances – As we advised earlier, investors who trade less than once per year or carry a balance of less than $2,500 will be charged an annual $50 inactivity fee. Of course, this fee is easily avoidable by making at least one commissionable trade or keeping your household balance above $2,500.
- Investors Who Are Uncomfortable with Technology – Investors who are not comfortable making trades over the internet or via their mobile phones are not a good. They should seek the advice of a traditional stock broker, instead.
TradeKing Review: The Bottom Line
TradeKing is an excellent option for investors seeking a full-service online trading platform, including options trading, at a low-cost. The company provides a wealth of excellent features that are sure to be loved by beginners and seasoned investors alike. In addition to the low $4.95 commission fees on trades, TradeKing provides a solid trading platform, exceptional educational materials, and superb customer service. When it comes to discount brokerages, TradeKing is hard to beat.