TradeKing’s $4.95 trade fees have attracted a lot of attention in the e-brokerage world, allowing them to steal customers away from competitors. Compare their pricing to $9.99+ at Etrade and Ameritrade, and it’s easy to see why.
Fees and Pricing
Say you make 100 trades per year. Switching to TradeKing would save you $500/year, assuming you pay $9.99 today. That’s $500 more to put to work in the markets every year, money that will compound and grow over time. Investors who trade more often will see even bigger savings, of course.
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As you can see, trading is much cheaper on TradeKing. Their $4.95 price includes broker-assisted trades. I’ve had to use this option before with Etrade, when my internet went down. It wasn’t cheap. If you get in a similar spot, it’s nice that TK doesn’t charge a ton.
Official TradeKing site here:
Options pricing: Trades are $4.95 plus $.65 per contract. Compare that to $9.99 and $.75 per contract with Etrade. Big difference, especially when you trade volume.
Savings like that can make a huge difference for options traders. TK also offers options price calculators and options screening tools, allowing you to search for options that are fundamentally cheap (or expensive) depending on whether you’re looking to buy or sell.
Mutual Funds: Transaction fees also beat rivals by around 25%. They’re $14.99 vs. $19.99. These small savings make a big difference over time, especially in retirement accounts where your portfolio has decades to grow.
TradeKing is the cheapest online broker I know of. I can’t see fees going much lower, as TK’smargins must already be thin when you factor in exchange fees and business overhead. I assume TradeKing must be relying on some more advanced offerings to pad margins.
Drawback – Not Ideal For OTC/Penny Stocks
One potential drawback is TradeKing’s $.01/share fee on shares priced less than $1. For dumpster-divers and OTC gurus, this is not ideal. Those fees can really add up over time, when you’re doing transactions with 100k or even 1m shares at a time.
Charts and Technical Analysis Review
TradeKing offers some nice technical analysis tools, which are powered by Recognia. You can set up email alerts to notify you when breakouts or other events are happening.
Charting is pretty standard. Pattern-recognition, tons of TA indicators you can add, comparisons, etc. Like research, most investors can find the charts they need for free these days.
TradeKing’s margin rates are slightly cheaper than the competition, at 6.5%. That compares to ETrade’s 7.99% and TD Ameritrade’s 9.00%.
TK offers MarketGrader fundamental research reports to clients. These look solid, but don’t boast the same big-name appeal that firms Etrade pay for. But to be honest, I find very little value in reports from companies like Standard and Poors.
All these ratings agencies have fee-based relationships with the companies they cover, and that creates a bias problem. I was an Etrade customer for 8 years, and found most of those reports to be useless. Better information can be found for free on the web, in my experience. I’d rather not pay for pricey research that I never use.
TradeKing offers phone support with minimal wait times. They also offer online chat and email support. I made a call to test their claims, and got a real person on the line within a minute. Not bad, considering how cheap the trades are. They also received Smart Money’s #1 in Customer Service award in 2008.
Controlling costs today is more important than ever. TradeKing is a good way for investors and traders alike to cut their brokerage fees in half. I’m currently in the process of moving my old Etrade account to them. I make about 120 buys a year, so this should save me $600 in the next 12 months alone. Not bad.
Here’s a link to signup:
Feel free to share your own review of TradeKing in the comment section. I’d like to hear all experiences, good and bad.