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Home » Best of, Invest, Mutual Funds, Reviews, Stocks

TradeKing Review

Last updated by on 13 Comments

A few years ago, I made the switch to TradeKing for my traditional and Roth IRA’s. I’ve been promising a TradeKing review for a while, so this is long overdue. Having held discount broker accounts with ETrade, Vanguard, Fidelity, TradeKing, Scottrade, Fidelity, Schwab, and a few others, I have a little more experience in this area than I’d probably like to, so hopefully this review provides some useful discount broker comparisons and commentary.

What is TradeKing?

tradeking-reviewTradeKing is an online discount broker that has a low fee trading structure and strong customer service. Plain and simple. I’ll get into what types of accounts you may want to consider opening or moving to TradeKing in a bit. You can trade stocks, funds, options and other equities through TradeKing.

Trading Fees:

Let’s cut right to what most of us care about the most when it comes to investing online with a discount broker – the fees.

  • Stocks: $4.95 (online and even broker assisted on the phone)
  • Options: +$0.65 per contract (+$4.95 base)

Other than OptionsHouse (geared towards options traders) at $3.95 per trade, TradeKing’s trading fees are the lowest price of any legit discount broker that I am aware of.

Other Fees:

Here’s where TradeKing really excels. Whereas some discount brokers try to nickel and dime you with account inactivity fees and IRA fees, TradeKing does not. If you have over $2,500 in an account balance or make 1 trade over 12 months, there are no inactivity fees. And there are no “maintenance” fees. They also don’t have an annual IRA fee.

TradeKing’s price to buy in to mutual funds is a little bit higher than some discount brokers who offer a number of no-fee funds, at $14.95 to initially buy into a fund, but still very competitive to other broker’s funds with fees (i.e. E-Trade funds cost $19.99). If you prefer ETF’s over funds, that’s not really an issue. Here is a complete list of TradeKing fees.

Minimum Balances:

TradeKing has no minimum balance for their accounts. This is a key factor for someone just getting into investing for the first time, who might not have a lot of money to put into an account right from the get go.

How is the TradeKing Customer Service?

The one time that I called in, I got someone on the phone right away, that person spoke great English, and they followed up with a promised email with documentation minutes after the call.

For those who like the chat customer service option, TradeKing offers live chat support 8 AM – 6 PM ET, Monday through Friday. No complaints here.

Barron’s rated TradeKing’s customer service 4/4 stars from 2010 through 2013, and Smart Money rated them #1 in 2010-2012 (before the magazine went defunct this year).

Trading Tools at TradeKing:

TradeKing certainly doesn’t skimp on their tools. With all of the discount brokers I’ve used and the tools included for free in their interfaces, TradeKing can’t be beat in this area. Quickly summarizing each of their tools:

  • MarketGrader Research Reports: This is basically an analytical analysis tool that grades stocks (not dissimilar from Morningstar) and whether analysts predict then to outperform or not.
  • Technical Analysis: For experienced traders who use the charts, TradeKing provides chart pattern recognition, price forecasting and full educational support.
  • Interactive Charts: includes volatility and technical indicators.
  • Other Tools: probability calculator, profit & loss calculator, options calculator, options scanner, and stock screener.

Banking Services:

This might be an area where you’d be disappointed if you were interested in banking services in addition to trading services. TradeKing is not a full-service bank, so don’t expect a debit card, checking account, mortgage loans, or other bank related services.

Final Thoughts:

It’s one of the two discount brokers I use at the moment, so obviously, I like them. Good service, account security, low trading fees, and no other fees to screw you over. I’d recommend using them for both a regular trading account and a retirement account.

TradeKing Promotions

  • TradeKing is currently offering $150 in reimbursements for those who switch a non-retirement account to them.
  • They also offer a $50 referral fee if you refer a friend ($50 for both you and your friends).

About the Author
I am G.E. Miller, & this is my story. My goal is financial independence ASAP. If you share that goal, join me & 7,500+ others by getting FREE email updates. You'll also find every post by category & every post in order.


13 Comments »
  • bbatson says:

    Thanks for the review, G.E. I unfortunately work at a broker/dealer and my employment contract requires that my investment accounts be maintained at my employer, where it’s $34 to buy AND to sell. If you’re a relatively small investor (10 shares here, 20 shares there) you need be knocking it out of the park to realize any meaningful after-fee gains. $4.95 would be a dream.

    • Roger Geyer says:

      bbatson, an interesting revelation. I don’t understand this restriction by your employer. (Unless they just want to rip you off with their excessive fees).

      Is this standard industry practice? (Does anyone know?)

      It seems to me that as long as you don’t let your trading interfere with your work or your firm, and that you don’t get yourself into financial trouble (possibly somehow hurting your firm’s reputation or some such thing) — I don’t see how it is ANY OF THEIR DA** BUSINESS where you have your investment accounts — period.

      Just curious if I’m missing something obvious.

      Disclosure: I’m of (moderate) libertarian persuasion, which is why this kind of thing raises my hackles…

      Thanks in advance for any insight.

  • Matty says:

    TradeKing is my fave. discount broker. Very simplistic pricing and a lack of frivolous fees. Also, like you said, good customer service and tools. About the most you could ask for in a discount broker.

  • Hosingfan says:

    After dealing with this review about Tradeking, I attempted it myself. It really is great and useful. The review is great and really enables you to understand about Tradeking at length.

  • Fex says:

    I would like a referal to tradeking. hopefully you can see my email.

  • Rick says:

    TradeKing now has an inactivity charge of $50 if you have an account value of $2500 or below AND if you go a whole year without making a trade.

    • Stephen says:

      Take note that “AND” Rick mentioned. So if you do not want to get hit with the inactivity fee, just make one trade per year.

  • Dan says:

    I’ve been doing a lot of research over the past couple months on which online broker to use. Looks like Traking might be the one.

    Sorry, Bob, but if you’re handing your money over to someone, it’d be in your best interest to know exactly what you’re getting in to.

  • Myles says:

    When they say “Account value” of less than $2,500, does that refer to the amount of cash you have on hand in your account to use to make trades, OR, does it include both your cash on hand AND the value of your investment(s)? Obviously I am new to this and would like to avoid that charge if at all possible. Am I correct in assuming that you will NOT be hit with the $50 charge if you make at least one trade per year, regardless of your balance?

    Thanks very much!

  • Bob says:

    So Dan, by that reason, we should all be going to Att & Tmobile website everyday and re-reading their entire 10+ page terms & conditions to make sure they are not sneaking in a new fee. And just as well, we all need to do the same with our Chase and BOA accounts. So yes, let’s all expect to devote a few hours of our lives everyday to keep up with all our accounts. When they change their terms, which they did, it is their responsbility to notify customers, which in my case, they definitely did not. Poor business ethics and practice.

  • Roger Geyer says:

    I’ve been very happy with Tradeking for the roughly 6 months I’ve had a little test account with them.

    What really blew me away was come tax time. I trade options and option spreads, and find preparing the taxes for this quite tedius. Plus some of the rules can be arcane to the layman, via wash sales, “substantially the same” security details, etc.

    Initially, when I got my 2012 form 1099-B, it looked very bare bones and I was a litle disappointed. But then I noticed a “Schedule D” choice in the tax section.

    They had already completed a completely correct (as far as I can tell) form 8949 (which ties into a Schedule D) for ALL my trades.

    Download, give to my tax guy, and DONE.

    Very very cool, and from a deep discount broker. For me, that’s service. They also apparently let you fool around with tax lots and generate a specific report — but for me the generic one they automatically generated was JUST DANDY, so I didn’t mess with that.

    Look, for the folks who complain about the inactivity fee. If you can’t keep a $2500 balance AND don’t trade once a year — you don’t NEED a brokerage account. You should just be using mutual funds and dollar cost averaging or something. To me, this is a bogus complaint, since I’ve found their disclosures to be fine.

    Disclosure: I’m an ordinary retail customer of a variety of banks, brokerages, mutual fund companies, etc. Aside from that I have no relationship of any kind with any financial firm.

  • I have used TradeKing myself over the past 5 years and have nothing but great things to say about this broker. Very transparent fee structure, excellent customer service and great tools. They also run a fairly large social trading network, where you can interact with other members and share your trading ideas and strategies. I would highly recommend this broker to any investor!

  • Maria says:

    Hi, I would like a referal to tradeking. :D


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