Everything You Need to Know About Tradestation

FT Contributor
A smartphone's screen displays the TradeStation app.

TradeStation is an online securities brokerage firm and platform. It offers features that appeal to both novices and professional traders and investors.

When it started, TradeStation catered to active, experienced, and well-funded traders. However, it now offers a range of features that appeal to inexperienced retail traders as well.

In addition to executing trade orders, TradeStation has ample research material, tools, and educational offerings. Like other online brokerages, TradeStation now offers a fee-free trading plan, which is called TSgo.

New investors and traders looking for an online brokerage will want to weigh the features and services of TradeStation against its competitors. Once you know the details, you can decide if TradeStation is the best option for your investment plans and skill level.

Table of Contents

Tradestation Features

TradeStation offers a variety of features that will appeal to investors of different skill levels.

Account Types

TradeStation offers three main account types.

  • Individual and joint accounts are the best option for most traders looking to buy and sell stocks. An individual or joint account provides access to markets for retail investors. Individual accounts are for trading equities, and you have the option of upgrading these accounts so that you can also trade on options and futures markets.
  • Retirement accounts also offer the opportunity for self-directed trading. However, the profits get contributed to a retirement account such as a traditional IRA, Roth IRA, or self-employment pension (SEP) IRA.
  • Entity accounts are for businesses or corporations that want to trade. Individual investors will not use this type of account when starting, but if you eventually want to trade as a business, such as an LLC or sole proprietorship, you can use this account.

Cryptocurrency Trading

TradeStation launched TradeStation Crypto in November of 2019. This service lets users trade Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ripple (XRP), and Litecoin (LTC).

TradeStation charges 0.5% commissions for these accounts and free trades for accounts over $100,000 (except for “takers,” whose orders are immediately marketable, with balances over $1,000,000, who pay 0.125% per trade).

Education and Community

There are plenty of educational resources for new traders on TradeStation’s website. There are articles, e-books, and video tutorials available via TradeStation University. The site also publishes trader interviews and pre-market briefings available via TradeStation Labs.

Meanwhile, on TradeStation Today, you can get tutorials, real-time news, and a section named Workspaces, which offers information about how experts who use TradeStation organize their workspaces and use the tools available on the TradeStation platform.

The TradeStation Trader Wiki offers tips from other traders on the platforms. There are also discussion forums where you can mingle with other investors and traders.

Mobile Trading Technology

TradeStation’s mobile trading platform offers the main features of the desktop platform. It is available on both Android and iOS.

The trading interface on the mobile trading platform is intuitive. The first screen you see after logging into the app is the Watchlist, which you can customize and share between mobile and desktop platforms.

By tapping on a watchlist item, you can see news, data, and current charts. You can also execute trades with a few taps, and then customize your home screen to track your open positions.

Order Types

TradeStation has the types of orders that new traders will use most often. Market orders give you the best current asking price for a purchase or sale of a security. Limit orders get executed when the market reaches a preset price.

You can also use more advanced orders. For example, you can make bracket orders and conditional orders on all of the TradeStation platforms. These orders get placed only when the market meets specific conditions or price points, which you define.

The latest platform, TradeStation 10, allows you to enter advanced order types and use algorithms. You can also queue up multiple orders to execute at the same time.

Pricing and Fees

TradeStation offers different pricing plans for investors. Though there are multiple options, most new retail traders have two main choices: TS Select and TS GO.

TS GO requires no minimum deposit. It also offers trades in stocks and ETFs for $0 commissions (up to the first 10,000 shares). Options trades are $0.50 per contract, while futures are $0.85 per contract per side. Note that these fees apply to the web and mobile trading platforms. Any trades made on the desktop platform will cost $10 per trade.

TS Select requires a minimum deposit of $2,000. However, it offers access to all three of TradeStation’s trading platforms. All stock and ETF trades under 10,000 shares cost $0, while options cost $0.60 per contract, and futures contracts cost $1.50 per contract per side.

TS Select offers access to advanced research materials that are not available with TS GO.


TradeStation provides excellent research materials to its traders. There are more than 270 indicators available on the TradeStation 10 platform, and you can also create personalized ones that will work on TradeStation’s charts.

Investors can use TradeStation’s decades of historical data to back-test their trading strategies. There are also notification alerts that you can customize to provide notifications about news, events, and earnings announcements.

These tools can help you make informed decisions about which securities to add to your portfolio. If you want to increase your wealth and achieve financial freedom, you need resources to perform this type of research before making investment decisions.

Web Trading Technology

TradeStation’s web trading technology enhances the trading experience. It lets traders create and manage watchlists, analyze stock charts with various technical indicators, open orders, place trades, and manage their open positions.

The trading platform offers chart trading functionality, so you can place trades directly on a chart without changing to a different webpage.

Users also get access to TradeStation’s API, which they can use to create customized indicators, automated trading strategies, and additional applications to use on the platform.

Tradestation Advantages

TradeStation has some positive attributes that will appeal to investors of all skill levels.

  • TradeStation’s platform has been around since 1991, so it is undoubtedly one of the more time-tested options for retail traders.
  • TradeStation 10, the firm’s flagship platform, has some of the industry’s best features and functionalities. Its technical charting and analysis tools stand out among online brokers.
  • You can easily switch between mobile and web platforms.
  • You get access to a wealth of research material and technical analysis tools.
  • Beginning traders can enjoy zero fees with the TS GO plan.
  • Plans for retail investors have low account minimums.

Tradestation Complaints

TradeStation has a few negative attributes that may make it less-than-ideal for some traders.

  • The main drawback of TradeStation is that the trading platform has a steep learning curve compared to many other online brokers, and learning to use the EasyLanguage development platform well might take a while as well.
  • Mutual funds cost $14.95 per trade.
  • TradeStation is only for active traders. There is an inactivity fee of $50 per year if you don’t maintain an average end-of-month equity balance of $2,000 or make at least five trades over the course of 12 months.
  • The basic TS Go plan does not include free access to the desktop platform.

Is Tradestation Right for You?

TradeStation is the best choice for you if you appreciate high-level tools and are willing to take the time to learn how to use them.

TradeStation has been around for over 30 years, so it has stood the test of time. It is also the platform of choice for institutional investors, hedge funds, and other professional traders. These traders appreciate the reliable trade execution, many technical and fundamental analysis tools, and the ability to track trades in real time.

However, TradeStation is only the best option for active traders. If you want to purchase and hold a few stocks to build wealth, invest in other areas such as real estate, or trade casually via a mobile app, TradeStation may not be the best option because of its steeper-than-normal learning curve.

How to Sign Up for Tradestation

Signing up for TradeStation is straightforward. Before you begin, you will need to have your Social Security number or other valid U.S. tax ID number, your permanent address, your U.S. driver’s license or other government-issued ID.

You sign up online via the TradeStation website.

  • Visit the TradeStation sign-up page, answer the basic questions on the page, and create a username and password.
  • You will also need to choose what assets you’ll be trading as well as the account type and whether you want to open a margin account.
  • You will fill in your personal, employer, and financial information and provide identification information.
  • TradeStation also asks about your trading activity and financial plans to determine whether you qualify for the type of account you wish to open.
  • Once you finish, you can submit your account, after which it will be under review.
  • If approved, you will receive an email from TradeStation with your account details about how to deposit funds.

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