Welcome back to another online brokerage review today here at Frugal Rules. Today I am going over my TradeKing review and why it could be a brokerage worth considering for your investing in the stock market
To be completely transparent, I do not have an account with TradeKing nor have I ever. That said, I’ve dealt with them extensively over the years with my experience in the online brokerage industry as well as dealing with their platform quite a bit. This has allowed me to learn quite a bit in terms of how they operate and what you’d want to look out for if you’re considering using TradeKing for your investing needs. If you’d like to check out my other online brokerage reviews, you can do so below:
A little background in TradeKing, they have been in business since 2005 and merged with Zecco in 2012 in order to broaden their brokerage offerings. They’re well known for their social media presence and low priced stock trades. Enough background though, so on to the TradeKing review.
Trading Platform: One of the first things I look at when I am considering a brokerage is their trading platform and if it’s user friendly. From what I have seen with the TradeKing platform, it is intuitive and easy to grasp for most. Added to that, they offer a $4.95 commission on stock trades and $.65 per contract on options (in addition to the stock commission) so it makes them very hard to beat.
Free Streaming Quotes: I’ve mentioned the nice feature of streaming quotes in previous reviews, and TradeKing does not disappoint here. After placing one trade, you simply contact them and they enable free streaming quotes on your account. This is nice to have if you’re watching the market and want a particular stock or etf at a certain price.
Forex Trading: Just as with Etrade and OptionsXpress, TradeKing offers Forex trading thanks to their merger with Zecco. What is even better is they offer a $50,000 virtual account to allow you to get your feet wet before trying it out on your own.
Advantages of TradeKing
Low Pricing: Obviously, one of the bigger draws of TradeKing is their lower commissions. If you like to invest in stocks then you’re hard pressed to beat their $4.95 per stock trade. They also have a solid mutual fund price of $9.95 per trade. You’ll notice though I did not mention flat pricing, which I’ll touch on later.
Healthy Mutual Fund Offering: If you like to invest in mutual funds, then you’ll likely be satisfied with TradeKing as they offer over 8,000 mutual funds from a wide variety of fund families. This places them as better than average in regards to the rest of the industry.
Great Customer Service: I’ve said it before, but I will pay more for good customer service. If I am going to trust someone with my money then it’s a no brainer for me. Every time I’ve dealt with TradeKing I’ve been satisfied with my experience. They’ve also been honored by Smart Money for several years for being at the top of the industry in terms of customer service.
Free Online Support: One of the things that sets TradeKing apart is their use of social media and forums on their site. They take to heart offering real-time support to their clients and have thought outside the box to do so. They also have the requisite free classes and webinars to offer help which is nice to see and they have it broken down by experience level which is incredibly helpful.
No Minimum to Open: As I mentioned in my OptionsXpress review, TradeKing does not have a minimum to open an account with them. Many brokerages do not offer this, which can hold some back. This allows clients to open with the amount they can and go from there. This is a huge bonus in my book if you’re dealing with having little to invest in the stock market.
Disadvantages of TradeKing
Lower Prices, But with a Catch: That $4.95 per stock trade price sounds great, doesn’t it? Well…it comes with a catch in that it’s not a flat price. If you’re looking to trade stocks below $2.00 or over 1,000 shares of one stock then they add $.01 per share. Their site says that you won’t be charged more than 5% of the total trade value in commission, which is nice to know but can be a detractor for some if you like to invest in penny stocks or trade large blocks of shares.
Fees: Generally speaking, TradeKing is very light when it comes to fees which is awesome. However, they make up for it with the dreaded inactivity fee. I hate inactivity fees, but there are ways around it. They hit you with it if you’ve not had a commissionable stock trade in the last 12 months and your account value is under $2,500. If you’re over this, then it’s no concern, but if not you need to be aware of it, otherwise TradeKing will smack you with a $50 annual inactivity fee.
Not Available 24 Hours: As with OptionsXpress, TradeKing does not offer 24 hour service. I imagine this is partially why they’re able to offer such good rates. They’re available via phone and chat from 8:00-6:00 EST Monday through Friday. This may not be a big deal for some, but for others it could be a detractor.
My Take on TradeKing
To be completely honest, I hate inactivity fees. I view them as another way for an institution to make easy money off of you. That said, it’s a fairly easy work around, so it does not automatically knock TradeKing out of consideration for me. I say that because they offer stellar service and their price is very hard to beat. With their solid lineup of offerings, valuable tools and resources to help you as an investor and their accolades I would consider TradeKing a worthy online brokerage to look at to take care of your investing needs, especially if you’re investing in stocks. As always, if you do open an account with TradeKing, make sure you check out their promotions as they regularly run them in order to win your business.
What do you look for in an online brokerage when looking to move? What do you have planned for the weekend?