In 2012 TradeKing merged with Zecco, another online broker. Both companies formed a united front and are now a competitive options broker. They are the first to utilize social networking as an avenue for traders. They have a web-based platform, low fees and a highly rated customer service department.
TradeKing is an online broker headquartered in sunny Fort Lauderdale. They have an additional office located in Charlotte, NC and have been in operations since 2005. Though the original location was in Boca Raton, when they opened the second office in 2007, they also moved the corporate offices to the Ft. Lauderdale area.
Trading Platform/Virtual Trading
Tradeking is a complete web based platform with no desktop capabilities. They do allow some smartphone users to use their service via an app, such as those with Blackberry’s and the iPhone. Those with Android based phones cannot download their app onto their phone, but can access their site via the internet. The online trading site is fully functional and will allow trades to be conducted from a cellular phone.
One of the downsides to using this site is they do not offer virtual trading. While this may not matter to some traders, others find this feature valuable. Being able to go in a test the waters with a new broker is a great feature, but not a deal breaker in this case. Still, there are many good reference materials and training guides to help a person get acquainted with their services.
This company has one of the lowest prices per trade at only $4.95, that’s dirt cheap. They are known for their options trading and the low fees to conduct this type of trade. Here are the fees associated with options trading:
•Options Exercise Fee $9.95
•Options Assignment Fee $4.95
•Options Fee Per Contracts $.65
5 Contracts $8.20
10 Contracts $11.45
50 Contracts $37.45
100 Contracts $69.95
This company has various types of trades like EFT’s, Bonds, Penny Stocks and Mutual Funds. They also offer:
Level 1: Long & Short Calls & Puts
Level 2: Collar & Vertical Spreads
Level 3: Time & Diagonal Spreads, Strangles, Straddles
Level 4: Butterfly, Condors, Back-Ratio & Complex Strategies
Various Other Fees/Minimum Deposits
There are various other fees that a person may encounter when using this service. For instance, they charge a broker fee of $4.95. They will charge an inactive account fee of $50 if an account has sat without use for some time. In general, they are a fee friendly trading site, as they have some of the lowest in the internet broker game and are easy to work with.
There is no minimum deposit to open an account and then entire process takes about 10-15 minutes to complete. To set up an account to have ACH withdraws from a checking, the most popular option, a form must be mailed or faxed in. Once this form has been received it takes about two business days to be able to conduct trades.
Trade on Margin
As long as an account holder has a minimum balance of $2,000 in their account they can trade on margins. They will charge a Maintenance Margin Requirement of 30 percent of the total market value of one’s positions. The Base Rate / Margin Rate & Structures are from 4 to 8.5 percent. Their fees are relatively reasonable for those who select to trade on margins. At the highest of 8.5 percent, it is still lower than most online brokers.
This is great company to make trades from IRA’s. There are no minimum amounts on the trade and there are no fees. They will charge an early withdrawal or an excessive removal fee. There is an IRA closure fee of $50, as well as an IRA transfer out fee of $50.00. They do not charge an annual fee on any of the IRAs.
Research & Tools/ Educational Material
Earlier it was mentioned that they do not have the virtual training section that many people like. Well, they more than make up for that in the training and educational materials they provide. This site is more devoted to those who know the game and are used to playing stocks. The materials they have will only help to demonstrate how to use this site. They offer valuable tools like the Options Analyzer, Probability Calculator, Options Screener and the Strategy Builder/Optimizer. They offer many Portfolio Management Tools, such as the ability to setup trade alerts and an automated trading feature. For those who want charts and graphs of their positions, they can utilize this unique feature.
The educational materials that are helpful are the reordered and live webinars. There are various video training sessions and also various training materials on their site. The Forum/Community is one of the most valuable tools that allow a person to talk with fellow traders and get tips and form relationships.
They have one of the best customer service departments and were rated #1 by Barron’s for both 2010 and 2011. Their customer service center is open from 8am — 6pm ET, Monday – Friday. They also have live chat available during these hours. Those who wish to email may do so and they also have secure messaging on their site. The staff seems to be knowledgeable and eager to help their members with their issues.
Who Should Use This Broker?
There are really three types of trades that are great to do on this site; they are Discount, Long Term and Options. Those looking to do Full Service or International Trading will have to look elsewhere. One of the newest features that a great deal of members likes is the TradeKing LIVE. This allows members to have news and all the charts and graphs in one place. Overall, this is a great broker to conduct trading through with reasonable fees and stellar customer service.
In an effort to get new business, they are offering some great incentives to join. Anyone who is an active trader and refers a friend gets a $50 cash bonus for each person that joins. They also get $150 back in transfer fees and a $25 wire transfer fee reimbursement.
Why Use This Online Broker?
TradeKing is a good all-around broker that offers very cheap rates for online trading. The merge with Zeccos in the spring of 2012 has only proven to be a positive step for the company and its members. Barron’s has rated them 4 stars in 2012 for their options trading and continues to rate their customers service as outstanding, putting them at #1 for two years. When the two companies merged earlier this year, it made them the 6th largest online broker in the United States. Together, they have the lowest overall fees of any of the larger brokers. The community is a warm and inviting place and there are always eager people who are willing to help those new to understand the site. Overall, this is hands down one of the best of the bigger brokers and a great place to conduct business.