Full Review of TradeKing
Online brokers generally compete on the fees they charge and the functionality of the trading tools available. Although TradeKing is competitive in both of these areas, it's also focusing on creating something of a trader community. The TradeKing “Trader Network” allows its customers to develop ideas and strategies by exchanging ideas and theories with one another.
TradeKing was founded in 2005, which makes it a relative newcomer, and it merged with another brokerage, Zucco, in 2012. Being one of the cheaper brokers for options traders it has experienced notable growth and has much to offer. This allows them to continually add new traders on a regular basis which results in giving them the ability to add to their services. So signing up with this broker seems to be a good deal because it's relatively cheap and they continue to get improve all of their services.
Our review below covers exactly what TradeKing is all about in more detail, specifically in terms of trading options. We look at the commissions and fees, the quality of the trading platform, and the various research and analysis tools available.
Commissions, Fees & Minimum Deposit
The commission structure at TradeKing is both attractive and easy to understand. You simply pay $4.95 for each trade you make, plus $0.65 for each options contract in that trade. This makes TradeKing one of the cheapest brokers around for options trading.
It is $9.95 to exercise an option and $4.95 to assign an option. There is also an additional schedule of fees, but most of these will only apply if you want a particular extra service. There is an inactivity fee on your account too, which applies if you haven't made a trade within 12 months and have an asset balance in your account of less than $2,500.
There is no minimum deposit for opening an account with TradeKing.
Trading Platform, Tools & Features
Since first opening on the internet in 2005, TradeKing has strived to make it as straightforward as possible for customers to make trades online. Their trading platform reflects this aim. This isn't one of the most advanced trading platforms by any means, but it does what it needs to do and it does it well.
For the most part the platform is very user friendly. The actual process for placing orders is not quite as easy at is elsewhere but it's far from difficult. All options order types are covered so you can make simple trades and advanced trades from your account.
The tools are rather limited, with not much more than the basics. You can get detailed quotes, create watch lists and alerts, and automatically implement your chosen strategies from an option chain. Over and above that, there is little else. Given the low costs though, if you are a self-directed trader that just wants to place your trades as quickly and as cheaply as possible then the TradeKing platform is certainly fit for its purpose.
The trading platform is mobile compatible and can be accessed from most smartphones and other mobile devices.
Research & Analysis
The research and analysis tools available at TradeKing are also not hugely advanced. Again, though, much of what you absolutely need to successfully trade options is here. All customers get free access to MarketGrader research reports, which contain all the information you need to identify potential opportunities based on fundamental analysis.
Additionally there is an earnings calendar that allows you to keep track of when companies are expected to release their earnings reports. It also shows you information such as percentage changes in earnings per share and actual earnings compared to expected earnings in an easy to read format.
There's a decent suite of technical analysis tools, powered by Recognia. These feature chart pattern recognition, price forecasting and a range of trend identifiers and other technical tools. You can scan the market to find specific patterns that meet your chosen criteria and also set up email alerts to notify when such patterns are formed.
There is no 24/7 customer support at TradeKing, which is a minor disappointment, but the service is still of a high standard. You can get in touch via phone on Monday to Friday, between 8am and 6pm EST, and there is also live chat available. There is email support too, and the broker guarantees a response within 2 hours during normal working hours. A 24 hour response time is guaranteed over weekends.
In our experience the customer support staff at TradeKing are both helpful and knowledgeable. Customer service here is definitely comparable with other top online options brokers.
TradeKing has plenty to offer all types of options traders. It might be somewhat lacking in terms of advanced tools and features but it's very functional. All the basics for order entry, research, and analysis are included and everything is easy to use. If you aren't particularly fussy about having access to the bells and whistles available at some brokers and just want to keep your trading costs down then this broker is ideal.
The community aspect of TradeKing shouldn't be ignored either. This is a great way to interact with other traders and can be a big help in developing strategies and identifying opportunities for investment and trading. There are also some quality educational resources available to TradeKing customers.