If you’re looking to change broker or even looking for your first broker, you’ll no doubt be confused by the sheer number of different options out there. There are more brokers than traders these days it seems. In this article we’re going to take a look at one of the more popular brokers, TradeKing.
Just Who Are They?
TradeKing is a U.S broker based in Florida that has been operational since early 2005. They’re a popular broker amongst rookies due to their excellent trading platform, superb customer service and supportive trading community. This is backed up by SmartMoney who voted TradeKing number one for customer service in 2011.
Things That I like
TradeKing offers a standard fee for stocks of $4.95 per trade; they charge the same amount for broker assisted trades, which is considerably less than other brokers. This is the prime reason most beginners choose to begin trading with TradeKing.
Options contracts start at $4.95 plus 65 cents per contract for up to 8 contracts. This rises to $8.95 plus 15 cents per contract when you trade more than 8 contracts, which is extremely competitive but not quite a match for OptionsHouse.
Zero Minimum Balance
You can open an account at TradeKing without having to deposit a single dollar. Of course if you want to trade you’ll have to deposit a small amount, but when you are ready to start trading with real money you can start with a nominal amount.
No Rip off Fees
Another bonus is that TradeKing doesn’t have any account inactivity fees; this makes them suitable for beginners since you’re free to take your time learning without being hit with any extra hidden fees.
The Customer is King
TradeKing are renowned for their customer support, they seem to bend over backwards to help you out. Whenever I’ve had reason to call them, I’ve been greeted by a friendly voice that was both knowledgeable and efficient. I just wish more brokers were as courteous.
The excellent training and education center within TradeKing is probably the main reason for rookies to select them over other brokers. They have an excellent range of resources to teach you the basics of investing. They cover everything from basic stocks and shares to Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs). All the training is easy to follow and can be taken at your own pace, so there’s no pressure.
Trading Platform & Tools
TradeKing offers an excellent award winning trading platform with a wide range of tools for both stock and options traders. Research reports are available for fundamental analysis and there are some excellent technical analysis tools available for all you techies.
These are matched by their range of options tools. The options scanner and calculator makes finding potential trades a breeze and can help you assess the potential risk and volatility of your proposed investment.
TradeKing were the first online broker to introduce a trading community. These communities are useful for a number of reasons. First of all if you’re a beginner they give you the opportunity to network with other traders who are more experienced, giving you valuable insight. This can help you bounce trade ideas around and develop a sound strategy.
Secondly, trading can be a very lonely business sometimes. So having access to a network of individuals with the same mindset and goals can be a godsend. You can develop friendships and even form trading clubs together.
Things Not To Like
Limited Choice of Funds
I guess if you trade a lot of mutual funds or ETFs, TradeKing is not for you. Their choice of funds is severely restricted. At the last count they offered access to around 10,000 funds, which sounds like a lot but it’s less than half the amount that TD Ameritrade offer.
Mutual Fund Fees
Whilst TradeKings stock and options fees are fairly competitive, their mutual fund and ETF fees are quite expensive. Trading a single Mutual fund will set you back $14.95, which is 50% more expensive than OptionsXpress.
Who Should Use TradeKing?
TradeKing is a good choice if you’re a beginner, their trading community is one of the best around and their fees are low for stock and option trades, which is always a bonus.
Their education center is an excellent resource that covers the basics of stock and options trading. This is useful to all types of traders new and old and you’d be foolish not to take advantage of it.
The only downside is a limited choice of mutual funds and ETFs. This won’t affect all traders but obviously if you trade a lot of mutual funds you’d be better off choosing another broker like TD Ameritrade.
And here’s one more reason to consider TradeKing. If you sign-up for an account today you’ll receive a complimentary copy of the Options Playbook. Written by Brian Overby, TradeKings Sr Options Analyst, this book gives excellent insight into the options market and is sure to teach you a few options trading tricks along the way. It’s a good read and a must for any potential options trader.