If you are interested in trading options – like so many traders are these days – finding the right online platform can be complicated. There are tons of options – no pun intended – and finding the perfect platform for you can be tricky if you don’t know what you’re looking for.
TradeMonster is one example of an options trading platform that gives you plenty of data to chew on when it comes to making a solid choice. Here, we’ll cover the ins and outs of TradeMonster, and give you a by-the-numbers account of how it stacks up compared to other brokers. We’ll also give you a rundown of unique features, customer service, education materials offered, and more.
An Overview of the Provider
This particular platform was created by Jon Najarian, Pete Najarian, and Dirk Mueller, three professional traders with over 20 years of collective experience between them. The holding company, OptionMonster, was founded in 2006; TradeMonster was launched in 2008 and has received some nice recognition, including a 4-star rating from Barron’s.
TradeMonster bills itself as a trading platform for a wide variety of assets. For example, you can use TradeMonster to trade stocks, options, futures, bonds, mutual funds, and ETFs.
As you can see, many broker platforms offer only a few of these services (and many specialize in only one type). TradeMonster is unique in that you can use it to trade a wide range of assets. For the trader who is only interested in options, though, that may mean there are special benefits to going with an options specialist that TradeMonster doesn’t offer.
The Trading Platform
One weak point on TradeMonster’s list is that it isn’t meant for casual to intermediate traders. The user interface can be a bit complicated to use, and while advanced options traders may think it is good, anyone else will probably have a different, more negative opinion.
Still, as far as visual appeal goes, the platform is one of the nicer ones out there.
How much does it cost to trade with TradeMonster? What are minimum account requirements? To answer these, we’ll go by the numbers.
Options Commissions and Fees
|1 – 10,000 contracts per month||$0.50 per contract|
|10,001 – 50,000 contracts per month||$0.40 per contract|
|50,001 – 100,000 contracts per month||$0.20 per contract|
|100,000+ contracts per month||$0.10 per contract|
These prices are fairly low, lower than most big-name, big-brand providers.
Stocks Commissions and Fees
With TradeMonster, all equity trades are charged at a flat rate of $7.50 per trade. That is better than most of the big-name trading platforms, like Fidelity or E*TRADE, but is not as low as others, like TradeKing with $4.95 trades.
Futures Commissions and Fees
$1.50 per contract
Mutual Funds Commissions and Fees
$15.00 per trade (for purchase only; sales are free)
Bonds Commissions and Fees
$15.00 + $1.00 per bond
To open accounts with TradeMonster, the minimum opening account balance is $2,000 in cash or securities.
Are There Hidden Fees?
There are no hidden fees. The only thing you might miss is that TradeMonster charges a 1.5 cent surcharge per share for trading shares during extended hours. There is also a $0.0005 per share for any order involving stocks priced below $1.
One strong point of TradeMonster is in how it interacts with customers. The platform’s customer service is superb, and the wealth of information available to you through their Education portal is great. They offer live events and webinars in addition to the standard articles and texts to get you up to speed and keep you informed.
Another big selling point as far as education goes is the ability to trade for free using ‘paper’ money. This is a fantastic opportunity to learn the system, even if the interface definitely wasn’t designed for beginners. You can also try out any advanced strategy you may come across without putting your money at risk.
TradeMonster is a very capable and robust trading platform with plenty of options. There are some very nifty trading tools baked into the system. Some of my favorites include the Chaikin Power Tools app that delivers reports and ratings for stocks; a visual representation of an asset’s risk profile with the tradeLAB Spectral Analysis map; a real-time scanner called liveACTION that pulls metrics, quotes, and unusual market activities from a database and delivers them to you as they happen; and strategySEEK, a piece of software that takes your risk priorities and forecasts and returns options strategies that may fit your needs.
It doesn’t have the lowest prices; providers like Optionshouse have them beat there. But, the amount of tools at your disposal are better here than elsewhere, as is the wealth of assets available to you to trade. Other providers like optionsXpress match up well, more or less, when it comes to the platform itself but I’d give TradeMonster the edge.
Overall, it’s not for beginners or for bargain-level traders, but it does have pretty low fees and delivers a very capable technical platform.