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Looking to set up an online brokerage account and get that nest egg of yours growing? Good call. As part of our brokerage review series, today I’m going to focus on a brokerage that is known for it’s low costs and easy to use platform: TradeKing. In this TradeKing review, I’ll cover what to expect if you decide to open an account, and hopefully give you a good idea of whether they’re a suitable broker for your needs.
Side Note: If you decide to open a TradeKing account, make sure you check this page for promotions first. Sometimes TradeKing runs some pretty decent promos.
Short History of TradeKing
Although a relative newcomer to the discount brokerage market (they opened up shop in December of 2005), TradeKing has made a name for itself in recent years as a easy to use trading platform with a solid reputation for customer service.
Sources such as The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, and SmartMoney have given TradeKing high ratings. And their reputation within the industry continues to grow. After merging with Zecco Trading in 2012, TradeKing has expanded its array of products and services provided, from their extensive learning center (which features free in-depth tutorials and reports) to the variety of investment options available.
Opening a TradeKing account is an quick and easy process, but there are requirements in order to keep the account without incurring a $50 annual fee. You must:
- Have at least one commissioned trade executed in the account(s) every twelve month period
- The combined account value of the household account(s) should be more than $2,500
Education, Trading Tools & Investment Products
TradeKing offers a decent variety of tertiary products and services, one of the most notable being their investment education center. Everything you need to know about basic investment principles (stocks, options, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs) is explained through easy-to-follow tutorials (video, mp3, podcasts, reports, etc.), and you can sort through learning material based on your experience: rookie, veteran, and all-star. There are guides, calculators, glossaries, and charts at your disposal, all intended to help you invest more wisely—all at no cost to you.
TradeKing also offers over a dozen advanced trading tools, as well as the online trading network through which you can connect with other like-minded investors and get the latest news on the day’s top trades. Some notable tools include:
- Options Pricing Calculator
- Stock, ETF and Mutual Fund Screeners
- TradeKing LIVE (real-time trading platform)
- Profit and Loss Calculator
- Probability Calculator
- Maxit Tax Manager
Investment products include: stocks, ETFs, options, mutual funds, 50 currency pairs, gold, and silver. You can also buy fixed-income investments such as CD’s, bonds, and US treasury issues.
TradeKing is known for its extremely-low commissions on trades, from the $4.95 for stocks and $0.65 per options contract (plus $4.95 base charged per spread). This price comparison below offers a more in-depth look at the costs of trading with TradeKing versus its competitors for equity and option trades.
TradeKing also offers to cover up to $150 of your account transfer fees if you’re switching from another brokerage.
TradeKing offers solid mobile apps on both the Android and iPhone platforms. The TradeKing app allows you to watch your investments while away from your computer. It is fully functional and allows you to view your entire portfolio and make trades whenever, wherever. Even if you don’t have the app, their website’s mobile version is still formatted to grant easy access to anyone using a smartphone or tablet.
Over the past 5 years (according to Barron’s), TradeKing has consistently ranked among the best discount brokerages when it comes to customer service. SmartMoney voted them #1 in customer service in 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012, and their live chat is an indispensible tool for anyone looking for help during the trading process. Phone lines are open Monday through Friday, from 8am-6pm ET, and emails are generally responded to within two hours during regular business hours and within 24 hours on weekends.
Have a complicated question regarding your options account? Not a problem: TradeKing hires highly knowledgeable and specialized brokers who know their stuff and are willing to help you out.
When it comes to price, ease of use, and customer service, TradeKing is tough to beat. For beginner to novice investors, the education center and investment tools are solid and easy to use. If you’re looking for a brokerage with these qualities, you can’t go wrong with TradeKing.
Available Promos: Check here for the latest TradeKing promotions.