TradeKing Review – $4.95 Stock Trades, Cheap Options Brokerage

by David Ning · 99 comments

TradeKing seems like an amazing brokerage firm so I was excited before I even reviewed them. What I found didn’t disappoint, as TradeKing focuses on customer’s needs from the beginning of the company’s inception. Let me walk you through why I recommend this broker as your trading platform of choice in this review.

Essence of a Solid Discount Stock Broker

There are a few areas that I am particularly interested in when I look at a stock broker.  They are:

  • Solid Technologies – A website that doesn’t go down, responsive service etc.  If I cannot exit my positions when the market is crashing because most people are logged on, then I will stay away even if the company offers me money every time I trade.
  • User Interface – Functions and prompts should make sense and the the flow should make sense from one page to the next
  • Inexpensive trades – Stocks, options, and ETFs are what I normally trade so I’m most interested in these.
  • Fast Execution and Routing – The stock broker needs to try hard to obtain shares at the price I want.
  • Research Tools – This is nice but it’s not crucial since I can get it everywhere else online.
  • Extras – Low margin rates for the few times that I use it, or whether they offer anything else that the competition don’t etc

Now let’s see how TradeKing performs in these areas.

Solid Technology

Unlike some of its competition, a quick search online doesn’t reveal any outage issues for TradeKing (a very good sign).  Also, jumping from page to page doesn’t seem to take forever to load, even when there’s a big announcement in the market (usually a time when online stock brokers start to become less responsive due to heavy load).  This is obviously a never ending test as I continue to work with this broker but so far so good.

User Interface

I started trading stocks with Etrade Financial and I was spoiled with its user interface.  I thought that every company’s interface would be comparable and made just as much sense but boy was I wrong.  Luckily, TradeKing offers a solid platform for my trading needs.  For example: fcx quote The share price of a stock would conveniently show up on the screen after I type in the symbol (you’d be surprised that many brokers don’t do this). ibm quote On the same screen, I can get a snapshot of all the essential facts about the company as well as trade the stock, see all the options chains, insider activity and advanced chart with another click of the mouse.

Inexpensive Trades

TradeKing is hard to beat when it comes to stock trade pricing. At $4.95 per trade, it is easily one of the lowest in the industry and the price stays the same whether you trade once a year or more than once every day. The straightforward pricing extends further because you can trade through the phone (known as broker-assisted trades) for the same low price of $4.95. I imagine most people can make trades online by themselves but it is great to know that the option is there just in case, like times when your computer is down but need access to the market.

As for options trading, the prices are or $4.95 per trade + $0.65 per contract. Not as straight forward as pricing on stock trades, so keep that in mind when you are trying to calculate your break even points.

Fast Execution and Smart Routing

Any stock broker has an obligation to execute customer orders at the best price available and TradeKing takes this a step further to offer best execution. In their eyes, best execution includes speed of transaction, execution price, price improvement opportunities and liquidity. In fact, if the broker is unable to obtain the best price available, your trade is free.

Research Tools

stock screener I’m slowly falling in love with the stock screener that TradeKing provides. I like the fact that it has tons of filters and that I can actually save the criteria so I don’t have to hand pick them every single time I want to use it. technical analysis The technicals of a stock is so important for short term trading and TradeKing offers free technical analysis with every account. Even though studying the charts thoroughly is highly recommended, I like the quick summary that tells you whether the analysis signal a bullish or bearish tone. Among other tools, TradeKing also offers live webinars for us to attend, an options playbook (the most comprehensive guide on options I’ve read), and a forum for traders to talk about the market and different strategies.

An Update on the Webinars: Being an account owner of many stock brokers, I receive different invitations to webinars hosted by Etrade, TD Ameritrade, TradeKing, OptionsXpress among others. What I noticed was that TradeKing hosts many more webinars than others, and they make it available to everyone no matter how much assets you have (alternatively, Etrade and I believe TD Ameritrade seems to offer more services to people with more assets).

TradeKing Maxit Tax Manager

I used to hate doing taxes because the amount of trades, dividends and re-investments made the schedule D next to impossible to create. As a result, I used to pay about $80 a year for a service to have my trades automatically uploaded and organized. When I found out that TradeKing has a similar service built into their platform, I wanted to check it out.

Powered by Scivantage Maxit, the system will:

  • Track the cost basis of all securities and transactions real time
  • Adjust for mergers, splits and spin offs automatically
  • Automatically handle wash sales
  • Unrealized and realized gains and losses information are available at a touch of a button
  • Generate a schedule D automatically

Best of all, it came with the account for free.  No more importing and exporting and a savings of at least $80.

Customer Service and Awards

It’s comforting to know that TradeKing is known in the industry for its awesome customer support. In fact, the company has won many awards including the “Best Customer Service”, “Best for Option Traders” and “Best for Long-Term Investing” according to Barron’s and Smart Money.

A nice little feature I really like about the broker is the live chat feature. Instead of picking up the phone, I can launch live chat in a small window and just type my question. This instant messenger type system is efficient, natural for me and I can often get my questions answered within minutes. Thank you TradeKing, because I no longer need to press “0″ as fast as I can in an attempt to get to a representative after I call the 1-800 number.

Extras

TradeKing’s margin rates are consistently among the lowest in the industry. Also, they are currently offering to reimburse up to $150 in transfer fee for you to switch over to them. With all that the stock broker has to offer, it can be tempting to take the plunge. However, deciding on the stock broker you stick with is an important choice, so remember to open an account and make sure you are comfortable with everything the broker does and doesn’t offer before making the switch.

Open your TradeKing account now

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{ 99 comments… read them below or add one }

Peter Henderson May 4, 2009 at 2:16 pm

I started my trading career with TradeKing and I’m very familiar with its education center. In fact, I learned most of what I know with trading there so I cannot help with give them the thumbs up. I agree with you that the options playbook is very comprehensive for people that want to learn.

The broker is clearly a winner and I’m very happy with them.

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Jessie May 8, 2009 at 5:06 pm

TradeKing and Etrade is always the best brokers whenever I hear about brokerage firms but I went with TK because Etrade would charge me $12.99 per trade based on my assets and TK will charge me $4.95.

So far, I gotta hand it to them though since they are obviously making money without charging me excessively.

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Samuel May 23, 2009 at 7:22 pm

I used them all. Scottstrade, Charles Schwab, TD Ameritrade, etc etc. TradeKing rocks because execution is fast and cheap, not to mention that the user interface just makes sense.

There’s actually a very good tax manager so I no longer have to pay extra to prepare my schedule D. Before I switched, I had to pay something like $100 to $200 a year for an automatic import since I trade quite a bit every year.

I highly recommend the stock broker.

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sandra June 3, 2009 at 8:07 pm

I love the tax manager. I can’t believe other brokers make you pay for it by using a third party service. Every year when I get all the gains/losses report for free, it brings a smile to my face.

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Michelle May 23, 2009 at 9:42 pm

All the brokers seem to be the same to me, but I do like its community since I can tap into what winning trades people are making to give me some trading ideas.

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Mike June 4, 2009 at 11:13 pm

This is definitely one of the better brokerage firms out there. I’ve been with them since the beginning and there were never any problems.

Whenever I’m unsure about what I’m seeing or want a question answered, I just go into online chat and I’m talking to someone within minutes. Much easier than even getting on the phone.

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Sussie June 6, 2009 at 10:17 pm

The first stock broker I signed up for is TradeKing so it’s not like I’m very qualified to say but so far I’ve had no problems. I would highly recommend them to everyone that cares to hear about my opinion.

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Vikas Bhatia June 10, 2009 at 7:08 pm

Did you hear that TradeKing was named fourth in the latest Smart Money 2009 broker survey? While it’s not the first, the other three are all at least twice as expensive when it comes to stock trades.

I’d say that TradeKing is kicking (you know what) if you ask me. They are really the future of stock trading.

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Michelle July 30, 2009 at 3:23 pm

The customer service is just amazing. I love TradeKing.

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Josh July 31, 2009 at 10:17 am

Year after year, they win awards for customer service. At $4.95 a trade and all the good words about the company, how can you not like them? Sure, they don’t have a banking side like the higher end discount brokers but who cares? Don’t we all have enough bank accounts and debit cards already anyway?

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Mikey July 31, 2009 at 12:34 pm

I love their options playbook and the simple interface that they have. I agree that not having the banking side is not really a concern and the stock broker is top notched.

I don’t know how much time I spent on the educational videos and slides but they are very good as well.

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Michael August 7, 2009 at 11:08 am

Hi there is a promotion going on with tradeking called the national friendship day and I am wondering anyone with a tradeking account can refer me by sending me an email. Because I want to cover my brokerage fee when I transfer my account to tradeking. At the same time you also get $50. I have the $1000 minimum and I will make a trade as soon as i get my assets transferred over.

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Lily August 11, 2009 at 7:27 am

I wanna open an tradeking account. Can anyone refer me and receive $50?

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MoneyNing August 11, 2009 at 9:49 am

Michael and Lily: Offer sent. Have fun with a free $50.

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Elvis Bille August 12, 2009 at 5:24 pm

I am a beginner and heard alot of positive reviews about Trade King. I would like to be educated on buying stocks through a broker like Trade King.

I appreciate your time and attention,

Elvis bille

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MoneyNing August 15, 2009 at 1:32 pm

Are you also looking for the free $50? If so, reply or send me an email and I will send you the invitation. Remember though to act fast since it expires in a few weeks.

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Kamarr brown April 27, 2014 at 4:30 pm

Hey,

If the offer still stands I would love to be a referral.
Thanks in advance

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Kamarr brown April 29, 2014 at 3:01 am

Thanks for the email!

However it was accidentally erased, could you resend it,

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cole estermont May 22, 2014 at 10:42 pm

Hi, I am interested in opening an account. Please send me the referral info, and I will take it from there.

Thank you!

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Richard August 16, 2009 at 7:04 pm

Thanks for the $50. I look forward to receiving the free money from TradeKing.com and starting to trade with this stock broker.

I have been paying for high trading fees for far too long. It’s about time I take advantage of low commission rates.

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Rick August 20, 2009 at 10:27 pm

Can you shoot me over the $50 TK invitation…I’m going to give TK a try after researching the others and being impressed by the positive reviews OF YK

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Sam August 24, 2009 at 3:29 pm

I’m glad I still made the August 27 deadline. Please send me the invitation to get the free money.

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JL August 25, 2009 at 1:23 pm

Please send me a referral of Trade King.

Thanks,

JL

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GL August 27, 2009 at 3:04 pm

Please send me a referral of Trade King.

Thank you.

GL

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MoneyNing August 27, 2009 at 4:20 pm

Thanks everyone for participating. It’s almost the end of the day so the program is ending soon. Too bad they don’t keep it open forever but I’m sure they will have another promotion soon. I hope everyone who got the email was able to get the free money and good luck in your trading.

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eeeee August 27, 2009 at 8:40 pm

I know it’s getting late but if you could send me a referral that would be great.

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Larry August 31, 2009 at 11:36 am

Please send a referral, I think I can make it intoday

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V.A. September 11, 2009 at 2:16 pm

MoneyNing, looks like they still have the promotion open. Can you help me earn you some more money?

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MoneyNing September 13, 2009 at 10:42 am

Actually, the same screen is replaced with the refer-a-friend email, which gives me $50 but not you unfortunately. It might serve you better if you just apply an account at TradeKing.com since I still recommend the broker without the free money.

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Ry September 25, 2009 at 9:37 pm

I am new to stock trading and want to start with Penny. Is TK and good place to do this?

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MoneyNing September 30, 2009 at 2:33 pm

To be honest, I advice you to use TK for other stocks than penny stocks, especially if you are starting out. Penny stocks in general are very volatile and you can lose your shirt in a hurry.

Be careful.

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MICHAEL H. October 6, 2009 at 11:19 am

I am curious about opening a TradeKing account but I already have a Td Ameritrade one. I was wondering if anyone knew how I would go about transfering my stocks and money from the td to the tradeking?? Is it possible to keep the stocks I have at the price that I bought them or do I have to sell everything and then take the money out to open the new account? Do you know what the fees associated with closing the Td Ameritrade accounts are? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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MoneyNing October 6, 2009 at 11:54 am

Once you open a tradeking account (remember to use the appropriate link to get the free $50), you can fill out a form within the tradeking platform to have them request TD Ameritrade to transfer the assets over. You do not have to sell your shares. You may want to talk to a TK rep to see what the cost basis will be recorded at the beginning, but as long as you have that info with you handy, I’m sure the reps can help you adjust it back to what it should be.

The fees are entirely at the TD Ameritrade side (some charge transfer fees, while others charge account closure fees), but TK will reimburse you for the transfer fees up to $150 so it’s essentially free.

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MICHAEL H. October 6, 2009 at 1:26 pm

Hi, Thank you very much for the quick response. I’m happy to know that it isn’t too painful of a process and that I can keep my existing shares. You seem to know trading better than me so I’ll run by you the reason I’m thinking of switching over to TK. Mainly I have had an Ameritrad account for 7 years and only traded once or twice a year. Recently one of the stocks I bought tripled and now I have a little more money to play around with so I was looking to start trading a little more. (Maybe about 5 trades a week) However, I still don’t have that much money to be enduring the 10$ commision fee that TD Amer. takes with every trade, so I was looking at TK because of it’s low 4.95. Does this seem like a reasonalbe thing to be doing? Or should I just stick with the Td Ameritrade account? If you don’t mind answering I would really appreciate any adivice you have to give.

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MoneyNing October 6, 2009 at 1:42 pm

Just be careful. You can lose a whole lot of money trading regardless of which stock broker you use.

I like TradeKing better than TD Ameritrade period. I would say this even if TK is $10 a trade and Ameritrade is $5 (this is how much I like them more). Obviously, the more frequently you trade, the more the commission differences add up so yes, you are doing something reasonable. However, you may want to open a TK account, and then play around with the interface and make sure you are comfortable with everything before moving all your assets over. This way, there’s still a chance to “undo” without much trouble.

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MICHAEL H. October 6, 2009 at 4:05 pm

Thanks again for the quick response and good advice. It definitely makes sense to make an account and get to learn everything before I transfer all my assets. Thanks also for the warning with trading. I know that a lot of people lose a lot of money that they can’t afford to lose, but I definitely only use money that I can live without. I’m happy you’re so willing to take the time to help people out like me and am feeling more confident about TK after hearing from someone who likes it. If you don’t mind me asking, what kind of trading do you mostly do with TK? (Active trading, Buy and Hold, etc.)

It seems like there are negative comments towards TK’s workings on another review I read, but after looking at your posts on this site it makes TK seem perfectly fine. Maybe everyone was trying to do a different type of trading and TK wasn’t good for it??

Say I found a stock for around 10$ a share and bought about 200 shares worth and wanted to hold for 3-4 days or more, but maybe even 1 day if it went up a profitable percentage. Would TK allow me to sell that stock the next day without any problems and still only charge the 9.90.. 4.95 for both buy and sell (is that right)? Also are you allowed with TK to set “automatic-stops” on your orders? Something where if that stock started dropping from 10$ I could set it to automatically sell if it fell down to 8$ even if it kept dropping to 6$? I hope that makes sense.

I have done this with the Ameritrade account and it works great, it’s just rough being that they take 20$ for every turn-around, (especially where I’m not playing with much money). I get regular tips on companies to look at that more than not go up within a few weeks and wanted to play around with it a little more. Recently I’ve been able to make about 100$ after a few days or a week with how I’ve been buying and selling, (not counting the 20$ hit from commisions) I just don’t want to run into a headache of problems for the chance of lower commision rates, but would love it if out of that 100$ gain I could see 90$ in profit vs. 80$ which has got me looking at TK.

MoneyNing October 6, 2009 at 4:24 pm

As long as you don’t go into penny stocks territory, TK is fine.

You can buy and sell stocks on the same day as long as you have enough cash to settle the trade (remember it takes 3 business days for each stock to settle). This is the same with every broker. If you have a margin account, there’s more wiggle room.

You can also put in trailing stops and stop limit orders like you do with TD Ameritrade.

Your first time jitters is more reason to use a little bit of money to try tradeking before you transfer everything over. Once you are really comfortable, then move your assets over.

MICHAEL H. October 6, 2009 at 5:38 pm

Thank you very much. I truly appreciate the help and your time. I like to take some risk but not quite into the penny stock territory yet… I think that I will open a TK account and only put a little in at first like you said. It makes sense. You’re the man. Hope all is well and happy/profitable trading.

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MoneyNing October 6, 2009 at 5:53 pm

You are welcome and good luck with TradeKing. The $50 promotions they are running should help get you started and also to start trying out their system.

Be careful with the stock recommendations because following stock tips is another easy way to lose big.

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Mike M. October 7, 2009 at 7:43 pm

I like your comprehensive review of Tradeking, but have 2 questions.
1)Are the account balances in real time?
2) Any problem with withdrawls? Thanks.

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MoneyNing October 8, 2009 at 8:49 am

1) Yes, the account balance is in real time.
2) I’ve had no problems with withdrawing money, but I have never taken my whole account balance out (and don’t plan to) either so I can’t say I’ve fully tested every possibility of how anyone can withdraw money.

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MoneyNing October 8, 2009 at 8:53 am

Another point about withdrawals. You cannot withdraw money tied up in a trade that’s still under settlement obviously, which people often forget. This is the same with every broker though so there shouldn’t be a problem.

Also, I’d say that if any broker gives problems about withdraw money, they will have no more business as almost every customer needs to withdraw.

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Jes October 11, 2009 at 2:58 pm

TradeKing was the first discount broker I used, and I traded with them for over 2 years, but I abandoned ship this year and went to a much faster, less expensive broker. You might find it odd that I’m calling TradeKing’s commissions expensive, but compared to the broker I switched to, they are.

If you’re new to trading, a buy-and-hold investor, or a very casual trader who opens and closes positions only a few times a month, then TradeKing is not so bad. They do have a decent collection of trading tools (mostly for options traders) as well as some helpful research and analysis sections on their site. But majority of these tools and information is accessible elsewhere on the web for free anyway. There’s also a discussion forum on their site, but majority of the discussion on their boards was never too useful in my opinion. The status of your orders and daily trading activity is listed on their main page, along with your positions. It’s fairly basic and simple…pretty good for retail and novice investors who casually trade.

On the other hand, for those of you who trade frequently and are active traders throughout each week like me, TradeKing’s platform is terrible in my opinion. Every vital trading screen is laid out on separate web pages. You really have to open up multiple web pages from TradeKing’s site at the same time if you’re planning on trying to make quick moves. To make a trade, you have to wait for a web page to load, fill out the fields, and then submit the trade. You can keep clicking on a refresh button on the bottom of the order page to see a realtime bid and ask of the security you’re trading, but that’s about it. Then once the trade is placed, you have to wait for another page to load to see confirmation. Then you have to either go to an orders screen, or back to the main page to check on the status of your order. It’s all on separate pages and becomes very annoying at times…instead of all being in one spot. But the fun doesn’t stop there. In the event that you want to cancel or edit a trade, there’s no quick 1-2-3 method for doing so from any particular page either. You have to go to your order, and then wait for another web page to load and then make your changes. Their web-based charts are mediocre as well…you’re better off using Google’s charts in my opinion.

While it’s true that we live in the broadband era where loading pages takes mere seconds, but when you’re caught in the heat of the moment, the ability to edit and/or cancel your trades on TradeKing’s web based platform is far slower compared to other web based platforms from other brokers. And this has cost me money before…more than once. I know it’s unfair to compare a web based platform to a streaming java based platform, but there are other brokers out there who also use web based platforms too, and they are far more efficient than what you get with TradeKing.

Speaking of streaming platforms, TradeKing does actually offer one for real time quotes, but you have to make 25 or more trades or more per month or they don’t allow you to access it. That’s pretty disappointing when real time quotes are basically free these days. But the thing that is truly disappointing about their streaming platform is that TradeKing doesn’t let you make trades straight off of the platform since it’s provided by a third party. This means that while you can use the streaming platform for getting real time information, when you click buy or sell from the streaming platform, you are sent back TradeKing’s web site for making the actual trades. Again, for a lot of traders, this isn’t a big deal. But after 2 years of trading on TradeKing, it did become a big deal for me. I wasted a lot of time waiting for cancels and edits to go through while trying to catch the best price on positions I was trying to enter and exit, and missed them several times. In fact, the final trade I made with TradeKing that caused me to give up on the broker, was one where I was trying to get myself into an options position right before the stock exploded at open, but since there was no way to quickly edit the quantity of contracts and price, I ended up getting into the trade at a significantly higher price than I could have, and only ended up making 30% on that trade instead of double my money. That was the last straw for me. I don’t know…maybe it’s just because of the way my trading style evolved during this recession, but I completely gave up on not having a quick 1-2-3 trading platform.

One last thing. I believe the reason why most people switch or use TradeKing is because of their low price commissions. This was initially the reason why I chose them. The $4.95 they charge for each stock trade is not bad, and neither is .65 cent per contract for options trading. That may sound pretty inexpensive, but the broker I moved to charges $2.95 for stock trades and a FLAT RATE of $9.95 for options trades, regardless of the number of contracts you buy or sell, which is a lot better than TradeKing’s .65 per contract rate, especially when you trade a large quantity of option contracts like I do.

If you’re really looking for the lowest commissions, Optionshouse beats TradeKing hands down, and their web based platform is much faster and more responsive. Trademonster is also a cheaper broker for options contracts, as they only charge .50 per contract, and their web platform streams every piece of information on the screen in real time as well.

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Blake October 15, 2009 at 5:15 am

Yes, I can see why tradeking wouldn’t be for everyone. I just opened an account based on positive reviews, but after funding it I got this email:

“Customers are considered as engaging in Pattern Day Trading if they execute four (4) or more stock or options day trades within a five day period in a margin account. That is buying and selling (opening and closing) a position in the same business day.

TRADEKING DOES NOT PROMOTE DAY TRADING. If a customer engages in day trading, the following rules apply.”

Then it goes on to say that if you get this dreaded designation, you can’t trade without $25,000 in your account.

Now, I don’t know that I would actually make that many day trades, but it’s possible, and I had no idea that limitation existed. My guess is that a frequent trader might want to check out another service.

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MoneyNing October 15, 2009 at 8:56 am

Actually, I believe the four or more stock trades rule is universal because other stock brokers enforce this as well. TradeKing is the only one that actually sends you an email ahead of time warning you though so I would actually give them credit in this case.

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Judith December 10, 2009 at 4:16 pm

The Tradeking free $50 promo was good. Now it’s time to look into the stock broker. I expect great things.

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monica February 17, 2011 at 1:40 pm

Can anyone e-mail me a referral of TradeKing for the free $50?

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Steve February 17, 2011 at 2:18 pm

what is your email address?

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A.T. January 25, 2010 at 8:27 pm

Hi Guys,

Could anyone please send me an invitation to get some free money? :)

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Taf Baig January 27, 2010 at 10:18 pm

This comment has been edited.

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MoneyNing January 27, 2010 at 10:43 pm

I believe the current promo gives $100 to the person who refers clients, but not the person who signs up. As such, I have not really talked about the current promotion and have edited the above comment because the offer is obviously not what the original poster wanted.

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Paul McGhee February 3, 2010 at 7:51 am

I’m not especially happy with Tradeking after using them for a year. Almost all of my trades involve options. I seem to get much better execution on options trades from Schwab, and Tradeking’s quotes are always delayed, so I can’t set really accurate limit prices on orders. A lot of times I’ll lob in a low-ball and let it sit on the floor for a while, then adjust from there. Very time-consuming. One thing I will say for TK, they don’t try to be the options police. Schwab won’t approve my wife to trade spreads even after a year of options trading, and there’s no margin involved. I guess the 22-yo kid who approves that knows best :).

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shiko March 9, 2010 at 6:12 am

I currently have about $5000 in TradeKing. Last week their servers went down and I no on had online access. I lived through it and held on to my investments. The next week, everything was fine.. Well until yesterday when they blocked me from online access to my account. I don’t know about older more experienced investors, but new age investors like myself (21 years old) have grown up doing everything online. Without online access to my account I dont know what investments I am in, how much I am losing, and no way to sell. They told me I can call, but the lines are always busy, so there is no way I can get an efficient trade in. I am currently waiting to get my account restored so I can wire transfer the money back to my bank and switch to a new broker, because this is absolutely ridiculous. Oh and their explanation for blocking my account? “There is activity from your IP address that is flagging out system, so until we can figure it out we cannot restore access.” Seriously? Do they think I’m hacking into their network? I guess they need someone to put the blame on for their servers crashing. Anyways this is just to serve as a warning for those looking to open an account with tradeking. DO NOT DO IT. You are at a great risk to lose money. Hope this helps you.

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Teresa March 11, 2010 at 3:06 pm

Hello:

Can you tell me if your trading platform is available to Canadian citizens. I am interested in selling put and call options.

Thank you,
Teresa

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Matt March 24, 2010 at 12:40 am

Here’s one thing I LOVE about tradeking:

no minimum to start or maintain an account.

If you want to dabble, it’s NO PROBLEM.

This is the only discount broker I’ve come across that has no minimums. I have seen a couple others – optionshouse, sogotrade – and while they offer low cost of trades, they require hundreds/thousands of dollars to start.

Since there’s no minimum, ALL of the holdings are very liquid. my holdings could be sold and the funds in my bank account in 2 days. And then when I’m ready to refund, I just transfer money back in.

They even let me set up an IRA unfunded, so when I will need to roll over an IRA in a few months, it will already be set up.

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Andre April 13, 2010 at 10:15 am

At first, I thought this was another TradeKing-sponsored site setup to glorify their operation – you probably know what I mean if you ever worked for a small company which encourages their employees to post anonymously glowing reviews about… the small company ;)

For whatever it’s worth: I moved to Trade King a year ago from Ameritrade because of the auto-trade feature and the $4.95 commissions, and Trade King quickly turned out to be the worst broker I ever had.

It started with the Autotrade feature, that I set up to 100% of my non-margin account. I say “non-margin” because I did not want a margin account – easy enough, right? Wrong. After a couple of autotrades, the TK system initiated a buy that went over the available funds by $1.09. Now remember, I did not have a margin account – didn’t want one either. Didn’t expect to have a margin amount, no matter how puny it was.

What happened next: I was on vacation – comfortable with the idea that my newsletter recommendations would be followed by Trade King’s “reliable” autotrading system. When I came back, I noticed that the TK system had NOT executed the automated sell order. Why? Because someone discovered that I was not supposed to have a margin account – and I had a margin amount.. I hadn’t signed for one – so what did Trade King do? They blamed me for their own autotrading error and disabled the autotrade feature for the next transaction of course.

When I emailed them to complain, I got a lecture from someone in the “customer service” dept who wrote that even if I am on autotrade mode, I need to be “proactive” in managing my account. Counter-arguing that TK should be “proactive” in making sure they monitor their system to make sure they don’t provide me with a margin when I din’t sign for one didn’t help: I was blamed for their system’s mistake.

To add insult to injury, I got a call the next day from a boy with an attitude that sounded fresh out of high school – unless I covered my $1.09 (one dollar & 9 cents.) they would have to liquidate my account.

Pathetic and real story. That is the “service” I got from Trade King, and that, my friends is service I don’t need.

I stuck with them for a while because I had other occupations but it didn’t get any better. As someone mentioned, their system problems got worse lately. My last transaction was painful – it took over 15 minutes to execute. One of my work colleagues could not understand why I was putting up with this. He recommended his broker, Fidelity.

I now realize you’re always better off with a professional broker. Fidelity’s commissions are a little higher – $7.95 (although they are free on some of their funds) – but boy, their trades execute fast and smart.

So for me, the most professional & best broker so far has been Fidelity. Next in the positive category is TD Ameritrade, then Etrade. TK is clearly a negative and I’ll obviously never go back to them. Best of luck regardless, & thanks MoneyNing for the opportunity to vent ;)

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Stephen April 21, 2010 at 2:10 pm

Ok so I am looking to use an online broker to buy and sell some stocks, which one should i go with? If I am not going to be borrowing money to buy with, which is a margin account from what I have read, will I be able to do more than 4 trades in a 5 day period without having to have $25000 invested? I am new to this…and any advice about which broker to pick would be great. I am only probably going to invest about $2000 to start probably.

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MoneyNing April 21, 2010 at 5:56 pm

With $2,000, I would pick a brokerage firm with a smaller commission fee like TradeKing.

Other than that, the $25,000 requirement is for pattern day traders, which means those who trade the same securities over and over again. (You fall into that if you buy/sell the same security four times within a 5 day period).

If you are just buying stocks and selling another stock, the limit doesn’t apply.

Also, note that trades take 3 business days to settle. Just because you sell a stock doesn’t mean you have the funds to buy another immediately. In a pure cash account, you have to wait till the transaction settles before you can buy something else, so watch out for that.

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Editor @ Double My Net Worth April 29, 2010 at 10:00 am

Wow, this is an excellent review on TradeKing. I have heard of the brand name on and off over the years but never really looked into it because I was just content with my current brokerage. Now that I am more determine to build my net worth and monthly flow, I wanted to look into sites like TradeKing. Because of your review, I will go check them out, see how far they have come along since your review. Thanks, MoneyNing.

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Bankruptcy Ben June 9, 2010 at 9:28 pm

Eh i’m with etrade, considering I buy and hold (the only time i sold was to buy my house) I’m not really sure why I’d bother changing? What’s the point?

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David July 26, 2010 at 1:35 pm

Signing up for Tradeking after finding out about there $4.95 flat fee was the biggest mistake of my life. They have the price to attract customers, but customer service was terrible. I had wired funds and that was processed at my bank end, but then I find out that because of their unusual document limitations, they had rejected the transfer due to the source account being a joint account. They stated that I cannot use a 3rd party to deposit funds. Clearly, I was the account holder showing my name and my partner’s name on the bank statement they had requested from me, but they insisted that I was the 3rd party. They had redefined the definition of 3rd party according to “their 3rd party policy”.

They had wired back the money and deducted the fee from their side. Although it was a small amount of $25 that they had robbed from me, I had spent almost 6 hours going back and forth sending documents and conversation to find out I was robbed at the end. It was just a waste of time. I am definitely not going to recommend them for that matter.

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Ed September 10, 2010 at 1:48 pm

One big problem with TradeKing: You cannot choose specific lots to sell. Another: You pay thru the nose when trading sub-$1 stocks.

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kingme123 October 13, 2010 at 4:55 pm

tradeking has been in the middle of coverting to a new conversion clearing firm for a month now, problems galore, no more drips people upset, many people leaving tradeking , i may leave as well many problems , do more research before joining tradking.

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wilhelm November 5, 2010 at 12:06 pm

problems galore post conversion is an understatement. they cannot even keep cash balances and positions straight. Customers service acts indignant if you have the nerve to complain. I’m one of those heading for the exits.

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kathi stevens December 12, 2010 at 5:53 pm

Just a question. Why would anyone use any trading platform other than Interactive Brokers since they charge only one dollar for a commission and can trade on markets 24/7 throughout the world?

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Michael Krane December 20, 2010 at 8:27 am

I completed a Trade King application on Saturday and received a confirmation email shortly afterwards. I expected to receive an email soon after business began on Monday morning regarding my application. I hadn’t received an email by 11 AM, called customer service and spoke with Garrick who was unable to tell me anything about my application other than it was in process. Their website says they are here to help and will do whatever it takes. Garrick didn’t do whatever it took, in fact he was unwilling to do anything to help. This gave me the impression that they have no interest in trying to help me. I cancelled my application. BEWARE OF THIS COMPANY

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mason December 31, 2010 at 12:57 pm

Yes I agree with Michael Krane; they show very little concern and have horrible trade execution.

I was a customer of TradeKing for close 2 years and I am now transferring my account due to their poor service and costly delays.

Should you want to use a ACH to deposit money expect to wait 1-2 weeks.
However what is worst if you want to transfer cash or assets from one account in Tradeking to another account you hold there it is a 2 day wait. Any other brokerage or bank I use the transfer is instant but like most things at tradeking their methods are anything but normal.
Also they charge pass all regulatory fees on top of the 5.00 commission. They do not pay interest on cash but are kind enough to charge you interest if you use your proceeds from a sale during that period.
Most importantly their trade execution is very poor; I almost always pay more than the price listed per share and sometimes even sale for less than the price issued. Their execution on your screen is fast, but in real time it is slow or ineffective.
TradeKing is a cheap brokerage but their poor service and management far outweighs any money you save.

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winton January 6, 2011 at 11:00 am

today, online trading has been unavailable at trade king today. They say phone orders are available, but no one seems to be able to get a call through. I signed up for an online brokerage account to trade online, not over the phones. Too many technical problems with trade king they are unreliable. This fiasco has cost me and others alot of money today and all TK can do is say “sorry”…. “we’re so sorry”…. “we are indeed sorry”…”we are so very very sorry”. Well I say Trade king, you are not sorry, you are pathetic.

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Dissatisfied customer January 28, 2011 at 5:50 pm

Tradeking’s “customer service” is horrendous. I contacted the company on multiple occasions with questions about opening accounts and transferring funds over. Each time, the representatives gave me completely wrong answers that had to be corrected by a 2nd individual with follow up calls. All too disconcerting to trust an institution with my money and extremely frustrating and time-consuming to have to contact so many people for what should have been simple questions.

Another note: Throughout this process, I’ve had my questions and concerns bounced around to different people and somehow my original concerns weren’t transmitted accurately to the next person. A rep “answered” what she thought was my concern, but she clearly didn’t have the right information. Rather than deal with more nonsense, I asked to speak with a supervisor. She ignored my request. After repeated requests, the rep tells me she already sent my concerns over to a supervisor and corrects me by saying that I only requested a supervisor once.

The supervisor “answers” my concern, tells me that he’s reviewed the information that the previous rep gave me, finds that there is no problem and considers the issue resolved. How the heck can they answer my concerns correctly without actually asking me what my concerns are? I called to complain and to close my account.

The next supervisor tells me that it isn’t their fault that the rep received the wrong information. When asked if he considers it to be good customer service to never stop and ask the customer what the question or issue is, he says “I’m asking now.”

Maybe Tradeking used to have great customer service in the past. I certainly haven’t seen anything resembling good customer service. And I wouldn’t trust them to handle anyone’s hard-earned money.

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Dissatisfied customer January 28, 2011 at 5:50 pm

Also, TradeKing will not provide you with any confirmation once you close your account.

To close your account, you must call in (not mentioned anywhere on the website). To confirm, you must call in a 2nd time (closing will take a few days). TradeKing will not provide you with a confirmation number or anything in writing.

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William January 31, 2011 at 5:44 pm

Do NOT sign up with Trade King. If you are ever required to be assisted by a human being working in their office, they will incorrectly answer your questions and incorrectly input information on your account. I recently setup automatic withdrawals to my account (unfortunately, this was required to be done by a human being on their end) and they double input the information resulting in two withdrawals on the same day for the same amount when I only gave them written authorization for one. This is only the latest of a string of problems with the people that “work” at Trade King.

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indigo February 4, 2011 at 10:07 am

I had a question so I searched on the Trade King Web site FAQ’s for the answer. The was a topic close to my question but the details were insufficient for my particular case. So…I called Trzde King customer service explaining my question and the further details I needed beyond what was in the FAQs. The Rep read me the script verbatum from the FAQ. I explained I could already see that in the FAQ section but I needed more info. The rep again read me the FAQ verbatum. I again explained in detail the further info I needed, the rep again read the same script. I hung up and transfered my account to Interactive Brokers.

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faust February 22, 2011 at 6:35 am

When I call my broker with a problem, I would like to speak with someone who is actually knowledgable about the brokerage business, not some minimum wage phone receptionist. The people at TK customer support are no better than an answering service. I closed my account.

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peterf March 16, 2011 at 7:14 am

Trade king sent me a corrected 1099, only problem was they never bothered to tell me they sent it. If I hadn’t been checking my account on line looking for something else, I would have never known about it until the IRS came knocking on my door. Great customer service, Trade King. Now I have to pay my accountant more money to file an amended return. Thanks, Trade King, for an alleged low cost broker, you are costing me too much. I’m going elsewhere.

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Tom April 4, 2011 at 6:35 pm

Trade King charges a $50 account transfer fee when you close an account.

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medical April 6, 2011 at 12:56 pm

No doubt trade king is the leading broker and new bees should start from trade kind to learn trading.

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Justin April 6, 2011 at 3:41 pm

It’s interesting to read all of the different assessments of value or lack of value posted by those commenting. Although I observe price to be a major driver for the reasons people have chosen to go with TK, the reason for staying seems to be a general satisfaction with the intuitiveness of their site. It’s not TMI and it’s easy to understand and do what you want to do. I’m not yet a customer but the opinions shared are a noticeable influence on me. Just like I don’t want to be an accountant to manage my personal finances, I don’t want to be a day trader to trade. This ultimately means the tools need to be simplified, quick, easy and intuitive and allow me to get my end result with the least amount of cost (money, time, cognitive load, etc.) as possible. Thanks for all of your comments.

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Bill April 12, 2011 at 9:20 am

Interesting that the comments shifted from postive to negative. I was thinking about signing up, but i think i might stick to a company with real physical banks/locations to go visit.

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Anon August 19, 2011 at 9:17 pm

TK has a great site but don’t be fooled by it. Their customer service can be proportioned to rude unfriendly incoherent people. They always have an attitude and I had to do so much to get verified just to create an account. You have to send in a copy of your passport or id and a copy of your social security card. I had to travel to my safe in my bank to retrieve those. Others brokers don’t do this and this usually takes very long to process. Next you will also have to send them a Notarized letter [which they will not reimburse] in addition to your social security and id photocopy. So much hassle to just get an account.
I do not recommend. I also read other recent reviews mentioning slow transaction fills [not confirmed by me] be cause I never used TK passed the creating an account. If creating the account was that much of a hassle then god knows what they’ll do after. So I decided to try my luck with OptionsHouse. The setup there was quick and customer service game me 100 free trades and a wire transfer free reimbursement. Happy with it so far. I’ll see how OptionsHouse does…

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carpet wands October 14, 2011 at 2:51 pm

Man, trading sure is exciting. I sure am glad I bought in two years ago, when the stock market was way down like it was.

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Matt R November 10, 2011 at 1:48 pm

TRADE AT YOUR OWN RISK. I tried Tradeking for the first time today. I have used Scottrade, OptionsHouse, Etrade, Ameritrade, Bank Of America, and OptionsXpress… I have NEVER encountered issues like this before.

I am a high-volume options trader, my average trade size is roughly $10k, average execution time on this site was between 20s-30s. I missed out on nearly all my trades today. Every single order had to be a market buy, or a market sell because every single trade had to be ‘reviewed’ (as per a supervisor) and added all of that overhead. I called up and complained… asking how they could justify putting my trades through a review every single time (all of these trades should have ended up at +15% profit today instead I netted a LOSS of 30%)

When asked how I as going to be compensated for all of these issues, they said, we will not compensate you, When I asked how they were going to address the ‘required review’ of each trade they said that will not change.

YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR… DO NOT GO WITH TRADEKING IF YOU TRADE A LOT. They may be cheap, but the extra bucks you save are NOT worth it… You WILL lose WAY more money than you will save in fees.

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Riddick November 28, 2011 at 3:22 pm

TradeKing sucks… they don’t allow you to test drive their advanced tools unless you put up money. I set up an account with a small dollar amount to start and after 5 minutes in their tools I knew it was sub-par. Their advanced tools are low end, subed out from a third party and the advanced tools don’t allow you to trade, but link back to an html interface… so it looks low tech and is less functional, slow… I immediately set up a withdrawal of my cash. But wait, they have an anti money laundering policy, so they think they can hold your money for at least ten days before they will let you withdraw YOUR cash. Then they gave me a hard time when I tried to take out my cash… they told me I had to call in to make a withdrawal, so I did and I ripped the poor fool that got stuck with the phone call… pure arrogance on their part… stay away!!!!!! No tolerance for any company with an attitude.

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HerseyK January 14, 2012 at 6:59 pm

Summary: It took over 5 weeks to setup acct with TK even though I wired in funds.

Each error just delayed the time to find the next problem !! (if that makes sense)

I picked them from a list to auto-trade. Even when they admitted they made an error – their attitude was extremely snotty.
before reading this, I wondered if I had a nasty tone and caused such an attitude. Such as Scott Sanders a supervisor with attitude.

Yes – the delay cost me 3 or 4 of the auto-trade winning trades ! For my allocations about $4,000. Thanks guys.

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Danielle H February 21, 2012 at 7:08 pm

I have used TradeKing for several years. I buy and sell individual stocks – maybe 3-4 trades per month and I sell calls on them occasionally. That is all I do. For the relatively infrequent trading I do, TradeKing is perfect. The key is to find a brokerage firm that meets your needs. I am glad that I only pay $4.95 per trade – I have never had any issues with TradeKing.

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Jason February 29, 2012 at 12:01 pm

Hi my name is Jason I’am interested in learning the stock trade and willing to sign up is there anyone who can help me learn

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Diane March 2, 2012 at 10:14 am

I just learned that Trade King charged me an “Inactivity Fee” of $50. Ok –

what does inactivity mean? It means I didn’t make any trades. Which means they

didn’t have to do anything. And yet they saw fit to charge me the totally

outrageous fee of $50. I am very unhappy with them and if I should happen

to get one of those little postcards in the mail asking me if I want to be part

of a settlement, I will be happy to fill it out and return it.

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Young K. March 29, 2012 at 10:04 am

Is it true that it will take 1-2 weeks for ACH deposit into TradeKing to clear before trading the funds?

What is this $50 inactive fee? I thought there is NO account Maintenance Fee ?

And if someone can confirm there will be no $50 account close fee.

thanks
Young

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Zoltan April 23, 2012 at 11:24 am

STAY AWAY FROM TRADEKING!

I’m a Tradeking customer for a few years now, but in this year I decided to move my account elsewhere. They have issued an incorrect 1099 form 3 times this year, out of which one was 2 days prior to the tax deadline and another 1 week after!!!
This caused me redoing my taxes 3 times this year and filing a correction due to their last correction being 1 after the deadline to file taxes.

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chlara October 11, 2012 at 9:50 am

when i started reading this article,i was happy i found a good online trading site finally..but as u scroll down d story seems like elsewhere with all reviews..gradual negativity…im back to square one.guess ill start somewhere n based on my own xperience take it from there…good luck people…

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Jonathan December 12, 2012 at 1:52 pm

Do they work with UK clients? I’m based over the pond in the UK but was wondering whether only US citizens can use this trading platform?

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Jarryd Harden May 29, 2013 at 10:23 am

Unfortunately no, TradeKing does not offer accounts to UK customers as of yet.

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Newbie February 25, 2013 at 5:58 pm

I am totally confused! Should a newbie sign up with TraderKing or not??????

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Jack March 5, 2013 at 8:17 am

I’ve been with Zecco many years and it was punishing, as mentioned above about 1099s coming in days before tax deadline, poor interface, issue upon issue.
Now with TradeKing (upgrade?)- same issues and more. Still getting corrected 1099s. Can’t figure out their website, not at all intuitive…too chunky, too slow, too much having to move around your site to get info.
Tax allocation issues when trying to settle trades at specific lot allocations.
Spend many many minutes on the phone with customer service and each time, one agent told me one thing and another to me something different. That drives me MAD. I am not at all happy with this brokerage.
Maybe it’s me, but I have a much easier time navigating around TDA. I have only stayed with TK because of the pricing…but I think it’s time to suck it up and pay up and move to TDA. Incidentally, I already have a TDA account (6 years) and I reluctantly trade with TK…
Sorry TradeKing, your site, your interface, is not easy or fun anymore and I have to move on before I go mad and end up paying lots to the IRS. You have nothing to offer me to stay with you.

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Butch April 25, 2013 at 6:53 pm

Trade king was the first (and only) broker I have used. It’s the inexpensive trades that first caught me eye. After all, I am only investing small amounts each time, so a big fee would be too much to recover. The sight is easy to understand for me especially being new to the investing world. I am now using their Android app as well. I don’t see anything to change.

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Debbie July 22, 2013 at 9:45 am

Trade King is the worst. I started with Zecco and was transitioned to TradeKing. Customer service is nice but totally useless. They site protocol but do nothing to fix the problem. I find them totally aggravating and very poor customer service. I don’t like being with a nickel and dime operation that really is running at bare bones?Their people are slow and deny that they are responsible for the problem? I keep a small account with them but am transitioning out. If you like to have your broker sell your stock shares because they assess you a fee because their people don’t get things set up in a timely manner then you will like this company…….I recommend Sharebuilder. It is more user friendly and after 5 years I haven’t had to call customer service. I get my year end stuff timely and also have been able to fix any small problems by email.

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Ravi Gupta August 14, 2013 at 1:53 pm

I used to use Zecco and moved to Tradeking as part of their merger. I have used Tradeking for quite some time. I am very disappointed with them. Their UI is not friendly as Zecco. Besides this, In last one month they restricted my account 2 times stating that they have returned as undeliverable mails, while I received mail from them couple of weeks back. I demanded the proof of returned mail but they declined. The customer service is very rude and uncooperative besides other issues.

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Sam April 14, 2014 at 3:54 pm

I was moved to Tradeking from Zecco. I am trying to file my taxes and they disabled my username for some reason. Yet this morning they did accept my auto deposit.

Simple, just resolve the username issue and get access, right? Nope, you have to call in on the phone and they only answer from 8a-6p EST. Here, on the West Coast, that’s 3p while I’m still at work. What kind of website (any website, much less one dealing with my retirement account) cannot resolve access issues 24-7??

I filed a complaint to service@tradeking.com. If I don’t get a response tonight and have to wait til tomorrow to get into my account, I am immediately moving all accounts over to a more customer friendly site.

Btw, I never chose Tradeking, I don’t know how they were when they were “winning awards for customer service” but, from firsthand experience now, THEY ARE TERRIBLE.

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trading future April 28, 2014 at 5:35 pm

I’m now not sure the place you’re getting your information, but good topic.

I needs to spend a while finding out more or working out more.
Thanks for magnificent info I used to be looking for this information for my mission.

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dave July 21, 2014 at 10:24 am

never got to fill out to join… they want to know my work history, name of place i work, well this is what it wanted.. besides my tax id and the things that they do need.
Employment Address is required.
Employer Phone is required.
Occupation is required.
Nature of Business is required.
Year employed since must be 4 whole numbers.
Year employed since must be 4 whole numbers.
Month employed since must be 2 whole numbers. after reading so many negative remarks on many chat rooms, i thank God i did not sign up!

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