TradeStation is a Forex broker with a very interesting story. It was founded by two Cuban-born brothers, William and Rafael Cruz, back in 1982. As they said, the brother had only $2,400 and they used it to open a trading account, but without any success. Their disappointment grew into a business idea and that’s how TradeStation was born. Well, not the one we know today, since the company changed in 2004 and 2005 and altered from a trading software company to an online securities brokerage.
This is an inspiring story, we have to admit. Still, it doesn’t mean that the brothers managed to create a client-oriented business. We don’t say this because we are doubting them. No, we are saying it because there are a lot of comments from existing clients and trust us, they are not very positive. From the difficult trading platform to terrible customer support. Those comments include everything and we are about to see whether they are justified or not.
Account types at TradeStation are one interesting thing and we will spend some time explaining them. We say interesting, but in reality, they are simply confusing, especially if you are not a professional trader. So, if this is your first time trading, don’t get scared. Usually, you won’t find a selection like this and it’s much easier to find an account that fits your needs.
Without further ado, let’s explain why we dislike the account type section at TradeStation. First of all, this broker offers 14 different accounts. If you are wondering what could be so different, that they need fourteen accounts, it’s nothing basically. This offer is mainly here to make them look more professional, nothing else.
Individual and Joint accounts give you access to the trading tools and research you need. They can be individual or joint accounts and you can upgrade them later if you want. If you go with this group, you will have to choose between four different accounts — Individual, Joint with right of survivorship, Joint Tenants in Common and Custodial.
Retirement account group offers a variety of flexible retirement accounts (four, to be precise) and this time you can choose between Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, SEP-IRA and SIMPLE IRA.
Lastly, there is an Entity group and within it, you get accounts for corporations, limited liability companies, partnerships, trusts and sole proprietorships. There are six different accounts in the Entity group — Trust, Corporation, General Partnership, Limited Partnership, Limited Liability Company and Sole Proprietorship.
As you can see, these accounts bring nothing but confusion and that’s not the worst part. We don’t mind this selection. In fact, different options are always welcome, but we do mind the lack of information. Apparently, this broker is not so sure about the importance of information. That said, the only thing we see are explanations of each account in a few sentences. Clients cannot find things like leverage, margin level, minimum deposit, etc.
Basically, the only way to choose an account is to see how they are described and to traders that doesn’t mean anything. For example, we know that the Trust account is a legal entity created by a grantor, and administered by the trustee, while the Corporation account is owned by a corporation, which is typically managed by a duly appointed officer or officers. But we have no idea what are the trading conditions for each one of them.
Honestly, it’s a strange feeling to be disappointed when you have so many options, but that’s exactly how we feel after inspecting all those accounts.
If you are into Forex trading, we do not have to explain how important it is to have a good education. This is one of the most important parts, and without it, you cannot expect to have good results. That’s why a broker needs to provide proper educational material to its clients and help them gain new skills and improve knowledge.
When it comes to TradeStation, there is an Education Center which is a very positive thing. We will reflect on the Insight section that contains all important news and information. It’s regularly updated, which is great and you can always go there to check the latest changes on the market. So, TradeStation gets a big plus from us for this page.
But when it comes to education in general, this broker doesn’t shine on that field. Unfortunately, the only things you can learn are the most basic ones such as how to trade or what are stocks. All of that educational material is already familiar to each person who traded at least once. Honestly speaking, we expected much more since this broker takes pride in being professional. After all, they are the first ones that should be aware of the importance of good education.
It’s time to talk about TradeStation’s innovative platform. As this broker claims, the platform will provide you with power and reliability you need to feel more confident in your trading. Three different options are available and you can choose between desktop, web platform and mobile one. The selection is excellent and there is nothing negative we can say about it. However, the platform itself is not so user-friendly as this broker claims.
Yes, it’s suitable for professional traders, but beginners will have a hard time with navigation. There are so many details and unfortunately, you don’t have an option for a demo account, to practice a bit first. Technically, there is an option but it doesn’t work. It’s called simulated trading and clients should open that account to see everything about the platform. But once you go to that page, it will redirect you to the real accounts and you will have to add your bank card number and make a deposit.
On the other hand, the platform works flawlessly. It doesn’t have interruptions and it’s perfectly optimised for every device.
When it comes to the website, this broker did the same thing and created a site full of unnecessary details that make the navigation much harder. There is the main menu, but it has so many subcategories and if you need specific information, we can only say one thing — good luck with that.
Our overall experience with the technology part is somewhere in the middle. It’s far from perfect and it surely won’t give you great user experience, but on the other hand, it’s not the worst we saw.
The first impression of the support centre is excellent. Clients can choose between different contact methods, working hours are listed on the website and there is a Frequently Asked Questions page. So, everything we need is there. But, the second glance is where all those good things start to fade.
First of all, there is a difference between existing and non-existing clients. As an existing client, you cannot use email to reach out to them, only Live Chat and phone number. Well, the Live Chat option never works, in fact, so you are left with a phone number and if we take a look in the comments on the Internet, no one will answer that phone.
Apparently, this broker doesn’t provide customer support at all because it’s never available. That’s a big problem since people say their accounts are oftentimes closed without prior notice.
With TradeStation, you won’t be able to use the newest methods such as eWallets or Credit Cards. The only available options are Bank Wire, Check and Smart Transfer. This is not usual, we have to say, but we don’t mind it as long as there are different options where clients can choose.
Unfortunately, this is the only thing about funding methods that we do not mind. Everything else is quite questionable. When you make a deposit, you will have to wait to receive money on account. Depending on a deposit method it can take from one to three business days and that’s a lot. Almost every broker offers instant deposits, so there is no reason to wait for days to start trading.
Aside from the waiting time for a deposit, there is another problem regarding withdrawals. TradeStation does not provide any information about them. This means we have no idea how long the process takes, what are the withdrawal methods, etc. We are certain you will agree with us when we say this is unacceptable.
The Bottom Line
Unfortunately, TradeStation is not a broker we can recommend. It’s not the worst one we found, but there are so many others that offer far better trading conditions so we can only advise you to keep looking.