Tradeking Review

by Derek Clark

Tradeking is an online discount broker. I’ve been using it for around 2 years now so I thought I’d do a review. I’ve used several different brokers including ETrade and Zecco, and so far Tradeking has been my favorite.

Pros

Let’s start off with the good things. First, the price. It is only $4.95 to make a trade for stocks or options. With options you have to add $0.65 for each contract. I found ETrade to be significantly more expensive at around $9.99, and Zecco was about the same as Tradeking. If you have $25,000, Zecco gives you 10 free trades a month. 10 trades would be plenty for me, but I don’t have that much invested right now. As such, I’ve chosen Tradeking for some other reasons that I’ll highlight below.

I’ve found the interface of Tradeking to be very easy to use. It is simple to switch between accounts. I have both a taxable account and a Roth IRA with them. Making a trade is easy, and even the research is half way decent. These are the areas I found Tradeking to be better than Zecco, and ultimately they are why my accounts are with them now. While the research options aren’t as good as with ETrade, it is half the price. Ultimately I use Yahoo Finance for most of my research, so the price was the main factor in my decision, with the user interface being second.

Cons

While I have liked most things about Tradeking, it isn’t perfect. There a few small things that are slightly annoying. I use TurboTax to do my taxes, and there isn’t an automatic import of trades for the year. Several companies work with them to make it easy at tax time, unfortunately for the last few years I’ve had to enter everything by hand. It is a bit of a pain. I’ve sent requests to them to support this, and I have high hopes that this will change. If it does, I’ll recommend Tradeking even more.

The other con for me is a little silly. In the name of security they make you click pictures of a keyboard on the screen to enter your password. You can’t just type it in. It is a pain and in my opinion doesn’t increase security. It is a minor annoyance, so I just go with it.

Conclusion

Overall I am a big fan of Tradeking. It is cheap enough that you don’t have to have a ton of money invested to make reasonable trades. You should generally aim for a maximum of 2% in trade costs, so taking into account a buy and a sell I recommend starting with at least $500. Until then the costs to trade make it very hard to make any money. As such, you can get into the market easier with Tradeking than you could at say ETrade. If they managed to hook up with TurboTax to make my life simpler at tax time, it will be just about perfect for me.

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