THE GOOD

Standout technology and unique trading tools:

It's clearly evident that tradeMONSTER is focusing on pushing their business forward with technology. Their trading platform offers some of the best tools to ease the complexity of options trading, which is the true highlight of using tradeMONSTER. One very cool feature is the ability to prioritize your personal preferences to create different options strategies for a given stock. The strategy is created for you based on how conservative or aggressive you want to be, and all you have to do is execute the trade. There is also an impressive visual trading tool available called Spectral Analysis. It's one of the many innovative trading tools tradeMONSTER has developed, along with other tools likeliveACTION and strategySEEK.

Fresh concept that is easy to use:

TradeMONSTER has a one-size-fits-all platform that feels like something different, and that is a good thing. After logging in to your account, you launch the trading platform in a separate window. The application is far more advanced than most of the basic web-based trading platforms offered by other brokers. It feels as though you are downloading an advanced software, but it's completely web-based. If you want to make a quick trade, you have the option to click a separate "Quicktrade" button that will open a simpler window where you can place your orders. Most of the application is customizable, so you can play around with the setup to find what works well for you.

Systematic approach to trading using tradeCYCLE:

Another quality feature that tradeMONSTER offers is a proactive investing guidance tool called tradeCYCLE. If you find yourself lacking discipline or a solid trading strategy, tradeCYCLE could be the helping hand you need to turn a profit. It includes six steps that are built into a complete process. You start by researching, move into crafting a strategy, test the strategy, execute your trade, plan an exit, and then adjust as needed. Each step along the way is accompanied by a proprietary tradeMONSTER tool to help you execute. This is a feature definitely worth trying out, especially for beginner or intermediate investors.

In-depth platform learning experience:

If you're just getting into trading or new to tradeMONSTER, you may feel a little lost upon first launching the platform, but have no fear: tradeMONSTER offers an extensive platform educational page that breaks the learning experience into three levels (beginner, intermediate, and advanced). Each level has a detailed YouTube video that shows and explains that topic. They also offer webinars that allow you to ask questions of a senior manager at tradeMONSTER. All in all, the learning curve for tradeMONSTER could be steep if it wasn't for the extremely valuable resources they offer.

Deep educational resources:

The education section on the tradeMONSTER website is segmented by options, stocks, and futures. It appears to be lacking in depth upon first glance, but as you select the product that you're interested in, you open up a very thorough educational guide. Clicking on options, for example, opens up three levels of options trading: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. Within those levels, you have all kinds of strategies and topics to choose from. If you want to learn how to trade options, this is the place to be. The education for stocks and futures trading isn't as advanced but is still sufficient.

THE BAD

Separate application for trading futures:

In order to trade futures with tradeMONSTER, you have to leave the trading application and download the CQG platform. Apparently there is a web-based version coming soon, but as this currently stands, it is very cumbersome to navigate to the futures page. The download also did not work on a Mac during our testing. The other obvious downfall is that you don't get to use the same trading platform from tradeMONSTER, which is the main reason you would probably choose the broker in the first place. The point is that if you want to trade futures only, tradeMONSTER is not the place to do it. It's made for options traders who want to dabble in the very occasional futures trade.

Inferior research amenities and charting tools:

On the surface it may appear that tradeMONSTER offers all the research capabilities you need. However, the depth of their charting tools and research amenities are far behind that of some industry leaders. The charting options in particular are extremely limited. In order to access more detailed research, you have to sign up (for free) to something separate called researchLAB, which is actually found on the optionMONSTER website, not tradeMONSTER. The whole process is very confusing and needs to be simplified significantly before tradeMONSTER even touches the major brokers in terms of research capabilities.

Lacking in customer support features:

There is no indication that the quality of customer support provided by tradeMONSTER is lacking. In fact, their support team is very responsive over email. However, it's hard to overlook a few missing components that may bother some people. There is no 24-hour support or dedicated tech support available, and the broker only supports English-speaking traders. In addition, if you value in-person customer support, you won't be able to get that with tradeMONSTER, as they are an online-only broker.

THE DETAILS

Trading Costs and Fees
Broker Assisted Trades $15 + broker commission
Futures Contract Fee $1.50
Maintenance Fees $0
Margin Rates 2.75% - 6.25%
Minimum Account Balance Fee $0
Mutual Funds Fee - Load $20
Mutual Funds Fee - No-Load $0
Options Contract Price $0.10 - $0.50
Options Flat Fee $12.50 ($3.50 for 10,000+ contracts)
Stock Flat Fee $4.95
Other Fees
ACH/EFT Withdrawal $30
Bounced Check $30
Check Withdrawal $25
Domestic Wire Withdrawal $25
Forced Margin Sellout $15 + broker commission
Full Account Transfer $0
IRA Annual Fee $0
Partial Account Transfer $0
Stop Payment on Check $30
Telephone Orders $15 + broker commission

FEATURES

Title
  • Bonds You can trade bonds.

  • Easy to Borrow Stocks You have access to easy-to-borrow stocks that you can sell short.

  • ETFs You can trade exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

  • Futures Markets You can trade futures markets.

  • Mutual Funds You can trade mutual funds.

  • Options You can trade options.

  • Pink Sheet and OTCBB Securities Market Access You can trade pink sheet stocks and over-the-counter (OTC) securities.

  • Stocks You can trade stocks.

  • Commission-Free ETFs You can trade commission-free exchange-traded funds.

  • Forex You can trade forex or foreign exchange markets.

  • International Markets You can trade markets outside of the U.S.

  • Android The broker offers an app for Android devices.

  • BlackBerry The broker offers an app for BlackBerry devices.

  • Cross-Platform Integration The mobile trading application integrates with your trading account in real time, including watch lists, alerts, and other account information.

  • iPad The broker offers a dedicated app for the iPad.

  • iPhone The broker offers an app for the iPhone.

  • Mobile Research You can conduct research using one of the mobile applications.

  • Other Tablet The broker offers an app for another tablet device besides the iPad.

  • Place Trades You can place trades using your mobile device.

  • Portfolio Tracking You can track your portfolio using a mobile device.

  • Streaming Quotes The broker offers streaming quotes on mobile devices.

  • Virtual Demo You can demo the mobile trading platform by using a virtual trading account.

  • Watch List You can create watch lists using a mobile app or device.

  • Create Alerts You can create alerts with one or more of the mobile trading applications.

  • Favorable App Store Reviews The broker's iPhone application has received three stars or greater from users in the Apple App Store.

  • Mobile Deposits You can deposit checks or electronic funds into your account with a mobile application.

  • Mobile Website The broker offers a separate mobile website for accessing your account on the go.

  • Windows Mobile The broker offers trading on Windows Mobile devices.

  • Alerts You can set up personalized alerts for your portfolio or other investment products.

  • Automated Trading The broker allows you to place trades by setting automated triggers to execute a trade.

  • Conditional Orders You can place orders that, when executed, immediately triggers or cancels another trade.

  • Customizable Interface You can customize the layout and look of a trading platform.

  • Level II Quotes The broker gives you access to the book order of individual stocks so you can see live buyers and sellers of that stock.

  • Option Chains You can simply find an options premium by following the corresponding maturity dates and strike prices.

  • Options Exposure You can view a detailed display of your options positions' possible sensitivity to key risks using industry-standard greek calculations.

  • Options Tools The broker offers a variety of options trading tools.

  • Platform - One-Size-Fits-All The broker offers a platform that is fitting for traders of all levels.

  • Quick Order Entry You have the option to quickly enter or cancel orders faster than normal.

  • Real-Time Charts The broker offers access to charting tools that update in real time.

  • Smart-Order Routing Technology The broker sends orders to different market centers that seek to fill your order quickly and at the best available price.

  • Spread Builder The broker offers a tool to build your own spreads between multiple investment products.

  • Streaming Real-Time Quotes The broker provides streaming real-time quotes so you can see up-to-date prices of investment products.

  • Trailing Stops You can set a stop-loss as a percentage below the market price that adjusts as the price fluctuates to help you secure profits and cut losses.

  • Watch List You can create watch lists to keep an eye on investment products that interest you.

  • Platform - Advanced The broker offers an advanced trading platform.

  • Account Balances Displayed Your account balances are displayed on the page where you access detailed portfolio information or account reports.

  • Account History Reports You can create reports or view statements of your portfolio or account information.

  • Download Statements You can download your account statements to your computer.

  • Export Data You can export your portfolio or account statements.

  • Gain/Loss You can run reports to view your gains and losses to determine the impact on your taxable income.

  • Order Status You can quickly view your current trading positions and open orders.

  • Portfolio Planner You can view your current portfolio allocation and create a plan to measure against it.

  • Real-Time Updates Your account balances update in real time, adjusting for any open positions.

  • Courses The broker offers educational trading or investment courses.

  • Education Levels The broker offers a variety of education levels based on experience.

  • Glossary The broker has a glossary that defines important investment terms.

  • Live Seminars The broker offers live in-person seminars around the country that you can attend.

  • Online Community The broker has an online community to have discussions and share advice with other traders.

  • Webinars The broker offers webinars to help you learn about investment products.

  • Blog The broker keeps an updated blog that includes company and investment information.

  • Charts The broker offers access to charts so you can conduct research on investment products.

  • Company Publication The broker produces and distributes a company publication to account holders.

  • Market Commentary The broker offers market commentary from outside experts.

  • News The broker provides daily market news and updates.

  • Research Reports The broker offers a selection of research reports.

  • Screens You can screen investment products to narrow down the type of investment you are looking for.

  • Tailored Research The broker provides you with research tailored to your current portfolio, watch lists, or interests.

  • Third-Party Research The broker offers independent investment research from outside parties for free.

  • Upgraded Research The broker offers upgraded research at an additional cost.

  • Email The broker offers email support to customers.

  • Facebook The broker has an active Facebook page where you may be able to post questions and get a response.

  • Fax The broker has a fax number displayed on their website.

  • Live Chat The broker offers live chat on their website.

  • Phone The broker offers phone support to customers.

  • Twitter The broker has an active Twitter page where you may be able to post questions and get a response.

  • 24-Hour Support The broker offers some form of 24-hour support, which is usually phone support.

  • Additional Languages The broker offers additional languages besides English for some aspect of its business.

  • Dedicated Tech Support The broker offers dedicated support strictly for technical issues.

  • Retail Location The broker has a retail location where you can talk to a representative live in person.

  • FINRA Listed The broker is regulated by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

  • SIPC Member The broker belongs to the Securities Investor Protection Corporation, which acts as trustee or works with an independent court-appointed trustee to recover any missing funds.

  • Asset Protection Guarantee The assets in your account are protected from any unauthorized activity.

  • Special Security Measures The broker offers additional security measures to protect your account.

  • IRA The broker offers access to an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) that provides tax advantages for retirement.

  • Retirement Planning The broker offers retirement strategies and advice.

  • Tax Tools The broker offers tax planning tools to provide tips and help with your investment strategy.

  • Wealth Assessment Tool The broker offers an interactive program that calculates your wealth so you can see how these factors will affect your retirement.

  • Banking Services In addition to trading services, the broker offers online banking services.

  • College Saving Plan The broker offers a college savings account.

  • Credit Card The broker offers access to a credit card through its banking services.

  • Debit Card The broker offers access to a debit card through its banking services.

  • Small Business Tools The broker offers specific services or plans for small businesses.

  • Customer Rewards Program The broker offers a referal program or customer rewards program.

  • Free Trading Demo The broker offers a free trading demo so you can try one of the trading platforms.

  • Introductory Offer The broker has a special offer for new traders who open an account.

  • FAQs The broker has an FAQ page or pages to answer common questions.

  • User Guides The broker offers some sort of user guide to help understand the product.

  • Virtual Trading You can make trades with a virtual account to test your strategies.

Comparable


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