TradeMONSTER ReviewOpen an Account
Quality trade tools for options traders; easy-to-use platform that’s fantastic for beginners.
Pricey minimum for single-contract trades; lack of charting studies; additional fees for pre- and post-hours trading.
New and intermediate investors looking to trade primarily options.
|Commissions & Fees|
|Platform & Tools|
|Ease of Use|
2013 Review Star Ratings
N/A - Not Applicable
|6th||Commissions & Fees|
|5th||Platforms & Tools|
N/R - Not Ranked in Top 10
N/A - Not Applicable
When it comes to powerful platforms for trading options, tradeMONSTER competes among the best in the industry. Built as a web-based platform, tradeMONSTER innovates and delivers speed, quality, ease-of-use and the tools needed for options traders to succeed.
tradeMONSTER launched back in 2008 as a platform designed to complement optionMONSTER, a service that provides options education and market analysis. The broker was co-founded by Jon Najarian, Pete Najarian and Dirk Mueller, three pros who bring ample market experience and technology savviness to the table.
When conducting our review of tradeMONSTER, our primary goal was to find out whether the platform's feature-rich offering justified the expensive commission fees charged for trading options.
Commissions & Fees
All stock trades are a flat rate of $7.50 per trade, regardless of order type, size and stock price. This flat-rate commission structure is less expensive than big brokers such as TD Ameritrade, ETRADE and OptionsXpress, however, it’s more expensive than discount competitors OptionsHouse and TradeKing.
One fee that really stands out for trading equities at tradeMONSTER is the post-market hours trading fee. For any trades made in pre- or post-market hours trading, there is an additional charge of $.015 per share. This is a big deterrent for experienced investors, as most traders place trades at some point during pre- or post-hours.
For options trades, the broker charges $.50 per contract with a $12.50 minimum for single leg and $15.00 for multi-leg trades. This minimum is a pricey proposition for clients who only trade, on average, a few contracts each time. Out of the 17 brokers included in our 2013 Online Broker Review, only OptionsXpress had a higher fee for trading one contract.
Minimums aside though, once five contracts or more are being traded, tradeMONSTER's option commission structure quickly becomes a great value. Instead of being the most expensive for one contract, tradeMONSTER drops to seventh for five contracts. Trade 50 contracts and tradeMONSTER is the cheapest option available, next to competitor OptionsHouse.
|Mutual Funds ($)||$15.00||$9.95||$9.95||$49.99|
Lastly, in early 2013, tradeMONSTER updated its margin rates, raising them significantly from their originally low levels. The broker is still less than big brokers such as TD Ameritrade, however.
Platforms & Tools, Research
tradeMONSTER offers both virtual trading and regular trading through its flagship web-based platform. One thing that becomes almost instantly apparent from using the platform is how smooth, easy-to-use and quick it is. For newer investors, there isn't a better platform to learn how to trade on.
Unfortunately, tradeMONSTER’s charting and research are both weak. While charts are very clean in appearance and support some nice functionality, such as notes and active order management alongside overlays, the availability of technical studies is weak (less than 30 when we counted). Furthermore, customizing the active studies was also a limited experience, unlike what can be found at heavy hitters like TradeStation or thinkorswim by TD Ameritrade.
Also, tradeMONSTER was not built with multi-monitor, hyperactive traders in mind. Trade hotkeys are limited, and the platform does not view well across several monitors. Windows can be popped out, but when you conduct analysis, they jump back to the other monitor and data filters back into the main platform window.
As far as research goes, tradeMONSTER took a different approach from the norm for equities. Instead of providing everything under the sun, the broker offers their own Fundamental Report Cards for each stock that, in most cases, includes letter relative ratings. While we applaud tradeMONSTER for thinking outside the box, we found the data to be limiting, difficult to digest and confusing.
Back to tools, options traders will quickly fall in love with the Snapshot Analysis offered for any option in consideration.
If that wasn't good enough, tradeMONSTER then provides a Spectral Analysis, which includes all data needed to make an informed decision. Our favorite feature on this tab was Risk Metrics, which displays the option greeks. Since not all investors understand the greeks, tradeMONSTER has a simple pull-down menu to change from "Greek" to "English," making the data friendly for new investors. Awesome.
Once the investor is finished analyzing, he or she can quickly import the data into a fresh trade ticket, use the trade calculator to find the right position size, add optional notes and then place the trade.
tradeMONSTER has a lot of great assets to be proud of, unfortunately, customer service is not one of them. In our testing, the broker finished dead last, not only in phone support but also email support and overall support. Some emails went unanswered for days (one of which never received a response), and templates were poor. Phone reps were not helpful and failed to go above and beyond, in one call quoting us the wrong trade fee.
In terms of education, we also were left disappointed. While the newly launched education center as of early January 2013 was an improvement over previous efforts, we found most of the content to be third-party sourced and put together with little effort. Considering the quality and offering of sister site optionMONSTER, tradeMONSTER should take a tip from TD Ameritrade, which migrated the content of Investools into the website education area.
Despite tradeMONSTER's shortcomings with customer service, research and education, the broker is fantastic for options trading. The platform runs with precision and offers the tools needed to succeed in the market.
New investors may not like the $12.50 minimum per option trade, but the price is easily justified by the platform. Ease-of-use, trade analysis, notes and virtual trading make tradeMONSTER the No. 1 platform choice for new investors learning the game.
Looking ahead, with the staff of tech gurus tradeMONSTER has, we expect to see more platform innovations throughout 2013.
Compare tradeMONSTER to Key Competitors
Trade Commissions Breakdown
|$7.50||Flat-Fee Trade Plan*|
|N/A||Per-Share Trade Plan|
|$0.00||Options Base Trade Fee*|
|$0.00||Options Exercise Fee|
|$0.00||Options Assignment Fee|
|$15.00||Mutual Fund Trade Fee|
|$15.00||Broker Assisted Trade Fee|
|5.75%||$25,000.00 to $49,999.99|
|5.25%||$50,000.00 to $99,999.99|
|4.75%||$100,000.00 to $249,999.99|
|3.75%||$250,000.00 to $499,999.99|
|3.75%||$500,000.00 to $999,999.99|
|$15.00||Bond Trade Fee|
|$15.00||Treasury Trade Fee|
|$15.00||Certificate of Deposit (CD) Trade Fee|
|$0.00||Interactive Voice Response (IVR) Phone Trade Fee|
|$0.00||IRA Annual Fee|
|$0.00||IRA Closure Fee|
|$0.00||Forced-Margin Sellout Fee|
|$30.00||Returned ACH Fee|
|$30.00||Returned Wire Transfer Fee|
|$75.00||Stock Certificate Processing Fee|
|$75.00||Stock Certificate Delivery Fee|
|$5.00||Paper Statement Fee|
|$2.00||Paper Confirmation Fee|
|$20.00||Outgoing Domestic Wire Transfer Fee|
|$50.00||Outgoing International Wire Transfer Fee|
Commission NotestradeMONSTER is a discount online broker with a straightforward commissions schedule. Full pricing details below:
Stock Trades - All stock trades are a flat-rate of $7.50 per trade regardless of order type, size, and stock price. For any trades made in pre or post market hours trading there is an additional charge of $.015 per share. For stocks under $1 add $.0005 per share.
Options Trades - Options have no base fee and are simply $.50 per contract with a $12.50 minimum. It should be noted that for the trade cost calculator here on the site $12.50 + $.50 is used for all calculations. This is to prevent the calculator from listing 5 contracts for only $2.50 (for example) when in fact it would be the $12.50 minimum charge.
Other Investments - tradeMONSTER charges $15.00 per mutual fund purchase. All sales are free of charge. Loaded funds comes with additional fees as noted in the prospectus.
2013 Review Results - tradeMONSTER was awarded Best Web Based Platform, Best Platform for New Investors alongside Options Trading), ranked #2 for Options Trading, #2 for New Investors, and was rated 4.5 stars for Ease of Use. Read the 2013 Broker Review.
2012 Review Results - tradeMONSTER was awarded Best in Class for Options Trading. They also were awarded for Best Trade Simulator. Read the 2012 Broker Review.
Misc. Account Information
|0||No. of Commission-Free ETFs|
|4||No. of Retail Locations|
|0||No. of Mutual Funds (w/ Load)|
|0||No. of Mutual Funds (No Load)|
|4||No. of 3rd Party Research Report Providers|
|4||Max. No. of Legs (Complex Options)|
|No Minimum Deposit|
|No Maintenance Fees|
|Online Trader Community|
|Live Chat Support|
|24/7 Customer Support|
|Long Term Trading|
|Credit Card Accounts|
|Debit Card Accounts|
Trading Platform Features
|Web Browser Platform|
|Windows Desktop Platform|
|Mac Desktop Platform|
Active Trading Features
|Direct routing offered to clients|
|Broker receives payments for order flow|
|Broker internalizes trades|
|Clients receive rebates for adding liquidity|