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Lightspeed Review

Blain Reinkensmeyer

February 8th, 2022

Lightspeed is a direct-access online brokerage that focuses on serving active and professional traders through its in-house and third-party trading platforms. Casual traders beware, not trading enough means paying high monthly platform fees.

Top Takeaways

Here are our top findings on Lightspeed:

  1. At Lightspeed, it is not uncommon for customers to trade over 1,000 times a year. As a result, Lightspeed is one of the few online brokers whose goal is to avoid beginners.
  2. Lightspeed's pricing is mostly on par with its competitors. That said, it doesn't have the size and sophistication to offer lower costs than pricing leader Interactive Brokers.
  3. Unlike some competitors, Lightspeed offers its own proprietary trading platform, Lightspeed Trader, which we found to be complementary to Das Trader Pro. That said, it doesn't come close to matching the best day trading platforms.

Overall Summary

Please Note: Lightspeed was not included in our last annual review. As a result, this broker's ratings may be outdated. Read our best online brokers guide for a breakdown of the top rated brokers.

FeatureLightspeed
Overall 3 Stars
Commissions & Fees 2.5 Stars
Platforms & Tools 3 Stars
Research 2 Stars
Mobile Trading Apps 3 Stars
Offering of Investments 3 Stars
Education 3 Stars
Ease of Use 3 Stars

--> View Lightspeed Features List

Commissions and Fees

Through the main platform, Lightspeed Trader, two-tiered commission structures are offered: per share and per trade. The more volume you trade or the more frequently you trade, respectively, each month, the lower your rate will be.

Base pricing: With per share trading, equity trades start at $.0045 per share plus/minus routing fees ($1 minimum). Traders who place larger orders can opt to pay per trade, starting at $4.50, plus/minus routing fees. Options trades start at $.60 per contract and scale down in cost according to monthly volume.

Platform fees and misc charges: The Lightspeed Trader platform charges a $130 software fee each month. Commission spend applies towards this fee, so if a trader spends at least $130 in commissions the $130 fee is not applicable ($130 - $130 = $0). As another example, if the trader spends only $40 in commissions, they would be charged $90 ($130 - $40) for that month. Also, unless traders opt to use the LSPT Route, they are fully responsible for market center routing fees. Rebates are provided for adding liquidity, while charges are assessed for taking liquidity.

Lightspeed pricing summary:

FeatureLightspeed
Minimum Deposit$10,000.00
Stock Trades$4.50
Penny Stock Fees (OTCCB)$4.50
ETF Trade Fee$4.50
Options (Base Fee)$0.00
Options (Per Contract)$0.60
Futures (Per Contract)$1.29
Mutual Fund Trade FeeN/A
Broker Assisted Trade Fee$25.00

Platforms and Tools

For our review, we focused solely on Lightspeed's flagship platform, Lightspeed Trader, a desktop-based platform designed for speed, stability, and execution. While not the prettiest platform (it certainly would place last in any beauty pageant), the platform serves its purpose. For example, Lightspeed Trader includes endless hotkey options for trading on the fly. That said, beyond placing lightning-fast trades, Lightspeed Trader has little to offer. I found the charting to be just okay, and the analytical tools were certainly lacking, less the access to TipRanks research.

Other platform options: Lightspeed offers customers multiple platforms to trade on. Under Lightspeed's parent company, three platforms are corporate-owned: Lightspeed Trader, Lightspeed Web Trader, and Sterling Trader. Third-party trading platforms focused on equities trading on offer to customers include RealTick Pro and Express. For options trading, there is Livevol X (owned by the CBOE, Lightspeed is the only broker with an enterprise license to offer the platform to customers), Derivix, Obsidian, OptionsCity, Valdi Options Solutions, and Wex. Lastly, for futures trading, customers can select from several options: RealTick, CQG, CunninghamTrading Systems (CTS), NinjaTrader, Patsystems, Quick Screen Trading (QST), RAN, and Trading Technologies (TT).

Web trading: For less active investors insistent on using Lightspeed, who looking for something more basic (and less expensive), Lightspeed Web Trader (browser-based) is the best option. Web Trader offers the same look and feel as Lightspeed Trader; however, the platform lacks advanced functionality such as hotkeys, level 2 quotes, basket order entry, and direct market access, and there is no access to TipRanks research.

Gallery

Lightspeed trading platform summary:

FeatureLightspeed
Desktop Trading Platform Yes
Web Trading Platform Yes
Paper Trading Yes
Trade Journal No
Watch Lists - Total Fields141
Charting - Indicators / Studies20
Charting - Drawing Tools8
Charting - Study Customizations4
Charting - Save Profiles Yes
Trade Ideas - Technical Analysis No
Streaming Time & Sales Yes
Trade Ideas - Backtesting No

Research

Lightspeed makes little effort to offer fundamental and technical research tools since traditional research is mostly irrelevant to professional traders. If there is one benefit, Lightspeed Trader platform customers do have access to TipRanks at no additional cost. Bottom line though, beyond TipRanks, a stock scanner, and basic quotes, market research is not offered.

Gallery

Lightspeed research summary:

FeatureLightspeed
Research - Stocks Yes
Stock Research - ESG No
Stock Research - PDF Reports0
Screener - Stocks Yes
Research - ETFs Yes
Screener - ETFs No
Research - Mutual Funds No
Screener - Mutual Funds No
Research - Pink Sheets / OTCBB No
Research - Bonds No
Research - Futures No
Research - Forex No

Customer Service

To score Customer Service, StockBrokers.com partners with customer experience research group Confero to conduct phone tests from locations throughout the United States. For our 2020 Broker Review, 280 customer service tests were conducted over ten weeks.

Results

  • Average Connection Time: <1 minute
  • Average Net Promoter Score: 7.6 / 10
  • Average Professionalism Score: 6.0 / 10
  • Overall Score: 7.39 / 10
  • Ranking: 12 th (14 brokers)

Mobile Trading

The Lightspeed mobile app connects to Lightspeed Web Trader accounts, not the flagship Lightspeed Trader platform. Even with access, functionality is scarce as the app focuses solely on the essential functionality required to trade.

Gallery

Lightspeed mobile summary:

FeatureLightspeed
iPhone App Yes
Android App Yes
Apple Watch App No
Watch List Syncing No
Stock Alerts Yes
Charting - After-Hours No
Charting - Technical Studies0
Charting - Study Customizations No
Watch Lists - Streaming Yes
Watch Lists - Create & Manage Yes
Watch Lists - Column Customization No

Offering of Investments

Lightspeed offers active traders fully featured stock and options trading. This means direct market routing to numerous venues, an extensive list of order types, and complex options. That said, everyday investors will not find support for fixed-income (bonds), mutual funds, or any commission-free ETFs. Self-directed trading aside, Lightspeed’s institutional arm offers algorithmic (algo) trading through its Lightspeed Trader API and black box developer kits, both of which are often used only by hedge funds.

Does Lightspeed offer crypto?
No, Lightspeed does not offer cryptocurrency as a tradeable asset. You will have to signup with a crypto exchange to trade popular tokens such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Dogecoin.

Lightspeed offering summary:

FeatureLightspeed
Stock Trading Yes
OTCBB / Pink Sheets Yes
Options Trading Yes
Complex Options Max Legs4
Bonds (US Treasury) Yes
Futures Trading Yes
Forex Trading No
Mutual Funds (Total)0
Advisor Services No
Crypto Trading No
Crypto Trading - Total Coins0

Final Thoughts

Lightspeed is not an online broker built with new or casual investors in mind. Instead, it caters to active, professional, and institutional traders alike, all looking for fast executions, reliable market routes, and dependable platforms built to serve one purpose: trading.

About Lightspeed

Feeling confused is a common experience for first-time visitors to the Lightspeed website, unless they can speak the lingo of Lightspeed's target market, the active trader.

Lightspeed is one of the few online brokers whose goal is to avoid newer investors and those with little experience. The definition of "active trader" has a different meaning at Lightspeed compared to traditional online brokers. At Lightspeed, it is not uncommon for customers to place over 1,000 trades each year.

2022 Review Methodology

Our mission at StockBrokers.com is simple: provide thorough and unbiased reviews of online brokers, based on an extraordinary level of hands-on testing and data collection. Our ratings and awards are based on this data and our experts’ deep authority in the field; brokers cannot pay for preferential treatment. Here’s more about trustworthiness at StockBrokers.com.

For the StockBrokers.com 12th Annual Review published in January 2022, a total of 3,075 data points were collected over three months and used to score 15 top brokers. This makes StockBrokers.com home to the largest independent database on the web covering the online broker industry.

As part of our annual review process, all brokers had the opportunity to provide updates and key milestones and complete an in-depth data profile, which we hand-checked for accuracy. Brokers also were offered the opportunity to provide executive time for an annual update meeting.

Our rigorous data validation process yields an error rate of less than .001% each year, providing site visitors quality data they can trust. Learn more about how we test.



About the Author

Blain Reinkensmeyer

As Head of Research at StockBrokers.com, Blain Reinkensmeyer has 20 years of trading experience with over 1,000 trades placed during that time. Referenced as a leading expert on the US online brokerage industry, Blain has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, and Fast Company, among others.








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All pricing data was obtained from a published web site as of 01/10/2022 and is believed to be accurate, but is not guaranteed. For stock trade rates, advertised pricing is for a standard order size of 500 shares of stock priced at $30 per share. For options orders, an options regulatory fee per contract may apply.

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