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TradeZero review: Actively trade stocks, ETFs, and options for free

Jun 10, 2022

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Fees

$0.003 per share to $7.95 per trade for paid orders; $59/month ZeroWeb and ZeroPro

Investment Types

Stocks, ETFs, and options

Fees

$0.003 per share to $7.95 per trade for paid orders; $59/month ZeroWeb and ZeroPro

Investment Types

Stocks, ETFs, and options

Pros

  • Free stock, ETF, and options trading available
  • Locator service for traders looking to short stocks
  • Day traders can receive up to 6 to 1 leverage; no pattern day restrictions
  • Four different trading platforms
  • 24/7 customer support

Cons

  • Limited investment selection
  • Limited account funding options; only accepts bank wires or ach transfers

More Information

  • Promotion: Earn up to $200 for each referral you make

Overall rating

Is TradeZero right for you?

TradeZero is an online brokerage offering a vast collection of tools and platforms for active traders and day traders both in the US and abroad. The brokerage primarily offers stocks, ETFs, and options, and it has four different platforms — Trade Pro, Trade Web, Trade Free, and Trade Mobile — that users can take advantage of.

In addition, it offers both commission-free trading and short selling tools, and advanced users might appreciate its direct order routing features and premium services. 

TradeZero vs. Zacks Trade

If you're an experienced active or day trader, TradeZero and Zacks Trade are both strong choices. TradeZero, however, is the better choice for day traders who want access to features like direct order routing and short selling locators.

Zacks Trade is also a good choice for active traders, but it offers fewer platforms than TradeZero. However, it has a leg up on TradeZero when it comes to its investment selection. It offers both a wider range of investment choices and account types.

TradeZero vs. TradeStation

TradeZero and TradeStation are both great options for advanced traders and DIY traders who want to rely on state-of-the-art software and tools while exchanging securities.

The fees differ between the platforms, though. Plus, TradeStation has a wider offering of investments. The platform lets you exchange stocks, ETFs, options, futures, futures options, mutual funds, cryptocurrencies, and IPOs. TradeZero, on the other hand, only allows for stocks, ETFs, and options.

However, TradeZero offers more trading platforms, and it even allows users with at least $30,000 to route orders on their own.

Ways to invest with TradeZero

Stocks, ETFs, and options

TradeZero offers investing for both US and international clients. US clients can invest through TradeZero America Inc., while international clients will have access to TradeZero International. TradeZero America offers four different platforms: Trade Pro, Trade Web, Trade Free, and Trade Mobile. The ZeroPro and ZeroWeb platforms cost $59 per month, but ZeroFree and ZeroMobile are both free.

One of the features that distinguishes TradeZero is its TZ locator. This tool helps traders source stock shares for shorting, making it an ideal resource for short sellers. With short selling, traders borrow securities and sell them to other investors at market value, with the ultimate hope that they can buy back the securities at a lower price than they originally borrowed them at. Note, however, that the platform doesn't allow users to short stocks below $1. 

When it comes to costs, the fees you incur (if any at all) while trading depend largely on the exchange and order types you use. For instance, you'll be able to get free online stock trades if: (a) the stock trades on the NYSE, Nasdaq, or AMEX exchanges and is greater than $1, (b) the order you place is a market or limit order, and (c) you trade between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. EST.

When it comes to options trading, you'll be responsible for the following fees:

  • Per contract: $0.25
  • Options Clearing Corp. (OCC) fee: $0.02 per contract; $55 cap
  • Options Regulatory (ORF) fee: $0.02135
  • Options Exercise or Assignment: $0.00

Though we've mentioned the rules for getting access to free online stock trades, you'll incur charges for stock and options trading if you trade after hours (4 a.m. - 7 a.m.), exchange equities that are less than $1 each, or trade OTC/pink sheets. Paid orders range from $0.003 per share to $7.95 per trade (see more on the differences between free orders and paid orders here).

Direct routing

With direct routing, you have the power of choosing where your orders are routed and executed. With many popular online brokerages, investors aren't able to make this choice. The brokerages determine where the orders are routed, and many accept payment for order flow (PFOF) in return.

TradeZero lets you direct your order routes from 4 a.m. to 8p.m. EST. Plus, you may be eligible for rebates, depending on the order's execution (see more here).

You'll need at least $30,000 in your account to utilize direct routing.

TradeZero Platinum

Investors with $50,000 or more in their accounts can utilize this premium service. It offers the following perks:

  • Free Pro trading subscription: Platinum users also get automatic access to the Trade Pro platform for free. This package additionally includes ZeroPro, ZeroWeb, and ZeroMobile. 
  • Discounted locates: Investors receive a 7.5% discount on published locate prices (or stocks available for shorting).
  • Personal account liason: TradeZero pairs you with a Series 7 Registered Representative to assist you with all investing-related matters.
  • Priority feature requests: If TradeZero doesn't have all of the features you're in search of, you can actually put in feature requests with its technology team. The platform says it gives Platinum users priority access to beta releases of software and upcoming features. 

Both TradeZero Platinum and the platform's other services are all supported with 24/7 customer service support. TradeZero offers phone support (from Monday through Friday) and 24/7 live chat.

TradeZero: Is it trustworthy?

TradeZero doesn't have a BBB profile at this time. The Better Business Bureau rates companies based off how well it believes the businesses interact with clients. 

Its ratings also consider type of business, time in business, customer complaint history, licensing and government actions, and advertising issues. But the bureau also assures its users that ratings don't guarantee reliability or performance. Therefore, it's equally important to do your own research before setting up an account. 

In 2022, however, the SEC charged TradeZero America Inc. and its co-founder, Daniel Pipitone, with misleading customers by saying they didn't restrict meme stock purchases when they had, in fact, done so, according to an SEC press release. The SEC's report claims that, in January 2021, TradeZero halted trading on three popular "meme stocks" for 10 minutes. 

During early 2021 several other online brokers also employed trading restrictions on highly volatile hot stocks. TradeZero neither confirmed nor denied the allegations. TradeZero agreed to a cease-and-desist order, $100,000 penalty, and $250,000 penalty for Pipitone. It also agreed to hire an independent compliance consultant.

TradeZero — Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

What is the minimum to invest in TradeZero?

You'll need at least $2,500 to set up an account with TradeZero. Plus, you can only maintain your access to the platform as long as your account balance doesn't fall below $250.

Is TradeZero a good broker?

This depends on what you value in an investment platform. TradeZero offers several notable perks, including stock and options trading, multiple trading platforms, direct routing features, 24/customer support, premium account options, and much more.

Plus, you can choose between free and paid orders, and the platform allows for extended hours trading (i.e.. you can trade from 4 a.m. -8 p.m EST).

Can US citizens use TradeZero?

Yes. US citizens can access TradeZero through its US website, while international traders can take advantage of the TradeZero International website.

Rickie Houston, CEPF

Wealth-Building Reporter

Rickie Houston is a wealth-building reporter for Business Insider, tasked with covering brokerage products, investment apps, online advisor services, cryptocurrency exchanges, and other wealth-building financial products. He is also a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF). Previously, Rickie worked as a personal finance writer at SmartAsset, focusing on retirement, investing, taxes, and banking topics. He's contributed to stories published in the Boston Globe, and his work has also been featured in Yahoo News. He graduated from Boston University, where he contributed as a staff writer and sports editor for Boston University News Service. Learn more about how Personal Finance Insider chooses, rates, and covers financial products and services »

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