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Updated on Friday, June 4, 2021
Lightspeed Trading is an online brokerage firm for active traders. A division of Lime Brokerage, the company is best for professional investors — for casual investors or those who want to explore passive investing, Lightspeed might not work for you.
If, however, you’re a day trader or someone committed to active investing, you can take advantage of the real-time data and advanced apps to track your investments, whether at your desktop or on the go.
|Sign-up bonus||None available|
- What Lightspeed offers and who it’s for
- Lightspeed fees and costs
- Lightspeed investing tools and research
- Lightspeed user experience
- Lightspeed investor education
- Lightspeed security
- Alternatives to Lightspeed to consider
What Lightspeed offers and who it’s for
Lightspeed Trading is best for active and day traders, or those people who trade professionally. Active traders will find a lot to like with Lightspeed, including streaming quotes and customizable watchlists, custom layouts for certain trading platforms, customizable charts and studies, market and options scanners, historical data and more.
Beginning investors could have a hard time using Lightspeed — not just because of the costs, but also because these platforms can be complicated to navigate. Additionally, Lightspeed doesn’t offer commission-free ETFs or any mutual funds at all, so hands-off investors would need to look elsewhere.
- Low commissions for frequent traders: Stock trades start at $0.0045 for traders who trade less than 250,000 shares per month and fees go all the way down to $0.0010 for traders who have a monthly trading volume of more than 15,000,000 shares. In comparison, Zacks Trade charges $0.01 per share (with a $1 minimum per trade), while TradeStation charges $0.01 per share or $0.006 per share after the first 500 trades.
- Choice of trading platforms: Lightspeed customers can use web or mobile trading, Lightspeed Trader, Sterling Trader Pro Eze EMS or Livevol X Options Trading platforms. These platforms are customized to specific types of investors, giving them the data and tools they need at their fingertips. Advanced features include basket order entry, which allows groups of securities to be bought or sold simultaneously. Plus, most platforms also offer after-hours trading and advanced charting tools.
- Convenient trading: All trades can be done from one account, including equities and options. You don’t need to have multiple accounts to complete multiple transactions.
- Substantial minimum deposit requirements: There is a $10,000 minimum balance requirement for Lightspeed’s basic web and mobile platform and a $25,000 minimum balance requirement for its other platforms.
- High fees: Some platforms charge monthly fees. LS Trader charges $130, Sterling charges between $230 and $260 and Eze EMS charges $125 or $325, depending on if you choose Pro or Express. Zacks Trade, as well as TradeStation, have advanced trading platforms, but don’t charge these monthly fees to use them.
- Limited securities: Lightspeed doesn’t offer commission-free ETFs, mutual funds or bonds. Many of the best online brokers offer greater access to hands-off or low-risk trading options, with several offering a plethora of commission-free ETFs and no-load funds.
- Limited customer service: Lightspeed customer service is available via phone only during regular and extended market hours. And while you can email Lightspeed, it doesn’t offer online chat, unlike some competitors, including Ally Invest. It also has no branches for in-person customer service; E*TRADE, meanwhile, has about 30 branches.
Lightspeed fees and costs
While Lightspeed has high minimum balance requirements, it is less expensive than many competitors when it comes to individual trade and share costs.
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|Stock trading fees|
|Account fees (annual, transfer, inactivity)|
Lightspeed investing tools and research
Multiple trading platform choices
You can choose the platform that best fits your needs. Whether you’re a day trader, options trader or you work for hedge funds or firms that make a high volume of trades, there’s a platform for you. Lightspeed Trader is a great choice for day traders, while Eze EMS (formerly RealTick) Pro and Express are great for active traders, investment advisors and hedge funds.
Real-time streaming data
With Lightspeed, you get a live market scanner to make trades based on the latest information. Lightspeed Trader lets you scan and filter potential trades by net or percentage change, by price range, by market and even by specific symbols. You can have multiple customizations set up to provide the most specific analytics you need to make your trade. You can also make your trades using specific strategies by using the Lightspeed Trader Application Programming Interface (API).
Risk management software
All investments have some level of risk, and professional traders know this firsthand. Lightspeed offers pre-trade risk management, a risk suite, options risk management and automated risk features. Different software applications are best for different types of traders, but they all serve to make sure you completely understand the risks involved with your trades.
Lightspeed user experience
With so many platforms to choose from, you can find a user experience that best fits your trading style and needs. The Lightspeed Trader integrates charting with studies and is completely customizable. You can arrange your setup to have your favorite investing tools front and center, so you won’t always have to go digging for the things you use the most. You can also use the web version if you want something a little more straightforward.
The web and mobile applications let anyone with the app make trades, as long as they have an internet connection. You can make trades on the go all within one screen — with no desktop application required to trade.
Lightspeed investor education
Before you even join Lightspeed, you can take advantage of its trading tutorials through platform demos. You can also learn about the tools to make sure this is the right spot for your money.
There’s also an extensive education center with an in-depth glossary of terms and basic investor knowledge. If you want to brush up on your skills — whether that’s rules and restrictions or how options work — the library has resources that could suit every need.
- SIPC member: Lightspeed is a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC), which means cash deposited in your account is insured and secure in case the broker runs into financial problems.
- Excess insurance coverage: Excess insurance coverage is also provided by Wedbush on behalf of Lime Brokerage, protecting amounts up to $25,500,000 at no charge.
- Two-step verification: To give you the extra boost of security, Lightspeed offers two-step verification to sign in to your account.
Alternatives to Lightspeed to consider
Lightspeed could be a great option for professional traders. With low costs for high-volume trades and real-time streaming data, it’s a choice many day traders may want to pursue. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the only option — or even the best one for you. Here’s how it stacks up against competitors.
|Average Cost Per Trade||Minimum Deposit||Best for...|
|Lightspeed||$2.50 to $4.50 per trade||$10,000||Professional traders and hedge funds with high-volume trading|
|Interactive Brokers||$0||$0||Active traders looking for fractional shares and socially responsible investing|
|Thinkorswim by TD Ameritrade||$0 for everything except options, which is $0.65||$0||TD Ameritrade customers who are looking for a robust and professional day trading experience|
Lightspeed vs. Interactive Brokers
Both Lightspeed and Interactive Brokers cater to active traders and day traders. However, Interactive Brokers doesn’t have a minimum deposit threshold (like Lightspeed’s $10,000 requirement) to get started, which means you can start trading today with just a little bit of extra cash. Interactive Brokers also offers a broader range of tradable securities compared with Lightspeed: Its offerings include fractional shares, mutual funds, forex and metals.
Interactive Brokers also has a wider variety of investment opportunities for both professional and casual traders. These might be more enticing offers compared to Lightspeed’s limitations and high minimum deposit barrier.
Lightspeed vs. Thinkorswim
Active day traders who are already TD Ameritrade customers may be ideal candidates for Thinkorswim. Non-customers don’t have access to Thinkorswim, but the benefits might entice you to switch over.
With a $0 minimum deposit and dozens of account types, Thinkorswim is great for day traders looking for more tradable securities than what Lightspeed has to offer. Thinkorswim, for example, offers forex and mutual funds — Lightspeed doesn’t. Thinkorswim offers trading on some securities 24 hours a day, five days a week, which is great for traders looking to make immediate moves based on the latest information available and who want to trade based on their own schedule. The requirement to be a current TD Ameritrade customer might turn some people away, but for current customers, these advantages stand out when compared with Lightspeed.
All information included in this profile is accurate as of 5/11/2021. For more information, please consult Lightspeed’s website.
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