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Updated on Thursday, April 1, 2021
SpeedTrader is designed for experienced, highly active traders who want to get up-to-the-second information and execute orders quickly. Like most online investment brokerages, SpeedTrader offers three platforms — web-based browser, desktop and mobile apps — and a full selection of research and tools.
SpeedTrader is best for frequent, serious traders as the more you trade, the less you pay for trades, and the inactivity fee is steep. For low-volume traders, it can be a pricey brokerage account as more expensive trades and inactivity fees can add up. Additionally, a high $30,000 minimum investment is required to open an account.
- What SpeedTrader offers and who it’s for
- SpeedTrader fees and costs
- SpeedTrader investing tools and research
- SpeedTrader user experience
- SpeedTrader investor education
- SpeedTrader security
- Alternatives to SpeedTrader to consider
What SpeedTrader offers and who it’s for
SpeedTrader offers lightning quick access to market data and a plethora of other tools and resources to accommodate serious, active day traders. Users can choose from three different platforms — a web-based browser, a desktop app or a mobile app — none of which is free unless you generate a minimum commission amount each month. Trading may be a good deal for frequent traders (the more you trade, the less they cost). But less frequent, casual traders can find a more affordable online that better suits their needs.
SpeedTrader’s asset classes are limited. You can trade U.S. stocks, options, bonds and mutual funds, but you can’t trade futures or currencies on its platforms. Due to this limited selection, SpeedTrader may not meet the needs of all serious traders.
- Affordable commissions for frequent traders: The more you trade, the more you save with SpeedTrader. Stock trading fees can be as low as $2.95 per trade or $0.0025 a share if you trade at the highest level (500 trades and 500,000 shares per month, respectively).
- Tools to facilitate timely ordering: SpeedTrader is focused on allowing you to place orders as quickly as possible. That’s why you have direct market access with a choice of routing options you can choose from to make trades as well as hot keys, which can help facilitate quick trades with the touch of a single key or combination of keys. Most conventional brokers don’t offer direct market access, instead routing customer orders to centralized trading desks, which in turn route to other liquidity providers.
- Robust data, charting and research tools: SpeedTrader has a variety of tools to help investors research and make trades. Users can create customized watch lists, view streaming quotes and see detailed trading activity in real time. You can also choose from a full array of chart types, including candlestick and price charts.
- Limited securities available for trading: SpeedTrader only allows customers to trade U.S. stocks, options, bonds and mutual funds. If you’re looking to trade futures, ETFs or currencies, this isn’t the online broker for you.
- High minimum balance: Some investors won’t be able to swing the $30,000 minimum investment required to open a SpeedTrader account. Competitors such as Thinkorswim have no minimum balance requirement.
- Steep inactivity fee: If you’re not going to trade regularly, you’ll get slapped with a penalty. Traders get dinged with a $30 inactivity fee for each quarter in which they don’t make at least 15 trades.
- No free trading platform: Unlike some of its competitors, SpeedTrader doesn’t offer any free platforms unless you generate a minimum level of commissions each month.
SpeedTrader fees and costs
|Option trading fees||$0.30 per contract|
|Stock trading fees||Per trade: $2.95-$4.49
Per share: $0.0025-$0.0044
|Inactivity fee||$30 per quarter|
|Wire transfer||$30 domestic, $75 international|
|Software fees||$25-$104 per month or free with minimum monthly commission|
SpeedTrader offers three platforms, each with differing monthly fees that are waived if you meet minimum commission amounts:
- ActiveWeb: Starts at $25 per month; free for clients generating at least $199 in monthly commissions
- SpeedTrader Pro Level I: Starts at $49 per month; free for clients generating at least $199 in monthly commissions
- SpeedTrader Pro Level II: Starts at $104 per month; free for clients generating at least $499 in monthly commissions
When it comes to trading, SpeedTrader gets more affordable the more active you are. For example, the per-trade fee for stocks, if you make under 200 trades per month, is $4.49 per trade. If you make 200 to 499 trades, you pay $3.95 per trade; and if you make 500 or more trades each month, you pay $2.95 per trade.
Similarly, if you trade under 250,000 shares, you pay $0.0044 per share. If you trade 250,000 to 500,000 shares per month, you pay $0.003 per share; and if you trade more than 500,000 shares per month you pay $0.0025 per share. While these rates are competitive, other brokerage competitors offer $0 commission trading of stocks up to 10,000 shares.
Options trading with SpeedTrader also has a graduated scale. If you trade less than 500 contracts, you pay $0.40 per contract. If you trade 500 to 1,000 contracts, you pay $0.35 per contract; and if you trade 1,000 or more, you pay $0.30 per contract. These rates are less than those of some competitors, such as TradeStation, which has rates that range from $.0.50 to $0.60 per contract, depending on the program.
SpeedTrader is more affordable the more you trade, and the inverse is true as well — the less you trade, the more it will cost. Beyond higher trading charges, you’ll also be charged $30 per quarter if you don’t make at least 15 trades in that period.
SpeedTrader investing tools and research
SpeedTrader offers a variety of investing and research tools, including the following:
Users are provided with real-time streaming market data including Level 1 and Level 2 quotes (depending on the platform) and live charting.
Live streaming news
You can keep up with the latest news that may affect your trading decisions.
Portfolio and positions
Customers can manage more than one account within the platform. It also allows you to easily control your positions, monitor your profits and losses and execute trades.
Hot key support
There are more than 100 hot keys trades that you can use to make speedy trades.
Direct access order routing
Customers can choose from one of 25 routing options.
You can create and save scanners to help you zero in on opportunities that meet your goals and objectives.
Custom watch lists
Traders can save an unlimited number of watch lists to help make trading decisions.
Traders can access a variety of different types of charts, timeframes and technical indicators.
SpeedTrader user experience
SpeedTrader offers three options for traders — ActiveWeb, SpeedTrader Pro and a mobile trading platform. Active Web is a web-based trading platform that works in any browser. It provides a host of tools for research and speedy trading, including live streaming news and Twitter feeds, custom watch lists and options chains. It provides Real-Time Level 1 Data, whereas SpeedTrader Pro and the mobile trading platform provide Real-Time Level 2 Data.
SpeedTrader Pro is the most robust platform offering multiple chart types, Portfolios and Positions, hot key support and direct access order routing. It provides everything traders need to research, strategize and execute trades as quickly as possible. The mobile platform lets users research and manage trades on the go. It provides Real-Time Level 2 data as well as advanced charting, market watch, news, options chains and order management tools all from the convenience of your phone.
Customer support is available via email, phone and online chat Monday through Thursday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
SpeedTrader investor education
SpeedTrader provides a free blog with trading news and educational content. It also offers webinars on a variety of investment-related topics.
Unlike some of competitors, however, SpeedTrader doesn’t offer access to third-party research.
- Member of Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC)
- Additional protection through Lloyd’s of London
- Use of encryption technology
SpeedTrader is a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC), and through it, customer claims up to $500,000 are insured. The company also provides additional coverage up to $99.5 million through Lloyd’s of London.
To protect your personal information, the company encrypts it using secure socket layer technology (SSL). SpeedTrader is also in full compliance with all regulatory requirements, according to FINRA BrokerCheck.
Alternatives to SpeedTrader to consider
SpeedTrader is a solid choice for active, high-volume traders who can benefit from a pricing strategy that saves more as you trade. Its platforms are robust and designed for speed.
SpeedTrader doesn’t, however, allow for the trading of futures or foreign exchange (forex), which may rule it out for some. Low-volume traders and those who can’t afford a steep minimum deposit are likely best served by other online brokerages.
|Average cost per trade||Minimum deposit||Best for...|
|SpeedTrader||Options: $0.30 per contract|
Stocks: $2.95-$4.49 per trade; $0.0025-$0.0044 per share
|$30,000||Active traders who can afford the minimum balance and want to trade only stocks, options, bonds and mutual funds|
|Lightspeed||Stocks and ETFs: $0.0010-$0.0045 per share; $2.50-$4.50 per trade |
Options: $0.20-$0.60 per contract
Futures: $1.29 per side; $1.79 per options contract
|$10,000 for web and mobile accounts; $25,000 for the Lightspeed Trader platform||Active traders who can afford the minimum balance and/or those who want to trade futures|
|Thinkorswim||No fees for trading U.S. exchange-listed stocks, ETFs and options; $0.65 per option contract.||$0||Those who are already TD Ameritrade customers or want to be|
SpeedTrader vs. Lightspeed
SpeedTrader and Lightspeed are similar in that they’re designed for active, high-volume traders who will benefit from a tiered-pricing structure that gets less expensive the more you trade. Unlike many online brokers, neither has moved to $0-commission trades.
Lightspeed’s minimum account balance is lower than SpeedTrader, particularly for web and mobile accounts, and it also allows for trading futures, whereas SpeedTrader doesn’t.
SpeedTrader vs. Thinkorswim
Thinkorswim is better suited to the needs of those who trade less frequently than SpeedTrader is. There’s no minimum account balance, and trading U.S. exchange-listed stocks, ETFs and options is free, so it’s an affordable choice.
You do have to be a TD Ameritrade customer to use Thinkorswim, but neither requires an account minimum, so there’s no cost to become one. Thinkorswim also offers more choice when it comes to tradable securities and allows for trading futures and forex, whereas SpeedTrader doesn’t.
All rates and fees mentioned in this article are accurate as of the date of publishing.