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Updated on Monday, January 25, 2021
Zacks Trade is an online trading platform for investors who don’t want to go all-in with a full-service brokerage firm but desire more control over their investments than a robo-advisor provides. The platform lets users trade U.S. and foreign stocks, bonds and funds, and it supports them with robust trading tools and research. The biggest downside is that users have to pay per-trade commission fees, which can be avoided with many competing brokers.
|Sign-up bonus||No sign-up bonus is being promoted currently|
- What Zacks Trade offers and who it’s for
- Zacks Trade fees and costs
- Zacks Trade investing tools and research
- Zacks Trade user experience
- Zacks Trade investor education
- Zacks Trade security
- Alternatives to Zacks Trade to consider
What Zacks Trade offers and who it’s for
Zacks Trade is a solid option to consider for those who want to trade U.S. and foreign stocks, bonds and funds online but don’t want to work with a full-service broker. Zacks is particularly appealing to those who may still want the occasional help of a broker when making trades or want to do a significant amount of research, as both broker-assisted trades and access to a large number of trading resources are free. In other words, it’s great if you’re self-directed, but there is assistance available if you need it.
As for any downsides, you must have at least $2,500 to open an account with Zacks Trade, so it’s not for everyone. The commission fees on trades will also likely send some investors to competitors that offer free trading.
- Free research tools: Zacks Trade provides its clients with access to research from more than 20 sources for free. Other subscriptions, including international sources, can be accessed for a small fee.
- Free broker-assisted trader: If you think you may want a bit of help when making trades, then Zacks Trade may be a particularly attractive option, as it offers complimentary broker-assisted trades. Competitors often charge fees for this service. E*TRADE, for example, charges $25 per broker-assisted trade.
- Robust trading platforms: Users can enter orders and monitor their accounts via their desktop, mobile phone or tablet.
- International access: You don’t have to live in the United States to use Zacks Trade. It has clients in more than 200 countries.
- Commission fees for trades: In a world of commission-free trades, this is the biggest downside to using Zacks Trade. While the fees aren’t exorbitant, traders of the “every penny counts mindset” may choose to take their funds elsewhere, especially as so many other platforms now offer free trading.
- High minimum account balance required: To open up an account with Zacks Trade, you must have at least $2,500. That initial amount may be too steep for some smaller investors.
- Charge for market data subscriptions: Whereas some brokers offer complimentary real-time market data, Zacks Trade requires a monthly subscription.
Zacks Trade fees and costs
|Option trading fees||$1 for first contract, $0.75 thereafter|
|Stocks and ETFs (greater than $1 per share)||$0.01 per share, $1 minimum|
|Stocks and ETFs (less than $1 per share)||1% of trade value, $1 minimum|
|Corporate bonds (up to $10,000 face value)||0.1% of face value, plus $3 per bond|
|U.S. government bonds||0.025% of face value, plus $3 per bond|
|Order cancellation fee||$0|
There are some significant differences in costs when comparing Zacks Trade with other online brokers. How it nets out is dependent upon the type of trades investors want to make and how they approach trading.
The biggest difference is that Zacks Trade doesn’t offer commission-free trades, which many in the industry do. While the fees are minimal — a penny per share for stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) worth $1 or more per share and 1% of trade value for those worth less than a dollar, with a $3 minimum — they’re more than the free trades offered by brokers including Charles Schwab and E*TRADE.
If you plan to frequently trade mutual funds, you may save money at another broker as well, as some, such as Fidelity, allow you to trade them free, while Zacks charges $27.50 for mutual fund trades.
If you’re someone who wants the help of an advisor when making trades, however, then Zacks Trade may make up for the commission fees with its complimentary broker-assisted trades, including trades of foreign stocks.
Zacks Trade investing tools and research
Variety of platforms
Zacks Trade provides three desktop platforms that users can choose from:
- Zacks Trade Pro: This is the company’s flagship trading platform meant for active, high-volume traders. The layout is customizable, and clients can trade stocks, options, bonds and funds in 19 countries. Charting and technical analysis are available, and useful tools include SpreadTrader to handle complex option orders and Basket Trader to import baskets of stock orders and execute them quickly. This platform must be downloaded and installed on your computer.
- Client Portal: This is a console meant for placing and managing simple trades, reviewing your statements and adjusting account settings.
- Zacks Trader: This operates like a light version of Zacks Trade Pro, providing a simpler interface along with trading features and tools. If you work behind a firewall, you still can access this platform, which provides order execution, market data, charts and customization.
In addition to its desktop platforms, Zacks Trade also offers a mobile option for users:
- Handy Trader: This mobile app, available for iOS and Android, allows users to trade stocks, options, bonds and mutual funds from their devices. You can route orders using the company’s SmartRouting technology, and you can access trade reports, as well as portfolio and account information.
Free access to research sources and online videos
Zacks Trade gives users free access to more than 20 leading industry research sources, such as Dow Jones Newswires and Morningstar. Others can be accessed for a small fee.
The only other real resources it provides are online videos, which are primarily how-to tutorials for customers. Unlike some other similar companies, Zacks Trade doesn’t promote webinars, newsletters and other similar customer educational opportunities.
Zacks Trade user experience
The platforms: All of the platforms are available to Zacks Trade clients at no additional cost, so you can choose whichever one best meets your needs. You can also switch between them as you like. Zacks Trade Pro is the most robust platform, but they all share similar features. For example, when routing orders on any Zacks Trade platform, you can use either SmartRouting, which searches for the best price and dynamically routes and reroutes all or part of your order for maximum benefit, or you can choose the exchange to which you want your order to be sent.
Zacks Trade Portfolio Analyst helps users evaluate the performance of their portfolio. You can get reports as often as you like, and color-coded charts make the information easy to understand.
Trading options is easiest on Zacks Trade Pro, where you can click on the bid or ask for an option chain. You can use Zacks Trade’s Strategy Builder feature to create spread orders or option orders that have multiple legs. Options tools, including Options Trader, Rollover Options and SpreadTrader, help you analyze and manage options orders.
Those who want a simpler, easy-to-understand platform may prefer one of the other two options, which still provide the ability to trade, as well as access to research and documents, but without quite so much happening on the pages. You do have to have internet access to use Zacks Trader, unlike Zacks Trade Pro, for which you must download software. All platforms are customizable, so you can add and remove various tools and functions to fit your style and adjust them along the way.
Customer service: If you need assistance, Zacks Trade provides phone support Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time. Zacks also provides support via chat and email and has a variety of online video tutorials available.
Zacks Trade investor education
If you’re looking for industry research and information, Zacks Trade offers it in abundance, which is great for knowledgeable, hands-on investors who want to dive deep into their selections. Zacks provides users with access to more than 20 free research subscriptions to top resources, including those from Dow Jones, Morningstar, Thomson Reuters and Benzinga. Additional subscriptions can be purchased for a small fee, many as low as $1 per month.
Zacks Trade doesn’t offer much in the way of investor education beyond video tutorials, though those are mostly of the how-to nature. So you have to be eager to learn in order for the subscriptions to pay off. If you don’t want to do much legwork yourself, access to all this research isn’t going to be of much use to you, and you may be better served by a robo-advisor.
Zacks Trade security
- Two-factor authentication
- Securities Investment Protection Corporation (SIPC) insurance
The Zacks Trade Secure Login System requires not only your username and password but also a random set of numbers, which is generated via a security code device each time you log in. Those who prefer to do so digitally can use the HandyKey app.
As for insurance, Zacks Trade accounts are protected under the SIPC up to $500,000. They’re also protected under an excess policy at Lloyd’s of London for up to an additional $30 million, though there’s an aggregate limit of $150 million.
Alternatives to Zacks Trade to consider
Zacks Trade is a great option for self-directed investors with a sizable amount of money to invest. It’s also a good option for those who want a bit of assistance when making trades, as broker-assisted trades are free. The biggest downfall is the per-trade commissions charged. Additionally, Zacks Trade may not be the best choice for investors who won’t take advantage of all the available free research.
|Cost per trade||Minimum deposit||Best for ...|
|Zacks Trade||Stocks start at $0.01 per share, with a $0.01 minimum||$2,500||Self-directed investors who want to dive deep into research|
|Interactive Brokers||$0 to $1||$0||Savvy investors who may not have a large amount of money to invest|
|Ally Invest||$0||$0||Beginning investors who may not have a large amount of money to invest|
Zacks Trade vs. Interactive Brokers
Zacks Trade and Interactive Brokers both offer trading platforms for active, experienced traders. Both offer substantial educational resources. But beyond subscription services, Interactive Brokers also offers complimentary courses, webinars, calculators, widgets and other tools that Zacks Trade doesn’t.
Interactive Brokers is a better choice for someone who doesn’t have $2,500 to invest. However, Interactive Brokers’ pricing can be a bit confusing, as it offers tiered and fixed pricing and different rates and fees for its platforms, while Zacks Trade’s pricing is more straightforward. Also, for those wanting help with trades, Zacks Trade may be more attractive, as it offers free broker-assisted trades, while Interactive Brokers charges for them.
Zacks Trade vs. Ally Invest
Ally Invest is a great option for investors looking for no account minimum and free trades. The trading platform isn’t as robust as that offered by Zacks Trade, and Ally Invest does not offer the same free research offerings, so it’s better suited for beginning investors. However, if you want help with trades, Ally Invest charges $20 plus commission for broker-assisted trades, while Zacks Trade provides them for free.
Rates and fees mentioned in this article are accurate as of the date of publishing.
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