If you are looking for a low cost investing brokerage that allows you to trade options and futures for a relatively low price, TradeMONSTER might be a good fit. The brokerage offers solid educational resources for the beginning trader, as well as plenty of advanced resources and opportunities for the old hand.
Opening a TradeMONSTER Account
It’s fairly easy to open a TradeMONSTER account. The form is simple to fill out, and only takes about 10 to 15 minutes. On top of that, TradeMONSTER makes use of electronic signature, so you don’t have to worry about waiting for forms to show up.
You do need $2,000 in cash or in securities in order to open a TradeMONSTER account, though. Once that money is in there, though, you don’t need to worry about maintenance fees or other fees. You don’t have a minimum balance to worry about, and you don’t need to be concerned about inactivity fees.
In order to complete ACH money transfers, you will need to verify two small deposits made into your account from TradeMONSTER. The process can take up to three business days, but in many cases the money might show up as quickly as one business day.
You can choose to open a securities account, which includes the ability to trade equities, options, and ETFs, or you can open a futures account. Realize that each of these accounts is separate. You can also get approved for margin with each of these accounts, so that you can leverage your trades. (Just be careful, since trading on margin can magnify your losses as well as your gains.)
Practice with the TradeMONSTER Virtual Account
One of the great features of the TradeMONSTER brokerage account is that you have the ability to practice your trades with a virtual account. The paperTRADE account sets you up with $100,000 in virtual cash that you can use to practice with. The ability to trade using a virtual account offers two main advantages:
- Learn the platform: Each brokerage has its own trading platform. A virtual account can help you learn how to use the platform. You want to be comfortable with your trading platform, as well as know how to use it effectively so you don’t end up with serious problems when you trade with real money.
- Test out new strategies: You can use your paperTRADE account to test out new trading strategies if you want. This can be especially helpful for the futures trader. Before you try a new technique, give it a test run with your virtual trading account.
Your TradeMONSTER virtual account is free to open, and it can be a great way to get used to the platform, as well as determine whether or not you really want to work with brokerage.
Commissions and Fees
As with all brokers, you need to figure out whether or not paying the TradeMONSTER fees and commissions works for you. One of the advantages to TradeMONSTER is that there are no maintenance or inactivity fees, and no hidden fees when you trade. Here are some of the fees/commissions you can expect to see:
- $4.95 per trade for stocks and ETFs, no matter how many shares are included. (You’ll pay $22.50 for broker assisted trades, though).
- $15 to buy mutual funds, but no cost to sell.
- You only have to pay $0.50 per contract for options and the cost get even lower with higher volume of contracts per month. There is no base fee. However, you do need to meet a $12.50 minimum for single leg orders, and a $15 minimum for orders with multiple legs.
- Futures cost a flat rate of $1.50 per contract.
- You can also trade options on futures at a rate of $1.50 per contract, plus certain fees, including NFA fees and overnight fees, if applicable.
- $15 + $1 per bond to trade various bonds, including municipal, corporate, agency, and Treasury bonds.
As you can see, TradeMONSTER offers a fairly straightforward fee schedule. The stock trade cost right around the market rate for many discount brokerages. Where you can see real savings, though, is with the option fees. The fact that you don’t pay a base rate can help you save money in the long run, depending on where you have been trading before. However, it’s not really worth it to use TradeMONSTER for Treasury bonds. You can get them at a better deal from TreasuryDirect.gov.
Resources and Trading Tools
Even though some of the tools are a little difficult to use, and the trading platform isn’t totally intuitive, TradeMONSTER still offers a wide variety of helpful resources. Not only can you find helpful articles, real time quotes, an extensive trading glossary, and applicable investment news, but you can also participate in interactive resources.
This brokerage regularly offers webinars (seminars over the internet) that can help you better understand trading strategies and the use of the platform. Additionally, you can get access to live events. This is helpful if you want to participate in a more hands-on manner and have some of your questions answered.
Other resources can help you pinpoint the best trading options for you. You can make use of a personal screener to help you identify various trading opportunities and investments that work within your specifications. You can also get help in figuring out the right trading strategy for you. Enter your risk profile, and other data, and TradeMONSTER can analyze what trading style is likely to best serve you. You can also get detailed analyses of your performance, and compare possibilities on potential trades.
You also have access to solid customer service when it comes to TradeMONSTER. The broker takes pride in employing experts who are knowledgeable and experienced when it comes to trading. It’s possible to get help on weekdays via phone or email. You can also use live help on the site. This is a useful feature that can help you in the moment as you attempt to make trades.
TradeMONSTER is one of the leaders in online trading for a reason. If you are interested in a variety of trading opportunities, available at a very competitive cost, this brokerage can be a good choice. The tools, and the virtual trading account, can help you become a better trader altogether.