TradeKing vs. Scottrade: Which Online Broker Is Right For You?

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    Two of the major online brokerage firms currently available are Scottrade and TradeKing, both of which offer a fair number of services for the discerning stock trader. While Scottrade is more well-known, TradeKing has a number of feathers in its cap, as well.

    Find out which is right for you in the following review.

    Features, Fees & Ratings Comparison Table

    💰 Account Minimum$0 for self-directed trading; $100 for managed portfolios$0 for brokerage accounts; $5,000 for automated investing; $25,000 for personalized portfolio management
    💸 Commission Fees$0 for online US-listed stock, ETF, mutual fund, and options trades; $0.50 per contract fee for options; $1 per contract fee for futures$0 for online US-listed stock, ETF, and options trades; $0.65 per contract fee for options; $1 per bond for secondary bond trades
    💼 Investment OptionsStocks, ETFs, mutual funds, bonds, options, futures, forexStocks, ETFs, mutual funds, bonds, options, futures, CDs, annuities
    🤖 Robo-AdvisorYes, they offer automated investment management with Ally Invest Managed PortfoliosYes, they offer automated investing with Schwab Intelligent Portfolios and Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Premium
    📊 Research and AnalysisYes, they provide market insights, free Morgan Stanley equity research, streaming charts and quotes, and moreYes, they provide market insights, expert analysis, screeners, charts, and more
    📱 Mobile AppYes, they have a mobile app for iOS and Android devicesYes, they have a mobile app for iOS and Android devices
    🏦 Retirement AccountsYes, they offer traditional IRA, Roth IRA, rollover IRA, SEP IRA, and SIMPLE IRA accountsYes, they offer traditional IRA, Roth IRA, rollover IRA, SEP IRA, SIMPLE IRA, and solo 401(k) accounts
    🎓 IRA AccountsYes, they offer custodial IRA accounts for minorsYes, they offer custodial IRA accounts for minors
    📈 Trading PlatformYes, they have a web-based platform and a desktop platform called Ally Invest LIVEYes, they have a web-based platform and a desktop platform called StreetSmart Edge
    📞 Customer ServiceYes, they have 24/7 customer service via phone, email, and chatYes, they have 24/7 customer service via phone and chat
    📚 Educational ResourcesYes, they have online courses, articles, videos, webinars, and moreYes, they have articles, videos, podcasts, webinars, workshops, and more
    🌕 Fractional SharesNo, they do not offer fractional shares at this time.They offer fractional shares for S&P 500 stocks and ETFs through Schwab Stock Slices
    🌱 Socially ResponsibleYes, they offer socially responsible investing (SRI) portfolios with Ally Invest Managed Portfolios.They offer a range of socially responsible investing (SRI) funds and portfolios
    🌎 International InvestingYes, they allow trading in international stocks and ETFs through their Global Trading platform.They allow trading in international stocks and ETFs through their Global Account and International Services
    💳 Cash ManagementYes, they offer savings and checking accounts with FDIC insurance, free cash transfers, and competitive rates.Yes, they offer checking and savings accounts with FDIC insurance, unlimited ATM fee rebates, and no monthly service fees
    🔍 Margin TradingYes, they offer margin trading with competitive rates and flexible terms.Yes, they offer margin trading with competitive rates and flexible terms
    ⚙️ Options TradingYes, they offer options trading with $0 commissions and $0.65 per contract fee. They also provide advanced tools and education for options traders.They offer options trading with $0 commissions and $0.65 per contract fee. They also provide advanced tools and education for options traders
    ₿ Cryptocurrency TradingNo, they do not offer cryptocurrency trading at this time.No, they do not offer cryptocurrency trading at this time
    🛡️ Account SecurityYes, they use encryption, firewalls, secure logins, and other security measures to protect customer accounts. They also offer a $0 liability guarantee for unauthorized use of accounts.Yes, they use encryption, biometric authentication, secure logins, and other security measures to protect customer accounts. They also offer a Security Guarantee for unauthorized activity
    💹 LeverageYes, they offer leverage up to 4:1 for day traders and 2:1 for overnight positions.Yes, they offer leverage up to 4:1 for day traders and 2:1 for overnight positions
    ⚖ RegulationYes, they are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), and other regulatory agencies.They are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), and other regulatory agencies

    TradeKing vs. Scottrade

    When it comes to choosing an online broker, traders often look for the platform that best suits their individual needs and preferences. TradeKing and Scottrade are two popular options in the world of online brokerage services, each with its own set of features and benefits. In this comparison, we will evaluate the pros and cons of both TradeKing and Scottrade, taking into consideration factors such as pricing, platform usability, research tools, and customer support. By examining these aspects, we aim to provide a comprehensive overview that will help traders make an informed decision about which broker is the right fit for them.


    TradeKing Logo

    TradeKing is an online brokerage platform designed to cater to the trading needs of both experienced and beginner traders. It offers various investment options, including stocks, options, ETFs, and mutual funds. In this module, we will discuss the pros and cons of TradeKing, particularly for a trader looking to open an account.

    • Competitive pricing
    • User-friendly platform
    • Customer support
    • Limited research tools
    • No physical branches

    Regulation Info: TradeKing is regulated by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in the United States.

    TradeKing is an affordable and user-friendly online broker, making it an attractive option for beginner traders. However, those looking for more research tools and resources may find Scottrade to be a better fit.


    Scottrade Logo (1)

    Scottrade is a well-established online broker that offers a range of investment products, including stocks, options, ETFs, and mutual funds. In this module, we will compare the pros and cons of Scottrade with TradeKing for traders considering opening an account.


    • Extensive research tools
    • Educational resources
    • Physical branches
    • Higher commission fees
    • Platform complexity

    Regulation Info: Scottrade is regulated by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in the United States.

    Scottrade is a well-rounded online broker with extensive research tools and educational resources, making it a strong choice for traders who prioritize market analysis and learning. However, its higher commission fees and platform complexity may not be suitable for all traders, particularly those who are new to investing or are budget-conscious.

    Features & Primary Uses

    Scottrade and TradeKing share a great many similarities, being low-cost online brokerage sites at their core. From an interface standpoint, customers get comparable online experiences with both platforms.

    Both companies tout their low trade prices as their primary selling points – Scottrade has maintained their $7 flat trade fee for their entire history, and TradeKing’s $4.95 fee per stock trade has also made them a household name as a haven for smaller, low-cost traders.

    TradeKing offers PC trading options on both their website and their desktop platform, dubbed TradeKing LIVE. Both of these interfaces are extremely user-friendly and intuitive, and offer a number of tools to provide detailed insight into your investments. TradeKing LIVE in particular officers market indexing, option chains, and watch lists, as well as trade tickets that are easy to use.

    Scottrade’s work is mostly done through the website, and it is somewhat more bare bones than the comprehensive features you’ll find at TradeKing. That said, their premium platform, Scottrade ELITE, still offers live streaming market news, research tools and detailed charting of your investments. However, you need a $25,000 balance or a sufficient number of stock trades per quarter to qualify for this service.

    For traders hoping to do their trading on the go, both Scottrade and TradeKing offer mobile apps to their customers for free. Both have their advantages: Scottrade’s app offers mobile check deposits, which can be convenient for quick purchasing of stocks, while TradeKing’s mobile charting is far more sophisticated than Scottrade’s.

    When it comes to research and market education options, Scottrade and TradeKing’s performance is far more equal. With TradeKing, you get free stock reports from S&P Capital IQ, as well as a number of educational screeners, webinars and more about every kind of security imaginable. Instructional videos and electronic trader forums also offer a great deal of education for traders at all levels of experience.

    With Scottrade, you can get equity reports from third-party organizations like S&P Capital IQ, MarkedEdge, and Thomson Reuters for free. Scottrade’s Knowledge Center is another fantastic resource, including the aforementioned videos, webinars and in-person seminars.

    Both companies possess generally low prices and an appropriate level of market research and online platform features for their affordable price points, so Scottrade and TradeKing mostly break even in terms of features.

    Investment Options

    The major focuses of both Scottrade and TradeKing are slightly different, offering different types of stocks for different kinds of traders. In the case of TradeKing, they provide more than 8,500 mutual funds to work from.

    However, where Scottrade excels is the sheer number of funds available to their customers. They offer more than 14,000 mutual funds in total to work from, almost 3,000 of them having no load and no transaction fees. However, Scottrade has no futures trading.

    TradeKing also offers stocks, options, fixed income and futures trades, while Scottrade chiefly offers stocks, ETFs and options. With both companies, you can also set up any number of taxable brokerage accounts, whether individual or joint, and most types of IRAs (traditional, Roth, SEP, simple, etc.). Retirement plans are also available from Scottrade, matching rates with your employers to ensure maximum savings.

    Even just from a mutual fund standpoint, Scottrade wins out simply for its sheer volume of trades to work from. The no-load, no-transaction funds are extremely enticing for traders of all stripes, despite TradeKing having lower transaction fees for normal funds trading ($9.95 to Scottrade’s $17).



    Both Scottrade and TradeKing appeal to customers because of their extremely low stock trade prices. While Scottrade charges $7 for stock and ETF trades, TradeKing’s lower price of $4.95 is immediately more intriguing for traders hoping to save as much as they can.

    When it comes to Scottrade, people who do derivatives trading end up paying an additional $.70 for options, which is five cents more than TradeKing’s rate of $.65. When it comes to options trading, TradeKing charges only $9.95, with $4.59 per assignment; with Scottrade, you’re charged $17 for both.

    In the event that you want help from a live broker, TradeKing’s prices also beat out Scottrade at $24.95 per call over Scottrade’s $32.

    One area in which Scottrade has a slight advantage is in account fees, in which they charge no additional fees to open or maintain an account. With TradeKing, an account inactivity fee of $50 per year must be paid for accounts that do not trade for the entire 12 months. However, TradeKing asks for no minimum balance, while Scottrade needs a $2,500 minimum to set up the account.

    TradeKing runs away with this category, no question – Scottrade’s rates are still low by industry standards, but they just don’t beat the zero minimum balance and even lower trade rates offered by TradeKing.  

    Asset Allocation

    When figuring out the perfect asset mix for your investments, Scottrade and TradeKing both have different resources for determining this important aspect of your trading. Scottrade’s Knowledge Center offers forums and FAQs for determining the right asset mix.

    You can select an action plan based on what growth level you want, and where you want your investments allocated. It all gets adjusted in real time, and provides traders with guided investment tips to ensure effective allocation of assets.

    TradeKing, on the other hand, offers no specific tool for asset allocation that works the same way as Scottrade, but their community forums and online glossary provide effective education and guidance for people to check their own manual allocation against the portfolios of others. While this method has a much higher learning curve, it can still serve as an appropriate means of determining proper asset allocation.

    When it comes to asset allocation, Scottrade’s options and user-friendliness with their allocation tools makes it much easier to get started and track your portfolio’s distribution. This is especially true for newer traders, as the tools.

    Which Should You Pick? Who Is Each Good For?

    Scottrade’s advantages are many; firstly, they have a good deal more experience and clout in the stock trading business, and have the plaudits to back it up. Because they are so established, you can benefit from the kind of security that comes from investing with them, including their commission-free mutual funds.

    If you’re looking to save for retirement, you might do well to go with Scottrade, because its credibility and durability means it will stick around for a long time, and there are no fees for retirement accounts.

    For everyone else, though, TradeKing might well be the best option. The generally lower fees and lack of account balance offer much greater flexibility and short-term return on investment, even if the available options for mutual funds trading is slightly lower.

    Those looking for quality customer service might do well to focus more on Scottrade — their larger, more established outfit means they have greater resources to offer real-time help, whether specialized phone service or at any of their over 500 physical locations.

    TradeKing, on the other hand, only offers phone or chat during business hours, as well as email and snail-mail services. While that’s perfectly adequate, it’s not the same kind of support that Scottrade provides.

    All in all, selecting the right online broker for you depends entirely on what you’re looking for. If you want the greater benefit of infrastructure and more variety of choice, Scottrade might be a good option. If you want better trading tools and lower prices, you might want to go with TradeKing.


    In conclusion, both TradeKing and Scottrade have their unique strengths and weaknesses. For beginners and cost-conscious traders, TradeKing may be the better option due to its user-friendly platform and competitive pricing. On the other hand, experienced traders and those seeking more research tools and educational resources may find Scottrade to be the better choice.

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