June 5, 2013 at 4:36 pm
I use Fidelity and I find that it does not allow me to place very detailed orders. I can place a market and limit orders, or a sell order, but some trading services require subscribers to place target and stop sell orders at the same time, which Fidelity does not allow.
I have been thinking of transferring my account to another brokerage firm that allows for these kinds of trading strategies. However, TradeStation and Interactive Brokers both look so intimidating and difficult to use. Plus, with fees associated with closing and opening brokerage accounts, I’m not sure if it’s worth the switch.
Does anyone have experience using a more mainstream brokerage like Fidelity/Ameritrade/Scottrade and then switching to a more advanced trading platform? Was it worth it? What was the learning curve like?
June 14, 2013 at 9:33 am
I use ING’s platform, Sharebuilder, which first caught my eye because it allowed you to buy partial shares of very expensive stocks like Apple (AAPL) or Amazon (AMZN) so it’s a great vehicle for beginning investors. Now with the advent of mini options, partial share buying isn’t as important, but I find that Sharebuilder still works pretty well for me. The only downside is the relatively high commissions for options trades ($6.95 plus 75 cents a contract), so I’m definitely looking at a more nimble broker like Interactive Brokers.
June 22, 2013 at 2:55 pm
I have been using Interactive brokers for 10 years. They are dirt cheap, super fast, and I even get price improvements on some market orders. It costs me about $0.72 to trade 100 shares, and most options are $1 or less. Select the Cost-Plus option when signing up (you can always switch to this any time) for the best pricing.
Data is free for most US/canadian markets if your total commission is over $30 for the month, otherwise it does cost $10/month for that.
I don’t understand why anyone is paying any more than this ($7/trade is just highway robbery these days, unless you are trading a huge amount of shares). Yet places like Etrade, TDAmeritrade and others continue to charge this amount.
On a side note, the Think-or-Swim (TOS) platform by Ameritrade is very comprehensive and very good. I do have a very small account there just so I can use it, but trade through Interactive brokers only.
June 24, 2013 at 12:04 pm
IB comes up as the favorite among our advisors likes Jon Markman and John Lansing, so I’m glad and not at all surprised to hear that it’s working in your favor, Buzz339.
June 26, 2013 at 4:28 pm
That’s very helpful information, Buzz. The pricing is the most important thing for me, as I don’t want my profits eaten up by commissions- I’m trading relatively small $ amounts.
If I switch over from Fidelity am I going to be lost in a sea of numbers and charts? Right now I only trade stocks – although I want to start trading options eventually. When I do, do you think IB’s platform will be easy enough to understand, or does it take some getting used to.
Also, I need to send in a bunch of paperwork to Fidelity before I can trade anything besides common stock. Is that the same with IB or can you just sign up and start trading. Thanks!
July 1, 2013 at 3:32 pm
I am tired of making money for ScotTrade off of my small account [less then 2k ]. IB wants more money to open an account then I have ..[future dream ].. eOption did not approve me for level 2 options .; I really wanted them for their 3.xx dollar + .10 cent per contract price ..I am trying/applying MB trading [ .95 per contract ]and Option House [ $5 for up to 5 contracts ] presently ..
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