Tastytrade Review — An Online Platform for Active Traders


If you’re a seasoned trader who spends hours watching the markets every weekday and relies on your portfolio to supplement or even provide the bulk of your income, low-cost robo-advisors and most mass-market DIY brokerages don’t cut it for you. You need a powerful trading platform that lets you execute at a level commensurate with your skill.

Tastytrade is just such a trading platform. It’s designed for experienced, confident traders who actively play the markets and, in many cases, trade in riskier asset types like options, futures, and cryptocurrencies.

Tastytrade has a lot of benefits for market participants who know what they’re doing. It also has some important gaps and drawbacks, so don’t automatically assume it’s ideal for you. Learn more about how it works and what to expect from it first.

What Is Tastytrade?

Tastytrade is an online trading platform for experienced, active traders. It has a broad lineup of available asset types, including stocks, exchange-traded funds, options, futures, and cryptocurrencies. Stock and ETF trades are free, with variable commissions and fees for other asset types. 

Tastytrade’s core features enable quick construction and execution of simple or complex trades. Unlike more beginner-friendly brokerages, Tastytrade is designed for traders deeply familiar with the markets and confident in their trading strategies. Though it does have social features that allow regular users to follow experts as they play the markets, it lacks extensive educational resources.

What Sets Tastytrade Apart?

Tastytrade stands out from many other online brokerages in ways both positive and negative:

  • Excellent account opening bonus. Tastytrade offers an account opening bonus worth up to $3,000 for new users. You can get the maximum bonus amount with a new money deposit of just $250,000, lower than comparable thresholds for similar bonus amounts elsewhere.
  • Sophisticated features for active traders. Tastytrade is designed for active traders in scenarios where seconds (or even milliseconds) count. Its ordering interface prioritizes speed and accuracy. 
  • Access to advanced asset types like futures and futures options. Tastytrade allows stock and ETF trading, but so do most online brokerages. Its futures, futures options, and cryptocurrency offerings are less common in this market, and quite welcome for serious traders looking to diversify.
  • Limited trader education resources. The other side of Tastytrade’s appeal to experienced traders is its relative lack of trader education resources. It’s not the best place to learn investing basics.

Key Features of Tastytrade

Before opening a Tastytrade account, understand how its platforms work and what to expect from its trading features. Familiarize yourself with its pricing and account opening bonus opportunity too.

Account Opening Bonus

For a limited time, Tastytrade has an exciting account opening promotion* for new customers. To earn it, complete the following qualifying activities:

  • Open and fund your account by the stated offer end date, currently September 30, 2023
  • Make a qualifying new money deposit of at least $5,000 — but you must deposit at least $250,000 to earn the full $3,000 bonus
  • Meet other bonus requirements as spelled out in Tastytrade’s offer terms

Bonus tiers are as follows:

Deposit Cash Bonus
$5,000 to $24,999 $100
$25,000 to $99,999 $500
$100,000 to $249,999 $2,000
$250,000 or more $3,000

Your deposit can be cash, securities, or some combination of the two, but all of it must be new to Tastytrade. Funds transferred from another Tastytrade account don’t count toward the bonus amount.

Account Types

Tastytrade offers two taxable account types: individual and joint. You hold an individual account in your name only and a joint account with one other individual.

Tastytrade offers several types of tax-advantaged accounts as well, including traditional, Roth, and SEP IRAs. 

Products Available to Trade

Tastytrade offers a comprehensive lineup of asset types to trade:

  • Stocks (including fractional shares)
  • ETFs
  • Options contracts
  • Futures contracts
  • Options contracts for futures
  • Cryptocurrencies
  • Commodities

Note that you can only trade stocks and ETFs in a basic account. You need to complete separate applications to get permission to trade other asset types, like options and futures. Standards vary by asset type, but you generally need to have a minimum amount of cash in your account at all times to trade more advanced asset types. 

Commissions & Fees

Tastytrade charges no commissions at all on stock and ETF trades and no direct commissions on most other trades. 

However, options and futures trades carry variable per-contract fees that are a few ticks above the industry average. These range from $0.25 to $2.50 per contract, depending on the contract type and underlying asset. 

Cryptocurrency trades carry a flat 1% commission. It’s capped at $10 per transaction, regardless of the size of the trade. Cryptocurrency trades may involve other fees that Tastytrade can’t control.

Trading Platforms & Tools

Tastytrade has three distinct platforms: a desktop platform that you download once and run on your computer, a web browser that you can use on any machine as long as you have your login credentials, and a mobile app for on-the-go trading from your phone.

All three platforms have a comprehensive array of features and capabilities for serious traders:

  • Percent-of-profit orders, which allow you to set a strike price with a higher probability of occurring (and thus locking in your profits)
  • A rapid order adjustment feature that allows you to change pricing and trade structure on open orders without placing the order again
  • Curve analysis, a visual representation of expected profit or loss for a given trade based on the strike price
  • Quick roll, a fast way to roll open options orders into the next expiration month without reopening the trade
  • Social features like the Follow Feed, where you can follow expert traders’ moves in real time, and an in-platform video feed where expert traders narrate their trades

The mobile trading app has separate versions for Android and iOS. It’s essentially the desktop and browser trading platforms in miniature, with all the same features and capabilities. The user experience is excellent and execution speed (which is critical for serious traders) is on par with the other platforms as long as you have a strong Wi-Fi or LTE signal. Both versions have high marks from thousands of verified users.

Pros & Cons

Tastytrade has some key pros and cons to understand before opening your account.

Pros

  • No trading commissions on stocks and ETFs
  • Access to less common asset types
  • Excellent account opening promotion

Cons

  • Not ideal for beginners or hands-off investors
  • Some missing asset types
  • Above-average pricing on certain assets

Pros

Tastytrade is a comprehensive, social, and overall well-designed online brokerage for experienced traders.

  • No trading commissions on stocks and ETFs. Tastytrade charges no commissions on stock or ETF trades. If these are the only assets you buy and sell on Tastytrade, you’ll pay almost nothing (other than unavoidable regulatory fees) to use it.
  • Access to some less common asset types. Tastytrade’s less common asset types include futures, futures options, cryptocurrencies, and commodities that you can buy and sell directly. Many competing brokerages offer only stocks, funds, and options.
  • Potentially generous account opening promotion. Tastytrade’s account opening promotion is worth up to $3,000 with a qualifying new money deposit. You can earn the full amount with as little as $250,000 in new money, compared with $1 million or more for similar bonuses elsewhere.
  • Powerful order construction and execution tools. Tastytrade is built for sophisticated order construction and rapid execution. If your income depends on getting in and out of trading positions quickly, this is a key advantage.
  • Available anywhere with an Internet connection. Tastytrade’s three trading platforms are available anywhere with an Internet connection. The mobile apps offer Tastytrade’s full capabilities on the go.

Cons

Tastytrade isn’t appropriate for beginner and intermediate investors, which means it’s not appropriate for most market participants. It also has some gaps in asset availability and higher-than-average pricing in some asset types.

  • Not ideal for beginners. Tastytrade isn’t designed for beginners or even intermediate investors. It’s meant for active traders who know what they’re doing. If that’s not you, consider another online brokerage.
  • Not designed for passive investors. You can use Tastytrade to build a long-term stock and ETF portfolio that you occasionally write options against. But you can do that with dozens of other online brokerages as well. And Tastytrade lacks basic research and education features that long-term investors need.
  • Some missing asset types. Though Tastytrade has some bond ETFs, you can’t buy or sell government or corporate bonds directly on Tastytrade. The platform also lacks mutual funds. Truly comprehensive brokerages have both asset types.
  • Above-average pricing on certain assets. Tastytrade’s options and futures pricing is a bit higher than average in some cases. Futures option pricing ranges up to $2.50 per contract, nearly double what more reasonable brokerages charge.

How Tastytrade Stacks Up

Tastytrade is one of several high-quality online brokerages serving experienced, active traders. One of its closest competitors is TradeStation, which has a similar breadth of assets. Before opening an account with either, see how they compare.

Tastytrade TradeStation
Account Opening Promo Yes Yes
Stock Commissions $0 $0
Options Contracts $1 per contract $0.50 per contract
Futures Contracts $0.25 to $1.50 per contract $0.50 to $1.50 per contract
Cryptocurrency Available Yes Yes
Bonds Available No No

Tastytrade is roughly equivalent to TradeStation on stock, ETF, and cryptocurrency trading. Both lack direct bond access as well. But TradeStation is superior overall thanks to more competitive pricing on certain asset types.

Final Word

Tastytrade has a powerful trading interface built for experienced, active market participants. It’s fast, intuitive, and effective. 

If that sounds like everything you need in an online brokerage, Tastytrade could be the right platform for you. Unfortunately, most investors aren’t super-experienced or particularly active. Tastytrade isn’t designed with them in mind.

On the bright side, there’s an abundance of beginner-friendly online brokerages for DIYers, plus even more low-cost, easy-to-use robo-advisors built for passive investors. You don’t have to use Tastytrade just because it’s a well-designed product. In fact, if you have to stop and think about whether it makes sense for you, it probably doesn’t.

*This offer is valid for legal residents of the 50 U.S. states and D.C. It’s not valid for IRA or trust accounts. You must be 18 or older to qualify. For complete rules and additional eligibility requirements, see the Official Terms and Conditions.

tastytrade, Inc. (“tastytrade”) has entered into a Marketing Agreement with Money Crashers (“Marketing Agent”) whereby tastytrade pays compensation to Marketing Agent to recommend tastytrade’s brokerage services. The existence of this Marketing Agreement should not be deemed as an endorsement or recommendation of Marketing Agent by tastytrade and/or any of its affiliated companies. Neither tastytrade nor any of its affiliated companies is responsible for the privacy practices of Marketing Agent or this website. tastytrade does not warrant the accuracy or content of the products or services offered by Marketing Agent or this website.

Editorial Note:
The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.



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