The broker formerly known as Just2Trade announced in mid-Jan. 2020 that it changed its name and overall focus. Just2Trade was originally founded in 2007 as a deep discount broker with a focus on very active, high-volume traders. The new name, Score Priority, reflects the firm's vision of developing traders who commit themselves to successful investing.
In addition to the change in name and focus, Score Priority launched a commission-free Lite trading platform with a browser-based application and a mobile app. The company’s new brand identity, logo, and website are intended to more clearly represent the ecosystem and potential value to traders. These changes come at a time when the company is relaunching its service offerings and expanding its capabilities for active and institutional traders. We'll look at Score Priority's revamped offering to help you decide whether it is a good fit for your trading needs.
- The Score Priority Lite platform offers commission-free equity trading. Its other more advanced platforms charge commission.
- Complex option trading requires use of the downloadable Sterling Trader Pro platform at an additional monthly subscription cost.
- Clients can access the subscription-based SPC Try2BFunded where participants compete for a chance to trade someone else’s money and share in any profits. Subscriptions run $100–300 per month.
Who Score Priority Is For
The newly launched and reformatted Score Priority is best suited for traders who are past the novice stage and on the way to becoming extremely active. More active traders who want access to stocks, options, futures, futures options, and international markets to create multi-instrument trades will likely see the most value in a Score Priority account.
This review focuses on Score Priority's features and fees for account holders in the United States. Investors outside the U.S. may choose to open an account with Score Priority’s Cyprus-registered sister company for access to spot forex and contracts for differences (CFDs), in addition to the other instruments provided by the U.S. firm.
You can connect the Score Priority trading engine to a third-party application for more powerful analytics
The per-share and per-contract pricing tables reward high-volume traders with very low commissions
Customers can qualify for up to three months of free access to Trade Ideas, a third-party site offering a suite of scanning and advanced analysis tools
The services and research offered on the Lite (zero commission) website are very limited
A minimum account balance of $2,000 is required and inactive accounts incur fees
The order routing system does not seek out price improvement
- Though the platforms offered by Score Priority don’t have tools for building your own trading system, you can link your account to a third-party application, such as Sterling Trader Pro.
- There are commissions associated with the two more advanced Score Priority platforms, Score Priority Plus and Score Priority Pro, but they are on the low side. Commissions on the per-share plan range from $0.0025 to $0.001 per share with a minimum of $0.50 per ticket.
- Score Priority clients with a minimum of $2,000 in their accounts and who have executed at least one trade will qualify for three free months of access to Trade Ideas, a premium website that charges $118 and up per month. Trade-Ideas is one of the most powerful stand-alone scanning platforms available to traders, so this perk matches nicely with Score Priority’s target market.
- Score Priority Lite, while free, is extremely simple and doesn’t have many analytical or research tools.
- While other brokers are cutting their minimum deposits, Score Priority still requires a minimum balance of $2,000 in an account. Clients who place fewer than five trades per quarter are charged an inactivity fee of $15 every three months.
- You won’t see any price improvement on the orders placed at Score Priority as the order routing system does not prioritize best execution.
Score Priority does well in terms of accessibility and ease of use. Setting up an account via the online opening process is easy and quick. The account registration forms provide guidance for the required responses if you want approval to use your brokerage account to trade on margin or to engage in advanced options strategies. You must fund your account with a minimum of $2,000 before you can place any trades ($50,000 to avoid inactivity fees if you trade less than five times per quarter).
There are three web-based platforms available to Score Priority clients: Lite, Plus, and Pro. The Pro platform has charting and some analytical tools beyond what you will get with the other two. Once the account is set up, you log right into Score Priority Lite, but you’ll have to log in again to use the Plus or Pro platform. The entry-level Lite platform is easy to navigate, and order tickets are available from virtually any location in both Lite and Plus. The Pro platform has quite a few customizable options but the other two do not allow many user-defined changes to the initial setup.
Score Priority’s mobile app is tricky to navigate because there aren't any buttons to tap. It's all done via the "hamburger" menu (three parallel horizontal lines) that you tap, and then make a choice from there. There are no customization or personalization options. The mobile app and the browser-based platforms share watchlists, so if you set one up on the Plus platform, for example, it is also visible on the mobile app. You can trade all the asset classes on both the browser and the mobile app.
All of the Score Priority platforms have streaming data. As mentioned in usability, the Score Priority Lite and Plus websites are extremely limited on tools and customization options. The platforms open new tabs for most analysis tasks, many of which are provided by third parties, so your browser can get messy fast. The Pro site puts everything on one page, and you can designate tabs for the tools you like to use most often. Of course, you pay commissions for this more customizable platform. On Pro, you can customize trading defaults, such as order type and number of shares. The other browser-based platforms do not have much you can customize besides the overall color scheme (light or dark).
That said, you will find the overall layout in the Plus and Pro platforms defaulted to a standard active trader layout with the watchlists and charts on the left and your drill down information and trade ticket to the right. Score Priority Lite puts the trade ticket in the banner in the simple layout view, with the watchlists and alerts to the left. There are a few views you can toggle through, but none of these are much improvement over the simple one as they just allow for multiple charts to be displayed in columns. You need to click into a chart to bring the order banner back when in these multichart views in Lite. Most traders will likely find Lite too simple and will end up opting for Plus or Pro for their trading needs.
Mobile Trade Experience
Score Priority's mobile trading experience is actually a bit better than the Score Priority Lite platform. The workflow is simple as you just tap on the Order choice while viewing stock information to open an order ticket. There is streaming real-time data, and a relatively comprehensive charting feature set that is more useful than what is available on the Lite platform.
Range of Offerings
Score Priority clients have access to U.S.-based equities, options, penny stocks, and a smattering of mutual funds and fixed income. Some clients can invest in international assets directly, but those are offered through Score Priority’s UK affiliate. You cannot trade cryptocurrencies or fractional shares of stock. Aside from that, Score Priority customers can trade the following:
- Stocks long and short (~700 on easy to borrow list for short sales)
- OTCBB (penny stocks)
- Mutual funds (0 no-load, no transaction fee from 66 fund families, via phone)
- Single-leg options on all platforms
- Multi-leg options only on Sterling Trader Pro (3rd party subscription-based)
- Bonds (Corporate and Municipal bonds via phone)
- Futures/commodities, including Small Exchange
- Futures options
- International asset classes through U.K. affiliate
Score Priority allows you to enter market, limit, and stop limit orders on the browser-based platforms as well as market and limit-if-touched orders. Placing a conditional order requires use of the Sterling Trader Pro platform at an additional cost. You cannot select a tax lot at the time you close a position though you can set an account-wide default, including one that lets you pick the highest-cost holdings first.
The Score Priority order router is primarily sequential and does not seek out price improvement. You can automate a trading strategy only through a third-party platform. Score Priority does not disclose its price improvement statistics, preventing evaluation for that metric.
Score Priority has different pricing schedules for its three platforms. There are some important nuances to the pricing plans. For example, free-commission trading applies only to stocks and ETFs on the Score Priority Lite platform, and does not include options, OTCBB or Pink Sheets, good 'til cancelled orders, or extended hours trading.
You may also end up paying for third party research since the platforms themselves are rather light in that regard. Customers who choose the per-share plan must generate a minimum of $250 per month in commissions or have the difference charged to their accounts. Having so many fee plans causes a great deal of confusion for customers trying to figure out what a transaction might cost, particularly when pricing simplicity and transparency are spreading across the industry.
- Equity trades are $0 on the Lite platform. Customers who use the Plus or Pro platforms must pay commissions that are either per-trade ($2.50) or per-share ($0.001–$0.0025 with a minimum of $0.50 per ticket, based on number of shares traded monthly).
- OTCBB commissions are charged on all platforms.
- Options base commission is $2.50 per leg to open or close a position for the per-trade plan.
- Options are $0.50 per contract on the per-trade plan (plus the per-leg fee). On the per-share plan, options trading is $0.35–$0.75 per contract based on the number of contracts traded per month with a minimum of $1 per ticket.
- A single-leg options order of 50 contracts is $27.50 on the Per-Trade Plan or $38.50 on the Per-Share Plan.
- Covered call trade of 500 shares plus 5 contracts would cost $2.50 on Lite. $7.50 for per-trade plan. $3.25 for per-share plan.
- Mutual fund fees are $12.50 per transaction.
- Bond transaction fees are $10–15, depending on the type of bond.
- Futures contracts are $2.50 per contract.
- Margin interest is 8.25% at $10,000 balance and 6.75% at $100,000 balance, which is below average.
- Inactivity fee is $15 per quarter, waived if at least five trades have been placed per quarter, or at least $50,000 is maintained in the account.
- No fee to close an account.
- Account transfer fee is $25 for a partial transfer, $80 for a full transfer.
- Exercise and assignment fee is $20.
- Wire fees are $35 for domestic, $60 for international. Incoming third party wires will be returned and a fee of $25 will be charged to the account.
- No fee to send a paper check.
- Paper trade confirmations are $2 each.
- Paper statements are $5 each.
- Software access fee is $0 for Score Priority platforms, but there are some data fees for the Pro platform.
- Live broker fee is an additional $20.
How This Broker Makes Money From You and for You
With most fees for equity and options trades evaporating, brokers have to make money somehow. The fees and commissions listed above are visible to customers, but there are other ways that you cannot see.
- Interest on cash: Like most brokers, Score Priority generates interest income from the difference between what you are paid on your idle cash and what they can earn on customer cash balances. Idle cash held in your account earns no interest and there is no cash sweep program. You can select a money market fund and transfer the funds manually.
- Payment for order flow: Quite a few brokers generate income by accepting payment from market makers for directing their customer's equity and options orders to those trading venues. This is called payment for order flow. Score Priority accepts an average of $0.0006 per share for stock transactions and $0.12 per contract on options in payment for order flow.
- Stock loan programs: generate revenue for brokers when the stock held in your account is loaned to another trader or hedge fund, usually for the purposes of selling that stock short. At present, Score Priority does not share this revenue with you, though the firm has said they plan to introduce a fully paid stock lending program this year.
- Price improvement: Score Priority was unable to answer our question about whether it offers any level of price improvement.
- Portfolio margining: Score Priority offers eligible customers portfolio margining, which can lower the amount of margin needed based on the overall risk calculated. Typically, portfolio margining works best for customers who trade derivatives that offset the risk inherent in their equity positions.
- Score Priority offers eligible customers portfolio margining.
- Score Priority does not currently have a stock loan program.
- No interest is paid on cash balances.
- You can manually move cash into a money market fund. There is no sweep program.
- Clients can enroll dividend-paying stocks in a dividend reinvestment program.
There is limited news and research available in the Score Priority applications but there are partners and third-party providers that offer additional news and analysis to customers. Some of these third-party resources have news, recommendations, and other research available for free while others charge subscription fees. Unfortunately, most of these third-party tools open new tabs on your browser and are not connected back to the trading engine. If you use one to locate a trading opportunity, you’ll have to find the ticker symbol and enter it yourself.
Score Priority does not offer screening tools for stocks, mutual funds, or options strategies but some of the third-party providers have stock screening tools options strategy finders. These research amenities do fill the gap, but they also contribute to the fragmented investing experience. There are no tools on the browser-based platforms.
Trading Idea Generator
All idea generators are provided by links to third-party partners such as Trade Ideas. There is a portfolio builder in the associated Novoadvisor platform, which is a trade-following and trade-copying service that one could think of as a robo-advisory spinoff that crowdsources investing ideas.
Nothing news-related is built into the web platforms. News headlines open links to Yahoo Finance in a separate tab. In the Pro platforms, there are links to the SPC Club, formerly the WhoTrades site, at no extra charge - but, again, it's not integrated. The mobile apps offer a better news feed.
Score Priority offers no analyst research or technical analysis capability. Third-party partners have subscription-based services; there is nothing built into the platforms that is available at without incurring an additional charge.
All of the platforms have charting features, though the most complete package is in the Pro platform. The mobile apps actually have more charting functions than the Lite or Plus platforms.
Score Priority provides little education about trading and investing strategies beyond a few videos and older webinars that cover some of the features of their trading applications. Score Priority Club, formerly WhoTrades, is a social investing site with some peer-to-peer help, but it’s no substitute for professionally produced education resources. Score Priority is primarily marketing itself to an intermediate/experienced crowd, so investors who need some additional education to feel confident in the market will need to find alternative sources.
- Phone line available Monday-Friday 8 am-5 pm Eastern time. Phones are answered very quickly by a human.
- You can chat with customer service via WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Twitter direct message, Telegram or Line.
- Live brokers are available when phone lines are open.
- Non-U.S. residents who live outside OFAC-restricted countries can open accounts.
Score Priority is lagging behind on some aspects of security:
- There is no two-factor authentication, but when you log in to a browser-based platform or a mobile app, you enter a PIN on a randomly generated keyboard to avoid keyboard trackers.
- No biometric entry (fingerprint scanner or face recognition) on mobile apps.
- Excess SIPC coverage is provided by Axos and Lloyd's of London, though the exact coverage was not disclosed.
- No significant breaches were reported for 2019 by the Identity Theft Resource Center.
Score Priority isn’t a good fit for retail investors and less active traders. Score Priority is not designed for individual investors who need education, portfolio analysis, or additional research tools like stock screeners to manage a long-term portfolio.
The brokerage is meant for active traders, and it is trying to work its way down the development path to attract more traders who are just starting to ramp up. Score Priority may be particularly appealing to blossoming traders who hope to qualify for a funded account through the Try2BFunded partnership, giving them ready access to capital they may not have on their own. Similarly, traders who want to code their own trading system and tack it onto the execution engine may find Score Priority’s cost structure for heavy trading more attractive for the types of trades they want to carry out.
For everyone else, however, the trading platforms offered by Score Priority leave a lot of tools, features, and research out while still charging fees not found at other brokers.
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