Established in the Bahamas in 2015, TradeZero provides retail investors with tools comparable to those used by professional and hedge fund traders. With no or low commissions and fees, TradeZero holds a niche in the short selling of stocks and ETFs with its easy-to-borrow list. TradeZero operates like a traditional discount broker but with limited offerings and without tools for portfolio management and analytics.
TradeZero has a cryptocurrency trading platform and expanded options trading capabilities. A “platinum” service for accounts with at least $50,000 provides users with the ZeroPro and ZeroWeb platforms, discounted short-locate fees, a personal account liaison, and priority for platform feature requests.
TradeZero started as a broker for non-U.S. citizens to gain access to the U.S. stock, ETF, and options markets. U.S. citizens open accounts through TradeZero America, Inc., a FINRA member located in New York City. In February 2022, its Canadian subsidiary was admitted as a dealer member. TradeZero announced a partnership in May 2021 with TradeEZ for a charting overlay feature and settled charges during that same month with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for making false statements to customers about restricting trading activity in meme stocks.
The TradeZero platform appeals to day traders, active short sellers, and traders looking for low-cost trading, low minimum balances, and high intraday leverage, which is 4:1 for accounts with at least $500 and 6:1 for accounts with at least $2,500. TradeZero allows traders to pay for the right to short a specific stock. Short-term traders can manually route their orders if they have a minimum account balance of $5,000. The platform interfaces are clean and easy to use and allow for screen customization.
Pros & Cons
Excellent primary trading platform
Extensive available to borrow lists
No commission for most ETFs and stocks
High intraday leverage
Limited product offerings
Higher transfer and other fees
- Excellent primary trading platform: TradeZero Pro and TradeZero Web platforms are robust, customizable trading platforms that have streaming level II quotes, news, and charting, and allow order routing for accounts with at least $5,000. Users can also create customized hotkeys for the trade order window.
- Extensive available-to-borrow lists: TradeZero has an extensive easy-to-borrow and hard-to-borrow list of stocks and a locator service that allows users to pay for the right to sell short on hard-to-borrow shares.
- No commission for most ETFs and stocks: For shares trading above $1, there is no commission if conditions are met. In the U.S., a market or limit order is required during the regular trading day. The international platform requires a trade of at least 200 shares and an order that does not create an immediate match.
- High intraday leverage: For international accounts, the leverage ratios are 1:1 on accounts with up to $500, 4:1 for accounts from $500 to $2,500, and 6:1 for accounts with at least $2,500. U.S. accounts have a 4:1 intraday leverage ratio. All TradeZero customers must bring their leverage ratios down to 2:1 by the close of the day session (4 p.m. EST for the U.S. market).
- Limited product offerings. TradeZero only provides U.S. customers access to U.S. traded stocks, ETFs, options, and cryptocurrencies. There is no access to mutual funds, futures, or commodities on the TradeZero platform.
- Platform fee: TradeZero charges $59 per month for customer accounts below $50,000 for its desktop and full web platforms. TradeZero has a free version with a mobile app, but TradeZero Free has limited features. However, the TradeZero platform has order routing and a short stock locator that most brokers do not offer.
- Higher transfer and other fees: TradeZero fees are higher than many brokers, including $30 for an assisted trade, $25 for a dividend check, $50 for outgoing wire transfers, $5 for ACH transfer out, and $125 to transfer an account. The outgoing wire transfer fee is higher than other brokers, and $75 is common for a full account transfer fee. International accounts require a $200 minimum balance. U.S. accounts below $100 without held securities and trading activity the previous quarter are charged a $5 quarterly.
Account setup, including options and margin agreements, is streamlined with TradeZero, as it is at most other online brokers, and there are four technology platforms available:
- ZeroFree, a browser-based platform that is available on any connected device
- ZeroMobile is available to users at no charge
- ZeroPro, the flagship desktop app
- ZeroWeb, the web-based version of ZeroPro, requires a $59 monthly fee
While ZeroWeb can be used on any connected device, ZeroPro is only available to Windows users and does not support the Mac operating system.
All platforms have charting windows, real-time news, live streaming quotes, and access to the stock borrow locator tool. However, ZeroPro and ZeroWeb provide 10+ level II quote windows, while there is just one on ZeroFree. Similarly, the platforms have limitations on the number of chart windows allowed open at once, with 10+ for ZeroPro and ZeroWeb, and two for ZeroFree.
For all platforms, OTC Markets Level I quotes cost $5 per month, and OTC markets level II quotes are $15 per month. Additional add-ons available for ZeroFree include a hotkey for $15 per month.
ZeroPro is a professional desktop layout that can be customized to trader preferences. ZeroWeb replicates ZeroPro but has less flexibility. ZeroPro can group different windows, so the symbol changes on all when a ticker is clicked or manually entered.
Level II quote windows have the same order ticket information and hot buttons for buying or selling, and a price in the level II window populates the order ticket automatically. Creating custom hotkeys and charting is easy, but you can’t initiate orders via the charting functionality. TradeZero has four primary trade action buttons on the stock/ETF order window, buy, sell, short, and cover.
The stock locator for shorting stocks is a helpful tool not available at other brokers, making TradeZero a good choice for traders looking to actively short markets. You can monitor the account through the portfolio window, making it easy to follow key account details, such as equity, unrealized and realized profits, and buying power. This information remains at the top of the portfolio window regardless of the tab you view.
The option chain in a window has an options-specific order entry that populates when you click on any of the options in the option chain. While the options order entry is easy to use, there is no advanced options analytics such as profitability graphs. Many brokerage platforms have much better tools for options trading, including automatic order ticket setups for spread and other multi-leg options strategies.
Non-U.S. residents interested in day trading can use a TradeZero account that allows traders to go in and out of a stock position as often as the trader wants, but this is not permitted in the United States. Unless a U.S. account has a balance of at least $25,000, traders will violate pattern day trader (PDT) regulations that restrict trading in and out of stock on the same day more than four times in five days.
Mobile Trade Experience
The mobile experience is functional but lacks consistency with the other TradeZero platforms. ZeroMobile does not support options trading, but it does have the short stock locator tool, watchlists, charting, and the ability to trade.
When you choose a single stock, you have an easy-to-use menu that lets you chart and view limited fundamental details, the history of trades made in that security, time and sales, and stock-specific news. There are action buttons to start a buy, short, or locate for sale, but the mobile platform cannot be customized or support OTC market level I and level II quotes.
Range of Offerings
While there is no fixed income, mutual fund, futures, commodities, or currency trading available on TradeZero, it offers the following:
- U.S. Stocks
- U.S. ETFs
- U.S. Over-the-counter-bulletin-board (OTCBB)
Order types on TradeZero are limited to market, limit, stop market, stop limit, and range orders, a combination of a buy limit order and a sell limit order, where the trader selects ranges for the two orders, and if one of the orders is filled, the other order will be canceled.
There is also a conditional order box where you can input two trades, with the second trade activating when the first trade has been executed. TradeZero has a limit to the types of OCO orders, such as stops to play a breakout from a price range, and no trailing stops are available.
Time in force options for the trading window include good ‘til canceled (GTC), day, at the opening (OPG), immediate or cancel (IOC), and GTX (for orders from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.).
TradeZero uses proprietary technology for order execution, with most orders spray-routed to various exchanges, including ARCA, NSDQ, BATS, or EDGX. Users can also send orders directly to the exchange of their choice.
TradeZero’s trading technology stands out for short-selling stocks and ETFs and can find shares that other brokers cannot. Its short locator tool shows all the shares available to be sold short and allows its customers to pay a locator fee to guarantee they have the shares.
TradeZero supports trading before the market opens and after the close. Fractional share trading is not available, and TradeZero does not offer to backtest trading strategies or automated trading strategies. TradeZero also does not allow users to select a tax lot before placing an order. Demo accounts with paper trading use 15-minute delayed data and is limited to a 14-day trial for new customers or are available to current customers for $59 per month.
TradeZero offers commission-free trading but requires users to enter specific order types. Pricing varies for U.S. and international customers, notably in the cost per options contract and the margin interest rate. If a fee is the same on both platforms, only one fee applies, but both rates are defined if the U.S. fee differs from the international platform.
- There is a $59 per month fee for access to the ZeroPro desktop and ZeroWeb interfaces for accounts with less than 100,000 trades per month. The ZeroFree platform has additional fees for access to OTCBB/pink sheet issues level I and II quotes.
- Free orders for U.S. customers are available for all markets and limit orders for any symbol trading on NYSE, AMEX, or NASDAQ for $1 or more.
- Free orders are available for NYSE, AMEX, or NASDAQ stocks trading above $1 when the order size is at least 200 shares and a limit order is used that does not create an immediate match.
- U.S. customers pay $0.003 per share trading securities listed on NYSE, AMEX, or NASDAQ that are trading for at least $1 per share between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m. EST. and $0.005 per share, with a minimum of $0.99 and a maximum of $7.95 charged per trade, for trading stocks priced at less than $1 per share or for OTC/pink sheet issues.
- International customers pay a $0.99 flat fee for less than 200 share orders and $0.005 per share. When trading equity securities priced less than $1, the cost is $0.005 per share with a $0.99 minimum and a $7.95 maximum charge of up to 250,000 shares.
- Options trading fees differ significantly, as U.S. customers pay less than half of what international customers pay to trade options.
- U.S. customers pay $0.42 per contract and an Options Clearing Corp (OCC) fee of $0.02 per contract capped at $55, $0.02905 per contract in Options Regulatory Fees (ORF). The total per contract is $0.46905 per options contract, or slightly lower if the OCC fee is capped at $55. TradeZero also charges an option manual exercise fee of $35.
- Options for international customers are $0.59 per contract, plus $0.055 per contract for OCC fees, $0.02905 per contract in ORF fees, and the same $35 charge for option exercise or assignment, for a total of $0.67405 per option contract.
- Margin interest is 9% for U.S. customers and 9% for international customers.
- No inactivity fee for either platform, but there is an unqualified account fee of $5 for U.S. customers if the balance drops below the minimum balance and the account does not hold any securities.
- The outgoing wiring fee is $50 for U.S. customers; outgoing withdrawals are $50 for international customers.
- No incoming wires fee for U.S. customers, but incoming deposits are $25 for international customers. This fee is waived with an initial deposit of $500 or more.
- Standard corporate action is $35.
- Broker-assisted trades cost $30.
- There are no fees for incoming ACH, wire transfer, or incoming account transfer (U.S.), but there are fees for outgoing transfers of $50, outgoing ACH costs $5, and outgoing account transfers cost $125.
- Returned wire or ACH fee is $50.
- For the U.S. platform, Depository Trust Company DTC delivery is $50 per security, printed confirmations cost $2, paper statements cost $10, dividend checks fee is $25, and complex corporate actions are $100.
There are also other trading fees, which include paying for daily short locates. Both international and U.S. customers pay nearly the same for these trading fees. The cost to borrow located shares overnight will be at a market rate that changes daily based on market conditions. The client portal has an overnight borrow calculator that estimates borrow costs related to any shares you hold short overnight.
How This Broker Makes Money From You and for You
TradeZero uses its focus on short sales to generate income. In addition to payment for order flow (PFOF) and cash balances, TradeZero also generates revenue from platform fees.
- Payment for order flow (PFOF): Payment for order flow provides TradeZero income for each trade and options contract.
- Platform fees: Traders pay $59 per month for TradeZero Pro and TradeZero Web users.
- Short position costs: Trade Zero’s short-selling niche generates margin interest on customers’ short positions that are held overnight. The short locator tool generates fees from traders for access to shares they want to short. Users recoup locator fees at a discount if they sell back their right to make a short trade.
Account and Research Amenities
TradeZero provides third-party research to users but does not create proprietary research. The research offering is sparse compared to full-service online brokers. TradeZero has real-time streaming quotes on its platforms and real-time news from Benzinga. With a low range of products available, TradeZero offers some fixed screens for stocks and ETFs.
TradeZero’s stock screener consists of two lists with preset screens. The Top List displays information for stocks on several exchanges. To change the view, users select the drop-down arrow. Choices available for the broad market include the most active, biggest percentage gain or loss, and net change higher or lower. Each criterion can be run for each market, NYSE, NASDAQ, AMEX, and OTCBB/pink sheets.
TradeZero offers a Hi-Low Ticker, a streaming ticker that allows users to watch stocks hitting the day high and low and the 52-week high and low. Traders can filter exchanges, and set filters for the price of the symbol, the net change, the % net change, and volume. TradeZero does not allow users to screen on technical or fundamental data, a commonly available function with other platforms.
ETF and Mutual Fund Screener
TradeZero does not support mutual fund trading, so it does not have a screener. The ETF screener uses the function provided for stocks, with the output for ETFs and stocks combined in the “Top List” or “Hi/Low” screener. In both ETF and stock screener, there is no column showing the security type, so the ETFs and stocks are listed together without the ability to filter or sort for one or the other.
TradeZero does not have a true options screener, but traders can view the options chain for a security. Users select the shortcut icon from the menu bar and display an option chain by entering the underlying symbol in the upper left-hand corner. The expiration period can be changed by selecting the appropriate tab. The window is arranged to show all calls if the call tab is in focus and all puts if the put tab is in focus.
Fixed Income Screener
TradeZero does not provide a fixed-income screener because it does not offer fixed-income trading to its customers.
Tools and Calculators
Beyond the stock locator to find hard-to-find stocks to sell short, TradeZero does not offer tools and calculators for retirement planning or investing. TradeZero’s customers tend to be active day traders that do not require those functions. Users can access an alarm manager for various events, such as a stock trading at or above a certain level or a new high or low. Multiple watchlists can be saved and used at the same time.
TradeZero uses ProCharts for its charting functionality. Although orders and positions or the ability to initiate an order directly from a chart are not supported in TradeZero’s charting system, the charting works well for drawing lines and applying one of 70 indicators such as VWAP, Fibonacci, and Bollinger Bands. TradeZero’s charting platform has easy-to-use drawing tools for adding trendlines, channel lines, rectangles, and a level 2 with time & sales, live news updates, and alert settings.
The user experience for charting is best on ZeroPro and ZeroWeb since they are TradeZero’s most robust platforms. Every element, such as price charts, studies, and drawing tools, can be customized in any color. Charting on ZeroMobile is less detailed because of the smaller screens. Charting on ZeroFree has real-time charting, line-drawing functionality, and the ability to link charts with other screens for faster loading.
Trading Idea Generators
TradeZero does not have an idea generator. Instead, they have a “Top List” with a fixed drop-down menu to see stock criteria. Choices available include most active, biggest percentage gain or loss, and net change higher or lower. Each variable can be run for each market, NYSE, NASDAQ, AMEX, and OTCBB//Pink Sheets.
The ZeroPro news currently receives real-time streaming headlines and stories from Benzinga. The news feed can be filtered to show news on a single stock symbol or specific keywords. Individual news feed lines can be clicked to read the entire story if one exists.
TradeZero does not currently produce its research, does not offer third-party research, and does not produce or provide a daily market research report.
TradeZero does not offer any cash management tools, so TradeZero benefits from interest revenue generated from cash in customer accounts. Investors looking for features that combine banking, bill payment services, and a credit or debit card will look elsewhere for a more full-service broker.
Fractional Dividend Reinvestment Plan (DRIP)
TradeZero does not support a fractional dividend reinvestment plan.
SRI/ESG Research Amenities
TradeZero does not have built-in tools or screeners to identify stocks and ETFs that meet socially responsible investing (SRI) and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria.
TradeZero is geared towards active and day traders who do not require in-depth portfolio analysis. The client portal offers account monitoring but focuses on the account's value and does not analyze asset classes or the risk and diversification of a portfolio.
TradeZero does not focus on educating new clients and is geared toward active investors with trading experience. However, its website includes articles, videos, webinars, and live events and seminars for traders. There is also a Learn link which brings users to a page with information about various trading topics provided in short, easy-to-read text, with examples on issues such as unusual options activity, insider buying, market capitalization, how earnings estimates impact stocks, and how to trade analyst ratings.
TradeZero partners with organizations involved with trader education. The U.S. platform has educational partnerships with Cameron Bennion and MyInvestingClub, and the international platform partners with MyInvestingClub, Livestream Trading, My Trading Club, and Balmohsin, which provides trading education in Arabic.
TradeZero has reliable customer service. Representatives answer questions immediately or quickly get support. Where many online brokers can have long waits, TradeZero’s customer service stands out.
- 24/7 live customer support by chat, telephone, or email for international accounts
- U.S. accounts have 24/7 chat support, and phone support from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST (Monday through Friday)
- Access to licensed brokers
Security and Reliability
TradeZero’s security supports industry standards.
- Two-factor authentication is available for its ZeroPro desktop program, ZeroWeb, and the ZeroFree trading platforms.
- There are differences in the regulatory status and investor protection between TradeZero International and TradeZero U.S.
- TradeZero America platform is SEC-regulated and a member of FINRA and the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC).
- TradeZero International, based in the Bahamas, is regulated by the Securities Commission of the Bahamas and is not regulated by any U.S. entity.
- Both companies have Lloyds of London policies to protect investors for an excess of $250,000 per account beyond SIPC insurance.
TradeZero is transparent about its pricing and policies, detailed in its FAQ sections. The commissions and fees are presented clearly on a “Pricing” link on the website menu, but the fee structures are more complex than other online brokers offering stock trading.
Available Account Types
TradeZero offers various brokerage accounts including individual and joint accounts.
TradeZero is a brokerage company that provides experienced traders with the same tools that hedge funds and professional traders use. Active day traders benefit from TradeZero’s order routing technology, proprietary short stock locator function, and level II quotes are helpful, and the trading fees are competitive. However, TradeZero does not offer products such as futures, fixed income, currency trading, or options trading on its mobile app. TradeZero stands out in customer support and is a strong choice for day traders and short sellers.
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