Scottrade Trading Platform Review
Sottrade is a online discount stock broker which offers investors, big and small, a wide range of products and trading tools at a competitive price.
One of the online discount stock brokers I use very actively is Scottrade. When I first selected Scottrade as my broker 7 years ago, I didn’t know not much about it other than that it was the winner of a J. D. Power and Associate award. Of course, back then the landscape of online trading was much different from it’s now as the selection of discount brokers was very limited. Now, seven years later, with some many online brokers to choose from, I am still trading with Scottrade and, frankly, I am very happy with the choice I made in 2002.
So what exactly do I like about Scottrade? Well, not the commission that Scottrade charges. At $7.00 for every online stock trade order, the commission is rather high among discount brokers. However, compared to other brokers, Scottrade has an edge in providing comprehensive services and tools to make investing easier. And unlike many other discount brokers which operate solely online, Scottrade also has 460 branch offices throughout the country, giving investors an easy access to Scottrade staff for face-to-face help, should such help is ever needed. Even if you don’t need to meet a Scottrade employee when you have a question, knowing someone at your local office by name and always talking to the same person over the phone are still an advantage in this world where most businesses are done online.
Anyway, let’s take a look at Scottrade trading platforms, the main subject of this post. I have talked about Scottrade’s trading platform when I compared discount broker web-based trading platforms some time ago. Here, I am expanding the discussion a little to include more information for those who want to know better about the broker before deciding whether to use it or not.
Currently, Scottrade offers investors two trading platforms. One is web-based and the other is a standalone, PC-based called ScottradeELITE, which can be downloaded and installed on local computer if you a minimum account balance of $25,000. ScottradeELITE is an ideal tool for those who trade a lot. If you are causal trader like I am, then the web-based trading platform is more than enough to get the job done.
Socctrade’s web-based trading platform is shown below.
The feature that is most appealing to me on the website is that it shows the total market value of my account graphically, giving me a clear picture of how my portfolio has been doing, even though the graphic only covers up to 6 months. As far as I know, this feature is not available at at any other brokers I am using.
Scottrade doesn’t have charts on its homepage. Quotes are given numerically only, even though it does have a separate page where I can get plots and all the technical analysis tools. Trading from the main web page is easy: Enter the symbol in the Quick Quote on the left first then provide all the necessary order information (or click the Trade tab on the top). What I would like to see here is that a Trade button next to all the securities I am currently own (Under Positions in homepage). Now even for those stocks, I have to go through the same steps (enter symbol and order info) to make a trade. Not every convenient.
Though, there’s no real-time quotes on its main web platform, Scottrade does have a free, Java-based streaming tool that opens in a new window (from the Streaming Quotes link on the left). The streaming tool looks a lot like ScottradeELITE, the stand alone software, you can even customize what you want to see in the interface, just like what you can do with ScottradeELITE.
While every broker has a web-based trading platform, not every one offers free, real-time streaming quotes. For most brokers, you can only get real-time quote when you enter the stock symbol and get the quote of the particular stock. With Scottrade, you can not only get real-time streaming quote for free, but also trade right from the window as well, no need to go back to the main interface. This is convenient.
And the streaming tool is not only a quote tool, but also a research tool, though just a very simple tool that doesn’t give you all you need to do a in-depth analysis of a stock because it only displays the volume information and moving average of the stock price for up to 2.5 days.
If you want to have a full fledged tool for your equity research, Scottrade has it under the Quotes & Research section on its homepage. If you don’t meet the requirement to have ScottradeELITE, the web-based research tool is still very decent, in terms of the usefulness of the tool (it has more than two-dozen indicators to help you research a stock or fund).
Even though I am not a heavy trader and don’t really use every tool Scottrade provides, from what I can see, Scottrade has a good collection of web-based tools that make the broker standout in the crowed. Even though the cost of trading with Scottrade is high, it doesn’t matter too much if you only trade a few times in a year, like I do
BTW, if you are interested in getting a brokerage account with Scottrade, here’s how you can receive 3 commission free trades ($21 value) when opening an account
- Go to Scottrade.com
- Use the promotion code KGKP0724 to open an account. There’s no expiration date for the promo code.
- Make a deposit of at least $500 is required.
- Enjoy your commission free trades.
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