Zecco Trading Review (Now TradeKing): Trading Experience, Account Opening Process

Review of: Zecco Trading
Discount Stock Broker:
Zecco Trading
Price:
$4.95 per trade

Reviewed by:
Rating:
3
On June 2, 2007
Last modified:October 30, 2012

Summary:

Zecco Trading, now part of TradeKing, is an online discount stock broker that lets you trade stocks and ETFs for $4.95 per trade. It offers both web trading platform and mobile app so you make a trade on the go.

Zecco Trading is one of the popular online discount stock broker since early 2006. Since its launch, Zecco has gone through several major overhauls in the past 5 years, going from being a completely commission-fee broker from which it got its name to a broker just like every other one in the industry that charges a fee for every transaction. In early 2012, Zecco Trading and TradeKing merged, ending its history as an independent company. The integration process is still underway as of now, you are still be able to open an account with Zecco. If that’s what you choose to do, I will share in the following my experience with Zecco and show the process of how to open a brokerage account with Zecco Trading.

How to Open a Zecco Brokerage Account

Opening a Zecco brokerage account is quite simple and can be completed online in just a few minutes with no paper application involved. Since Zecco offers multiple types of accounts, you will need to choose the account you want to have at the beginning of the application process, including regular brokerage account (joint or individual) and retirement account (Roth, Traditional or Rollover IRA accounts). If you plan to use Zecco for your investment outside retirement, then you will select a regular broker account.

Once you select an account type, the reset of the application is rather routine, such as providing your name, address, SSN, employment status, income, investment purpose, the amount of investable assets, and bank info, etc. The bank information is for establishing ACH link between Zecco brokerage account and an external bank account such that you are able to fund your Zecco account with ACH transfer. After the application is completed, an account number will be generated for you before you can access your newly opened account, and that process could take from a few moments to up to 3 hours. So you will need to wait a little bit before accessing your account online.

Once the new account becomes available, the first thing you may want to do is setup an external ACH account so that you can transfer money to Zecco using the bank account info entered during account opening. To initiate the ACH process, which is a little bit tricky, you need to type in your account number in the For Account and use the Request Now button to set up external ACH link, which can be either your checking account or savings account. I recommend using a checking account because savings accounts usually have withdrawal limit (6 per month) and if you go over the limit, you are likely to be charged with a fee.

Zecco review: Fund account with ACH

After an external ACH bank link is established, you will be able to verify your ownership of the external bank account by confirming two small deposits that are deposited Zecco made into your bank account. Once the account is verified, you can proceed with fund transfer, which will be done next day. After the fund is settled in a couple of days, you can start trading stocks or ETFs or options through Zecco online trading platform. That’s it. Quite simple, isn’t it?

Zecco Trading Experience

Zecco actually has multiple platforms for investors to trade stocks. In addition to its web interface, customers of Zecco can also trade stocks via Zecco Mobile App, Zap Trade and even directly from Facebook.

zeccotrading32.png

The web trading interface is shown in the above picture (click to enlarge). Honestly, this is probably the simplest interface I have ever used (so far I have used Scottrade, Firstrade, ShareBuilder, and Fidelity and all are much better than Zecco in terms of providing an user friendly trading interface). Even the stock chart looks very amateur (they offer Advanced Chart option, but it’s from BigCharts.com instead of their own).

The first stock I bought several years ago was Xinhua Finance Media (XFML), which was hit hard recently due to various issues related to whether the company intentionally hided information in their IPO filings. After entering all the necessary information such as stock symbol, transaction type, quantity, and order type, I can review the order one more time before submitting it for execution. Then something unexpected happened after I hit the SEND ORDER button. My order was rejected!

zeccotrading62.png

At the bottom of the page, it gave me the reason of rejection as “Only orders that liquidate positions are allowed.” Liquidate positions? I am buying not selling, plus I don’t even have a position yet. I can’t believe there’s such a trouble buying a stock (hopefully selling stocks will be easy from what’s happening now :) ). After trying a couple of more times and getting exactly the same result, I decided to give Zecco a call to see what caused the problem. All they told me was to log out and re-enter my account and, surprisingly, it worked!

Overall, I wasn’t very impressed by their website and their trading interface, though the order was executed almost instantly (at least for this order) and it was indeed free. I feel that I can use some improvements of their website:

  • I am bothered a lot by having to enter my account number every time when I do anything related to ACH.
  • It took me 5 days to complete the first ACH transfer, that’s much longer than with other brokerages.
  • A gain tracking tool will be convenient.

About the first item, I actually brought it up to the CSR the night before when I called to ask the status of my ACH transfer. The reason he gave me was it’s for security reason. For what security reason? The account number is displayed right there after logging into my Zecco account as it is used as user name to enter the trading account. After I complained that it’s not convenient to have to manually enter the account number every time, the CSR sounded inpatient and told me if I have any suggestions on how they should design their website, I should send them an email, which obviously isn’t convenient.

Zecco Zap Trade Plug In

Zap Trade is a Firefox plug-in that lets Zecco customers get quotes and trade stocks anywhere on the web.

Zecco Zap Trade

After downloading and installing the add-on for Firefox browser, a Zap Trade icon will appear in the browser’s status bar. If you are a Zecco customer, you can click on the icon to enter your user name and password to log into your account. Zap Trade can then detects stock symbols in financial websites such as Yahoo Finance, Google Finance, MarketWatch, Blookberg, etc and let users to trade the stock without having to got to Zecco website.

Once Zap Trade is running, it turns the background of stock symbols on web page into pinkish color and an icon will appear on the right when mouse-over the symbol, indicating that trading of that stock is supported.

If you click the icon, a Zecco Zap Trade window popped up to let me enter order information. The stock symbol and transaction (Buy) are pre-populated. All you need to do next is put in are quantity, order type, etc. The pop-up window also shows real-time quote of the stock, as well as fund available in the account for trade. From the Zap Trade window, you can also refresh the screen to get updated quote.

Before submitting the order, you will have a chance to preview it from the Zap Trade window to make sure the order is correct. The final step of trading stock from Zap Trade is submit the order for processing.

Zecco Trading Summary

Finally, here’s a quick summary of what you will get from Zecoo if you decide to open a trading account with Zecco:

  • $4.95 per trade, still a very competitive rate among discount brokers;
  • Trade stock anywhere on the web with Zecco Zap Trade, a very helpful tool;
  • Free dividend reinvestment;
  • ACH fund transfer;
  • Zecco Streamer Lite provides real-time BATS quotes;
  • Reimburse account transfer fee charged by other brokers up to $150 when transferring account to Zecco;
  • Also offers Forex trading with occasional promotions;
  • Free practice Forex trading account;
  • Free alerts and breaking news via Twitter and email;
  • Share investing experience with fellow Zecco customers at Zecco Share Online Community;

Overall, Zecco Trading is one of the best online low-cost discount brokers which can save small investors a significant amount of trading cost, especially those who trade very often. Buying and selling, which will cost investors $10 for each non-transaction fee mutual fund investment, is quite affordable too since most discount brokers usually charge more than $15 for NTF funds. If you are looking for a cheap stock brokers to trade stocks or ETFs, then Zecco could be a nice choice.

Zecco Trading, now part of TradeKing, is an online discount stock broker that lets you trade stocks and ETFs for $4.95 per trade. It offers both web trading platform and mobile app so you make a trade on the go.

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Author Info

This post was written by Sun You can find out more about Sun and his activities on Facebook , or follow him on Twitter .

29 Responses to “Zecco Trading Review (Now TradeKing): Trading Experience, Account Opening Process”

  1. Michael |  Jun 02, 2007 at 11:51 am

    The XFML investment might not be a good idea. Please check this Chinese article:

    http://blog.sina.com.cn/u/47665bc1010007yl

  2. zeron |  Jun 02, 2007 at 12:50 pm

    i pulled the trigger last friday (6/1/07) by opening a zecco trading account. now i need to fund it using the ACH. the instruction says to enter the account id and click on the “request…” button. i had a tough luck trying to figure the account id. the site had several versions of my account id. some starts with the “07″. some doesn’t have the “07″. some has the “-”. i probably tried five times.

  3. Rick |  Jun 02, 2007 at 2:15 pm

    Does Zecco only require $1000 to fund your account now? Didn’t they used to require $2500? I was waiting to open a Zecco account until I had $2500, but if I only need $1000 then I can open an account right away.

  4. Sun |  Jun 02, 2007 at 2:36 pm

    Michael: Thanks for pointing to the article. I am aware of the problem of XFML as there are many places that have discussed it. But I want to try my luck with it and see how it will work out.

    Zeron: Sorry to hear about your experience. I have to say the way Zecco handles ACH is the worst I have ever seen. The account ID, I believe, is the one that shows up as user name after you log into you myZecco account, but before log into your Zecco Trading account. At least for me, that appears to be the only one.

    Rick: The minimum account requirement never came up during the account application, nor did it show up in the ACH transfer. Anyway, I did successfully transfer only $1,000 instead of $2,500 as it required. Maybe you can try with $1,000 as well. It should be OK.

  5. zeron |  Jun 03, 2007 at 1:06 am

    i was going to fund it with only $1000 but then that same day i think it was in one of their forums that somebody was able to fund it with only $300 and started trading. so i end up funding it with only $500.

  6. TY |  Jun 06, 2007 at 12:48 am

    chasing a stock in trouble? you dont offset losses by “adding more shares” you just get more junk shares.

  7. wendy |  Jun 20, 2007 at 10:03 am

    ‘Only orders that liquidate positions are allowed’
    I tried logging off and on, but it did not work.

  8. Wendy |  Jun 20, 2007 at 10:28 am

    ‘Only orders that liquidate positions are allowed’
    It still did not work after I logged off and one again and again

  9. Sun |  Jun 20, 2007 at 1:50 pm

    Wendy: Sorry to hear about your trouble. The best way to deal with it is to give them a call to report the problem. I didn’t know exactly what they did after I called them, but it worked for me. The error bothered me a lot, so ask them to get it fixed instead of trying to figuring out what went wrong yourself.

  10. Tyroinvestor |  Jun 20, 2007 at 12:59 pm

    Rick/Zeron: Zecco has no minimum now to open an account.

    The ACH account # issue Sun mentioned is something I’ve noticed myself and i’ve also noted it in my review of Zecco.

  11. Eric |  Jun 21, 2007 at 9:32 am

    “Only orders that liquidate positions are allowed”
    Same post as Wendy…I will give Zecco a call. Thanks for your post on this issue. I thougth I was doing something wrong.

    Eric

  12. Sun |  Jun 21, 2007 at 1:52 pm

    Eric: Yes, Zecco has a poor interface and does some weird things. For example, I just noticed today that they log me out of my account if I don’t do anything in FOUR minutes. Another headache.

  13. pf101 |  Jun 23, 2007 at 9:42 pm

    Very informative. I’ve been getting a lot of questions about Zecco lately so it was good to read a review of them. I look forward to reading about future experiences.

  14. JT |  Jul 17, 2007 at 4:06 pm

    I just opened an account with Zecco. Funded the account on Friday via ACH. Called them Monday and they told me that the transfer will be processed in 2 business days. It’s Tuesday now, and there is no money in my account. Called Zecco and CSR with a drone voice told me that the transfer will reflect tomorrow, Wednesday. He has nothing else to say for the delay, no apologies no reason why funding hasn’t posted to my account.

    So don’t believe them when they say it will take 2 business days to process your ACH transfer. Customer service does suck! But, hey …it’s free and there is no minimum balance required.

  15. Chris Posey |  Jul 20, 2007 at 3:58 pm

    Recently started up my Zecco account. I attempted to trade today (first time). I kept getting the “Only orders that liquidate positions are allowed? message too. I called Zecco. The guy I talked to was very friendly and informative, and the wait wasn’t too bad (considering it’s a Friday afternoon, 10 minutes before the end of the trading day). Anyway, the guy told me that I needed to send in some signed paperwork-which surprised me, because, at Zecco’s behest, I forged through their FAQ section first, where I found the following Q/A: “I signed the online application form electronically. Do I need to mail or fax a hardcopy of the application documents too?
    If you applied for an Individual or Joint account on or after Thursday, May 10th, and you have a US Social Security Number, you’re all set.”
    All conditions applied to me, yet I still have to send in all of the paperwork. Then, 3-5 more days before I can trade. Not a huge deal, but a tad confusing. If you continue getting this error message, check the “myInfo” tab to make sure that it says “No” next to “Outstanding Paperwork.”

  16. Sun |  Jul 23, 2007 at 1:06 am

    Chris: I am really surprised by the request of all paperworks. Did you ask them why you have to submit the paperworks? The message seems to be an error as you don’t have any position before the first trade. In any case, that message shouldn’t appear at all. I have the feeling that if you call again at a different time, you may have different answer.

  17. Chris Posey |  Jul 24, 2007 at 5:08 pm

    I called again yesterday. Their response was “for some reason, the electronic signature didn’t go through.” That concerned me a little–why wouldn’t my electronic signature go through? I’m a high school teacher and am about as harmless and “unquestionable” as a person could be with regard to investing. Nevertheless, I did both mail and fax my paperwork to them. I checked earlier today, and I’m still unable to trade. At least my conversation with customer service yesterday was a pleasant one. The agent was as helpful as she could be, but she didn’t have an answer to the electronic signature question-a pretty important question.

  18. Tradingguy |  Aug 31, 2007 at 9:39 am

    So, if you keep a “cool head? about verifying your identity (without taking offense, as in an airport security check), send in the paperwork (fax and mail), check-up on your paperwork status (yourself…as you should be consistantly familiar with your account,every aspect/tab), have some patience (1wk-1mth), and don’t setup more than 1 account…I can have a free trade account that I can trade ANY…ANY stock I choose?
    Another fact I’ve noticed (and the main reason I went with Zecco) is that Zecco does not determine what stocks I’m allowed to trade. -Unlike my former Sharebuilder account, I mean, its MY MONEY…kewl beans :^)=

  19. LB |  Oct 12, 2007 at 2:49 pm

    Zecco won’t give me back my $6,000.00. They keep saying they need more paperwork to release my money. And so far I haven’t gotten a cent back.

    First they told me my account was approved and I could start trading. I deposited $6,000.00 into the account but I found out that I had no trading so I tried to take my money out and zecco keeps canceling it.

    You can put money in but you can’t take it out.
    Read other posts of people not getting their money back.

  20. Mina |  Oct 14, 2007 at 3:28 am

    Zecco is okay since it’s free to trade.

  21. li |  Nov 02, 2007 at 10:36 am

    For new account holders, the trades are being rejected because your account has not been completely activated. When you call they will activate the account for you . And then you log back on. I called today and the trade executed immediately. If you don’t see the trade reflected right away hit the refresh button. –Happy Trading!

  22. Pete Young |  Nov 20, 2007 at 2:09 am

    I was thinking about opening a Zecco stock trading account, but after reading the above readers comments, I am not too sure.

    This company seems to have a lot of customer, service, software, etc. related issues. Can someone give me a good reason to use this brokerage other than it is free?

  23. Mark |  Dec 19, 2007 at 4:48 pm

    I’ve also had problems with Zecco. My Account was approved and everything, but when I transferred money into it I could not trade. When I tried to withdraw money from my account they wouldn’t let me because of “The Patriot Act”, or so they say. They’re so full of sh*t, and their customer service is horrible. I staid on the line for five hours just to talk to an idiot for a couple minutes. Now they have around $10,000 dollars of my money that I can’t get back and I can’t trade with. It’s probably going to cost me at least 10k just to sue them so I can get my darn money back.

  24. kexor |  Mar 11, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    Have been trying to get my account activated at Zecco for a long time. Paperwork, paperwork paperwork. Site navigation difficult. They let me transfer money into my account. But when I want to take money out, they say I’m missing paperwork. There were no warnings or alerts of any kind when I was putting money in. Now I’m stuck with customer service that is so notoriously difficult to talk to — they don’t answer any questions! They have one less customer.

  25. Max |  Apr 09, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    I used this review extensively in attempting to determine if Zecco would work for me or not. I eventually did open up an account with Zecco, and have had a so-so experience.

    If you would like to see my thoughts on Zecco you can see them here: http://maxopedia.org/?q=zecco-brokerage-account-review-april-2008

  26. Sun |  Apr 09, 2008 at 9:18 pm

    Max: For Zecco, I don’t have a positive experience with them either and the only thing I do like is the commission free trading. Their website is difficult to use and their customer service is pretty bad.

  27. Lee |  Aug 11, 2008 at 9:56 am

    Hello all,

    Im about to open a trading account. I need update information con and pro from Zecco. many thanks

  28. Frank C |  Apr 20, 2009 at 7:05 pm

    On two separate occasions, Zecco charged me margin interest when I had no margin balance. On 3/23/09 I transferred my account to TradeKing. 2 strikes and your out when you mess with my money.
    Zecco has now (4/14/09) taken $155 out of my TradeKing account for margin interest. I had NO margin balance with them!!! The last I heard, this is called theft. They use Penson as the clearing agent.
    I find it amazing that 3 weeks after transferring my account out of Zecco into TradeKing, Zecco is allowed to do this. I will be contacting the appropriate regulatory agencies as well as my securities attorney if these monies are not restored to my account.

  29. StockTradersBlog |  May 31, 2009 at 2:34 am

    Is there any comparison between Zecco and TDAmeritrade? I am using TDAmeritrade to do my day trading and it works fine so far