SpeedTrader Review
  • Commissions
  • Trading Platforms
  • Short Lists
  • Executions and Routes
  • Customer Service
  • Fees
4.4

Summary

SpeedTrader is a direct access broker that has been serving clients for over two decades. The service provides access to extensive short lists, multiple routing options, flexible commission structures and more. Read the full review to see if this is the right broker for you.

About SpeedTrader

SpeedTrader is a direct-access online broker offering multiple platform access through web, standalone and mobile using Das Trader software. It is a division of Stock USA Execution Services, Inc. based out of New York. SpeedTrader is designed specifically for day traders who require advanced tools, flexible commission structures, routing options, and more extensive short lists. SpeedTrader offers clearing through Cor clearing. They also provide clearing through ETC via the SpeedTrader PRO service.

Commissions and Fees

SpeedTrader Pricing

Equity Commissions

SpeedTrader offers both a per-trade and per-share commission structure for stocks. The per-trade pricing starts at $4.49 per trade for accounts over $25,000 and $6.95 for account balances under $25,000, which also subjects the account to PDT restrictions limiting trades to 3 intra-day roundtrips on a rolling 5 business day cycle.

The per-share pricing is available only for accounts over the $25,000 minimum balance at $0.0044 per-share plus ECN routing/pass-thru fees.

Traders have to choose between per-share and per-trade pricing when setting up the account – you cannot switch between the two. While both the per-share and per-trade commissions are competitive, I prefer the per-share structure because it allows you to scale in and out of positions without worrying about burning commissions. That said, traders who either trade bigger size or trade cheaper stocks (with larger positions) may prefer the per-trade pricing.

ECN pass-thru rebates are credited the following month.

Options Commissions

SpeedTrader charges $0.40 per contract for options trades. There is a $1.99 minimum on all equities and options trades.

Software Fees

SpeedTrader Active Web

SpeedTrader offers a desktop, web, and mobile platform. These platforms come at a monthly fee unless traders generate a certain amount of commissions each month.

The ActiveWeb browser-based platform costs $25 per month, but waived for clients generating over $199 per month in commissions. Options data is $15 and Pink Sheets are $20 per month. Mobile access costs $30 per month and isn’t waved.

The SpeedTrader Pro is the standalone platform suited to active intra-day traders. There are two pricing plans:

The SpeedTrader Pro Level 1 costs $49 per month. Optional level 1 data feeds are $15 for options and $20 for Pink Sheets with $15 for mobile access.

The SpeedTrader Pro Level 2 costs $104 per month with optional level 1 data feeds including $15 for options and $20 for Pink Sheets. Optional Level 2 data feeds include $20 NASDAQ Total View, $15 NYSE ARCA Book, $35 News Body, $50 OPRA Options and $30 Pink Sheet. Level 2 data feeds are waived for clients generating $499 in monthly commissions.

SpeedTrader Level 2

Account Fees

SpeedTrader charges a $30 inactivity fee, if account makes less than 15 traders per quarter. Broker-assisted trades incur a $30 fee. Forced margin liquidation incurs a $20 fee in addition to commissions. Wire transfers are $25 domestically and $75 internationally.

IRA accounts incur a $75 annual fee. IRA account asset reviews are $300 and terminations incur a $75 fee. Transfers including Roth to Traditional IRA cost $55.

Make sure you select to receive confirmations and statements electronically; otherwise you can get dinged at $4 per mailed trade confirmation and $10 per mailed statement.

Margin/Leverage

SpeedTrader offers the basic 4 to 1 margin on intra-day trades and 2 to 1 on overnight positions for accounts that meet the $25,000 PDT rule. It is always prudent to check the margin requirements on volatile stock gappers like biotechs. If the margin requirements drop, it can cause forced liquidations with incur a $20 fee in addition to commissions. However, the worst part is getting stopped out while fanning the flames of a violent short-squeeze, which could blow out your account. Traders are advised to use margin cautiously.

Platform Features and Tools

SpeedTrader has three trading platforms:

The SpeedTrader ActiveWeb is the browser-based platform used primarily on desktop/laptops for basic trading functionality with minimal bells and whistles. This platform has level 1 quote data, basic charting, watch lists, scanner, options chains and live streaming news.

This platform is great for trading “on the go” but most active traders will prefer the SpeedTrader Pro platform.

SpeedTrader Pro Platform

The SpeedTrader Pro is the standalone trading platform with news headlines, high-low ticket, advanced chart studies, web and mobile access, multi-account access, hot keys, direct access order routing to a wide assortment of ECNs. Level 1 data and level 2 data options are available. This platform is provided by Das Trader and offers a nice range of tools. The platform offers beautiful charting and runs smoothly.

SpeedTrader Pro Platform

The SpeedTrader Mobile trading app including advanced charting, news, level 2, options chains and order management. It has a $30 a month access fee for ActiveWeb users and $15 per month for SpeedTrader Pro users. The mobile platform is one of the nicer mobile solutions available – offering great charts, level 2 screens, and advanced order routing options. That said, you may not want to incur the additional monthly cost if you don’t trade from your phone.

SpeedTrader Mobile

Research Tools

SpeedTrader is most commonly used by day traders. Therefore, you won’t find as many of the online research tools that you will from brokers like ETRADE and ScottTrade. There are a few scanning tools built into the platforms. The High/Low Hit List and Top Ten List embedded scans are personally the best research tool for intra-day traders. This is a platform for technical analysis based trading with little fundamental research with the exception of the news feed.

Customer Service

Customer service can be reached through website, phone, e-mail and live chat during market hours. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 am EST. to 5 pm EST. The website has 17 tutorial videos to get new users properly acclimated to the platforms.

SpeedTrader has a great customer service team. They are a smaller broker so you there is more personalization.

Execution and Routes

SpeedTrader has an impressive selection of ECN/exchange routes amongst all online brokers ranging from ARCA, INET, BATS and EDGX to more obscure routes like CUTC (Citadel), XALL, LQPT and ONXX.

This is one of the main benefits of using a broker like SpeedTrader – you have control of your order routing. When utilized properly, this can help you get better executions and fills.

SpeedTrader Routes

Borrows and Locates

SpeedTrader updates the short-sell borrow list by 8 am EST. pre-market. SpeedTrader provides users with access to the Corelli Locate System through the web. Users can request hard to borrow locates directly into the service to see if the shares are available and the borrowing costs. Upon acceptance, the shares will be available to short on the platform. SpeedTrader has a much more extensive short list than common discount brokers. The company also offers clearing through ETC via their SpeedTrader PRO service.

Who is SpeedTrader Best For?

SpeedTrader is a solid platform for traders of all levels. However, the quarterly inactivity fee and software platform fees are more tailored to active intra-day traders, who likely won’t incur the fees. Seasoned day traders who are well versed in order routing to exotic ECNs will enjoy the flexibility of the SpeedTrader Pro platform. Ultimately, SpeedTrader will be best for intermediate to advanced day traders who know how to make the most of all of the features. The short lists are great for traders who are short-biased and the routing options can help improve your executions. My favorite part of the service is the per-share pricing as it can save you a lot of money in the long run.

Pros

  • Das Trader platform software is seamless, fast and not a resource hog.
  • Per-share pricing is great for scaling in and out of positions
  • One of the largest selection of ECN order routes
  • Great high/low hit list scan and Top Lists
  • Fast execution with true direct access order routing
  • Flexible hot key customizability

Cons

  • $30 monthly access fee for the mobile app is excessive
  • Fees can get expensive if not monitored