- Commissions & Fees
- Trading Platform
- Diversity of Investment of Offerings
- Customer Service
If you’re in the trading market you may have heard of the online futures trading brokerage, Tradovate.com. Tradovate.com has many innovative tools and features. Read this review to decide if Tradovate.com is the brokerage that will change your trading.
Tradovate.com is an online futures trading brokerage. The firm implements many innovations from structure to platform design to distinguish itself from the universe of futures brokers. Flat-rate and commission-free trades are available depending on the selected membership plan. Rather than try to fit all the bells and whistles into a single platform like many mainstream brokerages, Tradovate concentrates on the most useful tools that experienced traders rely on to be efficient and effective. I personally stray away from mainstream brokers that bundle every (useless) tool under the sun, clogging up ram and slowing down performance.
Headquartered in Columbus, OH, Tradovate was launched in 2015 by Rick Tomsic, former founder of Open E Cry, LLC. Having served in executive roles at OptionsXpress, Charles Schwab, and GAIN Capital, Tomsic crafted the visions of a unique futures brokerage focused on alleviating common pain points. In an era of non-stop bundling and jack-of-all-trades type platforms, it’s refreshing to find one that is laser-focused on precision application and enabling a seamless experience. The cloud-based platform is designed to be intuitive and seamless with a minimal learning curve to get traders on board and trading.
TradovateCommissions and Fees
The commission-pricing structure is based on three monthly membership plans:
Membership-Free access has no monthly fee, but trades cost $0.79-per side on futures and $0.99-per side on futures options.
Active Trader Plan is $99-per month or prepaid for $79-per month average. This plan drops the commissions to $0.19-per side on futures trades. Futures options are still charges at $0.99-per side.
Commission-Free plan is $249-per month or prepaid for $199-per month average. This plan enables commission-free futures trading and $0.99-per side futures options trades.
Users can upgrade or downgrade plans monthly. Additional Add-On services:
On-Demand Market Replay enables the trader to replay the action live a TiVo for $69-per month for Membership-Free, $25-per month for Active Trade, and Commission-Free Plan subscribers.
There are many 3rd-party service providers (IE: TradingView, Motivewave, Investor RT, Sierra Chart, etc.) that enhance the platform from analytic tools to execution. Users can add-on through the platform to enhance the tools. Pricing varies for each service. Tradovate has no inactivity or platform fees or volume requirements and offers a free two-week demo to test out the platform.
Tradovate Platform Tools
Tradovate is a flexible cloud-based platform enabling the convenience of portability and access from desktop, tablet, or mobile device. The Tradovate Pulse Mobile App is available on Android and iOS to enhance the frictionless experience.
Tradovate offers an impressive arsenal of charts to choose from, including basic candlestick, bar, and line charts to more advanced Heikin-Ashi, Renko, Point & Figure, Bid-Ask Volume, and Order Flow Analytics (OFA) charts. Trades can be executed or triggered directly off the charts.
OFA and AlgoX
OFA is unique to Tradovate as it enables unique order flow and volume analysis with proprietary tools. Bid/ask charts viewable inside each candle to see how much volume traded at which price is amazing! OFA/AlgoX enables traders to automate trades through customized algos that users can set-up tough, simple tab-menu settings like VWAP, CWAP, or trend line triggers.
There are over 40 built-in indicators ranging from moving averages, stochastic, volume analysis to Fibonacci retracement, and trend lines. Time frames range from unfiltered tick to minute up to daily and monthly, along with custom time frames. This is a technical analyst’s dream.
Order Entry and Hot Keys
Tradovate provides one-click order entry with sweep limit capabilities through multiple depth-of-market (DOM) screens for trade execution. Volume histograms give a quick snapshot of supply and demand at each price point. Basic orders types, including market, limit, and stop limit orders are available. Configurable hotkeys further enhance frictionless trade sequences.
Tradovate has multiple limit order types ranging from Good-to-Cancel to trailing stops and conditional bracket orders. Bracket orders are buy and/or sell orders placed at both ends of a price range. One-cancels-other (OCO) bracket order will cancel out the remaining order after the first order is executed. One-send-order will trigger the remaining order after the first order is executed. This enables traders to select a profit and stop-loss range to automatically execute when one side is triggered. Tradovate allows up to 10-bracket orders placed by ticks, price, or currency. This is a semi-automated method to trade that takes the emotion out of a trading plan.
Research and Alerts
Users can select various futures markets and contracts to view with watchlists with configurable price alerts. Real-time newsfeeds are available as well as trading statistics.
Margins and Minimums
There is a $2,000 account minimum. Tradovate offers $500 day trading margins for S&P 500 E-minis, Nasdaq 100, Dow, and E-mini Russell 2000. It’s prudent to check the margin requirements, including initial and day trading, for the specific instruments you’re trading. Margin requirements can fluctuate throughout the day. It goes without saying that leverage is a double-edged sword.
Tradovate Mobile Apps
Tradovate offers mobile trading apps for both Android and iOS so that traders can take advantage of mobile trading on smartphones and tablet devices. Clients can choose from the main Tradovate mobile app and the Tradovate Pulse app, which is designed with simplicity in mind. Overall, the features on the apps are pretty solid, but it is clear that Tradovate is still refining their mobile technology. Mobile apps from discount brokers like ETrade and TD Ameritrade are clearly better developed. The Tradovate mobile apps can be buggy at times, but the development team continues to push updates.
We much preferred the interface of the main Tradovate mobile app. This app provides access to charts, quotes, news, account management, and more.
Tradovate has omni channel support through live chat, forum, e-mail, or telephone. I prefer the chat access. Response time is quick, and I like the feature requests forums as they certainly are attentive to integrating good suggestions.
The depth of the tools and flexibility of the charting makes Tradovate stand out from competitors. Unique features like OFA charting and trade management tools are unique only to Tradovate. The membership-based commission pricing is unique and works well for active futures traders. Since it’s cloud-based, I don’t have to worry about reconfiguring charts on my smartphone to match the settings or indicators on my desktop.
What Type of Trader Tradovate is Best For
Experienced active futures traders generating over 300 trades per-month will benefit greatly from the no-commission plan on costs alone. However, even moderate traders looking to enhance their skillsets can benefit from the unique tools and flat-rate commissions. Algorithmic traders will find a lot of use with the OFA/AlgoX features. Experienced traders that are well familiar with the charts and indicators applicable with their own trading methodology will catch on quickly to the platform.
Newer traders or traders looking to trade a wider range of investments (i.e., stocks, options, etc.) may prefer another broker.
- Intuitive, robust cloud-based trading platform accessible online and mobile
- In-candle bid/ask volume studies are amazing
- Configurable OFA/Algox automation tools enhance speed
- Attentive customer support that listens to users with feature requests
- Flat or non-commission rates by subscription plan model are great of active futures traders
- Replay mode lets you study past market action
- Cloud-based platform saves changes and configurations to be used on any device
- Free two-week trial with demo
- Futures options trades are not commission-free
- Tools can be complicated for newbies