Investing > ChoiceTrade Review

ChoiceTrade Review

ChoiceTrade is known as a discount broker that offers "unlimited free trades". But that's true only to a certain extent.

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Do you like free stuff?

Most people do. Which is probably why ChoiceTrade’s enticing promise of “unlimited free trades” has caught your attention.

ChoiceTrade is a USA-owned and operated brokerage firm founded in 2000. Often looked at as a “discount’ broker, the platform primarily targets active traders.

And while it boasts an offer of unlimited free trades, you do have to pay extra to use its software bundle, plus a flat monthly fee.

There are a number of trading platforms with different software applications available for expert traders through ChoiceTrade. This is the main reason why it’s not more popular.

ChoiceTrade is a top discount broker best suited to high-velocity traders who want to save on commissions.

Fast Facts

  • Account Minimum: $100
  • Fees: $0 commission for stocks & ETFs but other fees apply
  • Best For: Casual investors
  • Highlight: Great retirement planning tools

Ratings

  • Commissions & Fees: 7/10
  • Investment Selection: 7/10
  • Account Options & Features: 6/10
  • Usability: 8/10
  • Educational Resources: 5/10
  • Customer Service: 6/10
  • Overall: 7/10
Visit ChoiceTrade on ChoiceTrade’s website

Investor Warning: Day trading can be extremely risky. Day trading generally is not appropriate for someone of limited resources and limited investment experience or trading experience and low risk tolerance. You should be prepared to lose all of the funds that you use for day trading.

What is ChoiceTrade?

To use ChoiceTrade, you definitely need to have a solid grasp on investing fundamentals. It helps if you understand option spreads and have different sources for market data.

Note: If you’re from the US, a number of other competitive discount brokers are preferred by many investors, to include TD Ameritrade, E*Trade, or Interactive Brokers.

Further, you cannot buy mutual funds, bonds, and CDs through ChoiceTrader’s online application, but you can open traditional accounts: Roth IRAs, and SEP IRAs. There are no funding requirements for retirement accounts.

ChoiceTrade Summary

  1. The “unlimited free trades” are only free for U.S. citizens, while the non-U.S. clients have to pay a $10 monthly fee. Also, a $100 minimum account balance is needed if you want to use the “free” edition of the software.
  2. Robust analysis tools and other charting options require a monthly subscription of $29 to $135 but if you have $30,000 on your account, you can use them for free.
  3. Most features are outdated and do not stream appropriately in real-time. Even real-time streaming quotes have a price tag, from $14.95 or $29.95.
  4. Trading options with ChoiceTrade will involve a fee of 40 cents per contract (no trade fee) up to a maximum commission per month of $50. This means that if a customer transacts 125 contracts, the balance of the month is free, which attracts active options traders.
  5. Short-selling has drawbacks because its interface does not update in real-time.
  6. Customer service is hard to reach, available through email or phone but only during regular business hours.

How Does ChoiceTrade Work?

Over the past few years, ChoiceTrade has made some improvements to their free online platform, but these have additional costs. While it’s easy to sign up and get an account, you cannot access analysis features unless you pay for the RoboAnalyst add-on. In addition, you’ll need to open your account with a minimum deposit of $100.

There are three different trading platforms available through ChoiceTrade, including its web-based platform, mobile app, and desktop trading platform. The browser-based free edition is the best offer as you can gain free access to options trading, dynamic trade tickets, learning center, and strategy tests.

You can execute trades under the Trader Home tab only, but you probably will spend most of your time on the Research tab, which includes Java charts, fundamental data, and financial information. This could be better streamlined, but it’s a discount broker that has infinite commission-free trades.

Screenshot of ChoiceTrade desktop platform with Research section selected.
ChoiceTrade’s platform has a number of free tools — but the best tools will cost a fee.

There is a limited number of ways to invest through ChoiceTrade. The main focus is on active day traders and options traders. There aren’t many education or robust research tools available either.

It also seems that some functionality has issues, as we were not able to see real-time quote streaming after logging into the account, though it is available in preview mode.

ChoiceTrade Compared

Fees
Commissions

$0

$0

Account minimum

$100

$0

Minimum initial deposit

$100

TS Select: $2,000

TS GO: $0

General
Best for

Casual investors

Active options and penny stock trading

Highlight

Great retirement planning tools

Powerful tools for professionals

Promotion

None

None

Rating
Fees
Commissions

$0

$0

Account minimum

$0

$0

Minimum initial deposit

TS Select: $2,000

TS GO: $0

$0

General
Best for

Active options and penny stock trading

DIY stock trading

Highlight

Powerful tools for professionals

Pioneer of commission-free stock trading

Promotion

None

Free stock

Rating
Fees

Commissions

$0

$0

$0

Account minimum

$100

$0

$0

Minimum initial deposit

$100

TS Select: $2,000

TS GO: $0

$0

General

Best for

Casual investors

Active options and penny stock trading

DIY stock trading

Highlight

Great retirement planning tools

Powerful tools for professionals

Pioneer of commission-free stock trading

Promotion

None

None

Free stock

ChoiceTrade Overview

The ChoiceTrade platform feels a bit outdated and slow. For instance, while quotes are in real-time, you have to manually refresh to see the latest stream. Other data points have a significant delay, and you have to pay extra for real-time streaming.

Streaming data is included in the premium packages, like ChoiceTrade Elite, Direct Pro Trader, and QuoteStream Trader. These have a monthly price of $29.95, $135, and $14.95 respectively. However, the Elite platform is free in case you have a $30,000 account. Only the ChoiceTrade web platform is completely free with a $100 minimum deposit.

You also cannot control trade routing with the basic free account. This means that your trade executions might not be as fast, unless you upgrade to Direct Pro, which costs $135 per month. If you hold $30,000 in your account, however, this fee is waived.

You can customize ChoiceTrader Elite and Direct Pro Trader. However, it takes a long time to get approved for these accounts as you must answer several questions about your income sources, trading experience, investment objectives, and sign off on four different agreements.

In 2018, ChoiceTrade launched its mobile app, which allowed its users to login and view their portfolio, and that’s about it. You can’t set up pricing alerts, and while it does have a Watchlist feature, you cannot trade on it or execute pre-made trades like you can on the web or desktop application. There’s also no streaming data after two years on the app.

Overall, if you want to trade traditional stocks and options, you can save money through unlimited free trades offerings, but you may want more research and analysis tools, which are only available through the premium applications.

Pros

  • Straightforward investment options for casual investors
  • $0 commissions on stocks and ETFs
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Great retirement planning tools
  • Access to human advisors and robo-advisors

Cons

  • Higher costs for options traders
  • Not suitable for active traders
  • Orders are all manually entered
  • Underwhelming education and research tools

What Can You Trade with ChoiceTrade?

ChoiceTrade focuses on equities and options. Their offerings do not extend to commodities, crypto, mutual funds, bonds, or even futures. Pink sheet stocks and OTC stocks are supported, however.

You can access international trading options through the phone. Option orders have limits to four leg spreads with a maximum of 250 contracts for each. If you want to create advanced options strategies, ChoiceTrade may force you into creating a margin account.

You can use ChoiceTrade for short-selling, and it’s even supported on the free web-based platform. However, there are no suggestion tools or research and analysis options. If you search a stock that is unavailable for short-selling, you simply receive an error message. You can work with customer service to check on availability, but this takes too much time.

In addition, ChoiceTrade requires users to have an equity balance of at least 50 percent of the total value position for all short sales. You also need a minimum equity cash balance of $2,000 for all of your margin accounts, which is due to US regulations. Currently, the margin rate is at 8.5 percent with ChoiceTrade, which is higher than Interactive Broker.

Looking to trade options? See our best options brokers report.

Investor Education

Under their FAQs page, you can find answers to questions about using the most basic functions on ChoiceTrade, like opening a margin account or funding your account. However, education is not a main focus of ChoiceTrade, which prefers users to understand how options work and know what strategies they want to use before investing.

The website does not offer any type of learning center, webinar hub, or other knowledge base to help beginner investors.

How to Open a ChoiceTrade Account

Both US and international customers can use ChoiceTrade to invest, but US customers have an easier time of opening an account. While the process is pretty straightforward, it still takes about 15 to 20 minutes to answer questions and provide verification documents.

The verification was fast for a business day, but some customers have reported that it takes up to a month to be verified. This could be due to security issues with international customers. For our testing purposes, the turnaround was within 24 hours.

ChoiceTrade Analysis, Charting, and Research Tools

Much of the analysis and robust research tools are available through the premium packages or as paid add-ons. The free web-based platform has news tickers and a Twitter feed. You can also use the free stock screener tool in the web-based application.

While there aren’t any options scanners with the free ChoiceTrade edition, you can find these in ChoiceTrade Elite, which costs $29 per month.

If you want more analysis tools, then you will need to upgrade to get RoboAnalyst, which is a paid add-on for the free platform. It’s included in the ChoiceTrade Elite and Direct Pro editions. RoboAnalyst is an AI that provides an in-depth analysis of any stock, and you can get new trade suggestions every day.

For those who want real-time portfolio analysis, in-depth reports, and other management tools, you should look elsewhere. ChoiceTrade does give you basic portfolio data, such as a trade journal, trade activity, position monitoring, and margin balances, but you have to upgrade to get streaming quotes and real-time data.

Not sure where to start with financial research? Learn about fundamental stock analysis.

ChoiceTrade Fees Explained

Does ChoiceTrade have hidden fees? If you want zero-commission stock trades for life, then all you have to be is a U.S. citizen. The non-U.S. customers are charged with a $10 fee per month.

However, you’ll be charged for stop, stop limit, GTC, or extended hours trade at $5 per trade. Also note that the stock must cost $1 or more per share, so it does not apply to penny stocks.

To get the $0 commission per trade, you need to have a $100 minimum account balance and trade on the NYSE, Nasdaq, or AMEX stock exchange. The zero dollar commission also applies to ETFs. All other stocks cost $7 commission per trade.

The options trading includes $0.40 per contract with a $0 base. However, this is capped at $50 per month, which means that in case a customer transacts 125 contracts, the balance of the month is free.

ChoiceTrade Platforms

Screenshot of Choicetrade browser-based trading platform
ChoiceTrade’s platform is technically free to access but does require a $100 minimum deposit.

As you can see, there is a catch to everything considered “free” by ChoiceTrade. While the browser-based platform is technically free, you have to make a $100 deposit to use it.

In addition, if you want simple streaming quotes, you have to pay for the QuoteStream add-on. This includes real-time sales data, more charting options, and mobile app access. However, it costs $14.95 per month or there’s a higher cost edition QuoteStream Pro for $29.95.

Screenshot of Choicetrade Elite Charting Tools
All advanced charting tools with ChoiceTrade come with a price.

ChoiceTrade Elite is the advanced web-based platform with a desktop add-on that has some advanced features not available in the free edition. With a monthly cost of $29.95, you can access more charting options and customization tools.

Are you an active day trader? Check out our top day trading platforms.

It can help you visualize your trades and see profitability scores. With more scanners and advanced options customization, you can see how much the free edition lacks in terms of research and analysis.

Screenshot of ChoiceTrade's desktop platform with analysis tools selected
ChoiceTrade features helpful analysis but again, they won’t be available with the “free” version of the platform.

ChoiceTrade Direct Pro offers direct access software that is useful if you need to set up different sub accounts. You can create fast Level 2 equity trades and single-leg options trade with robust order-routing capabilities. However, it costs $135 per month. This fee is waived if you keep $30,000 more in your account.

Does ChoiceTrade Have a Mobile App?

Choicetrade Mobile App with an arrow pointing to Trade now option.
Their mobile app looks outdated.

ChoiceTrade has not updated their mobile app in quite some time, so it’s pretty simple to use. It has basic features like watch lists, option chains, account management, and charting tools. However, you will probably get the most use for watching your positions and stock lits.

It does not have a full trading experience, but you can select different options and preview to see the trade or select “Trade Now” to put in the order.

Prefer to trade from your smartphone? See our best stock apps.

ChoiceTrade Review: Manual Order Types

There are a lot of order types available with all versions of the ChoiceTrade software. Even in the mobile app, you can access the following order types:

  • Market
  • Limit
  • Stop
  • Stop limit
  • Trailing stop
  • Market/limit close
  • Market/limit open

ChoiceTrade does give you even more choices with order time limits, including:

  • GTC
  • GTD
  • Immediate or Cancel
  • Fill or Kill
  • All or Nothing
  • Day+Ext

Much like the rest of the website, ChoiceTrade is also lacking in modern security and login features for the web app and mobile app. The web login is only a one-step authentication, which has some risk. Many brokerages are now using two-step authentication factors to ensure that accounts cannot be hacked.

In addition, the mobile app does not have any Face ID login options or other biometric protections.

Your investments are insured for $500,000, but no negative balance alerts are included.

ChoiceTrade Funding and Withdrawals

You can easily fund your account through a bank transfer. The withdrawal process is not that user-friendly and can take up to 7 days or more to post in your account. There are also fees to withdraw whether you are using ACH or wire transfers.

Customer Support

Picture of Choicetrade Customer Support page
ChoiceTrade does offer customer support, though no live chat option is available.

ChoiceTrade is pretty limited with customer support. You can fill out a form on their website to get email support, or you can call their office during normal business hours, which are listed as Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

Most online brokers have a live chat option, and some even offer 24/7 support. Since ChoiceTrade is a discount broker with pretty low costs, it’s forgivable, but beginner traders may want to avoid if you are looking for more support and help.

Tricks to Using ChoiceTrade Like a Pro

To take advantage of the “unlimited free trades,” you can sign up for an account and stick to commission-free eligible stock trades. These will only cost you a flat fee of $5 and a minimum account balance of $100.

ChoiceTrade offers some pretty great mobile trading options and robust order types. You can use their mobile app for options trading on-the-fly. The main ChoiceTrade mobile app is free.

If you want to trade ChoiceTrade Elite to see advanced features, you can sign up for a 14-day free trial.

Latest News About ChoiceTrade

ChoiceTrade wants to get into micro-investing and has announced they will be joining the security token market soon.

In 2018, ChoiceTrade partnered up with ValueSetters for consulting and advisory services that are now available through their Direct Pro package.

What Rocks About Trading with ChoiceTrade

ChoiceTrade gets away with offering premier versions since it offers a $0 commission fee for most stocks. It’s also one of the lowest cost brokers for options trading.

The free version of the browser platform offers decent-quality charting and portfolio management tools. For those who want the best trading experience, you will have to upgrade to ChoiceTrade Elite or Direct Pro. Each ticker quote allows you to check out relevant charts and compare, and you can plot other tickets alongside it with visual indicators.

The mobile app is pretty robust for order types and trading. You can manage your portfolio, watch positions, and track your stock watch list.

You can customize your dashboard in some ways, such as default trade sizes and which Twitter feeds or news feeds to track, but you need to manually refresh to display the latest data.

Active traders can see several charts at once and set up more advanced analysis with ChoiceTrader Elite for an additional cost. However, it’s time-consuming and not intuitive enough to be worth the cost.

What ChoiceTrade Could Do Better

Everything is not so free or refined in the latest ChoiceTrade platform. Much of the browser platform is outdated and clunky, and you will need to refresh to get accurate, real-time quotes.

If you are looking for speed, then ChoiceTrade is not the best option either. You will have to switch between tabs or manually keep track of what orders you want to make. There is no best price or even an improvement guarantee, though you can select your own routing for orders.

ChoiceTrade is very limiting on what you can trade. It does not offer futures, mutual funds, or bonds, and while you may see some strange news regarding crypto being offered on ChoiceTrade, there is no evidence that this functionality exists on any platform associated with the broker.

You also pay for options, although the cost is quite low in comparison to other brokerages.

Final Thoughts: ChoiceTrade Review

Overall, ChoiceTrade tries to appear as an intuitive brokerage, but many of the features are clunky or overpriced. The catchy “unlimited free trades” gimmick really only applies to certain stocks traded on NYSE, Nasdaq, and the AMEX, and you don’t have access to a variety of other trade products like with larger brokerages.

If you are a self-directed investor with a winning strategy, you could still use ChoiceTrade’s $0 commission to get the most out of your investments. However, the platforms take some time getting used to, and if you make your money on short-selling, you’ll need help from customer service to complete your trades more often than not.

Through the premium packages like ChoiceTrade Elite and Direct Pro, you can access more tools, but they are not as smart as some of the other brokers either. For instance, you’ll need to pay $14.95 to access the basic robo-advisory tool RoboAnalyst, but these suggestions and recommendations are included with your account on TD Ameritrade and E*Trade.

Finally, if you are looking for information and clarity on how to use ChoiceTrade, there aren’t too many resources or educational articles available. You will have to rely on yourself to learn the platform or call customer support during business hours to get a walk-through.

ChoiceTrade FAQs

  • What are ChoiceTrade’s Commissions and Fees?

    Stocks and ETFs on the NYSE, Nasdaq, and AMEX are commission-free. Stocks executed on the tZERO ATS come with a commission that is equal to 1% of the principal value of the trade, with a $25 minimum per trade.

    U.S. stocks outside of the NYSE, Nasdaq, and AMEX exchanges come with $12 commission per trade.

    Foreign stocks have a $25 per trade commission, and options trades have a commission of $0.40 per contract, up to a maximum of $50 per month.

    Non-U.S. accounts incur a monthly maintenance fee of $10, and setting up an individual foreign account will set you back $25. Setting up an account as a foreign entity costs $100, and there is an annual foreign entity review fee of $200.

    Individual and joint accounts might also be subject to a quarterly inactivity fee of $40 – but you only have to conduct 5 trades within the calendar quarter in order to avoid this fee. Entity accounts are subject to a $50 monthly inactivity fee, and the criteria for avoiding this fee are the same as for individual and joint accounts.

    Outgoing domestic wires come with a $35 fee, while outgoing international wires incur a fee of $60. Outgoing ACH transfers come with a $5 fee.

    Outgoing ACAT transfers cost $75, while partial ACAT transfers will set you back $35. Monthly paper statements and archived statement fees are $5 apiece, while broker-assisted trading incurs a steep $30 fee.

  • Can You Trade Outside of Normal Market Hours with ChoiceTrade?

    You can – but orders sent from 8AM to 9:30AM ET and 4PM to 8PM ET will go through an ECN, and incur a fee of $5 per trade.

  • Is There a Minimum Requirement to Open a ChoiceTrade Account?

    Yes – the minimum deposit required to open a ChoiceTrade account is $100.

  • Are ChoiceTrade Accounts Insured?

    Yes – ChoiceTrade carries SIPC insurance, which protects customers’ accounts for up to $500,000, with a maximum limit of $250,000 on cash.

  • Does ChoiceTrade Pay Interest on Credit Balances?

    Yes – ChoiceTrade will pay interest on credit balances, but the exact amount isn’t stated anywhere. The FAQ section on their website states that their credit interest rate is liable to change due to market conditions, so your best bet is to contact them directly and inquire about the current rate.

  • What are ChoiceTrade’s Margin Rates?

    ChoiceTrade’s margin rates depend on the current Fed Funds rate – to be more precise, ChoiceTrade will offer you a margin rate of Fed Funds plus six percent. Although their margin rates are obviously subject to change, they’re usually on the higher end of the spectrum.

ChoiceTrade and the Competition

See how ChoiceTrade compares to the top investing platforms by reading one of the reviews below.

All reviews, research, news and assessments of any kind on The Tokenist are compiled using a strict editorial review process by our editorial team. Neither our writers nor our editors receive direct compensation of any kind to publish information on tokenist.com. Our company, Tokenist Media LLC, is community supported and may receive a small commission when you purchase products or services through links on our website. Click here for a full list of our partners and an in-depth explanation on how we get paid.

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