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Zacks Trade Review 2021: Fees, Services and More

Zacks Trade offers a full service trading platform in a marketplace increasingly crowded by similar products. It has a few areas in which it stands out compared to other top-tier platforms, such as deep fundamental analysis and a simplified web-based platform that makes a terrific learning tool for new investors.

This platform should certainly be considered in the same breath as any of its major competitors. If you want to focus your investments around fundamental analysis and research, or are just learning how to work the market, Zacks Trade might be worth a look. This review will break down services, features and costs for you.

If you’re looking for valuable insight, consider working with a financial advisor to plan your next investing move. 

Services & Features: What Does Zacks Trade Offer?

Zacks Trade is a full service online trading platform. This means that it offers access to most major asset classes, with an online trading environment that allows you to research and invest in these products on an individual basis. For a comparison, a robo-advisor might offer you a wide spectrum of assets but not have the option to make individual trades.

The Zacks Trade platform supports investing in stocks, ETFs, options, mutual funds and bonds. It does not, at the time of writing this article, support futures contracts, commodities, forex or cryptocurrency. Zacks Trade has robust support for global investment. It allows you to open an account from just about anywhere in the world, and allows access to markets in 19 different countries. While you cannot invest in forex as an asset class, you can use Zacks Trade to make currency exchanges for the purposes of investment.

Zacks Trade supports a wide range of complex order types, including conditional instructions such as one-cancels-the-other, and multi-leg trading.

Investors can choose from three different platforms while using Zacks Trade:

  • Zacks Trade Pro is the core product. As a desktop client only, this platform offers a sophisticated trading environment that you can customize through an industry-standard widget-based design. It allows you to build custom charting tools that track your preferred sets of data and technical indicators; specific watchlists to follow assets, industries or entire asset classes; and supports real time data with both alerts and indicators that you can set up based on your trading needs.
  • The Zacks Trader platform is a simplified, browser-based version. This platform gives you a version of Zacks Trade Pro without many of the tools, data sets or customization options available in the full product. Investors get a web-based trading environment, for those who can’t access their desktop platform. It also creates an easier entry point into the firm’s platform. New users can cut their teeth on Zacks Trader, getting used to trading on an easier interface before stepping up to the far more sophisticated options in Zacks Trade Pro.
  • Zacks Trade also has a Client Portal trading environment. This version of the platform is mainly an administrative portal. Investors can review information like account and payment settings. This edition of the platform also supports some basic trading features, although these features have largely become irrelevant with the launch of Zacks Trader.

While the later two versions of the platform are stripped down for specific functions, Zacks Trade Pro remains at the heart of this service. The research options that the platform offers are comprehensive, making this product stand out. Investors can access well over 100 different technical indicators and several dozen sources for fundamental analysis (such as news feeds, bespoke analysis and commentary).

Fundamental analysis options can be pulled up based on individual assets as well as the market as a whole, providing a potentially rich trading environment regardless of how you make your trading decisions. Multiple different features, such as the Probability Lab and Options Strategy Lab even allow you to generate investment analysis based on the platform’s own prediction algorithms, giving yet another source of potential insight.

Investors should note that Zacks Trade offers somewhat more limited customer service than many of its competitors. You can only access an agent during standard business hours (Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.). However, Zacks Trade offers telephone, email and chat support.

In a standout feature, this firm also offers free broker consultations to answer questions and help you plan your trades.

Fees: How Much Does Zacks Trade Cost?

Fees: How Much Does Zacks Trade Cost?

There are four types of fees you should generally look for in a trading platform:

  • Trading Fees: Any form of fee attached to each trade that you make. This can come in the form of a flat fee or what’s known as the “spread.” This is the difference, if any, between the buying and the selling price of an asset.
  • Trading Commissions: This is when a broker will charge you a percentage based on the volume or value of each trade.
  • Inactivity Fees: Any fees that the broker charges you for not trading, such as if it charges you for keeping money in a brokerage account.
  • Non-Trading/Other Fees: Any form of fee for trading on this platform not covered above. For example, a broker might charge you for making deposits into your brokerage account or taking money out.

As a threshold matter, Zacks Trade requires a $2,500 minimum balance. There is no inactivity fee, while any withdrawals after the first per month costs $1 or more (depending on how you transfer out your money). There are no fees associated with using the firm’s trading software.

It costs $0.01 per share to trade stocks with a $1 minimum, although for penny stocks (any stocks priced less than $1 per share) the platform charges a 1% commission. Options cost $1 plus $0.75 per contract after the first. All mutual funds cost $27.50 to trade, and there are no zero-fee mutual funds or ETFs offered.

Bonds are priced based on the value of your trade, but typically cost $3 plus .025% of the face value of the bond.

Margin rates start at 3.59% and decrease for investors with larger balances. For those with balances in excess of $3 million, rates can go as low as 2.75%. This is considerably less than other major competitors.

Effectiveness: How Well Does Zacks Trade Work?

Effectiveness: How Well Does Zacks Trade Work?

Zacks Trade is not the cheapest full-service trading platform on the market, a fact which has drawn some criticism from other reviews. And it’s very true that this service’s prices make it a weaker option for high-volume and professional traders. In particular, the prices that this service charges per-share and per-option may all but disqualify it for many highly active investors such as day traders. At the same time, this service’s relatively high minimum balance may scare off retail investors who are looking to feel out their investment options. And that’s perfectly fair: asking for $2,500 worth of minimum liquidity is a pretty tall order for someone just getting into the market.

However, in between these two categories, Zacks Trade finds its sweet spot. The degree of research options offered by Zacks Trade is truly impressive, and its cost-free broker assisted trading can be a tremendous value-add for investors who are still learning the ropes. At the same time, the firm’s browser-based platform acts essentially as a “lite” version of its investment software. It is a terrific and unusual opportunity for investors to learn how to work their systems before they take on the complexity of a full service investment platform.

This is an unusual demographic, for sure. But investors who are comfortable with a high minimum balance, and are also interested in a service that can hold their hand a little while they learn the ropes, will find much to like about Zacks Trade.

The Bottom Line

If you’re just getting started, Zacks Trade might be a terrific platform for you, as long as you can stomach the rather high minimum balance.With a robust set of research tools and a simplified web-based platform that lets investors learn what they’re doing before tackling the full complexity of investment, this is a great tool for relatively new investors who want a full-powered service.

Additional Tips for Investing

  • Don’t just pick the right platform, make sure you have a killer strategy to go with it. A financial advisor can help you optimize a strategy for all of your investing needs and goals. SmartAsset’s matching tool can match you with financial advisors in your area in just five minutes. If you’re ready, get started now.
  • As an investor, you need to make sure that your investment assets fit your risk profile. SmartAsset’s free, easy-to-use asset allocation calculator will help align your assets with your risk tolerance.
  • If you are a new investor, our guide on investing for beginners can teach you the ins-and-outs of getting your portfolio up and running.

Photo Credit: ©iStock.com/Antonio_Diaz, ©iStock.com/PeopleImages, ©iStock.com/svetikd

Eric Reed Eric Reed is a freelance journalist who specializes in economics, policy and global issues, with substantial coverage of finance and personal finance. He has contributed to outlets including The Street, CNBC, Glassdoor and Consumer Reports. Eric’s work focuses on the human impact of abstract issues, emphasizing analytical journalism that helps readers more fully understand their world and their money. He has reported from more than a dozen countries, with datelines that include Sao Paolo, Brazil; Phnom Penh, Cambodia; and Athens, Greece. A former attorney, before becoming a journalist Eric worked in securities litigation and white collar criminal defense with a pro bono specialty in human trafficking issues. He graduated from the University of Michigan Law School and can be found any given Saturday in the fall cheering on his Wolverines.
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