Advertiser Disclosure
Advertiser Disclosure: The credit card and banking offers that appear on this site are from credit card companies and banks from which receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site, including, for example, the order in which they appear on category pages. does not include all banks, credit card companies or all available credit card offers, although best efforts are made to include a comprehensive list of offers regardless of compensation. Advertiser partners include American Express, Chase, U.S. Bank, and Barclaycard, among others.

Zacks Trade Review – Investing Platform for the Active Trader

Our rating


Zacks Trade

Zacks Trade Pros

  • Low trading commissions
  • Few additional fees
  • Powerful tools and analytics

Zacks Trade Cons

  • High minimum investment
  • May not work behind a firewall
  • Some alternative investments missing

Most retail investors don’t love investing. They invest because they have to, and they’re willing to outsource the legwork to financial advisors or semi-automated robo-advisor platforms.

But some are different. They love hand-selecting every stock or bond they buy, poring over regulatory filings and analyst reports before settling on a decision. Or they thrill at calling a near-term bottom, loading up, and cashing in at the top.

These investors and traders can tolerate far more risk than the typical retail investor. They expect big things from the market, and they demand an online broker trading platform that can keep up.

Key Features of Zacks Trade

Zacks Trade is one such trading platform. It’s not the best-known discount online broker out there, nor the most user-friendly. And it lacks the sort of broad-based appeal that big-name platforms command.

But for serious traders and investors who’ve tried big-name discount brokers like Charles Schwab and found them lacking, Zacks Trade is a cut above thanks to its wide array of account types, platforms, available products, fee structure, and news and analysis tools.

Account Transfer Fee Reimbursement

Zacks Trade reimburses transfer fees charged by other brokerages on full account transfers of $5,000 or more, up to $150 in transfer fees. Simply fill out a Zacks Trade transfer fee reimbursement request form and provide proof of an applicable transfer.

This offer doesn’t apply to IRA or account termination fees, and other restrictions may apply. Zacks deposits account credits within 30 days of request approval.

Account Types

Zacks Trade offers three main account types: traditional (taxable) brokerage accounts, traditional IRAs, and Roth IRAs.

Consult IRS guidance and your tax professional for information about IRA contribution limits, withdrawal restrictions, early withdrawal penalties, and other important things to know before opening a tax-advantaged retirement account.

Zacks Trade Platform Options

Zacks Trade has three distinct platform options, plus two handy smartphone- and tablet-friendly platforms that work on Android and iOS operating systems, respectively. All are included with membership and cost nothing extra to use.

Zacks Trade Pro

Zacks Trade Pro is a powerful trading platform designed for active, sophisticated traders, including those who do day trading for a living. It provides direct access to 19 different national securities markets.

Unlike most modern online brokerage platforms, Zacks Trade Pro is not cloud-based. You need to download it to your primary computer’s hard drive, and it may not work behind a firewall.

Otherwise, it’ll feel familiar, if inordinately feature-rich, to anyone versed in online equities trading.

The endlessly customizable interface allows for as much or as little detail as you’d like, with visibility into your account and margin balances, filled and pending orders, market value, and other portfolio data at a glance.

Use the alerts feature to set custom alerts based on share price, volume, margin, price, and time.

Zacks Trader

Zacks Trader is a cleaner trading interface that incorporates many of the same powerful features as Zacks Trade Pro without the clutter and customization potential.

It’s ideal for traders new to Zacks Trade and for less-experienced traders in general. Because it’s browser-based and lives in the cloud, it’s also ideal for use behind a firewall.

Client Portal

This is Zacks Trade’s account dashboard. It’s the best place to get a high-level look at your entire account at a glance. Use it to:

  • Access statements, tax documents, and account performance reports
  • Move money into or out of your Zacks Trade account
  • Update your account configuration or security settings
  • Make simple trades with a few clicks

Because it lacks the robust real-time data and reporting capabilities of Zacks Trade Pro and Zacks Trader, you shouldn’t use Client Portal as your primary trading platform.

Available Investment Products and Trading Commissions

Zacks Trade offers competitive pricing on market-traded securities and bonds.

Stocks, Options, and ETFs

Zacks Trade allows account holders to trade stocks in 19 different countries (covering about 90 distinct exchanges), plus hundreds of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and options for thousands of publicly traded firms.

Zacks’ U.S. stock and ETF trading commissions are generally on the low end of the discount brokerage range — $0.01 per share or $1 minimum for smaller trades — for securities trading at $1 or more per share. For stocks and ETFs trading below the $1 threshold, the commission is 1% of total trade value.

Options trades are priced more reasonably relative to competing discount brokerages: $1 for the first contract and $0.75 for each additional contract.

For international equities trades, Zacks levies country-specific commissions that may exceed standard U.S. commissions, sometimes substantially. Non-dollar-denominated trades may incur flat currency conversion fees, as well.

Mutual Funds

Zacks Trade has hundreds of mutual funds in its database. Relative to other discount brokerages, commissions are on the high side (a little under $30).

Bear in mind that mutual fund trade orders placed during regular trading hours will settle after hours, so these instruments aren’t appropriate for short-term or high-frequency trading.

Corporate Bonds

Zacks Trade offers access to investment-grade corporate bonds issued by hundreds of private corporations. There’s a low, flat charge per bond purchase, plus a two-tiered percentage-based levy.

Government Bonds

Zacks Trade account holders can buy and sell government-issued bonds, which may offer unique federal and state tax advantages. (Consult a tax professional for advice specific to your situation.)

Government bond trades follow the corporate bonds’ pricing structure, but the percentage-based levy is even lower.

Margin Trading and Rates

In a nod to speculative traders, Zacks Trade allows margin accounts — lines of credit against which account holders can borrow to fund trading activities rather than use their own funds.

Margin trading is a high-risk, high-reward activity that’s appropriate only for sophisticated investors. Even more so than cash trading, margin trading carries a significant risk of principal loss.

Zacks Trade’s margin program has four pricing tiers, with interest charges falling as account size grows. The lowest tier (highest margin rates) covers accounts of up to $100,000. The highest (lowest margin rates) is reserved for accounts larger than $3 million.

Additional Fees and Minimums

Prospective Zacks Trade account holders should be aware of some other potential account fees and limitations.

For starters, the platform strongly recommends a $2,500 investment minimum. It’s possible to open and fund an account with less, but you won’t be able to trade on margin, and you may struggle to achieve your investing goals using Zacks Trade’s available features and tools.

Otherwise, Zacks Trade imposes a per-withdrawal fee after one complimentary withdrawal per month. The fee is higher for withdrawals made by paper check or wire transfer.

On the bright side, Zacks Trade waives fees for account activities or conditions for which other brokerages charge, including:

  • Account inactivity
  • Outgoing account transfers
  • IRA custodianship
  • Order cancellation

Trading Tools

Zacks Trade makes a slew of powerful trading tools available to all account holders. The best place to learn about and use these tools is through your Zacks Trade Pro dashboard.

Some highlights include:

  • Algos: Algorithms that uncover unusual market patterns lesser-equipped traders might overlook (and that standard charting tools won’t catch)
  • Basket Trader: A convenient way for high-volume traders to import and execute bulk trades
  • Market Scanners: Zacks Trade’s proprietary stock screener software
  • Labs: Tools covering advanced options strategies, options probability analysis, and market volatility analysis
  • SpreadTrader: A framework for creating and placing complex spread orders quickly and accurately
  • Rebalance Portfolio: An automated rebalancing tool that eliminates the need to place individual trades

Research Tools

Zacks Trade account holders enjoy complimentary access to about 20 market research subscriptions and 80 free trials, including top outlets like Morningstar, Thomson Reuters, and The Motley Fool.

Bear in mind that “complimentary” does not necessarily mean “free reign.” You may be required to pay for detailed reports or products from these services. And if you enroll in any free trials of premium products or services, you’re likely to be renewed as a paying customer when the trial ends unless you cancel ahead of time.

Zacks does have one powerful free research tool: its in-house shop, Zacks Investment Research. This Chicago-based outfit has been in business for more than 40 years and is renowned for producing insightful takes that too many market observers miss.

Global Market Access

Zacks Trade caters to U.S.-based investors and international traders alike. Those based outside the U.S. can access a single Zacks Trade platform from over 200 national markets, from Canada to Australia.

Regardless of location, Zacks account holders can trade in about 90 markets in nearly 20 countries, although the platform’s customer service team is only available during extended North American business hours.

Advantages of Zacks Trade

Zacks Trade’s key advantages include relatively low trading and account costs and a wealth of information and analytics for serious traders and investors.

  • Mostly Low Trading Commissions. By and large, Zacks Trade charges lower commissions than the competitors who also cater to serious traders (as opposed to more novice-friendly brokerages known for free commissions). That’s excellent news for advanced, high-volume traders who’d like to pay as little as possible — and have the confidence to place and execute complex trades with minimal support.
  • Few Additional Account Fees. Zacks Trade’s account fee schedule is reasonable. Other than excess withdrawal fees and currency conversion fees, you won’t encounter too many financial surprises here.
  • Powerful Trading and Analytics Tools for Serious Investors. Zacks Trade account holders have access to a vast array of powerful trading and analytic tools, like watchlists and advanced market data, plus research insights from dozens of respected outlets and some niche shops too. That’s great for investors with the confidence and know-how to interpret professional-grade research reports. Having such broad-based access under the same digital roof sure is nice.
  • Three Trading Platforms to Choose From. Zacks Trade has three distinct trading platforms: Zacks Trade Pro, Zacks Trader, and Client Dashboard. Client Dashboard isn’t really appropriate for complex trades, but it’s great for account management purposes. Between them, Zacks Trade Pro and Zacks Trader support pretty much any use case. Zacks Trader comes in handy for on-the-go and behind-the-firewall trading.
  • Truly Global Market Access. Zacks Trade is available to investors in over 200 countries around the world, all of whom have access to about 90 different exchanges in roughly 20 countries. It’s hard to do better in a single, consumer-facing trading platform.

Disadvantages of Zacks Trade

Consider these drawbacks before committing to Zacks Trade. The biggest downsides include high commissions for mutual funds — a key component of many hands-off investors’ portfolios — and a somewhat outdated flagship trading platform.

  • Caters to Sophisticated, Hands-On Traders. Zacks Trade is built for sophisticated, active traders who value access to vast quantities of research and powerful trading tools over hands-off convenience and ease of use. That’s not a knock on Zacks Trade — the platform knows its market — but it’s important for inexperienced investors intrigued by Zacks Trades’ low commissions to understand pricing isn’t everything. Low-cost platforms like Schwab are nearly as affordable and far more beginner-friendly.
  • Relatively High Mutual Fund Commissions. The only exception to Zacks Trade’s generally low-cost commissions regime is its mutual funds vertical, where commissions are a bit higher than average for a discount brokerage. That’s in keeping with Zacks Trade’s focus on active traders, for whom mutual funds may be an afterthought.
  • Zacks Trade Pro May Not Work Behind a Firewall. Zacks Trade Pro is a desktop program that may not work behind a corporate firewall. That’s bad news for prospective clients expecting to access the full power of Zacks Trade from a work computer. Zacks Trader stands in just fine for quick trades, but it’s not quite the same.
  • Recommended Investing Minimum May Rule Out First-Timers. While it’s possible to open and fund an account with less, Zacks Trade strongly recommends bringing at least $2,500 to the table. This recommended minimum account balance may be too steep for novice investors.
  • No Futures, Commodities, or Forex Trading. Zacks Trade doesn’t offer trading in futures, commodities, or forex (other than for currency exchange purposes). If you’re looking to make a market in any of those areas, whether by placing day trades or longer-term orders, you’re better off with another trading platform.

How Zacks Trade Stacks Up

Zacks Trade is one of many low-cost online brokerages competing for your business. Let’s see how it stacks up against another choice popular with serious traders: InteractiveBrokers.

Zacks TradeInteractive Brokers
Stock CommissionStarting at $1 per trade ($0.01 per share)None with IBKR Lite, otherwise $0.35 to $1 per order
Options Commission$1 for the first contract, then $0.75 per contractTypically $1 minimum per order
Margin RatesStarting at 3.56%Below 1% for high-asset traders
Alternative Investments?LimitedYes — futures, crypto, hedge funds, and more

Final Word

Unlike some better-known discount brokerages, Zacks Trade does not try to be all things to all investors. From top to bottom, this platform is built for serious, active investors who love diving deep into regulatory filings and poring through book-length research reports.

If you love the thrill that accompanies a winning trade, you’ll find your Zen place here at Zacks Trade.

And if you’re not a born day trader? You’re fortunate to have a bevy of other low-cost online brokerage options. Your hands-off, user-friendly match is out there.

That’s not to say you should write off Zacks Trade today and never look back. Like discount brokerage solutions, people can change. If you should find yourself seduced at some future date by the thrill of market execution, you’ll know where to find it.

The Verdict

Our rating


Zacks Trade

Zacks Trade Pros

  • Low trading commissions
  • Few additional fees
  • Powerful tools and analytics

Zacks Trade Cons

  • High minimum investment
  • May not work behind a firewall
  • Some alternative investments missing
Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
Brian Martucci writes about credit cards, banking, insurance, travel, and more. When he's not investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, you can find him exploring his favorite trails or sampling a new cuisine. Reach him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.