TradeKing Review: $4.95 Stock Trades are Just the Beginning is a discount online stock broker that offers super low $4.95 stock trades with no minimum balance requirements. Our TradeKing review will look at how this broker can keep costs so low and what — if anything — you sacrifice when opening an account.

Thanks to trade commissions that are half those at big brokers like E*Trade or TD Ameritrade, TradeKing has enjoyed steady growth and a devoted following. In 2012, TradeKing merged with another super-discount brokerage, Zecco, to grow even larger.

Why TradeKing

Following a prudent buy and hold strategy, TradeKing is a solid choice for new investors. At just $4.95 a trade, you can use a small starting investment to buy a portfolio of stocks without blowing a big chunk of your available cash on trading commissions.

If you wonder how they can undermine the competition so much on price, keep in mind that there will be cutbacks somewhere. TradeKing does offer an array of research tools and mobile apps, just don’t expect them to be at the bleeding edge of technology.

The same goes for customer service. Some brokers offer 24/7 phone service, TradeKing’s phone service is limited to weekday business hours. You’ll get somebody to help you, other brokers simply provide more of a “red carpet” experience. Despite this fact, it’s worth noting TradeKing managed to win the “Best Customer Service” category of SmartMoney’s annual broker survey in 2010, 2011, and 2012.

All this aside, the vast majority investors will never need all the fancy trading tools or constant access to the customer service line. And if you make a frequent amount of trades each month, the $5 you save by trading with TradeKing as opposed to another leading online stock brokerage may start to add up.

How to Open a TradeKing Account

Getting started with TradeKing is fairly straightforward and can be completed 100% online. Simply provide your personal information and funding information and read through and agree to the various trading disclosures. One note about funding your account: Unless you do a bank wire transfer, you should expect to wait five days for the electronic funds transfer to be completed and your account ready to trade.

Switch to TradeKing and get up to $150 in transfer fees reimbursed.