Zacks Trade Review - I Tried Zacks Trade And Here's How It Went

(Money Under 30 Rating)

Ranking

9.5/10

For experienced investors, Zacks Trade offers a cheap alternative to paying for an advisor. You can easily trade securities, customize the dashboard, and you’ll have access to great customer support.

Visit Site


Usability

6.5/10

Pricing

9.5/10

Trade options

10/10

Educational tools

10/10



Best for:

 

  • Advanced investors
  • Low-cost investing
  • Customer service

Editor's Note - You can trust the integrity of our balanced, independent financial advice. We may, however, receive compensation from the issuers of some products mentioned in this article. Opinions are the author's alone. This content has not been provided by, reviewed, approved or endorsed by any advertiser, unless otherwise noted below.

If you’re a day-trader or have wanted to explore what it’s like to be one, looking at a platform designed for day-traders is the first step. For many, it’ll scare them away. But if it’s right for you, you’ll love it.

That’s where Zacks Trade comes in. It’s a broker that is designed to support people who spend lots of money on trading and trade frequently. 

What is Zacks Trade?

Zacks Trade is an online broker that is based out of Chicago, Illinois. Their brokerage platform is highly complex and is geared toward active day-traders and multi-security investors.

Zacks Trade was created by Len Zacks, owner of the famous Zacks Investment Research, who is well known in the investment community for the insanely detailed research reports they put together.

Zacks Trade is unique in that it offers the ability to buy stocks and bonds like many other investment platforms, but it really amps it up by giving you access to two incredibly complex and in-depth platforms by which you can make more aggressive trades.

How Zacks Trade works

Zacks Trade is a broker, so they assist you in trading many types of securities. Where it differs from other brokers, however, is how this is done.

Zacks Trade offers its clients three different platforms (I’ll cover all three below) you can use to invest. One of them is very basic and often isn’t used, but the other two are powerful and offer a robust set of tools that few other services have.

The way Zacks Trade positions themselves in the market is to draw in clients who have a lot of money to invest, are willing to borrow on margin, and want to trade stocks very frequently.

The systems and pricing all align with this philosophy, which we’ll explore below.

Who is Zacks Trade good for?

I’ve alluded to it already, but Zacks Trade is geared toward seasoned investment professionals.

If you’re someone who has sizable investment dollars, understands how to trade at a high velocity, and wants access to different types of investments in a multitude of countries, Zacks Trade is highly recommended.

Who isn’t Zacks Trade good for?

This is not a platform for beginners—in fact, I’d encourage beginners to stay away if you don’t know what you’re doing since you can quickly lose your money.

Trading on margin, trading options, and playing with foreign currency or in foreign markets is a dangerous game if you don’t know how to play it.

Zacks Trade details and features

First, let’s dive into the three key trading platforms that come with a Zacks Trade account:

Client Portal

The Client Portal is the online Account Management console for Zacks Trade. They make it easy to set up, monitor, and manage all the necessary aspects of your account and portfolio through this portal.

Here are some of the things you can do in the Client Portal:

  • Make very simple trades through Account Management
  • Access statements and trade confirmations
  • Retrieve tax documents
  • Make deposits to and withdrawals from your account
  • Initiate account transfers from other brokers
  • Change your security settings and your password
  • Request a secure login card to add an extra layer of security to your account (more on this below)
  • Change account permissions
  • Add other products and services like options and margin privileges
  • Analyze your Zacks Trade portfolio on a daily, monthly, or quarterly basis
  • Quickly create PDF reports for easy viewing, downloading and presentation
  • Determine how your asset allocation impacts your portfolio’s performance when compared to the performance of the S&P 500 Index

So if you need to make more advanced trades, dig into your margin buffer, or see an option chain, this isn’t the platform that you want to use. But it does offer some nice, basic features.

Exploring the Client Portal

This is the main screen I get to when I sign into the Client Portal:

As you can see, a test account doesn’t have any balances so it looks rather bland.

The Client Portal doesn’t have a ton of features that I’d probably use, but I did find the Tax Optimizer pretty neat.

According to the portal, “the Tax Optimizer allows you to gauge the profit/loss impact of your selected tax lot matching methods, change the method on-the-fly and immediately see the potential profit/loss impact of an alternative tax lot matching method, and manually match specific lots.”

Overall, there wasn’t much to see here. I can see how it’d be useful to gather account information and get necessary documents, but the visuals of the platform looked like they were 20 years old.

ZacksTrader

Browser-based

ZacksTrader is browser-based and is perfect for people who have to work behind a firewall. This is because it runs through the internet and doesn’t require any software.

While ZacksTrader Pro has much more to offer (discussed below, but in short, is best for active traders or for day trading purposes), ZacksTrader is a simple platform to place occasional trades; the Client Portal is user-friendly so very straightforward and easy to use.

Trade in over 90 markets

With ZacksTrader, you can trade securities like stocks, bonds, options, and more. Even better, you can do this in over 90 markets across the globe.

Less experienced traders will love that the platform allows you to submit equity orders with a single click, while more advanced traders will like the ability to create a more complex order (such as an options trade) by way of the Order Management Panel.

You can quickly add ticker symbols to the main screen so you can view live market data and see what’s going on. You can also access interactive charts to view real-time market data about a single stock.

Research tools

For research, you can get “security-specific fundamentals, including profile, news, charting, financials, insider trading information, analyst information, and SEC filings for any company.”

Customizable

Finally, you can make the platform look however you need it to.

Because ZacksTrader was created with a modular design, you can add and remove functions you want or don’t want so your most frequent views are exactly what you need.

Day-traders will understand the value of this, as you don’t often have time to waste looking for useful information and sifting through the useless stuff.

Using ZacksTrader

Upon logging in, I’m taken right to the Account tab, which gives me a pretty nice overview of my financial positions:

Order Management in the lower left corner allows me to place a trade immediately if I want to—which is a nice quick feature:

Moving over to the Market tab, I can quickly see the performance of a list of stocks and indices I’ve chosen. This provides a quick overview of securities you want to track.

Next, I move to the Options tab, where I can type in a ticker and view option chains for that stock. I manually added AAPL, but I’ll show you how quick and easy it is to add chains for another stock (I chose Facebook):

After this, I move over to the Products tab. This is where you can analyze the performance of a stock by way of charts. Again, you can see me pull up Facebook’s stock and mess around with some of the options—I tried both a line chart and candlestick chart:

The next tab is the Scanner tab, which allows you to go pretty deep with search parameters. Unfortunately, it wasn’t working for me, but you can see how complicated it can get—which allows you to narrow down your stocks to very specific guidelines.

After this, I moved over to the Market Pulse tab, which shows, at a high-level, how different equity markets, sovereign debt markets, forex markets, and equity volatility is trending at that moment in time.

For me, this was enough to get a big picture look at what was going on in the markets, but I couldn’t see myself using this for more than a nice to have. You’d definitely want to narrow it down to at least specific sectors or something similar to get a better picture of what’s going on in that market.

Overall, I can tell the system is DEEP. I didn’t even have to place a trade to know how much was available to me.

My only gripe is how dated the system looked. It took a little longer than I wanted to get logged in, too. But after that, I loved skimming through the data that was available to me.

ZacksTrade Pro

Not web-based

ZacksTrade Pro is the mack daddy when it comes to trading software. You do have to download the software, but it’s worth it.

According to Zacks Trade, ZacksTrade Pro “provides a comprehensive and efficient trading workspace that lets you put all of the essentials at your fingertips.”

You can even “trade stocks, options, bonds and funds in over 19 countries, all from a single account.”

Customizable

The ZacksTrade Pro software is really versatile. You have the ability to create a custom layout that’s as complex or simple as you want.

The features here are more robust than with ZacksTrader, and as I mentioned above, active traders will appreciate having their most needed information handy and where they like it.

Watch lists

You can also build watch lists for anything you want—whether it’s an option, bond, or foreign security; and you can tailor these lists to show whatever data is most pressing for you.

Along the same lines, you can create real-time alerts “based on price, time, margin and volume that notify you of important changes in the market.”

In your account overview, you’ll be able to view the total market value of your portfolio, your margin, funds available for trades, and other information about the securities and cash in your portfolio.

In addition, you can see open and filled orders and modify existing orders where applicable, all with relative ease.

Research tools

For research of securities, you can create various charts within a customized layout. You can select from over 120 configurable technical indicators to get the right view for what you need.

Options trading

ZacksTrade Pro also makes it easy to do options trading. It comes with a tool called Strategy Builder that gives you the ability to create spread or options orders with multiple legs. Some of the other tools you can use for options trading include:

  • Options Trader
  • Spread Trader
  • Rollover Options

These tools allow you to further customize an options order so it’s exactly how you want it.

Using ZacksTrade Pro

ZacksTrade Pro is a beast of a system. It’s unlike anything I have ever used.

Remember, this is software you download to your desktop and run that way—it’s not web-based. ZacksTrade Pro has all the features of the web-based platform (ZacksTrader) and more. Since I already outlined some of the key features above, I’m going to simply share my perspective upon logging in and browsing the platform.

The software takes a few minutes to boot up—this might go faster on a newer computer, but it wasn’t an awful wait. Once I got in, I was greeted by this little number:

It’s the ZacksTrade Pro Daily Lineup—which gives you all kinds of up to date market information. It’s a really nice feature to have, but MAN is it ugly. I feel like I am reading a webpage from 1994.

After I close that pop-up, I get right into the system. The one thing I’ll say is this is built for active traders. If you know what you want, you can place orders incredibly fast.  Here’s what the main screen looks like:

Placing an order was super-fast—I just made a few modifications and was able to transmit the order immediately:

There’s also a trading bot that helps you with anything you need:

Overall, I didn’t spend too much time on this system since it has everything ZacksTrader has and more (and frankly I don’t need this powerful of a system). It might take you a while to customize the look and feel to be what you want, but once you do, I imagine it would be an excellent platform for active traders.

Customer support

Zacks Trade has a customer support team available Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 6 PM EST (closed on weekends and market holidays). Alternatively, Zacks Trade can be found on Twitter and Facebook, as well as through email.

My experience was a little different. I actually reached out to a couple of folks at Zacks Trade on a weekend because I needed information about their company for this article. I didn’t think I would get a response since it was a minor question and it was a weekend when they’re closed, but two people responded.

Now, I know that’s not necessarily indicative of how their customer support operates, but I really appreciated having someone on the team (two in fact) reply in a very friendly and helpful way—all within about an hour.

Zacks Trade pricing

Zacks Trade doesn’t have any type of account fees, but you’ll need at least $2,500 to open an account.

Outside of that, here are some of the trading prices you’ll need to know (you can check out the full pricing here, too):

Stocks, ETFs, and Options

Stocks & ETFs (Greater than $1 per share)$0.01 per share (with a $1 minimum)
Stocks & ETFs (Less than $1 per share)1% of Trade Value (with a $1 minimum)
Options$1 for First Contract (+ $0.75 per additional)
Options Exercise/ Assignment FeeFree
Broker Assisted TradesNo extra charge
Currency Conversion to USD$2.00 – $2.50 Estimate

Mutual Funds

Mutual Fund Trades (Greater than $1 per share)$27.50
Broker Assisted TradesNo extra charge

Corporate Bonds

Up to 10,000 Face Value0.1% * Face Value (+ $3 per bond)
Remaining Face Value$0.025% * Face Value (+ $3 per bond)
Broker Assisted TradesNo extra charge

Government Bonds

Up to $1 Million Face Value0.025% * Face Value (+ $3 per bond)
Remaining Face Value0.005% * Face Value (+ $3 per bond)
Broker Assisted TradesNo extra charge

Other North America

Canada (Greater than $1 CAD per share)$0.02 CAD per share (*$4.50 CAD minimum)
Canada (Less than than $1 CAD per share)1% of Trade Value CAD (*$4.50 CAD minimum)
Mexico0.3% of Trade Value MXN (*180 MXN minimum)
Broker Assisted TradesNo extra charge
Currency Conversion from USD$2.00 – $2.50 Estimate

Europe

Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain0.3% of Trade Value EUR (*12 EUR minimum)
Norway0.1% of Trade Value NOK (*150 NOK minimum)
Sweden1% of Trade Value SEK (*100 SEK minimum)
United Kingdom0.3% of Trade Value GPB (*12 GPB minimum)
Broker Assisted TradesNo extra charge
Currency Conversion from USD$2.00 – $2.50 Estimate

Asia

Hong Kong0.3% of Trade Value HKD (*120 HKD minimum)
Japan0.3% of Trade Value JPY (*1200 JPY minimum)
Singapore0.3% of Trade Value SGD (*20 SGD minimum)
Broker Assisted TradesNo extra charge
Currency Conversion to USD$2.00 – $2.50 Estimate

Australia

Australia0.3% of Trade Value AUD (*16 AUD minimum)
Broker Assisted TradesNo extra charge
Currency Conversion to USD$2.00 – $2.50 Estimate

Margin Rates

Zacks Trade Margin Rates (USD)Tier 1Tier 2Tier 3Tier 4
Balanceup to $100kup to $1Mup to $3M> $3M
Rate Charged3.59% - Note that rates are subject to change3.09% - Note that rates are subject to change2.75% - Note that rates are subject to change2.75% - Note that rates are subject to change

My experience using Zacks Trade

Signing up for Zacks Trade wasn’t my favorite process, and I only made it halfway through. I went up until I had to enter actual sensitive information, and since I didn’t want to create an account myself (I am using a test account to test other features) I stopped after a certain point.

Easily enough, the first step was to just click “Open An Account” at the top right of the screen:

Next, I enter some basic information:

Then I choose which type of account I want:

I re-enter my email address and choose a username and password. I also select my country of residence:

This is where it gets squirrely. The next screen shows me that they’ve sent a confirmation email to me to move forward with the application:

I get the email:

It opens a new window and goes to this screen where I have to enter my state of residence (which I’ve already done) and account type:

From here, it takes me to a large application screen where I need to re-enter information and add a bunch of new information. This is only step one of five, and I feel like I’ve already gone through several steps.

This is where I stopped the application process, and I can say it felt very disconnected and not user-friendly.

I had to provide the same information multiple times and none of the screens look like they went together—it seemed as if I was bouncing around different sites. It was slow up to the point I got, as well.

Zacks Trade compared

Zacks Trade is rather unique—it doesn’t have much competition. The one broker that comes closest is Interactive Brokers. Zacks Trade actually uses Interactive Brokers’ trading platform, so they look almost identical. The key difference is that Interactive Brokers is a little cheaper, but doesn’t offer live broker assistance.

With Interactive Brokers, you’re on your own—so you have to be an expert trader and know exactly what you’re doing. I prefer Zacks Trade because of the added bonus of having someone live to help me with trades if and when I need it.

Some of the other competitors of Zacks Trade include brokers like:

None of these discount brokers are really set up to cater to day traders, but they do offer competitive pricing and more visually appealing platforms. If you’re someone who doesn’t need the bells and whistles that Zacks Trade offers, you might want to consider one of these alternatives.

Zacks Trade would argue that they’re still cheaper, though. On their site, they compare themselves to some of these brokers and even give you a calculator to prove you’ll save money with them:

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Cheap — Zacks Trade is cheap compared to competitors.
  • Easily trade securities — You can trade securities on over 90 different exchanges in 19 countries. Plus, there's a vast amount of security types to trade.
  • Customizable — The dashboards can be customized to show only the information you need.
  • Lots of educational tools — Access to a huge amount of research (about 20% of it is completely free).
  • Great assistance — You get live broker-assisted trades for free.

Cons

  • Not the best platform — The website and platform are clunky and slow.
  • Poor user experience — The user experience is poor and dated-looking.
  • You need to know what you're doing — You need to be a very seasoned trader to make sense of the controls and data available.

Summary

The biggest takeaway here is that Zacks Trade is for advanced, high-volume traders. If you fall into this category, you’re going to love the platform.

Yes, it’s ugly and a little clunky, but it’s got powerful tools that few others have. If you’re more of a newbie or just want a cleaner interface and less to think about, check out our picks for online brokers.

Are you a day trader looking for the perfect platform? Try Zacks Trade today!

Read more

Related Tools

About the author

Chris Muller picture
Total Articles: 197
Chris has an MBA with a focus in advanced investments and has been writing about all things personal finance since 2015. He’s also built and run a digital marketing agency, focusing on content marketing, copywriting, and SEO, since 2016. You can connect with Chris on Twitter.