Zacks Trade Review: Investment Platform for the Active Trader

Most retail investors don’t love to invest. They invest because they have to and are willing to outsource the groundwork to financial advisers or semi-automated robotic advisory platforms.

But some are different. They love to handpick every stock or bond they buy, studying regulatory filings and analyst reports carefully before making a decision. Or they get excited by calling a short-term fund, loading, and collecting on top.

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

Zacks Trade is one of those trading platforms. It is not the best known online discount broker out there, nor is it the easiest to use. And it lacks the kind of broad-based appeal that big-name platforms have.

But for serious traders and investors who have tried reputable discount brokers like Charles Schwab and have lacked them, Zacks Trade is superior. This is why.

Key features

Let’s take a closer look at Zacks Trade’s account types, platforms, products available, fee structure, and analysis tools and news for traders.

Account Transfer Fee Refund

Zacks Trade reimburses transfer fees charged by other brokerage agencies on full account transfers of $ 5,000 or more, up to $ 150 in transfer fees. Simply complete a Zacks Trade Transfer Fee Refund Request Form and provide proof of an applicable transfer.

This offer does not apply to account or IRA cancellation fees, and other restrictions may apply. Zacks deposits credits into the account within 30 days after the request is approved.

Account types

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

Check out the guide from the IRS and your tax professional for information on IRA contribution limits, withdrawal restrictions, early withdrawal penalties, and other important things to know before opening a tax-advantaged retirement account.

Zacks Trading Platform Options

Zacks Trade has three different platform options, plus two handy smartphone and tablet platforms that run on Android and iOS operating systems, respectively. All are included with the membership and costs nothing additional to use.

Zacks Trade Pro

Zacks Trade Pro is a powerful trading platform designed for active and sophisticated traders, including those who are engaged in daily trading . 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 main computer’s hard drive and it may not work behind a firewall.

Otherwise, it will look familiar, if inordinately feature-rich, to anyone familiar with online stock trading.

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

Use the alerts feature to set up custom alerts based on stock 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 potential for customization.

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

Client Portal

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

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

Because you lack the robust real-time data and reporting capabilities of Zacks Trade Pro and Zacks Trader, you should not use the Client Portal as your primary trading platform.

Investment products and trade commissions available

Zacks Trade offers competitive prices 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 different exchanges), plus hundreds of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and options for thousands of publicly traded companies.

Zacks US ETF and Stock Trading Fees are generally at the lower end of the discount brokerage range: $ 0.01 per share or $ 1 minimum for smaller transactions, for securities that trade at $ 1 or more per share. For stocks and ETFs that trade below the $ 1 threshold, the commission is 1% of the total trade value.

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

For international stock exchanges, Zacks charges country-specific fees that can exceed standard US fees, sometimes substantially. Non-dollar denominated transactions may also incur fixed currency conversion fees.

Investment funds

Zacks Trade has hundreds of mutual funds in its database. Compared to other discount brokerage agencies, the commissions are high (just under $ 30).

Please note that mutual fund trading orders placed during normal business hours will be settled outside of business hours, so these instruments are not suitable for short-term or high-frequency transactions.

Corporate bonds

Zacks Trade offers access to investment grade corporate bonds issued by hundreds of private corporations. There is a low flat fee for each bond purchase, plus a two-tier percentage-based levy.

Government bonds

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

Government bond transactions follow the pricing structure of corporate bonds, but the percentage-based tax is even lower.

Negotiation of margins 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 instead of using their own funds.

Margin trading is a high-risk, high-reward activity that is appropriate only for sophisticated investors. Even more than spot trading, margin trading carries a significant risk of capital loss.

Zacks Trade’s margin program has four price tiers, and interest charges decrease as account size increases. The lowest tier (higher margin rates) covers accounts up to $ 100,000. The highest margin rates (lowest margin rates) are reserved for accounts over $ 3 million.

Additional fees and minimums

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

For starters, the platform highly recommends a minimum investment of $ 2,500. It is possible to open and fund an account with less, but you will not be able to trade on margin and you may find it difficult to achieve your investment goals using available Zacks Trade features and tools.

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

On the positive side, Zacks Trade waives any activity fees or account conditions that other brokerage agencies charge for, including:

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

Trading tools

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

Some highlights include:

  • SOMETHING : Algorithms that Unusual Market Uncover minor-patterned equipped traders might miss (and that standard charting tools don’t capture)
  • Basket Trader – A Convenient Way for High Volume Traders to Import and Execute Trades in Bulk
  • Market Scanners : Zacks Trade’s proprietary stock picking software
  • Labs – Tools covering advanced option strategies, option 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 for individual trades

Research tools

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

Note that “complementary” does not necessarily mean “free rein”. You may have to pay for detailed reports or products from these services. And if you sign up for a free trial of premium products or services, you will likely be renewed as a paying customer when the trial ends, unless you cancel early.

Zacks has a powerful free research tool: his in-house store, Zacks Investment Research . This Chicago-based company has been in business for more than 40 years and is known for producing revealing shots that many market watchers overlook.

Global market access

Zacks Trade is aimed at both US investors and international traders. Those based outside of the US can access a single Zacks Trade platform from more than 200 domestic markets, from Canada to Australia.

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


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

1. Mostly low trading fees

In general, Zacks Trade charges lower commissions than competitors that also cater to serious traders (as opposed to more beginner-friendly stock brokers known for free commissions ).

This is excellent news for advanced high-volume traders who want to pay as little as possible and have the confidence to perform complex trades with minimal support.

Please note that fees for non-US listed stocks may be higher than for US listed stocks.

2. Few additional account fees

The Zacks Trade account fee schedule is reasonable. Aside from excessive withdrawal fees and currency conversion fees, you won’t find too many financial surprises here.

3. Powerful trading and analytical tools for serious investors

Zacks Trade account holders have access to a wide range of powerful analytical and trading tools such as advanced market data and watch lists, plus research insights from dozens of respected outlets and also some specialty stores.

That’s great for investors who have the confidence and knowledge to interpret professional-grade research reports . Having such wide access under the same digital roof is sure to be a good thing.

4. Three trading platforms to choose from

Zacks Trade has three different trading platforms: Zacks Trade Pro, Zacks Trader, and Client Dashboard. The client dashboard is not really suitable for complex operations, but it is excellent for account management purposes.

Between them, Zacks Trade Pro and Zacks Trader support practically any use case. Zacks Trader is useful for trading on the go and behind the firewall.

5. Access to the truly global market

Zacks Trade is available to investors in more than 200 countries around the world, all of which have access to around 90 different exchanges in roughly 20 countries. It’s hard to do better on a single consumer-facing trading platform.


Consider these drawbacks before committing to Zacks Trade. The biggest downsides include high fees for mutual funds, a key component of many investors’ portfolios that don’t intervene, and a somewhat outdated flagship trading platform.

1. Aimed at sophisticated and practical traders

Zacks Trade is designed for sophisticated, active traders who value access to vast amounts of research and powerful trading tools over hands-off convenience and ease of use.

That’s not a blow to Zacks Trade, the platform knows its market, but it is important for inexperienced investors intrigued by Zacks Trades’ low commissions to understand that prices are not everything. Low-cost rigs like Schwab are almost as affordable and much more beginner-friendly.

2. Relatively high mutual fund fees

The only exception to Zacks Trade’s generally low-cost commission regime is its mutual fund vertical, where the commissions are slightly higher than average for a discount brokerage.

That’s in keeping with Zacks Trade’s focus on active traders, for whom mutual funds can be an afterthought.

3. 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 hoping to access the full power of Zacks Trade from a job computer. Zacks Trader is fine for quick trades, but it is not the same.

4. The recommended minimum investment can rule out beginners

While it is 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 high for novice investors.

5. Trading in futures, commodities and Forex is not allowed

Zacks Trade does not offer futures , commodities , or forex trading (except for currency exchange purposes). If you are looking to make a market in any of those areas, whether by placing daily trades or longer term orders, you better have another trading platform.

Final word

Unlike some more well-known discount brokerages, Zacks Trade doesn’t try to be everything to all investors. From top to bottom, this platform is designed for serious, active investors who love delving into regulatory documents and perusing research reports from a book.

If you love the excitement that accompanies a winning trade, you will find your Zen place here at Zacks Trade.

What if you are not a born merchant? You are lucky to have many other low cost online brokerage options. Your easy-to-use, hands-free partner is out there.

That doesn’t mean you should cancel Zacks Trade today and never look back. Like discount brokerage solutions, people can change. If in the future you are seduced by the excitement of market execution, you will know where to find it.

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