Broker Review General Trade is a Fishy Broker. Stay Away!

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S2Trade broker review

I’m not one to judge a book by the cover, but come on, S2Trade! However, I’m going to keep this S2Trade review as professional as I can. As a disclaimer, I will admit to being a bit pedantic, and even little things get me wary of a company, especially one that handles money. So, if you find me to be too nit-picky, that’s fine, just remember that the devil is in the details – the tiny details.

Min. Deposit:

Trading Platform: Custom

US Clients: Not Available

Who is S2Trade broker?

If you’re going to give somebody money, you had better know who they are and where you can find them. S2Trade forex broker is the tradename for Goldtech Media Services OÜ. I had to copy-paste that last bit because the company is based in Estonia, but their services extend beyond the country. From the company’s website, they claim to have spread their services all the way across Europe and into Asia. I even tried to open an account through a VPN routed through the US, and I could still open an account with them. So, you can open an account with them from anywhere in the world.

You see, that is the thing about an unregulated broker, they have absolutely no restrictions. That is right, S2Trade have no license at all from any financial regulator anywhere in the world. Working with a broker without a license is not a good idea at all, after all, who would you complain to if you had a problem. Therefore, when you deposit your money with S2Trade brokers, you can never be certain it will be safe. A lack of licensing and regulation should be your first warning of the S2Trade scam being ran over there.

A look at S2Trade services

As I said at the start, I don’t judge by the cover, so let’s take a look under the hood.

S2Trade provide many currency pairs for forex trading, and on top of that also offer CFDs trading for commodities, metals and indices. Other brokers also include CFDs for bonds, ETFs and other instruments, but the S2Trade offerings are not completely bad. So far so good, until you look at their other trading conditions. The minimum account opening balance with the broker is $500, and that is just for the standard account. It’s not completely unreasonable, although other brokers allow even a $100 minimum balance. Also considering that they are not regulated, why would they require such a high amount of capital?

Besides, they have several account types, with the basic ones being incurring reasonable spreads on the major forex pairs. With the exotic pairs, though, the spreads become very wide, enough to make the trading quite costly. Things are no better with the ECN accounts, because these accounts charge a commission, but the spreads remain relatively wide. A lot of other brokers definitely offer better trading conditions that these of S2Trade.

However, the S2Trade bonus is not bad, with clients receiving a 25% bonus of the amount they deposit. Unlike other brokers, you do get to withdraw your bonus, as long as you achieve the minimum required trading volume. Achieving the minimum requirement can be quite a task, but it’s better that the bonus offered by other brokers that is completely non-withdrawable.

Is S2Trade legit?

Being completely unregulated by any financial regulatory body, I had a problem with S2Trade immediately. Nevertheless, I’ve seen some unregulated forex and binary options brokers who I would still use, although very cautiously. In the case of S2Trade opinions, though, I am not pleased by what they have to offer or their services. That they are not regulated only adds to my dislike for the broker, and I would ask any trader to stay away, for their own sake. But if you still feel lucky about using S2Trade, please take some time and leave some S2Trade reviews below, I bet it won’t be positive.

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TradeStation Review

As a trading technology leader, TradeStation supports casual traders through its web-based platform and active traders through its award-winning desktop platform, all with $0 stock and ETF trades.

Top Takeaways for 2020

After spending five months testing 15 of the best online brokers for our 10th Annual Review, here are our top findings on TradeStation:

  • Our testing found TradeStation to be a leader in trader technology, with one of the most robust desktop platforms available we’ve ever seen. No question, TradeStation is a winner for Futures Trading, Options Trading, Mobile Trading, alongside specialties such as Day Trading and Professional Trading.
  • TradeStation offers great tools through a platform suite that includes desktop, web-based, and mobile variations. All three are terrific. Top that off with $0 trading through TS Select and TS Go accounts, and there is a lot to like.
  • Like its other active-trader focused competitors, TradeStation lacks in its offering of fundamental company research for casual investors. Education is also a mixed bag, making it just an “ok” choice for beginners.

Overall Summary

Feature TradeStation
Overall 4 Stars
Commissions & Fees 4.5 Stars
Offering of Investments 4.5 Stars
Platforms & Tools 5 Stars
Research 2 Stars
Education 2.5 Stars
Mobile Trading 4.5 Stars
Customer Service 4 Stars
Ease of Use 4 Stars

Commissions & Fees

TradeStation offers a variety of different commission structures, which can be confusing. Fortunately, TradeStation’s most commonly used pricing plans, TS Select and TS Go, offer $0 trades, are easy to understand, include free market data, and incur no monthly platform charges.

TS Select: TradeStation’s most commonly used pricing structure requires a $2,000 minimum deposit and includes access to all three TradeStation platforms. With TS Select, all stock trades (including ETFs) are $0, options trades run $.60 per contract, and futures are $1.50 per contract (per side).

TS Go: With no minimum deposit required, TS Go offers unlimited $0 stock and ETF trades alongside options trades for just $.50 per contract and futures trades for $0.85 per contract (per side). The one limitation to using TS Go is that while all three platforms are available, any trades placed with TradeStation desktop incur a $10 fee.

Penny stocks: Under TS Select and TS Go, penny stock trades are $0 for the first 10,000 shares and $0.001 per share after that.

Other pricing plans: $0 trades aside, TradeStation offers two different commission structures to select from for professional traders: per share and unbundled. For a full pricing breakdown, see our detailed TradeStation commissions notes.

TradeStation Salutes: Also, unique to TradeStation, active military personnel, veterans, and first responders can sign up for the TradeStation Salutes program, which provides 100% free stocks, ETFs, and options trades.

TradeStation pricing summary:

Feature TradeStation
Minimum Deposit $0.00
Stock Trade Fee (per trade) $0.00
ETF Trade Fee $0.00
Options Base Fee $0.00
Options Per Contract Fee $0.50
Mutual Fund Trade Fee $14.95
Broker Assisted Trades Fee $50.00
Commission-Free ETFs all

Platforms & Tools

TradeStation offers two trading platforms: TradeStation desktop, which is the company’s flagship product, and Web Trading, which is a browser-based platform designed for traders seeking simplicity. Both are excellent.

TradeStation desktop tools: The functionality provided in the TradeStation desktop platform is rich with depth and widespread. Tools in the TradeStation arsenal include Radar Screen (real-time streaming watch lists with 329 customizable columns), Scanner (custom screening), Matrix (ladder trading), and Walk-Forward Optimizer (advanced strategy testing), among others. Using TradeStation’s proprietary coding language, EasyLanguage, traders can even code apps for the platform and make them available in TradeStation’s TradingApp Store.

TradeStation desktop charting: More than 40 years of historical data are viewable for stock charts. Furthermore, a staggering 274 indicators/studies are available, each of which can be reworked or adjusted to the trader’s specifications using EasyLanguage. Pros aside, I did uncover two minor flaws with charting. The first is that there is no way to plot basic y-axis markers for corporate events such as dividends, splits, and earnings. Second, there is a lack of automated technical analysis.

TradeStation Web Trading: TradeStation Web Trading is easy to use and provides traders a way to manage active positions, open orders, watch lists, conduct stock chart analysis, and place trades with ease (ladder trading via Matrix included). The chart-trading functionality alone is superior to many flagship platforms. Note: With TradeStation Web Trading, watch lists do not sync with TradeStation desktop, which is a bit annoying for traders who use both platforms.

Options trading: Options trading is a breeze using OptionStation Pro, a built-in tool within the TradeStation desktop platform designed for streamlined trading and robust analysis. Options tool capabilities include custom grouping for current positions, streaming real-time greeks, and advanced position analysis, to name a few.

Futures trading: Like options trading, futures traders will also find themselves right at home with TradeStation desktop. Many of the advanced tools used for trading equities apply to futures trading, creating a seamless trading experience.


Like its close competitors, TradeStation is not built for performing in-depth company research. Pros include full stocks and options screening, equity backtesting, as well as streaming futures and forex data. Cons include no traditional fundamental research for stocks, no mutual fund or fixed income research, and a nearly non-existent ETFs research experience.

Customer Service

To score Customer Service, partners with customer experience research group Confero to conduct phone tests from locations throughout the United States. For our 2020 Broker Review, 280 customer service tests were conducted over ten weeks.


  • Average Connection Time: th (14 brokers)

Mobile Trading

TradeStation’s mobile app is meticulously designed and provides the functionality active and professional traders alike need to succeed. Full day trading functionality is incorporated, thanks to Matrix (ladder trading) and complex options trading support. Note: Matrix requires Level II market data, which is available for an additional $11 per month.

Charting: Charting on TradeStation mobile is robust, clean, and includes pretty much everything a demanding trader could want: full chart type and date range flexibility, after-hours visibility, active and filled order visibility, and 43 optional indicators, to name a few. Even drawing tools are available so you can draw anything from trend lines to Fibonacci retracements on charts, although I would recommend a large phone screen or iPad as my iPhone XS was too small.

Watch list syncing: While mobile watch lists automatically sync with the Web Trading platform, they do not sync with the TradeStation desktop platform.

FuturesPlus: For futures options traders specifically, TradeStation offers a standalone app (trading platform) called FuturesPlus. Designed in conjunction with Trading Technologies, FuturesPlus provides a variety of advanced tools one would expect from TradeStation. Highlights include price visualization, predefined and custom strategy builders, advanced contract analysis, real-time time and sales, and of course, risk management via Greeks.

Offering of Investments

TradeStation provides its customers access to a nearly complete offering of trading products. Full access to stock and options trading, including comprehensive direct-market routing, numerous advanced order types, and more.

Drawbacks: Besides a lack of international trading, the other downside to TradeStation’s offering is that all mutual funds orders must be phoned in.

Cash management: Rare in the online brokerage industry, any account cash sitting idle will earn customers interest of 0.55% annually (varies depending on the Fed Funds Rate). In TradeStation’s case, the one major catch is that a $500,000 minimum account balance is required for equities accounts, and $250,000 is required for futures accounts.


The future is bright for TradeStation in terms of trader education; however, as of early 2020, the broker is in the middle of a multi-year transition.

Good stuff: In 2020, TradeStation launched YouCanTrade, an independent education-focused website run separately from TradeStation brokerage. While still in its early days, the educational platform looks very promising. Traders can pay to gain access to full-featured courses, including webinars, live trading room access, real-time alerts, and more.

Bad stuff: Looking at TradeStation’s website learning center on its own, there is little to no educational content offered. For starters, TradeStation needs to create free learning paths (ideally article and video mixed) to teach the basics. Next, opening up YouCanTrade to current TradeStation customers would be beneficial. Bottom line: TradeStation customers deserve to have an excellent, free learning center foundation leveraging YouCanTrade technology to compete with other broker offerings.

Platform education: Traditional investor education aside, TradeStation provides thorough materials for new customers learning how to use the TradeStation desktop platform. Alongside numerous videos and help guides, advanced traders seeking personalized one on one training can pay $150 for one-hour private learning sessions.

Final Thoughts

With more than 30 years of experience under its belt, TradeStation is a market leader and innovator. The TradeStation desktop platform is top-notch, while mobile trading is also feature-rich. Even casual investors will be happy with the Web Trader platform, thanks to its focus on simplicity and ease of use.

The bottom line: Regardless of the asset class, TradeStation offers a winning solution for traders across all skill levels.

About TradeStation

Headquartered in Plantation, Florida, TradeStation is a wholly owned subsidiary of Monex Group, Inc., one of Japan’s largest online financial services providers. (1). TradeStation’s roots date back to the 1982, when the company was formed under the name Omega Research. The company’s flagship TradeStation platform was launched in 1991, and TradeStation Group was a NASDAQ listed company from 1997 – 2020, until it was acquired by Monex Group (2).

2020 Review Methodology

For the tenth annual best online brokers review published in January 2020, a total of 3,540 data points were collected over six months and used to score brokers. This makes home to the largest independent database on the web covering the online broker industry.

Participation is required to be included. Each broker completed an in-depth data profile and provided executive time (live in person or over the web) for an annual update meeting. Our rigorous data validation process yields an error rate of less than .001% each year, providing site visitors quality data they can trust. Learn more about how we test.

Best Online Brokers for International Trading

A key component of a balanced portfolio is exposure to international markets

Investopedia is committed to rigorous editorial standards to provide our readers with the best advice and recommendations. We may receive compensation when you click on links to products we reviewed. Learn more about our methodology and review process.

We recognize that we all are living through a particularly volatile time as we deal with this global crisis, and financial markets have also seen unprecedented change, impacting all investors. Our mission has always been to help people make the most informed decisions about how, when and where to invest. Given recent market volatility, and the changes in the online brokerage industry, we are more committed than ever to providing our readers with unbiased and expert reviews of the top investing platforms for investors of all levels, for every kind of market.

A key component of a balanced portfolio is exposure to international markets. Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) focused on a particular geographical area can be added to any portfolio, but the investor has little control over the stocks included in the fund. Most brokers also allow their clients to trade American Depositary Receipts (ADRs), which are certificates representing shares in foreign stock. ADRs are traded on U.S. exchanges.

Best Online Brokers for International Trading in April 2020:

  • Interactive Brokers: Best Online Broker for International Trading
  • Interactive Brokers: Best Online Broker for Non-U.S. Investors

Best Broker for International Trading and Best Broker for Non-U.S. Investors: Interactive Brokers

  • Account Minimum: $0
  • Fees: Maximum $0.005 per share for Pro platform or 1% of trade value, $0 for IBKR Lite

For the international trading category, category weightings for the range of offerings were adjusted upwards to measure which broker offered the largest selection of assets across international markets. After that, overall platform functionality and variety of orders types were also measured as these are important to successful trading when undertaking position management in markets that span the globe. These adjustments revealed a clear winner for both the overall best broker for international trading and the best online broker for non-U.S. investors.

Interactive Brokers (IBKR) easily took the best overall with its direct access to 125 global exchanges in 31 countries.   This allows traders to trade around the clock using more than 60 different order types to manage their position entry and exit points.   Many of the features aimed at international trading are built into IBKR’s downloadable Traders Workstation (TWS) platform, meaning that you’ll end up using it as a primary tool even if you don’t consider yourself a trader.   This can be a challenge at first because of the plethora of tools and customizations available through TWS. Learning the platform takes some time, but the learning curve is shorter if you are only using basic functions.

In addition to access to markets across the world, Interactive Brokers also offers a massive inventory of assets, including European debt issues and 115 currency pairs. The only nominal knock on Interactive Brokers in this sense is that fractional share trading only works for U.S. listed stocks, but that is true of every other broker reviewed as well. Despite being one of the remaining brokers still charging fees for stock trades, the reach of Interactive Brokers has made it our consensus pick for international trading two years in a row.

It is worth mentioning the runners up to Interactive Brokers in the overall category, as they are still decent options for investors who may find IBKR’s reach and platform — admittedly geared for traders — a bit too intimidating. Fidelity came in second to IBKR with the ability to trade in 25 countries using 16 different currencies. Schwab came in third with its more limited direct access to 12 foreign markets in their domestic currency. As you can see, there is a significant gap between Interactive Brokers and the overall runners up.

This year we also evaluated online brokers in terms of which one best fits the needs of non-U.S. investors, as our audience is increasingly global. Here again, Interactive Brokers’ reach was the deciding factor. Investors with Interactive Brokers can fund their accounts with many different base currencies and then convert at market rates to purchase assets in other markets. So, no matter which market you are going to and from, you’ll be able to make the investment without holding separate accounts or arranging conversion.

If you are a non-U.S. trader or sophisticated investor, you will get much more out of IBKR. The features of IBKR as a trading platform are covered at length in our review, but all that power opens new opportunities when combined with a global outlook. In addition to the incredible tool set in TWS, Interactive Brokers’ asset inventory makes it easier to set up complex, multi-layered trades without using proxies.

The idea of an individual trader placing a multi-market bet including stocks, currencies, options, and commodity futures used to be quite intimidating. Back in the 90s when George Soros’ Quantum Fund broke the Bank of England, it was actually a team of traders shorting the pound against the German mark, going long on UK stocks, and purchasing German bonds in advance of underperformance in German stocks. With the market reach and asset choice through Interactive Brokers, you can now do the same style of trade from your desktop and monitor it in real-time. Traders can also queue up conditional orders and essentially trade 24 hours as markets close and open around the globe.

Interactive Brokers is unparalleled in its market reach and asset variety.

TWS was our strongest overall trading platform with powerful tools and a high level of customization.

The direct access to exchanges worldwide allows for 24-hour trading.

You can fund your account in many different base currencies and the conversion at market rates for non-native currency transactions is directly supported through the platform.

Interactive Brokers offers the lowest margin interest of all the brokers we reviewed.

Taking full advantage of the international trading tools requires investors to use TWS, which can be daunting for non-traders.

Interactive Brokers still uses a fee-based pricing structure for trades, albeit a modest one.

Other International Trading Considerations

For investors who want to trade directly in instruments traded in markets outside the U.S., a small subset of online brokers allows you to place trades on foreign markets. You’ll find stocks, bonds, futures, and currencies to trade, but be mindful of additional risks like limited liquidity and currency exchange rate fluctuations.

If you’re interested in one or two international markets, you might consider opening an account with a local broker in that country. The major risk here is that regulatory agencies outside the U.S. are not as proactive, and foreign brokerages have been known to shut down overnight, absconding with their customer’s assets.


Investopedia is dedicated to providing investors with unbiased, comprehensive reviews and ratings of online brokers. Our reviews are the result of months of evaluating all aspects of an online broker’s platform, including the user experience, the quality of trade executions, the products available on its platforms, costs and fees, security, the mobile experience and customer service. We established a rating scale based on our criteria, collecting thousands of data points that we weighed into our star-scoring system.

In addition, every broker we surveyed was required to fill out an extensive survey about all aspects of its platform that we used in our testing. Many of the online brokers we evaluated provided us with in-person demonstrations of its platforms at our offices.

For investors who want to trade directly in instruments traded in markets outside the U.S., a small subset of online brokers allows you to place trades on foreign markets. You’ll find stocks, bonds, futures, and currencies to trade, but be mindful of additional risks like limited liquidity and currency exchange rate fluctuations. To determine the best brokers for international trading, we focused on which firms offered the largest selection of assets across international markets. After that, overall platform functionality and variety of order types were also measured as these are important to successful trading when undertaking position management in markets that span the globe.

Our team of industry experts, led by Theresa W. Carey, conducted our reviews and developed this best-in-industry methodology for ranking online investing platforms for users at all levels. Click here to read our full methodology.

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