tastyworks review: brokerage pros and cons, commissions, fees, account minimums, rating, trading platform, IRA, options and futures trading tools.

tastyworks Rating:  TastyWorks rating

tastyworks Basics

  • Stocks & ETFs: $0
  • Options: $1.00 per contract to open, $10 maximum, $0 to close
  • Mutual Funds: not available

Overview of tastyworks

There’s a new brokerage firm on the horizon that’s trying to offer something different, something unique, and something, well, tasty. Whether you’ll like tastyworks or not will boil down to what financial instruments you’re interested in, and what tools you need. Here’s the rundown:

tastyworks Pros

  • A variety of good-looking platforms to use. Desktop, browser, and mobile.
  • Competitive commissions schedule. $0 stock and ETF trades. Buy side is more expensive than the sell side for some products.
  • Free access to tastytrade on-demand videos and learning materials.

tastyworks Cons

  • A tendency to emphasize form over substance. While the platforms are appealing to the eye, they lack important features.
  • Not much difference between the desktop and browser platforms. What’s the point in having two platforms with so little difference between them?
  • Customer service hours are somewhat short.
  • Charting is rather weak.

What Type of Trader is Best Served by tastyworks?

Tastyworks doesn’t provide any mutual funds, so obviously mutual fund traders are off the list right off the bat. While exchange-traded funds are available, we didn’t find many ETF resources or learning materials on the broker’s website or platforms (we’ll look at these shortly).

Of course, stocks and options are on the table, and we found some good tools for them.

One financial instrument not commonly found at other securities brokers that is available at tastyworks is futures contracts. The few brokers who do provide futures usually don’t offer options on futures, which tastyworks does offer.

Because tastyworks offers IRA’s, retirement savers could build a nest egg with the company. However, we only found SEP, Traditional, Rollover, and Roth accounts. Because tastyworks doesn’t offer a solo 401(k) plan, self-employed workers might be better off elsewhere.

There aren’t many retirement learning materials at tastyworks, and the broker doesn’t deliver much in terms of security research, either. So inexperienced traders won’t do well here, and we can only recommend the broker-dealer to seasoned investors.

Now let’s take a look at the details of tastyworks’ performance in specific categories.

Customer Service

tastyworks Customer Rating

The brokerage house seems to really underperform here. tastyworks customers can reach an agent from 7:00 am till 5:00 pm, CST. To be competitive, tastyworks needs to offer more service hours. tastyworks also lacks brick-and-mortar locations.

On the positive side, the broker does offer both phone and chat support. To start a chat, you need to click on the Help icon at the top of the page and then click on the message icon in the lower-right corner of the new page.

We like to do all the research for you, so we performed a test chat. We were disappointed in the length of time it took an associate to enter the chat session with us and provide answers to our questions.

The Help section on the tastyworks site does provide a lot of helpful answers to frequently asked questions. We also like multiple e-mail addresses for various departments.

tastyworks Fees and Commissions

tastyworks Fees Rating

Do you care about pricing? Yea, we thought so; so we did a lot of digging. What we found is that tastyworks is trying to hold down costs, and this is going to benefit the broker’s customers in several areas.

First off are stock and ETF trades, which carry a $0 commission.

Equity options are $1 per contract, and the cost to exit is $0. tastyworks has a $10 commission maximum per leg. So if you traded 11 or more contracts in a single leg, the average commission per contract would be less than $1. Exercises and assignments are $5 each, another great deal. As with equities, exchange and regulatory fees are passed through.

Futures are $1.25 to open or close. Options on futures are double on the buy side ($2.50) but free on the sell side.

tastyworks offers margin accounts, and the company’s rates are fairly competitive. Right now, debits under $25,000 cost 8%, and the lowest tier is 3.00% less at $1,000,000.

Opening an account at tastyworks costs nothing, although closing a retirement account carries a $60 charge. tastyworks’ ACAT out fee is $75. All documents are in electronic format, including prospectuses. Requesting paper copies will set you back anywhere from $2 to $5 for each one you want. tastyworks charges $5 for a dividend check.

tastyworks account

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tastyworks Trading Rating

The first trading tool we checked out at tastyworks was its website, and it was a bit of disappointment. There is no trading capability at all, so it loses major points right from the start. It is easy to navigate, however, and offers several useful tools for account management.

We were able to use a money transfer tool to move cash to our tastyworks test account. Available choices include check, ACH, or wire. An external deposit account can easily be connected to a tastyworks brokerage account. We were also able to find position and balance information on our tastyworks trading account.

Browser Platform

tastyworks Platform Rating

The tastyworks browser platform is launched from the website. A unique feature of the browser program is that it displays recent trades from the broker’s customers.

tastyworks Traders

We found a menu on the left with a watchlist of equities. On the right sits the program’s trade ticket.

tastyworks watchlist

It shows concise trading numbers (such as bid and ask figures) and a chart. The chart is small in size; its timeframe can be changed from 1 day to 1 year.

If you want a bigger chart, there’s an icon that will generate a larger version in the center of the viewing area. Unfortunately, the chart won’t fill the width of the monitor, and strangely, the maximum timeframe is just one year. We didn’t find any ability to add company events, comparisons, or technical studies. This graphing failure will subtract a star.

tastyworks Charts

To submit an order, you need to click on a stock’s market price in the menu on the right side of the screen, and an order form will show up in the center of the platform. You can also produce the order ticket with a trade icon that appears in the top of the menu on the left side.

However, the ticket is produced, it offers trading in equity and derivative modes. For stocks, the tool provides advanced orders, such as trailing types. We’re disappointed that the software doesn’t offer direct-access to multiple market venues. This lapse will definitely turn away day traders. One nice feature on the platform that active traders will like is the ability to buy and sell during extended-hours sessions.

Derivative trading can be done either with options chains or with a graphic display. The latter shows strike prices on a curve along with bid and ask figures. The software only has ten multi-leg strategies, and this we consider insufficient.

Desktop Platform

tastyworks Desktop Platform Rating

If you prefer to trade on a desktop platform, tastyworks has you covered. We’re a little disappointed in the fact that it’s pretty much the same software as the browser uses. The two platforms have a similar interface, for example.

We found the desktop system to be less user-friendly than the browser platform, and we couldn’t find the software’s trading ticket while the market was closed. An important difference between the two programs is the ability to trade futures contracts on the desktop. For other financial instruments, we recommend using the web browser.

Mobile Platform

tastyworks App Rating

While the desktop platform left us rather unimpressed, tastyworks did a better job with its mobile app. It does need iPhone 6 or above (or Nexus 6 or above) to function.

tastyworks Mobile App

Green buy buttons and red sell buttons are displayed on the program’s trading ticket. There are several order types available (market, limit, stop market, and stop limit) and multiple time-in-force options (day, GTC, good-till-specified date, and extended hours).

A small chart is shown on the app’s trading ticket along with important trade data, such as volume and OHLC information. While many of these features are strengths, we were once again disappointed in the lack of direct-access routing choices.

A watchlist can be created on the app, and instead of stocks being displayed merely by their ticket symbols, tastyworks shows them with red and green backgrounds, reflective of what they’ve done for the day.

Other than the small chart on a security’s trade ticket, tastyworks’ mobile app does not offer any other charting functions. This means no company events or other important tools. Because advanced graphing tools aren’t available on the broker’s other two platforms, we arrive at a pretty big disadvantage here.

We did like the derivative tools on the tastyworks mobile app. They come with multi-leg strategies like iron condors, butterflies, jade lizards (a very esoteric strategy not found at other brokers), and calendars.

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Financial Education and Security Research

tastyworks Research Rating

One great advantage of tastyworks is free access to all the learning materials available through its affiliated company tastytrade. We found a very large library of on-demand videos. They cover a wide range of topics, from iron condors to tips for beginners. There’s also a live broadcast with remarks on the securities markets.

tastytrade videos

The flipside of tastyworks’ educational offerings is that besides tastytrade, there’s not much else. For example, we couldn’t find any third-party stock reports, Morningstar ratings, or independent market analysis. The tastytrade live broadcast also isn’t at the same level as Bloomberg or Fox Business News.

As for specific security analysis, there is brief information on stocks presented on the trading platform. Unfortunately, brief means very brief. A stock’s 52-week range is displayed along with value, implied volatility, and days to earnings. These few points simply aren’t enough information for thorough stock investigation. So tastyworks customers will have to do research outside of the broker and then come back and place trades.

As for options, tastywork’s derivative trading tools are well designed, but we didn’t find a search tool that could scan the options markets based on various criteria, such as underlying stock characteristics.

tastyworks options trading


While we can’t recommend tastyworks for forex, bond, or mutual fund traders, we do advocate the broker for traders who are interested in futures and options on futures. With the broker’s commission schedule, it will be hard to find a securities broker that offers a better value.

We also suggest using tastyworks for stocks, ETFs, and options trading. While it does lag in some areas here, it offers a great value, especially for high-volume traders.

We do not recommend tastyworks for beginners because it lacks around-the-clock customer service, and its learning materials aren’t geared toward this type of trader.

Small accounts will do well here because of tastyworks’ great pricing, which includes no account fees and a $0 opening requirement.

tastyworks Review Summary

tastyworks is trying to create a different type of investing model, although this formula does have weaknesses in some areas. If you have used tastytrade in the past and liked it, you’ll probably be happy here. If you’re looking for mutual funds, bonds, or portfolio management, you’ll have to keep looking.

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