TastyWorks versus Fidelity Investments - compare IRA, commissions, investing fees, trading tools, account differences, pros and cons. Which online broker is better?


Overview of Fidelity and TastyWorks

Fidelity is a traditional brokerage firm that has done a good job of adapting to advancements in technology. TastyWorks, by contrast, is a new brokerage firm trying to offer something different and unique. Can it succeed? Let’s find out.


Broker Fees

Broker Fees Stock/ETF
Commission
Mutual Fund
Commission
Options
Commission
Maintenance
Fee
Annual IRA
Fee
Tastyworks $5 ($0 to sell) na $1.00 per contract ($10 max, $0 to sell) $0 $0
Fidelity $4.95 $49.95 $4.95 + $0.65 per contract $0 $0


Services

Broker Review Cost Investment Products Trading Tools Customer Service Research Overall Rating
Tastyworks
Fidelity


Options and Other Investment Vehicles

Option traders can buy and sell contracts at either broker. There are good software tools available to do this at both Fidelity and TastyWorks. For example, Fidelity provides option chains with multi-leg strategies on its desktop platform, website, and mobile app.

TastyWorks also has multi-leg strategies incorporated into its software. While its platform is more appealing to look at, Fidelity offers more multi-leg strategies.

Besides options, TastyWorks customers can buy and sell futures contracts, something Fidelity doesn’t provide. But TastyWorks doesn’t offer mutual funds, which Fidelity is famous for. Fixed-income securities and annuities are also on tap at Fidelity, but not at TastyWorks. Forex is available at neither broker.


Extended Hours

If you want to take advantage of press releases and earnings announcements, you have to trade outside of market hours. Both brokerage firms in our survey offer trading before the market opens and after it closes.

TastyWorks’ pre-market period begins at 8 o’clock in the morning (EST) and closes when the regular session starts. The broker’s after-hours session begins when the closing bell rings and ends two hours later.

Fidelity clients get to start trading an hour before TastyWorks’ customers do. Fidelity’s pre-market session starts at 7:00 am, but closes 2 minutes before the opening bell. The broker’s after-hours period is twice as long as TastyWorks’ period.


Level II Data

While TastyWorks offers a desktop platform, it doesn’t deliver Level II quotes on it. Fidelity, on the other hand, does provide Level II data. The information can only be accessed on its desktop platform. There is no charge for Level II information, nor are there any account minimums or trading requirements.


Trading Tools

Fidelity has a very useful website with a lot of great tools. Charting is very advanced with technical studies, drawing tools, comparisons, and company events. A chart can be detached into its own window and displayed the width of the screen.

Although Fidelity’s website doesn’t have a trade bar, it does have a pop-up trade ticket. Anytime you click on a buy or sell button on the website, the ticket is generated into the left-hand side of the screen. The ticket can only be used to submit orders for stocks, ETF’s, and mutual funds. Other products need to use web pages.

The Fidelity order ticket offers trailing and stop orders plus several time-in-force choices. A convenient calculator button converts a dollar amount to number of shares.

Fidelity doesn’t have a browser platform, but it does offer a desktop system, and we were very impressed with it during our research. Besides the Level II quotes already discussed, Active Trader Pro offers direct-access routing, something that TastyWorks isn’t going to offer. The platform also provides free access to Bloomberg Business News.


tasty works vs Fidelity


The TastyWorks website is used for account management. There is no trading or charting capability. While this might seem to put TastyWorks at an immediate disadvantage compared to its rival, TastyWorks does have a browser platform, and it’s really sharp.

The platform offers trading in options and equities. The order ticket incorporates advanced orders, although the absence of direct-access routing means sophisticated traders may prefer Fidelity. Good charting tools are also missing on this platform.


tastyworks Traders


Transitioning to TastyWorks’ desktop platform, we find a similar trading environment, although charting is much improved. There are drawing tools and technical indicators that the browser system lacks. One significant difference between the two platforms is that the desktop system can trade futures contracts, but the browser software cannot.


Mobile Apps

Fidelity’s app emphasizes market news, so it provides a lot of links to various news articles. They come from sources like MarketWatch and Reuters. The order ticket offers trailing choices, but only two time-in-force options (day and GTC).


tastyworks Mobile App


Charting on the Fidelity app can be done in either basic or advanced mode. The latter offers several nice tools. Alerts, watchlists, and even security analysis are all on tap as well.

Compared to TastyWorks, Fidelity’s app seems to have the edge. TastyWorks’ app doesn’t have the same level of market or security research. A chart cannot be rotated horizontally, and there are no graphing tools.


tastyworks Mobile App


During our testing, we found TastyWorks’ trade ticket to be user friendly. There are large buy and sell buttons with easy-to-read fields for order type, quantity, and time in force.


Margin

At TastyWorks, a short equity position comes with 2:1 leverage. Maintenance on the same position is 30%. The stock must trade above $5 to qualify for these numbers. For long positions, the maintenance figure is a 4:1 leverage, while the initial 50% remains the same. Instead of $5, a long stock must trade above $3.

Fidelity has a 30% maintenance requirement for long positions and 35% for the short side. The initial figure is 2:1 leverage. To qualify, the stock must trade above $3.


Exchange-traded Funds

ETF’s can be found at both brokerage firms, but only Fidelity has a list of commission-free funds. There are about 265 of them, and the families are iShares and Fidelity. Moreover, Fidelity has better ETF resources, including both educational materials and a good screener.


Promotions

TastyWorks: Open account and pay no commission when selling stocks/ETFs/options.

Fidelity: Get 500 free trades with $100,000+ deposit.



Recommendations and Judgment

Now we come to the verdict. We recommend Fidelity for most types of trading. Its desktop platform is quite a bit better than TastyWorks’ trading system. Day traders will find better tools at Fidelity but much lower commissions at TastyWorks.

Beginners should definitely go with Fidelity. The broker’s educational resources are designed with new traders in mind.

For retirement saving or educational planning, once again we suggest Fidelity over its rival.

For option traders, either broker would be a good pick, though TastyWorks has a better commission schedule.

Small accounts will do well at TastyWorks bacause of lower commissions. Neither company imposes an account minimum or inactivity fee.


Fidelity vs TastyWorks Summary

TastyWorks is a different type of brokerage house, and will appeal to active traders who want low pricing and to see what other professional traders are trading.


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