Tastyworks Review 2020: Pros, Cons & How It Compares
Tastyworks is a relatively new broker focused in the United States options trading market. It is specially recommended for traders based in United States and for investors based in foreign countries of the world that however require to focus in the US markets for their trading operations.
Pros and cons.
Tasty works is a platform that is mostly oriented to the trading of options.
For free there are inside the platform, articles, videos and all kinds of educational materials related to trading and the current status of the US market.
Even if they still work foremostly in the trade with futures and with options, it is also possible to trade with stocks of American companies and ETF. However, albeit possible, the latter is a bit more complicated so I see for Tastyworks an investor profile mostly oriented to futures and options.
It is not possible in this platform, as in many others, to operate with credit cards or debit cards. Therefore, you will have to associate your bank account to your Tastyworks account and then utilize your bank account to perform wire transfers.
It is not possible either to use any kind of electronic wallet, PayPal, Stripe or any other service similar to those, to open the account and transfer funds to your Tastyworks account afterwards.
The dashboard to operate inside Tastyworks has different panes where the working real estate is very well organized. However, I see that for a newbie it is quite difficult to use it. Therefore, I will recommend anyone who wants to start operating in trading in Tastyworks, that he would have to take one of the online courses that is inside the platform for free. Start learning how to operate with the dashboard of Tastyworks. This dashboard, very complete, at the very beginning seems a little bit intimidating for somebody who is starting.
There is not a demonstration account available with this platform so also here is another issue for newbies because it would be very good for them that at the same time that they are taking the online course within the platform they are able to start practicing in a demo account.
Main features and highlights
There is no minimum deposit with Tastyworks. This is the same as we saw in other platforms like Robinhood. You can start working with a really low minimum deposit that you want: that would be let’s say $10.
To start, as we expressed before, you have associate your bank account with Tastyworks. For foreign investors their only option is the wire transfer. This is not a problem, but the account will take some more days to be opened for example 2 or 3 working days. The broker will request you to send a copy of your passport: of course we are talking about a scanned copy of your passport that has to be uploaded.
Nevertheless, the process is very fast with foreign accounts but in practice, it takes 1 or 2 working days more. This slight delay should not deter a non US resident of becoming a customer. Meanwhile, you can still access all the online resources and start reading and taking the online courses about how to utilize the Tastyworks platorm.
For American residents the account Is open in only one or two working days .
Tastyworks it’s quite convenient in terms of fees because there are no fees related to the trading activity, direct fees, and there are quite low indirect trading fees.
When we talk about fees you know that in all our articles, we always distinguish between what are the direct trading fees and the indirect trading fees.
The direct trading fees are the ones that you must pay directly related with each trading operation. In this case we are referring to conversion fees or also can be commissions.
The indirect trading fees instead, are other charges that have no relation with the individual broker operations that occur as a consequence of your order. These fees are just related to your contractual relation with the broker as a business partner. These are maintenance fees like the monthly maintenance fees, fees for withdrawals, fees for deposits, or fees that you have to pay after a certain period of inactivity.
Direct trading fees
Now starting with the direct trading fees for Tastyworks, you have to pay with them $1 per contract for stock options and two dollars and a half for options or futures for opening a position. Instead, closing a position on options is free of charge. In the case of futures, by the way, you must pay $1.25 in both cases opening and closing the trade.
The paragraph above was for options. Stock trading on the other hand, does not incur any commission.
In Tastyworks you don’t have to pay ETF commissions either.
A different fees situation exists regarding short sales or operations of stock trading on margin. Let’s note this here: that the margin rate is what is charged when you trade on margin or short stock. This means that you are borrowing money or assets from the brokerage in order to perform your trade. This is a loan, to put it simple, so it is expected that you are obliged to the payment of interest rate plus the capital. This financing can be an important percentage of the trading cost on margin.
The margin rate is 8% in Tastyworks. This margin is quite high if you compare it with other companies such as the Degiro where you have to pay 3.1% and with another competitor that is Interactive Brokers where you have to pay 3.4%.
Option fee structure: now we must discuss about the option fees that is $5.00. In this way you can see that even if the fees are low they are still higher than the two main competitors were referring to that are Degiro and Interactive Brokers.
Now let’s talk about the futures fees. Here also they also low but nevertheless higher than the ones that you have in the aforementioned competitors: DeGiro, Robinhood, or Interactive Brokers. With Tastyworks it is $12.50.
Indirect trading fees
In regard to the indirect trading fees so these are the fees that you have to pay independently of the quantity and quality of your trading operations, let´s see how it is with Tastyworks.
You do not have to pay an account fee, you do not have to pay a deposit fee, no monthly maintenance fee, and no inactivity fee. Nevertheless, there is a withdrawal fee of $25.00. Here it does not stand very well against the competitors because we have discussed already in different reviews of other brokers.
This is because you have zero-dollar fees in Degiro, no indirect trading fees in Robinhood, and also zero in Interactive Brokers. In this way you can see that in regard to fees, Tastyworks has some indirect trading fees that you have to pay when you perform a withdrawal
Opening of an account.
It is relatively easy to open an account with Tastyworks. It is absolutely digital. There are no offices or branches wherein you can sign in.
You can sign up without any minimum deposit and without associating your bank account. However, of course, if you want to start trading with stock or with options, you will have to associate your bank account to perform the wire transfers when it is needed.
Already with just opening the account you can access training materials research videos and online courses that will open your path inside trading within Tastyworks platform.
As we explained before, even if the platform concentrates on the trading of United States based assets, it allows the participation of any investor from almost every country in the world. There are just about ten countries that are blocked from becoming customers of Tastyworks. Of course, all countries in South America, North America, Britain and the European Union are included in those whose residents can become customers at Tastyworks.
For margin accounts you are required to deposit a minimum of $2000 that in the case of non-US investors has to be performed through a wire transfer. A wire transfer is how it is called in the United States what other countries call more modernly, bank transfer.
Likewise, Tastyworks will require you to be identified in order to avoid any kind of fraudulent activity by sending a scanned copy of your passport. All this process might take about 3 working days maximum in the case of non-United States investors. One day more for foreign residents. However, some foreign investors in the comment section described that it only took them two days as with American residents.
For cash accounts instead, it is different than for margin accounts. As we explained in the paragraph above you can start without any minimum deposit and navigate your options and get familiar with the menu and with the online materials.
There are account types for physical persons that can be a cash account with zero minimum deposit and margin accounts with a minimum deposit of 2000 dollars.
Remember that with a margin account you are actually borrowing money from the broker to perform a trade, so always be careful with this kind of operations.
In Tastyworks, you can perform operations with retirement accounts. As you can imagine these are available only for American citizens. This is because, for example, they are regulated in the Internal Revenue Code that is a federal legislation passed only with territorial validity in the United States.
If you want to work with European retirement accounts, you have other brokers based in the European Union that we have reviewed in other articles.
This retirement accounts can be Roth, IRAs and solos. All as regulated by the IRC in the subsection 401 (k) as usual.
Likewise, the self-employed retirement accounts known as SEP IRA (Simplified Employee Pension IRA) and the traditional ones are also included. In our review about Robinhood we explained that it was not possible to work with retirement accounts. For this, there is an advantage for tastyworks in comparison with RobinHood in relation to the handling of retirement accounts.
Also different from Robinhood, and again advantageous for Tastyworks, is that with Tastyworks the opening of a joint account is possible. In this case you will share the status of owner with another subject for example your wife or your husband.
Furthermore, you can be opening an account with a legal person that can be a trust or a Corporation or any kind of legal entity, and this is only for United States entities. Therefore, companies of the European Union cannot register a corporate or a trust account
The process of opening the account .
The process to open an account with Tastyworks is quite straightforward and completely online. There are no offices that you have to go to open the account and you will have to do it online.
An account cannot be opened with a broker instantly because of regulations of federal agencies. Thus, the process cannot take less than one day, and it is never something that happens immediately. For American persons legal persons or physical persons, it is approved in about 2 working days.
At the moment of opening the account it is required to complete a form that it can take about five minutes. It is very short and requires some information about your identity, employer if you have one, declare your approximate level of financial knowledge also you are required to upload a digital scan off your identification card. The reason behind this is compliance of financial institutions and the principle “Know Your Customer”
I tested to open a foreign account, and this took me three working days using a passport of the European Union. I can say anyway that the process was very straightforward, and this additional working day of waiting was not a big deal. Meanwhile you can access to training and educational material within the platform.
Deposit and withdrawal
The functionality is regarding withdrawals and deposits are not in my opinion very good in Tastyworks. The reason is that you can only utilize wire transfer and as we explained before the transfer rate for the withdrawal is very high (25 dollars).
The process is very fast and pretty much straightforward. The good part is that you do not have to pay a deposit fee, but the fact that you have a high transfer withdrawal and that mostly you must use wire transfer and you cannot utilize neither electronic wallets, credit cards nor debit cards makes it a little bit less friendly and with more friction.
To perform the deposit American residents can use a check an ACH that is (Automated Clearing House) and the wire transfer. Naturally, before the wire transfer can take place, you must previously perform the association of your bank account with your user account in Tastyworks.
For foreign residents, for non-US residents, only the bank transfer can be used to perform deposits in the user account.
In terms of comparison with other brokers Interactive Brokers does not allow you either the utilization of credit cards, debit cards, or electronic wallets. In De Giro, instead, you can use electronic wallets already since 2019.
For the foreign non-United States wire transfer operation, it takes about 3 business days until the transfer is acknowledged in your account.
We discussed before the deposit process in Tastyworks and now it is the moment to talk about the withdrawals.
The withdrawal is performed practically in the same way making deposits, so this is only through wire transfers for non-United States residents and wire transfer, ACH and checks for American residents.
The price for the withdrawal is off $25 for American customers and forty-five dollars for non-United States customers. In this case Tastyworks has some disadvantage with the main competitors such as Degiro, Interactive Brokers and Robinhood because these competitors do not charge you fees for the withdrawals.
To withdraw money from Tastyworks performing a wire transfer from the account of Tastyworks to our own account it takes about four working days. However, this is pretty much what we see normally with all the other platforms and this is related to the clearing operations within the banking system and unrelated to the brokerage service.
There is a learning curve until you understand how the Tastyworks dashboard actually works. Beginners and investors who are not beginners but are new to the trading platform Tastyworks are advised to view some of the online courses that you have available within the platform as soon as you register.
If you are instead a professional trader with experience and you normally trade options, you will not have any issue applying a standard due diligence.
This is not a platform with a dashboard that offers you a lot of options in terms of customization and arrangement of your workspace. In that sense I see it quite limited but anyway complete for all operations and as we said mostly for those who focus on options.
This is because the platform seems to be envisaged futures and options so the investors who fill this profile, will feel very comfortable here. It does not seem for me that you will feel the same as comfortable if you are trading with stocks .
Despite the fact that Tastyworks encourages foreign investors to become their customers the dashboard language is only English. At the same time if you search for a foreign stock it is in the menu it this listed in the dropdown functionality but then nothing else loads from that foreign stock and therefore you cannot perform any trading with it.
Contrary to other platforms specially works does not have a two step authentication. We think that this would be safer, and it only has the typical one step log in.
All activities related to the placement of orders are a bit complicated the same as other operations in the dashboard.
As this platform is mostly oriented for options trading it does not offer many functionalities for stock trading. You can place orders of only four order types. Market.
If you do not understand well what these order types are, please check our article where we furnish a study about the different order types available and how you can obtain an advantage using them. It is very important that you understand all the available order types because you have to be very good at order management if you want t succeed in trading. So, when you are in front of a platform like this one like Tastyworks and you have to place an order you must know all the order types, what they are, and which are their differences.
There are also two order time limits that you can utilize as well. Good till cancelled (GTC) and Good till Date (GDC) These limitation entries, establish a temporal limitation in the validity of the orders.
You have more possibilities with options trading because this platform is more oriented options trading than to stock trading.
For options trading there are many different action strategies that are easy to implement: you can just select and utilize them with exactly two or three clicks. For example, you want to apply a Butterfly strategy, or you want to apply a Strangle or an Iron Condor strategy. Simple. You select the option strategy and you utilize it in your operation then you press “Review and Send “. so actually it takes 3 clicks exactly.
Order management during options trading in Tastyworks is pretty much drag and drop. You take the order; pick the strategy and you edit the default parameters.
This is one of the most notable points of this Tastyworks dashboard so I understand if you are in futures and options you might have a second look to Tastyworks because this platform is very suitable for an investor of your profile.
Alerts and notifications
Without difficulties you can just set up price alert or a notification of the status of the order and monitor well the order lifecycle. It can be an email or a text message. If you are outside United States it is only an email.
Mobile trading platform
Just as we saw before with the web trading platform, the mobile trading platform deserves a similar evaluation.
You have to download the application that contains the trading platform in the mobile version, and it is available for Android and for Apple iOS.
For what we normally see in mobile platforms, it is easy to use and has a very good design. It is very well aligned with the web application that we analyzed in the paragraph above so you can transition very well between them.
It has also a limited one step login here as well. We think that the typical two step authentication of other brokers would be much better to have.
It has a search functionality just as the one we saw for the web application . This means at you can search the ticker of the asset you want to choose but then you cannot do filtering for the different asset types and when you search for at non- United States asset, you will find it but you cannot utilize it for order management.
Placing orders in the mobile application.
I found order management the same as in the web application. Therefore you can utilize the same order types that you can use on the web .
Alerts and notifications in the mobile application.
Whereas in the web application you can set and order management notification status and set up a price alert that will be sent to you you in for example an email in the mobile application you do not have the ability to set up this alerts. This is a problem for the people who is operating with the mobile application.
Another drawback that I see in the mobile application, is the typical lack of real estate that the mobile screens have. Therefore, I would recommend this mobile application only to watch the status of your portfolio and evolution of your orders, the order management lifecycle.
And this takes me now to the analysist of the desktop trading platform that, let me anticipate the review of the desktop trading platform for Tastyworks is much better than the mobile application and even better than the web application that we analyzed a couple of paragraphs above.
Desktop trading platform
The best environment to work with Tastyworks is for sure the desktop platform. It has more customization options and more features. However in general lines it has also some drawbacks that we saw in the other environment.
We do not enjoy a 2-step login authentication and it is still complicated for the beginner.
I will recommend you that you register your account with Tastyworks, that you download the client program for the desktop Tastyworks platform that is available for Windows and Apple. As the web application it is only available in English.
For beginners I will recommend them too create an account and start learning from the videos that are inside the platform, reading the articles and their educational resources.
At the same time, I recommend these beginners to also download the client of Tastyworks platform in their computer. The reason of my recommendation is that they will enjoy more real estate to work, and more customization options.
Customizing the desktop allows you to have in the screen only the features that you need. You will enjoy a much better look and feel.
Everything is the same that in the web platform: therefore, we can mention that there is the same one step plugin that as you know we never recommend for these platforms. Furthermore, also the same limitations in the search functionality: they are generally fine, but you cannot filter the different classes of assets and when you get used to work in trading, you would be find an advantage to start filtering options quite easily. This is a possibility that you do not have here.
Availability Of Products And Markets
With Tastyworks you can perform trading operations of ETF’s futures options and American stocks.
In comparison with other competitors that we have also reviewed in different articles it is not well positioned.
Which Tastyworks you cannot operate neither in Forex, funds, cryptocurrencies nor bonds.
This is a disadvantage for Tastyworks because you can operate with cryptocurrencies and Forex with Degiro, Interactive Brokers and Robinhood.
So, we see that in fact there is a quite narrow product range in comparison with the competition and also a limited market range.
I tell you this because with Tastyworks you will only be covering United States markets whereas with the competitors you will be having foreign stocks to work with.
For example, in Robinhood with the product Robinhood Gold where you pay only $5 per month you can work with foreign stocks. This will give you more options and sounds more enticing for non-United States investors.
As many other platforms Tastyworks also has available for its customers social trading functionality. With this social training functionality, you can follow Tastyworks members and copy the trades that they are doing. What I saw in my experience is that they are all the time operating. Thus, even if you do not have any ideas or any plan where to start you can see what they are doing and then you will decide if you want to follow them.
Research and online materials.
here is a topic where Tastyworks really excels. For me it is important that the broker has an updated flow of news, a good quantity of charts in the desktop platform, and online materials and can provide me with trading ideas.
This information is free in Tastyworks. It is not like with Robinhood that you have to pay to enter into the program Robinhood Gold to obtain these materials. We have to say that with the broker Robinhood you access all these materials with only $5 a month fee.
All these goods interactive charts, all this very good flow of updated news is mostly oriented to options so again if you are trading with stocks you have limited information about this. This might be because as we explained already Tastyworks is a platform mostly oriented to options .
The charts are very informative and overall, it is an excellent tool that you have available in the Tastyworks platform. I have noticed that the charting tool is much better in the desktop application than in the web application. That is another reason to work almost exclusively in the desktop platform and I will recommend you to avoid the web environment and the mobile environment and stick with the desktop platform without hesitation.
I find that the customer service is one of the most important features and services that you can enjoy in a broker and for many it is the decisive factor to decide for a specific broker. The customer service has to give you confidence in your relationship with the brokerage.
Tastyworks does not have offices like some of their competitors let’s say Fidelity or Charles Schwab that you know they have an office. They have branches in many cities, and you can have help there.
As with Robinhood platform there are no officers here. Therefore, you have to rely on phone support and email support. There is no chat and no 24/7 support service considering that many of the users can be in different time ranges and even in different continents.
Phone support is very good it is available in office hours from 7 to 5 and we tested it which 2 questions: one was related to the service and one was a more granular question about order management and they answered quite well both of them so they seem to me very knowledgeable .
The email is available only on working days and they provided answers quickly. With the 2 questions we sent also one very general and one very granular we received answers in less than half an hour, so I found it very good the customer support.
So, there is no chat and no physical locations where to go but for me the phone support and the email was very good.
Tastyworks has a channel dedicated to education and learning called Tastytrade. This is available inside the platform and it is transmitting live during trading hours every day of the working week. It is not boring at all, what is a lot to say about financial education resources. Normally they are very important, but they are a bit boring and we have to recognize that this is not the case with this Tastytrade online channel to learn about online training, get a grasp of news and enjoy.
Apart from this online channel they have videos, webinars and articles.
Some of these videos are related to learn how to use the platform. There are also educational videos about trading itself, with main concepts explained with independence of the platform. So even if you do not know anything about options trading you can start the learning process here from an absolute zero level of knowledge.
Likewise, there are mini articles about news in the industry and about certain cornerstone topics in trading.
Most of these materials are related to options trading more than stock trading. This is obviously because the specialization of the platform is in options trading so the learning materials go in the same direction.
Unluckily, there is no demonstration account. A demo account is always necessary for beginners so they can start to apply what they learn in the very good online educational resources within Tastyworks. For more mature traders instead, a demo account is also useful to see if they like the platform, if they like the dashboard and if the user experience is good. After they try the demonstration account, they could be deciding to start real life operations . Therefore, I understand that a demo account is a must have functionality for beginners and for experienced traders.
Regulations And Safety
It is an American company located In Chicago. Tastyworks is regulated by the SEC, that is the Securities and Exchange Commission and is a federal agency in the United States. Also, it is regulated by the Financial Industry Regulatory authority called FINRA and the National Futures Association.
As per regulations by FINRA, Tastyworks is registered as a legal entity with this regulator FINRA. It offers a protection of half a million dollars and 1/4 million dollars limit for cash.
An American resident and customer of Tastyworks is protected exactly the same as a foreign resident in case there is a problem.
Tastyworks does not have any negative balance protection. If you want to know more about negative balance protection please go to our article and you will understand very easily what it means and why it is important in some cases.
Tastyworks is not listed on a Stock Exchange and does not hold a banking license. This is fine and those licenses are not required for this activity. If it is already regulated by FINRA and by the SEC that is the Securities and Exchange Commission who are the regulatory authorities and they are registered there as legal entities, it is fine and there are no issues.
Tastyworks is not a scam. It is a broker based in United States regulated by federal agencies regarding security exchange as the SEC Security Exchange Commission and FINRA so it is safe.
It is oriented to investors with a minimum of intermediate level of trading that at least operated before in another platform.
But this statement should not deter a complete beginner. If you want to register there for free as a beginner it is fine to do it. However, you will have to watch the educational videos about the platform and about trading that are for free within the application. They are quite fun, so it is not like other good videos that you have in their competitors that even though they are very locational and useful they are difficult to follow for a beginner an a bit boring I have to say. That does not happen with the videos and resources of Tastyworks that you must be using as your educational resource once you register.
There is no demo account what is a problem, not only for beginners but also for more experienced traders. And this is a drawback of the Tastyworks operational platform.
I suggest you with disregard of your condition of experienced trader or beginning in your path in investments that you register in the platform because it is no cost for you: there is no minimum deposit, no monthly maintenance fee, no inactivity fee, no kind of monthly fees at all. The process of opening an account is very smooth and it takes just a few working days to have it completed.
As soon as you register, you download the platform client in your desktop computer because this is the easiest and the best environment to work with Tastyworks. You start watching the videos they have within the platform, to learn how to work with the trading platform.
So, go to the link below and register and start your adventure inside Tastyworks. If you see you like it then you may connect your bank account with your Tastyworks account and start operating.