NinjaTrader is one of the smaller players in the online retail trading brokerage space, with just 500,000 users as of this writing. They offer discount pricing, low margins, and plenty of tools to support your trading. Located in Denver, Colorado, they’re a global broker and platform creator that is well-known in the trading industry. It’s important to understand that they are both, because otherwise evaluating the company can be quite confusing.
They’ve won a few awards, such as the Benzinga Global Fintech “2020 Best Brokerage for Trading Futures” and the 2020 “Trader Empowerment Award.”
NinjaTrader is both a brokerage and a trading platform. If you don’t like the NinjaTrader brokerage you can lease or purchase the software and then use it with any other supported brokerage. If you use NinjaTrader’s platform with a different brokerage you’d be subject to the terms and conditions of that brokerage while having access to all of NinjaTrader’s tools. This is, of course, not a very common set-up, and one that takes some getting used to.
Is NinjaTrader right for you? Here’s what you need to know.
Account Types Offered
If you just want to trade Forex you can open a Forex trading account for just $50. If you want to get involved with futures trading you’ll need an $1000 deposit to get started.
Like most reputable brokers, NinjaTrader offers a demo account which allows users to experience all the features of the program without putting any of their own money at risk.
Trade Types Offered
NinjaTrader puts plenty of trade options at your fingertips, including futures, options, Forex, CFDs, and stocks. In total, it offers over 175 tradable assets.
They allow you to trade futures, including micro e-mini futures, micro bitcoin futures, and micro crude oil futures. You won’t have access to a lot of the instruments that many retail level traders tend to enjoy.
Certain trading strategies will not be open to you on NinjaTrader. For example, the platform does not allow scalping.
The platform can support trade types that the brokerage doesn’t offer. You can link up with FXCM, Clear Corretora, CQG, Interactive Brokers, MB Trading, GAIN Capital, Forex.com, or TD Ameritrade to explore other types of trades while continuing to make use of NinjaTrade’s powerful suite of tools. As a platform they are working hard to be a competitor to MT5, and as such support a wide range of functionality that has nothing to do with what their brokerage offers.
Trading Platforms & Tools
If you’re looking for powerful technology it’s hard to beat NinjaTrader; that’s where this service excels.
The NinjaTrader 8 platform is a homegrown system that is comparable to Meta Trader 5, the platform used by most online brokers. It runs on Mac, Windows, and Linux. There is no web-based platform, so if you were hoping to avoid downloading software this isn’t the right service for you.
Set-up is relatively easy. There is also a mobile app called the CQG mobile app.
The NinjaTrader platform boasts thousands of apps and add-ons, allowing you to “extend your futures trading software through an ecosystem of 3rd party vendors designing trading indicators and apps.” There are 600+ app developers working with the platform, which means new apps are on offer all the time.
They also offer an open framework for developers who want to build integrated integrators, drawing tools, automated strategies, and more. Keep in mind that if you want to build automated trading strategies you won’t be able to add them at the click of a button like you could with other platforms. NinjaTrader requires you to be proficient in C# and to build them yourself. You might be able to find an app that can do the job for you, but you’ll have to hunt around for it in the extensive NinjaTrader app library.
NinjaTrader’s charting features are highly competitive. They include gap indicators and news indicators, trend and swing indicators, volatility indicators, divergence indicators, and more. You’ll have all sorts of information at your fingertips to help you make informed decisions about your trades.
One tool they offer is Advanced Trade Management, which is meant to eliminate emotions by protecting open positions with automatically submitted stop and target orders.
Because there are so many apps you can customize the entire platform to support your own strategy and trading needs.
Traders can enjoy access to a free 24-hour emergency trade and technical support desk. The broker team may be contacted any time at (312) 262-1289. You can also submit a question or request via their website. There’s also a LiveChat feature.
They are a multi-lingual support desk offering support in English, Spanish, Russian, and German.
Users report that the customer support team often replies to the web form in as little as 15 minutes.
Deposits & Withdrawals
Online withdrawals and deposits may be managed by bank transfer or check, or via a broker-to-broker transfer. You have to complete an online withdrawal request form to withdraw funds. Withdrawals are processed the next day, but this seems an unnecessary level of administration when compared to other platforms that let you get your money out at the click of a button.
Some payment methods do come with withdrawal fees. Make sure you understand the terms and conditions of each withdrawal method before you use it.
Spreads, Commissions, & Fees
Pricing is kept simple and straightforward to help traders realize as many profits as possible. Simple commissions start at $0.09 per micro contract and aren’t dependent on volume tiers. They offer day trading margins at $50 per micro contract.
NinjaTrader does require you to either lease or buy their software. You can lease it for $60 a month or buy it for a one-time payment of $1099. There’s a free version of the software, but it comes with higher commissions. The platform choice that’s right for you will depend on your trading and profit strategy.
You can be charged for an inactive account to the tune of $25 per month. If you deposit funds into NinjaTrader, make sure you intend to trade with them. Otherwise you could take needless losses.
NinjaTrader is based in the United States, which means it operates in one of the world’s toughest regulatory environments. It’s regulated by the National Futures Association and the Commodity Futures Trading Commissions.
We love to see tight regulation when looking at any brokerage or platform, because that means customers have recourse if the broker does something shady.
Despite all those industry-generated awards, NinjaTrader doesn’t have the best reputation among customers. It seems the things that award-givers value are not the same things that customers value. The brokerage has just 5 reviews on Trustpilot, with a 2.6 star rating.
All the poor ratings seem to have a lot to do with difficulties understanding NinjaTrader’s fee structures and policies, which in turn leads to difficulties making, keeping, or withdrawing funds from the brokerage. Here are a few examples.
“Do not use NinjaTrader, they steal your money! I had more than $130 in my account and they refused to transfer it to me because the cost would be higher than my account! For exchanging $135 to Euro they charged 40 Euro! Be careful, they will steal your money!”– Jan Butler
Here’s another, which speaks to system delays and lag time that can cost traders a lot of money.
“System lags and delays not executing realtime. Today, 9/18/2020, 3AM EST to 6AM EST I have been using Tradestation side-by-side with NinjaTrader. I realized NinjaTrader lags so bad in executions and real-time prints of price action. I also see difference in the prices showing on NinjaTrader. It seems its made for traders to pay more on NInjaTrader as slippage or extra fees. It has to be explained. The order jumping is also another bad experience, since using this NinjaTrader platform. I am going to explore Amp and see the results there also. This is my second review and experience as I use the platform.”– Itrend Videos
The reviews aren’t much better for the platform itself. It has a Trustpilot rating of 1.9 stars across 16 reviews, with only 6% of those reviews at “Excellent” and 81% of them at “Bad.” Here’s one of the reviews targeting the platform itself.
“I started using Ninja with one of their brokerage services. I must say that the platform is great and the response times are good if you are working [in] USA time zones. Their costs, however, are exorbitant; a simple wire transfer is charged $30 while to close the account I was charged $90—still not sure why since the explanation was unclear. At a point I decided to change brokers and have everything under one roof since they are confirmed that Interactive Broker was compatible with Ninja. So I changed. From there, my nightmare started. First, I had to buy a lease of $225 a month because I needed an upgraded version to be able to have the other account attached. Then, attaching IB account was another nightmare and one was blaming the other. In all fairness, the system is not even working well with the simulated account license they gave me, since I cancelled my subscription I’m not sure whose blame it is. Anyway, since I couldn’t use Ninja (or else I had to pay an extra $90 for their data feed, which I was paying $29 while with them) I asked for a refund since in 2 weeks I never managed to place a trade. They kept refusing as they do not do refunds as per rules (I wonder why they have that rule, maybe because they know they’re cheaters?) In a nutshell, Ninja only worked well when they where the brokers themselves, so I guess it is very clear what they are after. It seems like they manipulate the system to push them to have accounts with them. Up to date I have not received a refund and they keep refusing to do one. DO NOT USE THESE GUYS.”-Antoine Scicluna
While one might expect that attaching one party’s platform to a second party’s brokerage would come with some problems, the truth is this is supposed to be one of NinjaTrader’s selling points. If you don’t plan to use NinjaTrader’s platform with the NinjaTrader’s brokerage then you should be aware that doing so could open you up to some problems that you may not have been anticipating.
There do not seem to be any major news scandals surrounding NinjaTrader as of this writing.
NinjaTrader is available in almost 200 countries, including the United States. It’s also available in other major nations like the UK, Germany, and Australia.
Consider Forex.com for another brokerage regulated in the US. It has many comparable tools with less complication, tight spreads, and a huge range of markets to choose from. Consider XTB for a broader range of trading instruments.
Bonuses & Promos
The most recent promo was a $200 commission rebate program, though that ended on June 30th, 2021. We’re writing in July of 2021 so a new bonus or promo may arrive soon. It looks like NinjaTrader does offer promotions on the regular.
Is NinjaTrader a safe, legitimate trading platform?
NinjaTrader is both safe and legitimate. It has physical offices in the United States of America, is regulated by US regulators, and has longevity as it has been around since 2003. Its been reviewed by well-known publications such as Investopedia and The Balance.
Your money will be kept in a segregated, Tier 1 bank account, which means it will be held separately in a highly stable financial institution. NinjaTrader can’t touch it directly, nor can they use your money for their capital operations. They can only use the commissions and fees that they asses when they make trades, which go into their own bank account.
They’ve also taken the proper cybersecurity steps to protect customer funds and personal info. They use all proper SSL encryptions.
In fact, its safety, legitimacy, and tough regulatory environment is one of the best parts of this platform.
Of course, this legitimacy doesn’t make NinjaTrader risk-free. It’s important to understand that you can lose money while trading. Make sure you obtain a thorough education in the ins and outs of trading and be prepared to absorb loss when you begin. The types of instruments that NinjaTrader offers, including spread betting and share dealing, are often subject to rapid losses, especially by inexperienced traders.
Is NinjaTrader properly regulated?
NinjaTrader is regulated in the United States, which means it’s operating in one of the toughest regulatory environments in the world. You’ll have plenty of recourse if you feel they are guilty of any wrongdoing.
What is NinjaTrader’s minimum deposit?
You can start trading with NinjaTrader for as little as $400.
Is NinjaTrader good for beginners?
We just can’t recommend NinjaTrader as a good beginner option. It’s too complex.
NinjaTrader offers several free trading resources, including free daily webinars, a video library, and access to a support community who can help you become a better trader. They also have a robust blog that offers plenty of in-depth articles.
Yet thousands of features and apps might be a little overwhelming for the average beginner. Ninja Trader 8 is not that easy to learn; you’ll be learning a complicated platform at the same time you’re trying to learn how trade.
What leverage does NinjaTrader offer?
NinjaTrader offers highly leveraged micro e-mini futures products with $50 day trading margins. These offer smaller contract sizes than most brokers: 1/10th of the size of normal contracts. This means you won’t see the leverage reported with the same ratios. Traders get more flexibility to manage exposure and contract size.
Who owns NinjaTrader?
NinjaTrader is an LLC owned by founder and CEO Raymond Deux. He’s been running this business for 18 years. Prior to that he was a self-employed trader of futures and equities, as well as an account executive for Cadence Design Systems and a Northwest Regional Sales Manager for Team Corporation.
This kind of stability speaks well to the company’s future longevity.
Is NinjaTrader the right broker for me?
If you are a highly advanced trader looking for the most customized, versatile, and powerful charting and analytics solutions on the marketplace, then investing in NinjaTrader might just be a good move. Smart Asset suggests that it’s an excellent platform for specialty traders with a specific niche, “those who need a piece of software they can customize around that work.” We agree.
If you are looking for a straightforward experience with a singular brokerage and are new enough to the trading game that you’re still grasping the basics of all the data analysis and strategies available then you might want to wait on NinjaTrader. At the very least, you might want to restrict your use to the demo account where you can build your trading strategies, and then move to a cheaper, simpler platform when it’s time to put your own capital on the line.