Due to the volatile nature of stock markets, all investors, small or large, require an unrestricted flow of current information to keep ahead of trends and ensure the success of their investments. In the past, investors depended on newspapers, television, or even the radio for this critical information. If the need for information was more urgent, investors could subscribe to expensive services that would allow them to stay up to date.
Times, of course, have changed. Now, via the internet, we have an abundance of up-to-date information at our fingertips. Any investor can check the value of their shares or seek information from a number of sources, generally websites. More recently, however, there is a better option — finance or stock market APIs.
Finance APIs are a remarkable way for developers to build powerful applications to track the stock market, allowing their users to get a quick read on their financial data without visiting a website or hunting for specific information.
In addition to this, developers can now use financial and stockmarket APIs to build trade prediction systems and to chart historical trends. If this interests you, two of the most prominent APIs are Marketstack and Alpha Vantage.
Marketstack is a finance API with a design that serves both developers and financial firms by providing data from 70 stock exchanges worldwide. It covers a variety of trends, offering end-of-day, intraday, and historical data points.
Alpha Vantage supplies data ranging from traditional financial assets such as stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to more modern ones such as forex (FX) and cryptocurrencies. In addition, it can retrieve numbers for more than 50 technical variables.
Overall, Marketstack is better, especially for experienced professional investors. This superiority stems from its more comprehensive range of historical and real-time data and the easier usability of the API.
Main Features Compared
In this article, we will compare Marketstack and Alpha Vantage in detail so you can make the right decision when it comes to investing your time or money in a finance API that suits your needs.
Alpha Vantage Features
When it comes to key features, Marketstack offers a lot more layers of functionality than Alpha Vantage. These include greater access to real-time updates, a higher number of stock exchanges covered, and many more years of historical data.
On the other hand, one area where Alpha Vantage differentiates itself is in the availability of the financial indicators that it offers.
Accessing the most recent data is critical to the success of investors of all types. As far as the availability of real-time information is concerned, Marketstack holds the upper hand.
In general, with Marketstack, you can access your numbers without lag because the APi offers information that is accurate to the minute.
Conversely, while Alpha Vantage also claims to provide real-time data, some online forum users have reported latency issues that the API suffers latency issues.
The comprehensiveness of market information is another crucial factor for investors to consider while using an API.
With its ability to fetch numbers from more than 70 stock exchanges across the globe, Marketstack is the superior alternative. Marketstack’s market coverage includes several European stock exchanges that Alpha Vantage simply doesn’t cover.
Furthermore, Marketstack reports real-time intraday data for US stocks and exchange-traded funds. Alpha Vantage does not offer that service — instead, it refers its paying customers to one of its partners, for an additional subscription at a discount.
Availability of historical data
Studying long-term market trends is a great way to figure out power plays and make wise investment decisions.
Marketstack provides 30 years of recorded data compared to 20 years for Alpha Vantage. This gap of a whole decade is quite significant.
Marketstack’s advantage in this regard is further pronounced because it gives intraday data for all periods, while Alpha Vantage only covers two years’ worth of historical intraday data points.
Financial Indicators (Alpha Vantage)
For beginner and even seasoned investors, having financial metrics readily available can be helpful.
Here Alpha Vantage has the upper hand due to its more than 50 reported technical indicators, which help predict price movements.
In addition, the API offers an array of fundamental data for stocks, including company overview, financial statements, and calendars for earnings and IPOs.
While an API’s features are important, they don’t do you much good, if you are having trouble implementing them. For this reason, in addition to considering features when you choose an API you need to consider how well it is documented.
Alpha Vantage Documentation
Marketstack’s documentation is more user-friendly because it is simple without leaving out crucial details. As a result, it is easier to navigate and provides everything you might need to know at any point in an accessible manner.
Marketsack keeps its documentation concise and straightforward, which makes it more accessible for beginners.
The page starts with the essential step to getting started — getting the API key.
From there Marketstack provides detailed information including notes on specific features as well as highlighted text that indicates the plan in which each feature is available.
The sidebar is also particularly helpful when it comes to locating the information you need on the page.
In addition, the documentation also provides coding examples in six languages (Python, Ruby, Go, Node.js, jQuery, and PHP).
Finally, the text includes detailed API errors information to help you troubleshoot any problems you may encounter with data extraction.
Alphavantage’s documentation is more focused on functionality details.
As a result, the text is lengthy, with plenty of examples of code to be run in different situations.
One positive point is the language-specific guides sections with buttons to switch between four languages (Python, NodeJS, PHP, and C#/.NET).
However, unlike in Marketstack’s documentation, information on potential errors is missing.
Which One’s The Easiest To Use?
Next to documentation, ease of use is another important factor when it comes to selecting your stock market API. Here we take a look at our two contenders to see which has the advantage.
Alpha Vantage Ease of Use
Marketstack Ease of Use
Marketstack has the edge over Alphavantage when it comes to ease of use. It offers a simplified and smooth user experience, from getting started to dealing with errors.
Its documentation helps users work with the API quickly and conveniently. You can get started with the API within minutes.
And even though the data available is voluminous, it can be integrated easily.
In addition, because Marketstack is a REST API, it is lightweight (hence fast) and has a near-perfect uptime.
One element that goes in favor of Alpha Vantage is the availability of Excel and Google Sheets add-ons. This capability is likely to benefit beginner and hobbyist investors who may be more comfortable using spreadsheets.
Even at the enterprise level, price plays an important role when it comes to selecting an information service API. Both Marketstack and Alpha vantage offer a number of plans depending on the services you require.
Alpha Vantage Pricing
For users who are okay with limited historical and real-time data, Alpha Vantage is a more affordable choice. The API’s pricing is also more suited to high-frequency users seeking repeated data updates.
Marketstack’s paid version has four distinct brackets: Basic, Professional, Business, and Enterprise.
The Basic tier is priced at $9.99/month with a $2/month discount if billed annually.
The number of requests permitted for this plan is 10,000 per month, with historical data limited to a decade. In addition, this plan does not include real-time updates.
The Professional plan has a price tag of $49.99/month ($10/month reduction if billed annually) and has a request limit of 100,000 per month.
It also incorporates real-time updates and 30+ years of historical data.
The Business Plan costs users $149.99/month (reduced by $30/month if yearly billing is opted for) and allows up to 500,000 requests in a month.
An upgrade in this plan versus the other two is the availability of support teams on a priority basis.
Finally, the Enterprise tier is for parties that require more than 500,000 requests per month. It includes dedicated support and custom pricing levels.
Alpha Vantage has a different approach to its pricing.
The only differentiating factor among the price brackets is the requests per minute (there is no daily requests limit).
Pricing starts at $49.99/month, allowing 75 API requests in a minute. Then for every additional $50 per month, the maximum requests per minute double to the highest level of 1,200 per month as shown below:
- $99.9/month for 150 API requests/minute
- $149.99/month for 300 API requests/minute
- $199.99/month for 600 API requests/minute and,
- $249.99/month for 1,200 API requests/minute
When comparing the scope of use for both APIs, the maximum number of requests per month is far higher for Alpha Vantage at the same price point.
For example, at $49.99/month, Marketstack allows 100,000 requests. But at the same price level, Alpha Vantage allows 75 requests per minute. This rate theoretically means up to 4,500 requests per hour, 108,000 per day, and 3.24 million per month!
Free Tiers Compared
Marketstack’s free version requires no credit card to activate. It allows 1,000 requests in a month with all 70 stock exchanges incorporated.
The historical data included is limited to 1 year, a sharp nine-year gap compared to the Basic Plan.
Lastly, the free plan does not include intraday data and is limited to just end-of-day numbers. Users need to create a login ID for free to get started.
Alpha Vantage has a more generous free service.
This plan includes a maximum of 5 API requests in a minute and 500 requests per day.
Therefore, if we take a month to average 30 days, this can mean as many as 15,000 requests a month. Thus there is a large gap of 14,000 free requests per month for Alpha Vantage’s free plan compared to Marketstack’s.
In addition, the free version of Alpha Vantage provides access to all of the API’s endpoints, implying that users can get intraday as well as the entire 20 years’ data points within the set limit stated above.
Finally, there is no requirement for a login ID. All you need to do is provide your email address (for feature updates and troubleshooting, no promos), background (student, investor, etc.), and your organization’s name.
After that, you are instantly given the API key on the same page you provide your details.
So, of the two APIs, Alpha Vantage has the better free usage option.
Alpha Vantage Overall Score
Marketstack Overall Score
Financial APIs are of immense value to all types of investors. Both Marketstack and Alpha Vantage are APIs in this category worth considering. Alpha Vantage could be a nice option for relatively casual and inexperienced investors due to its lower cost and spreadsheet add-ons.
Overall, Marketstack is a superior financial API, particularly for professional investors, because it provides access to far more real-time and historical data points with greater ease of use. However, Alpha Vantage may be a better fit for beginner and amateur investors due to its lower price and spreadsheet add-ons.