Available only for US clients, this TD Ameritrade review found the broker offers commission-free shares, 2300 ETFs, 70 futures, Bitcoin Cryptocurrency, 70 currency pairs with leverage up 50:1 and the excellent ThinkOrSwim Trading Platform.
Established in 1975 with headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska, TD Ameritrade is one of Wall Street’s oldest stockbrokers. The broker is one of the big four US brokerage firms which comprise of Charles Schwab, Fidelity Investments and E*TRADE.
TD Ameritrade’s primary speciality is stock trading however you can also trade other products such as ETFs, mutual funds, forex, bonds, options, futures, cryptocurrency.
There are a few important key points to note with TD Ameritrade that will impact your decision when choosing this broker:
If you are a US resident, you can consider this broker reliable and safe since they have regulation from top-tier regulatory bodies in the United States and is listed on the NASDAQ (TD Ameritrade Holding Corp: AMTD).
Note: In April 2019, Charles Schwab acquired TD Ameritrade for $26 billion. Both online brokers expect the deal to be finalized by the end of 2020.
Our team of industry experts evaluated TD Ameritrade based on the range of account types offered, spreads and other trading costs, leverage, trading platforms, deposit and withdrawals methods and so much more.
TD Ameritrade offers a diversity of brokerage accounts, designed to suit various financial goals or strategies. Choosing the right stock trading account for new investors or experienced traders can mean the difference between success or failure. Below, our team of experts will breakdown the different types of trading accounts offered by TD Ameritrade.
There are several types of Standard accounts, including:
The retirement brokerage account comes with some restrictions, but it offers some great tax advantage. US clients can open individual retirement accounts (IRA), including:
TD Ameritrade’s education accounts allow US clients to save funds for their college education and obtain tax benefits (the 529 Plan) or to pay their qualified educational expenses (Coverdell Education Savings Account).
TD Ameritrade also offers a margin account that has attached to it leverage up to 1:50 depending on the asset class traded. Additionally, margin trading can be performed across all TD Ameritrade’s range of trading platforms. The margin account has the following limitations and restrictions:
TD Ameritrade also offers a number of Specialty accounts such as Trust, Limited Partnership, Limited Liability, Sole Proprietorship, Investment Club or Corporate.
Additionally, the brokerage firm offers several types of managed portfolios overseen by TD Ameritrade Investment Management LLC:
In this category, based on our star scoring system, TD Ameritrade scored 7 points out of 10 points.
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The overall rating is based on review by our experts
TD Ameritrade offers a huge selection of trading instruments, ranging from Stocks and ETFs to Forex to Futures and Options. It is important to note you are trading the actual products, not contracts for difference products (CFDs) which are not available in the US.
In 2019, TD Ameritrade (like many other stockbrokers) in the United States waived commissions charges on online Stocks and ETFs listed on US exchanges. Over-the-counter (OTC) stocks not listed on a US exchange incur a $6.95 commission rate.
The brokerage firm allows access to several US stock exchanges as well as to some OTC markets, including the NYSE, NASDAQ, AMEX, OTCBB, etc. On this front, it matches the offering of some of its competitors, such as E-Trade and Fidelity.
TD Ameritrade offers about 2,300 ETFs and these along with Equities are available on the broker’s Web platform or ThinkOrSwim desktop platform with no subscription or platform fees. Active traders will find TD Ameritrade’s ThinkOrSwim platform offers more advanced trading tools, comprehensive charting, market screeners and more valuable features to trade stocks and ETFs.
The broker offers more than 13,000 Mutual Funds from 740 fund providers, as well as a wide range of no-transaction-fee funds. TD Ameritrade only charges a $49.99 brokerage commissions for mutual funds trades. However, the broker also allows commission-free trading on approximately 4,000 mutual funds.
There is a $49.99 trading commission charge in case clients sell those free Funds within 180 days following the purchase.
TD Ameritrade clients can also have access to powerful independent third-party screeners like Compare Funds, Mutual Fund Screeners, Focus List, Morningstar Instant X-Ray that allows investors to buy only the best mutual funds
With TD Ameritrade (TDA), clients can choose from over 70 currency pairs, which are traded in increments of 10,000 units commission-free. The broker’s compensation is reflected in the bid-ask spread. In comparison, market competitors such as E-Trade and Schwab do not offer Forex pairs in their product list.
The average EUR/USD spread is 1.06 pips during peak market hours, resulting in an average trading cost of $10.6 per side for every 100,000 units traded.
Experienced traders who seek reliable technology to implement their strategies will probably find the broker’s advanced ThinkOrSwim platform appealing. It comes with a full suite of technical analysis tools to bring Forex trading to a higher level.
Traders can also access ‘paperMoney’, a tool that enables you to experiment with advanced order types and test new trading strategies by using real market data without risking real money.
40,000 fixed-income instruments from over 100 dealers are available with TD Ameritrade. These US government bonds are available with no commission. However, in the case with corporate bonds, the brokerage firm will charge a $1 fee per bond on secondary transactions.
TD Ameritrade grants access to eight options markets, including AMEX, BOX, CBOE, C2, ISE, NASDAQ, NYSE BATS and PHLX.
Online options trading with this brokerage is associated with a contract fee of $0.65 per options contract, which is similar to fees at competitors such as E-Trade and Charles Schwab.
By offering unique features such as Options Statistics, Options Probabilities and the Analyze Tab, the broker’s ThinkOrSwim desktop platform and ThinkOrSwim mobile app allow you to make better-informed options trades.
TD Ameritrade grants access to five Futures exchanges, including CME, CFE, LIFFE, ICE and ICE EU. Some 70 Futures products are available with a $2.25 fee per contract plus exchange & regulatory fees. Underlying assets include Energies, Metals, Currencies, Stock Indices, Interest Rates, Soft Commodities, Grains, Live Stock and Bitcoin.
Exchange fees depend on the Futures exchange and product, while regulatory fees, assessed by the National Futures Association (NFA), currently equal $0.02 per contract.
TD Ameritrade Holding Corp has invested in ErisX, an entity that provides access to spot Cryptocurrency contracts and Crypto Futures contracts on one exchange. At present, experienced traders can take advantage of Bitcoin Futures offered by TD Ameritrade.
The main disadvantage is the high account minimum requirement ($25,000) to start trading Bitcoin futures.
As for TD Ameritrade’s non-trading fees, we should note that the broker does not charge an inactivity fee or an account fee. However, there are service fees, exception fees, regulatory fees, and market data & news fees that you need to be aware of. Retail traders can consult the full brokerage fees directly on the TD Ameritrade website.
In this category, based on our star scoring system, TD Ameritrade scored 4.5 points out of 10 points.
With TD Ameritrade, clients can open a margin account in order to access leverage in support of their trading strategies. In other words, they can borrow money from the broker to trade but have to pay interest.
The broker’s margin requirements depend on the respective current base rate (8.25% since April 20th 2020) and clients’ debit balance. The table below visualizes the applicable margin rates for different debit balance tiers.
When margin trading, there is a minimum deposit of $2,000.
In this category, based on our star scoring system, TD Ameritrade scored 4 points out of 10 points.
TD Ameritrade’s suite of trading platforms and trading tools accommodates the needs of both active traders and everything an average investor needs. TD Ameritrade has several trading platforms on offer, including:
The following table provides a quick look at some standard features offered by all six platforms.
All TD Ameritrade platforms do have advanced features, with ThinkOrSwim Web being the only trading platform that does not grant access to Level II Price Quotes on Shares and Options.
Built on the smart features of the broker’s Classic Web Platform, the Next-Gen Web Platform offers a clean design and intuitive navigation, allowing clients to keep up with the latest developments in the market or to initiate a trade directly from the main interface.
In addition to useful features integrated into the interface, Next-Gen Web trading platform also offers real-time market updates, along with fundamental data and third-party stock research from TipRanks. Other innovative features and trading tools include:
TD Ameritrade Mobile is a trader app, which gives clients the basics to manage their TD Ameritrade account. The mobile app is equipped with advanced charts, real-time quotes, watchlists, alerts, technical indicators and it can be synchronized with the desktop platform.
This user-friendly app is compatible with Android-based smart devices, as well as with iOS-based devices, including Apple Watch.
Additional capabilities include access to constant market news, analyst reports, daily updates and third-party research as well as access to e-Documents (tax documents in PDF format for the past seven years and statements for the past ten years).
TD Ameritrade’s ThinkOrSwim offers elite-level trading tools, market insights, and a load of unique features, all of which bring trading experience to a higher level.
TD Ameritrade’s flagship trading platform ensures clients will benefit from the most sophisticated tools including:
Designed and optimized for Android- and iOS-based devices, TD Ameritrade’s ThinkOrSwim mobile app brings the power of the desktop platform to your mobile phone.
Having a customizable interface, the mobile app allows traders to:
When you submit an order for stocks, penny stocks, ETFs, currency pairs or any other financial instrument, TD Ameritrade ensures fast speeds of 70ms. In the stock market, the fast order speed can lead to price improvement savings of around $2.11 for every 100 shares traded.
In this category, based on our star scoring system, TD Ameritrade scored 6.5 points out of 10 points.
TD Ameritrade does not have a minimum deposit requirement for trading on a Standard brokerage account (cash account). However, it is worth noting electronic funding does have a minimum requirement of $50. On the other hand, as we already discussed, margin trading and trading with managed portfolios are associated with a particular account minimum.
Another specific circumstance to note is that the only base account currency the brokerage allows includes the US Dollar. Funding with other currencies will be subject to a conversion fee.
When it comes to deposits and withdrawals, a big advantage is that TD Ameritrade does not charge any fees. The only exception is fund withdrawal via wire transfer, in which case a $25 fee is charged by the corresponding bank.
There are several account funding options available with TD Ameritrade:
In this category, based on our star scoring system, TD Ameritrade scored 5.5 points out of 10 points.
TD Ameritrade offers outstanding customer support service available 24/7, which means they are open even during weekends. Client support is carried out via several channels:
The broker’s phone support and live chat options met our expectations, as we received relevant answers to our inquiries – an agent got in touch with us within several minutes. Additionally, TD Ameritrade has a virtual agent (“AskTed”), which directed us to a relevant FAQ page.
The broker’s online educational resources bring into a single place a variety of trading materials tailored for all types of investors. TD Ameritrade probably has the most extensive collection of free online educational resources.
New investors can access online training, how-to-do lessons, articles, video tutorials to webcasts, and real-time market insights from industry experts via TD Ameritrade Network. The education offerings include the following key resources:
In this category, based on our star scoring system, TD Ameritrade scored 8 points out of 10 points.
TD Ameritrade is a trademark, co-owned by TD Ameritrade IP Company, Inc. and the Toronto-Dominion Bank. TD Ameritrade complies with strict regulatory standards imposed by:
Due to its strong regulation, stock exchange listing and banking background, the broker can be considered as safe. On the downside, it’s important to note that unlike FCA and CySEC regulated brokers which must offer negative balance protection to retail clients, TD Ameritrade does not offer this.
Based on our TD Ameritrade review, the US-based brokerage firm is one of the most reputable online brokers, regulated by top-tier financial authorities. It now has no charges on Equity and ETF trades, in line with the introduction of commission-free trading within the industry last year, but on the downside, it has high financing rates for margin trading and does not allow certain funding methods (Debit/Credit Cards, Electronic Wallets).
On the other hand, it offers an award-winning, market-leading desktop trading platform, a professional customer support service and a variety of account types to accommodate any financial objective or strategy.
However, it’s important to note that TD Ameritrade range of trading platforms has a steep learning curve and that TD Ameritrade only accepts clients from the United States.
Justin Grossbard has been investing for the past 20 years and writing for the past 10. He co-founded Compare Forex Brokers in 2014 after working with the foreign exchange trading industry for several years. He also founded a number of FinTech and digital startups including Innovate Online and SMS Comparison. Justin holds a Masters Degree and an Honours in Commerce from Monash University. He and his wife Paula live in Melbourne, Australia with his son and Siberian cat. In his spare time, he watches Australian Rules Football and invests on global markets.