Ameritrade platform

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Trading Tools & Platforms

Apple Watch® is a registered trademark of Apple, Inc.

Market volatility, volume and system availability may delay account access and trade executions.

Past performance of a security does not guarantee future results or success.

TD Ameritrade does not make recommendations or determine the suitability of any security, strategy or course of action, for you, through the use of TD Ameritrade's trading tools. Any investment decision you make in your self-directed account is solely your responsibility. Please consult other sources of information and consider your individual financial position and goals before making an independent investment decision.

Waiver of NASDAQ Level II and Streaming News subscription fees applies to non-professional clients only. Access to real-time market data is conditioned on acceptance of exchange agreements. Professional access differs and subscription fees may apply. For details, see our commissions and rates.

Taxes related to TD Ameritrade offers are your responsibility. All Promotional items and cash received during the calendar year will be included on your consolidated Form 1099. Please consult a legal or tax advisor for the most recent changes to the U.S. tax code and for rollover eligibility rules.

**Mobile leadership claim based on analysis of publicly available competitor data concerning number of mobile users and daily average revenue trade levels.

***Through the FRED® API. FRED® is a registered trademark of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis does not sponsor or endorse and is not affiliated with TD Ameritrade. All third party trademarks are property of their respective owners.

#Rolling strategies can entail additional transaction costs, including multiple contract fees, which may impact any potential return.  You are responsible for all orders entered in your self-directed account.

Futures and futures options trading involves substantial risk and is not suitable for all investors. Please read the Risk Disclosure Statement prior to trading futures products. 

Trading options, futures and forex can involve substantial risks and are not suitable for all investors. Clients must consider all relevant risk factors, including their own personal financial situation, before trading. Trading privileges are subject to TD Ameritrade review and approval. Not all account owners will qualify.

Forex trading involves leverage, carries a high level of risk and is not suitable for all investors. Please read the NFA booklet Trading Forex: What Investors Need to Know prior to trading forex products.

Futures and forex accounts are not protected by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC).

Futures, futures options, and forex trading services provided by Charles Schwab Futures and Forex LLC. Trading privileges subject to review and approval. Not all clients will qualify. Forex accounts are not available to residents of Ohio or Arizona. Prior to a name change in September 2021, Charles Schwab Futures and Forex LLC was known as TD Ameritrade Futures & Forex LLC.

Charles Schwab Futures and Forex LLC, a CFTC-registered Futures Commission Merchant and NFA Forex Dealer Member. Charles Schwab Futures and Forex LLC is a subsidiary of The Charles Schwab Corporation.

Options involve risks and are not suitable for all investors. Before trading options, carefully read Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options. Contact TD Ameritrade at 800-669-3900 for a copy.

The covered call strategy can limit the upside potential of the underlying stock position, as the stock would likely be called away in the event of substantial stock price increase.  

Posts presented in social signals are not subject to any fact-checking, may be without reasonable basis and claims may be unsubstantiated. Thoroughly evaluate all information before trading.

The social data discovery, filtering and analysis are provided by SwanPowers, LLC's LikeFolio.SwanPowers and TD Ameritrade are separate and unaffiliated firms.

E*Trade’s Power E*TRADE Pro trading platform, including Level II quotes and streaming news, is available at no charge to Power E*TRADE active trader customers who execute at least 30 stock or options trades during a calendar quarter. To continue receiving access to this platform, you must execute at least 30 stock or options trades by the end of the following calendar quarter. Customers can also subscribe for $99.95 per month. Active Trader representatives are only available to logged-in Power E*TRADE customers.

Fidelity’s Active Trader Pro® trading platform is available to households trading 36 times or more in a rolling twelve-month period. Trading 72 times over the same period earns access to static Level II quotes. Trading 120 times over the same period earns streaming news. Active Trader Services, including dedicated trading specialists, are available to households that place 120 or more stock, bond, or options trades over the same period and maintain $25K in assets across eligible Fidelity brokerage accounts.

All product and service names are property of their respective owners.

This is not an offer or solicitation in any jurisdiction where we are not authorized to do business or where such offer or solicitation would be contrary to the local laws and regulations of that jurisdiction, including, but not limited to persons residing in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, UK, and the countries of the European Union.

TD Ameritrade, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC, a subsidiary of The Charles Schwab Corporation. TD Ameritrade is a trademark jointly owned by TD Ameritrade IP Company, Inc. and The Toronto-Dominion Bank. ©2021 Charles Schwab & Co. Inc. All rights reserved.

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TD Ameritrade Review

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October 12th, 2021

TD Ameritrade delivers $0 trades, fantastic trading platforms, excellent market research, industry-leading education for beginners, and reliable customer service. This outstanding all-around experience makes TD Ameritrade our top overall broker in 2021.

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  • Minimum Deposit: $0.00
  • Stock Trades: $0.00
  • Options (Per Contract): $0.65

Top Takeaways for 2021

After spending three months testing 11 of the best online brokers for our 11th Annual Review, here are our top findings on TD Ameritrade:

  1. TD Ameritrade is our top pick for beginners in 2021, thanks to industry-leading education and research, an easy to use website, and a separate mobile app built specifically for everyday investors.
  2. Through the thinkorswim trading platform, which comes in desktop, browser, and mobile flavors, TD Ameritrade delivers excellence for all active traders, including day traders, options traders, and futures traders.
  3. As a technology and artificial intelligence (AI) leader, customers can access their TD Ameritrade accounts everywhere, from Alexa to Facebook, Twitter, Apple Messages, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay.

TD Ameritrade and Charles Schwab

On November 25th, 2019, Charles Schwab announced it was acquiring TD Ameritrade in an all-stock transaction valued at approximately $26 billion. The deal closed on October 6th, 2020. At the time of closing, the combined company housed roughly $6 trillion in assets and 28 million brokerage accounts.

Charles Schwab estimates the integration will take between 18 and 36 months from closing. Thus, for the time being, it is business as usual for TD Ameritrade, and our review reflects our unbiased views on TD Ameritrade as a standalone brokerage.

Overall Summary

FeatureTD Ameritrade
Overall5 Stars
Commissions & Fees4.5 Stars
Platforms & Tools5 Stars
Research5 Stars
Mobile Trading5 Stars
Offering of Investments5 Stars
Education5 Stars
Ease of Use5 Stars

--> View TD Ameritrade Features List

Commissions and Fees

Thanks to a pricing war in late 2019, on October 3rd, 2019, TD Ameritrade slashed its $6.95 stock trades (including ETFs) rate down to $0, with options trades now costing just $0.65 per contract.

However, despite $0 stock and ETF trades, there is still a $6.95 flat-rate fee for trading penny stocks.

TD Ameritrade pricing summary:

FeatureTD Ameritrade
Minimum Deposit$0.00
Stock Trades$0.00
ETF Trade Fee$0.00
Options (Base Fee)$0.00
Options (Per Contract)$0.65
Futures (Per Contract)$2.25
Mutual Fund Trade Fee$49.99
Broker Assisted Trade Fee$44.99

Platforms and Tools

Once again, for the ninth consecutive year, TD Ameritrade is number one for trading platforms and tools, thanks to desktop-based thinkorswim. Whether you are day trading, options trading, or futures trading, thinkorswim desktop is a winner. And, for casual investors, TD Ameritrade’s latest platform addition, thinkorswim web, is great.

thinkorswim desktop charting: As far as charting goes, thinkorswim is so advanced it is rivaled only by TradeStation. A few clicks of the mouse will have dozens of charts streaming real-time data. Even the pickiest trader will be satisfied with the 400+ technical studies available, which is the highest in the industry. Better yet, each study can be customized using thinkScript, thinkorswim's proprietary coding language.

thinkorswim desktop trading tools: TD Ameritrade's thinkorswim is home to an impressive array of tools. Highlights include virtual trading with fake money, performing advanced earnings analysis, plotting economic (FRED) data, charting social sentiment, backtesting with thinkOnDemand, and even replaying historical markets tick-by-tick. TD Ameritrade also enables traders to create and conduct real-time stock scans, share charts and workspace layouts, and perform advanced options analysis. The rabbit hole goes as far as any trader's imagination will take them. It's a dazzling offering of choices that will set your mind spinning – in a good way.

thinkorswim desktop Earnings Analysis: The thinkorswim Earnings Analysis tool is my favorite for planning ahead for earnings releases and assessing each company's results afterward. The tool plots price action and volatility before and after previous releases. It also pulls data from Wall Street analysts and crowd-sourced ratings from Estimize to plot EPS estimate ranges alongside actual results. The whole experience brings clarity with much less noise. It's awesome.

thinkorswim web: Compared to thinkorswim desktop, TD Ameritrade's newest platform, thinkorswim web, provides an easy way for traders to quickly manage their account while accessing essential trading features. For example, headlines stream from top-tier providers such as Dow Jones Newswire and charts come with 11 indicators, while thinkorswim desktop offers multiple news providers and over 400 indicators.

thinkorswim web tools: While thinkorswim web appears simple on the surface, there are a handful of advanced functions underneath the hood. For example, you can place multi-legged options orders and choose from five default strategies, all from within the same trading window within charts. Also, when you create an order, it is saved on the same page as the ticker symbol, so if you switch views to another symbol, then come back, the order is still there until you execute or delete it.

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Research

Thanks to the TD Ameritrade Network and a unique line-up of tools, TD Ameritrade provides investors a substantial research offering.

TV network and video: The TD Ameritrade Network, TD Ameritrade's live streaming financial network, broadcasts live every day from 8:00 ET to 5:00 ET and includes an excellent mix of market analysis as well as trader education. Schwab is the only other online broker to offer live broadcasting during market hours. Broadcasting aside, TD Ameritrade also provides streaming TV from CNBC for the US, Europe, and Asia trading sessions.

Market commentary: TD Ameritrade provides written daily market commentary and analysis through The Ticker Tape portal. Content is widespread, covering day-to-day markets as well as general finance, savings, retirement, and trader education. Together with The Ticker Tape, TD Ameritrade publishes thinkMoney, a quarterly print (and digital) magazine, which focuses entirely on education. The bottom line is that for stock and options trading, TD Ameritrade is great. For long-term investing and retirement-related content, I prefer Fidelity Viewpoints and Schwab Insights.

TD Ameritrade Autotrade: TD Ameritrade's website includes a handful of unique tools. For example, the Autotrade service (not available for IRA accounts) is a tool that lets you automate the trade recommendations (signals) from third-parties such as the TradeWise options newsletter, alongside ten other providers.

Social sentiment: There is also social sentiment data available within thinkorswim that tracks the number of times a symbol was mentioned on Twitter and includes rankings. For example, if you pull up a chart of Tesla (TSLA), you can see the social sentiment displayed on the chart, including the percentage of negative, neutral, and positive mentions.

Community features: Through thinkorswim, traders can chat in chat rooms and share trade ideas through myTrade and see the trades shared by others from within the Trade Fees section on thinkorswim.

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Mobile Trading

With mobile, TD Ameritrade took a different approach by offering not one but two smartphone apps: TD Ameritrade Mobile and thinkorswim Mobile. TD Ameritrade Mobile is designed for casual investors. Meanwhile, thinkorswim Mobile is designed for the feature-hungry active trader. Both apps are fantastic.

TD Ameritrade Mobile: TD Ameritrade Mobile welcomes everyday investors with a customizable dashboard. Navigating the app is seamless and includes all the features any investor could want. Watch lists sync with your account, are streaming, and fully customizable. Meanwhile, stock quotes include price alerts, news, clean (and fully-featured) charting, and third-party ratings are accompanied by PDF research reports. Placing trades is a breeze; the list goes on and on.

thinkorswim Mobile: Looking at mobile apps specifically, thinkorswim Mobile is a top pick for traders in 2021 and again is Best in Class. Upon login, you are taken straight into your watch lists, which sync with the thinkorswim desktop and web version. In fact, the app mirrors the thinkorswim desktop throughout. Charting includes all 400+ indicators from the desktop platform, and chart preferences sync in the cloud. Orders and alerts management is fluid, and I really love the easy access to Trader TV, which includes not only the TD Ameritrade Network but CNBC as well.

AI and tech innovation: TD Ameritrade was one of the first brokers to offer an Alexa Skill, and in August 2017, it became the first broker to integrate with Facebook Messenger, embracing the future of artificial intelligence (AI) with its own chatbot. Next, in 2018 it integrated with Apple Business Chat, which I am using more and more frequently to grab quick stock quotes. Then, in 2019, TD Ameritrade for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto both rolled out. All in all, TD Ameritrade is the undisputed leader in mobile and can be found everywhere you are.

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Offering of Investments

TD Ameritrade provides everything one might expect of a full-service brokerage, from stock trading to retirement guidance. All account types are supported. Also offered are both futures and forex trading (read our TD Ameritrade forex review. If there is one drawback, it is with international trading; TD Ameritrade customers can only trade US and Canadian-listed securities.

Does TD Ameritrade offer crypto?
No, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Dogecoin are not available to trade at TD Ameritrade.

Education

Hands down, there is no better broker in which to learn the basics of the stock market than TD Ameritrade. Excellent education makes TD Ameritrade an easy winner for beginners.

Education overview: Organized into courses with quizzes, over 200 videos are available, which all include progress tracking. Also provided each month are hundreds of webinars and educational sessions. The website gamify learning by awarding points alongside badges to encourage further education. Education is also broadcasted through the TD Ameritrade Network.

Podcasts and other media: I found the six episodes in the Talking Green podcast excellent with insights into behavioral finance to help you improve your relationship with money. In addition, TD Ameritrade has several YouTube channels, including one dedicated to its Trader Talks series with over 1,000 archived webcasts.

Other resources: TD Ameritrade even publishes its own magazine, called thinkMoney, and blog, The Ticker Tape. Finally, the thinkorswim Learning Center provides advanced education on all things technical analysis related, including coding custom indicators.

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Banking

TD Ameritrade provides essential banking services to customers through 260 retail service centers across the United States.

Banking overview: Like its closest competitors, TD Ameritrade offers mobile check deposit, online bill pay, and ATM fee reimbursement. TD Ameritrade also offers cash management accounts with FDIC-insurance protection. For investors who maintain high amounts of uninvested cash in their brokerage accounts, TD Ameritrade, like most other brokers, does not share the interest it earns.

Final Thoughts

Despite now being owned by Charles Schwab, it is business as usual for TD Ameritrade. According to widely publicized comments from Charles Schwab, current TD Ameritrade customers will not see any shifts in their day to day account experience until at least 2022.

TD Ameritrade is a technology-focused company that understands its customers and delivers a high-quality client experience. Especially now with $0 stock and ETF trades, any investor or trader, new or seasoned, will find TD Ameritrade to be a winner.

Is TD Ameritrade good?

TD Ameritrade is an excellent choice for investors and traders. It’s one of the largest brokerages in America, with over $6 trillion in customer assets, and is trusted by over 28 million customers.

TD Ameritrade delivers the best stock trading app for beginners and is our top choice in 2021. Charles Schwab’s acquisition of TD Ameritrade has further strengthened the brand’s position as a market leader.

How much does it cost to open a TD Ameritrade account?

You can open an account with any dollar amount using five supported funding methods available. There is no minimum deposit required to open an account with TD Ameritrade.

Using an ACH transfer to fund your account has a limit of $50 to $250,000 per deposit in some circumstances; other methods, such as wire transfers, have no limit.

Does TD Ameritrade charge a monthly fee?

While there are generally no fees for maintaining your TD Ameritrade account — regardless of balance — there are certain service fees that you may incur depending on how you set up your account.

For example, there is a $2 fee for monthly paper statements for accounts with less than $10,000 in liquidation value, but the fee is waived if you opt for electronic statements instead.

About TD Ameritrade

Headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, TD Ameritrade was founded in 1975 as one of the first online brokerages in the United States (1). On November 25th, 2019, Charles Schwab announced it was acquiring TD Ameritrade in an all-stock transaction valued at approximately $26 billion (2). The deal closed on October 6th, 2020 (3). At the time of closing, the combined company housed roughly $6 trillion in assets and 28 million brokerage accounts

2021 Review Methodology

For the StockBrokers.com 11th annual best trading platforms review published in January 2021, a total of 2,816 data points were collected over three months and used to score brokers. This makes StockBrokers.com home to the largest independent database on the web covering the online broker industry.

Participation is required to be included. Each broker completed an in-depth data profile and offered executive time (live in person or over the web) for an annual update meeting. Our rigorous data validation process yields an error rate of less than .001% each year, providing site visitors quality data they can trust. Learn more about how we test.



About the Author

Blain Reinkensmeyer

Blain Reinkensmeyer As Head of Research at StockBrokers.com, Blain Reinkensmeyer has 20 years of trading experience with over 1,000 trades placed during that time. Referenced as a leading expert on the US online brokerage industry, Blain has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, and Fast Company, among others.





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A smarter, more powerful investing experience, now commission-free

*The account transfer fee rebate offer is valid on transfers into a new Individual or Joint account with a qualifying external transfer fee charged within 60 days of the transfer. Transfer fee rebate of up to $100 requires a USD$3,500 transfer from another brokerage firm within 60 calendar days of account opening.  Proof of transfer fee required to receive rebate. Upon acknowledgement of receipt, please allow 3-5 business days for the qualified transfer fee rebate to post to the account. Account value of the qualifying account must remain equal to, or greater than, the value after the net deposit was made (minus any losses due to trading or market volatility or margin debit balances) for 12 months, or TD Ameritrade Singapore may charge the account for the cost of the transfer fee rebate at its sole discretion. Offer is not transferable and not valid with internal transfers or with other offers. TD Ameritrade Singapore reserves the right to restrict, amend, or revoke this offer at any time. This advertisement has not been reviewed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore. (Offer Code: ATRANSF100)

Please log in to your account and ensure all account information is accurate. All prices in USD unless noted otherwise. Website and platform content and tools, including third party content, are provided for educational and informational purposes only. Market volatility, volume and system availability may delay account access and trade executions. All investments involve risk, including potential loss of principal. Clients must consider all relevant risk factors and personal financial situation before trading, please read our Risk Warning Statement.

**TD Ameritrade Singapore's trading platform, thinkorswim, was voted "Most Preferred Platform" at INVEST Fair 2019. TD Ameritrade Singapore was also voted “Most Engaging Financial Company.” The result was based on the votes by INVEST Fair 2019 participants.

***2020 StockBrokers.com Online Broker Review refers to TD Ameritrade, Inc., the executing broker in the U.S. for TD Ameritrade Singapore. The platforms available to TD Ameritrade Singapore clients reflect the same technology as that included in the review. TD Ameritrade was evaluated against 14 other online brokers in the StockBrokers.com Online Broker Review 2020 and won Industry Awards for #1 Desktop Platform (thinkorswim), #1 Trader App (TD Ameritrade Mobile Trader—also known as thinkorswim Mobile) and #1 Trader Community. The firm was also ranked #1 in the categories "Platform & Tools," "Education," and "Mobile Trading." Read the full article. 

Company Profile (Trefis) information/estimates provided by Insight Guru, a separate and unaffiliated firm. Stock prices are impacted by numerous factors and estimates of prices in the future are not guaranteed. 

††TD Ameritrade does NOT make any recommendation to buy, sell, or hold any security via a social media post or chat. And we encourage you to thoroughly research any "recommendation" you might view in a third-party post or chat.

†††Rolling strategies can entail substantial transaction costs, including multiple commissions, which may impact any potential return.  You are responsible for all orders entered in your self-directed account.

Probability analysis results from the Market Maker Move indicator are theoretical in nature, not guaranteed, and do not reflect any degree of certainty of an event occurring.

Extended hours trading is subject to unique rules and risks, including lower liquidity and higher volatility. Extended hours trading not available on market holidays.

TD Ameritrade Singapore and CME Group are separate, unaffiliated companies that are not responsible for each other's services or policies.

TD Ameritrade Network content is provided by TD Ameritrade Media Productions Company for educational and informational purpose only. TD Ameritrade Media Productions Company and TD Ameritrade Singapore are separate but affiliated companies and are not responsible for each other’s services or policies.

The #1 trading app accolade applies to thinkorswim Mobile.

App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc.

paperMoney® trading is for educational purposes only. Successful virtual trading during one time period does not guarantee successful investing of actual funds during a later time period as market conditions change continuously.

TD Ameritrade Singapore Pte. Ltd. (Reg. No. 200902152D) is licensed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore and does not provide tax, legal or investment advice or recommendations. Products and services offered in Singapore are provided by TD Ameritrade Singapore Pte. Ltd. and nothing in the published material is an offer or solicitation to conduct business in any other jurisdiction. TD Ameritrade Singapore Pte. Ltd. trading as TD Ameritrade.

This advertisement has not been reviewed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

TD Ameritrade is a trademark jointly owned by TD Ameritrade IP Company, Inc. and The Toronto-Dominion Bank. © 2020 TD Ameritrade.

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How To Buy A Stock On TD Ameritrade (Buy, Sell, DRIP Dividend Reinvestment Plan)

Trading anywhere else would be settling

Carefully consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses before investing. A prospectus, obtained by calling 800-669-3900, contains this and other important information about an investment company. Read carefully before investing.

Market volatility, volume and system availability may delay account access and trade executions.

Reviewed against 10 other online brokers, TD Ameritrade was named #1 Overall Broker in the StockBrokers.com 2021 Online Broker Review (3 years in a row). We rated #1 in several categories, including "Platforms & Tools" (10 years in a row), "Education" (9 years in a row), “Beginner Investors” (9 years in a row), “Desktop Trading Platform: thinkorswim®” (9 years in a row), and “Active Trading”. We were also rated Best in Class (within the top 5) for “Commissions & Fees”, "Offering of Investments" (7 years in a row), "Research" (10 years in a row), "Mobile Trading" (9 years in a row), "Ease of Use" (5 years in a row), "IRA Accounts" (2 years in a row), “Futures Trading” (2 years in a row) and "Options Trading" (11 years in a row). Read the full article.

†Applies to US exchange listed stocks, ETFs, and options.  A $0.65 per contract fee applies for options trades.

This is not an offer or solicitation in any jurisdiction where we are not authorized to do business or where such offer or solicitation would be contrary to the local laws and regulations of that jurisdiction, including, but not limited to persons residing in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, UK, and the countries of the European Union.

Brokerage services provided by TD Ameritrade, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC, and a subsidiary of The Charles Schwab Corporation. TD Ameritrade is a trademark jointly owned by TD Ameritrade IP Company, Inc. and The Toronto-Dominion Bank. ©2021 Charles Schwab & Co. Inc. All rights reserved.

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Platform ameritrade

thinkorswim® web

Carefully consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses before investing. A prospectus, obtained by calling 800-669-3900, contains this and other important information about an investment company. Read carefully before investing.

Options involve risks and are not suitable for all investors as the special risks inherent to options trading may expose investors to potentially rapid and substantial losses. Options trading privileges subject to TD Ameritrade review and approval. Please read Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Optionsbefore trading options.

Spreads, Straddles, and other multiple-leg option strategies can entail additional transaction costs, including multiple contract fees, which may impact any potential return.  These are advanced option strategies and often involve greater risk, and more complex risk, than basic options trades.

Futures and futures options trading involves substantial risk, and is not suitable for all investors.  Please read the Risk Disclosure Statement  prior to trading futures products.

Futures accounts are not protected by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC).

Futures and Forex trading services provided by Charles Schwab Futures and Forex LLC. Trading privileges subject to review and approval. Not all clients will qualify. Forex accounts are not available to residents of Ohio or Arizona. Prior to a name change in September 2021, Charles Schwab Futures and Forex LLC was known as TD Ameritrade Futures & Forex LLC.

Forex trading involves leverage, carries a high level of risk and is not suitable for all investors. Please read the NFA booklet Trading Forex: What Investors Need to Know prior to trading forex products.

Forex accounts are not protected by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC).

Forex trading services provided by Charles Schwab Futures and Forex LLC. Trading privileges subject to review and approval. Not all clients will qualify. Forex accounts are not available to residents of Ohio or Arizona. Prior to a name change in September 2021, Charles Schwab Futures and Forex LLC was known as TD Ameritrade Futures & Forex LLC.

Charles Schwab Futures and Forex LLC, a CFTC-registered Futures Commission Merchant and NFA Forex Dealer Member. Charles Schwab Futures and Forex LLC is a subsidiary of The Charles Schwab Corporation.

Margin trading increases risk of loss and includes the possibility of a forced sale if account equity drops below required levels. Margin is not available in all account types. Margin trading privileges subject to TD Ameritrade review and approval. Carefully review the Margin Handbook and Margin Disclosure Document for more details.  Please see our website or contact TD Ameritrade at 800-669-3900 for copies.

*The paperMoney® software application is for educational purposes only. Successful virtual trading during one time period does not guarantee successful investing of actual funds during a later time period as market conditions change continuously. To receive real time quotes on a paperMoney account, the paperMoney account must be linked to a TD Ameritrade account funded with at least $500.

This is not an offer or solicitation in any jurisdiction where we are not authorized to do business or where such offer or solicitation would be contrary to the local laws and regulations of that jurisdiction, including, but not limited to persons residing in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, UK, and the countries of the European Union.

TD Ameritrade, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC, a subsidiary of The Charles Schwab Corporation. TD Ameritrade is a trademark jointly owned by TD Ameritrade IP Company, Inc. and The Toronto-Dominion Bank. ©2021 Charles Schwab & Co. Inc. All rights reserved.

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Getting Started at TD Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade Review

With $0 commissions on trades, top of the line educational programming, enhanced trading platforms and a user-friendly mobile app, TD Ameritrade offers a full-service brokerage experience that can cater to the needs of an investor just starting out as well as the requirements of an advanced day trader taking positions in a variety of asset classes. New investors in particular will find that TD Ameritrade is one of the best options given the educational content and overall ease of use.

Although Charles Schwab has acquired TD Ameritrade, TD Ameritrade is still functioning as a separate entity, so we will look at how it ranks as a standalone brokerage and help you decide whether it is a good fit for your investing needs.

Key Takeaways

  • TD Ameritrade earned our top spot as the best broker for beginners. 
  • TD Ameritrade offers a breadth and depth of education that is unparalleled in the industry. When it comes to educational programming for their customers, TD Ameritrade is at the top of its class. 
  • The trading experience is highly customizable on TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim platform, web-based platform, and mobile apps. 
  • TD Ameritrade’s investment selections are extensive. The online broker offers a full range of investment products, including stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs, option contracts, and forex futures. TD Ameritrade also offers Bitcoin futures for investors looking for cryptocurrency exposure. 
  • Although TD Ameritrade offers one of the largest investment selections on the market, some competitors offer more cost-efficient alternatives. Additionally, TD Ameritrade does not offer fractional shares.

Who TD Ameritrade Is For

TD Ameritrade is one of the larger online brokers in the U.S., so it offers multiple platforms aimed at different levels of expertise. For passive and active investors, the web based and standard mobile app platforms are intuitive and easy to use. However, for casual traders and day traders, the robust thinkorswim platform is likely the best bet due to its extensive screening capabilities, charting tools, and advanced analytics. All in all, passive investors, active investors, casual traders, and day traders will all be impressed with TD Ameritrade’s range of trading platforms and overall offering.

Pros
  • Extensive educational programming for beginner investors

  • Well designed web platform and mobile applications

  • A range of trading platforms and investment selections for all types of investors and traders

Cons
  • TD Ameritrade does not offer fractional shares

  • Higher account fees and fund fees than competitors

  • Uninvested cash is not automatically swept into a money market fund

Pros Explained

  • Without a doubt, there is no better online broker to learn the basics of investing in the stock market than TD Ameritrade. TD Ameritrade offers a breadth and depth of education that is unparalleled in the industry, including an online digital magazine “tickertape”, a quarterly periodical “thinkmoney”, daily streaming live market commentary on the TD Ameritrade Network, in person instruction via live events, virtual learning experiences in online workshops, webcasts, courses, and instructional videos. 
  • TD Ameritrade’s user interface provides users with experiential, self-paced learning where content is fully integrated into the experience. The broker has put the user at the center of its designs, which promotes ease of use, and a seamless and personalized experience. 
  • Whether you are a passive investor or day trader, TD Ameritrade’s range of trading platforms positions the broker to be ideal for every investor. TD Ameritrade’s web-based and mobile platform promotes ease of use and simplicity, and the thinkorswim platform provides robust capabilities for experienced traders.

Cons Explained

  • Fractional shares allow investors with limited capital to add high-priced securities to their portfolio a little at a time. Unfortunately, TD Ameritrade does not offer fractional share purchases. This may not matter for much longer, however, as TD Ameritrade has been officially acquired by Charles Schwab. Charles Schwab does offer fractional shares, so this feature may migrate to existing TD Ameritrade customers as the two companies merge. 
  • While TD Ameritrade has an array of investment products, close competitors have more cost-efficient alternatives. Investors who use margin in their trading should also note that TD Ameritrade’s margin rates are not as competitive as some of the broker’s peers. 
  • Unlike some of its competitors, TD Ameritrade does not automatically sweep uninvested cash into a money market fund. However, the broker provides a choice to opt into the sweep program or hold cash in a FDIC protected account.

Usability

TD Ameritrade’s focus on the client experience has made its platforms seamless and easy to navigate. Using innovation to transform the individual client experience, TD Ameritrade puts the user at the center of the design and optimizes their individual experience. TD Ameritrade web, thinkorswim, and the mobile apps are all highly customizable based on the user’s unique interests. 

TD Ameritrade web includes a dock tool, which is a fully customizable dashboard. When screen size allows, it appears on the right side of the screen and remains persistent as users navigate through the site on the left. Users can generally choose between 13 unique modules to view. Modules include account balances, streaming watch lists, bookmarks, streaming news and events, video, streaming trending on Twitter, streaming Yahoo Finance headlines, streaming RSS feeds, and more. Once you add modules to your dock, you can rearrange the module order and size. You can also filter most of the modules to drill down into the information that you are most interested in. 

Logging into TD Ameritrade is a breeze on any of the four platforms (web, mobile, thinkorswim, thinkorswim mobile). It is also easy to navigate between the different views on the web-based platform and the standard mobile app. On the app, you are greeted with your positions and account balance in a simple one-page experience that makes checking in on the market and your account simple and efficient. 

To find news on the web-based platform you simply navigate to the news section. On the standard app, you can scroll down on your dashboard and easily see general market news as well as news on your specific positions. All in all, both the web-based and standard mobile app platforms are easy to use and manageable for investors just starting out. 

For active investors who want more information about markets such as earnings, dividends, analyst ratings, upcoming initial public offerings (IPOs), the web and mobile platforms are simple to navigate. Simply type in a ticker you want to look at and have news, ratings, charts, and all kinds of fundamental information at your fingertips.

Trade Experience

Trading on the web platform is quite straightforward, as users can seamlessly type in their ticker symbol and enter their orders. With the exception of fixed income, both the mobile app and web platforms offer the same asset classes and support the same type of orders, including stop-limit orders. Moreover, all platforms allow users to stage orders for later entry, while thinkorswim and TD Ameritrade web enables conditional orders which allows users to set triggers based on price movements.

In general, selecting a good stock or mutual fund to invest in isn’t always easy, especially for beginners. Oftentimes, the selection process can be overwhelming for new investors simply because of the sheer volume of companies available. Fortunately, TD Ameritrade offers stock screeners on their web platform that can be found under the research and ideas section. Users can create their own screens with a wide variety of parameters like sector, industry, market capitalization, and much more. Although the screeners on the website are pretty easy to make, its layout can be confusing for a beginner. 

TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim is an extremely robust trading platform within the brokers overall platform that is geared towards experienced traders. Although the web platform allows you to draw trendlines, add indicators, and do basic technical analysis, thinkorswim goes far beyond this toolset. The thinkorswim downloadable platform can be customized to a trader’s preferences and offers the full suite of analysis tools across asset classes, including options and derivatives. There is also a trading simulator and the ability for traders to create their own tools using the thinkScript programming language. As far as trading, charting, and analysis are concerned, TD Ameritrade’s mobile app and the website do not compare to the depth and breadth of thinkorswim. Thinkorswim is essentially a broker-provided trading engine and, for this reason, serious traders will primarily use the thinkorswim desktop platform for position analysis and entry. 

Mobile Trade Experience

If you choose TD Ameritrade as your online broker, you will find that trading in the regular mobile app is even easier than the web. On the top right of the user’s screen is a large green “trade” button. Entering a symbol and trading is very simplistic but effective. TD Ameritrade mobile has watchlists, and it streams real-time data. Despite the fact that the mobile app does not support the capability to draw on charts, users can seamlessly trade directly from the charts.

With all of this in mind, the charts on the thinkorswim mobile app were better than the standard TD Ameritrade app by a considerable margin. The thinkorswim mobile app allows you to trade multi-leg options, customize charts, conduct position analysis, and much more. In fact, thinkorswim mobile is very similar to the downloadable platform, marking it an easy transition for traders moving between the two.

Range of Offerings

TD Ameritrade clients can trade a wide variety of assets on the web platform as well as the mobile apps. This includes exchanged-traded funds (ETFs), stocks, options, futures, and cryptocurrency. One notable limitation is that TD does not offer fractional shares or international bonds, and the mobile app does not support fixed income purchases. Beyond that, investors using TD Ameritrade can access:

  • Stocks long and short.
  • Mutual funds (11,949 totat; 4,259 no transaction fee; 5,992 carry a front or back end load).
  • Bonds: corporate, municipal, Treasury, and CDs.
  • Futures/commodities. 
  • Single and multi-leg option contracts.
  • Bitcoin futures.
  • Foreign exchange (73 currency pairs).
  • OTCBB (penny stocks).
  • Robo-advisor integrated into the online brokerage platform.

Order Types

TD Ameritrade clients can enter a wide range of order types on all of their platforms. While all of the broker’s platforms enable stop limit orders and trailing stops, only the thinkorswim platforms and the web platform allows conditional orders (for example, one-cancels-the-other) and entering multiple orders simultaneously. Investors also have the ability to select a specific tax lot when placing orders.

Trading Technology

With rapidly moving markets, fast execution is a top priority for investors. Order routing is the process by which an order goes from the end user to an exchange. An order may go directly to the exchange from the customer or it may go first to a broker who then routes the order to the exchange. As a result, the method by which a broker routes your orders will determine the likelihood of receiving the best price at the time your trade order is placed. This is known as price improvement. 

TD Ameritrade uses proprietary order routing technology and clients can also direct route orders to specific options and equities exchanges. The majority of TD Ameritrade’s orders are spray-routed, enabling trade orders to be executed within 0.05 seconds on average. According to TD Ameritrade, their execution quality metrics cover market order sizes 1 to 1,999 shares, which comprises over 90% of their client order sizes. The broker touts a price improvement to their clients of $0.0175 per share, on average, and this price improvement proves to be consistent, covering 97.4% of orders.

TD Ameritrade is one of the few brokers that offer backtesting, which is the evaluation of a particular trading strategy using historical data. Traders who wish to use this feature can do so in a variety of ways, as thinkorswim backtesting can be done using thinkscript, strategies, ondemand, or thinkback. Investors can also automate trading strategies by which orders can be set to automatically trigger off a set of conditions.

Costs

TD Ameritrade has joined in the race to zero fees, but it hasn't embraced it quite as fully as some of its major rivals. For the most part, however, the broker is in line with the industry.

  • TD Ameritrade charges no commissions for online equity or ETF trades.
  • OTCBB trades incur a commission of $6.95/transaction—most other brokers have made these trades free.
  • There is no per-leg commission on options trades. Per-contract commissions are $0.65. Fees are waived for contracts priced at $0.05 or less. VIP option customers are able to privately negotiate discounted commissions based on volume.
  • An order for 50 options contracts is $32.50.
  • Covered call trade of 500 shares plus five contracts would cost $3.25.
  • Mutual fund commission for funds outside the No Transaction Fee program is $49.99. 
  • Fixed income is sold on a "net yield" basis, which means TD Ameritrade is marking the price of the bond up for a purchase or down for a sale. The fee you'll pay is not transparent.
  • Most orders incur exchange fees, which are typically fractions of a penny per share or contract, which TD Ameritrade absorbs rather than passing them through to its customers.
  • Margin interest ranges from 9.5% for $10,000 balance to 7.75% for over $100,000 as of May. 2020. This is about 1–1.25% higher than its primary competitors. High-net-worth account holders are able to negotiate lower margin rates based on account size.
  • Futures transaction fees are $2.25 per contract per side plus exchange fees.
  • Forex currency pairs are traded in increments of 10,000 units and there is no commission. The cost of the trade is reflected in the spread and TD Ameritrade is compensated by its liquidity provider based on the volume.
  • No fees for inactivity.
  • Transferring part of an account incurs no charge. Transferring an entire account is $75.
  • Sending a wire is $25. Sending a paper check is free, though there is a $15 overnight mail fee if the client requests it.
  • Voluntary reorganization fee for corporate actions is $38.
  • Paper statements incur a $2 handling fee for accounts with low balances. Trade confirmations are free.
  • Live broker fee is $25 per trade across asset classes. 

How This Broker Makes Money From You and for You

The race to zero fees has increased competitive pressure in the asset management industry and changed the business model for many online brokers. However, $0 commissions does not mean that everything is free, as brokers can still make money from you (and for you) in less obvious ways. 

  • Interest on cash: TD Ameritrade clients do not earn any interest on cash held in their accounts by default. You have to opt into TD Ameritrade’s cash sweep program to earn interest on idle cash. This can be perceived as a slight disadvantage since there are competitors who automatically enroll clients into a cash sweep program. 
  • Payment for order flow: It is common for brokers to generate revenue by directing trade orders to different parties known as market makers. On average, TD Ameritrade accepts $0.0012 per share on equity orders and $0.55 per option contract. Some competing brokers like Vanguard and Fidelity do not accept payment for order flow on equities.
  • Stock loan programs: Although TD Ameritrade clients can participate in a stock loan program, they do not have the ability to choose which stock can be loaned. Stock loan programs generate revenue for brokers who are usually providing the loaned shares to traders and hedge funds shorting the stock.
  • Price improvement: TD Ameritrade reports that their net price improvement per share is $0.0262 on average for orders sized between 1 and 1,999 shares. Additionally, this price improvement proves to be consistent, covering 96.5% of orders. As far as options orders, TD Ameritrade does not disclose net price improvement. 
  • Portfolio Margin: Qualified investors who have a portfolio value of $125,000 or more may qualify for portfolio margining, which can increase their buying power significantly compared to standard margin accounts. The goal of portfolio margining is to set margin requirements that reflect net risk, which may allow clients to benefit from lower margin requirements and more effective use of capital.

Account and Research Amenities

As is expected of the larger brokers, TD Ameritrade comes loaded with account and research amenities.

Stock Screeners

Although TD Ameritrade has 25 predefined stock screens built into the screener, clients can create their own screens using a wide variety of parameters like sector, fundamental metrics, technical indicators, valuation, performance, and much more. Though the web platform is powerful, the best tool for performing screens is the thinkorswim desktop platform as its scan capabilities are extremely robust compared to the website and caters to the experienced trader who has used similar programs in the past. 

ETF and Mutual Fund Screeners

Similar to the stock screener, the ETF and mutual fund screeners have various predefined screens with similar in-depth criteria. For instance, the Morningstar category alone gives you the ability to select from nearly 100 fund categories, ranging from large growth funds to alternative investment funds such as real estate. There are even funds for investors who desire exposure to specific regions or strategies. TD Ameritrade saves the last five customized screens for future use and gives you the ability to turn them into a watchlist.

Options Screeners

TD Ameritrade offers an option-specific screener as well as a strategy builder. Thinkorswim is a great platform to utilize to find investment opportunities. With tools such as Options Hacker and Spread Hacker, you can search for simple and complex options strategies such as covered calls, iron condors, iron butterflies, verticals, diagonals, double diagonals, and so forth. Moreover, you will be able to stream real-time data based on criteria of your preference, including volatility levels, time to expiration, probability of profit, delta, spread price, maximum risk, etc.

Fixed Income Screeners

As a TD Ameritrade customer, you will also have access to a bond screening tool. The Bond Wizard will allow you to search for individual bonds and CDs, as well as build a bond ladder. You will also have the ability to choose from a selection of pre-packaged bond ladders and a five-year Monthly Income Portfolio.

Tools and Calculators

Similar to many other online brokers, TD Ameritrade offers a range of tools and calculators suitable for clients who are DIY investors. Using the web platform, you will find an Income Estimator to get a sense of the income investors can expect from a given portfolio over a 12 month period. Clients also have access to a Retirement Calculator, Portfolio Planner, Retirement Income Planning Worksheet, Required Minimum Distribution Calculator, 401(k) fee analysis tool, IRA selection tool, and a Contribution and Eligibility Calculator for Small Business Retirement Plans, all of which come in handy for prudent financial planning.

Trading Idea Generators

TD Ameritrade offers a wealth of market highlights and analyst reports from industry-recognized third parties, such as Dow Jones, Credit Suisse, and the Center for Financial Research and Analysis (CFRA). This robust library provides comprehensive stock research and recommendations on companies, industries, funds, and bonds to help clients make informed investing decisions and validate new trading ideas.

News

For no additional charge, TD Ameritrade offers a variety of third party news sources including real-time streaming news from the TD Ameritrade Network, Dow Jones, Benzinga, Midnight Trader, MarketWatch, numerous press release wires, TradersAudio live pit audio, CNBC Video, Benzinga Audio Squawk, Econoday calendar data and Wall Street Horizons. TD Ameritrade web also integrates past CNBC segments into the stock-specific news pages based on stocks mentioned in the segment, and provides streaming news and events via the dock. In addition to these news sources, the dock also provides access to WSJ, Barrons, and Yahoo Finance headlines. TD Ameritrade also delivers over 131 hours of live broadcast trader focused content daily.

Third-Party Research

Although all of TD Ameritrade’s platforms offer free charts, the brokerage firm also offers daily market reports as well as fee-based research. TradeWise Advisors, Inc., TD Ameritrade's affiliated advisory service, offers option trade strategy recommendations directly to your inbox for $20 per month. In addition to the free Market Edge reports TD Ameritrade offers, you can choose to subscribe to two levels of premium Market Edge subscriptions. The first premium tier, at $9.99 per month, offers real-time reports and commentary. The second tier, at $19.99 per month, offers full access to Market Edge's platform: research, screeners, commentary, and tools.

Charting

Whether you’re a beginner investor or seasoned trader, you’ll find extremely robust and customizable charting capabilities using TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim platform, which is better than the standard web and mobile platforms by a considerable margin. The charting capabilities and customization on thinkorswim is extensive, enabling chart size, colors, studies, strategies and drawings to be customizable and can be saved, recalled, shared, and reprogrammed.

The web platform allows users to draw trendlines and add indicators, however, the trendlines are blurry and difficult to set up. The experience of viewing a chart on the mobile app when the phone was horizontal was also less than ideal. Since the tabs at the top of the app occupy most of the screen space this affects the size of the chart and its usability. Analyzing charts on the mobile app is more useful when the screen is vertical, which is the opposite of most other brokerage apps.

Dividend Reinvestment Program (DRIP)

TD Ameritrade enables clients to enroll in a dividend reinvestment program (DRIP) for dividend paying equities.

Cash Management

Although TD Ameritrade doesn’t automatically sweep cash into a money market fund, clients have the ability to opt into the cash sweep program to earn higher interest.

SRI/ESG Research Amenities

A growing number of investors today want to align their portfolios with their specific values or beliefs. Although all of TD Ameritrade’s platforms have screening capabilities, none are specific to environmental, social, governance (ESG) criteria or socially responsible investment (SRI) factors. This can be perceived as a disadvantage as investors are seeking both financial and social returns on their invested capital. 

Portfolio Analysis

Portfolio analysis is available via TD Ameritrade web, thinkorswim, as well as in Personalized, Selective and Essential Portfolios via the TD Ameritrade Portfolios App. Portfolio analysis is customizable and the broker offers the ability to aggregate your holdings from outside accounts for reporting and analysis purposes using Personalized Portfolios. Both realized and unrealized gains/losses are reported in real-time, as well as net deposits and withdrawals. Margin, buying power, and account balance data are also displayed in real-time. Moreover, you can attach trade notes before and after executing orders and maintain a trading journal within the platform.

Although investors cannot calculate the tax impact of future trades, capital gains reporting is available monthly and can be accessed directly from the website. In addition, TD Ameritrade offers enterprise integration of GainsKeeper, a third-party tax reporting service that helps determine the tax consequences of trades. GainsKeeper is integrated directly within their platform for all clients free of charge, regardless of activity or asset level.

Education

TD Ameritrade offers a breadth and depth of education that is unparalleled in the industry. For beginner investors who want hands-on learning, paperMoney is the perfect tool. Essentially, paperMoney offers the thinkorswim experience as a stock simulator so investors can learn without putting any real money at risk. Although paperMoney is a great educational resource for new investors, experienced traders also stand to benefit from the platform by using virtual trading to test new strategies. 

In addition to hands-on learning, you can consume content across a variety of channels and content types. TD Ameritrade has coupled investing education with technology and innovation to curate content for investor’s specific needs, ensuring a seamless experience that caters to each individual. TD Ameritrade personalizes content recommendations, allowing the broker to provide unique content and experience recommendations to investors based on history, account holdings, or most viewed content from customers in a similar financial position. 

TD Ameritrade’s client centric education hub is available to all clients, regardless of experience or asset level. The education center houses an extensive library of content organized for ease of use and curated by topic, level, goals, and objectives. You are given access to on-demand videos, step-by-step tutorials, in-depth investing coaches, event opportunities, and much more.

Customer Service

  • TD Ameritrade has a telephone helpline that operates 24/7, with an average hold time of 43 seconds.
  • Clients can get trading and account support by phone, email, website, directly from the trading platform, as well as on Twitter and Facebook.
  • Ask Ted, the virtual client service agent, provides automated support by answering client's questions and directing them to content within the site.
  • TD Ameritrade also provides chat support through thinkorswim mobile where clients can chat live with a support associate without leaving the app.
  • TD Ameritrade clients can talk to a live broker, but fees may apply. Many of the reps staffing TD’s trading desk and answering client questions were either former professional floor traders and market makers themselves or were trained by such.
  • Clients have the ability to speak with TD Ameritrade financial advisors.
  • Chatbox capability is supported using Apple Business Chat, Facebook Messenger, Twitter Direct Messages, and in Asia via WeChat.

Security and Reliability

  • You can use 2 factor authentication for all of their platforms, as well as biometric fingerprint scanner and facial recognition.
  • TD Ameritrade provides each client $149.5 million worth of protection for securities and $2 million of protection for cash through supplemental coverage provided by London insurers.
  • If you lose cash or securities from your account due to unauthorized activity, TD Ameritrade will reimburse you for the cash or shares of securities that were lost. 
  • TD Ameritrade has not reported any significant data breaches in the last four years.
  • Due to unprecedented volumes of activity, TD Ameritrade has encountered login issues across multiple TD Ameritrade platforms that impacted some clients’ ability to log in during 2020. 
  • On January 27th 2021, TD-Ameritrade, along with several other brokerage firms, experienced intermittent downtime, with users struggling to log in, check their portfolios, or commit any trades. It is likely the downtime came as Gamestop stock ($GME) surged due to a market dislocation.

Transparency

TD Ameritrade’s pricing structure and fees are very clear and transparent. For instance, the broker has a webpage dedicated to pricing, highlighting costs associated with brokerage fees, margin trading, and so on. Margin interest rates vary due to the base rate and the size of the debit balance. When setting base rates, TD Ameritrade considers indicators like commercially recognized interest rates, industry conditions related to credit, the availability of liquidity in the marketplace, and general market conditions. As of March 20, 2020 the current base rate is 8.25%.

According to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), from 2013 to September 2015, TD Ameritrade terminated its business relationship with 111 independent investment advisers that it determined presented an unacceptable business, credit, operational, reputational, or regulatory risk to TD Ameritrade or its customers. Although it filed a number of suspicious activity reports relating to suspicious transactions of certain terminated advisers, TD Ameritrade failed to file reports on the suspicious transactions of a number of other terminated advisers. 

Although none of the advisors were employed by the brokerage firm, activities of the advisers in question, according to the SEC, included suspicious securities trading, questionable transfers to the adviser or entities affiliated with the adviser, and managing client assets at TD Ameritrade while the adviser was making potentially material false and misleading statements to a client. As a result, TD Ameritrade was fined $500,000 for failing to report advisors’ suspicious activity in 2018.

Our Verdict

As is to be expected from the large online brokers, TD Ameritrade offers a wide range of assets, tools, and educational resources, combined with industry standard pricing, security, and reliability. The trading experience across platforms is relatively seamless, but active investors and traders will opt for the robust tools and capabilities of the thinkorswim trade engine. That being said, TD Ameritrade’s multiple platform offerings make trading and research more accessible for investors from all backgrounds and experience levels. 

For beginner investors, TD delivers a client-centric learning experience across multiple channels including TD Ameritrade Network, articles, videos, and courses. Similarly, newer investors will enjoy TD’s fully integrated platforms, as they are personalized, goal-driven, and intuitive. Traders and active investors will thoroughly enjoy the thinkorswim platform for its robust and in-depth capabilities. TD Ameritrade’s impending integration with Charles Schwab will hopefully keep the best of both industry giants, bringing fractional shares and other elements to the TD Ameritrade experience while preserving the excellent user-centered trading and education experience.

Methodology

Investopedia is dedicated to providing investors with unbiased, comprehensive reviews and ratings of online brokers. Our reviews are the result of months of evaluating all aspects of an online broker’s platform, including the user experience, the quality of trade executions, the products available on its platforms, costs and fees, security, the mobile experience and customer service. We established a rating scale based on our criteria, collecting thousands of data points that we weighed into our star-scoring system.

In addition, every broker we surveyed was required to fill out an extensive survey about all aspects of its platform that we used in our testing. Many of the online brokers we evaluated provided us with in-person demonstrations of its platforms at our offices.

Our team of industry experts, led by Theresa W. Carey, conducted our reviews and developed this best-in-industry methodology for ranking online investing platforms for users at all levels. Click here to read our full methodology.

Sours: https://www.investopedia.com/td-ameritrade-review-4587925

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TD Ameritrade Review

Account Types

From basic to specialty accounts, TD Ameritrade customers will find everything they need, including:

Web Platform & Mobile App

TD Ameritrade offers a simple web-based trading interface with a corresponding mobile app as well as the highly regarded thinkorswim trading platform, available in desktop, web-based and mobile app iterations.

The web platform allows users to trade stocks, bonds, ETFs, mutual funds and options. It’s very intuitive and easy to use, with additional features like streaming news, third-party research and trading watch lists.

thinkorswim Trading Platform & Mobile App

The thinkorswim trading platform was designed for investment professionals, and it shows. This is where TD Ameritrade customers get access to more advanced asset classes, such as futures trading, forex and futures options, in addition to all of the asset classes available on the web platform. Customizable features include:

  • Alerts and watch lists
  • Portfolio builder
  • Trade journal
  • Heat mapping
  • AI assistant
  • Paper trading
  • Screeners
  • Level II quotes
  • Extended hours trading
  • Advanced tools for dynamic scans and customizable technical indicators
  • Complex options orders with rolling scans

The platform offers thinkScript, a simple programming language that lets users build their own analysis tools tailored to their specifications. This straightforward scripting language lets you take market data and build studies, special watch lists and charts as well as share them with other users.

The only real drawback we could find with thinkorswim is the lack of a short locator. This could be a problem for investors who are intent on short trading stocks.

thinkorswim Charting

We rank TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim charting capabilities in line with the top online brokers. thinkorswim is a favorite among technical analysts. Charting tools include:

  • 400 technical studies
  • 20 drawing tools
  • Integrated trading from chart
  • Drawing tools
  • Save chart settings as template
  • Historical trades

Order Types

TD Ameritrade provides any type of order that an investor might need. In addition to basic orders, advanced traders will appreciate the conditional and durations orders. Order types include:

  • Market, limit, day
  • Trailing stop
  • Good til cancelled (GTC)
  • One cancels the other (OTO)
  • Limit on open/close
  • Market on open/close
  • Short selling

With advanced order routing technology, most market orders are filled at a better price than the current quote. As noted above, TD Ameritrade receives payment for order flow—direct routing of trades is not available.

TD Ameritrade Managed Portfolios

Investors seeking managed accounts have several options to choose from. TD Ameritrade’s old robo-advisor, Essential Portfolios, has been replaced with Schwab Intelligent Portfolios. This diversified, no-fee robo-advisor requires a $5,000 minimum balance and holds part of client assets in cash. Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Premium provides access to financial advisors but charges a one-time $300 and monthly $30 fee. Larger balances get more sophisticated features—and higher fees—with Selective Portfolios and Personalized Portfolios.

Sours: https://www.forbes.com/advisor/investing/td-ameritrade-review/


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