TD Ameritrade Review
Richard Montana | November 17, 2022
TD Ameritrade is an online stock trading and investing broker with a wide selection of investment choices for everyone. They have powerful trading platforms, research and education, to help you build a portfolio suited to your needs. TD Ameritrade excels at offering low-cost and low-minimum funds. You can get $0 commissions on online stock, ETF, and options trades. It’s an ideal broker for beginner investors who need some guidance along the way or active traders who are looking for a more robust trading experience.
Pros & Cons
- Wide range of investment products to choose from
- Robust platforms that are loaded with features and functionality
- Trade and invest via desktop, web and mobile
- Very low trading fees with a $0 minimum
- Great range of advanced tools for thorough market analysis
- Fund screeners and comparison tools
- Abundance of educational resources
- No minimum required to open an account
- Limited countries accepted
- No contract for differences (CFDs)
- Limited account funding options
- Account currency limited to USD
- Slightly prolonged account opening process
Founded in 1975, TD Ameritrade is one of the best brokers in the USA for helping clients with their investments. They can offer you online trading and investing across multiple financial assets such as stocks, futures, mutual funds, options, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), fixed income investments, cryptocurrency, certificates of deposit (CDs) and bonds. In 2020, Charles Schwab officially closed on the acquisition of TD Ameritrade. TD Ameritrade is therefore now part of Charles Schwab.
TD Ameritrade provide investors with everything you need to build a bespoke portfolio according to your own individual goals. You can access the markets via a suite of industry leading platforms with high quality trading tools, market research, educational resources and award-winning customer service. If that isn’t enough, they can also provide you with margin lending and additional cash management services.
TD Ameritrade charge $0 commission when trading stocks, ETFs and options. The experienced and licensed Ameritrade team are happy to give some guidance depending on your individual investment goals and support you along your investment journey. With TD Ameritrade, not only can you trade commission-free online, but you get access to all platforms and products with no deposit minimums, trading minimums, or hidden fees.
When it comes to choosing a broker, regulation is one of the most important things to look for. This is because regulation can provide certain protection and means that the broker must comply with rules and procedures that have been put in place to protect investors. TD Ameritrade is regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in the United States. They are also regulated by regulators in some other jurisdictions including the Securities & Futures Commission (SFC) in Hong Kong. I personally consider this to be top-tier regulation and would therefore have no problem trusting the broker for my daily trading activities.
In addition to this strict regulation, US clients are protected by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) scheme. The SIPC is an investor protection scheme established in order to protect clients against the loss of cash and securities in case the broker cannot fulfil their financial obligations. The SIPC protection is limited to $500,000 with a $250,000 limit for cash. The broker also has an additional insurance policy in place with a coverage totalling up to $152 million ($2 million cash limit) per client and an aggregated limit of $500 million.
It should be noted that some investment products such as futures are not covered by the investor protection scheme and the protection is not available to all clients. Negative account balance protection is not provided. It is important to carefully read through all of the brokers terms and conditions so that you have a clear understanding of the protection offered before you open an account with any brokerage.
TD Ameritrade primarily focus on US investors although they can accept clients from some other jurisdictions where they are authorised to do so, including Canada, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore. The countries are however very limited in comparison to many other online brokers. If you discover that they do not accept clients from your country for whatever reason, please feel free to browse our broker reviews to find an alternative option.
TD Ameritrade have a great selection of powerful, intuitive and versatile trading platforms for you to choose from. These are provided free of charge to clients and available via web, desktop and mobile. The platforms boast an array of built in tools and features to suit all different skill levels and requirements of investors. The platforms contain all the tools you need whether you are considered an active trader or a mid to long term investor, you can research different stocks, enter trades, gain access to real time-quotes, view live-streaming news, manage your portfolio, speak with financial specialists and much more.
TD Ameritrade Web Platform
The web platforms run directly in most modern web browsers without requiring any additional software downloads or installations. They have all of the tools and resources you need to invest with confidence. You can access independent third-party research, educational resources, and planning tools. Stay up-to-date on the latest financial news from Yahoo! Finance in the customizable dock. They enable you to trade smarter by leveraging innovative products and enhancing your web trading experience with intuitive features.
Everything is in one place, so that you can manage your portfolio more efficiently. The mobile optimized web platform makes it easy to check your funds, research potential investments, and confidently place trades on your phone, tablet or desktop. With a clean design and intuitive navigation, the next gen web platform puts your portfolio at your fingertips. I think it is a great solution for anyone looking to study charts and manage positions with relative ease. You can customise the platform to be as simplistic or complicated as you need it to be.
TD Ameritrade Web Platform Features:
- No downloads required
- Runs directly in web browser
- User friendly with a fully customisable dock
- Independent third-party research
- Educational resources
- Latest economic news
- Social signals and market sentiment
- Excellent built-in tools for analysis
- Trade via web and mobile
Thinkorswim by TD Ameritrade is an electronic trading platform by TD Ameritrade used to trade financial assets. It is geared for self-directed stock, options and futures traders. It is a professional trading platform that is designed specifically to cater towards the more serious traders. With thinkorswim desktop you get access to elite-level trading tools and a platform backed by insights, education, and a dedicated trade desk. Experience the unparalleled power of a fully customizable trading experience, designed to help you nail even the most complex strategies and techniques.
You can find opportunities and take action wherever and however your trading style demands using the entire suite of thinkorswim platforms for desktop, web, and mobile. The thinkorswim desktop platform offers industry-leading trading tools, streaming real-time data and powerful analytics all customizable to you. With a streamlined interface, thinkorswim web allows you to access your account anywhere with an internet connection and trade equities and derivatives in just a click. You can stay in lockstep with the market with desktop alerts, trades, and charts synced and optimized for your phone on the award-winning thinkorswim mobile trading app.
Thinkorswim Platform Features:
- Professional grade trading platform
- An intuitive interface that puts critical tools front and center
- Top of the range tools for conducting analysis and testing strategies
- Market monitoring and scanning to find trade opportunities with specific risk/reward ratios
- thinkManual and various tutorials to help users familiarise themselves with the platform
- Fully customizable, downloadable software
- Trade whilst on the go using the powerful app
- Trade directly in your web browser with the web platform
- Preconfigured strategies that allow you to set up trades in just a click
- Set push alert notifications
As a brokerage, NinjaTrader offers access to the futures and forex markets. The company has partnered with several supporting brokerages, including Interactive Brokers and TD Ameritrade, to give traders access to other markets, including options on futures, CFDs, and equities. NinjaTrader’s award winning software is consistently voted an industry leader by the trading community. NinjaTrader is always free to use for advanced charting, backtesting and trade simulation.
I was distinctly impressed by the plethora of high-quality tools that TD Ameritrade make freely available to help with your research, analysis and decision making. The platforms are absolutely jam packed with tools for every type of trader. You can get a deeper understanding of potential investments in no time with real-time market updates optimized to load quickly without wasting data. Plus, dig deeper than ever with enhanced access to fundamental data, market data, and news. You’ll even get access to third-party research from leaders like TipRanks, complete with analyst price targets and Smart Score ratings. You can gain access to streaming news and level II quotes, market insights and more, when it is suitable for you. This suite of investment research tools can help you when planning and evaluating your investment strategy.
Up to date market research and insights are delivered by industry leading independent third-party providers such as Morningstar, CFRA (formerly S&P Capital IQ), and TheStreet.
Use free tools to manage your investments with the Portfolio Planner and assess how much you should be investing to meet your goals with the Retirement Planner.
Alerts allow you to track the price, volume, and rating of positions in your watch lists. Monitor changes in equities by turning on their notifications, which will be sent to your email and mobile device.
Use Stocks Overview to find potential opportunities and read up on the most recent news about the stocks you own and watch. View earnings, volume, social sentiment, and more, all in one place.
SnapTicket stays with you no matter where you navigate on the site, so you can get quotes and place trades at a moment’s notice.
Stay on top of key events that may impact current and future investments, such as earnings, dividends, and splits.
Simultaneously display multiple Watch Lists so you can monitor your current and potential investments without interruption.
Automatically track your capital gains and losses to make tax season simple with the capital gains calculator.
Another area in which I feel TD Ameritrade really shines is the vast amount of educational resources that they provide. There is a large quantity of interactive educational courses, articles, training videos and webinars to help improve your trading skills and investment knowledge. In fact, there are around 200 instructional videos, tutorials, and investing publications. I think there is more than enough educational content for everyone to learn something, regardless of your prior experience.
You can visit the Education Center to expand your investing knowledge with learning tools and then solidify your new skills with practice assessments. The broker has a fully immersive curriculum with experienced teachers who are happy to walk you through a variety of different investing and trading topics to help you become a more informed investor. The courses are easy to follow in your own time and contain an abundance of relevant information. The TD Ameritrade Network is a channel dedicated to providing daily market analysis and strategy tips from financial industry professionals.
TD Ameritrade has a wide selection of investment products to diversify your portfolio including tradeable instruments across multiple asset classes such as Stocks, Futures, Mutual Funds, Options, 2,300+ commission-free ETFs, Fixed Income Investments, Cryptocurrency, Certificates of Deposit (CDs) & Bonds. However, they do not offer CFD trading which may put off some traders. For that, you might want to take a look at IG instead.
They do not charge commission when trading online exchange-listed U.S. stock, domestic and Canadian ETFs, and options trades, regardless of an investors account size or how many shares they buy. Options trades do incur a $0.65 per contract fee. A $6.95 commission applies to trades of over-the-counter (OTC) stocks which includes stocks not listed on a U.S. exchange.
They claim that 98% of market orders are executed at a price better than the National Best Bid and Offer (NBBO) at the time of routing.
Orders are routed to continuously seek an improvement on price. $0 commission on exchange-listed U.S. stocks. A $6.95 commission applies to online trades of over-the-counter (OTC) stocks (stocks not listed on a U.S. exchange). $5 for phone system and $25 for broker assisted trades.
Complex multi-legged options trades can be executed via the thinkorswim trading platform with $0 commission and $0.65 per options contract fee. $5+ $0.65 for phone system and $25+ $0.65 for broker assisted trades.
There are over 2,300+ commission-free domestic and Canadian ETFs from leading providers along with third-party Morningstar research and ratings.
View and select from top fund performers in one place that have been selected by Morningstar Investment Management via the Premier List. There are hundreds of no-transaction-fee (NTF) funds from leading fund families.
Analyse futures with hundreds of free charting studies. $2.25 fee per futures and futures on options contracts (plus exchange & regulatory fees).
Keep up to date with the forex market and trade around 70 major, minor and exotic currency pairs via the mobile platform. No commission is charged on forex trading but there are significant spread mark-ups. This might not be ideal if you are scalping. If you are primarily looking to trade forex, you might want to consider Forex.com.
Professionally managed portfolios that are specifically designed to meet your individual requirements.
Bonds & CDs
Use the Bond Wizard to quickly find suitable bonds depending on your needs. There is a choice of offerings ranging from simple CDs to the more complex and structured fixed-income investment at competitive pricing.
A selection of fixed and variable annuities that are competitively-priced and from highly rated insurance carriers.
Whatever your trading style or requirements, TD Ameritrade have a choice of accounts suitable for different types of investors. This includes a standard brokerage account, retirement accounts, saving accounts, managed accounts, speciality accounts and more. You can talk to a TD Ameritrade expert to see what account would be most suitable for your needs.
The pricing offered is transparent with no minimum requirements on some accounts. There are no platform, data, maintenance or inactivity fees although service fees, exception fees and commissions do still apply. There is no minimum deposit required for a standard account but you need a $2,000 account to trade with margin, a $25,000 for day trading and an account between $5,000 – $250,000 for the TD Ameritrade managed accounts.
Get access to a range of flexible investment products, platforms, research and tools. Available as individual or joint accounts
Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, or Rollover IRA account for retirement planning
Flexible saving for all levels of education
Includes individual trusts, business partnerships, sole proprietorships and more
Choose from a variety of different professionally managed portfolios according to your own investment needs
A margin account enables clients to borrow from the broker and can increase your securities buying power by up to 50%. Note that trading on margin can be risky
Opening a TD Ameritrade account can take longer than most online brokers due to the fact it is not all done online and does require physical documents to be sent out along with the required identification copies for verification purposes. When you open an account, the broker will ask for your personal information such as name, address, date of birth, and other information that will allow them to identify you. You will need to provide a form of identification such as a passport or driver’s license along with a proof of address such as a bank statement or utility bill no more than 3 months old. They may also need to use a third-party for verification purposes. It can take a while for your account to be verified and the opening process to be complete.
TD Ameritrade have a professional and reliable support team on hand and happy to assist with all of your general, technical and account questions. They respond in a prompt, polite and efficient manner. Customer support is provided via online chat, telephone and email.
I found TD Ameritrade to only have a small choice of methods for depositing and withdrawing funds from your trading account. This includes Wire Transfer, Check, Electronic Bank Deposit (ACH), External Securities Transfer and Physical Stock Certificates. I think they could improve by adding more funding methods such as credit/debit card and online payment processors.
Some fees may be charged when using certain payment methods. The withdrawal time can vary depending on the payment provider and method. Bank transfers may take a few business days to clear whilst some methods can be instant. Please note that some methods may only be available to specific countries and not all are available for both deposit and withdrawal.
Some payment systems may have transaction limits, restrictions, and requirements which are indicated on their respective websites. You may need to verify your account to remove limits on particular methods in some countries. This brokerage strictly does not accept third-party payments. All funds deposited into your trading account must be under the same name as your TD Ameritrade account.
Accounts can only be opened in USD currency which means that currency conversion fees can apply if you are not funding in this currency. When you consider they are primarily catering towards USA clients, this isn’t really a deal breaker.
Compare Broker Features
|This Broker||AvaTrade||IG||IC Markets|
|Regulated||ADGM FRSA, ASIC, BVIFSC, CBI, FFAJ, FSCA, IIROC, JFSA||ASIC, BaFin, CFTC, DFSA, FCA, FINMA, FMA, FSA, FSCA, JFSA, MAFF, MAS, METI, NFA||ASIC, CySEC, FSA, SCB|
|Commission||From $0||From $0||From $0|
|Instruments||Forex, Commodities, Crypto, Stocks, Indices, Options, Bonds, ETFs||Forex, Commodities, Crypto, Stocks, Indices, Options, Bonds, ETFs||Forex, Commodities, Crypto, Stocks, Indices, Bonds|
|Platforms||MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5, AvaTradeGO, AvaOptions, AvaSocial, DupliTrade, ZuluTrade||MetaTrader 4, IG Platform, IG Progressive Web App, ProRealTime (PRT), L2 Dealer, FIX API||MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5, cTrader|
|Funding||Bank Transfer, Credit/Debit Card, E-Wallets||Bank Transfer, Credit/Debit Card, E-Wallets||Bank Transfer, Credit/Debit Card, E-Wallets|
I think that TD Ameritrade is a top broker for online trading across a wide variety of investment products with powerful platforms, exceptional trading tools and an abundance of educational resources to learn the basics of investing. You get in-depth and comprehensive trading research and highly-accessible customer support. The fees are very competitive and there are account types to suit different investing goals with no minimum requirements.
Despite the many positives, they do not have the best forex trading conditions and do not offer CFDs. Funding options are also limited and the account opening process can take a while. However, these are minor hiccups from my perspective and wouldn’t deter me from using them.
Overall, TD Ameritrade can be a great choice for active traders who are interested in utilizing multiple trading platforms and tools for self-directed trading whilst the brokerage also offers automated and advisor-assisted investing accounts, so they could be suitable for those looking for managed portfolios.