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TD Ameritrade Review

TD Ameritrade caters to all types of traders by providing the best collection of trading platforms in the industry. The costs and fees can be comparatively high, but TD Ameritrade delivers some of the finest research and education resources in the industry. Open an Account

Ed Carlson

Ed Carlson

Online Stock Trading Expert

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Updated: March 18, 2014

The Good

Top-of-the-line trading tools and technology:

Beginning traders will feel comfortable using the web-based platform or even the advanced Trade Architect when they become more active. Advanced traders will be satisfied with TD Ameritrade's thinkorswim platform, which rivals some of the top advanced platforms found in the industry. The good news about thinkorswim is that it doesn't require additional costs or trading requirements to use.

Access to daily in-depth market commentary and research:

Even at a basic level, TD Ameritrade delivers more than your standard quote. Getting a quote for Google (GOOG), for example, will provide you with a summary, charts, earnings, valuation, a plethora of analyst reports, and literally everything you need to know about the company. In addition, you have access to new strategies and ideas each morning from independent research companies like ARGUS and Market Edge. You also have the ability to subscribe to upgraded research at an additional cost, but the free research offerings are still some of the best around.

Dependable mobile trading for a variety of devices:

Both of the iPhone apps make you feel like you're holding the entire market right in your hand. Making a trade is as simple as typing in a stock symbol and placing the order. The TD Ameritrade Mobile app has a cool feature called Snapstock that you can use to snap a photo of a bar code while you are shopping and instantly find the information about the product's publically traded company. The other app, TD Ameritrade Mobile Trader, is the more advanced of the two. It allows you to test your strategies using a virtual trading account. The navigation is very clean and simple. You can watch quotes adjust in real time, view CNBC live streaming broadcasts directly from the app, and access chat rooms and data feeds to communicate live with other traders.

Quality trading education for all experience levels:

TD Ameritrade has a solid selection of courses to choose from for all levels of trading and investing. Each course is tagged with Beginner, Advanced, or Expert so you can find the courses that apply to you. In addition to courses, there are a variety of webcasts, workshops (online and live in-person), and a large collection of investing videos available.

Over 100 branch locations nationwide plus 24-hour phone support:

If it's one-on-one help that you're looking for, TD Ameritrade has licensed representatives available around the country where you can stop in and speak to a live person. You can search the branch locator to find a retail location near you. You can always reach someone regarding your account or any support questions by contacting TD Ameritrade on the phone as well. This is especially important if you happen to be traveling or if you're trading products that are affected by markets overseas and may be active overnight.

Well-organized, simple navigation:

Anything you're looking for within your TD Ameritrade account is easy to find. It feels as though the navigation actually has the purpose in mind of making your user experience a breeze. If you click on the Education tab (while viewing the Research page), you can then select Overview, Courses, Workshops, Webcasts, Publications, or Investools without leaving the Research page.

Automated client support:

In the rare case that you are unable to find what you are looking for, you can always Ask Ted, which is TD Ameritrade's automated client support. Ted can accurately guide you to pages and answer most of your questions. The automated support feature is one of a kind in this industry.

The Bad

No access to international markets:

If you are interested in trading markets overseas, you will have to look elsewhere when selecting your broker. However, TD Ameritrade does offer access to every other investment product so this isn't a major strike against them.

High trading costs and fees:

If you're a very active trader, TD Ameritrade probably isn't the place for you. They do offer the advanced tools to execute your trades, but you might find the $9.99 stock and options flat fee a bit high for your tastes. In terms of value though, you get what you pay for because the level of resources and features that TD Ameritrade offers to their clients is the best in the industry.

The Details

Trading Costs and Fees
Broker Assisted Trades $44.99
Futures Contract Fee $2.25
Maintenance Fees $0
Margin Rates 6.25-8.75%
Minimum Account Balance Fee $0
Mutual Funds Fee - Load $0
Mutual Funds Fee - No-Load $49.99
Options Contract Price $0.75
Options Flat Fee $9.99
Stock Flat Fee $9.99
Other Fees
ACH/EFT Withdrawal $0
Bounced Check $25
Check Withdrawal $0
Domestic Wire Withdrawal $25
Forced Margin Sellout $25 + broker commission
Full Account Transfer $75
IRA Annual Fee $0
Partial Account Transfer $75
Stop Payment on Check $25
Telephone Orders $44.99

Features

Investment Products

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  • Bonds - You can trade bonds.
  • Commission-Free ETFs - You can trade commission-free exchange-traded funds.
  • Easy to Borrow Stocks - You have access to easy-to-borrow stocks that you can sell short.
  • ETFs - You can trade exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
  • Forex - You can trade forex or foreign exchange markets.
  • Futures Markets - You can trade futures markets.
  • Mutual Funds - You can trade mutual funds.
  • Options - You can trade options.
  • Pink Sheet and OTCBB Securities Market Access - You can trade pink sheet stocks and over-the-counter (OTC) securities.
  • Stocks - You can trade stocks.
  • International Markets - You can trade markets outside of the U.S.

Mobile Trading

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Tools and Technology

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Account and Portfolio Information

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Education

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Research

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Support

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Account Security

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Financial Resources

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Incentives

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Learning Materials

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