TD Ameritrade Review
How We Reviewed TD Ameritrade
1 top-ranking company
3 weeks of research
15 trading sites compared
TD Ameritrade Review
TD Ameritrade offers impressive trading platforms and a wealth of educational resources to appeal to both expert traders and newcomers alike. While the cost of $6.95 per trade might turn some people away, TD Ameritrade more than makes up for this with elite-level trading software and a pair of optimized mobile apps that seamlessly shrink down stock trading to mobile devices.
When it comes to trading, TD Ameritrade promises “investing built around you” and access to “intuitive, powerful tools designed for you.” As far as the company is concerned, it’s all about you and giving you access to a help team that “is always at your service."
Is it true?
Yes. TD Ameritrade has a plethora of powerful tools in its arsenal which are all designed to empower beginner- and pro-level traders. The web platform comes equipped with educational materials like courses and articles, as well as independent research from sources like Market Edge and CFRA in order to help you make wise investments — part of the reason we loved it in our evaluation of the best online stock trading sites.
TD Ameritrade also features the thinkorswim trading platform, which allows for 24/5 trading and enables you to put together custom alerts, view economic data, and even gauge social sentiment. On top of that, there are two apps — TD Ameritrade Mobile and TD Ameritrade Mobile Trader — which have been optimized to fit the enormity of the ever-changing market (and your interactions with it) onto your smartphone, tablet, or smartwatch.
TD Ameritrade is slightly pricey, ringing in at $6.95 per trade, so it may not be the best option for heavy traders. However, its resources and 24/7 support may be worth the elevated cost. But you don't have to take the company's word for it; Kiplinger rated TD Ameritrade the No. 1 Overall Broker in 2018, so you can rest assured that you're in good hands.
Beginner and experienced traders looking for comprehensive trading tools
Anyone looking for lower trading costs and international stock trading
|Price||$6.95 per trade|
|Standout features||Access to in-depth market research
Top-of-the-line trading tools
Easy-to-use mobile apps
|Fees||Broker-assisted trades: $44.99 per trade|
|Terms||No account minimums|
Top-of-the-line trading tools and technology
Advanced traders will be satisfied with TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim platform, which rivals some of the top advanced platforms found in the industry. Thinkorswim allows you to visualize economic data and social sentiment, and it comes with in-app chat for support and chat rooms to talk with other traders. What's more, thinkorswim is available to TD Ameritrade traders without additional costs or trading requirements.
Access to daily in-depth market commentary and research
Even at a basic level, TD Ameritrade delivers more than your standard quote. A quote for Google (GOOG), for example, provides you with a summary, charts, earnings, valuation, a plethora of analyst reports, and information about the company. In addition, TD Ameritrade delivers daily strategies and ideas from independent research companies like CFRA and Market Edge. And while these free research offerings are some of the best around, you also have the option to subscribe to upgraded research for a fee.
Dependable mobile trading for a variety of devices
Both of TD Ameritrade's iPhone apps make you feel like you’re holding the entire market in your hand. The TD Ameritrade Mobile app optimizes the trading experience by allowing you to monitor the market and trade from your smartphone, tablet, or smartwatch. The app can also be used to securely deposit checks of up to $10,000 by taking a snapshot.
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 and manage your positions using sleek navigation and customizable charts. 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 in-person), and investing videos available to help you deepen your knowledge of the market.
Over 100 branch locations and 24-hour phone support
If it’s one-on-one help you’re looking for, TD Ameritrade has licensed representatives across the country, so you can stop in and speak to an expert in person — just search the branch locator to find a retail location near you. If you'd rather receive advice and support from the comfort of your own home, TD Ameritrade's phone support is available around the clock.
No access to international markets
If you are interested in trading markets overseas, you will have to look elsewhere when selecting your broker. However, because TD Ameritrade offers access to every other investment product, it's still worth considering.
High trading costs and fees
If you’re a very active trader, TD Ameritrade probably isn’t for you. While the company recently slashed its prices, so did most other discount brokers; its $6.95 per trade fee is high in comparison to companies like Fidelity.
*Offers commission-free or transaction-free trading
TD Ameritrade vs. Fidelity
While TD Ameritrade provides a bevy of resources, it doesn’t hold a candle to Fidelity's offerings in that department. Fidelity features market research from more than 20 top firms, and the Learning Center covers everything from options trading to margin loans. TD Ameritrade is also more expensive per trade — $6.95 compared to Fidelity’s $4.95. That said, TD Ameritrade ranks higher with Kiplinger, and its mobile apps are unparalleled, so it's still worth considering if you want to keep your trading at your fingertips.
TD Ameritrade vs. Ally Invest
Ally Invest is a better choice than TD Ameritrade if you’re a high-volume trader with a lot of existing knowledge — each trade costs $4.95 compared to TD Ameritrade’s $6.95, though it lacks the wealth of educational tools that TD Ameritrade provides. If you're just starting out and need access to in-depth market research, TD Ameritrade is still potentially a better option.
TD Ameritrade vs. E*TRADE
We found E*TRADE's educational resources to be on par with TD Ameritrade in terms of the beginner-friendly materials. E*TRADE also puts trade costs on par with TD Ameritrade at $6.95, though with one catch: If you execute at least 30 equity or options trades per quarter, E*TRADE lowers your trade costs to $4.95. This, coupled with E*TRADE's $500 account minimum, makes E*TRADE a better fit only for more experienced traders.
TD Ameritrade FAQ
How much money do you need to open a TD Ameritrade account?
There are no minimum cash deposits required in order to open up a TD Ameritrade account. However, access to option or margin trading requires at least $2,000 in the account.
Is thinkorswim good for beginners?
TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim tool provides all the resources an expert trader could want but organizes this information in a way so as not to be too overwhelming for beginners. That being said, thinkorswim is touted as an elite-level trading tool with access to macro economic data and data visuals on social media sentiment. Some of these might be a little too high-level for beginners, though thinksorswim does offer practice accounts, tutorials, and webcasts to help newcomers learn the ins and outs of the software.
What is paperMoney®?
When it comes to trading, it can be a little intimidating when real money is on the line. TD Ameritrade's paperMoney® helps take some of the stress out of the process. With this platform, you’re able to try out strategies with a virtual margin account and a virtual IRA (each funded with $100,000). Just bear in mind that paperMoney® is only for educational purposes and does not guarantee a favorable outcome in an actual trade.