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TD Ameritrade Review

TD Ameritrade delivers a superior platform for investors, and they were one of the first to be selected for our best in class online brokers for 2018.

securely through TD Ameritrade's website

1 Minute Review

This publicly listed discount broker, which is in existence for over four decades, is service-intensive, offering intuitive and powerful investment tools. Especially, with equity investing, a flat fee is charged, with the firm claiming that it charges no trade minimum, no data fees, and no platform fees. Though it is pricier than many other discount brokers, what tilts the scales in its favor is its well-rounded service offerings and the quality and value it offers its clients.

Best For

  • Beginner investors
  • Advanced traders
  • Investors who want portfolio-building advice.


  • Superior technology
  • No account minimum balance
  • Excellent customer support
  • Premier data and news partnerships


  • Slightly higher commissions
  • Can be for more advanced users

Who’s it For

Given the plethora of research reports and the advanced trading tools TD Ameritrade boasts of, it is quite apparent that it fits into the scheme of advanced traders nicely.

That said, it doesn’t leave the rookie traders in the lurch, with its educational resources, knowledgeable support team, and prompt and efficient customer service.

Every investor can find utility using Ameritrade’s platform. They are a 2017 winner of Benzinga’s best online brokers.

Advanced Traders

  • thinkorswim®: TD Ameritrade’s popular thinkorswim® platform allows traders to tap multiple asset classes, includes currencies, equities, and options, among others.
  • High-level tools for options traders and availability of customizable options tools on thinkorswim®
  • Sophisticated charts, free data, and seamless trade executioN
  • Industry-leading mobile apps. TD Ameritrade’s mobile apps are top notch. For active traders that need to monitor and execute trades on the go, TD Ameritrade’s mobile apps allow for market-in-your-hand access and are arguably unrivaled.


  • While TD Ameritrade offers a lot to like for advanced traders, the broker’s platforms and tools are approachable for new investors and traders.
  • Access to multiple asset classes, useful educational tools and more.
  • No minimum to open new accounts, including IRAs.
  • No inactivity fee so you don’t have to start as a hyperactive trader.
Stocks Fees
Online Trades $6.95 per trade
Interactive Voice Response Phone System $34.99 per trade
Broker Assisted Trades $44.99 per trade
Option Trades* Fees
Online Trades $6.95 per trade + $0.75 per contract
Interactive Voice Response Phone System $34.99 per trade + $0.75 cents per contract
Broker Assisted Trades $34.99 per trade
ETFs** Fees
Online Trades $6.95
Interactive Voice Response Phone System $34.99
Broker Assisted Trades $44.99 per trade

* For options exercises and assignments – $19.99

**No commission for commission-free ETFs

Mutual Funds

No-transaction fee – No commission

No Load – $49.99

Load – No commission

Fixed Income Securities

Bonds CDs UITs
Treasuries at auctions All other bonds and CMOs New issue Secondary issue New issue Secondary issue
$25 flat fee On a net yield basis On a net yield basis On a net yield basis On a net yield basis On a net yield basis

Futures & Options on Futures

$2.25 fee per contract (plus exchange & regulatory fees)


Forex commission – Trade in increments of 1,000 units; Commission is $0.10 per 1,000 units, with a minimum charge of $1

Forex Margin

  • Maximum leverage & margin requirement on major currency pairs – 50:1/$200
  • Maximum leverage & margin requirement on exotic pairs – 20:1/$500

Platforms and Tools

Web platform

The firm’s website offers an assortment of options, such as alerts, screeners and a customizable web space. The firm recommends this platform for serious fundamental investors.

Staying Afloat With thinkorswim®

All investors, regardless of skill level or account size, have access to thinkorswim®. Features include a new tool focusing on U.S. and global economic data.

“Access a wide variety of data about the health of the US and global economies, straight from the Fed, with the new Economic Data tool. Tap into over 400,000 economic data points spanning six continents, find key economic indicators fast with the platform’s search engine, and chart data points over time to measure economic performance,” according to TD Ameritrade.

thinkorswim® can also be synced across multiple devices, include desktops, tablets, and smartphones. Alerts within thinkorswim® are customizable and the platform features in-app chat. thinkorswim® also features a nifty social sentiment that features long-term graphical data on social media sentiment of specific securities.

Exploring Trade Architect

TD Ameritrade’s Trade Architect is another perk of membership that does not include any additional fees and is accessible to all clients. Trade Architect features include:

  • The Trade Finder tool to automatically generate new trading ideas.
  • Live streaming video.
  • Integrated research.
  • Clean design with easy-to-use tools and applications aimed at new and casual investors.
  • Free real-time data.


This is designed to aid the on-the-go investors and traders, allowing access to the account from web-enabled mobile devices. The features available on the platform include:

  • Alerts
  • Research
  • Streaming market commentaries

Research And Freebies

Among the research offerings from TD Ameritrade are equity research reports, equity research – metric comparisons, equity research – social, ETF Research reports and Mutual Fund Research reports.

Research reports

TD Ameritrade features an extensive suite of research products, including third-party analyst reports, at no additional cost to clients. Research providers on the platform include CFRA, which is formerly S&P Capital IQ, Dow Jones, Morningstar, Thomson Reuters and more.

Other Tools

The Market Edge tool provides investors with in-depth technical analysis capabilities while the Social Signals feature allows investors to analyze social media sentiment on stocks they are evaluating. The Stocks Overview suite helps investors monitor price action, highs and lows and volume, among other data points, in an effort to drill down deeper into industries and sectors to unearth new trading ideas.

TD Ameritrade also offers more than 100 ETFs on a commission-free basis, including funds from popular issuers such as iShares, Vanguard and PowerShares. However, that is fewer commission-free ETFs than are offered by rivals Charles Schwab and E*Trade.

Customer Support

TD Ameritrade promises assistance of its experienced, licensed reps any time, anywhere. On logging onto one’s account, and selecting ‘Contact Us’ from the Client Services menu, one can access the mailing address, e-mail address, fax number and phone number.

The firm also provides a FAQ section, which provides answers to questions such as:

  • Modus operandi for opening a new account, deposit funds into a new account
  • Special offers and promotions
  • transfer accounts or assets
  • Request/download a form

If answers to these queries do not satisfy the user, they are encouraged to send a letter, call, email or fax.

For those who wish to call, separate numbers are available for existing clients, new clients, retirement consultants, Spanish and Chinese language services, international support and TTY services for the hearing impaired.

Given the leeway provided by its over 100 branches, the firm also provides a branch locator on its website. By visiting a local branch, one can avail the services of the firm’s licensed representatives.

Client questions are answered 24*7 and wait times are usually brief, particularly during non-market hours. E-mail service is responsive as well with most messages returned in a business day or less.

Asset Classes/Tradable Securities

  • Stocks
  • Options
  • Futures
  • ETFs
  • Mutual Funds
  • Fixed Income Securities such as bonds and CDs
  • Currency

Ease of Use

Opening an account is fairly easy and you can pay for it electronically and start trading the very same day. The Web Platform’s My Dock feature adds up to four columns of streaming data, while it also has predefined and custom screeners to filter thousands of investment opportunities. Additionally, the Snap Ticket trading features to ensure a secure connection and make the trade even while you are doing any other task.



Best For
  • Beginner investors
  • Advanced traders
  • Investors who want portfolio-building advice.

Final Thoughts

TD Ameritrade, being one of the largest discount brokers, is a one-stop shop for traders and investors with varied trading experience, given the range of tradable securities, and advanced and user-friendly platforms and tools made available to users. However, one sore point is the cost involved, which, though is comparable with some of the bigger discount brokers, is expensive relative to most others. However, there are perks to “paying up” a bit with TD Ameritrade. The broker offers a robust platform complete with elite-level tools that can help even rookie traders feel like seasoned veterans.

Use TD Ameritrade if:

  • you are looking to make an informed investment decision
  • you are interested in a wide range of tradable securities and advanced trading platforms
  • you are enamored with research and educational content

You might avoid TD Ameritrade if:

  • You are a price-conscious customer
  • You require hand-holding in the form of broker-assisted trades, which are pricier