TD Ameritrade vs. Robinhood

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Contributor, Benzinga
February 1, 2021

One of the first and important online trading decisions you’ll ever need to make is which online brokerage is best for you. Use the services of a suitable broker, and you’ll build success as an investor.

TD Ameritrade and Robinhood are similar, yet vastly different, so stick with us so we can help you make an informed choice.

TD Ameritrade vs. Robinhood: Overview

Who’s TD Ameritrade For?

TD Ameritrade is a trading solution for all types of security traders. Despite the advanced features it offers, it is a good fit for beginners, too.

TD Ameritrade’s portfolio advice solutions make it suitable for investors that seek ready-to-go portfolios. It supports a wide variety of trading instruments, so if you like the idea of having hundreds of diversified options at your fingertips, you’ll be right at home.

Who’s Robinhood For?

Robinhood is a broker for beginner stock and cryptocurrency traders based in the U.S. Robinhood’s platform is very limited, so if you’re not familiar with charting and indicators, then Robinhood will suit you well.

Robinhood’s platform makes the complex simple and allows you to trade on the go. If you are an advanced trader, you’ll likely struggle with Robinhood’s limitations.

TD Ameritrade vs. Robinhood: Platform and Tools

TD Ameritrade offers three comprehensive trading solutions:

TD Ameritrade
Best For
  • Retirement Savers
securely through TD Ameritrade's website
  • Web platform
  • Thinkorswim
  • Mobile platform

1. Web Platform

The web platform is suitable for traders of any level. It gives you access to a variety of informative and educational resources. Other useful features include alerts, screeners and a fully customizable platform.

2. Thinkorswim

Thinkorswim is the professional way to trade. It is a high-rank platform for serious investors. It includes high-level analysis tools and strategy testers. Thinkorswim can generate trading ideas and lets you balance risk.

3. Mobile Platform

The mobile solution, which works for smartphones and tablets, is basic, as its idea is to monitor trades and to look for opportunities. Recently, TD Ameritrade launched a solution for Apple Watch.

Best For
  • Beginners
securely through Robinhood's website

What Robinhood Offers

Robinhood offers a friendly interface, so anyone can jump in and start trading right away. Robinhood supports web-based, desktop, and mobile platforms. Compared to TD Ameritrade, its platform is basic and limited. It supports only the basic market orders, which is good since Robinhood’s goal is to provide a simple beginner platform.

Bottom Line

Robinhood is the right choice for you're a beginner and you simply want to open and close trades. If you are looking for more options than this, TD Ameritrade will be the right choice for you.

TD Ameritrade vs. Robinhood: Research

TD Ameritrade offers a rich set of research and educational tools. Its website contains special sections on:

  • Education
  • Guidance
  • Retirement
  • Research

Its platforms also have a rich set of market research tools. Some of these include:

  • 400,000+ economic indicators from the FED
  • Information from top third-party sources
  • Visual heat maps showing the hottest assets
  • Live streams with breaking news from sources like CNBC
  • Social media market sentiments

What Robinhood Offers

Robinhood does offer research tools. Few of them are:

  • Analyst ratings: trading ratings from analysts on Wall Street
  • People also bought: what other investors on Robinhood are trading
  • About section: information about the company you are trading

This is part of Robinhood’s plan to keep the app basic and simple. If you need more than this, you’ll need to find external sources for your research.

Bottom Line

TD Ameritrade offers a rich database of research tools. Although Robinhood offers market research it is very basic and limited compared to TD.

TD Ameritrade vs. Robinhood: Commission and Fees

Our TD Ameritrade review identifies slightly higher fees, but its commission plans are transparent.

  • Stocks
    • Internet: $6.95
    • Interactive Voice Response (IVR) Phone System: $34.99
    • Broker-assisted: $44.99
  • ETFs
    • Commission-free ETFs:No commission
    • Internet: $6.95
    • Interactive voice response (IVR) Phone System: $34.99
    • Broker-assisted: $44.99
  • Mutual funds
    • No transaction fee (NTF): No commission
    • No-load: $49.99
    • Load: No commission
  • Options
    • Internet: $6.95 + $0.75 fee per contract
    • Options exercises and assignments: $19.99
    • Interactive voice response (IVR) phone system: $34.99 + $0.75 fee per contract
    • Broker-assisted: $44.99 + $0.75 fee per contract
  • Fixed income
    • Bonds
      • Treasuries at auction: Available commission free
      • All other bonds and CMOs: On a net yield basis
    • CDs
      • New issue: On a yield basis
      • Secondary: On a yield basis
    • UITs
      • New issue: Placement fee from the issuer
      • Secondary: Placement fee from the issuer
  • Futures: $2.25 fee per contract (plus exchange and regulatory fees)
  • Forex
    • Non-commission: Based on the spread from the liquidity provider
    • Commission: $0.10 per 1,000 units with max charge of $1

Robinhood’s Fees

The fees are the cornerstone topic of every Robinhood review. This is where comes the power of Robinhood vs. TD Ameritrade. Robinhood’s trading solution is absolutely free, and this is what it means:

  • No commissions
  • No spreads
  • No platform fees
  • No other costs

You deposit your money and you are ready to trade for free.


Robinhood sells a premium membership for $6 per month, Robinhood Gold. In exchange, Robinhood lets you trade on margin, effectively doubling your buying power. This feature is optional and you can still trade commission-free if you decide not to get it.

Bottom Line

This is another field where the two platforms differ. TD Ameritrade might be a bit costly, while Robinhood is totally free. TD Ameritrade offers a wide range of products and services in exchange for your charges. Robinhood is basic with no additional features and costs nothing.


TD Ameritrade is subject to strict U.S. regulatory requirements. The company is publicly listed on NASDAQ. The max leverage of 1:50 shows that TD Ameritrade takes its client’s money seriously. TD Ameritrade also stands behind a banking body, TD Bank, which offers more proof of reliability.

Robinhood is also subject to U.S. regulatory requirements. While not as big as TD Ameritrade, it conforms to the same financial rules. The company is not listed on a stock exchange and accepts only U.S. clients, which means that it conforms to the rules.

Bottom Line

Both companies abide by all United States regulatory bodies, so you’re in good, secure hands with both.

TD Ameritrade vs. Robinhood: Customer Support

TD Ameritrade offers supportive licensed reps. You can get email support 24/7. Their phone support is available 24/5. You can also reach TD by live chat and fax.

TD is a big company with nearly 500 physical offices around the U.S. Their branches are all over the U.S. and can take all your inquiries.

Things work a little differently at Robinhood. You can still reach them via email or phone, but this might be tough. This is part of the “staying commission free” plan of the company. Everything is minimal including the support. Moreover, Robinhood is 100% internet based, meaning that they have no physical offices.

Bottom Line

TD Ameritrade is a company with a world-class support. Robinhood cannot compete with the licensed support reps of TD and their 500 offices all over the U.S.

TD Ameritrade vs. Robinhood: Tradable Asset Classes

TD Ameritrade offers a wide range of tradable assets, which include:

  • Stocks
  • Options
  • ETFs
  • Mutual funds
  • Futures
  • Forex
  • Cryptocurrency
  • Bonds

The variety of assets at TD Ameritrade guarantees you a diversified portfolio. Moreover, this provider offers ready-to-go managed portfolios built by true professionals.

What Robinhood offers

Robinhood is limited in terms of tradable assets:

  • Stocks
  • ETFs
  • Cryptocurrency

Portfolio building and management would be a challenge with Robinhood, if you’re looking for a more complex strategy. If you’re looking for the basics, you’re in good hands.

Bottom Line

TD Ameritrade is the winner in this competition, as it provides a large range of diverse, tradable assets that Robinhood (though intentionally) cannot match.

TD Ameritrade vs. Robinhood: Ease of Use

TD Ameritrade supports three different platforms. Each of these contains many trading indicators and advanced services. This information is hard to assimilate at first, especially for beginners. Otherwise, when you get used to the interface, you’ll be able to trade with one click.

The Thinkorswim platform is a professional solution, designed for experienced traders. If you aren’t advanced, it’s going to be rough going. In this case, you should try the web-based platform.

What Robinhood offers

Robinhood’s platform offers an easy-to-use interface with a high-level user experience. It’s clean, simple, straightforward and user-friendly. It simply buys and sells assets for free and is a rockstar in its own special category.


Bottom Line

Robinhood’s platform is easier to use than TD Ameritrade’s platform because it’s limited, though that’s fully intentional. TD Ameritrade is comprehensive and rich on resources.

Final Thoughts on Robinhood vs TD Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade and Robinhood are on two different planets in terms of trading solutions. Although the two companies operate in the same field, they aren’t true competitors.

TD Ameritrade is a cutting edge trading solution with a rich set of trading resources. Robinhood is basic, limited, and simple. TD Ameritrade is a comprehensive solution with standard charges and fees and Robinhood is totally free.

Depending on what you’re looking for, it’s easy to choose one over the other. If you like simplicity, you’ll choose Robinhood. If you want all the options under the sun, go with TD Ameritrade.