TD Ameritrade Review

TD Ameritrade Review

TD Ameritrade stays one of many largest on-line brokers and it has continued to construct on its edge with newbie traders. TD Ameritrade reaches clients and prospects with on-ramps to its providers constructed on a wide range of social media websites, together with Twitter and Fb. As soon as onboard, TD Ameritrade gives clients a selection of platforms, together with its fundamental web site, cell apps, and thinkorswim, which is designed for derivatives-focused lively merchants.

Though Charles Schwab has acquired TD Ameritrade, the merger of the 2 brokerage behemoths is predicted to take a number of years to finish. Within the meantime, TD Ameritrade is functioning as a separate entity, so we’ll have a look at the way it ranks as a standalone brokerage and assist you to resolve whether or not it’s a good match in your investing wants.

Who TD Ameritrade Is For

TD Ameritrade is likely one of the bigger on-line brokers within the U.S., so it gives a number of platforms aimed toward totally different ranges of experience. The intensive academic choices assist new traders turn out to be extra assured and encourage them to discover extra asset lessons as their abilities develop. For lively traders and merchants, the thinkorswim platform gives all the info, charting, and instruments wanted to search out market alternatives. The sheer variety of instruments and analysis out there by way of TD Ameritrade could be a bit overwhelming.


  • Intensive analysis capabilities and quite a few information feeds

  • The schooling choices are designed to make novice traders extra comfy with a greater variety of asset lessons

  • Extra help channels have been developed utilizing Fb Messenger, WeChat, Twitter and others


  • Purchasers could have to make use of multiple buying and selling system to search out all of the instruments they need to use

  • The web site is so full of content material and instruments that discovering a selected merchandise is troublesome

  • Quite a few web site and platform outages had been reported throughout August 2020

Execs Defined

  • TD Ameritrade optimized its conventional web site for cell browsers with a dashboard the place purchasers can shortly entry account particulars, balances, steadiness historical past, positions, information, and extra. The well-designed cell apps are meant to present clients a easy one-page expertise the place they will shortly test in on the markets and their accounts. 
  • The thinkorswim downloadable platform’s toolset has been largely copied over to the online. Which means clients can use its highly effective evaluation instruments and real-time streaming knowledge to commerce equities, choices, futures, choices on futures, and foreign exchange on the internet. To replicate its rising footprint in Asia, TD Ameritrade made the platform out there in conventional in addition to simplified Chinese language. 
  • Profiting from the bodily places TD Ameritrade acquired when it bought Scottrade a number of years in the past, the dealer gives in-person schooling at greater than 280 workplaces in addition to a number of coaching pathways out there on its web site and cell apps. As well as, the TD Ameritrade Community gives 9 hours of stay programming along with on-demand content material.
  • Streaming real-time knowledge on thinkorswim, the web site, and the cell apps is limitless.

Cons Defined

  • Prospects could have to make use of a number of platforms to make the most of most well-liked instruments. Choices-specific instruments abound on thinkorswim, however elementary analysis for equities and stuck revenue instruments are principally out there solely on the web site. This can be a widespread challenge shared by giant brokers with a number of platforms.
  • TD Ameritrade purchasers can select from an enormous array of account sorts, which needs to be a bonus. Nevertheless, it will probably result in confusion for brand spanking new traders who’re not sure of what they imply. Throughout the setup course of, there needs to be extra assist out there for purchasers to make sure they’re beginning out with the right account kind.
  • Over-the-counter (penny inventory) trades are topic to a fee of $6.95 per commerce.
  • Purchasers are paid a tiny price of curiosity on uninvested money (0.01–0.05%) until they take motion to maneuver money into cash market funds.


TD Ameritrade tries to make getting began straightforward, however the breadth of its choices works towards it on this regard. New clients can open and fund an account on the web site or cell apps. The tough half, nevertheless, is selecting the right account kind as TD Ameritrade has loads to select from. After getting the fitting account kind, the “know your buyer” course of that each one SEC-registered brokers require is easy and straightforward to navigate.

After you’re arrange, the navigation is very depending on the platform you’ve determined to make use of. On the web site, the structure is easy and straightforward to comply with since the newest rework. There’s a customizable “dock” that reveals account statistics, information, and financial calendar knowledge. The “snap ticket” shows on each web page, making it easy to enter a fast market or restrict order. 

TD Ameritrade web site account touchdown web page.

The thinkorswim platform may be set as much as your precise specs, with tabs permitting quick access to your most-used options. Customization choices on the web site are restricted, whereas on thinkorswim, you may specify every part from the instruments on every web page to the font used to the background colour. Each facet of buying and selling defaults may be set on thinkorswim. In distinction, the web site does not permit you an identical stage of management over buying and selling defaults. Most customization choices are saved within the cloud, so after you have set them up, they comply with you from one gadget to a different.

A model of thinkorswim for the online contains stay buying and selling and papermoney, the buying and selling simulation, and all of the asset lessons out there on the downloadable model in addition to all the identical knowledge sources and buying and selling engine. Your watchlists and dynamic watchlist are equivalent. The principle distinction is that the online model is primarily transaction-oriented and has an easier structure than the downloadable package deal. The most important distinction between net and desktop is that each one out there options are collected into one view on the internet slightly than having quite a few totally different tabs. The online model will not be as full-featured because the desktop or native cell functions, however shall be constructed out as purchasers ask for his or her most desired options.


TD Ameritrade has native cell apps for iOS and Android in addition to a cell net expertise that resizes the display screen in accordance with the gadget you are utilizing. In the event you arrange a watchlist on one platform, it is going to be accessible elsewhere. That is significantly helpful for many who change between the usual web site and thinkorswim. All out there asset lessons may be traded on cell gadgets.

Commerce Expertise

Working your means from an concept to inserting a commerce includes utilizing well-organized two-level menus on the web site. There is a commerce ticket out there on the backside of each display screen which you could detach and float in a separate window for straightforward entry. Charts will also be indifferent and floated to arrange a buying and selling surroundings, however it is a extra concerned course of in contrast to what’s out there by way of thinkorswim. There are fast purchase and promote buttons that pop up once you float over a ticker and clicking them hundreds fundamental data into the commerce ticket. If you wish to ship a conditional order, you will should go to an expanded commerce ticket that’s accessible with a click on. On thinkorswim, you may arrange your screens along with your favourite instruments and a commerce ticket. The default layouts are straightforward to make use of for probably the most half and making use of the drawing instruments, technical indicators, and knowledge visualization instruments shall be acquainted to most merchants. Thinkorswim permits merchants to create their very own evaluation instruments as properly use a built-in programming language referred to as thinkScript.

On the internet, you may customise the order kind (market, restrict, and so forth.), order amount, order aspect (purchase or promote), and tax-lot methodology. In thinkorswim, you too can customise order templates for every asset class in order that multi-order methods may be accessed with a single click on. You possibly can stage orders for later entry on all platforms.

Cell Commerce Expertise

The thinkorswim cell platform has intensive options for lively merchants and traders alike. The workflow for choices, shares, and futures is intuitive and highly effective. You may discover plenty of bells and whistles that make the cell app an entire resolution for many buying and selling functions, together with streaming real-time knowledge and the flexibility to commerce from charts. The common cell platform is nearly equivalent in options to the web site, so it is a straightforward transition.

thinkorswim chart.

Vary of Choices

TD Ameritrade purchasers can commerce a variety of belongings on each net platforms and thinkorswim in addition to on cell apps. TD Ameritrade doesn’t allow cryptocurrency buying and selling however you may commerce CME Bitcoin futures. Opening a place with fractional shares will not be but out there. Past that, traders can commerce: 

  • Shares lengthy and quick (TD Ameritrade doesn’t keep a conventional easy-to-borrow checklist. TD states that, at any given time, over 3,000 securities can be found for brief promoting vs. availability within the order administration system).
  • OTCBB (Penny shares).
  • Mutual funds (over 1,900 no-load, no transaction charge).
  • Bonds: Company, Municipal, Treasury, and CDs. Worldwide mounted revenue out there by way of a stay dealer.
  • Single leg and multi-leg choices.
  • Futures and futures choices.
  • Foreign exchange (75 pairs).
  • Trades with as much as eight legs, comprised of a number of asset lessons (shares, choices, futures, and foreign exchange); may be designed on thinkorswim.
  • Robo-advisory, TD Ameritrade Important Portfolios, built-in into web site and cell app. Extra suggested portfolios out there by way of a monetary advisor.
  • A wide range of worldwide exchanges may be accessed by way of stay dealer.

Different belongings that may be traded on-line embody OTC and FLEX choices, unit funding trusts and high-yield company bonds (junk bonds).

Order Sorts

TD Ameritrade purchasers can enter all kinds of orders on the web sites and thinkorswim, together with conditional orders akin to one-cancels-another and one-triggers-another. There aren’t any restrictions on order sorts on cell platforms. Purchasers can stage orders for later entry on all platforms.

In the event you’ve been shopping for into a selected inventory over time, you may choose the tax lot when closing a part of the place or set an account-wide default for the tax lot selection (akin to common value, last-in-first-out, and so forth.). It’s also possible to set an account-wide default for dividend reinvestment.

Buying and selling Expertise

The way in which a dealer routes your order determines whether or not you’re more likely to obtain the very best value on the time your commerce is positioned. That is referred to as value enchancment, which is, in essence, a sale above the bid value or a purchase beneath the provide. 

TD Ameritrade’s order routing algorithm seeks out each value enchancment and speedy execution of the shopper’s complete order. Value enchancment statistics that the agency publishes present that the majority marketable fairness orders obtain, on common, slightly greater than 1½ cents per share ($0.015) in value enchancment. TD Ameritrade receives some fee for order move but it surely says its order execution engine doesn’t prioritize it. It obtained, on common, $0.0012 per share in fee for order move within the third quarter of 2019. The corporate doesn’t disclose fee for order move for choices trades.

Purchasers can develop and backtest a buying and selling system on thinkorswim in addition to route their very own orders to sure market facilities, however can’t place automated trades on the platform.


TD Ameritrade has joined within the race to zero charges, but it surely hasn’t embraced it fairly as totally as a few of its main rivals. For probably the most half, nevertheless, the dealer is consistent with the {industry}.

  • TD Ameritrade fees no commissions for on-line fairness or ETF trades.
  • OTCBB trades incur a fee of $6.95/transaction—most different brokers have made these trades free.
  • There is no such thing as a per-leg fee on choices trades. Per-contract commissions are $0.65. Charges are waived for contracts priced at $0.05 or much less. VIP possibility clients are in a position to privately negotiate discounted commissions primarily based on quantity.
  • An order for 50 choices contracts is $32.50.
  • Coated name commerce of 500 shares plus 5 contracts would value $3.25.
  • Mutual fund fee for funds outdoors the No Transaction Price program is $49.99. 
  • Mounted revenue is bought on a “web yield” foundation, which implies TD Ameritrade is marking the value of the bond up for a purchase order or down for a sale. The charge you will pay will not be clear.
  • Most orders incur alternate charges, that are sometimes fractions of a penny per share or contract, which TD Ameritrade absorbs slightly than passing them by way of to its clients.
  • Margin curiosity ranges from 9.5% for $10,000 steadiness to 7.75% for over $100,000 as of Could. 2020. That is about 1–1.25% greater than its main opponents. Excessive-net-worth account holders are in a position to negotiate decrease margin charges primarily based on account dimension.
  • Futures transaction charges are $2.25 per contract per aspect plus alternate charges.
  • Foreign exchange foreign money pairs are traded in increments of 10,000 models and there’s no fee. The price of the commerce is mirrored within the unfold and TD Ameritrade is compensated by its liquidity supplier primarily based on the quantity.
  • No charges for inactivity.
  • Transferring a part of an account incurs no cost. Transferring a complete account is $75.
  • Sending a wire is $25. Sending a paper test is free, although there’s a $15 in a single day mail charge if the shopper requests it.
  • Voluntary reorganization charge for company actions is $38.
  • Paper statements incur a $2 dealing with charge for accounts with low balances. Commerce confirmations are free.
  • Dwell dealer charge is $25 per commerce throughout asset lessons. 

How This Dealer Makes Cash From You and for You

With most charges for fairness and choices trades evaporating, brokers should make cash by some means. The charges and commissions listed above are seen to clients, however there are different hidden income streams—a few of which truly can profit you.

  • Curiosity on money: Like most brokers, TD Ameritrade generates curiosity revenue from the distinction between what you’re paid in your idle money and what it will probably earn on buyer money balances. TDA purchasers earn a paltry 0.01% on their uninvested money until they transfer cash manually into cash market funds, however they should take motion slightly than having money swept routinely into higher-interest funds.
  • Fee for order move: Fairly just a few brokers generate revenue by accepting fee from market makers for steering its buyer’s fairness and choices orders to these buying and selling venues. That is referred to as fee for order move. TD Ameritrade says it doesn’t explicitly route for PFOF, but it surely accepts, on common, $0.0015 per share on fairness orders and $0.51 per contract for choices orders. Which means it’s making $1.16 per contract on choices orders once you issue within the fee paid.
  • Inventory mortgage packages: These packages generate income for brokers when the inventory held in your account is loaned to a different dealer or hedge fund, often for the needs of promoting that inventory quick. TD Ameritrade doesn’t share this income with the purchasers who maintain the inventory.
  • Value enchancment: TD Ameritrade studies that the online value enchancment per share is $0.0159 for market orders sized between 1–1,999 shares. Complete web value enchancment by order will differ with order dimension. TD Ameritrade doesn’t disclose value enchancment for choices orders.
  • Portfolio Margin: TD Ameritrade purchasers who qualify can apply for portfolio margining, which may decrease the quantity of margin wanted primarily based on the general danger calculated. Sometimes, portfolio margining works finest for patrons who commerce derivatives that offset the danger inherent of their fairness positions.  

Account Facilities

  • TD Ameritrade purchasers who qualify can apply for portfolio margining.
  • TD Ameritrade doesn’t share income from its inventory mortgage program with the purchasers who maintain the inventory.
  • TDA purchasers earn 0.01% on their uninvested money. They’ll transfer cash manually into cash market funds.
  • There is no such thing as a sweep program for transferring idle money right into a cash market fund. Purchasers should take motion on their very own to earn greater curiosity.
  • Purchasers can enroll dividend-paying shares in a dividend reinvestment program at any time on the web site.

Analysis Facilities

Inventory Screeners

The 85 predefined web-based screeners are totally customizable. On the internet, the screener routinely saves the final 5 customized screens for straightforward re-use. On thinkorswim, the checklist of screeners is rising and with thinkorswim Sharing, customers are creating and proliferating distinctive scans.

ETF Screeners

Purchasers can display screen by greater than 35 standards together with efficiency, portfolio traits, dividends, scores and danger, and costs and bills. The Morningstar class standards on lets purchasers discover focused funds that fall underneath a number of of the almost 100 Morningstar classes. Classes vary from bear market to Japan inventory to focus on date funds. There are 15 pre-defined ETF screens and the final 5 custom-made screens are routinely saved. Purchasers can select to call and save any of their customized screens for future use. Screener outcomes may be saved as a watchlist.

Choices Screeners

The thinkorswim platform shines with regards to discovering choices alternatives with instruments akin to Possibility Hacker and Unfold Hacker. These allow you to search for easy and complicated possibility methods, akin to lined calls, verticals, calendars, diagonals, double diagonals, iron condors, and iron butterflies, utilizing real-time streaming knowledge and primarily based on standards akin to implied volatility ranges, inter-month implied volatility skews, time to expiration, chance of revenue, most revenue, most danger, delta, and unfold value. TD net has Capital IQ Choices Screener to display screen for lined calls and calendar spreads. Each platforms hyperlink on to a number of evaluation instruments after which to commerce tickets. 

Mutual Fund Screeners

This software shares many traits with the ETF screeners described above. This screener additionally ties into different TD Ameritrade instruments. Purchasers can save mutual fund display screen outcomes as watchlists. Purchasers also can evaluate mutual funds and ETFs utilizing the web site’s proprietary evaluate software.

Mounted Earnings Screeners

The Bond Wizard allows purchasers to seek for particular person bonds and CDs or construct a bond ladder primarily based on its solutions to 5 questions. Purchasers also can select from a choice of pre-packaged bond ladders and a five-year Month-to-month Earnings Portfolio.

Instruments and Calculators

On the internet, you will discover an Earnings Estimator that can present what sort of revenue your portfolio or a hypothetical portfolio would produce in a month-to-month report. The web site additionally has a social sentiment software. Inside the inventory profile part of the web site, purchasers can use the Peer Comparability software to check a inventory to its 4 closest friends towards a wide range of elementary and proprietary social knowledge factors. The valuation tab can be utilized to check corporations’ valuation, profitability, progress charges, dividends, and monetary power.

Buying and selling Concept Mills

The thinkorswim Commerce Finder characteristic helps you discover potential spreads primarily based on market expectations. On the internet, you will discover CFRA inventory analysis with its Inventory Appreciation Analysis rankings in addition to a MarketEdge concept generator and a TradeWise choices concept generator. These every spawn a brand new window although, so it creates a cluttered desktop.


A spread or sources can be found together with real-time streaming, scannable information supplied by affiliate TD Ameritrade, Dow Jones, Benzinga, Midnight Dealer, MarketWatch, quite a few press launch wires, TradersAudio stay pit audio, CNBC Video, Benzinga Audio Squawk, Econoday calendar knowledge, and Wall Road Horizons.

Third-Occasion Analysis

Vickers Inside Buying and selling, MarketEdge, Thomson Reuters, CFRA, Dow Jones, and Credit score Suisse. Most inventory and ETF data pages checklist out there third occasion analysis and studies.


You may discover extraordinarily highly effective and customizable charting out there on the thinkorswim platform. The web site additionally has good charting instruments, however the capabilities of TOS blow every part else away. Chart dimension, colours, research, methods, and drawings are all customizable and may be saved, recalled, shared, and reprogrammed. There’s additionally a method to simply create customized candles.

Portfolio Evaluation

TD Ameritrade’s Portfolio Planner on the web site reveals your present asset allocation and allows you to evaluate it to a goal allocation mannequin. You may get an in depth checklist of modifications advisable to get your portfolio in line if you would like. It’s also possible to customise your goal asset allocation mannequin after which use the “discover securities” characteristic to load up pre-screened potentialities.

All steadiness, margin, and shopping for energy figures are proven in real-time. Purchasers can connect notes to trades earlier than and after execution, and so they can see working orders displayed straight on charts and drag and drop them to vary the orders. TD Ameritrade purchasers have entry to GainsKeeper to find out the tax penalties of their trades.

TD Ameritrade portfolio planner.


TD Ameritrade units a excessive bar for buying and selling and investing schooling. It gives a number of schooling modes, together with stay video, recorded webinars, articles, programs that embody quizzes, and content material organized by ability stage. A lot of the content material can also be out there in Mandarin and Spanish. Utilizing synthetic intelligence, the web site may give purchasers a personalised expertise and recommend content material and the subsequent motion. In 2020, with new traders becoming a member of the buying and selling world, TD Ameritrade added two new studying pathways aimed toward assembly the wants of newbie traders, together with private finance and investing in progress shares for learners.

TD Ameritrade Community programming options 9 hours of stay video day by day. The community initially focused superior merchants, but it surely has expanded to supply new merchants methods to make their first transfer. You possibly can view TDAN content material on native apps for iOS, Android, Amazon Fireplace, and Roku.

Movies and articles packaged for numerous ranges of investor information may be discovered on the TD Ameritrade Schooling web page or on the Schooling tab within the thinkorswim platform. Content material organized into programs, akin to “Easy Steps for a Retirement Portfolio” or “Choices for Volatility,” will let you dive into the subject, perceive new ideas and methods, and apply them utilizing TD Ameritrade’s instruments. A brand new video coaching course on revenue investing in retirement, to assist these at or close to retirement learn to alter their portfolios for the wants of retirement and create an revenue plan, made its debut in 2020.

You may discover day by day webinars on matters starting from introductory to superior on the Webcasts web page. There are a number of webcasts supplied day by day, organized by shopper ability stage. There are articles organized by matter within the Funding Articles part of the web site, plus purchasers can subscribe to a print journal, thinkMoney, based by the thinkorswim group. Articles are well-organized, written merely with out being condescending, and canopy all kinds of matters from introductions to superior methods. Go to a department to take a look at the stay occasion schedule; TD Ameritrade has about 1,500 of those scheduled yearly.

If you wish to learn to use the thinkorswim platform, you may obtain the simulator, which is named paperMoney.

TD Ameritrade schooling.

Buyer Service

  • 24/7 cellphone line.
  • Chatbots deployed on Twitter, Fb Messenger, Apple Enterprise Chat, and WeChat (in Asia).
  • Dwell chat help on the TD Ameritrade Cell dealer app.
  • Wonderful trading-related guides for thinkorswim customers.
  • TD Ameritrade help associates have the flexibility to shadow your buying and selling platform and show its options to you. 
  • The digital shopper service agent, Ask Ted, supplies automated help by answering shopper’s questions and directing them to content material inside the web site.


TD Ameritrade’s safety is as much as {industry} requirements:

  • Purchasers can use biometric authentication (fingerprint and face recognition) for the cell app login.
  • TD Ameritrade’s safety algorithm acknowledges the pc the place a shopper has accessed the account up to now, and may an unfamiliar pc try entry, a sequence of profile questions are used to substantiate the shopper’s id. 
  • TD Ameritrade supplies every shopper $149.5 million value of safety for securities and $2 million of safety for money by way of supplemental protection supplied by London insurers.  
  • There have been no important breaches at any TD Ameritrade location reported by way of Nov. 2019 by the Id Theft Useful resource Middle.

Our Verdict

TD Ameritrade’s a number of platforms make analysis and buying and selling accessible to a variety of traders and merchants. Newer traders are in a position to work their means up the chain, taking over new approaches and asset lessons as they encounter them within the trove of monetary schooling they’ve entry to. Merchants and lively traders will benefit from the capabilities of the thinkorswim platform, together with the flexibility to create customized indicators and share asset screens in a wider group. 

After all, the acquisition of TD Ameritrade by Charles Schwab generates some uncertainty. Combining these two giant brokers will take years, however it is going to little question contain the phasing out of explicit options on one platform in favor of overlapping options in one other. Some of these transitions may be painful, significantly for merchants who’ve put time into customizing an interface. No matter what these two huge brokers could turn out to be sooner or later, TD Ameritrade gives strong worth immediately. With TD Ameritrade’s charge cuts, you now get loads of nice analysis, limitless streaming real-time quotes, and a top quality commerce execution engine at a really aggressive value level.

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Investopedia is devoted to offering traders with unbiased, complete evaluations and scores of on-line brokers. Our evaluations are the results of months of evaluating all facets of a web based dealer’s platform, together with the consumer expertise, the standard of commerce executions, the merchandise out there on its platforms, prices and costs, safety, the cell expertise and customer support. We established a score scale primarily based on our standards, amassing hundreds of knowledge factors that we weighed into our star-scoring system.

As well as, each dealer we surveyed was required to fill out an in depth survey about all facets of its platform that we utilized in our testing. Lots of the on-line brokers we evaluated supplied us with in-person demonstrations of its platforms at our workplaces.

Our crew of {industry} consultants, led by Theresa W. Carey, carried out our evaluations and developed this best-in-industry methodology for rating on-line investing platforms for customers in any respect ranges. Click on right here to learn our full methodology.

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