rtmark
LearnBonds.com

TD Ameritrade Review 2020 : Platform, Fees, Pros and Cons

TD Ameritrade is one of the best online brokers for stocks trading, offering a huge selection of products and other financial instruments.
Tom Chen
Author: Tom Chen

Last Updated: May 8, 2020
 4.2/5

Finding a stockbroker is the first and most difficult step before you apply your trading strategy. There are many factors to consider – For some people finding a stockbroker is a matter of cost, some are more interested in advanced trading platforms and trading tools, and for others, it might be a matter of safety and convenience.

TD Ameritrade, one of the largest online stockbrokers, is known for charging high fees compared to other stock brokers in the industry but the broker also delivers top-notch trading services and tools for its clients and provides all the necessary elements for online traders – straightforward pricing, wide selection of markets and products, top-notch trading platforms and tools, and protection for its clients.

On this Page:

    Trade with eToro - 0% Commission

    Our Rating

    Trading
    • Trade Stocks, Forex, Crypto and more
    • 0% Commission on Trades
    • Copy Trades of Pro Investors
    • Easy to Use Trading Platform
    Trading
    Disclaimer eToro: 75% of investors lose money when trading CFDs.

    What is TD Ameritrade?

    TD Ameritrade Review.

    TD Ameritrade was founded in 1971 as one of the first online brokerages in the United States, similarly to Firstrade. Nowadays, the broker is one of the best online brokers for stocks trading, offering a huge selection of products and other financial instruments. The broker offers services to more than 11 million customer accounts and processes over 900,000 trades per day. TD Ameritrade ranks #1 in many categories including best overall online broker, best beginner broker, best stock trading app, best for day trading, best web trading platform, and more. As of 2018, TD Ameritrade total client assets were 37.52 billion USD.

    TD Ameritrade covers an array of financial products and services including stocks, options, bonds, futures, forex, cryptocurrencies, and mutual funds. The broker also offers clients managed portfolios, cash management plans, and different retirement and pension accounts.

    Visit TD Ameritrade

    Special features

    TD Ameritrade delivers standout trading tools and products. The broker is known for its unique exclusive features. Here are some of the features offered by TD Ameritrade:

    • In App Chat & Chat Rooms

    The broker offers an instant connection with a trading specialist and other traders via the in-app chat and chat rooms. The in-app chat provides traders live text with a trading specialist for immediate answers and the chat rooms allow traders to enter the thinkorswim trading community and share strategies, ideas, and even actual trades with market professionals and thousands of other traders.

    • TD Ameritrade API/ AutoTrade

    This is a useful feature for advanced traders that want to automate their trading strategy. TD Ameritrade has various tools that allow traders to automatically enter trade recommendations from a third-party source.

    • CNBC Live Streaming

    The broker provides newsfeeds from CNBC and the TD Ameritrade Network on thinkorswim trading platform and the mobile app.

    • Social Sentiment

    A great trading tool that allows traders to view social media sentiment of favorite stocks over time that displays social data in graphical form.

    Tradable securities

    When it comes to tradable products, TD Ameritrade offers an enormous selection of investment categories and products. Those include:

    • Stocks
    • Options
    • Exchanged Traded Funds (ETFs)
    • Mutual fund
    • Futures
    • Forex (for US residents)
    • Margin trading
    • Cryptocurrencies
    • Bonds and fixed income
    • IPOs
    • Managed portfolios
    • Cash management

    The broker offers more than 300 ETF’s, more than 4,000 mutual funds and a wide spectrum of equities across different exchanges across the globe.

    Promotions

    At the moment, TD Ameritrade offers a promotion based volume:

    • Free trades – 60 days of commission-free trading with deposit of $3,000 or more
    • $100+ free trades – 60 days of commission-free trading with deposit of $25,000 – $99,999
    • $300+ free trades – 60 days of commission-free trading with deposit of $100,000 – $249,999
    • $600+ free trades – 60 days of commission-free trading with deposit of $250,000 or more

    Account Minimum

    TD Ameritrade does not require any minimum deposit in order to open a trading account but there minimum electronic funding of $50. Take note that you do need a $2,000 deposit to be considered for margin and options privileges, regardless of any promotional offer.

    Supported Countries

    TD Ameritrade offers its brokerage services mainly to US residents. Residents of Canada, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and China can open an account via TD Direct Investing. Other Non-U.S. residents are required to provide a complete and valid IRS Form W-8BEN to certify their tax status.

    Languages Supported

    At the moment, TD Ameritrade supports its website in English, Chinese, and Mandarin.

    Trading Platforms

    TD Ameritrade offers high-quality trading platforms including a web-trading platform, the professional and advanced thinkorswim platform and a mobile platform available on iOS and Android. 

    TD Ameritrade Web Platform

    TD Ameritrade’s web trading platform is an easy-to-use platform with advanced built-in features such as education hub, planning tools, alerts, social screeners, snap ticket, and gains keeper.

    TD Ameritrade Review : TD Ameritrade Web Trading platform

    The web-based platform is suitable for beginners and intermediate traders and long-term investors that use the swing/long term trading strategies. Though the web-platform is less “professional” than thinkorswim, it is a very well organized and informative platform. TD Ameritrade’s web-based platform is a winning award web platform.

    thinkorswim

    The thinkorswim was geared for self-directed professional stocks, options, forex, ETF’s and futures traders. It is an elite trading platform with more than 400 technical indicators, level 2 and 3 quotes, real-time news, in-app chat, chat rooms, social sentiment feature, options statistics, company in-depth profile and more.

    TD Ameritrade Review : Think or Swim proprietary trading platform

    TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim is a fantastic trading platform with an impressive array of tools. For traders who are keen to trade actively, thinkorswim is one of the best trading platforms in the market.

    TD Ameritrade Mobile Application

    TD Ameritrade offers an advanced mobile application for its two trading platforms – the web-based platform and the desktop-based platform, thinkorswim.

    TD Ameritrade Review : TD Ameritrade App | Mobile trading platform

    The mobile application for both trading platform provides unique features such as live market news from CNBC and thinkorswim’s live chats, market calendar, customizable, multi-touch charts with hundreds of technical indicators. The app is committable with iPad, iPhone, Apple Watch, Android smartphones, and tablets.

    TD Ameritrade Review : TD Ameritrade Mobile Trading Platform

    Fees and Limits

    Compared to other online brokers in the industry like Charles Schwab, TD Ameritrade charges a bit higher fees and rates. Here are some of the key TD Ameritrade trading fees and limits:

    Instrument Fee
    Stocks per trade $6.95
    Commission-free ETFs No commission
    ETFs $6.95
    Mutual Funds No-Transaction-Fee (NTF) No commission
    Options $6.95 + $0.75 fee per contract
    Futures & Options on Futures $2.25 fee per contract (plus exchange & regulatory fees)

    In addition, TD Ameritrade charges margins and interest rate fees as well as brokerage fees, however, most of the fees are included in the exchanges fees so there won’t be any additional hidden charges. Here are the margin rates at TD Ameritrade:

    Dollar Range Above/Below Base Rate
    Above $999,999 -1.50%
    $250,000 – $999,999 -0.75%
    $100,000 – $249,999 -0.50%
    $50,000 – $99,999 -0.25%
    $25,000 – $49,999 0.75%
    $10,000 – $24,999 1.00%
    Under $10,000 1.25%

    Min Deposit and Max Withdrawals

    TD Ameritrade does not require a minimum deposit or maximum withdrawal.

    How to withdraw funds

    Here are the steps to follow if you would like to withdraw funds from TD Ameritrade:

    1. Log in to your account.
    2. Choose Accounts, then “Withdraw.”
    3. Under “Select a transaction,” choose “Withdrawal” then choose “Electronic (ACH).”

    Take note that you can also withdraw funds via the mobile application.

    Account Types

    TD Ameritrade provides a wide selection of trading accounts for all types of traders and investors. Those are categorized into Standard Accounts, Retirement Accounts, Education Accounts, Specialty Accounts, Managed Portfolios, and Margin Trading. We do recommend to research and consult with one of TD Ameritrade’s representatives before you choose your trading account.

    For those who are interested in stocks/options trading account, the Standard/Specialty and the Margin account are among the best options.

    How to Sign Up on TD Ameritrade

    Follow the next steps to open an account with TD Ameritrade:

    First, click here to sign up for your trading account. On the top right side of the home page, click “Open New Account”

    TD Ameritrade Review : TD Ameritrade account registration page

    As you can see in the image above you have five steps to complete your application. Fill in the necessary details including your personal details, trading experience, and your preferred account type.

    TD Ameritrade Review : Trader accounts available on TD Ameritrade

    Now, after you finish your application, you will receive an email where you should confirm the new registration of the account and, if necessary, to send over additional forms.

    After you complete the application process, you can fund your account and start trading.

    How to Configure Your Trading Account

    Once you are connected to one of the trading platforms – TD Ameritrade web-based platform or the thinkorswim, you can start to configure your trading account. For this demonstration, we have chosen to display the thinkorswim trading platform.

    As you first enter thinkorswim, you will see this template:

    TD Ameritrade Review : Think or Swim user dashboard

    As you can see, the platform offers many features. First, you need to add stocks and other instruments to your watch list (on the left side) and organize the charts section.

    Under the Trader TV section, you can select different options of news and data: TD Ameritrade Network, CNBC US, CNBC Europe, and CNBC Asia.

    At the top of the main window, you have the following tabs: monitor, trade, analyze, scan, MarketWatch, charts, tools, education, and help. For these tabs, you can manage your account and activate your trading. For example, go to MarketWatch in order to view quotes (below is visualize MarketWatch):

    TD Ameritrade Review : Think or Swim Trading platform

    Under the trade tab, you can choose your preferred market and the trading setup (All products, forex trader, futures trader, active trader, and pairs trader).

    TD Ameritrade Review : How t trade on Think or Swim trader platform

    How to Buy and Sell Stocks on TD Ameritrade

    For this demonstration, we chose the thinkorswim desktop and mobile trading platform. There are many ways in which you can buy and sell stocks and instruments via thinkorswim. You can click the trade tab and choose your desired instrument. For example, in the image below we chose bitcoin futures Aug 19.

    TD Ameritrade Review : Think or Swim mobile and desktop trading platform

    Once you click the instrument the order is displayed in the ‘order entry tool’. You can then set up your order and click the confirm and send button to send the order to the exchange.

    Safety and Regulation 

    TD Ameritrade brokerage is a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). The broker is also regulated in different jurisdictions, including in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, UK, and the countries of the European Union. In addition, the company is publicly traded on NASDAQ under the symbol AMTD.

    Education, Research and Data

    We mentioned that TD Ameritrade’s trading fees are a bit more expensive than competitorssuch as Fidelity and Robinhood. However, the broker pays back in its outstanding education, research and data features. First, traders have access to the top-notch news feed and educational resources on both of the offered trading platforms. The broker also offers one of the most high-quality educational hubs in the industry that includes a fully immersive curriculum, articles and videos, webcasts, TD Ameritrade network, and in-person events.

    And that’s not all. The broker provides great data tools including the CNBC live streaming media, economic calendar, financial news from Yahoo! and more.

    Customer Service

    You could not expect a huge company like TD Ameritrade to offer poor customer support. The broker now offers 24/7 support in the following forms:

    Overall, TD Ameritrade’s customer support is reliable, immediately responsive and professional.

    TD Ameritrade Pros and Cons

    Pros

    • Huge selection of markets and products
    • Advance trading platforms and trading tools
    • No deposit minimum requirements
    • More than 550 commission-free ETFs
    • Good customer support
    • TD Ameritrade provides one of the most advanced trading platforms on the market, the thinkorswim
    • The broker delivers top notch news feed and market data

    Cons

    • High trading commissions and fees
    • Complicated and long process to open a trading account
    • Limited payment methods for withdrawals
    • Automated trading can be used only by advanced traders and developers

    Final Thoughts

    TD Ameritrade covers all the basic and advanced requirements for day traders and long term investors. Though the broker charges higher fees than its industry competitors, you get high-quality trading tools and services. It’s not by chance that TD Ameritrade ranks at the top of online brokers since its foundation in 1971. Nowadays, the broker offers a great web-based platform and one of the best desktop-based platform. Its high-quality research and trading tools, the education material, and the professional customer service make TD Ameritrade a legitimate choice for any trader across the globe.

    Glossary of Trading Platform Terms

    Depiction of percentage growth rate of funds depicting Fed Rate percentage changes | Learnbonds
    Platform Fee

    The trading platform fee refers to the amount a trader pays to use the platform and access its integrated platform features and tools. It can be a one –time fee paid for the acquisition of the trading platform, a subscription fee paid monthly or annually. Others will charge on a per-trade basis with a specific fee per trade.

    chart and graph depiction of market performance illustrating capital gains | Learnbonds
    Cost per trade

    Cost per trade is also referred to as the base trade fee and refers to the fee that a broker or trading platform charges you every time you place a trade. Some brokers offer volume discounts and charge a lower cost per trade for voluminous trades.

    A illustration of justice scale showing authosity a Custodian holds to custodial Account | Learnbonds
    Margin

    Margin is the money needed in your account to maintain a trade with leverage.

    Illustration of an interlink depicting P2P lending | Learnbonds
    Social trading

    Social trading is a form of trading that allows for the interaction and exchange of trade ideas, signals and trade settings between the different classes of traders.

    Equity Release image with a house atop stacks of coins
    Copy Trading

    Copy trading, also known as mirror trading is a form of online trading that lets traders copy trade settings from one another. In most cases, it is the newbies and part-time traders that copy the positions of pro traders. The copiers -in most cases - are then required to surrender a share of the profits made from copied trades – averaging 20% - with the pro traders.

    A pink bond not with green dollar sign
    Financial instruments

    A Financial instrument ideally refers to the proof of ownership of financial commodities of monetary contracts between two parties. In the money markets, financial instruments refer to such elements as shares, stocks, bonds, Forex and crypto CFDs and other contractual obligations between different parties.

    Depiction of ETF performance |ETFs Learnbonds
    Index

    An index is an indicator that tracks and measures the performance of a security such as a stock or bond.

    Dollar sack and potted plant depicting how assets grow in a Fund | Learnbonds
    Commodities

    Commodities refer to raw materials used in the production and manufacturing of other products or agricultural products. Some of the most popular commodities traded on the exchange markets include energy and gases like oil, agricultural products like corn and coffee, and precious metals like gold and silver.

    Depiction of grrowing stacks of coins illustrating fixed income rates | Learnbonds
    Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs)

    An ETF is a fund that can be traded on an exchange. The fund is a basket containing multiple securities such as stocks, bonds or even commodities. ETFs allow you to trade the basket without having to buy each security individually.

    Depiction of an uptrending index fund | Learnbonds
    Contract for difference (CFD)

    CFDs are a form of contractual trading that involves speculating on the performance of a particular trade in the market. CFD’s will basically allow you to speculate on the future value of securities such as stocks, currencies and commodities without owning the underlying securities.

    Dollar sack and potted plant depicting how assets grow in a Fund | Learnbonds
    Minimum investment

    The minimum investment simply refers to the lowest amount of capital injection you can deposit into a brokerage or a trading platform. Different brokers demand varied minimum investment amounts from their clients either when registering or opening trade positions.

    Depiction of coins and growth curve illustrating mutual funds | Learnbonds
    Daily trading limit

    A daily trading limit is the lowest and highest amount that a security is allowed to fluctuate, in one trading session, at the exchange where it’s traded. Once a limit is reached, trading for that particular security is suspended until the next trading session. Daily trading limits are imposed by exchanges to protect investors from extreme price volatilities.

    Depictio of man thinking of money and risks illustrating a Registered Investment Advisor | Learnbonds
    Day traders

    A day trader is a term used to describe a trader who is constantly opening trades and closing them within a day. It is a common term used to refer to forex traders who open trade and only hold onto it for a few minutes or hours before disposing and having to leave no open trades at the time the trading day closes.

    Trade with eToro - 0% Commission

    Our Rating

    Trading
    • Trade Stocks, Forex, Crypto and more
    • 0% Commission on Trades
    • Copy Trades of Pro Investors
    • Easy to Use Trading Platform
    Trading
    Disclaimer eToro: 75% of investors lose money when trading CFDs.

    FAQs

    Can Non US residents trade with TD Ameritrade?

    Yes, non-US-residents can open a trading account at TD Ameritrade as long as they provide a complete and valid IRS Form W-8BEN to certify their tax status.

    Is TD Ameritrade regulated?

    TD Ameritrade is a well regulated online broker by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

    How can I contact TD Ameritrade in order to open a trading account?

    In order to open a new trading account, you can contact this number - +1800-454-9272 or email at [email protected]

    Can I use automated trading with TD Ameritrade

    Yes, you can. TD Ameritrade provides Autotrade which is a service provided that automatically enters trade recommendations you receive from third-party software such as TradeWise.

    Can I trade cryptocurrencies with TD Ameritrade

    TD Ameritrade has invested in ErisX, an external company that plans to offer traders access to cryptocurrency spot contracts. Traders can also trade bitcoin futures at TD Ameritrade.

    See Our Full Range Of Broker Resources – Brokers A-Z

    See Our Full Range Of Broker Reviews – Broker Reviews A-Z

    All trading carries risk. Views expressed are those of the writers only. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The opinions expressed in this Site do not constitute investment advice and independent financial advice should be sought where appropriate. This website is free for you to use but we may receive commission from the companies we feature on this site.
    Tom Chen

    Tom is an experienced financial analyst and a former derivatives day trader specialising in futures, commodities, forex and cryptocurrency. He has a B.A. in Economics and Management and his work has been published on a range of publications, including Yahoo Finance, FXEmpire and NASDAQ.com.