In this TD Ameritrade review I take an in-depth look at one of America’s biggest and oldest online brokers.
Overall, TD Ameritrade is an extremely well rated online broker and offers one of the best trading platforms available. TD hits the sweet spot of being a great choice for beginners, who are provided with a clear and easy to use platform that lets you start trading in minutes. More advanced users will be well served by its robust choice of educational materials and wealth of research tools that can help take your trading skill-set to the next level.
Who is TD Ameritrade
TD Ameritrade is a large and reputable Omaha based stockbroker that dates back to 1971. Their robust electronic trading platform offers a wide-range of assets including common stocks, preferred stocks, futures contracts, exchange-traded funds, forex, options, mutual funds, fixed income investments, margin account, margin lending, and also cash management services.
Who owns TD Ameritrade
In October of 2020 TD Ameritrade was acquired by Charles Schwab. As such TD Ameritrade is part of the Schwab family, the largest brokerage in the US with assets under management of over $6 trillion. However, even though TD Ameritrade is owned by Charles Schwab it still operates as a separate entity and to date no plans are afoot to change this.
Who is TD Ameritrade suitable for?
With its wide range of offerings, TD Ameritrade accommodates all types of investors, from novices to experienced traders. It offers trading in many types of securities, including more complex products like options and futures, although the platform does not currently offer crypto products. With its wealth of research and educational resources, TD Ameritrade is also a good choice for beginner investors who may need more support.
TD Ameritrade Ratings
- Low fees and commission-free stock and ETF trading
- No account minimum
- Excellent and intuitive mobile and desktop trading experience
- You can only trade on US markets
- No fractional shares
- No direct crypto trading
Accounts and products available at TD Ameritrade
TD Ameritrade gives customers access to an extensive range of different investment and trading accounts. These include traditional and joint brokerage accounts, as well as IRA accounts and Solo 401(k) plans.
For more experienced investors there are also partnership and limited partnership accounts, pension and profit accounts, margin trading, and other similar accounts.
Regardless of what account is best suited to your trading needs, you will be able to trade and invest in a complete range of financial products. These include tried and tested favorites such as the ability to trade stocks, options, ETFs, Forex, mutual funds, and futures.
As well as innovative new products such as micro futures, a great way for smaller investors to access the futures markets at just a fraction of the cost.
It should be noted that TD Ameritrade does not offer fractional shares or international bonds. And the mobile app does not support fixed-income purchases. Also, for those wanting to trade in crypto I would be hesitant to recommend TD as they do not support direct trading in any form of cryptocurrency.
TD Ameritrade Fees and charges
TD Ameritrade has adopted a low-cost pricing model and most of its fees are lower than, or in line with, the industry norm.
TD Ameritrade offers free equity, option and ETF trades. Forex currency pair trades are commission free, however these trades occur in increments of 10,000 units.
Also, there are no inactivity fees and no transfer fees for partial account transfers. Should you however decide to transfer the entirety of your account you will be subject to a $75 fee.
For further details on the pricing and account fees structure of TD Ameritrade you should check out their website.
Just a word to the wise, I should point out that whilst TD Ameritrade is quite keen to advertise its $0 commission and other low fees for certain services. They do have a few less obvious ways of making money off of you.
For example, TD Ameritrade clients earn no interest on cash held in their accounts. If you want to earn interest you have to opt into their cash sweep program, should you do so do not expect to actually earn much as the interest rate is a rather underwhelming 0.01%.
Also, potential customers should be forewarned that TD Ameritrade’s margin rates are among the highest charged, as such those looking for a margin trading account would be advised to look elsewhere.
Meanwhile, other services such as no-load mutual funds have fees of between $49.95 or $74.95, futures contracts are $2.25 per contract and there is a flat rate of $25 for broker assisted trades. Again, the full details regarding pricing can be found on the TD Ameritrade website.
Platforms available at TD Ameritrade
TD Ameritrade offers a range of platforms suited to meet the needs of a wide range of investors. In this TD Ameritrade review I will take a closer look at them.
That said no matter the platform you use for your trading you can rest easy knowing that you have the tools needed to trade safely and securely.
Classic Web Platform
This is the default trading platform and provides customers access to almost all types of trades with the exception of futures and forex trading. Easy to use, the desktop trading platform offers a fully customizable workspace, screening tools, and of course instant access to statements, trades and other useful information. Packed with features to help you manage your portfolio more efficiently and invest smarter.
Next Gen Web Platform
A more refined and mobile optimized web platform that delivers an intuitive platform for quick access to customer funds and research tools. This platform has been streamlined and lets customers make trades on phone, tablet or desktop devices. The focus on providing a smooth user experience means that some trades, such as fixed Income (bonds & CDs), complex options (3 or 4 legs), and futures and forex trading are not possible.
TD Ameritrade Mobile
The TD Ameritrade mobile platform is a companion app to the Classic Web Platform, and is designed to ensure that you never miss out on opportunities. This is a stripped-back, fast and easy-to-use app and perfect companion for active traders on the move.
thinkorswim Trading Platform
The thinkorswim trading platform from TD is a free, powerful, user-friendly online trading platform available to TD Ameritrade customers. The perfect tool for managing your account and packed with next level tools and sophisticated analytical resources. The thinkorswim platform is available on desktop or via mobile apps.
TD Ameritrade Services & Tools
TD Ameritrade is one of the leading online brokers in the US and offers a complete range of services and tools to help its customers actively manage their accounts and trades.
All brokers provide research tools, to a degree, but the research tools, investment advice, and resources available from TD Ameritrade are without equal. No other online broker comes close. Immersive courses, designed to help both beginners and more experienced traders, provide an extensive look at the fundamentals of trading but also include more specialized topics such as Options or Futures Trading.
As well as articles, third-party reports and investing publications customers can avail of the TD Ameritrade Network. This streaming, real-time news channel offers market insights and strategy education from industry experts such as Ben Lichtenstein and Nicole Petallides.
TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios robo-advisor services
For those looking to take a more hands-off approach to trading, TD also offers, via its TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios robo-advisor services. The robo-advisor is an automated investment service that builds a portfolio according to customer data. Namely their stated pre-stated risk tolerance, tax situation and overall investment needs. Essential Portfolios will cost you a 0.30% annual fee and a minimum initial investment of $5,000 and a number of different accounts are available, such as IRAs, individual and joint accounts and more.
TD Private Client Wealth
For those wanting to make use of an accredited human advisor with years of experience, there is TD Private Client Wealth. This fund has just under $5.6 billion in assets under management and is one of the best performing funds in the US. Fund customers can avail of the firm’s services include wealth planning, retirement planning, investment management and more.
As well as their extensive range of services TD Ameritrade offers strong customer service support, and skilled, knowledgeable and efficient customer service agents. Customer service is available online, via telephone, and also in one of their branches throughout the US where in-person guidance and support is offered to customers.
How to open an account at TD Ameritrade
You can open an account with TD Ameritrade in just 5 simple steps. Best of all, as well as being incredibly easy, it’s also free to do.
Before you start you will need to have some information ready, either your Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), and the name of your employer and their address (if relevant).
- Start your application and select your account – Go to the TD Ameritrade “open an account” page and select the relevant account you want to open. If you are still not sure there is a handy link on the page which will help establish what sort of account would be best for you.
- Enter your information – Once you have selected the type of account you want, you will be required to fill in your personal information and details such as your Social Security number.
- Confirm your information – After inputting your details, you are given a chance to review all the information before confirming.
- Agree to terms – After inputting, and confirming your information you will be asked to read the terms and conditions of your relevant account. Information such as the client agreement, account handbook, a business continuity plan statement, and an IRA account agreement disclosure should be carefully read through. You will be asked to agree to the terms and conditions, and will also be asked some information on behalf of the IRS.
- Create your login – Here you will be asked to set up your account name, password for the account, account preference, and contact information. The last steps before you are ready to start trading.
Deposit & Withdrawal process at TD Ameritrade
Making deposits and withdrawing money from your TD Ameritrade account is easy, but first you will need to deposit funds in order to start trading. There are five ways to do this:
- Electronic Bank Deposit – Fast and easy, simply deposit funds into your account by means of an electronic transfer (ACH) from your bank account into your trading account. Limit $50-$20,000 and takes just seconds online.
- Wire Transfer – Transfer money from your bank account into your TD account by wire transfer. You will need to put in a transfer request with your bank but there are no limits on transfers this way, though funds can take one working day to appear.
- Check – Simply write a check in favor of your TD Ameritrade account, checks can then either be posted or cashed in online, and within 1-3 business days the funds will be in your account.
- Account Transfer from Another Broker – You can also fund your trading account by transferring stocks, options, ETFs and other assets. This can be done online and though there are no limits to how much you can transfer, the funds will take about a week to appear in your account.
- Physical Stock Certificates – Admittedly, not many individuals are likely to fund their trading account this way but you can. Simply submit a deposit slip and then mail the physical stock certificates in your name into an individual TD Ameritrade account. Once received, funds will take one day to appear.
When it comes to withdrawing funds from your account your options are significantly fewer, as TD Ameritrade only supports withdrawals by means of a bank transfer. The fee for a wire transfer is $25, regardless of the amount, but there are no fees for electronic (ACH) withdrawals. So, whilst it is true that you are limited in how you withdraw your money, at least you can do so for free if you are withdrawing the funds via ACH.
Customer Support at TD Ameritrade
TD Ameritrade is one of the areas where the company truly shines. In general TD is known for its customer focused approach and this can be seen in how it supports its customers.
There are a number of different ways you can contact customer support, including a dedicated customer service line, available 24/7 at 800-669-3900.
In today’s day and age, when so many companies simply consign customer service to a robot with a standard range of generic answers to genuine concerns it is nice to see that TD Ameritrade knows the value of the human touch. With customers able to talk to knowledgeable and courteous agents that are always there to answer your call.
Of course, you can also chat online and customer support is also available via the company’s Facebook Messenger and Twitter channels.
Last but by no means least you can walk into one of their brick-and-mortar branches, and with over 175 offices across the nation your nearest branch may well be closer than you think. You can check the exact location of your nearest branch at https://www.tdameritrade.com/branches.html.
TD Ameritrade Research
Simply put, no one comes close to TD Ameritrade when it comes to research tools and materials. The sheer scope and quality of useful research tools and materials provided blows the competition out of the water.
Meanwhile the Stocks Charts and Stocks Overview tools let you quickly identify potential opportunities in stocks. This way you can stay ahead of the herd and invest in shares that look set for growth.
The fully customizable range of research tools let you set filters and parameters in line with your investment goals to ensure that you are not swamped by irrelevant data but instead are managing information for meaningful insight.
Once you have fully customized the parameters then why not sit back and relax a bit knowing that each morning the Market Java report will provide you with your daily shot of market news and insights, before the markets open. Packed with useful information this report includes all the latest news about pre-market conditions, as well as any significant stock moves, and more.
Market Edge is a subscription service available for just $19.95 a month, and just one of the many tools TD Ameritrade offers customers. Market Edge helps you make better decisions and provides genuine insight and analysis of the markets.
Daily email market reports provide accurate information. Trading Ideas help you identify the best early entry, long, and other picks available. Stock Watch alerts help you manage your portfolio and stay in control. And Industry Group Analysis lets you quickly identify growth sectors, for picks with strong growth potential.
Regardless of whether you want to trade stocks, mutual funds, penny stocks, futures, commodities, or any of the other financial products available, Market Edge is designed to give you an edge in the market.
Education TD Ameritrade
If you are a complete beginner to trading then the interactive lessons and resources available on the TD Ameritrade platform will have you trading like a pro in no time at all.
StockBrokers.com have voted TD Ameritrade’s range of educational tools as “Best in Class Education” for the 11th year straight.
The curriculum is immersive and goal focused. Courses such as those on how to identify rising and falling stocks, are designed to help students understand important trading concepts. But even experienced traders are well served, with advanced lessons taking a look at topics such as the Fintech sector, or how to hedge your portfolio.
Available on desktop, web-based, and mobile formats the education center consists of a vast library of content which provides access to podcasts, tutorials, videos, webinars, articles, and even investment coaching.
If practice makes perfect then the paperMoney demo account tool, available via the thinkorswim platform, is the stuff of dreams. This powerful tool is a robust stock trading simulator that is great for new investors. But even seasoned traders can benefit from paperMoney as it lets you test out new theories and opportunities, without putting your money on the line.
TD Ameritrade Safety
You can rest easy when trading on TD Ameritrade knowing that it provides customers with the highest level of security.
All interactions on the secure TD Ameritrade website make use of secure 128-bit encryption. This is a method of encryption that is considered as being logically unbreakable and is the most modern and secure methods of protecting important information.
As well as using 128-bit encryption the company also employs advanced firewalls to keep unauthorized parties from gaining access to your personal information. On top of which anomaly detection and intrusion detection technology monitors and protects customer accounts and automatically alerts TD, as well as customers, in the event of any unusual account behavior.
Deposits made into TD Ameritrade fully insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), which means that in the unlikely event of the bank going bust deposits of up to $250,000 are fully insured. Not only that but TD Ameritrade is also a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC), whereby securities in your account are protected up to the value of $500,000, which includes a $250,000 limit for cash.
TD Ameritrade takes its commitment to top-tier security one step further, and will reimburse any customer for the cash or shares of securities from their account that may be lost as a result of unauthorized activity.
So, whilst trading is indeed a risky business you can breathe easy knowing that your broker has got your back.
TD Ameritrade Summary
So, I hope this TD Ameritrade review highlighted some of the reasons why, since 1971, TD Ameritrade has grown to become one of the best regarded online brokers in the US. In summary, TD Ameritrade offers a customer-driven approach and low-cost fees.
This coupled with the sleek and secure TD Ameritrade mobile experience, make for a package that is hard to beat.
If you are a new trader then TD Ameritrade is worth taking a closer look at. Its emphasis on providing users with the knowledge needed to make informed trading decisions, coupled with its excellent stock trading simulator, really help differentiate it from its rivals. Even experienced traders are well served though, such is the quality and sheer scope of useful resources on offer.
As a well-established broker you can be sure that they will be there for you, and the brick-and-mortar branches are reassuring in today’s day and age when flash in the pan operators seem to pop-up every day.
Useful information about TD Ameritrade
This section contains useful information to make your experience at TD Ameritrade as seamless as possible.
How to contact TD Ameritrade
TD Ameritrade can be contacted by:
- Phone: New accounts – 800-454-9272, existing clients – 800-669-3900
- Facebook messenger: https://www.facebook.com/tdameritrade
- Twitter DM: https://twitter.com/TDAmeritrade
- Or by visiting your nearest local branch: https://www.tdameritrade.com/branches.html
How to withdraw from TD Ameritrade
You can make withdrawals from TD Ameritrade by means of either a wire-transfer or by an electronic transfer (ACH)
How safe is TD Ameritrade?
TD Ameritrade is considered very safe. On top of providing 128-bit encryption and being insured by both the FDIC and SIPC, TD Ameritrade promises to compensate customers fully for any losses on their account that are the result of unauthorized activity.
FAQs about TD Ameritrade
Can TD Ameritrade be trusted?
Yes, TD Ameritrade can be trusted. As one of America’s oldest online brokers and leading financial service providers they are building on a long history of satisfied customers.
Is TD Ameritrade good for beginners?
Yes, TD Ameritrade is good for beginners because I believe that no other US broker is as dedicated to empowering its customers as TD is. There are many providers and new brokers out there, but as this Ameritrade review highlights, TD Ameritrade’s platforms are among the very best available.