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TD Ameritrade Review 2020

TD Ameritrade is a top online broker with the history to prove it!

Established in 1975, TD Ameritrade has been giving the essential tools that clients need to take control of their financial lives.

What makes TD Ameritrade so unique is that they provide the services needed for beginner and advanced traders.

If you want to know what TD Ameritrade is all about, then you’re in the right place! 

Our team spent countless hours peeling back the layers of TD Ameritrade. That way you can see if they’re the right online brokerage for you. 

In our review, we’re going to break down TD Ameritrade step by step. We will explain where they excel, where they fall short, and if TD Ameritrade is a suitable online broker for your investment style. 

Let’s take a zoomed-out view on TD Ameritrade

Quick Look at TD Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade offers low-cost trades, great trading platforms, helpful tools, and much more to their clients.

They have just about everything you need as an investor.

Account minimum: $0 USD

Fees: $0 per trade (stocks)

Pros:

  • Very large investment selection
  • Super helpful and easy to use tools available 
  • Commission-free stock and ETFs
  • Great customer service 

Cons:

  • Could be tricky for total beginners
  • Broker assisted trades can be costly

TD Ameritrade is best for:

  • High volume traders
  • Investors interested in high-quality learning tools
  • Beginner traders 
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Who is TD Ameritrade (Full Review)

With over 45 years in the industry, TD Ameritrade is one of the largest U.S stockbrokers.

Their reputation is highly glorified and they are regulated by the top governmental agencies.

TD Ameritrade is a mix of a few other “daughter companies”. Some of their previous subsidiaries are TD Waterhouse which they acquired from TD Bank Financial Group and Scottrade.

TD Ameritrade took control of the acquired companies and improved their operations and services in all areas.

Through a few mergers and acquisitions, TD Ameritrade evolved into the elite online broker that they are today. 

Today TD Ameritrade is a nationally known broker. They pride themselves on delivering quality investing services to beginner and seasoned investors.

Now that we had a small background check, let’s check out the services and features that TD Ameritrade proves their investors:

TD Ameritrade
Account minimum  $0
Stock trading cost  $0
Option trading cost $0.65 per contract
Commission-free ETFs
Mutual funds  $49.99 per trade 
Broker assisted trades $25.00
Inactivity fee none
Investment products 
  • Stocks
  • Options
  • Futures
  • Bonds
  • ETFs
  • Mutual Funds
  • Forex
  • Crypto trading 
  • IPOs
Education & Research
Mobile apps
Web trading platforms 
Customer support 
  • 24/7 phone line
  • 24/7 online chat
  • Email
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Accounts

Opening an account with TD Ameritrade is fast and easy!

TD Ameritrade is a full-service online broker and they offer just about any investment/retirement account that you can think of.

There is no minimum balance required when opening an account with TD Ameritrade. Just sign up and begin planning for your financial future

How to Open Account

Similar to E*TRADE, TD Ameritrade is an online broker that is based in the U.S. 

Opening an account can be intimidating. Below are step by step instructions to guide you through the signing up process. 

Setting up an account with TD Ameritrade will only take a few minutes. Before you get started make sure you have the following two pieces of information ready.

  • Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN)
  • Name and address

Alright, let’s go over the steps to open an account with these guys!

  1. Begin applicationHead over to the TD Ameritrade application. 
  2. Choose an account– There are five main accounts to choose from:
      • Standard account
      • Retirement account 
      • Education account 
      • Specialty (Business) account 
      • Managed portfolios
  3. Personal information– This is the section where you will input your personal details, SSN/ITIN, address, email, etc.
  4. Investment plan– You will be asked a few questions about your general situation.
  5. Agree to terms– Review the imputed information and scan over the TD Ameritrade terms.
  6. Set up login– Choose your username and password for your TD Ameritrade account.

And you’re all set!

Account Types

Once your account is set up and funds are sent, you’re ready to invest. 

TD Ameritrade has just about any account that you can think of! 

TD Ameritrade doesn’t have a minimum balance so you can get started immediately. 

Here are a few of their accounts:

Account Explanation
Individual account A standard brokerage account for a single owner
Joint account This is called Joint Tenants with Rights of Survivorship (JTWROS). This is an account with two or more owners
Retirement account TD Ameritrade offers a variety of retirement accounts:

  • Traditional IRA
  • Roth IRA
  • Rollover IRA
  • SEP IRA 
  • Solo 401(k) 
  • Simple IRA
  • Pension or Profit plan
Education savings They offer great accounts to help you plan for college and save. 

  • 529 Plans
  • Coverdell Education Savings Account
  • Custodial Uniform Gift to Minors/Uniform Transfer to Minors Act 
Specialty account Specialty accounts are for your business. They include trusts, limited partnerships, small businesses and accounts for investment clubs.
Managed accounts  TD Ameritrade offers managed portfolios to help you reach your investment goals. There are 

  • Essential Portfolios
  • Selective Portfolios
  • Personalized Portfolios

Each portfolio is designed for you.

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Fees & Commissions 

Over a lifetime of investing you can end up paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees and commissions.

TD Ameritrade is an online broker that charges very little to buy and sell securities.

Before we look at TD Ameritrade, let’s understand the basic fees and commissions that most brokers charge.

Fees and commissions are broken down into two main categories: Management fees and Non-trading fees.

  • Management fees-
      • Management fees are made up of the conversions, financial rates, and commissions of your securities. These are costs to manage your financial assets. 
  • Non- trading fees-
    • Non Trading fees and the more general fees that don’t have to do trading itself. They are directly tied to inactivity in the account, depositing money and withdrawing money. 

TD Ameritrade has fairly low fees compared to the other online broker.

Let’s look at the specific management fees and non-trading fees that TD Ameritrade charges. 

Management Fees 

Management fees are directly related to the trading of financial assets. Think of these fees as the outcome of investing.

TD Ameritrade
Stocks ETFs Options Futures  Mutual Funds  Broker Assisted Trade
$0 (Online) $0 (Online) Contract fee

$0.65 

$2.25 Per contract $49.99 $25.00

Stocks 

When it comes down to buying or selling, TD Ameritrade knows how to get it done. TD Ameritrade uses advanced routing technology to evaluate execution quality. This gives the investor the best price.

For an added note, $0 commissions apply to the U.S stock market.

ETFs

Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are commission-free with TD Ameritrade! If you’re having trouble you can use their interactive voice response phone system, but that costs $5.00 per trade. 

TD Ameritrade use advanced routing technology for buying and selling ETFs as well, providing you with the best price. 

Options

Options cost $0.65 per contract with TD Ameritrade. If you’re interested in trades over the counter (OTC) there is a commission of $6.95 per trade. 

TD Ameritrade offers interactive voice response guidance which costs an additional $5.00 per trade. They also have broker assisted option trades which cost an additional $25.00 per trade. 

Futures

Futures and options on futures cost $2.25 per contract (plus possible exchange and regulatory fees).  

The National Futures Association (NFA), a regulatory organization, currently charges $0.02 per contract. That is an added cost to be aware of. 

Mutual Funds

TD Ameritrade charges $49.99 for a no-load mutual fund. Basically the cost for a mutual fund is a flat $49.99. No front end, back end, or level sales charge.

Broker Assisted Trades

Trading can get confusing, TD Ameritrade gets that. That is why they provide broker-assisted trades.

Broker assisted trades as available for pretty much every asset that you can trade on the TD Ameritrade platform. A broker-assisted trade costs $25.00 plus the fee of the security that you are trading. 

Now that we have a good understanding of the management fees that tie along with TD Ameritrade, let’s see their non- trading fees.

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Non-Trading Fees

TD Ameritrade doesn’t have non-trading fees!

  • There is no inactivity fee
  • Setting up an account is completely free 
  • No deposit fee (know that you might be charged by your bank, TD Ameritrade isn’t related)
  • Electronic statement is FREE
  • No withdrawal fees (if you use ACH transfer) 

TD Ameritrade is a very open and transparent brokerage firm. When looking at fees and commissions, TD Ameritrade offers quality service at a very low price. 

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Asset Classes

TD Ameritrade is an online broker that provides a wide range of investment vehicles. 

TD Ameritrade
Stocks-Short & Long
Options/Complex Options 
ETF
Futures/Commodities
Mutual Funds 13,000+
Bonds & CDs
Cryptocurrency/Bitcoin Futures
Forex
529 Plan
Roth IRA
International Exchange
OTC, OTCBB Penny Stocks
Fractional Shares

Whether you’re new to investing or you’ve been investing for years, chances are that TD Ameritrade offers the investment that you’re looking for.

More choices mean more potential opportunities

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Trading Platforms

TD Ameritrade understands the importance of high performing trading platforms.

TD Ameritrade offers trading platforms for the online web (desktop/laptop) and for your mobile device.  

Let’s cut to the chase and check them out!

TD Ameritrade thinkorswim
Mobile app
Online web trading
Customizable  🚫
Tradable securities
  • Stocks
  • ETFs
  • Options
  • Mutual funds
  • Stocks
  • ETFs
  • Complex Options
  • Futures 
  • Forex
Best for Investors interested in the general aspects of investing Investors looking for more in-depth tools/more frequent traders

The TD Ameritrade platform is the default trading platform. If you are new to investing, we recommend that you start with the default platform.

On the other hand, if you’re interested in more frequent trading, TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim is for you.

Mobile Trading Platform 

TD Ameritrade created two mobile trading platforms for two different investors. 

These guys realized that investors are at different levels and have different financial goals. With that in mind, they tailor-made two investing apps:  TD Ameritrade Mobile app and thinkorswim Mobile app

  1.  TD Ameritrade Mobile appThe TD Ameritrade mobile app is the default investing platform. 
    • Easy to navigate
    • Real-time market information
    • News and research on the platform
    • Live quotes and price alerts
  2. thinkorswim Mobile app The thinkorswim app is a robust and powerful trading app. As a trader, you will have everything you need- and more.
    • Useful educational videos on the go
    • Numerous technical indicators
    • Modernized trading platform 

Online Web Trading Platform 

TD Ameritrade offers online web trading platforms that are suitable for many different investors. They have tools for any investor at any level.

TD Ameritrade has two online web trading platforms: TD Ameritrade Web Platform and thinkorswim Web

  1. TD Ameritrade Web Platform- The TD Ameritrade Web Platform offers the gadgets needed for any level investor. 
    • The ability to manage, buy and sell investments 
    • An intuitive platform with a clean design
    • Access to research, educational resources, and investment planning tools
  2. thinkorswim Web- The thinkorswim Web platform is “the” online web trading platform for investors looking for a professional level trading platform. 
    • Great educational tools and resources like thinkManual and platform tutorial videos
    • Fully customizable platform 
    • Top-level tools to perform market analysis
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Education & Research

TD Ameritrade offers great educational and research materials for their investors. 

In a nutshell, they provide investment/financial news, trading content, educational “know-how” videos, and top of the line research tools.

Education

TD Ameritrade has helpful learning materials available for all of their clients no matter the platform. 

TD Ameritrade has very extensive educational information covering topics from finance to current news.

TD Ameritrade offers their educational information in the following ways:

  • Educational articles
  • Educational/instructional videos
  • Online webinars
  • Tutorial videos

The educational information is available and useful for all level investors. The elite platform, thinkorswim has a bit more advanced educational material.

Research

We tested the trading and research tools that TD Ameritrade has to offer on both the TD Ameritrade Platform and the thinkorswim platform. 

They have great research tools including financial data, charts, trading tools, news, and more!

Financial Data

Investing 101 is becoming familiar with a company and their financials. TD Ameritrade has countless financial performance and rating indicators available. That way you can get a better feel of the company you’re interested in investing.

If that’s not enough for you they also have financial statements 5 years back until the present day.

Charts

The charts in the thinkorswim platform are some of the most comprehensive on the market.

The TD Ameritrade Platform and the thinkorswim platform have plenty of editable charts. Their charts allow you to analyze financial information, aiding to a smart and educated decision. 

Trading tools

TD Ameritrade has excellent trading tools on their platform. There is also a fair share of distinctive trading ideas.

These tools and ideas are “outsourced” from external parties. A few of the many parties are The Street Ratings, Vickers, and Market Edge. 

News

The TD Ameritrade Platform and the thinkorswim platform have updated news whenever you need it. MarketWatch and CNBC are some of the news channel providers. 

News is available on the mobile trading platform and the online web trading platform. 

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Customer Service

Customer service is a very important aspect of an online broker. We tested out the main ways of getting a hold of them.

  1. Live Chat– Available at the home page of their site.
  2. Email– We sent them an email and they replied the following business day.
  3. Messaging Them– TD Ameritrade has a presence on Facebook messenger, Twitter and via SMS (Text them at TXTTDA)
  4. Phone– If you’re looking to open an account, call 800-454-9272.

We were very satisfied with the customer service and available outlets that TD Ameritrade offers.

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Safety

TD Ameritrade is regulated by top governmental organizations. 

A few of the regulators are:

  • SEC- Securities and Exchange commission
  • CFTC- Commodity Futures Trading Commission
  • FINRA- Financial Industry Regulatory Authority
  • MAS- Monetary Authority of Singapore
  • SFC- Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission

With All of That Regulation is TD Ameritrade Safe?

TD Ameritrade offers in-depth account protection to their clients in relation to personal data and financial assets.

TD Ameritrade investors are financially covered by the SIPC and the FDIC

SIPC insurance protects the assets in your brokerage account. In the event that something goes wrong from the broker’s side, SIPC protects investors up to $500,000.

Cash held in your TD Ameritrade account is insured by FDIC. They protect and backup your funds up to $250,000 per depositor.

For more information check out the TD Ameritrade account protection agreement

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Is TD Ameritrade For You

TD Ameritrade is one of the largest brokerage firms in the U.S. 

They have everything that you need as an investor, and more! 

With their top of the line tools, low commissions and robust trading platforms, TD Ameritrade is easily one of the best online brokers out there. 

Whether you just started investing or you’ve been at it for decades, TD Ameritrade has the tools to help you grow and reach your financial goals.