Our pick for beginner investors: Robinhood
- $0 commissions
- Download the app or trade online
- Start trading right away with instant deposits
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TD Ameritrade is known for its powerful research tools and low fees, but it has its drawbacks. Here are 5 alternatives to TD Ameritrade that pick up the slack.
TD Ameritrade is one of the most well-known brokers, but it has its disadvantages. Other brokers let you buy portions of stocks for as little as $5, which Ameritrade doesn’t. They also offer similar research tools, low fees and other benefits. Here are five apps like TD Ameritrade.
These trading platforms are some of TD Ameritrade closest competitors.
A popular choice, Fidelity Investments stands out for low fees, robust research tools and various services tailored to different investors. Fidelity charges no commissions on stocks, ETFs and options.
It also offers more than 3,000 index funds that charge no expense ratios and have no investment minimums. While TD Ameritrade offers low-cost funds, some investors would be very satisfied with Fidelity funds that waive expense ratios. Plus, you can purchase fractional shares through Fidelity Mobile. However, Fidelity doesn’t offer cryptocurrency to retail investors.
Fidelity allows you to invest on your own or open an account with Fidelity Go, the firm’s robo-advisor. TD Ameritrade also offers an automated platform, but it requires a minimum deposit of $500 and an advisory fee of 0.35%. Fidelity Go lets you get started with $10, and the management fee is waived for accounts holding less than $10,000.
Active Fidelity investors have a library of research tools to choose from, including stock screeners with more than 140 criteria. You’ll also have access to third-party research from leading providers like Thomson Reuters.
While TD Ameritrade offers various services aimed at different investors, SoFi Invest may be one of the top brokerages for beginners.
You can open an account through SoFi Invest with as little as $1.
Like other discount brokers, SoFi lets you trade stocks and ETFs without paying a commission. But SoFi also offers an automated investing account or robo-advisor with no annual management fee –– a rarity in the broker world.
After answering a few questions about your finances, SoFi recommends a diversified portfolio built with low-fee ETFs. From there, the robo-advisor automatically rebalances it overtime to stay on track with your goals. TD Ameritrade’s robo-advisor requires a 0.35% management fee.
However, SoFi falls short when it comes to investment options. It doesn’t offer options trading, futures, forex or mutual funds.
Another alternative, Robinhood investing, is known for its low fees and user-friendly interface. It offers commission-free stocks, ETFs and options. And unlike many brokerages, Robinhood doesn’t charge contract fees on options. You can also buy fractional shares through Robinhood.
Moreover, new investors can benefit from Robinhood’s library of educational materials about investing and all things finance.
However, this beginner-friendly brokerage doesn’t offer the most sophisticated research tools for active traders, like advanced stock screeners and charting. And active traders won’t have access to securities like mutual funds, forex and precious metals.
Like TD Ameritrade, Interactive Brokers (IB) offers a wide range of advanced research tools and platforms. You can place more than 100 different order types and access complex trading algorithms.
CSFB Crossfinder+, for example, identifies liquidity among independent and broker-owned dark pools while offering continuous crossing capabilities. According to its website, CrossFinder+ will spread your order over multiple destinations and fill at the midpoint or better.
Like TD Ameritrade, IB should give the experienced, active investor much to tinker with. But depending on your skill level, some features may be downright overwhelming. IB’s fee structure can also be complex. Beginners may be interested in the broker’s IB Lite platform, which offers commission-free trading on US-listed stocks and ETFs.
Known for its low-fee index funds, Vanguard is an ideal choice for the buy-and-hold investor. But active traders can also benefit from commission-free stock trading.
Vanguard may be more suitable for long-term investors, particularly those saving for retirement. You can open an individual or Roth IRA and invest in hundreds of proprietary ETFs and mutual funds with no commissions or sales loads. You can also choose from a lineup of target-date funds (TDFs), which automatically rebalance to take on less risk as you near retirement.
Vanguard’s online educational resources can help beginners develop their investing acumen. But active investors may want more out of Vanguard, which lacks the research tools offered by TD Ameritrade and other competitors.
TD Ameritrade offers many benefits, but it may not be the best choice for all types of investors. Here are some pros and cons to weigh.
If you’re switching brokers, the process may vary depending on your current broker and your new one. TD Ameritrade charges $75 to transfer all funds to another account and close your current one. TD Ameritrade uses the Automated Customer Account Transfer Service (ACATS).
Expect to go through the following process.
Note: Some brokers don’t accept the proprietary funds of others. So you may not be able to transfer mutual funds or ETFs managed by your old broker.
Here are signup details for a few brokers you might consider:
*Signup bonus information updated weekly.
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