TD Ameritrade review

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Enjoy $0 online commissions for certain trades, but look out for other fees.

finder.com’s rating: 4.3 / 5.0

★★★★★

TD Ameritrade is an online brokerage service designed for beginner investors and active traders. It features user-friendly trading platforms and a variety of mutual funds, but look out for costly short-term exchange-traded fund (ETF) and broker-assisted trade fees.

  • Choose TD Ameritrade if you’re an intermediate to advanced investor.
  • Consider something else if you want direct access to international stocks.

$0
or $25 broker-assisted

Stock trade fee

$0

Minimum deposit to open

Details

Stock trade fee$0
or $25 broker-assisted
Option trade fee$0 + $0.65/contract,
or $25 broker-assisted
Asset typesStocks, Bonds, Options, Mutual funds, ETFs, Currencies
Account typesBrokerage, Retirement
Mutual fund trade fee$0
Minimum deposit to open$0
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Review by


Shannon Terrell is a senior writer for Finder who has written over 400 personal finance guides. With a focus on investments and personal finance, she breaks down jargon-laden topics to help others make informed financial decisions. She studied communications and English literature at the University of Toronto.

Expert review

TD Ameritrade offers a host of attractive perks for a wide range of investors.

There’s no minimum deposit to open an account and no commissions on online trades. Plus, you get access to free educational resources and 24/7 online support.

But you may pay costly brokerage and short-term ETF fees. And you’ll pay a small fee for options contracts.

Overview

Fees

★★★★★ 3.5/5

No commissions on stocks and fees are fair for other securities.
Available securities

★★★★★ 5/5

The only thing a Thinkorswim brokerage account can’t trade is cryptocurrency.
Customer support

★★★★★ 5/5

Support can quickly be reached in three ways.
Mobile app

★★★★★ 4.6/5

The app gets high marks in the Apple App Store but Google users report app freezes.
Research and tools

★★★★★ 5/5

A comprehensive suite of research and analytics tools are available.
Reliability

★★★★★ 3/5

One major outage has been reported.
Bonus star

1

We awarded a bonus star for access to paper trading.

To learn how our star ratings are calculated, read the methodology at the bottom of the page.

What investments does TD Ameritrade offer?

TD Ameritrade offers access to just about everything on the market, including OTC bulletin boards, pink sheets and penny stocks.

  • Stocks
  • Bonds
  • Options
  • Futures
  • ETFs
  • Mutual funds
  • Forex

Who is TD Ameritrade best for?

TD Ameritrade imposes no account minimums and boasts a robust library of educational content and market research. It may be a practical fit for:

  • New investors. Rookie investors can access tools and free educational resources. There’s also no annual fee or inactivity fee and no minimum to get going on taxable brokerage accounts.
  • Frequent traders. Expect $0 commission on stocks, ETFs or options, regardless of the account balance or the number of shares.
  • Advanced traders. Users have access to real-time market research, advice to make informed decisions and products like stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs, options, futures, forex, foreign ADRs and IPOs.

Fees and costs

TD Ameritrade’s prices are competitive. It doesn’t charge commissions on stocks or ETFs, and its contract fees for options and futures are on par with most other online brokerages. That said, its $49.99 fee for no-load mutual funds is steep — Interactive Brokers only charges $14.95.

Minimum deposit to open$0
Annual fee$0
Stock trading fee$0
Options trading fee$0.65 per contract
Futures trading fee$2.25 per contract
No-load mutual fund trading fee$49.99
Account transfer fee$75

Managed portfolios

TD Ameritrade has two options for those interested in having their portfolio managed for them: Selective and Personalized Portfolios. Both portfolio options are managed by human financial advisers but carry different account minimums and management fees.

Account minimumAnnual management fee
Selective$25,0000.75% to 0.90%
Personalized$250,0000.60% to 0.90%

How do I sign up?

Online

  1. Go to the TD Ameritrade website and select Open New Account.
  2. Choose the type of account you want to open. If you’re not sure, select Find an account.
  3. Choose between opening an individual account or joint account.
  4. Enter whether you’re a current TD Ameritrade customer or newcomer and fill in the necessary fields, including personal and financial information and the number of trades you plan to make.
  5. Review your information and confirm your agreement with the terms and conditions.
  6. Configure your user ID and password to make an account.

At a branch

Visit a local TD Ameritrade branch to speak with a representative who can help you get started.

Eligibility

Whichever account you choose to open, you’ll need to meet a few eligibility requirements:

  • At least 18 years old
  • Valid residential address
  • Valid government-issued ID
  • While there’s no minimum to open an account, a $2,000 deposit is needed to be considered for margin and options privileges.

Required Information

  • Valid Social Security number or tax identification number
  • Foreign tax ID, passport or visa number if you are not a US citizen or permanent resident
  • Valid address
  • Employer’s name, address and phone number

      Research tools

      TD Ameritrade offers a variety of investing platforms targeted at different types of investors from beginners to advanced traders.

      TD Ameritrade web platform: This is TD Ameritrade’s all-inclusive web-based trading platform. It provides investors with what they need to screen and trade investments, build diversified portfolios, monitor their investments and access educational resources. Here are some features:

      • Screen stocks, bonds and funds
      • Make trades
      • Create watchlists
      • Access the latest market news and get real-time updates
      • Access third-party research from Morningstar, Thomson Reuters, TipRanks and more
      • Use tools like portfolio planner and retirement planner

      TD Ameritrade Mobile App: TD Ameritrade’s web-based tools and features extend to its mobile platform. Both currently have ratings of 3 out of 5 and 4.5 out of 5 on the Google Play and Apple App stores, respectively. Here’s some of what you can do:

      • Trade stocks, ETFs, and options
      • Get real-time quotes
      • Access charts with indicators
      • Set-up price alerts and watchlists
      • Access market news, research and reports

      Thinkorswim: This is a separate platform designed for experienced investors who want access to powerful research and analytical tools. You can access Thinkorswim online, on your desktop and via a mobile app. Here are some of its highlights:

      • Trade multi-leg options, stocks, futures, forex
      • Practice trading virtual money via its paper money component
      • Create multi-touch charts with hundreds of indicators
      • Build your own order execution and testing algorithms
      • Get a beta-weighted analysis of theoretical moves based on underlying stocks, indices or futures
      • Access TD Ameritrade Network’s market insights
      • Monitor your positions and how they trend over time
      • Live text and screen sharing with specialists
      • Access stock screeners and other tools

      Pros and cons

      Pros

      • 24/7 support. TD Ameritrade offers 24-hour live chat assistance for active members.
      • Commission-free trades. There’s no commission on stock, ETFs or options trades. You’ll pay $0.65 per options contract.
      • No account minimums. There’s no minimum balance to open an account and no charge for inactivity.
      • Broad selection. Choose from more than 2,300 ETFs and 12,000 mutual funds. Forex trading is available in 75 currency pairs.
      • Access to trading platforms. With TD Ameritrade, you get free access to its three trading platforms — Mobile Trading, thinkorswim and its Web Platform.

      Cons

      • Steep learning curve. Some of TD Ameritrade’s trading platforms — like Thinkorswim — are notorious for their steep learning curve.
      • Short-term trading fees. Hold commission-free ETFs for at least 30 days or pay a $13.90 fee.
      • No direct access to foreign stocks. Some international stocks are available over-the-counter but TD Ameritrade doesn’t offer direct access to foreign markets.
      • Mutual fund fees. If you’re interested in no-load mutual funds, be prepared to pay $49.99 per trade.

      Charles Schwab to acquire TD Ameritrade

      In 2019, Charles Schwab announced its plans to acquire TD Ameritrade in a transaction valued at $26 billion. The acquisition is moving forward as planned, with shareholders and US Justice Department officials both voting in favor of the merger.

      The process is expected to take 18 to 36 months to complete. Until then, both platforms will continue to operate independently.

      Compare with other stock trading platforms

      Name Product Stock trade fee Asset types Option trade fee Annual fee Signup bonus
      Robinhood
      $0
      Stocks, Options, ETFs
      $0
      0%
      Free stock (chosen randomly with a value anywhere between $2.50 and $200)
      Sign up using the "go to site" link
      Make unlimited commission-free trades in stocks, funds, and options with Robinhood Financial.
      Interactive Brokers
      $0
      Stocks, Bonds, Options, Mutual funds, ETFs, Currencies
      $0 + $0.65/contract, $1 minimum
      0%
      N/A
      IBKR Lite offers $0 commissions, and IBKR Pro offers advanced tools for professional traders.
      Sofi Invest
      $0
      Stocks, ETFs, Cryptocurrency
      N/A
      0%
      Get one free stock worth up to $1,000
      Open an account
      A free way to invest in stocks, ETFs and crypto.
      Webull
      $0
      Stocks, Options, ETFs
      $0
      0%
      Get one free stock valued between $2.50 and $250 when you open an account, one more with a deposit
      Open an account
      Margin financing rates start at 3.99%. No monthly subscription fees for margin.
      Public
      $0
      Stocks, ETFs
      N/A
      $0 per month
      N/A
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      Compare up to 4 providers

      *Signup bonus information updated weekly.

      Is TD Ameritrade legit?

      TD Ameritrade was founded in 1975 and is headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska. It’s a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC), which protects securities for customers up to $500,000 or $250,000 for claims for cash.

      TD Ameritrade also provides every customer with $149.5 million protection for securities and $2 million protection for cash through supplemental coverage which you can purchase through London insurers.

      There are two complaints about TD Ameritrade on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, but both complaints are about the company’s mortgage services.

      TD Ameritrade reviews and complaints

      TD Ameritrade is not accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and holds a B rating with an average of 1.33 out of 5 stars after 15 customer reviews as of March 2021.

      Trustpilot gives TD Ameritrade 1.5 stars out of 5 based on 137 reviews. Of the 77% who rated the company “bad,” several appear to be scammers who are advertising services to help customers recover invested funds. Other users complain that they couldn’t connect with a human and had to solve issues with automation. Others found the app or website challenging to navigate.

      Positive reviews touted the variety of products, free educational resources and affordability.

      TD Ameritrade customer service

      • Live chat: Available 24/7 for active members.
      • Phone:
        • New clients: 800-454-9272
        • Existing clients: 800-669-3900
        • Spanish: 888-376-4684
        • Callers outside the US: 800-368-3668
        • TTY services for the hearing impaired: 888-723-8503
      • Social media: Send a message via Facebook Messenger or Twitter
      • Text: 898832
      • Stop by a local branch

      How we rate trading platforms

      ★★★★★ 5/5 — Excellent

      ★★★★★ 4/5 — Good

      ★★★★★ 3/5 — Average

      ★★★★★ 2/5 — Subpar

      ★★★★★ 1/5 — Poor

      We analyze top online trading platforms and rate them one to five stars based on factors that are most important to you. These factors include fees, securities available for trade, customer support, customer feedback, platform resources and overall reliability.

      For a complete breakdown of how we score each category, read the full methodology of how we rate trading platforms.

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