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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.

$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, Cryptocurrency
Account typesBrokerage, Retirement
Mutual fund trade fee$0
Minimum deposit to open$0

Expert review

Ryan Brinks

Review by


As the news editor at Finder, Ryan Brinks melds decades of experience in business news and online content into creating comprehensive and helpful comparisons of the companies you trust your money with. He loves to innovate and put money to work while keeping a careful eye on managing risk. Beyond work, Ryan's also passionate about his family and serving his community.

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.

Who is TD Ameritrade best for?

TD Ameritrade requires no minimum investment and provides education and market research. It may be best 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.

What are the benefits of TD Ameritrade?

In addition to its versatile platforms and educational resources, TD Ameritrade these perks:

  • Commission-free trades. There’s no commission on stock, ETFs or options trades. You’ll pay $0.65 per options contract.
  • No minimum balance. 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.

TD Ameritrade Investment Platforms

TD Ameritrade offers a variety of investing platforms targeted at different types of investors from beginners to the advanced. Here are your choices.

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’s 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 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

What to look out for

Keep an eye out for a few potential pitfalls:

  • Short-term trading fees. Hold commission-free ETFs for at least 30 days or pay a $13.90 fee. Its short-term redemption fee on most mutual funds traded within 90 days is $49.99.
  • Broker-assisted trades. You may pay more on broker-assisted trades compared to some competitors.

Compare your investing options before deciding if this is the best fit for you.

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, Gold/Commodities
$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
$0 + $0.65/contract, $1 minimum
0%
N/A
IBKR Lite offers $0 commissions, and IBKR Pro offers advanced tools for professional traders.
Tastyworks
$0
Stocks, Options, Cryptocurrency
Stocks & ETFs: $1/contract to open, $0 to close, $10 max/leg
Futures: $2.50/contract to open, $0 to close
0%
Get 100 shares of stock (worth $1 to $6 a share)
Open and fund a new cash or margin account with $2,000+
Trade stocks, options, ETFs and futures on mobile or desktop with this advanced platform.
Moomoo
$0 for US stocks
Stocks, Options, ETFs
$0
N/A
Trade stocks on the US, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Shenzhen markets.
TradeStation
$0
Stocks, Bonds, Options, Mutual funds, ETFs, Cryptocurrency
$0 + $0.50/contract
$50
Deposit qualifying assets of $5,000+
A platform built for all kinds of traders and all styles of trading
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Compare up to 4 providers

*Signup bonus information updated weekly.

TD Ameritrade reviews and complaints

TD Ameritrade is not accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), but holds an B rating and an average of 1 out of 5 stars from 13 customer reviews as of October 2020.

Trustpilot gives TD Ameritrade 2 stars out of 5 based on 76 reviews. Of the 64% 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.

How do I get started?

Online

  1. Go to the TD Ameritrade website and click Open New Account.
  2. Choose the type of account you want to open. If you’re not sure, click 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

I’ve made my first trade with TD Ameritrade. Now what?

  • Link your account. Link your brokerage account with your bank account so you can start trading.
  • Access resources. If you’re a new trader, take advantage of its resources to learn how to trade wisely.
  • Personalize your portfolio. Customize your dashboard and manage your portfolio.
  • Chat with an adviser. If you’re new to trading, speak with a new client consultant to ensure you understand how your activity will affect your taxes.

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

Frequently asked questions

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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