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Thinkorswim by TD Ameritrade review

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A variety of features help make this online platform appealing to both beginners and advanced traders.

Thinkorswim is an online trading platform owned and operated by TD Ameritrade. It’s one of the few platforms that allows you to trade in paper money and doesn’t require a minimum deposit to start. And as of October 2019, it charges $0 per trade with a $0.65 contract fee for options.

$0

Stock trade fee

$0.65

Option trade fee/contract

$0

Minimum deposit to open

Details

Intro or bonus offerGet up to $600 when you open and fund an account. Conditions apply.
Minimum deposit to open$0
Available asset typesStocks
Bonds
Options
Mutual funds
ETFs
Forex
Futures
Stock trade fee$0
or $6.95 for OTC stocks
Option trade fee$0.65/contract
or $25/contract if broker-assisted

Who is Thinkorswim best for?

Due to the variety of features it offers, Thinkorswim is best for:

  • TD Ameritrade customers. Thinkorswim is free for TD Ameritrade account holders.
  • Beginner investors. Trading in paper money allows new investors to practice and learn about trading without putting real money at risk.
  • Active traders looking for a strong platform. Thinkorswim is an advanced platform with many trading features, such as charts and extensive data points, that could help traders reach a new level.

What are the benefits of Thinkorswim?

While there are other online trading platforms, Thinkorswim has one of the best reputations for a number of reasons:

  • Advanced platform. Expect a professional grade trading platform, complete with charts, analyzations, data points and options statistics.
  • Paper money. The ability to trade in a virtual stock exchange allows you to practice and try new strategies without putting real money at risk. This idea isn’t completely unique, but it’s a feature many competitors lack.
  • Mobile features. Thinkorswim‘s mobile app includes live chat and nearly all of the features found on its desktop platform.
  • No minimum investment amount. Thinkorswim is free for TD Ameritrade account holders.
  • Educational resources. TD Ameritrade provides countless educational tools, such as videos and articles, covering general investing tips and how to get the best out of Thinkorswim.
  • Low fees. Thinkorswim previously charged $6.95 for all equity trades, with a $0.75 contract fee for options. As of October 2019, the platform charges $0 commissions with a $0.65 contract fee for options.

What to watch out for

As with any other trading platform, Thinkorswim stacks a steep learning curve for beginners. Because it has extensive features, you may need some time before you can navigate the platform fluidly.

Compare with other stock trading platforms

Name Product Available asset types Stock trade fee Option trade fee Annual fee
Stocks
Bonds
Options
Mutual funds
ETFs
Forex
Futures
$4.95
or $3.95 with a $100,000 average daily balance or 30+ trades over a rolling 3-month period
$4.95 + $0.65/contract
or $3.95 + $0.50/contract with a $100,000 average daily balance or 30+ trades over a rolling 3-month period
0%
500+ commission-free ETFs, some of the industry's lowest fees plus a cash bonus up to $3,500.
Stocks
Options
Mutual funds
ETFs
$0
$0
0%
Firstrade customizable trading platforms let you manage your account and trade from your desktop, iPad or mobile phone.
Stocks
ETFs
$0
0%
Margin financing rates start at 3.99%. No monthly subscription fees for margin.
Stocks
Bonds
Options
Mutual funds
ETFs
Forex
Cash
$0.01 per share
($3 minimum)
$3 + $0.75/contract
0%
Trade stocks, options and ETFs for as low as $1 per order for a year when you open a new account by December 31, 2019, and fund it with $2,500 or more within 60 days.
Stocks
Bonds
Mutual funds
ETFs
$2.95
$2.95 + $0.65/contract
0%
Free online stock and ETF trades for a year with $0 minimum to start. Just $2.95 per trade thereafter.
INVESTMENT PRODUCTS: NOT A DEPOSIT • NOT FDIC INSURED • NO BANK GUARANTEE • MAY LOSE VALUE
TradeStation
TradeStation
Stocks
Bonds
Options
Mutual funds
ETFs
Futures
$5
$5 + $0.50/contract
$99.95 per month
A platform built for all kinds of traders and all styles of trading

Compare up to 4 providers

Thinkorswim reviews and complaints

Thinkorswim is a trading platform that’s owned by TD Ameritrade. TD Ameritrade is not accredited with the Better Business Bureau, earning an A- rating based on its internal criteria.

Most of the online reviews on TD Ameritrade are positive, though there are some negative reviews on poor customer service.

Thinkorswim was founded in 1999 and was acquired by TD Ameritrade in 2009.

How do I get started?

To get started, visit TD Ameritrade’s website and follow the steps below:

  1. Click Tools & Platforms on the menu.
  2. Click Thinkorswim on the left-hand column.
  3. Select Open new account.
  4. Choose your account type and click Open account.
  5. If you have a TD Ameritrade account, log in. If you don’t, you’ll need to create a new account.
  6. Proceed to provide personal and financial information.
  7. Sign the agreements and complete the application process.

Eligibility

To sign up for an account, you’ll need to meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • At least 18 years of age
  • TD Ameritrade account

Required information

When you sign up for an account, you’ll need to provide the following information:

  • Social Security number or Individual Tax ID number
  • Passport, foreign tax ID, or visa number if you aren’t a US resident
  • Your employer’s contact information
  • Financial information, such as annual income and net worth

Thinkorswim by TD Ameritrade customer service

Thinkorswim‘s customer service is available 24/7.

Phone

  • For new accounts, call 800-454-9272.
  • For existing accounts, call 800-669-3900.

Live chat:

  • Text 898832 or speak with a representative through Facebook or Twitter.

In person:

  • TD Ameritrade has over 360 branch locations across the US.

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

Once you’ve made your first trade, you’ll want to take advantage of the following features:

  • Trade in paper money. Practice on the platform without risk by trading in its virtual stock exchange.
  • Download the mobile app. Take your trading on the go with Thinkorswim‘s fully functional app.
  • Get educated. Take some time to explore the variety of educational resources TD Ameritrade makes available.

Bottom line

Thinkorswim by TD Ameritrade targets both beginners and veteran traders. The wealth of platform features, no investment amount and ability to trade in paper money could make Thinkorswim the ideal trading platform. And with the change to its commission structure in October 2019, it’s a great choice for discount trading.

Before making a final decision, compare other trading platforms to find the best fit for your trading needs.

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