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. But you’ll need to have a TD Ameritrade brokerage account to use it.
or $6.95 for OTC stocks
Stock trade fee
Minimum deposit to open
What's in this review?
- Thinkorswim vs. TD Ameritrade
- Who is Thinkorswim best for?
- What are the benefits of Thinkorswim?
- What to watch out for
- What research and tools does it provide?
- Thinkorswim reviews and complaints
- Thinkorswim customer service
- I've made my first trade with Thinkorswim. Now what?
- Compare with other stock trading platforms
- Bottom line
- Frequently asked questions
Thinkorswim vs. TD Ameritrade
TD Ameritrade is an online brokerage service that offers access to a variety of tradable securities. Thinkorswim is its trading platform, free to use for TD Ameritrade account holders and richly steeped with advanced research and analytics tools for active traders. TD Ameritrade acquired Thinkorswim in 2009 from the ThinkorSwim Group.
This review specifically goes over the Thinkorswim trading platform. If you’re looking for more information on opening a brokerage account, check out our TD Ameritrade brokerage review.
Thinkorswim is one of several trading platforms available to TD Ameritrade account holders. In fact, Thinkorswim alone comes in three varieties: Thinkorswim Desktop, Thinkorswim Mobile and the newly launched web platform, ThinkorSwim Web. TD Ameritrade also offers a second set of web and mobile platforms, TD Ameritrade Web and TD Ameritrade Mobile, leaving its investors spoiled for choice when it comes to selecting a platform.
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 other advanced trading platforms, 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.
Beginners who aren’t looking to trade derivatives or create custom charts may be better off signing up for a more streamlined platform.
What research and tools does it provide?
Thinkorswim offers a comprehensive suite of research and analytics tools:
- Economic data. Access over 400,000 economic data points from six continents to better assess the US and global economies.
- Custom alerts. Create custom alerts by selecting from a prepopulated list of events or by using your own personalized criteria.
- Social sentiment. Gauge social media sentiment for stocks you follow with Thinkorswim’s social data graphs.
- Charting tools. Utilize over 400 technical studies across 20 drawings, including eight Fibonacci tools.
- Options statistics. View implied and historical volatility and compare the current day’s option volume to the past five-day average.
- Company profiles. Explore key revenue drivers by company division for projected revenues.
- Live media. Track market movement with newsfeeds from CNBC and the TD Ameritrade Network.
- Strategy roller. Create covered call strategies that automatically roll forward monthly.
- Market Marker Move (MMM). Measure the projected magnitude of price movement by market volatility to anticipate stock movement.
- TradeWise. Get affiliate newsletters with recommendations from former Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) floor traders.
- Market monitor. Visualize the market and your portfolio with heatmapping graphics.
Thinkorswim reviews and complaints
Overall, Thinkorswim is well-received by investors. While it isn’t a Better Business Bureau (BBB) accredited business, the BBB does award it an A+ rating, as of October 2020. The platform also has no complaints on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Redditors rave about the platform’s robust research tools, solid customer support and paper trading service. The two most common complaints? High commissions and slow fill times.
The trading platform’s mobile app receives mixed reviews. It earns 4.7 out of 5 stars in the Apple App Store after 161,065 ratings but only 3.5 out of 5 stars in Google Play after 9,154 ratings. Apple users love the app’s real-time charting tools and workstation setup. Google users complain that the app is buggy, glitchy and slow.
Thinkorswim customer service
Thinkorswim’s customer service is available 24/7.
- 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.
Compare with other stock trading platforms
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.