TD Ameritrade 2021 Review: Pros, Cons & Comparison

TD Ameritrade requires a minimum investment of $ 0 and offers great features including free full research and data, portfolio building advice, $ 0 commissions for trading in stocks, options and exchange traded funds and nearly 300 branches for in-person customer service. Investors have a choice of four trading platforms.

In October 2020, Charles Schwab completed the acquisition of TD Ameritrade, but the integration of the two companies is expected to take place over the next 18 to 36 months.

TD Ameritrade is best for:

  • Education / advice to investors.

TD Ameritrade at a glance

No base commission; $ 0.65 per contract.

Account fees (annual, transfer, closing, inactivity)

No annual fees or inactivity. $ 75 full transfer; $ 0 partial transfer.

Number of ETFs without commission

All ETFs trade commission-free.

Number of mutual funds without transaction fees

• Actions. • Obligations. • Mutual fund. • AND F. • Options. • Futures contracts. • Forex. • Foreign ADRs. • IPO for qualified accounts.

Two platforms: TD Ameritrade web and thinkorswim (office).

TD Ameritrade mobile app, thinkorswim TDA app.

Research, analysis, commentary and news available from 14 vendors including Argus, CFRA, Reuters, Vickers and Morningstar.

Customer support options (including website transparency)

24/7 telephone assistance; Technical hotline Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time. In person at over 250 local branches. Support also available via SMS, Facebook Messenger, Twitter direct message, Apple Business Chat and Amazon Alexa.

Where TD Ameritrade shines

Negotiable securities: TD Ameritrade leads the investment selection category by offering a full range of investments, including forex and bitcoin futures and futures contracts for approved clients.

When it comes to less exotic things, the broker’s selection of over 4,000 no-transaction-fee mutual funds is equal to or better than what is offered at other reputable brokers like Charles Schwab and loyalty.

TD Ameritrade also excels in offering low cost, low minimum funds, with over 700 mutual funds on its platform with expense ratios of 0.50% or less, and over 1,300 with an investment. minimum of $ 100 or less. It is an ideal broker for novice fund investors.

Education / Investor Support: To say that the broker’s digital educational offerings are plentiful is an understatement. There is so much available in all formats – videos, articles, slideshows and quizzes, as well as live webinars and agency presentations – it’s hard to know where to start. For general investment education, let TD Ameritrade guide you through the program by selecting your skill level (rookie, academic, or guru) and browsing the research and resources it serves. For more specific advice, there is the “Ask Ted” function. “Ted” is a chatbot who is good at providing instruction to all investment tools, tutorials, key data and anything else that comes to a broker’s mind.

The company also hosts eight hours a day of educational webcasts and hosts more than 40 live events each year at local branches.

Virtual trading simulator: Surprisingly, not many online brokers offer fictitious trading accounts on their platforms. TD Ameritrade is one of them. Its paperMoney virtual simulator is a desktop platform for advanced and frequent traders. It provides $ 100,000 in convenient “cash” as well as access to a margin account. It’s available for free through the broker’s two platforms and its Mobile Trader app, although non-clients can sign up for a 60-day free trial – a good way to try out a new platform before you go. commit to creating a real money account.

Choice of trading platforms: TD Ameritrade offers two main trading platforms, each with a corresponding mobile version.

TDAmeritrade.com is the launch platform that offers just about everything an average investor needs to identify, research, filter, and trade stocks, funds, bonds, CDs, and options. The following are built into the free platform:

  • Research from Morningstar, Thomson Reuters, CRFA (formerly S&P Capital IQ) and TD Ameritrade’s own financial professionals.

  • A customizable landing page.

  • The broker’s GainsKeeper tool, to track capital gains and losses for tax season.

Separately, the company has a desktop trading platform called thinkorswim which caters to serious traders of stocks, ETFs, options, futures and forex. It has all the features active traders need, including advanced trading capabilities, a robust range of technical analysis tools and studies, customizable filters and charts, backtesting capabilities, live news. real-time, quotes, market heat maps and more.

Here is an overview of the thinkorswim platform:

Can’t access your laptop in time or none of the broker’s mobile apps are installed? You can also conduct emergency code red transactions through third-party platforms via Twitter, Facebook Messenger, and Apple Business Chat direct messages. And new this year, TD Ameritrade offers voice-activated investments with the Google Assistant and smartphone in-vehicle experiences, so investors can keep abreast of market developments while driving.

Mobile trading: The choice of platforms extends to the broker’s mobile products. TD Ameritrade Mobile (iOS and Android) is a companion to the desktop platform and the TD Ameritrade thinkorswim app caters to the crowd of advanced traders and is a companion app to the desktop platform of the same name. The company also owns TD Ameritrade Mobile Web, the browser-based platform optimized for mobile devices.

TD Ameritrade Mobile has much of the web platform trading functionality and also provides Level II quotes (not available on the web platform). The app includes personalized watchlists, educational videos and a long list of alert options, so investors can be notified of changes to their holdings.

The thinkorswim app includes futures and currency trading, complex options ordering capabilities (three or four steps) and chat support from the TD trading desk.

The company also has the TD Ameritrade Portfolios app, which allows managed portfolio clients to monitor their investments. To learn more about TD’s Robotics Advisory Service, check out our review of TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios.

Where TD Ameritrade fails

Splits: Fractional stocks were once a niche offering, but now that major players like Fidelity and Schwab are offering their own versions of fractional trading, investors with limited capital to invest may want to look elsewhere. Fractions of shares allow you to invest by dollar amount – not per share – allowing you to build a portfolio of stocks that might otherwise be too expensive to otherwise include.

The bottom line

TD Ameritrade is a rare broker that covers all the bases and does it very well. For a commission-free broker in stocks, ETFs and options trades, clients benefit from an impressive list of services including portfolio building advice, hands-on investment quotes, high-quality research, tools trading and a wide selection of transaction fees. mutual fund. We expect this list to continue to improve once the broker’s integration with Charles Schwab is completed.

Disclosure: The author did not hold any position in the above titles at the time of original publication.

Dayana Yochim contributed to this review.


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About Lois Mendez

Lois Mendez

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