Review of: TD Ameritrade
Reviewed by: Larry Ludwig
Last modified: March 26, 2018
Get complete access to all kinds of investment options with relatively low pricing from TD Ameritrade. One of its biggest advantages is it requires no minimum deposit to open an account. This is the closest we can find to a perfect online broker.
TD Ameritrade has a long history in the brokerage industry. You have probably heard of TD Ameritrade due to its famous television commercials. Actor Sam Waterston or Assistant District Attorney Jack McCoy from the Law & Order franchise is the company spokesman. They are not only accessible online, but you can visit one of the over 100 TD Ameritrade locations.
Founded in 1975, TD Ameritrade was originally named First Omaha Securities. With currently over 6 million customers in the United States, it is one of the largest online brokers.
TD Ameritrade Fees & Features
|Options Trades||$6.95/trade + $0.75/contract|
|Investment Types||Stocks, Penny Stocks, Options, ETFs, Mutual Funds, Bonds, FOREX, Futures|
|Access||Website, iOS App, Apple Watch, Android App|
|Broker Assisted Trade|
|No Fee ETFs|
|Customer Service||Phone: 24/7; Text: 24/7; Live Chat: 24/7; Email|
|Promotions||Trade Free for 60 Days + Get Up to $600 Cash|
The pricing is not the cheapest in the industry but is right in-line with most other brokerage firms.
TD Ameritrade offers just about any investment option that you are looking for, including common stock, preferred stock, bonds, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, options, and money market accounts. You can even open a margin account — although it’s not recommended.
TD Ameritrade is similar to E*TRADE in that the discount broker has branch offices around the country. They currently have investment consultants at over 100 different branch offices.
TD Ameritrade Alternatives
|Stock Trades||$6.95/trade||$6.95/trade ($4.95/trade for 30+ trades/quarter)||$4.95/trade ($3.95/trade – 30 trades per quarter or $100k+ balance)|
|Promotions||Trade Free for 60 Days + Get Up to $600 Cash||Trade FREE for 60 Days and get up to $2,500||90 Days Free Trades OR $200 Cash|
|Review||—||Read the Review||Read the Review|
Why Should You Use TD Ameritrade?
With many other online discount brokers to choose from why use TD Ameritrade? Check out their complete list of features for investors:
- No Minimum Opening Deposit – One of the biggest advantages of TD Ameritrade is that the company has no minimum investment amount. You can fund an account with $50 or $100 and get started investing today. This is a change in policy for TD Ameritrade as they used to charge a $2,000 minimum to invest. The new policy makes it easy for investors both large and small to start investing immediately.
- Low Fees – Fees are what matters when you are looking for an online broker. TD Ameritrade charges just $6.95 for any online stock transaction. You can buy and sell stock with flat, simple pricing. There are lower cost brokers out there like Fidelity, but TD Ameritrade’s cost is pretty reasonable when you consider the variety of services that you are getting. There are also no maintenance fees as well. Sometimes brokers will hit you with a $50 fee for not keeping a large enough balance in your account. That’s not the case at TD Ameritrade.
- Powerful Research Tools – Most online brokers today offer some kind of report that shareholders can use to investigate a stock. While I wouldn’t base my decision to buy or sell a stock on them, they are useful tools nonetheless. The research reports are an area where TD Ameritrade shines. The online broker offers investing and trading reports from Jaywalk Consensus, Research Team, Market Edge, S&P Columns, and S&P Research. There are premium research reports from companies like Zack’s that can be purchased for an additional charge.
- Investment Options – TD Ameritrade offers just about every asset class that you can think of. You have plenty of mutual funds to choose from with over 1,200 different fund offerings. These funds can be used in your standard account or to start an individual retirement account or a 529 plan to save for your child’s college. All of these accounts can be set up at TD Ameritrade.
- Trading Tools – The Thinkorswim Trading Platform at TD Ameritrade has been voted the number one trading platform by Barron’s. You get access to advanced mobile trading applications. The mobile platforms make on the go trading a breeze. The mobile applications are available for your Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Windows phone.
- Tax-Loss Harvesting (New) – TD Ameritrade now offers tax-loss harvesting, which can help you minimize portfolio losses with tax-efficient strategies.
You get real-time performance and risk monitoring, live streaming video of CNBC Plus, and trade analysis with volatility and probability tools. You will also get access to live charts and an active trader interface.
TD Ameritrade clients will also have access to Command Center 2.0, QuoteScope, Strategy Desk, Pattern Matcher, and Market Motion Detector. All of these tools are designed to help make stock trading simpler.
Pros and Cons
- Commission-Free ETFs — TD Ameritrade has around 100 commission-free ETFs.
- Easy-to-Use Interface — Their service caters to beginners to advanced with the various features.
- Research and Education — TD Ameritrade has many options to help find the right stock, mutual fund, or ETF for your investing needs.
- Short-Term Trading Fees With ETFs — You must own any of TD Ameritrade’s 100-plus commission-free ETFs for at least 30 days. Otherwise, you will get charged a $19.99 short-term trading fee.
TD Ameritrade has a number of great investment options, straightforward pricing, and solid investing tools, which makes them a good broker for all of the services provided. The no account minimum is a big selling point since so many brokers try to nickel and dime you with fees.Opening a new account is pretty easy and doesn’t take a lot of time. You can fund it electronically and start buying and selling stocks the same day.
Recently, TD Ameritrade acquired rival brokerage Scottrade for $4 billion. Existing Scottrade customers have now all been transitioned into their new TD Ameritrade accounts. However, we’ve heard of some dissatisfaction with the new service, since former Scottrade clients have given up the convenience of having connected online banking and the ability to use direct deposit from their bank accounts to their investing accounts.
However, with TD Ameritrade, it’s good to know that you can always drop by a branch office if you have a question. If you are looking for the lowest-cost brokerage house in the industry then look elsewhere. However, if you are looking for a broker that offers a good value for all of the investment tools that you need then TD Ameritrade may be right for you.