- Review: TD Ameritrade
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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 Features
|Options Trades||$6.95 + $0.75/contract|
|Accounts Available||Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, Rollover IRA, 529, Coverdell, UGMA/UTMA, Individual and Joint|
|Mobile App||Yes — Apple iOS, Apple Watch and Google Android|
|Customer Service||Phone, Live Chat and 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.
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.
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.
What I Like About TD Ameritrade
The customer service is outstanding at TD Ameritrade. Holding times are minimal and customer service agents are always helpful and friendly, and emails are responded within 24 hours. You can also get a free investment checkup at any branch.
A new feature they just introduced in the summer of 2014 is their Education Center. Whether you’re looking to further your investing education, or establish a more complex saving strategy, the TD Ameritrade Education Center will provide what you’re looking for.
You have control over how you learn, with access to their complete curriculum of online courses so you can become a well-educated and smart investor.
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.
As mentioned, the customer service is top rate, and its 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.