TD Ameritrade Review 2023: Best Broker for Serious Traders?
TD Ameritrade is a top brokerage for traders across the United States. With competitive fees, a wide range of tools and account types, and excellent investor resources, this platform will certainly be worth considering if you're in the market for a new home for your stocks, bonds, and other investments. Here's our TD Ameritrade review.
TD Ameritrade Review
Commissions & Fees - 10
Customer Service - 9
Ease of Use - 9
Tools & Resources - 9
Investment Opportunities - 10
Accounts Available - 8
Pros & Cons
Who Is TD Ameritrade For?
TD Ameritrade is best for active traders and hands-on investors. It offers both a beginner and an advanced platform (Thinkorswim) each of which have their own online, desktop, and mobile apps. Thinkorswim, in partcular, is one of the most robust trading platforms available today. The broker also supports 24/5 trading on select securities.
TD Ameritrade's selection of 3,700+ no-transaction fee (NTF) mutual funds means that it could also be a good fit for long-term investors. However, you'll need to be comfortable with choosing all of your investments on your own. TD Ameritrade's Investment Management Services is no longer accepting new clients and instead refers potential advisory clients to its parent broker, Charles Schwab.
TD Ameritrade Features
|Mutual Funds||3,700+ no-transaction fee (NTF) mutual funds|
|Investment Types||Stocks, OTC/Penny Stocks, ETFs, Mutual Funds, Bonds, Options, Forex, Cryptocurrencies, Futures|
|Broker Assisted Trade||25|
|Customer Service||Phone: 24/7; Text: 24/7; Live Chat: 24/7; Email|
What Makes TD Ameritrade Great?
TD Ameritrade consistently makes our list of the best stock brokers. Here are a few reasons why it continues to impress us.
Cutting-Edge Trading Platforms
The Thinkorswim trading platform at TD Ameritrade is one of the most state-of-the-art on the market today. It boasts over 400+ technical studies. Other built-in advanced tools include monkey bars, renko charts, drawings (up to 20), and Fibonacci tools. Traders with coding knowledge can use thinkScript to build their own testing algorithms. And Thinkorswim even has its own proprietary stock screener called Stock Hacker.
The main TD Ameritrade platform is very capable as well yet may not seem as overwhelming to less experienced investors. It supports all of the same assets and nearly all of the same order types (with conditional orders being the key exception) as Thinkorswim.
Both platforms are available on web, desktop, and mobile. And regardless of which platform you use, you can practice trading without risking your own money and can open a margin account (provided that you meet the balance requirements).
Wide Variety of Account Types
As a full-service brokerage, TD Ameritrade offers just about any type of account that you may want. That includes:
- Joint Tenants WROS (With Rights of Survivorship)
- Traditional IRA
- Roth IRA
- Rollover IRA
- 529 plan
Margin accounts are also available for qualified clients. Another advantage to TD Ameritrade is that it has no minimum deposit requirement. This makes it easy for investors, both large and small, to start investing immediately.
Robust Selection of Investment Offerings
TD Ameritrade can invest in a wide variety of assets. Tradable securities include:
- Mutual funds
One asset that TD Ameritrade doesn't currently support is cryptocurrency. Clients can buy shares of crypto-themed ETFs, but there's no way to invest directly in Bitcoin, Ethereum, or other coins.
Education & Resources
If you're a research enthusiast, you're likely to love TD Ameritrade. It provides economic data directly from the Fed that includes 400,000 global data points. Clients also receive access to third-party investment research from leading analysts and organizations such as Morningstar, Dow Jones, CFRA, and Thomas Reuters.
Most brokers offer at least some resources to help investors and traders level up their knowledge. But TD Ameritrade's Education Center takes things to the next level by providing a plethora of learning tools including articles, videos, webinars, courses, and live in-person events.
TD Ameritrade has even begun to offer voice-based support on Alexa and Google Assistance devices. You can simply say things like “Hey Alexa, ask TD Ameritrade for a quote on Facebook” or “Hey Google, ask TD Ameritrade for my watchlist.”
What Are TD Ameritrade's Drawbacks?
While TD Ameritrade is one of our favorite brokers, it's not perfect. Here are a few areas where we feel it falls short.
No Fractional Shares
TD Ameritrade has built a reputation for quickly adding tools and features that the modern investor craves. And that makes it all the more surprising that it still hasn't launched fractional share investing on any of its platforms. If you're wanting to trade fractional shares of stocks and ETFs, here are a few alternative brokers to consider.
Not Good for Advice & Planning
Since its acquisition by Charles Schwab, TD Ameritrade has begun phasing out its wealth management services. That means new clients won't be able to access any robo advisor portfolios. If you're looking for an all-in-one broker that can offer both self-directed trading and managed accounts, better options include Ally Invest, E*TRADE, and Fidelity.
Trade Pricing & Account Fees
TD Ameritrade offers commission-free trading on stocks, ETFs, and options. There's also over 3,700+ no-transaction-fee (NTF) mutual funds that are available to trade on the platform.
Options trades come with a per contract fee of $0.65. Futures trade for $2.25 fee per contract (exchange and regulatory fees also apply). And when no-load mutual funds on TD Ameritrade do come with transaction fees, they can range from $49.95 to $74.95.
TD Ameritrade doesn't charge any account opening or inactivity fees. However, it does charge a $75 ACAT fee for transferring an account to a new broker.
How to Contact TD Ameritrade
TD Ameritrade generally offers well-rated customer service. You can get help by phone or email or at a physical branch. You can also chat with them on Facebook Messenger or Twitter Direct Message.
Depending on your situation, here are the best numbers to call:
- New accounts: 800-454-9272
- Existing clients: 800-669-3900
- Retirement solutions: 800-213-4583
TD Ameritrade is a huge company, so many customer services are available 24/7. There are also more than 175 branch locations in the U.S. So if you live in or near a major metropolitan area, you may be able to access in-person support within a short drive of your home or work.
While TD Ameritrade is a highly-rated stock broker, it won't be for everyone. If you prefer a more beginner-friendly investing experience, one of these TD Ameritrade competitors might be a better fit:
Here are a few comparison articles we've made to TD Ameritrade:
- TD Ameritrade vs. E*TRADE vs. Robinhood
- Vanguard vs. Ally Invest vs. TD Ameritrade
- Ally Invest vs. Robinhood vs. TD Ameritrade
- Charles Schwab vs. TD Ameritrade vs. Tastyworks
TD Ameritrade is a competitive brokerage with reasonable fees, extensive resources, and great trading platforms.
While it's no longer a great option for clients who want access to wealth management services, TD Ameritrade is still one of the best stock brokers for DIY traders and investors.
Not sure that TD Ameritrade is right for you? See how it compares to the other top stock brokers.
can I open an account as an Australian?
I like TDA. They have a good product and reasonable pricing. They even have friendly customer service people, one of the most thankless task there is in modern America.
Every now and then, they have to deviate from the effing process, and they are totally unable to explain why. Now I understand that it is a thankless task and that my business is minimal to them. Still why are they unable to explain why the social security number that I have held for 60 years has suddenly created them problems, such that during the great shutdown of 2019, they were saying that there is no option to fix it except to go to the closed social security administration to verify that what is correct is correct. Bad enough right. However, when that is done, all of a sudden there goes another hoop that they are unable to effing explain. Who the f they are, the government????
Nice article, and I agree they are among the best. Hope the Scottrade clients give them a chance – they do offer direct deposit – just type direct deposit into Ask Ted and he’ll share how. I like how you called out their educational features, I’ve taken advantage of their courses over the years to broaden my knowledge. No way I’ll ever be a complex trader, but for the average investor, they serve me well.
TD Ameritrade offers no true money market fund. The settlement acount pays 1/10 of 1 percent interest. The money market funds they do sell have high transactions fees. The only way to get an actual almost market rate on cash is to buy CD’s. at what is 10 to 20 basis points under market rates. The CD’s typically have a start date of a week in advance of the order date so your money sits in the microscopic interest settlement account for a good few days before it begins earning interest again. as they will only allow for online orders from settled not pending transacations.
9/10? I must be on a different Ameritrade platform. I was on Scottrade, but since they’ve sold all of us down the river, I will be looking for a new place. The Ameritrade platform is a complete and utter joke.
I agree. I’m currently paper trading with TD Ameritrade’s TOS platform and recently when I entered a “buy to open call option” it thinks that I placed a PUT option. Just today 6-11-2018 I was up $600.00 and placed a final trade for the day and entered a buy to open PUT option and the price went straight down and the platform showed my account losing money. It thought I entered a call option I guess. Good thing I wasn’t using real money. I believe I will be looking at another broker to invest real money with.
I’m not sure which TD Ameritrade you were speaking with, but their customer service was pretty bad. The first 2 people I spoke with had no idea what they were talking about the and second kid was very rude. And most of the research you referenced is not free. Also their fees are worse than others and others have good research too. I was a Scottrade transfer and I transferred elsewhere already. They also can’t give you a feed for closing prices. They roll right into after hours with no option to look at the actual close. Very strange. There were multiple other problems too. Like when you receive a dividend you don’t know who it’s from. It’s posted as a journal entry. Not very helpful. And the process of dividends into the cash account is pretty antiquated. Same with interest. And when you go to Transfer out you need the TD account number which is buried in your personal information section. The Scottrade number won’t work. I was really disappointed with these folks.
Today, I was trying to make some trades and could not purchase the fund I wanted. During my call with an agent to resolve the issue, I was informed that my business relationship with TD Ameritrade had be terminated.
When asked why, I was told no information was available as to the reason. Canceling my ability to purchase funds without notice and then refusing to disclose why this action was taken is exceptionally unprofessional and discourteous.
I have never been contacted for any problem and there is a significant balance that I will now be moving to another online service.
I would not recommend TD Ameritrade
With Scottrade what you see is what you get when it come to a trade. With the now TDameritrade you get lower than what you see. The BID(sell) price you get is lower and the Ask(buy) price is higher. Plus you pay the Fee for the trade on top of that. The the real trade price is not the $6.95 that they advertise but a Sky’s the Limit Price! At the now but later Scottrade if the Stock Trade price was $5.55 you got that at the Stockmarket $5.55 sell or buy price, you just pay the fee. TDAmeritrade is a RIPP OFF!! Too bad Scottrade is no longer with us!
I think Ameritrade bought out Scottrade so they could “capture the customer and stop losing people to Scottrade. I spent 2 days with no access to my data during the conversion. After I finally got access on Sunday night I stayed up for hours and finally realized that Scottrade was far superior to Ameritrade and I was being screwed by the merger. I lost the income manager which I had used since the second day it was installed. It tracks dividend income for the month over up to 2 years. Now I have to get the data by hand and enter it into a spreadsheet. I have no control over how stock data is presented now. Ameritrade must have bought out Scottrade to stop the loss of customers to a far superior platform. Maybe its time to sell everything and get out. I feel Ameritrade will help me lose money and charge me more to do it. If I could get Scottrade back I would do it in a minute.
If you want to switch to a new broker, do NOT sell. Do a transfer via ACATS that way you don’t pay capital gains.
I agree, the td ameritrade merger has resulted in huge mistakes in my account. And there is no charts or info on the stocks or funds, like Scottrade had. Here is a link for tracking any dividends, taken from another website, maybe it will help replace your spreadsheet? https://personal.vanguard.com/us/JSP/Funds/Tools/HistoricalDividendContentJSP.jsp
I use the TOS platform exclusively for option trading and it is an incredible tool. It takes a lot of time to learn how to use it and, even after a year, I still think I have only scratched the surface. I am committing myself to 2 hours a day on-line learning from tutorials. I came from OptionsHouse (now E-Trade – still have an account with them) with these funds. The service has been fine the couple of times I needed to call. One rep was even proactive in offering the chance for more training on TOS. He told me that there isn’t one person on earth who knows all 100% of the platform’s capabilities.
The technology has worked fine on my MAC. No issues downloading it and no issues since. The only downside is that the commissions are not the cheapest. At Optionshouse, there would be no commission on a buy to close Put if the price was 10 cents or less. That can save a lot of money. Not sure if they still offer that at E-trade. Have one written calls on that platform.
Overall, a happy customer. 9 out of 10.
I am seriously considering moving my portfolio to a different company. Here are my reasons:
1. TD Ameritrade’s web or IOS app are simply not highly available. They are prone to frequent logon and timeout issues if you have multiple linked accounts. Every time the issue is reported, they try to sell Think or Swim platform. I don’t need it, I do not have the time or the need to learn it. I contend, if they cannot solve simple problem, how a complex product would be more reliable.
2. Every try comparing balances between the Web and IOS platform. One platform may show a security gaining 18% while the other may show losses on a daily gain view. This is what I received in response to a strongly worded letter:
“As you mention in your letter, the thinkorswim platform and the TD Ameritrade Trader app were both available at that time to place trades. Please understand, while TD Ameritrade invests considerably in our technology infrastructure, technology is fallible, and will fail at times. As such, our firm does not guarantee the availability of any one of our systems at any given time. This is, in part, why we offer several different media for our clients to conduct their account activity.”
3. They are just deaf or simply incompetent to listen to the repeated complaints. It may very well be that there is a disconnect between they way customers use their platform and their perception of it.
The bottom line is that if the trading system is not reliable, it simply cannot be worthy of being the best.
Take your business elsewhere. I was switching from Scottrade because their platform was not compatible with my MAC. TDAmeritrade had my funds and I was told I would have access by 10am. They lied! Supervisor told me that he did not know when my funds would be available. My experience dealing with TDAmeritrade was terrible their customer service is sub par at best!
Not the best.
As mentioned in several of the posts, their funds availability policy is dismal … 3 days for ACH transfers is ridiculous, which I believe to be a violation a NACHA rules. TDA says that is only applicable to banks whereas I believe it is applicable to all ODFIs and RDFIs.
I got tagged as a PDT, deposited $3k to bring balance to over $25k then they stated that the PDT restriction will not be lifted until the day after the deposit.
The only reason to use TDA is because of the TOS platform.
However, I have found lately that my fill prices are not what is being displayed on the trade screen but typically a penny or so different. Make sure to use limit orders at ALL times.
And btw, regarding the 3 day hold on ACH transfers, next time you have absolutely nothing to do, take a look at the financial statements of TDA Holding on edgar.gov. Net interest income was 31% of their total revenue … no wonder there is a 3 day hold.
Brokerages are originators, not ODFI/RDFI and funds availability rules of NACHA are for banks and typically apply to direct deposits, not debit originated ACH. Even banks place holds on debit ACH. TDA’s 3 day hold doesn’t prevent you from trading, just withdrawals and is much less than most others – which range upwards to 7-10 days.
I don’t know about the advantages of Ameritrade’s “Think or Swim” to the occasional investor (as opposed to a regular trader), but Schwab has completed an integrated platform that enables intensive research at several locations and among several accounts–usually without a hitch. Ameritrade permits simultaneous comparisons of several mutual funds, but Schwab extends this convenience to as many as 6 different individual stocks of your choosing–in table or horizontal chart formation, and for comparison, it’s a single click to compare a single stock with the other leaders in the sector-industry or with the top-rated stocks in Schwab’s proprietary system.
Also, Schwab’s no fee ETFs and mutual funds are as exciting to follow as watching paint dry, but they’re steady growers that usually come out above the combinations of individual high fliers selected the neophyte investor. Schwab’s own ratings are usually behind the curve, so buying them as A stocks often means they’ll be B and C stocks in the near future. But Schwab now has a handy feature ,”Trade Source,” that gives the investor up-to-the-minute info on the stock’s candidacy for buying at any given time.
Unlike Ameritrade, Schwab does not have Cramer’s “Street” ratings, but if compensates with its own and half a dozen 3rd-party evaluators (including Morningstar). Both brokers offer excellent service, with the consistency among the reps who answer the phone about equal (if you call at off hours, either one may provide a new and “overly-earnest” rep whose indirectness or slowness is merely an apprentice’s defensiveness about what he doesn’t know). I don’t buy often enough for the slight difference in commissions to be a factor. But I do find “curious”, when on Ameritrade, the difficulty of finding a single company’s stock price at market’s close. A position that shows you “up” in a stock’s price, as listed on Yahoo, Wiki, WSJ, etc. at market’s close will, on Ameritrade, frequently show that same stock “down” in your portfolio of holdings–and only a little while after market’s close. I guess the explanation is that Ameritrade’s numbers reflect the “after-market” action of the stock price–which may be a plus to some investors (esp. after-market traders, or those who insist on always having a price that’s in “real time”), but it seems to be needless confusion for the traditional investor.
I would greatly if you could mention one or few deep discount brokers with whom you’ve had better (or increasingly better) experiences with. It would be deeply appreciated.
what is the minimum mutual fund investment amount? Fidelity is 2500 which is why I am thinking of leaving them
$0 min deposit.
I am a long time ETrade account holder, but occasionally I “audition” other institutions because I think ETrade’s fees are high. At TDAmeritrade, Think or Swim is by far the best data provider. It is on par with what is used by institutional professionals (I have been one for over 20 years). HOWEVER, while Think or Swim is first class, in my experience, nothing else at TD Ameritrade is. Recently, EVERY time that I have called with a question, the rep “offers an alternative” rather than directly answering the question asked. This wastes my time. They also have their own unique way of doing things, compared to their competitors, like taking 6 days to clear a deposited cashier’s check (which is as good as cash), or taking 24 hours to post an inwire transfer (should be instantaneous and is at EVERY other financial institution that I have ever dealt with). When I asked for an explanation, I was told “we are a conservative bank”. Since when is “conservative” synonymous with incompetent? Unfortunately Think or Swim can not make up for the lack of knowledge of phone reps or their funds clearance policy. Please note that I am referring to the amount of time that it takes them to post DEPOSITS.
Wires are not instantaneous and the Fed Wire system is rather antiquated. Since they are a brokerage they use a bank to receive and send their wires, so the wire has to come into the bank and then be communicated over to the brokerage before being credited to your account. The same day process means human eyes must look at each transaction. So while it can be faster from bank to bank, the third party process makes it a bit longer. Cashier’s checks can be subject to forgery and fraud, but regardless as soon as a deposit is posted, you can trade on those funds, you just can’t withdraw. If you want a bank, open a checking account. This is a brokerage firm that like most, provide you the ease of doing things like bill pay, using a debit card, etc. Note, they don’t charge you to do ACH transactions, whereas my bank (BOA) charged me $5.00 to initiate a transfer to another bank. Now that’s true robbery. 🙂
I see most of these robo invester outfits will help manage IRA’s. I am interested in opening and managing a 401K. Do any of them cater to this retirement format?
At first glance Ameritrade/TOS appears to be a robust trading and analytics platform that’s included with having an account at Ameritrade.
But let me cut right to the chase and say that if you’re an experienced trader who relies on filters and such tools to suss out potential trading opportunities then Ameritrade is absolutely not the platform to use.
Even worse, although they offer a relatively robust menu of such tools, what you eventually find out after dedicating countless hours to learning their archaic programming language is that it doesn’t even matter because they don’t have the bandwidth to provide real time updates on the most basic of indicators..like Average Volume and whatnot.
So, net net, you’ll have a really impressive looking setup but when the bell opens in the AM you’ll see glaring red codes like NAN(Not Available Now) and the ever present “loading”..which won’t resolve until at least 2 hours into the trading day
Can I accurately relay how frustrating this is?
No, I can’t!
And when I spent my valuable time chasing down the person in charge of such functionality he basically told me that “We’re aware of this issue but unfortunately our bandwidth is prioritized toward our algo, black-box and flash trading clients”
And there you have it..
Do you have any suggestions for alternatives to TD Ameritrade? I found out Joe Ricketts (who is on the board of directors for TD and was the founder) contributes to Super PACs that don’t focus on real issues and I am looking to move my money ASAP. Thanks!
Thanks for the comment. My WTF fund is slightly under value. Yes I wanted to do updates on trades. My long put with VMW was an OK deal, and just recently bought CSCO. Unfortunately I’ve been sick since Friday, so I’ll been hard to write much. I also haven’t had the time lately for more research in my picks. 🙁 That will soon change.
I agree with you that TD Ameritrade looks like one of the best discount brokers at the moment. I think you might have missed the biggest advantage of TD Ameritrade though. They offer commission free ETFs for over 100 funds, and most of them are low cost being through iShares and Vanguard. This lets you build a great, diversified, low-cost portfolio without ever paying any commissions.
I’d like to see another article dealing with upcoming ideas for your WTF fund. I’m not sure how much longer this rally can last, and I think it might be smart to start hedging your portfolio over the next few months. Keep up the good articles!