TD Ameritrade® Review 2019

James Royal is a reporter covering investing and wealth management. Before joining Bankrate, he worked as a writer for NerdWallet and a stock analyst for The Motley Fool. He holds a doctorate in literature from the University of Florida.

About our Review Process

Bankrate reviews brokers and robo-advisers based on how well they’re able to help consumers achieve their financial goals. Here's how Bankrate makes money.

TD Ameritrade Logo

Best For

  • Trading platforms for a range of users
  • Full-service experience
  • Fee-free mutual funds

TD Ameritrade offers one of the more comprehensive broker experiences in the marketplace, whether you’re a beginning or advanced investor. The firm offers many of the benefits of a full-service broker, and caters to a wide range of investors’ needs. Active traders in need of a solid trading platform will find it especially attractive.

Many investors will appreciate the thousands of no-transaction-fee mutual funds. Overall, TD Ameritrade presents a compelling product for investors of all experience levels. (As of November 2019, Charles Schwab has agreed to purchase TD Ameritrade, and plans to integrate the two companies once the deal is finalized.)

TD Ameritrade at a glance

Star Rating

4.5
  • Affordability: 3 of 5
  • Usability: 5 of 5
  • Tools & Research: 4 of 5
  • Mobile: 4 of 5
  • Scalability: 5 of 5
  • Minimum Balance:
    $0
  • Cost per stock trade:
    $0
  • Cost per options trade:
    $0.65 per contract
  • Promotion:
    Up to $600 in cash
  • Commission-free mutual funds or ETFs:
    All
  • No-transaction-fee mutual funds:
    4,100+ NTF mutual funds
  • Securities tradable:
    Stocks, ETFs, bonds, mutual funds, options, futures, forex, cryptocurrency
  • Customer service:
    Phone 24/7, email, >360 branches, Facebook/Twitter messaging
  • Account fees:
    $75 transfer fee
  • Mobile app:
    TDA offers the “TD Ameritrade Mobile" and "TD Ameritrade Mobile Trader” app on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

Features you’ll love

A range of trading platforms

Like most brokers, TD Ameritrade offers a trade ticket so that you can quickly input orders and execute trades. It gets right to the point, and it’s easy for one-off orders, when you want to trade and go. But the broker also offers two high-featured platforms that can do much more.

Web platform: The broker’s classic platform does all the fundamentals – trading stocks, bonds, ETFs, mutual funds and options. It also includes streaming news, third-party research and watch lists.

Thinkorswim platform: This platform ups the ante, with the addition of futures, forex, and futures options on top of the web platform’s tradable securities. You’ll be able to trade some of these securities 24 hours a day, five days a week. With access to more than 400 technical studies, charting tools and advanced analytics, the platform is a professional-grade suite with many of the toys experienced traders are looking for.

Trading simulator

TD Ameritrade’s simulator – called paperMoney – lets you practice your trading strategies, setting users up with $100,000 in virtual cash, as well as a margin account to increase your buying power. The simulator uses the broker’s robust thinkorswim trading platform, and is free for customers — though it’s also available for a 60-day trial run for non-customers.

You’ll get to customize the platform’s layout, backtest your strategies, and generally do anything else that you’d be able to do on the real-money platform.

Where TD Ameritrade rocks

Fee-free funds: TD Ameritrade does right by investors here, offering more than 4,100 no-transaction-fee mutual funds and all available ETFs are also free to trade, too. So if you wanted to own just these funds, you could get by at the broker with effectively no trading commissions. That’s a boon for investors who focus on funds.

Investment selection: You can trade almost anything you want to at TD Ameritrade – stocks, bonds, options, forex, futures and of course funds. The broker is even raising the stakes by launching cryptocurrency trading, after investing in ErisX, a regulated exchange for crypto trading. The company plans to offer spot and futures contracts.

Research and education: TD Ameritrade offers education for beginners on up — with live webcasts, news and analysis on almost any market-related topic. From basic “how to trade stocks” guides to arcane options trading sessions, you’ll find many of the investing education resources you’ll need to help make the most of TD Ameritrade. TD Ameritrade even takes advantage of its physical presence, offering in-house sessions for investors at its branch locations.

Those investing in individual stocks will appreciate the research that the broker offers clients, including reports from Morningstar, Credit Suisse, CFRA, The Street and many others. Each stock page includes access to SEC filings, earnings transcripts, and any related news, so you’re fully up to date.

Mobile apps: TD Ameritrade offers not one, but two apps, corresponding to the broker’s two trading platforms. TD Ameritrade Mobile mimics much of the desktop platform, offering practical functionality in an easy-to-use package.

Meanwhile, the TD Ameritrade Mobile Trader app transforms the thinkorswim platform into your handheld device. It offers more advanced trading, such as futures and multi-legged options, so you can trade virtually anything as long as you’re web-enabled. You can also access streaming video from CNBC and the TD Ameritrade Network while getting access to Level II quotes.

 

Quick comparison of Brokerage options:
Brokerage Overall Rating Avg. Cost Per Trade Usability Rating
TD Ameritrade logo
$0 5 of 5
Ally Invest® Review 2019 logo Read Our Review
$0 4 of 5
Charles Schwab® Review 2019 logo Read Our Review
$4.95 5 of 5
Fidelity® Review 2019 logo Read Our Review
$0 4 of 5

Where TD Ameritrade could improve

Account fees: While TD Ameritrade doesn’t charge an inactivity fee, it does impose a $75 transfer-out fee, though partial transfers are free. And although the broker doesn’t impose a fee for trading ETFs, it will dock you a short-term trading fee of $49.99 if you don’t hold the fund for at least 30 days.

Mutual fund fees: TD Ameritrade offers more than 13,000 mutual funds, and more than 4,000 of them can be traded without incurring a transaction fee. However, if you don't trade one of these fee-free funds, you'll be stuck with a $49.99 commission for no-load funds. For load funds, the broker won't charge you a fee, but you'll likely be hit with an even bigger sales commission.    

Bottom line

TD Ameritrade should be in top contention for a spot as your broker, especially if you’re sticking to the funds where the broker charges no fees.

  • If you’re a mutual fund investor and aren't sticking to fee-free funds, you’ll likely pay a trading commission that’s on the higher end of peers.
  • With its full range of services, professional-level tools, extensive research and educational offerings, TD Ameritrade is a great selection for investors just starting out, as well as more advanced hands.

Investors looking for comprehensive research should also check out Merrill Edge, which offers the broker’s in-house research and reports. Those on the hunt for a great all-around experience will also want to have a look at Charles Schwab and Fidelity Investments.

 

How we make money

Bankrate is an independent, advertising-supported publisher and comparison service. Bankrate is compensated in exchange for featured placement of sponsored products and services, or your clicking on links posted on this website. This compensation may impact how, where and in what order products appear. Bankrate does not include all companies or all available products.