TD Ameritrade at a glance
Top 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 watchlists.
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. It comes in web, desktop and mobile versions.
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.
Pros: Where TD Ameritrade stands out
Commission-free stock trades
Like most of the online brokerage industry, TD Ameritrade slashed commissions on stock and ETF trades to $0, putting it among the leaders in the industry. It also cut commissions on options trades, slicing its base commission to $0 and dropping its per-contract fee to $0.65, a figure that's in line with other major peers such as Charles Schwab and Merrill.
TD Ameritrade does right by investors here, offering more than 4,100 no-transaction-fee mutual funds. That’s a boon for investors who focus on funds. TD Ameritrade offers among the largest number of such funds and allows you to screen the funds for a variety of characteristics (though the screening function is not as useful as it could be). Each fund has a page dedicated to showing its key statistics, including holdings, performance across various time periods and more.
You can trade almost anything you want at TD Ameritrade – stocks, bonds, options, forex, futures and of course funds. And if cryptocurrency is your thing, you can trade that via futures contracts. Although the broker has promised direct trading in cryptocurrency, it’s uncertain whether that will be unveiled since it’s been in process for quite a while.
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 more than 175 branch locations.
Those investing in individual stocks will appreciate the broker’s research, 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.
TD Ameritrade offers not one, but two apps, corresponding to the broker’s two trading platforms. TD Ameritrade Mobile mimics much of the more straightforward desktop platform, offering practical functionality in an easy-to-use package.
Meanwhile, the thinkorswim Mobile 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 stream video from CNBC and the TD Ameritrade Network while getting access to Level II quotes.
If you’re considering becoming a TD Ameritrade client at this point – and you have plenty of good reasons – you’ll also want to consider whether Charles Schwab is a good fit for you, since TD Ameritrade will be integrated into that broker’s platform in 2022 or 2023. That said, TD Ameritrade has many great things to offer investors today.
- TD Ameritrade provides a ton of complementary research as part of its offering, and the education component offers lessons on the fundamentals to the very advanced.
- The broker offers a full suite of services, account types and investments, so you can do almost anything you need and all for zero commission on most major products.
- The high-caliber tools, trading platform and mobile apps mean that active traders and even aspiring active traders have a lot to work with here.
Investors looking for other brokers that provide meaningful research and education may want to look at Schwab, Fidelity Investments or Merrill Edge, the latter of which offers its in-house reports and research. If you’re looking for a wide selection of investment types, check out Interactive Brokers, where you’ll have access to dozens of markets.
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.