TD Ameritrade Review

TD Ameritrade is one of the top brokerage firms in the US. The brokerage firm is based out of Omaha, Nebraska, and has other primary trading centers in St Louis, Missouri, Southlake and Texas.

With its wide range of investment and account options and competitive pricing, TD Ameritrade strives well to outperform other brokerage firms.

The company (TD Ameritrade) was founded as Ameritrade in 1971 before the company acquired competitor TD Waterhouse from Toronto-Dominion Bank in 2006.

The newly combined company was then renamed TD Ameritrade, with Toronto-Dominion Bank keeping about 40 percent minority ownership.

In October 2020, Charles Schwab Corporation acquired TD Ameritrade in a $22-billion stock deal that gave Toronto-Dominion Bank 13 percent minority ownership in Charles Schwab.

TD’s Investment platforms are really robust and something you should always consider while looking for new investments or move your existing portfolios to a more stable and secure bank to hold. (bonds, securities, and stocks).

In this review of the TD Ameritrade, I’ll try to cover everything in detail that you should probably know about the brokerage and the investing options (fees). In case I do miss something or you want to know more about, let me know in the comments section below and I’ll answer them for you.

Let’s get started. 

Table Of Contents

What Is TD Ameritrade?

A succession of mergers and acquisitions brought to being the TD Ameritrade.

Initially, when the company was established in 1971, it went by the name Ameritrade. Then in 2006 Ameritrade went further to acquire its competitor TD Waterhouse which saw to the change in name, hence TD Ameritrade.

TD Ameritrade was named #1 Overall Broker in the StockBrokers.com 2020 Online Broker Review, for a second consecutive year. We were also rated #1 in seven different categories. Additionally, we were among the Best in Class for Active Trading, Ease of Use, Mobile Trading, Offering of Investments, Options Trading, and Research. 

The company has further advanced to acquire Omaha securities and Scottrade.

And with each new acquisition, a new feature is added to the company which further facilitates its growth.

Irrespective of the investment options you’re looking for, everything is available at the TD Ameritrade. Be it bonds, mutual funds, common stocks, money market accounts, preferred stocks, options, and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Even the margin account is available and easy to open at TD.

As of March 31, 2020, TD Ameritrade had more than 12 million client accounts and client assets of approximately $1.2 trillion.

In fiscal 2020 second quarter, the company executed an average of 2.1 million daily average revenue trades per day.

Furthermore, TD Ameritrade made a special announcement last year in October (2019) that it is doing away with commissions. This implies that traders can now trade stocks for free with TD Ameritrade. (just like Robinhood traders).

The brokerage firm has also upgraded its trading platforms to help both beginners and experts navigate through the market easily.

TD Ameritrade

Features Of The TD Ameritrade

1. Zero investment required to open an account

The zero minimum deposit offered by TD Ameritrade is one of the biggest features it offers. This enables traders to fund their accounts with the bare minimum and start investing immediately. You can fund your account with $50 or $100 even to start with.

However, trading on a margin or options with TD Ameritrade requires a minimum deposit of $2000 in your trading account.

$0.00 commissions. No platform fees. No data fees. No trade minimums.

2. Variety of Investment options

When it comes to offering asset class, TD Ameritrade does offer a lot of options to you and me.

What I mean to say is, TD’s Ameritrade platform offers any asset class you can think of. A bunch of mutual funds to pick and choose from with over 10,000 fund offerings.

The mutual fund offerings can be bought in the Individual Retirement Account (IRA), the 529 plan ( help save for your kid’s tertiary education) or it can be done in your standard brokerage account.

3. Ameritrade offers remarkable trading tools

TD Ameritrade uses a trading platform called Thinkorswim. And this trading platform is regarded as one of the best out there by the trading experts.

With pro grade tools and resources, the thinkorswim trading platform is designed to deliver a holistic, live level II advantage when trading U.S. stocks and options.

Thinkorswim platform gives traders access to a superior interface. The mobile trading application can be downloaded to your tablet, apple watch, or mobile device.

4. Provision of tax-Loss harvesting

At TD Ameritrade, tax-loss harvesting is provided to all traders to help you cushion the effect of portfolio losses.

In addition to this, strategies that are tax-efficient are further provided to you as traders.

5. Availability of new construct research

This is one of the newest features TD Ameritrade recently added.

The “New construct research”, basically provides trading and investment reports to traders.

However, traders have always received investment reports from specific investments but now with this new feature onboarded, there is the availability of reports from over 9,000 investments. (that’s a lot of data for you to analyze and pick the right ones!)

6. Zero dollar commissions

Just recently, TD Ameritrade announced that it will stop charging commission fees on online ETF trades, stocks, and options.

Not only is this a great move by TD, but it’ll also provide traders with the opportunity to make more profits and trade without considering the initial buy or sell cost which is lucrative. 

TD Ameritrade

Investment Offerings and accounts provided by TD Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade offers a wide variety of accounts and as such you’re sure to get the account you really need.

TD also recently added new account offerings that include:

  • Roth IRA

  • UTMA/UGMA

  • Individual

  • Traditional IRA

  • Joint Tenants WROS

  • Trust

  • Rollover IRA

To better this, TD has created a well-defined product catalogue and classifies it into 5 broad categories. 

The 5 categories include retirement (tax-advantaged), trusts, education savings (tax-advantaged), businesses, and standard (taxable).

Immediately after your account has been set up and funded, you can start investing in substantial bonds, mutual funds or stocks of your choice.

Primary Investment categories offered by TD Ameritrade

1. Stocks

With the TD Ameritrade, you’ll get access to the stocks in the main global markets such as NASDAQ and NYSE.

If you are looking for the over-the-counter or penny stocks that are available as well.

2. Options Trading

Investing in options yields higher returns if you’re an expert trader.

With many risks involved in options trading, you’ll need vast investment knowledge to beat the market. As such beginners need to tread carefully when trading options.

With the TD Ameritrade’s platform, you can smoothly multi-leg option trades, build complexes, and also execute options trades.

3. ETFs

With TD offering more than 250 exchange-traded funds, buying and selling ETFs should be a breeze on the platform. 

4. Mutual Funds

TD Ameritrade offers a lot of mutual funds with zero commission fees and as such, you can effortlessly invest in a variety of mutual funds via your TD account.

5. Stock Futures

Just like options the risk involved in trading futures is also quite high and so best left to the expert traders.

However, if you feel you can bear such risks, you can always find contracts with great pricing to trade.

6. Forex

TD Ameritrade is also into the foreign exchange trades offering 24 different currencies.

Some of the major currency pairs which are part of the platform include the British pound, Japanese yen, Euro, Swiss franc and many more.

7. Managed Portfolios

There’s always the choice of you working with experienced financial advisors for your investing needs.

With the Ameritrade platform, you can always create a custom portfolio that suits all your investment needs or choose between a bunch of portfolios that works the same way as the Robo-advisor firms offer.

8. TD additional products

Some of the other products offered by the TD Ameritrade platform include bonds, CDs annuities, and cash management.

The 8 point list sums up virtually everything you can trade on the TD Ameritrade platform.

If you are an accredited investor or an individual with a high net-worth, TD Ameritrade shouldn’t be limited to you in anyways.

Even as an individual who is just starting out you’ll always find a portfolio that best suits your taste buds. 

Educational resources offered by TD Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade always look to protect new investors from entering the market.

And as such the platform always offers resources for beginners to help increase their investment knowledge. The resources are aimed to help beginners understand various principles of investing and get a comprehensive view of distinct securities.

If you are looking for distinct investment analysis and stocks, you’ll get access to the Research Team, Market Edge, Jaywalk Consensus, S&P Columns, S&P Research, and New Constructs.

While these resources are all useful and handy for doing your research online, it does not excuse you from carrying out your own personal analysis.

Remember, Investing in the stock market is always dangerous. (not only stocks but any security that you know little or nothing about or investing just on the basis of some recommended research report.)

The resources provided by TD Ameritrade include live in-person events, videos, articles, courses, and webinars. Please note that these resources also extend to expert traders and note just for beginner traders. 

TD Ameritrade

Tools and Platforms offered by TD Ameritrade

A variety of trading tools and platforms are offered by TD Ameritrade. Through these tools and platforms, your trades can be executed and your account properly managed.

TD Ameritrade makes use of a user-friendly interface that is suitable for beginners, intermediate and expert traders. That makes the platform the best place to manage your account and execute your trades irrespective of your status in your financial journey.

In a January 2019 study by Investor’s Business Daily, TD Ameritrade was named among the top online brokers for customer service, research tools, investment research, and options trading platform.

There are some levels of sophistication when it comes to the desktop, web-based, and mobile platforms. However, they are quite easy to learn with a little practice. If you are not interested in using these digital platforms you can always trade by phone although extra fees will be charged.

Live trading can easily be done via the desktop app, mobile app or a web browser.

TD Ameritrade Web trading platform

Investors can trade via the TD Ameritrade website. This platform is best for passive investors, beginners, and investors with simple needs.

The web trading platform addresses the basic needs of investors such as trade execution, investment research, and managing accounts.

Thinkorswim

This platform is voted for as the best trading platform out there. The Thinkorswim platform is best for active and expert traders.

A wide spectrum of charts, analytics resources, and customizable views are supported by the Thinkorswim platform.  The proficiency to enter trades with just a few clicks is offered here.

Features of the TD’s Thinkorswim platform: 

  • Thinkorswim is a fully customizable advanced trading platform

  • You’ll get free, real-time live streaming U.S. equity and option level I and II data

  • You can trade multi-leg option strategies with up to four legs at a single time

  • The Thinkorswim app lets you keep an eye on your trades and positions any anytime/anywhere

  • You’ll be able to test your trades with no risk using a paperMoney account (also available on the Thinkorswim mobile app)

If you’re ready to activate your account for the Thinkorswim platform, the minimum deposit of $25,000 US is required for each account. You are also required to maintain minimum total equity and a cash balance of $25,000 US for trading options in your TD account.

TD Mobile Trading

With TD Mobile Trading, being away from your computer should not disconnect you from your investments.

With the mobile trading platform provided by TD Ameritrade, you’ll always stay connected to keep an eye on the trades that are active.

TD Ameritrade Mobile

This is a mobile app that helps traders stay connected to their account. Just like the web platform, it supports the basic needs of investors and it is best for beginners and average investors.

You can always download the mobile app on the Goggle play or Apple store depending on your operating system.

Fees and Pricing of TD Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade became a commission-free online brokerage late last year; October 2019 to be precise.

And as such, ETFs, options, and stocks can be traded for free, however, a contract fee of 65 cents is still expected to be paid. In the case where you are opting for a broker-assisted trade, you will be required to pay a total of $25 per trade executed.

TD Ameritrade was named Best Broker for Stock Trading Platform and Research in NerdWallet’s 2020 Best-Of Awards for meeting the needs of all levels of investors with its trading platforms, award-winning customer service, $0 commissions, and a large selection of mutual funds.

Furthermore, when it comes to mutual funds, TD Ameritrade offers a lot without transaction fees. However, trading a no-load fund will see investors pay the sum of $49.99 for each trade. For futures, a sum of $2.25 is paid per contract excluding regulatory and exchange fees

TD Ameritrade Customer Service

TD’s customer service is quite excellent.

You can always get in contact with TD Ameritrade via an email, phone call, or better still visit the nearest TD branch to you. You can also get in touch with the customer care via message if you are an apple user. (iOS users)

The customer service alternatives are accessible 24/7, so you can always make inquiries at any time.

If you’re facing any key major issues (be it technical or in general), you can always visit the branch and get things resolved faster. TD Ameritrade has over 350 branches across the United States so locating a branch shouldn’t be a problem. 

TD Ameritrade vs. other options

It is never in doubt that TD Ameritrade is one of the top brokerage firms out there. However, it isn’t for everyone especially if you are a new investor looking to venture into the financial market.

There are various options you can consider apart from TD Ameritrade. These alternatives also provide a great trading experience with a user-friendly interface. Let’s have a look to see which ones will best suit you.

Ally Invest

Ally Invest is ideal for new investors.

It comes as a great choice for newbies because of its user-friendly interface which enables trading of ETFs, stocks, and options very straightforward.

For individuals looking to be passive investors, Ally Invest provides a managed portfolio at no cost.

Public App

With the Public app comes comfort.

If you really need an easy to use app to trade your stock options, stocks, and ETFs, then Public App is the answer.

With the ease of trading also comes commission-free investment and no minimum deposit requirement.

With the Public App, you can buy a fraction of a share which can be quite expensive otherwise. 

E*TRADE

E*TRADE is suitable for experienced investors; at least investors at the intermediate level.

The E*TRADE is ideal for active traders.

Just like TD Ameritrade and Ally Invest, E*TRADE offers zero commission on the majority of options, stocks, and ETF trades.

TD Ameritrade

Pros of TD Ameritrade

1. Extensive research facilities and various news feeds

Lots of research reports are made available to investors either at the beginner or expert level.

The educational assistance is structured in such a way that investors at the beginner level get comfortable with securities and experts to receive insight about the market.

2. User-friendly Interface

TD Ameritrade has developed its conventional website for mobile browsers creating a dashboard where investors can easily check the latest news, account details, positions, balance history, and lots more.

The idea behind the mobile browser is to give investors a one-page experience to access all basic financial needs.

3. Numerous channel to customer service

You can always visit a TD branch closest to you and get things resolved.

However, there are other ways you can do the same.

You can also reach out to TD Ameritrade through various online platforms such as Facebook Messenger, Twitter, and other social media handles.

Cons of TD Ameritrade

1. Investors have to make use of more than one platform

The traditional tools offered by TD Ameritrade are not in a single platform and as such investors have to interchange between platforms. For instance, the basic research tool for fixed income and equities is accessible on the website whereas most tools specific to options can be found on Thinkorswim.

These issues commonly arise when brokers have numerous platforms, such as TD Ameritrade. 

2. Numerous Account types

Even when it is considered an advantage to have numerous account types, it can be a major disadvantage, especially to novice investors. Various account types often lead new investors into confusion as they do not know how to use the functionality.

In the process of setting up an account, novice investors should be offered more help to understand the dynamics.

  • High commission fee on over-the-counter trades. Each trade can see charges of more than $6

  • The low-interest-rate in relation to uninvested cash. Investors get a rate between 0.01 to 0.05% on uninvested cash.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I open a TD Ameritrade trading account?

The application processes to open a new trading account can be finalized online and shouldn’t take more than 10 to 20 minutes. To commence, visit the TD Ameritrade website and click on the “Open New Account” tab.

You can also walk into any of the TD branches near you to do it in person.

What is the quickest method for opening a new trading account?

The online method is the quickest and most convenient way to fund and open a new trading account.

You can even start trading some of the securities immediately after opening and funding your TD Ameritrade account electronically.

What are the basic requirements to open a new trading account?

Before you can open a new trading account with TD Ameritrade, you will be asked to provide your address, name, date of birth, and a means of identification (the basic details).

To confirm your identity you will be asked to submit a duplicate of your current bank account statement and National Registration Identity Card.

How can I fund my TD Ameritrade trading account?

There are various methods you can make use to fund your trading account.

These include:

  • Check deposits

  • International wire transfer (telegraphic)

  • Transfer money via another broker account

You can always visit TD Ameritrade’s funding page to get more information.

My account has been funded. When can I start trading or investing?

Most securities can be traded once the funds have been deposited into your trading account. Its almost immediate.

However, you won’t be able to make any withdrawals for the first 10 business days.

If you’re unsure of your account status you can always reach out to the customer service.

How do I find my TD Ameritrade account number?

Once all the necessary documents have been signed and the application process is completed, your account number will be generated.

To locate your account number, log in to your trading account and proceed to the Statement section in the Account Centre.

How safe are my investment funds in the trading account?

In situations where your securities get lost from your account due to any unsanctioned activity, you will be reimbursed either in the form of cash or securities. Reimbursement will only be made if the unauthorized transaction is not of your own fault.

Furthermore, TD Ameritrade belongs to the 

Investor Protection Corporation which seeks to offer coverage to client’s securities of its members to the maximum of $500,000 or a maximum of $250,000 for cash claims.

How can I make withdrawals from my trading account?

Making withdrawals from your trading account is quite simple. To that, log in to your trading account then go to the Account Centre and click on withdrawal which you will find on the left-hand side of your screen.

How do I get access to my account statement?

∂Clients will always have access to their statement of account on the website or the trading application.

All you need to do is go to the Account Statement section.

Is it possible to link all my TD accounts in one place?

The answer is yes! All your TD accounts can always be linked provided the accounts share the same name of the beneficiary. 

In order to link accounts, you need to provide your username and account numbers to the TD representatives. You can always call the customer service reps to learn more.

Final Words

TD Ameritrade is a top brokerage firm that is highly competitive. It covers all essential features investors are looking for in a brokerage firm. 

Considering the step-backs TD Ameritrade had in the past, (where there was a breach in data in 2007 and challenges experienced during the financial crisis with its money market account.), TD Ameritrade is still being respected by investors for the services they provide.

Not to be complacent, the trading platform continues to bring in new tools and features to better serve its customers. For instance the recent addition of the tax-loss harvesting to help protect investors against losses.

More is still to be expected from TD Ameritrade as news over integration with Charles Schwab fills the air.

Above all, TD Ameritrade is something you should really consider as a home for your securities.

Thanks for reading. Please let me know your thoughts and comments below. 

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