TD Ameritrade Review
TD Ameritrade was founded in 1975 and is one the biggest US-based stockbrokers.
It specializes in forex trading and is only available to those living in the US. The only exceptions are Arizona and Ohio, where the trading platform is not available.
The trading hours are from 9:30 am to 4:15 pm ET.
Most narrow-based and equity index options cease trading at 4:00 pm, with broad-based index options stopping at 4:15 pm.
TD Ameritrade only accepts market, stop, stop-loss, and limit orders during trading hours.
IT also offerS 24/5 trading options on their thinkorswim trading platform, however. This gives some flexibility for those who are part-time traders.
In October 2020, multinational financial services company Charles Schwab completed its acquisition of TD Ameritrade.
Full integration is expected to happen over the next 18 to 36 months; however, it is not yet clear how TD Ameritrade will be affected.
Is TD Ameritrade Regulated and Safe to Use?
TD Ameritrade is publicly listed on the NASDAQ Index and regulated by five tier-1 jurisdictions:
It has no licenses with tier-2 or tier-3 jurisdictions, making it a trustworthy and reliable broker.
Who is TD Ameritrade For?
TD Ameritrade is recommended for:
- Advanced traders
- Fund investors
The trading platforms have features to suit every trading level.
For beginners, there are extensive educational tools.
For advanced traders, the think or swim platform offers all the research tools and analysis you need to make well-informed trades.
TD Ameritrade Products and Services
TD Ameritrade’s product range includes:
- Stocks – Over 3,000
- Mutual Funds – Over 1,900
- Futures and futures options
- Forex – 75 pairs
- Cash management
- Bond Wizard
- Managed portfolios
- Dividend reinvestment
- Margin trading
TD Ameritrade Platform Feature and Tools
TD Ameritrade has been classed #1 for:
- Overall broker
- Active trading
- Tools and platforms
It does not use MetaTrader or any other external program. Instead, they have developed their own web, desktop, and mobile platforms.
The web and app-based trading platforms are primarily for beginners.
It offers everything an average trader needs, including:
- Research from various high-profile sources, such as Thomas Reuters and Morningstar
- Customizable landing pages
- GainsKeeper – A tool to track capital gains and losses for the tax season
The web platform is designed to be easy to use. It allows a trader to gain confidence before moving to the advanced desktop platform.
The app version is a replica of the web platform but offers chat support – a tool not available on the web.
Both require a two-step login for extra security.
Thinkorswim is TD Ameritrade's more advanced software, available across the web, desktop, and mobile apps.
The web platform is lighter than the desktop when it comes to tools and features, making it easier to learn and a refreshing break from all the data available on the desktop.
All watchlists are synced between the platforms.
Aside from the ease of use, the web version also includes trading options for forex futures with four default strategies and custom multi-legged options.
The desktop version uses individual tabs for each product, allowing you to trade efficiently and effectively.
In the Forex Trader module, rates for six pairs are displayed. Beyond that, your chosen currency pairs have their own module for further analysis and customization.
Other features include:
- 300+ technical indicators
- 70+ indicator-based strategies
- 80 common chart patterns
- Editor for custom candlestick patterns
- thinkScripts tool for modifying and creating new indicators
TD Ameritrade Account Types
TD Ameritrade has many different accounts and ownership types that you have to decide when opening an account.
This is the most flexible and common account type. It is a taxable investment account, meaning you pay capital gains when you sell at a profit.
When you register a standard account, you need to decide the type of ownership:
Individual – No minimum deposit but minimum electronic funding of $50 and $2,000 balance to trade options and margin.
Joint tenants with rights of survivorship – Two or more owners with equal interest. They are designed for spouses or parents investing with children. When a partner dies, their share goes to the other partner(s).
Tenants in common – Two owners, each with a specified ownership percentage. When a partner dies, their percentage goes to their estate, not the other partner(s).
Community property – For married couples. Each spouse has an equal interest in all investments made during their marriage. Only available in Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, New Mexico, Nevada, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. In the event of a death, the account is divided equally among their estate.
Tenants by the entireties – For married couples in 20 states, including Arizona, Florida, Hawaii, Mississippi, and Tennessee. In this account, when a spouse passes, all the investments go to the living partner.
Guardianship or conservatorship – It is designed for those caring for disabled adults or wanting to set up a portfolio for their children. Margin and options trading is not allowed with this account.
- Traditional IRAs
- Roth IRAs
- SEP IRAs – Small business owners and self-employed
- Simple IRA – For businesses with 100 or fewer eligible employees
- Sole 401(k) plans
- Rollover IRAs
- Pension or Profit Plans – Tax-exempt
- 529 Plans
- Coverdell Education Savings Account
- Custodial Savings Account
Designed for those with specific needs and goals, such as Hedge funds or non-profits.
No minimum deposits are required.
For those with ambitious goals but no time or knowledge to make the trades and investments themselves.
TD Ameritrade Commission and Fees
Minimum deposit: $0 for all account types
Inactivity fees: $0
Transfer fees: $0 for part of the account, $75 for the entire account, $25 for sending a wire, $0 for a paper check
Commission: $0 for online equity, ETF trades and forex
Depending on the security and the trade, additional fees may apply.
There may also be fees for overnight trades.
TD Ameritrade provides a calculator that allows you to figure the exact cost of a spread so you do not get caught out.
TD Ameritrade Research and Education
TD Ameritrade gives traders a vast array of tools so they can make informed trades and investments, as well as learn everything they need to.
Research tools include:
- Screeners – ETF, options, mutual funds, fixed incomes
- Peer comparison – Compare a stock to its four closest peers
- Social sentiment – See what social media is saying about a brand
- Fundamental data
- Economic calendar
To facilitate learning, TD Ameritrade created the learning center and Ticker Tape portal.
The portal consists of over 400 pieces of written or video content such as articles and webinars. There is also a YouTube channel and daily webcasts.
Using AI, the learning portal gives a personalized experience and future actions.
With the increase of people wanting to trade, TD Ameritrade added new personal finance and retirement planning pathways.
The TD Ameritrade Network releases approximately nine hours of live video daily, making it one of the most up-to-date learning features.
Advantages of TD Ameritrade
It Is Regulated
TD Ameritrade is regulated by five tier-1 regulators from the US, UK, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Canada.
Free ETF and Stock Trading
There are no minimum deposits, inactivity fees or transfer fees. For EFT and stock trading from US markets, there is also no commission.
Full Range of Investments
There is a full range of investments and trades available to all traders wanting a diverse portfolio.
TD Ameritrade also offers portfolio management tools.
The mobile apps reflect your desktop and web platforms, with synchronizable watchlists and notifications enabling you to trade on the go.
Impressive Desktop Platform
Thinkorswim comes with a host of customization options, is very well designed and easy to use.
Excellent Analysis Tools
TD Ameritrade offers some of the best analysis tools, such as real-time streaming, professional data analytics, charts, and indicators, all designed to help with your strategy.
Third-Party Emergency Trades
If you do not have time to log in and make a trade, TD Ameritrade allows you to make emergency trades through third-party social media platforms:
- Apple Business Chat
- Twitter Direct Messages
- Facebook Messenger
Voice Assisted Trading
New for 2021, TD Ameritrade has developed voice-enabled investing for in-vehicle smartphone tools and Google Assistant so you can safely trade and drive.
24-Hour Customer Service
Phone support is available 24/7
It also offers support through:
- Chatbot on Facebook Messenger, Twitter Direct Message, and Apple Business Chat
- Amazon Alexa
- In-person at 250+ branches across the country
TD Ameritrade's virtual trading simulator, paperMoney, is targeted at frequent traders. It provides $100,000 of practice 'money' and access to a margin account.
You can access it for free through tdameritrade.com, thinkorswim and mobile apps. Demo accounts are excellent tools for indicating when you are ready to live trade.
For those yet to register, you can take advantage of a free 60-day trial, allowing you to test your abilities and the platform before committing.
Disadvantages of TD Ameritrade
US Markets Only
TD Ameritrade is only available to those living in the US.
Brazil, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand can use a limited version. Canada can use TD Direct Investing solutions which is part of the TD Group. But they cannot use TD Ameritrade.
Forex trading is only available in the US.
No Alternative Trading Platforms
Some brokers use two or more trading platforms, such as their own brand and MetaTrader.
TD Ameritrade only uses its own platforms.
If the platform goes down or needs updating, there is no alternative, meaning you may lose out on lucrative trades for an unknown period.
No Social Copy Trading
Social copy trading is beneficial for those new to trading or short on time.
It allows a trader to copy another trader's portfolio, trade for trade, and is a big part of some trading platforms.
It also allows a trader to show their abilities and build a reputation as a reliable investor.
As TD Ameritrade is US-based, this social feature is not allowed.
How to Set Up an Account With TD Ameritrade
Setting up an account is quick and easy.
First, you need to select the account type and ownership.
The next step is to enter your personal details, including your social security number, address and employment status.
You will need to verify your identity by uploading a copy of your passport, bank statement or ID card.
Depending on the account and ownership type, you may need additional documentation.
The final stages include agreeing to TD Ameritrade’s terms and conditions and transferring your funds.
Depending on the account, you might be able to start trading on the same day.
TD Ameritrade is a reliable and established broker with an extensive range of investment options.
Their desktop platform, thinkorswim, has plenty of tools, but it can sometimes be challenging to use.
The web-based tdameritrade.com is simpler and designed for beginners. The app versions are excellent options for trading on the go.
Innovative tools such as in-vehicle voice-activated trading and emergency trades help this broker stand out. It is also intriguing to see what they create in the future.
The one feature TD Ameritrade is lacking is a tool dedicated to sustainable and ethical trades. Though this could be something they develop in the future.
Before committing, it is recommended that you do as much research as possible and find a broker that matches all your needs.
Take advantage of any demo accounts, check for hidden or additional fees and apply as many risk-management techniques are you can.
When trading forex, you should also be aware of any scams and stick to your strategy as much as possible.
WikiJob does not provide tax, investment, or financial services and advice. The information is being presented without consideration of the investment objectives, risk tolerance, or financial circumstances of any specific investor and might not be suitable for all investors. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Investing involves risk including the possible loss of principal capital.