TD Ameritrade is a popular trading platform that caters to many different types of traders. It features a diverse range of investment products and distinguishes itself from the competition with superb research and education tools.
- Pricing Packages
- The Good
- The Bad
TD Ameritrade Features
TD Ameritrade Investment Products
Stocks: Traders can trade stocks.
Bonds: Traders can trade bonds.
ETFs: Commission-free exchange-traded-funds (ETFs) and standard ETFs are available.
Forex: Traders can trade Forex and access foreign exchange markets.
Futures Markets: Traders can access futures markets.
Mutual Funds: Traders can access mutual funds.
Easy-to-Borrow Stocks: Traders can sell short by buying easy-to-borrow stocks.
Options: Traders can trade options.
No International Markets: Traders cannot access international markets outside of the United States.
TD Ameritrade Trading Tools
Alerts: Traders can create alerts based on specific market conditions or portfolio information.
Automated Trading: Traders can create triggers and schedule automated trades.
Option Chains: Find an options premium by tracking the corresponding maturity dates and strike prices.
Options Tools: A diverse range of options trading tools are available.
Quick Order Entry: Trade stocks as quickly as possible.
Streaming Real-Time Quotes: Real-time market quotes and data streams across the UI.
Live TV: Customers enjoy live CNBC feed directly from the Ameritrade UI.
Trailing Stops: Create a stop-loss as a percentage below the market price that constantly adjusts to help minimize losses and maximize profits.
No Spread Builder: TD Ameritrade does not offer a spread builder to create your own spreads between multiple investment products.
TD Ameritrade Financial Resources
Banking Services: TD Ameritrade offers a full suite of online and offline banking services.
College Saving Plan: Create a college savings account.
Debit Card: TD Ameritrade offers debit cards.
Retirement Planning: TD Ameritrade offers a diverse range of retirement planning tools and calculators.
Wealth Assessment: Calculate wealth and determine how various factors affect your retirement.
Tax Calculators: Customers enjoy a wide range of tax calculators and tax tools.
No Credit Cards: TD Ameritrade customers cannot access a credit card through their account.
Other TD Ameritrade Features
Mobile Apps: Multiple mobile apps are available for Android, iPhone, iPad, and iPod.
Tech Support: Tech support is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year over phone and live chat.
Branch Locations: TD operates over 100 branch locations across the United States.
Stock Trading: $9.99
Mutual Funds: NTF funds and Load funds
available with no commission
Options: $9.99 + $0.75 per contract
Futures: $2.25 per contract
The Good on TD Ameritrade
Superb Trading Tools
TD Ameritrade is everything online trading should be. With TD Ameritrade, users enjoy instant access to online company profiles, comprehensive charting packages, global Forex currency maps, complex options trading information, futures calendar spreads, live streaming media, market commentary, beta weighing, pairs trading, and much more. In short, TD Ameritrade provides considerable insight into the market and presents all of the information you could ever need directly on your screen.
Useful Proprietary Tools
TD Ameritrade comes with a number of proprietary tools that you’ll actually want to use. Stock Hacker, for example, helps users hunt down their “next big trade” and find specific stocks that meet their desired qualities. You can instantly view volatility, risk, potential return, probability, and other critical information directly from the tool. Other popular tools and calculators include the 401k Rollover calculator which explains how 401k changes will affect your retirement savings, an Early Payout calculator which estimates tax penalties when cashing retirement savings before age 59.5, Projected Retirement Income calculators, Time Value calculators, Required Minimum Distribution calculators, and much more. There are literally dozens of unique tools and calculators available to TD Ameritrade customers.
Easy Online UI
Whether you’re opening a trading account for the first time or you consider yourself an experienced trader, you’ll appreciate TD Ameritrade’s easy-to-use interface. The UI is one of the best available among today’s online brokerages and makes it ridiculously easy to execute trades, view market information, access third-party analysis, and perform all of the other tasks you need to perform with online trading. TD calls its online trading platform ‘thinkorswim’ and it offers all of the trading information you could ever need from one simple interface.
Live Streaming Media and Third Party Analysis
When I say that TD Ameritrade offers all the tools at your fingertips, I really mean it: TD Ameritrade goes above and beyond what customers expect from their trading platforms. You can enjoy live CNBC streaming broadcasts alongside real-time adjusted quotes. There are more data feeds than most traders could ever need. You can adjust the interface to display all relevant information on your screen at one time. You can minimize the live CNBC stream and place it in the corner, for example, and drag other relevant tools wherever they need to go.
Useful Mobile Apps
All major online trading platforms offer mobile apps, but only a few of those mobile apps are really worth your time. TD Ameritrade offers two mobile apps for two different levels of traders. The first mobile app, TD Ameritrade Mobile, lets you access your account wherever you go and perform trades. It also includes a neat feature called Snapstock that lets you take a picture of a product’s barcode and view the latest market information for the company that made that product. Additionally, there’s a TD Ameritrade Mobile Trader app that offers more advanced functionality – including the ability to create a mobile trading account and view live CNBC streams. With both mobile apps, you hold the markets and your entire portfolio in the palm of your hand. You can’t ask more of a mobile app. Apps are available for Android, iPhone, and iPad.
E-Trade and TD Ameritrade are the only two major online trading platforms that offer branch locations throughout the country. While E-Trade offers around 20 locations across the country, TD Ameritrade is well-represented in nearly every state and offers well over 100 locations throughout the United States. If talking to customer service representatives face-to-face is important to you, then TD Ameritrade is a good option for your needs.
24/7 Hour Phone Support
TD Ameritrade also offers phone-based support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. That’s rare in the online brokerage industry: most of TD Ameritrade’s competitors offer tech support during North American business hours but limited support beyond those hours. If accessible support is important to you, then TD Ameritrade overwhelms (in a good way) with its numerous branch locations and round-the-clock phone support.
“Ask Ted” Tech Support
If you don’t want to talk to customer service reps at physical locations or talk to a real person over the phone, then you can always talk to TD Ameritrade’s virtual assistant called “Ted”. The “Ask Ted” feature guides customers to pages and can easily answer many of the questions asked by customers. It’s a feature many customers will never use, but it’s surprisingly good at directing users where they need to go.
The Bad On TD Ameritrade
High Trading Costs
If you’re looking for a low-cost online brokerage, then TD Ameritrade isn’t it. All of the awesome tools and features included with TD Ameritrade come at a price, and that price is higher trading fees. Active traders may consider the $9.99 trading fee to be a deal breaker, although less active traders won’t notice a huge impact on their bottom line. That being said, if you consider yourself an active trader, then you’ll find lots of other discount brokerages offering cheaper pricing on stocks and options.
No International Market Trading
TD Ameritrade customers cannot trade on international markets. Most of today’s online brokerages don’t allow international market trading either, so this isn’t a huge problem. However, if you want to diversify your portfolio internationally, then TD Ameritrade isn’t the best option for your needs.
The Verdict On TradeKing
If you’re looking for a single online brokerage to manage all your trading needs, then TD Ameritrade may be your best option. TD Ameritrade is committed to providing a high level of service at every step of the way. From its simple online interface to extensive trading and research tools, TD Ameritrade ensures customers are well-informed on the latest industry developments.
Compared to most other online trading platforms, TD Ameritrade is more expensive. However, if you don’t plan on being an extremely active trader, then this probably isn’t a huge issue. Stock trades and options trades cost $9.95 per trade, which is double the cost of the cheapest providers but only $2 to $3 more expensive than mid-range providers. The extra costs will only have a noticeable impact on your bottom line if you’re a frequent trader, but are negligible for average-volume traders.
Of course, the added costs come with all sorts of bonus features, including the industry’s best research and marketing tools, a phenomenal user interface, and physical branch locations across the United States. For all of these reasons, we highly recommend TD Ameritrade as one of the top online brokerages available today.