- TD Ameritrade is headquartered in the US and was founded in 1975.
- TD Ameritrade is a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).
- The broker is a signatory to the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC), which provides insurance coverage for securities and cash in the event of large customer losses.
- In 2006, Ameritrade purchased the US brokerage business of Canadian TD Bank, granting TD a 40% stake in the firm and allowing Ameritrade to rebrand itself as TD Ameritrade.
- As one of the top online stock brokerage firms in North America, TD Ameritrade caters to traders from both ends of the experience spectrum.
- TD Ameritrade customers can access a wide range of instruments drawn from stocks, mutual funds, bonds, commodity futures, FOREX, micro futures and more.
- The broker does not offer access to fractional shares or conventional crypto trading involving buying the underlying asset.
- TD Ameritrade offers a pair of smartphone apps: TD Ameritrade mobile, built for casual investors, and the acclaimed thinkorswim mobile app for elite traders.
- The broker places great emphasis on its customer-service desk, providing a range of contact points around the clock for customers in need of help, including in-person meetings at more than 250 branches.
- TD Ameritrade has a comprehensive and well-constructed research and education repository that provides invaluable direction to new traders.
- The broker provides research information sourced from 15 third-party providers.
TD Ameritrade was founded in 1975. It is a full-service broker known for its leadership in providing innovative trading experiences, a quality client journey, and rock-solid research education and research tools. It has all the features of a diversified financial services firm and can, therefore, combine its wealth management services with retail investment services.
In 2006, Ameritrade purchased the US brokerage business of Canadian TD Bank, granting TD a 40% stake in the firm and allowing Ameritrade to rebrand itself as TD Ameritrade. The firm bought the highly successful thinkorswim trading software in 2009, setting the company up for the success it enjoys today. The American multinational financial services Charles Schwab acquired TD Ameritrade for $26 billion in 2020, with the merger expected to take place sometime in 2023. Until then, Schwab and TD Ameritrade will operate as two separate broker-dealers.
TD Ameritrade stands out as a top online stock broker for its convincing features, such as no minimum account sizes and competitive commission prices, although its prices are not top of the pile in all categories. TD Ameritrade often wins prizes, recently awarded as the “best broker” by rating Websites in varied categories in recognition of its excellent platforms and tools, options trading, customer service, phone support and its well-loved desktop platform thinkorswim.
TD Ameritrade offers a range of user-friendly trading platforms
suitable for both beginner and experienced traders. It also offers a wide range of investment options including stocks
, bonds, mutual funds, options, exchange-traded funds (ETF), futures and more. The broker provides its clients with access to a range of research tools
, including market analysis, stock ratings, and financial news. Beginner investors will find it easy to get started with no balance minimums and straightforward pricing, even if it is not
always the most competitive.
TD Ameritrade provides 24/7 customer support via phone, email and live chat, making it easier for clients to get the help they need quickly. Educational content is also outstanding for the breadth and scope of material covered.
For Whom Is TD Ameritrade Good?
As one of the top online stock broking firms in North America, TD Ameritrade caters to traders from both ends of the experience spectrum. Having been in operation since 1975, the company has had ample time to hone its products and services. It has several advantages for investors, including:
User-friendly trading platform thinkorswim, suitable for both beginner and experienced traders.
Wide range of educational content available in many different formats.
Excellent client support.
Wide range of investment options, including stocks, bonds, mutual funds, options, futures and more.
Comprehensive research tools.
Low fees for both trading and account management.
Mobile apps that allow users to trade on-the-go and access market information.
Everyday banking services, such as cash management services like check writing and debit card access.
Does not cater to fractional shares.
No direct crypto trading.
Limited international trading to expose users to foreign markets.
Complex options trading.
Limited selection of commission-free ETFs.
Higher account minimums compared to some other brokers.
Hefty commission on penny stocks.
Overall, TD Ameritrade offers a range of investment options, comprehensive research tools, low fees, strong customer support, mobile trading, as well as cash management services, making it a good choice for many investors.
Overall, while TD Ameritrade has many advantages, investors should consider these disadvantages before choosing the broker for their investment needs.
Is TD Ameritrade Safe?
TD Ameritrade is a quality broker with a reputation for safety. The broker is regulated by top-tier US authorities and has a long track record of success, having navigated financial crises, multiple recessions and cycles of market volatility.
Overall, TD Ameritrade is considered safe for investors. It is a member of FINRA and SIPC, which provide insurance coverage for securities and cash up to $500,000 per customer, including a maximum of $250,000 for cash claims. Besides unregistered investment contracts, like limited partnerships, currency, interests in gold or other commodity futures contracts, all investments are protected. TD Ameritrade also maintains physical, electronic and operating guardrails to protect customer information.
The company has a strong financial position and a track record of providing reliable and secure trading services to its clients. However, it is important to note that no investment is completely risk-free, and investors should always conduct their own research and consider their own risk tolerance before making any investment decisions.
Offering of Investments
TD Ameritrade grants clients access to a wide range of investment options, including:
- Stocks: TD Ameritrade offers the ability to trade individual stocks in various markets, including the US, Canada, and some international markets.
- Over The Counter Bulletin Board (OTCBB) stocks: These so-called penny stocks are volatile small stocks with large spreads that are popular among speculative traders.
- Options: The broker offers options trading, allowing clients to buy and sell options contracts on individual stocks, ETFs, and other securities.
- Futures: Clients can engage in futures trading, where they trade futures contracts on various commodities and financial instruments.
- ETFs: TD Ameritrade offers a wide selection of commission-free ETFs, as well as the ability to trade other ETFs for a commission.
- Mutual funds: The broker offers a wide range of mutual funds, including both load and no-load funds. It can offer as many as 13,000 mutual funds across all categories.
- Fixed income: Traders can choose from a range of fixed-income options, including bonds, treasury securities, and certificate of deposit (CD) products.
- FOREX: Clients to trade in the foreign exchange market and invest in 70 currency pairs.
- Bonds: Traders can buy and sell individual bonds, as well as bond ETFs.
- Cryptocurrencies: TD Ameritrade offers cryptocurrency trading through its subsidiary, TD Ameritrade Digital Assets, although these purchases are not direct crypto investments. The company offers bitcoin futures, which allow qualified clients to tap into the bitcoin market without owning any bitcoin.
Clients can choose the type of account that best fits their investment goals and personal circumstances
. TD Ameritrade may require a minimum deposit to open an account and may also have specific eligibility requirements for certain account types
. The following types of accounts are available:
Margin Accounts: TD Ameritrade offers margin accounts that allow clients to borrow money from the broker on leverage to trade securities
. This can provide clients with increased buying power, but it also involves increased risk.
Options Accounts: The broker offers options accounts that allow clients to trade options contracts
and access advanced options trading features.
FOREX Accounts: TD Ameritrade offers FOREX accounts that allow clients to trade in the foreign exchange market and invest in currency pairs from around the world
. These could be major pairs or minor pairs.
Futures Accounts: Clients can access futures accounts that allow them to trade futures contracts in various commodities and access advanced futures trading features
Cryptocurrency Accounts: TD Ameritrade offers cryptocurrency
accounts that allow clients to indirectly
invest in digital assets such as bitcoin and Ethereum without owning the underlying assets
Individual Taxable Accounts: These are individual brokerage accounts for personal use
and are used for trading stocks, bonds and other securities.
Joint Taxable Accounts: These are brokerage accounts held by two or more individuals
and are used for joint investment purposes.
Traditional IRA Accounts: TD Ameritrade offers traditional IRA accounts for clients who want to save for retirement and take advantage of tax-deferred growth on their investments.
Roth IRA Accounts: The firm offers Roth IRA accounts for clients who want to save for retirement and take advantage of tax-free growth on their investments
The TD Ameritrade account-opening process can be completed online or by visiting a TD Ameritrade branch. To open an account, first you must choose an account type that suits your investment goals and personal circumstances, such as an individual taxable account, an IRA account, or a margin account.
You will need to provide personal information, such as your name, address, social security number and date of birth, as well as financial information, such as your employment and income information. To fund your account, you will need to make an initial deposit. Once your account is approved and funded, you can start trading.
At the time of writing, TD Ameritrade was running a bonus system allowing qualifying traders to automatically get up to $1,000 when they opened and funded an account with a qualifying deposit through a friend’s referral.
Deposits and Withdrawals
The TD Ameritrade deposit and withdrawal process is easy and convenient. TD Ameritrade offers several convenient and secure ways to deposit and withdraw funds from your account, including electronic transfer, wire transfer, check and debit card. Deposits and withdrawals may take several business days to complete, and there may be fees associated with certain types of transactions. TD Ameritrade may also have certain minimum deposit and withdrawal requirements. Clients should consult TD Ameritrade's account documentation and disclosures for complete details.
Deposit methods include:
Electronic Transfer: Clients can transfer funds from an external bank account to their TD Ameritrade account using an electronic transfer.
Wire Transfer: You can send a wire transfer to TD Ameritrade to deposit funds into your account.
Check: Clients can mail a check to TD Ameritrade to deposit funds into their account.
Debit Card: Traders can use a debit card to make a deposit into their TD Ameritrade account.
Electronic Transfer: Clients can transfer funds from their TD Ameritrade account to an external bank account using an electronic transfer.
Wire Transfer: You can request a wire transfer to withdraw funds from your TD Ameritrade account.
Check: Clients can request a check to be mailed to them to withdraw funds from their TD Ameritrade account.
TD Ameritrade has a strong customer service offering that provides customer service to its clients through several channels. Clients can contact TD Ameritrade by phone 24/7 to speak with a representative about account-related questions, technical issues, and other concerns. Traders can also use the online chat service that allows clients to communicate with a representative in real time about their accounts and other issues. Other contact methods include email, in-person support and an online help center with resources such as FAQs, articles and videos, to help clients resolve common issues and answer their questions.
Commissions and Fees
TD Ameritrade charges fees for its brokerage services, including trading fees and account management fees. Some of the fees that TD Ameritrade charges include:
Trading Fees: TD Ameritrade charges a fee for each trade made in a client's account. The fee varies depending on the type of security being traded and the type of account a client has. For example, TD Ameritrade charges a fee for stock and ETF trades, but offers hundreds of commission-free ETFs.
Mutual Funds: The broker has a selection of 1,600 no-transaction-fee mutual funds, which is not as high as other brokers, but it makes up for it when it comes to low-cost and low-minimum funds, of which it has over 5,300 mutual funds expense ratios of 0.50% or less and more than 3,600 with investment minimums of $100 or lower.
Account Management Fees: TD Ameritrade may charge account management fees, such as an annual account fee or a fee for paper statements.
Transfer Fees: TD Ameritrade may charge fees for transferring an account to or from the firm. Transferring part of an account incurs no charge. Transferring an entire account is $75.
OTCBB: Trades incur a commission of $6.95/transaction. Many other brokers offer these trades free, so this is not an attractive offer.
Margin Fees: Clients who borrow funds to trade on margin may be charged interest on the borrowed funds, as well as a margin interest fee ranging from 13.75% up to a $10,000 balance to 12% for a balance of more than $100,000. This is not considered to be a competitive offering in this space.
IRA Fees: TD Ameritrade may charge fees for IRA accounts, such as an annual account fee or a fee for closing an IRA account.
Account Maintenance Fees: TD Ameritrade may charge account maintenance fees for certain account types, such as IRAs or margin accounts.
Inactivity Fees: TD Ameritrade may charge inactivity fees for accounts that have been inactive for a specified period. Many traders do not like this fee.
Data and Research Fees: TD Ameritrade charges fees for access to premium market data and research services.
Clients should carefully review TD Ameritrade's fee schedule and disclosures to understand all the fees and charges that may apply to their account. TD Ameritrade may offer certain incentives, such as waived fees, to clients who meet certain requirements, such as making a certain number of trades per month or maintaining a minimum account balance. Clients should consult TD Ameritrade's rate cards for complete details about the fees and charges associated with their accounts.
TD Ameritrade offers clients the chance to trade on leverage
, stating, “You can increase your buying power with up to 6.7 times
more leverage than a standard margin account. Qualified investors who have a $125,000+ portfolio and meet our minimum requirements can use portfolio margin to invest more capital, and potentially better weather market events, diversify their portfolio and potentially yield greater returns.
TD Ameritrade offers several trading platforms and tools to help clients manage their investments and make informed trading decisions. Some of the most popular platforms and tools offered by TD Ameritrade include:
thinkorswim: This market-leading renowned desktop trading platform designed for advanced traders and investors offers real-time market data, advanced charting tools, and option trading capabilities.
TD Ameritrade mobile: A mobile app that allows clients to trade, manage their portfolios and access market research and news on-the-go.
Web Platform: A browser-based platform that allows clients to trade and manage their portfolios from any computer.
TD Ameritrade API: An API that allows developers to build custom trading and portfolio management tools and applications that integrate with TD Ameritrade's platform.
TD Ameritrade's platforms and tools are designed to be user-friendly, reliable and secure, providing clients with the information and functionality they need to make informed investment decisions. You are encouraged to review the various platforms and tools available to determine which best meet your needs and preferences.
TD Ameritrade offers two mobile trading platforms for its clients, which are both available for both iOS and Android devices. The TD Ameritrade mobile app and the thinkorswim mobile app both provide clients with convenient and flexible ways to trade, manage their portfolios, and access market research and news from anywhere.
Some of the key features and benefits of both apps include real-time market data, portfolio management, trade placement and option trading that includes the ability to view option chains, calculate potential profit and loss and manage option positions. Between the two options, many traders prefer the thinkorswim mobile app as it is more polished and user-friendly.
Research and Development
The broker places a strong emphasis on research and development, constantly working to improve its offerings and better meet the needs of its clients. This focus on R&D helps TD Ameritrade stay ahead of the curve in an ever-evolving financial market and provides clients with access to the latest tools and resources to help them make informed investment decisions.
Some of the areas where TD Ameritrade invests in R&D include:
- Trading technology, including trading platforms and tools, mobile trading apps and API-based integrations with third-party tools and services.
- Market data and insights like real-time quotes, news and analysis, as well as proprietary research and educational resources.
- Cybersecurity helps to ensure the safety and security of client data and assets.
- Artificial intelligence and machine learning to optimize its systems as it scales up.
TD Ameritrade has gone to great lengths to present a powerful research selection that features research, analysis, commentary and news available from 15 providers, including FRED, Argus, CFRA, Reuters, Vickers and Morningstar. The broker’s commitment to research and development helps it to provide its clients with the latest and most advanced financial tools and resources, and to stay ahead of the curve in an ever-evolving financial market.
TD Ameritrade offers a variety of educational tools and resources to help clients learn about investing and improve their trading skills. These resources are designed to be accessible, relevant, and engaging, providing clients with the information and guidance they need to make better investment decisions.
Among other features, traders will find excellent trading courses covering topics such as basic investing, technical analysis, options trading and more. Traders will also find access to market insights and analysis where clients can get access to market news and research, as well as proprietary market insights and educational resources.
The broker also provides access to Webinars designed to provide clients with in-depth insights and perspectives on the financial markets and investment strategies. Progressive traders will enjoy the broker’s trader community, where they can connect with other traders, exchange ideas, and learn from one another.
TD Ameritrade's educational tools and resources are designed to help clients of all levels and backgrounds learn about investing, improve their trading skills and make quality investment decisions. These resources are a valuable part of TD Ameritrade's commitment to helping its clients achieve their financial goals.
TD Ameritrade is a leading online stock broker because it offers a wide range of investment options, good pricing, and user-friendly trading platforms and tools. It is regulated by tier-1 regulators, including access to compensation funds in case the broker goes insolvent or loses broker funds.
The firm also places a strong emphasis on education and research. TD Ameritrade is also known for its excellent customer service, providing clients with the support they need to succeed in the financial markets. With its focus on innovation and commitment to helping clients achieve their financial goals, TD Ameritrade is a great choice for investors looking for a reliable and comprehensive brokerage solution.
Founded in 1975, this established broker provides a wide range of investment options and services to individuals, businesses and institutions. It is headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, with additional offices throughout the US.
TD Ameritrade offers a variety of trading platforms and tools, including its proprietary thinkorswim application, mobile trading, advanced charting and custom scripting capabilities. It also provides clients with access to market news, analysis and educational resources, as well as a trader community where clients can connect with other traders and exchange ideas. The broker is known for its commitment to innovation, providing clients with the latest tools and resources to help them succeed on their financial journey.
TD Ameritrade in Brief
TD Ameritrade is one of the most recognizable brokers in the US, attracting a wide range of investors thanks to its extensive tools and features that allow all users to pursue their preferred investment strategy, regardless of experience level. Its overall offering is comprehensive and continually improving. Its fees are broadly competitive, even though some elements of its fees are not competitive. It has wide-ranging market access, and traders can use the broker’s proprietary and outsourced platforms to pursue success in their careers.
The team at Arincen collected over 120 pieces of data covering in excess of 100 licensed stock brokers. Data collection was done in three ways:
1. Companies’ Websites.
2. Other Websites that have ranked stock companies.
A survey questionnaire (referred to here as Survey “1”) we had sent to the companies invited to participate in the exercise.
We have identified 12 criteria for our assessment, each containing several aspects and carrying its own relative weight. These include licensing, deposits and withdrawals, number of assets, etc.
Afterward we validated the data by:
1. Registering with stock brokers as a secret shopper and/or as Arincen.
2. Survey number “2,” in which we asked these companies’ customers for important feedback and past experience.
The next step saw us evaluate and rank each company, relying on the hard work of 15 Arincen employees. We were very careful in ensuring the most accurate assessment possible, including considering different languages, as well as the various mobile-app operating systems, e.g., Apple, Samsung, etc.
To add credibility to our research project, we sent a final and third survey (referred to here as Survey “3”) to enable participating stock brokers to evaluate our own research and whether it accurately reflects the realities on the ground. We were fortunate enough to receive a mark of 9.9 out of 10! We have kept to a minimum the margin of error, which stood at a measly 1%.
Where is this broker regulated?
It is a member of the FINRA and the SIPC.
In what other ways does this broker protect me?
Through its SIPC membership, the broker provides insurance coverage for securities and cash up to $500,000 per customer, including a maximum of $250,000 for cash claims.
Which countries does this broker serve?
TD Ameritrade mainly targets US investors but also accepts clients from different countries. Clients from Canada are directed to TD Direct Investing, a different company than TD Ameritrade. Some countries the broker serves include the US, India, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Peru, Chile, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Switzerland and Costa Rica, among others. TD Ameritrade is restricted in Australia, Philippines, South Africa, EU countries, UK, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, Georgia and others.
Does this broker offer Cryptocurrency trading?
No. The broker offers partial cryptocurrency access through fractional purchases of currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, but it does not provide crypto trading where you get to own the underlying asset.
Does this broker provide any extra offerings?
TD Ameritrade runs a bonus system allowing qualifying traders to automatically get up to $1,000 when they open and fund an account with a qualifying deposit through a friend’s referral.
How do I fund my account?
Traders can deposit and withdraw funds from their TD Ameritrade trading account in several convenient ways. You can open a trading account in the following currencies: GBP, EUR, USD and PLN. TD Ameritrade supports the following funding methods: Debit and credit cards, bank wire transfer, Sofort, iDeal, Giropay, Multibanko, Przelewy24, QIWI, Webmoney, ApplePay, Trustly, 2c2p and AstropayTEF.
Which trading platforms does this broker offer?
TD Ameritrade offers several trading platforms and tools to help clients manage their investments. Some of the common tools offered by TD Ameritrade include thinkorswim, its market-leading desktop trading platform, TD Ameritrade Mobile and the TD Ameritrade browser-based platform that allows clients to trade and manage their portfolios from any computer with an Internet connection.
How can I access customer service?
Clients can contact TD Ameritrade by phone 24/7 to speak with a representative about account-related questions, technical issues, and other concerns. Traders can also use the online chat service that allows clients to communicate with a representative in real-time about their accounts and other issues. Other contact methods include email, in-person support and the online help center.