PROS / You can trade 120 different currency pairs through this broker.
CONS / There are no forex-specific investment webinars or blogs.
VERDICT / thinkorswim has the strongest platform and a wide variety of trading tools, the main drawback is that it is more expensive to trade with than other brokers we reviewed.
thinkorswim is the primary trading platform offered by TD Ameritrade. In addition to trading forex, you can trade stocks, options and futures. TD Ameritrade has over 100 branches nationwide. Based on the strength of its platform and the other resources it offers, thinkorswim receives the Top Ten Reviews Gold Award for forex brokers.
Platform & Tools
When trading forex, a quality platform is one of the most important considerations. The platform should provide you with all the tools necessary to analyze the market and develop your own forex trading strategies. A trading platform should also be easy to use, with an intuitive design that makes it easy to create watchlists and set up alerts. Our reviewers were able to obtain demo accounts to each platform and compared them, rating thinkorswim’s platform the highest.
You can set up multiple watchlists, and you can mix up different types of investments, including forex currency pairs with stocks and options. Multiple watchlists are also useful for forex trading because you can separate the different currency types, tracking the major pairs from one list and keeping more exotic pairs separate in another list. You can also buy and sell directly from your watchlists.
You can set up alerts for multiple scenarios and price ranges. Alerts can be emailed or texted to you. This is a useful way of keeping tabs on potential investments and pulling the trigger when the market reaches a point where you want to move on it.
The area where thinkorswim stands apart the most from the other investing platforms we reviewed is in the sheer breadth of the charting tools it provides. This platform has over 350 different technical indicators, more than three times as much as the next highest platform. These indicators are useful in evaluating a currency pair and planning your forex trading strategy. And while the sheer number offered can be overwhelming, they also offer more opportunities to find an edge in the forex market. You can also use thinkorswim’s Prophet tool to forecast the future performance of a currency pair. This is particularly useful for planning when to execute a trade.
In addition to the desktop platform, thinkorswim also has a mobile app. Our reviewers rated this the highest of all the broker’s apps we used. It offers many of the same functionality as the desktop platform, including access to all of the charting tools. You can create alerts easily from the symbol and buy and sell from your watchlists.
You can trade 120 different currency pairs through TD Ameritrade, by far the largest amount in our review. This includes the major pairs of the Euro and U.S. Dollar, the Great Britain Pound and U.S. Dollar, the U.S. Dollar and Japanese Yen, and the U.S. Dollar and the Canadian Dollar. There are also a wide variety of more exotic pairings, including the Saudi Arabian Riyal, the Czech Koruna and the New Israeli Shekel. Exotic pairs are more volatile than the major pairs but present an opportunity for even greater returns.
TD Ameritrade charges a commission on all the trades you make. It’s commission rate is among the lowest of the brokers we reviewed. TD Ameritrade’s spreads are roughly average but higher than some of the other brokerages that charge commissions. Spreads are volatile and change constantly, depending on a variety of economic factors. The spreads we compared came from the same timeframe but can rise and fall dramatically, sometimes in the course of a single day. This is especially true for exotic pairings, since they are often from more developing economies and can be much more volatile.
In order to begin forex trading through thinkorswim, you need to make a deposit of $2,000. This is roughly average for the forex brokers we reviewed. Because of regulations in the U.S., you can have a maximum leverage of 50:1, which means you can invest in positions 50 times greater than the amount in your account. Exotic pairs have a maximum leverage of 20:1.
Education & Support
TD Ameritrade offers a wide array of educational resources for investors. These include investment courses, articles and webinars. These are continuously updated and remain relevant to the shifting marketplace. These cover many different investment types, including forex, but the forex-related content is not as detailed as that of other brokers that specialize in forex trading.
TD Ameritrade offers thorough training on its thinkorswim platform. This includes tutorials and training videos. There is a thorough knowledgebase including a complete users guide that includes step-by-step walkthroughs on how to use specific parts of the platform.
You can get round-the-clock phone support during the five days a week that forex is traded. TD Ameritrade also has live chat on its website.
TD Ameritrade offers a standout trading platform through which you can trade forex in addition to stocks, options and futures. It has by far the most technical indicators, which are valuable in gauging a currency pair’s performance. You can also trade 120 different pairs, the most of any broker we reviewed. TD Ameritrade charges a relatively high commission, but its spreads are higher than other commission charging brokerages.