PROS / This service does not require a minimum investment amount to open an account.
CONS / It is one of the more expensive online brokerages we reviewed, especially if you are interested in options trading.
VERDICT / TD Ameritrade has higher fees than some other brokers we reviewed, but the tools provided through its platform make it well worth considering, especially if you’re a more advanced trader.
TD Ameritrade is a well-known and popular stock trading platform. It provides powerful software for traders of all levels, includes some of the best trading tools and has recently lowered its pricing, making it one of the best online brokers and the winner of our Top Ten Reviews Bronze Award.
Platform & Tools
TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim platform is expansive but also well organized. Our reviewers tested the platform, using each of its main features to evaluate how easy it is to use the software. Our ease of use score takes into account how quickly you can find securities and add them to a watchlist or buy them. The platform allows you to make trades directly from a watchlist and comes with a variety of premade watchlists. It has a powerful search function that allows you to search for stocks by industry. You can also create alerts for multiple scenarios and price ranges, a useful tool that can help you track price movements and quickly move on them.
The thinkorswim platform includes a customizable dock, which is always visible and provides the tools and information to spot market opportunities and implement stock trading strategies. The command center screen brings all your important information together in one place.
Mobile apps are available for iPhone and iPad as well as Android devices from which you can view your account, see real-time quotes and buy stocks online. Our reviewers rated TD Ameritrade’s app among the best. It offers many of the same tools as the desktop platform, allowing you to track your positions and make trades when you’ve stepped away from your computer.
TD Ameritrade offers the most thorough charting tools of any online broker, including over 300 technical indicators to help you fine-tune your trading strategies. This is far and away the most technical indicators of any online broker we reviewed. Options traders can take advantage of the 15 pre-programmed advanced strategies, such as butterfly and iron condor. Traders can also make use of the forecasting and risk vs. reward tools to maximize their strategies.
Fees & Commissions
The platform’s list of investments includes stocks, options, bonds, mutual funds and CDs. Stock trades are a flat $6.95, and options are $6.95 for commission plus $0.75 per contract. This works out to $17.49 for 10 contracts. This is on the higher end of the services we reviewed, as is the fee for an option exercise or assignment at $19.99. One fee that is significantly higher than the other services we reviewed is the broker-assisted trade fee, which is $44.99 for a trade plus the additional $0.75 per options contract. A bonus is that this service does not require a minimum deposit to open an account.
Education & Resources
This broker also provides a wide range of educational materials to help you learn the basics of online trading. There are four different weekly webinar series, with an accessible archive so new traders can learn about the market and trading strategies with professionals. TD Ameritrade also offers a course on portfolio management. This course has three levels – rookie, scholar and guru – so traders of all experience levels can learn something through the course.
There is also a variety of training tools to help you learn how to best use the thinkorswim platform. Our reviewers found the video tutorials particularly helpful. There are over 50 videos that provide useful step-by-step breakdowns of all the important tools in the platform. If you’re the type that prefers reading to video, a complete training manual is available that includes helpful visual aids.
Another learning tool offered by TD Ameritrade we found helpful is the paper money account. This is essentially a stock market simulator that gives you a certain amount of fake money to practice trading. This is doubly useful as it allows you to both learn the platform and test trading strategies before you start using your own money.
TD Ameritrade offers a good collection of stock opportunities, and this online discount broker has an easy-to-use platform as well as access to research and charting tools. Clients have access to educational resources, such as seminars, videos and courses. You can access your account and trade stocks online using a web interface or a mobile device. This online stock broker may cost more than others, but it boasts a wide array of useful tools for traders of all experience levels.