TD Ameritrade stands out as a top online stock broker for its compelling features such as highly-accessible customer support, in-depth and comprehensive stock trading research, no minimum account sizes, and competitive commission prices. If you're looking to open a brokerage account, our TD Ameritrade review will help you determine if this is the right stock broker for you.
$0 stock trades
This stock broker is a good fit for: Investors seeking an all-around solution that's likely to fulfill nearly every investing need that may arise.
Online stock and ETF trades have no commission.
Investors rate the broker's mobile app highly. Available on iOS, Android, and Windows devices, the mobile app is truly fully-featured. Clients can get streaming data, invest in mutual funds, or trade stocks and complex options contracts with a mobile device (smartphone) or tablet.
TD Ameritrade is a one-stop-shop for your investing and cash management needs. Beyond offering traditional taxable brokers, IRA, and Roth IRAs, TD Ameritrade offers an array of education and managed account options.
TD Ameritrade offers a laundry list of stock, option, and mutual fund screeners that you can use for free. In addition, customers enjoy access to research and ratings from third parties including Morningstar and CFRA, and stock analysis from a host of investment firms.
TD Ameritrade offers one of the largest selections of mutual funds and commission-free ETFs of any discount broker on the market today. Many brokers cater primarily to active investors and traders, but TD Ameritrade does a good job balancing the needs of stockpickers and hands-off fund investors alike.
With branch offices in most major metropolitan areas, TD Ameritrade may win over clients who want the comfort of knowing that face-to-face customer support is just a short drive away.
Whether just getting started with investing, or rolling over a $1 million 401(k) into an IRA, TD Ameritrade can take them in. TD Ameritrade doesn't have a minimum deposit requirement to open an account and start placing trades, which is a real benefit to beginner investors.
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TD Ameritrade's margin rates can be easily beat by several trading platforms
If you want to invest in cryptocurrencies: Robinhood led the charge with commission-free trading, leaving other stock brokers, including TD Ameritrade, to play catch up. That theme is still in play in that Robinhood accountholders can buy and sell cryptocurrencies. On the downside, Robinhood doesn't offer IRA accounts or mutual fund investing.
If you want better margin rates: Interactive Brokers owns the low-cost corner of the market and that's never more evident than with its rock-bottom margin rates that are a fraction of TD Ameritrade's rates. Where TD Ameritrade outshines Interactive Brokers is with simple-to-use platforms. Interactive Brokers includes some of the more complicated, but feature rich, platforms that aren't a fit for new investors.
Ultimately, the biggest advantage of the best online stock brokers is trading stocks at cut-rate pricing. TD Ameritrade has joined the $0 commission club when it comes to stocks and ETFs, and offers very competitive pricing you'd expect of an options trading broker and for mutual funds online, though it isn't necessarily the cheapest for all types of trades. The table below shows its standard pricing for different types of trades.
|Stocks and ETFs||Stock options||Mutual funds|
|$0||$0 + $0.65 per contract||$49.99 (thousands for free)|
As you can see, TD Ameritrade's pricing blows away full-service brokers, and it charges $0 per trade. Though price isn't everything, everyone can get behind $0 commission on trades.
It's also worth noting that the $0 commissions are for online stock trades. TD Ameritrade still charges for automated phone trades ($5) and broker-assisted trades ($25).
One area where TD Ameritrade really shines is in mutual funds and ETFs. That's because it has one of the largest selections of mutual funds, as well as the ability for clients to buy and sell ETFs without paying a commission. Investors who are thoughtful about using these "freebies" can significantly reduce their trading costs, which can be a major cost-cutting perk we'd expect of the best stock brokers for beginners.
|Total mutual funds||11,445|
|No-load, no-transaction-fee funds (NTF)||1,862|
Because TD Ameritrade has eliminated stock trading commissions, all ETFs can be traded for free on the company's platform.
Brokers have long fee disclosures that you should read before opening an account. In doing this review, we looked at TD Ameritrade's list of fees and benefits, and while nothing stuck out as particularly onerous, there are some fees (and rebates!) we think you should know about before opening an account.
Traders who like to have a fully-featured trading platform won't be disappointed with what TD Ameritrade has to offer, as its web, desktop, and mobile platforms make placing a trade a snap.
Its web platform is designed for fundamental investors, offering streaming quotes, custom alerts, and screeners to quickly sort through the market based on fundamental and technical parameters. Its highly rated thinkorswim desktop platform is a favorite among active traders who need functionality like backtesting, level II quotes, and a graphic explanation of a position's expected profit or loss.
TD Ameritrade's mobile platform is no slouch, either, as it offers level II quotes, conditional orders, and even complex option trades on smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices. The app is available on virtually every platform -- iOS, Android, and Windows -- and users can also navigate to its website from their devices to trade from a smaller screen, too.
Here's a rundown of TD Ameritrade's margin rates by margin balance:
Investors use margin loans for two reasons. First, they can add leverage to a portfolio, magnifying your investment capital with borrowed money to multiply your gains and losses. This is one of the most common uses of margin, though it significantly increases the chance of losses.
Secondly, margin loans can be used to make an immediate trade after selling a stock. Because it takes two days for a trade to settle, an investor who sells $10,000 of stock on Monday won't be able to invest that money elsewhere until Wednesday. By using margin, the investor can skip the two-day wait, and borrow the money while waiting for the funds to settle in their account.
As for what you'll pay to use margin, TD Ameritrade charges interest based on a sliding scale. The more you borrow, the lower your interest rate will be. The table below shows current TD Ameritrade margin rates by debit balance.
Of course, investors who don't use margin aren't affected by margin rates. And those who use margin for only short periods of time (say, while waiting for deposits to clear, or cash from previous trades to settle) may not mind paying a slightly higher rate for just a few days. Interest is calculated daily, so carrying a small debit balance for a couple of days may add up to just a few dollars.
Discount brokers are designed for self-directed investors who simply need to make a trade, not people who need a lot of help picking stocks or funds. That said, most discount brokers offer third-party and proprietary research, stock and fund screeners, calculators, and other tools to help their clients be better investors.
Some research tools worth mentioning include:
Discount brokers are able to offer lower fees and trading commissions than full-service brokers because they don't offer many of the frills and handholding of a full-service brokerage firm. That said, TD Ameritrade doesn't cut corners when it comes to speaking to customer service representatives.
One thing that TD Ameritrade has that many brokers do not is the ability to speak to someone face to face with any issues regarding your account. With hundreds of branch offices located in cities across the United States, customer support is just a short drive away. Of course, it also offers 24/7 support by phone, plus email, and text. Interestingly, it now offers customer support via Facebook Messenger and Twitter, and you can even trade stocks by sending a message to its Facebook Messenger chatbot.
If the following statements apply to you, opening a TD Ameritrade account may be a good choice.
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