Located in Nebraska with trading center operating in St Louis, Missouri, TD Ameritrade is one of the largest online brokers in the world. The company provides a significant electronic trading ground for buying and selling security instruments such as ETFs, options, mutual funds, common stocks, etc.
On September 30, 2017, TD Ameritrade attained more than 11 million traded customer accounts with an asset of $1.118 trillion. The company is reported to have more than 500,000 transactions per day in the same year.
- TD Ameritrade is headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska.
- It has more than 11 million funded customer accounts in 2017.
- More than 500,000 transactions are made per day within the platform.
- The broker provides a wide range of trading instruments such as ETFs, options, common stocks, preferred stocks, etc.
- 1. ETF Trading Offer: More Than 300 Commission-Free ETFs
- 2. Exchanges and Trading Center: Direct Trade Via Phone Call
- 3. Trading Conditions: High Commissions
- 4. Trading Platform: A Variety of Available Platforms
- 5. Usability of the Website: Clear Layout and Arrangement
- 6. Customer Support: Down-The-Line Support Service
- 7. Methods of Payment: Many Convenient Ways to Deposit and Withdraw funds
- 8. Additional Offers: Plenty of Promotions
- 9. Regulations & Deposit Protection: a Member of FINRA and SIPC
- 10. Awards: A Plethora of Awards in The Recent Decade
- 11. Conclusion: A High-Quality Platform, But With High Trading Costs
Trader Rating Total
Nebraska, USA (FINRA, SIPC)
1.) ETF Trading Offer: More Than 300 Commission-Free ETFs
TD Ameritrade offers traders a large number of ETFs with attractive offering among other brokers. The company has more than 300 commission-free ETFs. According to TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation recently, the broker added 24 commission-free ETFs, bringing the total number of commission-free ETFs to 320.
There are many popular traded-in-America ETFs available in TD Ameritrade such as iShares Core S&P 500 ETF, Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF, Vanguard FTSE Developed, Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF, iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF, iShares Core S&P Small-Cap ETF, iShares Russell 1000 Growth ETF, Vanguard Growth ETF, Vanguard Total Bond Market, Vanguard Real Estate Index Fund, Vanguard Dividend Appreciation ETF, etc.
TD Ameritrade offers $0 account minimum for IRAs and taxable brokerage accounts. This account minimum is lower than the minimum requirement of other brokerages (normally from $500 to $2,500).
There are many account types in TD Ameritrade to support the different needs of customers. Those accounts are categorized in Standard Account, Retirement Accounts, Educational Accounts and Specialty Accounts.
- More than 300 commission-free ETFs.
- $0 account minimum for IRAs and taxable brokerage accounts.
- TD Ameritrade has a great deal of ETFs traded in America.
2.) Exchanges and Trading Center: Direct Trade Via Phone Call
TD Ameritrade links to other exchanges across America, Asia, Europe, Oceania. Major stock exchanges related to America are BATS Exchange, BATS Y-Exchange, Boston Options Exchange, C2 Options Exchange, Chicago Board Options Exchange, CBOE Stock Exchange, Chicago Stock Exchange and EDGA and EDGX, NASDAQ, NASDAQ OMX BX, NASDAQ OMX PHLX, and New York Stock Exchange.
The company delivers phone service 24/7 which helps clients to place trades at any time. Besides, traders can also trade on TD Ameritrade mobile apps. There are 3 different apps tailored for a different level of traders: professionals, intermediate traders, and beginners.
TD Ameritrade provides a commission-free trade within 60 days and a cash bonus of $600 for investors who make an investment of $250,000. Those who deposit from $3000 to $25000 receive no cash bonus but the free trade. TD Ameritrade also has “refer a friend, get up to $1000” program for those who invest from $25,000 to $250,000.
- TD Ameritrade links to plenty of stock exchanges in America.
- Traders can place trades via phone call or mobile and desktop platform.
- The broker provides free trades and cash bonuses for the different level of investment.
3.) Trading Conditions: High Commissions
TD Ameritrade’s commissions are higher than other brokers’. Nevertheless, customers can find a wide range of transaction fee-free mutual funds and commission-free ETFs. The striking feature is that the broker requires no minimum trade or inactivity costs. This fact is noteworthy as other famous platforms normally require a minimum deposit of $1,000.
Both stock and ETFs commission fees of the broker are $9.99, while the commission-free ETF short-term trading fee is $19.99 with 30-day holding period. The mutual fund short-term redemption fee is $49.99 with a 180-day holding period, and the options fee is $9.99 plus $0.75 per contract.
Options exercises and assignments fee is $19.99, while the futures and options on futures fees are $2.25 per contract.
The fee for broker-assisted trades is $44.99 per trade. Interactive voice response phone trade costs $34.99, and paper statements fee is $2 on accounts valued below $10,000.
The saving plans require no account minimum. However, the IRA account charges each trade $6.95 and provides a promotion of $100-$600 depended on the level of deposit.
- High charging commissions compared to other brokers.
- ETF commission fee is $9.99, whereas the commission-free ETF short-term trading fee is $19.99 with 30-day holding period.
- Saving plans require 0$ minimum account.
4.) Trading Platform: A Variety of Available Platforms
TD Ameritrade approaches its customers via 3 main platforms: TD Ameritrade Web Platform, Trade Architect, and Thinkorswim. Thinkorswim is free and offers nearly everything traders need in trading. It is also a rare platform that integrates its own scripting language, so-called thinkScript, for the charging package.
Meanwhile, Trade Architect is a more complicated platform. Traders can operate it on Adobe Flash and utilize a wide range of interesting functions from it.
Aside from desktop platform, TD Ameritrade possesses a Thinkorswim mobile platform. The mobile app has many same functions with desktop platform, providing the familiar experience for customers. Other mobile apps that belong to TD Ameritrade are TD Ameritrade Mobile app for novice traders, and TD Ameritrade Mobile Trader app for active traders. Those apps are not as complex as the Thinkorswim app. They can be utilized to do research, manage positions, order trade and approach trustworthy sources from famous firms such as Credit Suisse, CFRA, and The Street.
- TD Ameritrade has 2 main computer platforms: Trade Architect and Thinkorswim.
- The company also provides 3 mobile trading apps: Thinkorswim mobile platform, TD Ameritrade Mobile app and TD Ameritrade Mobile Trader app.
- The broker’s mobile platforms contain all main features appeared on the desktop platform. Traders can research information from reliable sources to place and manage trades better.
5.) Usability of the Website: Clear Layout and Arrangement
TD Ameritrade website is decent and enticing. The website ground color is black, sprinkled with black headings and a green button. Several images are also attached with button and headings, which make the layout look attractively vivid. All the streamers, icon and button are well-designed and distributed in the logical layout on one page.
Navigation from page to page is very convenient. There are signs such as “learn more” or “vertical” that direct users to more detail contents on the new page.
The center of the website shows several important contents that are useful for customers: The Portfolios, the investment guidance, platforms comparing, and consultant information. All these boxes are vital for the first-time visitors.
The edge and bottom of the website contain every feature and function that traders need, containing Tools, Pricing, Education, Goal Planning, Contacting, About us, IRA Guide, IRA Selection Tool, Rollover IRA, Retirement Planning, Open New Account, The Ticker Tape, and Client Log-In. All these items are placed transparently and are easy to spot.
- The website layout is decent and flexible.
- Several important contents are located in the center of the website.
- All the features and service information are set clearly on the edge and bottom of the website.
6.) Customer Support: Down-The-Line Support Service
The noteworthy feature of TD Ameritrade that helps it gain advanced competing with other platforms is the intensive customer support. Traders can reach customer service with a wide range of options such as phone call, email, Facebook Messenger, text message and postal mail. All these conveyances generate down-the-line support for customers.
There are different phone numbers tailored to the client sophisticated needs:
- Reach 1-800-454-9272 if traders wish to operate new accounts.
- Reach 1-800-669-3900 if traders are already existing clients.
- Reach 1-800-213-4583 if traders want to connect to a retirement expert.
- Reach 1-800-368-3668 for international assistance if traders are outside of the US.
Traders can also email by clicking the button “Email us” in the “Contact us” tab.
TD Ameritrade also extends its service through social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube.
Facebook: Traders can message the firm directly via Facebook messenger.
Twitter: Traders can observe TD Ameritrade updates via the company Twitter or connect with it via messenger.
YouTube: The platform has plenty of instructional clips on its channel.
- TD Ameritrade provides plenty of contacting forms to help customers get full support.
- Traders can approach the service customer support via phone call, email, postal mail, and social media.
- The company offers different numbers for different customers.
7.) Methods of Payment: Many Convenient Ways to Deposit and Withdraw funds
Traders can apply direct deposits and withdrawals conveniently. One of the ways is transferring money from their bank accounts to TD Ameritrade accounts through the electronic way. This transferring method only requires the bank account number and security codes, and the processing time is usually from 30 minutes to 3 days. Nevertheless, traders can only transfer between $50 to $250,000.
The most used payment method is wire transfer. This method has no limits, and all transferring activities are completed within one business day; however, it is important to inspect other day trading regulations or wire transfer costs applied by your bank.
Other ways to fund to TD Ameritrade include using PayPal, mailing checks, or making an external securities transfer.
Traders should check updated information on the broker’s website before making deposits, as there may be promotions or rewards for particular depositing methods.
- Traders can electronically transfer money from their bank accounts to TD Ameritrade. The transferring process takes from 30 minutes to 3 business days.
- The wire transfer has no limits, and all transfers are usually cleared in one business day.
- Traders can also use PayPal to deposit and withdraw. They should check updated information on the broker’s official site for deposit promotions or rewards.
8.) Additional Offers: Plenty of Promotions
TD Ameritrade provides generous discount programs for customers. Traders will receive 60 days of free trades and a maximum of $600 cash bonus when opening new trading accounts or IRA accounts. The free trades and cash bonuses are varied and relied on their deposit amount.
- Making deposits from $25,000 to $99,999, traders will receive free trades and a $100 cash bonus.
- Depositing from $100,000 to $249,999 will deliver traders a $300 cash bonus plus free trades.
- With deposits of 250,000 or more, traders will receive a $600 cash bonus and free trades.
Customers are given 2 months after the account opening to get the promotions. These programs also apply for joint, individual, and retirement accounts. The free trades can be applied in purchasing and releasing options, stocks, and ETF’s.
The platform also offers TD Ameritrade Client Rewards Card. The card gives the owner 1.5 percent cash back on all of their investments in any types of category. The card requires no annual fee, and if traders can purchase up to $500 within 90 days of account operation, they will receive a $100 cash back.
- Customers are given 60 days of free trades and $600 cash bonus maximum when they open brokerage or IRA accounts.
- After the account open, clients have 2 months to receive offers.
- The broker also delivers TD Ameritrade Client Rewards Card and offers 1.5 percent cash back on investment in any categories.
9.) Regulations & Deposit Protection: a Member of FINRA and SIPC
TD Ameritrade came under the sphere of FINRA and SIPC. FINRA, so-called Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, is the regulator for all securities companies in the US. Its main function is to safeguard investors rights by preserving the integrity and equity of the US markets. Meanwhile, SIPC, so-called The Securities Investor Protection Corporation, operates as a sovereign court-assigned administrator in assuring the fund recover for the missing asset case.
The regulation of SIPC generates that customers whose accounts are provided by miscarried brokerage companies get non-negotiable securities that were activated in their names or during the procedure of being registered. SIPC plays a central role in the scheme of investor insurance in the US. When falling into broker failure, the customer can claim up to $500,000 in compensation, containing $250,000 uninvested cash. This cover comforts the worries of traders about the safety of their investments in the broker.
- TD Ameritrade is a member of FINRA and SIPC.
- FINRA protects traders by maintaining the integrity of the US markets.
- SIPC operates as an independent trustee that assures the fund recovering for customers. Traders can claim up to $500,000 in compensation for brokerage failure, in which $250,000 is uninvested cash.
10.) Awards: A Plethora of Awards in The Recent Decade
TD Ameritrade has been recognized as one of the flagship brokers in the market. Its collection of awards is impressive and extending year-by-year. Here are the noteworthy achievements of the broker:
- The platform was recognized as the best online broker in 2011 by Kiplinger and it was regarded as “a great value proposition for long-term investors.”
- TD Ameritrade won the first place in “Best site for beginners” in 2012 by Barron’s ranking.
- Another award by Barron’s ranking is the 2nd place in “Best site for long-term investment” in 2012.
- In the same year, TD Ameritrade also hit the 3rd place in “Best site for options traders” by Barron’s ranking.
- TD Ameritrade also gained the recognition of SmartMoney. It stood in the 1st place in SmartMoney’s 2011 review of online brokers.
- It also gained 1st place in a ranking of Stockbrokers.com in a 2012 review.
- In 2018, the StockBrokers.com gave TD Ameritrade a five-star rating in online broker review.
With many gained awards, TD Ameritrade has proven itself to be a reliable place for traders.
- The platform has gained many awards for a decade.
- It hit the first rank in several categories in Barron’s ranking.
- The platform also gained a 5-star rating in online broker review in 2018.
Conclusion: A High-Quality Platform, But With High Trading Costs
TD Ameritrade has preserved its position as the top online broker in the world for a decade. This stability is the upshot of many contributing factors.
The first one is its trading offers. The broker offers more than 300 free-traded ETFs and $0 account minimum for IRAs. It also provides 60 days of free-trade and maximum $600 cash bonus for first-time registers.
The second factor is its wide-range platforms. The broker provides 3 desktop platforms and 3 mobile platforms, satisfying sophisticated trading requirements from a different level of traders.
Another striking feature that makes TD Ameritrade preferred is its top-notch customer service. Traders can contact the broker specialists 24/7 via plenty of channels such as social network, phone call, postal mail or email.
For all of those factors, it is no doubt that TD Ameritrade is a great place for both traders and investors. Their core values are also proved by many great awards and recognition from large broker reviewing websites and magazines.
Find out more about other good brokers like TD Ameritrade on our ETF broker comparison page.
- Excellent customer service
- More than 300 commission-free Ets
- a variety of platforms
- generous discount program
- safe and secure broker
- high commission fee
- high margin rates
- confusion with multiple apps and platforms