TD Ameritrade is one of the world’s biggest stock market trading platforms and it offers a truly comprehensive selection of trading products for you to take advantage of.
- About TD Ameritrade
- Opening an Account
- How Long Does the Account Creation Process Take?
- What’s the Minimum Deposit?
- Identity and Verification
- Can TD Ameritrade Be Trusted?
- Research and Assistance
- Demo Accounts
- Desktop Experience
- Mobile Experience
- Investment Options
- Commissions and Fees
- Deposits & Withdrawals
- Customer Support
Most notably, it’s also one of the few sites that accepts customers from the United States.
I think it’s fair to say they provide one of the best overall experiences I’ve come across in the online trading world, offering a huge number of investment options, a great educational resource section and a wide variety of investment tools and resources.
In this TD Ameritrade review, I’m going to be giving you an impartial, in-depth and honest review of TD Ameritrade.
Let’s kick things off with a look at who TD Ameritrade are, and how they became one of the market leaders in such a competitive industry.
TD Ameritrade review was last updated in May 2020. Author – Jonathan Mann.
About TD Ameritrade
TD Ameritrade is the result of a number of company mergers and acquisitions.
At the time of writing, TD Ameritrade is based in Omaha, Nebraska, and the current company – as it stands – includes some former subsidiaries, including First Omaha Securities, Ameritrade, Waterhouse, and Scottrade.
All these subsidiaries have, essentially, joined together to become one, helping the company grow and boosting their global presence.
TD Ameritrade itself was founded way back in 1978, meaning it has plenty of experience in the industry.
It’s also one of the biggest US-based stockbrokers, catering to millions of customers each and every year.
They’re highly regulated, operating in some of the world’s strictest financial markets, and continue to go from strength to strength, as you’ll see in this TD Ameritrade review.back to menu ↑
Opening an Account
US clients can open a huge number of different accounts at TD Ameritrade.
I’m not going to go into detail about each account, as there’s simply too many to cover, but I’ll list them here.
The accounts are: Individual, Joint, Business, Retirement, Pension, College Savings, Custodial, Trust and TD Ameritrade Portfolios.
You are then given another choice when it comes to account opening, as you can choose to open a brokerage account, a day trading account or a margin trading account.
The vast majority of forex/CFD traders will be opening an individual brokerage account.
This gives you access to a huge range of instruments across the site’s trading platform.back to menu ↑
How Long Does the Account Creation Process Take?
As already mentioned, don’t expect to see your TD Ameritrade account up and running on a same-day basis.
You’re going to need to send or fax physical documents to the online broker, and this means the average time to open an account with them is around three working days.
This is much longer than the account creation process at many competing online brokers.back to menu ↑
What’s the Minimum Deposit?
TD Ameritrade has many different account types and they all have different minimum deposits.
The minimum deposit can range from $50 through to $25,000, meaning that most people should be able to afford to start trading using TD Ameritrade.
You should always check out details of an account before going through the account opening process.back to menu ↑
Identity and Verification
You will also be asked to complete an identity verification process.
This usually requires you to upload proof of identity and proof of address – passports and utility bills are generally sufficient.
It is vital to send the correct documentation when requested, otherwise the entire processed will be stalled.
If FOREX.com requires additional information they will very occasionally require you to upload bank statements or proof of income; this is in-line with anti-money laundering legislation.back to menu ↑
Can TD Ameritrade Be Trusted?
TD Ameritrade has been around for almost half a century, and I think it’s fair to say they’re one of the biggest names in the American trading world.
Their reputation hasn’t gone untarnished, as they’ve had some problems in the past, however they now have a better standing in the financial community.
In fact, the way in which TD Ameritrade dealt with their issues was to be commended, in my opinion.
Today, TD Ameritrade is listed on the stock exchange and is regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commissions (SEC).
It is also regulated by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).
These are all top-tier regulators, and this ensures that TD Ameritrade is held to account and operates fairly and legally.
I like how TD Ameritrade also discloses its full financials.
The company has a strong banking background too, so they know what they’re doing when it comes to money management.
I would have no issues with recommending TD Ameritrade to any US-based trader looking for a safe and reliable online broker.back to menu ↑
Research and Assistance
I was really impressed with the educational section at TD Ameritrade, and I think they’ve absolutely set a benchmark that all online brokers should aim to meet.
In fact, their education portal is one of the main links from the homepage, showing that they’re genuinely keen to teach new traders the basics.
There are a few different ways you can gain access to their educational materials. Firstly, they run a paid course.
In their own words:“Real coaches with real experience will walk you through a range of investing and trading topics to help make you a more informed investor.
Our immersive courses are on your time, easy to follow, and full of useful information.”
This is a very unique approach, but it’s likely very desirable to those wanting to learn the basics of trading at their own pace.
If you don’t want to pay to learn how to trade, TD Ameritrade also offers an extensive collection of articles and videos.
These include more than 200 instructional videos, tutorials and investment publications, and traders of all experience levels will find suitable materials inside.
All these articles and videos can be accessed from the “Education” tab on the site’s main homepage.
TD Ameritrade also puts on regular webcasts.
These cover a variety of different topics, including trading onboarding, long-term investing, active trading, portfolio management, and market commentary, and you can view all previous webcasts at the press of a button.
This is a hugely valuable resource in my opinion and makes TD Ameritrade stand out from many of its competitors.
I was pleased to see that TD Ameritrade also runs in-person events.
These tend to happen once or twice each year, and they usually include talks from experienced traders.
They’re also designed to be networking events, so you can meet other traders and exchange ideas and strategies.back to menu ↑
TD Ameritrade offers all clients a demo account, and it’s delivered in the form of a trading simulator, called paperMoney.
It’s completely free to set up, and it gives you $100,000 in virtual cash to use.
You’re also given a margin account to help you increase buying power and gain a better understanding of how the trading platform works.
Unfortunately, clients can only use paperMoney for 60 days.
After this time period is up, you’ll either need to transition your demo account to one of their live ones or shut it down.
However, I would say that 60 days is enough time for the vast majority of traders to work out whether they’re happy with a trading platform or not, and it does give you full access to all the trading platforms and investment options available.back to menu ↑
TD Ameritrade has developed a remarkable trading platform called thinkorswim and it honestly is one of the market leaders.
In fact, this incredibly intuitive trading platform has won a handful of awards, and it’s suitable for all types of trading, including day trading, options trading, and even futures trading.
Below, I’m going to give you a rundown of some of the tools and resources you’ll find available on the thinkorswim trading platform.
First of all, there’s the charting abilities.
I’d go as far as saying thinkorswim is one of the most advanced charting systems I’ve ever seen at an online trading platform.
You’ll be able to instantly access tens of charts, all of which are updated in real-time, and there are more than 400 different technical studies for you to browse.
I was also really happy to see that thinkorswim allows you to customize these charts.
This is made possible thanks to thinkscript, the online broker’s own coding language.
When it comes to trading tools TD Ameritrade offers an impressive selection, and you’ll find a huge number of them to make your trading experience as easy and hassle-free as possible.
One of my personal favorite tools offered is the ability to perform advanced earning analysis, letting you plan out potential profits and losses if you go ahead with certain trades.
Another feature I really like is that they give you the ability to replay historical trading data, tick-by-tick.
This is very useful for advanced traders who want to know how a market has been performing without having to look it up outside of the trading platform.
I should point out that you will need to download thinkorswim to your computer or laptop.
In the past, TD Ameritrade offered a web-based browser trading platform called Trade Architect.
It was easy-to-use and pretty straightforward, but it was officially withdrawn from service in 2018 as it was built using Flash, and Flash is slowly being phased out.
At the time of this review, there isn’t any browser-based trading platform, although I’m certain TD Ameritrade will release one in the near future.back to menu ↑
I was rather surprised to find that TD Ameritrade offers two different mobile apps.
These are TD Ameritrade Mobile and TD Ameritrade Mobile Trader.
The first is best suited to new investors or those who are happy to trade without a plethora of additional tools and resources.
The latter is designed for the more experienced trader who wants access to the trading platform’s full selection of tools and resources.
Both of the apps are available to download for free at the iOS and Android marketplaces, and if you already have an account with TD Ameritrade you simply need to log in with your existing details.
You can also set up a new account, although I’d recommend you do this from your desktop computer or laptop, as it makes things much easier in my opinion.back to menu ↑
TD Ameritrade offers a vast selection of investment instruments for you to choose from, although I should point out that clients from certain countries may not be able to trade all products.
Below, I’ll take a look at the different investment options available at TD Ameritrade.
TD Ameritrade is best known for their stocks and shares, and at TD Ameritrade you’ll find yourself able to access some of the world’s biggest financial markets.
This means you can trade on the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ, and TD Ameritrade also offers you the ability to invest in pink sheet (over the counter) stocks.
They also offer penny stocks, although I’d strongly recommend you stay well clear of these, as trading them is essentially gambling.
The next of the investment options available at TD Ameritrade is options.
I should warn you that options trading can be quite risky, so unless you have a fair amount of online trading experience, I’d recommend you steer clear.
If, however, you decide you do want to invest in options, you’ll be pleased to know that TD Ameritrade has a wide variety of tools to help you execute trades, and you’ll find yourself able to build complex, in-depth and multi-leg options trades thanks to the trading platforms on offer.
The next investment option available at TD Ameritrade is ETFs.
This allows you to purchase and sell exchange-traded funds, including stocks and shares, directly from your TD Ameritrade account.
In total, I found more than 300 different ETFs offered at TD Ameritrade, and they’re all commission free too.
TD Ameritrade also offers a massive selection of mutual funds.
You’ll find yourself able to invest in thousands, and I was pleased to find that trading them at TD Ameritrade doesn’t incur any fees, regardless of whether you’re buying or selling.
Futures, like options, can be a pretty risky investment option, but they too are available at TD Ameritrade.
If they’re what you’re looking for you’ll be pleased to learn that TD Ameritrade offers very competitive pricing on their futures, and you’re also able to trade contracts.
Forex trading may not be the biggest investment offering at TD Ameritrade, but they currently support some 24 different currencies, allowing you to trade major and some minor pairs.
You’ll also find yourself able to invest in managed portfolios at TD Ameritrade.
This works in quite a unique way, as you’ve given the opportunity to choose from a pre-selected group of portfolios, and this works in a very similar fashion to how robo-advisor firms work.
If you prefer, you can also request to work with a professional trading advisor to create a custom portfolio, but I should point out that this is reserved for traders putting large volumes through the site.
Some other investment options that are worth mentioning include cash management, bonds, CDs and a very limited selection of annuities.back to menu ↑
Commissions and Fees
TD Ameritrade is known for offering some of the most competitive fees and spreads on the market.
In fact, you can now trade stocks, ETFs, and options with 0% commissions – something I very rarely see online today.
Below, you can see some of the various fees associated with different accounts at TD Ameritrade.
I was really pleased to see that TD Ameritrade does not charge any fees to set up an account with them, nor do they charge any inactivity fees.
This is something I don’t see very often, and it shows that TD Ameritrade genuinely wants their clients to have the best trading experience possible.back to menu ↑
Deposits & Withdrawals
Unfortunately, as a US-based online broker, TD Ameritrade is somewhat limited in the number of payment methods they can offer their clients.
You can currently only make deposits and withdrawals via bank transfer, which means funds are not credited to your account immediately.
Generally, the funds will be credited within one to five working days, but this time-frame could potentially increase if you’re sending an international payment.
I should also point out that TD Ameritrade only allows clients to hold their account balances in USD.
That means that if your bank account isn’t USD-based, you will be charged a fee for the conversion.
However, many traders are getting around this by using an online virtual bank account like Transferwise or Revolt, both of which allow you to open a USD account, even if you’re not from the United States.
There is, thankfully, some better news.
TD Ameritrade does not charge any fees on deposits, and as soon as they receive your transfer the funds will be automatically credited to your account.
Withdrawals tend to be processed quickly, usually within two business days, and for a US-based online broker, this is incredibly fast.
There are no complaints from me here, aside from the distinct lack of payment methods available.back to menu ↑
I was pleased to see that TD Ameritrade is one of the online brokers who offer customer support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
You’ll be able to reach them in a number of ways, including live chat, by phone, and by email.
Customer support is available in English, Chinese, and Spanish, and if you’re looking for a quick reply I’d definitely recommend using the live chat facility.
This will connect you with a member of the customer support team in a matter of seconds, allowing you to quickly and easily resolve your problem.back to menu ↑
I think it’s pretty clear that TD Ameritrade is a broker with incredibly competitive commissions.
In fact, in many cases, there are no commissions charged whatsoever.
While the company has made some mistakes in the past (mainly a data breach back in 2007), they have a very strong reputation today and are regulated by some of the strictest financial regulators in the world.
Unfortunately, the site is very heavily centered around US clients.
They appear to allow users from a few Asian countries to join, but if you’re not from the USA I’d wouldn’t recommend joining TD Ameritrade.
However, on the whole, I can’t find any major faults with the online broker, and I would be very comfortable trading there myself, were I a US resident.
- Low spreads
- Diversity of trading tools
- Diversity of forex and CFD instruments
- Reliable forex broker
- Good for Pros
- MT4 and MT5 are not available.
- Narrow option of deposit methods.
Details: TD Ameritrade Review
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