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TD Ameritrade review summary

If you are an experienced trader looking for solid research and a well-equipped desktop trading platform, we definitely recommend TD Ameritrade.

Founded in 1975, TD is one of the biggest US-based stockbrokers and is regulated by top-tier authorities like the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

This online broker is considered safe as it has a long track record, is listed on a stock exchange, has a banking background, discloses its financials and is overseen by top-tier regulators.

Recommended for investors and traders looking for solid research and a well-equipped desktop trading platform

You can open an account at TD Ameritrade if you live in United States. See the best alternative available in your country.

TD Ameritrade pros and cons

TD Ameritrade's trading fees are low and its desktop trading platform - called thinkorswim - is one of the best on the market. The customer support team is at the top of their game, providing fast and relevant answers.

On the negative side, the broker's services are available only in the US and a few other countries, and you can trade only on US markets. TD doesn't accept credit/debit cards and electronic wallets for money transfers.

Pros Cons
Low trading fees (free stock and ETF trading) You can trade only on US markets
Superb desktop trading platform Accounts mostly limited to US residents
Great customer support No credit/debit cards and electronic wallets for money transfer
TD Ameritrade main features and highlights
🗺️ Country of regulation USA, Hong Kong, Singapore
💰 Trading fees class Low
💰 Inactivity fee charged No
💰 Withdrawal fee amount $0
💰 Minimum deposit $0
🕖 Time to open an account 1-3 days
🎮 Demo account provided Yes
🛍️ Products offered Stock, ETF, Forex, Fund, Bond, Options, Futures, Crypto

TD Ameritrade review

TD Ameritrade offers free stock and ETF trading, while forex, bond and options fees are also low. On the other hand, it charges high fees for futures.
Pros Cons
Low trading fees High fund fees
Low non-trading fees
Free stocks and ETFs
TD Ameritrade fees snapshot
Assets Fee level Fee terms
US stock Low Free stock and ETF trading
EURUSD Low The fees are built into the spread, 1.3 pips is the average spread cost during peak trading hours.
Mutual fund High $49.99 per transaction, although there are also ca. 4,000 free funds
Inactivity fee Low No inactivity fee

How we ranked fees

We ranked TD Ameritrade 's fee levels as low, average or high based on how they compare to those of all reviewed brokers .

First, let's go over some basic terms related to broker fees. What a trader needs to keep an eye on are trading fees and non-trading fees.

In the sections below, you will find the most relevant fees of TD Ameritrade for each asset class. For example, in the case of stock investing the most important fees are commissions.

We also compared the fees with those of two similar brokers we selected, E*TRADE and Charles Schwab so that you could find the best broker for your trading strategy. This selection is based on objective factors such as products offered, client profile, fee structure, etc. See a more detailed rundown of TD Ameritrade alternatives.

To have a clear overview of TD Ameritrade, let's start with the trading fees.

Trading fees

The trading fees are low. In 2019, many US brokers, including TD Ameritrade, scrapped commissions for stocks and ETFs.

Stock fees and ETF fees

TD Ameritrade offers commission-free stock and ETF trades. This is in line with its competitors E*TRADE and Charles Schwab.

If you prefer stock trading on margin, you should check TD's financing rates.

What exactly is a margin rate? A margin rate is charged when you trade on margin. This basically means that a trader borrows money or stocks from the broker to trade. For this borrowed money/stock you have to pay interest. This can be a significant proportion of your trading costs.

Margin rates at TD are high: the USD margin rate is 11% compared to E*TRADE's 10.2% and Charles Schwab's 9.8%.

Margin rates are volume-tiered, meaning that the actual rate depends on the size of the borrowed amount. The base rate is set by TD Ameritrade and it can change from time to time. At the time of our review, the base rate was 8.25%.

Forex fees

Forex fees at TD are low. Its main rivals do not offer forex trading, so we looked at Interactive Brokers to compare forex trading fees.

Bond fees

Bond fees vary depending on the bond type you wish to trade. While there is no commission for US Treasury bonds and a few other instruments, TD Ameritrade charges $1 per bond on secondary transactions with corporate bonds (subject to a $10 minimum and a maximum of $500).

Options fees

Fees charged by TD for options trading are similar to those of its competitors: stock index options commission for 10 contracts is $6.5. The options fees are based on the number of traded options contracts.

Futures fees

Futures fees are high and are calculated on a volume basis, at $2.25 per contract.

TD Ameritrade stock index futures commission for 10 contracts
  TD Ameritrade E*TRADE Charles Schwab
US micro e-mini stock index futures $22.5 $15.0 $15.0

Non-trading fees

Non-trading fees at TD are low. The broker does not charge an inactivity fee, deposits are free of charge and withdrawal is also free if you use an ACH transfer. Withdrawal via wire transfer, the only option available to non-US clients, costs $25.

TD Ameritrade review
Account opening

TD Ameritrade offers many different account types and there is no minimum deposit for US citizens.
Pros Cons
Fully digital None
No minimum deposit
Many account types

Can you open an account?

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Can you open an account?

Mainly US clients are targeted. However, the broker accepts clients from a few other countries as well: China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Egypt, and Brazil. Canadian clients can use TD Direct Investing solutions within the TD Group, but not TD Ameritrade. The broker announced that TD Ameritrade Hong Kong will close and no longer open or maintain accounts as of February 28, 2022. 

There are many TD Ameritrade account types to choose from, ranging from individual to savings accounts, such as Roth IRA. All account types are displayed once you click on the 'Open New Account' button.

Please note that services offered may vary from country to country based on the residence of the trader. For example, clients from Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Singapore can't trade mutual funds and forex, only stocks, ETFs, and options.

What is the minimum deposit?

The required minimum deposit at TD Ameritrade is $0 for US clients if they choose the basic cash account. It is worth noting, though, that the minimum deposit may be higher for other account types or trading preferences.

The broker recommends a minimum deposit of $3,500 for Malaysian and Singaporean clients.

How to open your account

The account opening process is straightforward and easy . However, when you complete the online account opening form, you may be required to confirm your identity by mailing or faxing the generated document and a copy of your ID card of choice. The good news is that the last time we opened an account, the process did not require paper documentation. In the course of separate attempts, it took us 1-3 business days to open the account.

If you are interested, you can apply for a margin account. A margin account allows you trade with a bigger buying power provided you meet the requirements. If you want to enable margin trading, you can do so in the account settings and you need a minimum account balance of $2,000.

The online application took roughly 20 minutes and our account was verified within 3 business days.

Our best alternatives to TD Ameritrade are:

The highest ranking competitors are:

  1. E*TRADE full review
  2. Charles Schwab full review
  3. Fidelity full review
  4. Merrill Edge full review

TD Ameritrade review
Deposit and withdrawal

The account funding is user-friendly with no deposit fees; however, USD is the only available base currency and wire transfers incur a high fee.
Pros Cons
Free withdrawal Credit/Debit card not available
No deposit fee Only one account base currency
User-friendly High withdrawal fee for wire transfers

Account base currencies

TD clients have only USD denominated accounts.

Deposit fees and options

Let's start with the good news. The broker charges no deposit fees. When it comes to deposit options, US clients can use checks, ACH and wire transfers, while clients from Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand, China, Taiwan and Singapore can use only wire transfer and checks.

Unfortunately, credit/debit cards and electronic wallets are not available. 

TD Ameritrade deposit options
  TD Ameritrade E*TRADE Charles Schwab
Bank transfer Yes Yes Yes
Credit/debit card No No No
Electronic wallets No No No

We tested the ACH transfer and it took 1 business day. The minimum transfer amount is $50. A wire transfer, on the other hand, can take several business days.

You can only deposit money from accounts that are in your name.

Withdrawal fees and options

No withdrawal fees are charged in most cases. The only exception we found was bank/wire transfer, which costs $25.

How long does it take to withdraw money? We tested the ACH withdrawal and it took 2 business days .

You can only withdraw money to accounts in your name.

TD Ameritrade review
Web trading platform

TD Ameritrade offers a good web trading platform with a clean design. On the flip side, the platform is not customizable.
Pros Cons
User-friendly Limited customizability (for charts, workspace)
Two-step (safer) login
Good variety of order types
TD Ameritrade platforms to choose from
Trading platform Score Available
Web 4.3 stars Yes
Mobile 4.8 stars Yes
Desktop 4.5 stars Yes

The web platform, available in English and Chinese, is highly suitable for trading execution and research on investment products, like stocks and ETFs. If you are interested in trading complex products, the thinkorswim platform, the in-house developed desktop platform of TD Ameritrade, may be just right for you: it offers more products such as forex and futures and has a wide trading tool selection.

The web platform is user-friendly and well-designed and as a plus, two-step authentication is available. However, it is not customizable and is relatively basic compared with the desktop platform.

Other functions and features

The search functions are OK, the automatic suggestion works fine although it could be improved: a search for Apple stock lists it only in the third place.

You can choose from quite a few order types (i.e. Trailing stop %, Stop-Market) and a good selection of order time limits (i.e. Immediate or Cancel (IOC), Fill or Kill (FOK).

The portfolio and fee reports are clear, available for download but only in CSV format.

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TD Ameritrade review
Mobile trading platform

The TD Ameritrade mobile app is great. It is user-friendly and well-designed.
Pros Cons
User-friendly None
Two-step (safer) login
Good variety of order types

There are two apps available, each suited to different levels of proficiency and investment goals. They are available for both iOS and Android in English (we tested the iOS version). As a unique feature among brokers both apps support Apple Watch devices.

Similarly to the web platform, the mobile platform is user-friendly, offers two-step login, provides an OK search function, and you can easily set alerts.

Available order types and order time limits are almost the same as on the web platform (Day, GTC, Fill or Kill (FOK), All or Nothing (AON), All or Nothing (AON) are all available).

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TD Ameritrade review
Desktop trading platform

The 'thinkorswim' desktop platform is one of the best on the market, we really liked it. The only feature we missed was two-step authentication.
Pros Cons
User-friendly No two-step (safer) login
Good customizability (for charts, workspace)
Good variety of order types
Trading support functions
Great learning materials

The thinkorswim platform is available in English and Chinese. It has a great design and is easy to use. It's also highly customizable and offers great research functions.

The platform's search functions are OK. It has an automatic suggestion feature but relevancy leaves some room for improvement: i.e. tech giant Apple Inc. appears only in fourth place when typing Appl.

Beyond some standard ones, many order types are available including trailing stop %, stop-market, stop-limit and limit on close. This is coupled with a good selection of order time limits including fill or kill, and good ‘til canceled extended hours.

You can set alerts and notifications on the thinkorswim desktop trading platform by using the MarketWatch function. From price to news alerts, you can find many alert types. Notifications are available via email or text message.

The desktop platform has clear portfolio and fee reports which are easy to customize.

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TD Ameritrade review
Markets and products

You can trade many asset classes, from stocks to futures and forex, while nice extras include social trading and robo-advisory. On the other hand, only the US market is covered.

The service covers other areas in addition to trading and banking: TD clients have access to managed portfolio (or robo) services. TD Managed Portfolios (previously called TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolio) provides goal-based automatic investment solution portfolios. The portfolios are based on exchange traded funds (ETFs) and mutual funds. The name 'TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolio' is used only on TD's Canadian pages.

TD Ameritrade review

TD Ameritrade has great research tools, including trading ideas and detailed fundamental data.
Pros Cons
Good interactive chart None
Trading ideas
Data on asset fundamentals

Compare research pros and cons

TD Ameritrade review
Customer service

TD Ameritrade customers have access to great customer service 24/7 and can expect relevant answers.
Pros Cons
Phone support None
Live chat
Fast response time

Client support is available on phone, email and chat in English, Chinese and Spanish, all providing fast and relevant responses.

The live chat service is great. The answers are quick and relevant. There is also a Virtual agent called 'AskTed' that directs you to relevant FAQ pages. Although chatting with the live agent was more helpful, we appreciated the option to use this tool as well.

The phone customer support team was very kind, the agent was connected within minutes and gave relevant answers.

In email we also received relevant answers within 1 day.

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TD Ameritrade review

TD Ameritrade offers great educational materials such as webcasts and articles, and its excellent thinkorswim desktop platform has a demo account.
Pros Cons
Demo account None
Trading platform tutorial
Educational videos

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TD Ameritrade review

The brokerage is overseen by top-tier US regulators such as the SEC and FINRA. Clients are covered by a high investor protection amount, but negative balance protection is not provided.
Pros Cons
Majority of clients belong to a top-tier financial authority No negative balance protection
High level of investor protection
Banking background

The broker is regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission, and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

Is it safe?

To be certain, we highly advise to check two facts:

  • how you are protected if something goes wrong
  • and what the background of the broker is.

Even tough TD operates several legal entities, all customers are covered by the US investor protection scheme SIPC. This is because the US legal entity, TD Ameritrade Clearing Inc., provides clearing and custodial services and holds client assets on behalf of the other legal entities.

The SIPC protection scheme protects against the loss of cash and securities in case the broker goes bust. The limit of SIPC protection is $500,000, which includes a $250,000 limit for cash. This amount is substantially higher than the amount most national investor protection schemes provide. Plus, the company has an additional insurance policy for assets not covered by SIPC, which involves a total coverage of up to $152 million (including $2 million cash) per client; this scheme is capped at a total $500 million for all clients.

Not all investments are protected by SIPC, though. In general, SIPC covers notes, stocks, bonds, mutual funds and other investment company shares, and other registered securities. It does not cover instruments such as unregistered investment contracts, unregistered limited partnerships, fixed annuity contracts, currency, and interests in gold, silver, or other commodity futures contracts or commodity options.

Find your safe broker

TD Ameritrade review
Bottom line

TD is one of the biggest US online brokers and it charges no commission on stock and ETF trades.

Research and education are outstanding, the thinkorswim desktop platform is one of the best on the market, and customer service is great.

There are a few drawbacks, most notably high financing (margin) rates, and the fact that credit/debit cards and electronic wallets are not accepted for money transfers. Furthermore, the product portfolio covers only US markets.

We definitely recommend giving TD a try, especially as their education tools include a demo account.

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TD Ameritrade review

We recommend TD Ameritrade for investors and traders looking for solid research and a well-equipped desktop trading platform.

Below you can find links to all aspects of TD Ameritrade in this comprehensive collection.

Lower fees, lower costs?

We detailed this in our TD Ameritrade fees article.

What about the minimum deposit?

Our ultimate guide to the TD Ameritrade minimum deposit is updated regularly.

How to start your TD Ameritrade account?

Look no further than our evaluation of the TD Ameritrade account opening.

How's their trading app?

Here's our expert view after checking the TD Ameritrade trading app.

Is the quality of customer service satisfactory?

All you need to know about the TD Ameritrade customer service.

Legit or scam?

Is TD Ameritrade legit features all the key aspects you need to look at to see if a broker is safe and legit.

Free or premium? Or both?

A glance at actual costs and whether TD Ameritrade is really free.

Is this broker good for beginners?

We checked it in Is TD Ameritrade good for beginners.

Should you buy your silver bullets on TD Ameritrade?

Research for silver bugs in the Silver buy on TD Ameritrade guide

I want to trade options, are they available at TD Ameritrade?

We explored the topic in Can you trade options on TD Ameritrade?

What is the minimum account balance at TD Ameritrade?

Check out the current account balance requirements at TD Ameritrade in our What is the minimum account balance at TD Ameritrade article.

Looking for commission and fees data for TD Ameritrade?

We collected them in TD Ameritrade commission and fees.

How do you withdraw money from TD Ameritrade?

We tested it and collected the options and costs in How to withdraw money on TD Ameritrade.

Author of this review

Ádám Nasli

Author of this review

Ádám worked in banking and investment, and holds a professional degree in this field. He is a motivated finance expert, having joined BrokerChooser in 2018. He's also eager to help people find the best investment provider for them, and to make the investment sector as transparent as possible. In his spare time, he loves learning new things, especially data science, algo-trading, programming and trading.

Ádám Nasli

Analyst head

Ádám worked in banking and investment, and holds a professional degree in this field. He is a motivated finance expert, having joined BrokerChooser in 2018. He's also eager to help people find the best investment provider for them, and to make the investment sector as transparent as possible. In his spare time, he loves learning new things, especially data science, algo-trading, programming and trading.

Everything you find on BrokerChooser is based on reliable data and unbiased information. We combine our 10+ years finance experience with readers feedback. Read more about our methodology