Is TD Ameritrade free?

TD Ameritrade is in fact a zero-commission broker when it comes to buying and selling US stocks. Zero commission is especially useful if you trade relatively low volumes, like buying stocks for less than $500 per trade, because you won't be hit with any minimum fees the broker might charge.

We should note that the payment-for-order-flow model, which is used by some zero-commission brokers to generate income (rather than relying on commissions), could potentially create a conflict of interest between you and your broker. This could result in trade execution (like routing your orders to specific market makers) that might be unfavorable for you under certain market conditions, especially when using market orders (as opposed to limit orders, which seem to be less affected).

Keep in mind that at some brokers, you could incur non-trading charges like withdrawal or inactivity fees. If you want to trade options, bonds or futures, then a transaction fee may also apply. Also, if you trade on margin, the margin rate charged by brokers can differ wildly. In the next chapter, we'll find out what these charges are at TD Ameritrade and how they compare with fees charged by its closest competitors.

If you want to read our full review, including fees, deposit options and other platforms (like web and desktop) then skip to the TD Ameritrade review.

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TD Ameritrade fees
Overview of TD Ameritrade fees and charges

It's safe to say that TD Ameritrade's fees are low in general. They either don't charge a brokerage fee for things that other brokers do, or they only charge a small amount.

Here's a high-level overview of TD Ameritrade's fees

TD Ameritrade Fees snapshot
Assets Fee level Fee terms
US stock fee Low Free stock and ETF trading
EURUSD fee Low The fees are built into the spread, 1.2 pips is the average spread cost during peak trading hours.
US mutual fund fees High $49.99 per transaction, although there are also ca. 4,000 free funds
Inactivity fee Low No inactivity fee

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TD Ameritrade fees
TD Ameritrade fees explained

Online brokerages in general charge much lower brokerage fees than traditional brokerages do - this is largely because online brokerages' businesses can be much better scaled: from a purely technical standpoint, it doesn't make that much of a difference for them if they have 100 or 5,000 clients.

This is not to say, however, that they don't charge any fees at all. They make money by charging you various rates for various actions or events. Usually you need to keep an eye on the following three types of fees:

  • Trading fees - these are brokerage fees that you pay when you actually carry out a trade, like buying an Apple share or an ETF. What you pay is either a commission, a spread or a financing rate. Some brokers apply all of these.
    • A commission is either fixed or based on the traded volume.
    • A spread is the difference between the buy price and the sell price.
    • A financing rate or overnight rate is charged when you hold your leveraged positions for more than one day.
  • Non-trading fees. These are usually related to some operations you carry out in your account, such as depositing money, withdrawing money, or not trading for an extended period.

We compare TD Ameritrade fees with its closest competitors, E*TRADE and Charles Schwab.

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TD Ameritrade fees
TD Ameritrade trading fees

TD Ameritrade's trading fees are low, which makes it suitable for you even if you trade often (i.e. several times a week).

Let's break down trading fees according to the different asset classes available at TD Ameritrade.

Trading fees

TD Ameritrade's trading fees are low.

Stock fees and ETF fees

TD Ameritrade has low stock trading fees.

Stock fees of a $2,000 trade
TD Ameritrade E*TRADE Charles Schwab
US stock $0.0 $0.0 $0.0
UK stock - - -
German stock - - -

Forex fees

TD Ameritrade's forex fees are low.

Forex fees of a $20,000 30:1 position (open, 1-week-hold and close)
TD Ameritrade E*TRADE Charles Schwab
EURUSD benchmark fee $7.1 - -
EURGBP benchmark fee $7.5 - -

Fund fees

TD Ameritrade fund fees are high.

Fees of a $2,000 fund purchase
TD Ameritrade E*TRADE Charles Schwab
Mutual fund $50.0 $20.0 $24.8
EU mutual fund - - -

Bond fees

TD Ameritrade has low bond fees.

Fees of a $10,000 bond trade
TD Ameritrade E*TRADE Charles Schwab
US Treasury bond $0.0 $0.0 $0.0
EU government bond - - -

Options fees

TD Ameritrade's options fees are low.

Options fees for 10 contracts
TD Ameritrade E*TRADE Charles Schwab
US stock options $6.5 $6.5 $6.5
US stock index options $6.5 $6.5 $6.5
UK stock index options - - -
German stock index options - - -

Futures fees

TD Ameritrade's futures fees are high.

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

Margin rates

TD Ameritrade margin rates are high.

TD Ameritrade margin rates
TD Ameritrade E*TRADE Charles Schwab
USD margin rate 9.5% 9.0% 8.3%
EUR margin rate - - -

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TD Ameritrade fees
TD Ameritrade non-trading fees

When it comes to non-trading fees, TD Ameritrade is a rather cheap broker.

Non-trading fees include various brokerage fees and charges at TD Ameritrade that are not related to buying or selling assets. This can be a withdrawal fee, deposit fee, inactivity fee or account fee.

A high-level overview of how TD Ameritrade stacks up in terms of non-trading fees
TD Ameritrade E*TRADE Charles Schwab
Withdrawal fee $0 $0 $0
Deposit fee $0 $0 $0
Inactivity fee No No No
Account fee No No No

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TD Ameritrade fees
TD Ameritrade deposit fee

Usually, brokers don't charge anything for deposits, and TD Ameritrade is no different.

TD Ameritrade deposit methods
TD Ameritrade E*TRADE Charles Schwab
Bank transfer Yes Yes Yes
Credit/debit card No No No
Electronic wallets No No No
Deposit fee $0 $0 $0

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TD Ameritrade fees
TD Ameritrade withdrawal fee

TD Ameritrade generally doesn't charge a withdrawal fee.

TD Ameritrade withdrawal fees and options compared
TD Ameritrade E*TRADE Charles Schwab
Bank transfer Yes Yes Yes
Credit/debit card No No No
Electronic wallets No No No
Withdrawal fee for bank transfer $0 $0 $0

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TD Ameritrade fees
TD Ameritrade inactivity fee

TD Ameritrade does not apply an inactivity fee, which is great because your account won't be charged even if you do not trade for an extended period (like several months or years).

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Author of this article

Ádám Nasli

Author of this article

Ádám is a motivated finance expert with over two years of experience in banking and investment, and a professional degree in this field. He's eager to help people find the best investment provider for them, and to make the investment sector as transparent as possible.

Ádám Nasli

Broker Expert

Ádám is a motivated finance expert with over two years of experience in banking and investment, and a professional degree in this field. He's eager to help people find the best investment provider for them, and to make the investment sector as transparent as possible.

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

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