Charles Schwab vs TD Ameritrade

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TDAmeritrade review
4-star brokerage firm rating

Charles Schwab review

TD Ameritrade vs Charles Schwab 2014: Account Pricing, Commissions, Fees

TD Ameritrade

Charles Schwab

  • Stocks and ETFs: $9.99
  • Stocks and ETFs broker assisted: $49.99
  • Stocks and ETFs interactive voice response (IVR) telephone system: $34.99
  • Options: $9.99 + $0.75 per contract
  • No-load mutual funds: $49.99
  • Treasuries at auction: $25
  • All other bonds and CMOs, CDs: on a net yield basis
  • Futures: $2.25 per contract (plus exchange & regulatory fees)
  • Forex: Non-commission currency pairs trade in increments of 10,000 units (and do not contain a "#" symbol suffix). There are no additional fees or charges.
  • Investment products: stocks, mutual funds, options, ETFs, bonds, CDs, UITs, futures, and forex
  • TD Ameritrade\TDA minimum deposit to open account: $0 for cash account, $2,000 for margin account
  • All TD Ameritrade fees

  • Stocks and ETFs: $8.95
  • Stocks and ETFs broker assisted: $33.95
  • Stocks and ETFs phone trades: $13.95
  • Options: $8.95 + $0.75 per contract
  • Mutual funds: $76 to buy, $0 to sell. OneSource® Mutual Funds - free
  • CDs, Corporate Bonds, Municipal Bonds, Government Agencies, Zero-Coupon Treasuries, including STRIPS and Mortgage-Backed Securities: $1 per bond, $10 minimum, $250 maximum
  • Preferred Stocks and REITs: $8.95
  • Commercial Paper and Foreign Bonds, Unit Investment Trusts: call for pricing
  • Investment products: stocks, bonds, mutual funds, futures, Treasury issues, options, CDs, insurance, ETFs, annuities, non-U.S. securities and ADRs, WEBs and Canadian foreign orders
  • Charles Schwab minimum deposit to open account: $1,000
  • All Charles Schwab fees

TD Ameritrade vs Charles Schwab: Pros

TD Ameritrade

Charles Schwab

  • No surcharges on penny stocks, large orders, or after-hours trading
  • Large and well known company with 126 local branches
  • Two excellent trading platforms: ThinkOrSwim and Trade Architect
  • Practice trading without risking your own money using paperMoney
  • No-fee IRA accounts
  • No account maintenance or inactivity fees
  • Rich selection of independent, third-party research from 12 firms (Standard & Poor's, Morningstar, Jaywalk, TheStreet, etc.)
  • Large number of mutual funds - over 13,000 available; 2,500 NTF (no-transaction fee) funds
  • Free DRIP: dividend reinvestment plan

  • Personal guidance is available at no additional cost
  • 300+ offices for personal visits and deposits
  • Great, varied research
  • Rich selection of investment products (large number of mutual funds - over 14,500)
  • No surcharges on penny stocks, large orders, or after-hours trading
  • No account maintenance or inactivity fees
  • Very good customer service (but no chat)
  • Free DRIPs (dividend reinvestment plans)

TD Ameritrade vs Charles Schwab: Cons

TD Ameritrade

Charles Schwab

  • At $9.99 for stocks and ETFs and $49 for mutual funds, commission rates are very high
  • Extremely high margin rates

  • High commissions on stocks, options, mutual funds and ETFs
  • Company doesn't list all its fees on its website
  • Advanced trading platform available only to clients executing three or more trades per month
  • Long, complicated new account setup and funding
  • No free streaming quotes (requires 120+ equity and options trades in the last 12 months, or 30+ equity and options trades in either the current or previous quarter, or $1 million in assets)

TD Ameritrade vs Charles Schwab: Comparison Summary

Charles Schwab (Charles Schwab Review) and TD Ameritrade (TD Ameritrade Review) are some of the most recognized and largest online brokerage houses in the United States. They have very similar trading commissions and fees, and attract mainly the same category of customers - buy-and-hold and retirement account investors.

Charles Schwab provides somewhat better than the competitor customer service.

TD Ameritrade and Charles Schwab don't charge account inactivity and maintenance fees, as well as surcharges on large orders, penny stocks and after-hours trading. There are also no IRA setup and annual IRA fees, and we recommend TD Ameritrade for a fee-free IRA account.

TD Ameritrade acquired one of the most innovative trading firms - ThinkOrSwim (ThinkorSwim Review) - and now offers two excellent, professional level trading platforms to its customers for free. The firm provides lots of great services for free: rich selection of third-party research (Standard & Poor's, Morningstar, Jaywalk and TheStreet), free streaming quotes, online community, virtual trading and best-in-industry trading tools. Out of these two online brokers, it would be our recommendation to all investors.

TD Ameritrade Promotion - 60 days free
trading + up to $600:

TDAmeritrade review

Charles Schwab Promotion - none:

Charles Schwab review

This article was updated on 1/11/2014.

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Review discount online brokerage firms comparison: Charles Schwab or TD Ameritrade? Differences between investment companies. Recommendation for stocks, options, ETFs, mutual funds, bonds investors. TD Ameritrade versus Charles Schwab for beginner investors, long term, individual retirement accounts, active/day traders. See what stock broker service is better, cheaper, offers lower fees, cost, rated higher and easier to use. Which you should choose?

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