Thinkorswim vs Scottrade

Account Pricing, Commissions, and Fees


TD Ameritrade Thinkorswim

  • Stocks and ETFs: $6.95
  • Stocks and ETFs broker assisted: $32
  • Options: $6.95 + $0.70 per contract
  • Mutual funds: $17
  • CDs, OTC Secondary Corporates, OTC Secondary Municipals, U.S. Treasury Bills, Notes, Bonds and STRIPS, New Corporate Offerings: subject to a markup or markdown
  • Listed Corporate Bonds: $35 + $3 per bond (minimum investment $1,000)
  • Unit Investment Trusts (UIT): $50 liquidation fee
  • Foreign Stocks Transferring In or Out: $60
  • Investment products: stocks, options, mutual funds, CDs, munis, U.S. Treasury, Canadian and foreign stocks, ETFs
  • Scottrade minimum deposit to open account: $2,500
  • All Scottrade fees
  • Scottrade login, Scottrade promotions

  • Stocks and ETFs: $6.95
  • Stocks and ETFs broker assisted: $44.99
  • Options: $6.95 + $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
  • Thinkorswim\TOS minimum deposit to open account: $0 for cash account, $2,000 for margin account
  • All Thinkorswim fees
  • Thinkorswim login, Thinkorswim promotion and Thinkorswim referral

Scottrade vs Thinkorswim: Pros


TD Ameritrade Thinkorswim

  • No inactivity, account maintenance or hidden fees
  • No-fee IRAs
  • #1 in customer satisfaction according to JD Power and Associates
  • 500+ local branches for in-person assistance
  • Great support for beginner investors
  • Good banking services: savings, CDs, money market, and free checking account that comes with free ATM withdrawals, VISA check card, and first order of checks
  • Free real-time streaming quotes
  • Flexible dividend reinvestment program (DRIP)
  • Large number of no-commission mutual funds available
  • Instant funds deposits

  • Best trading platform on the market
  • No surcharges on penny stocks, large orders, or after-hours trading
  • Trading with one of the largest and well-known brokerage houses in the country
  • Users can practice trading without risking real money using PaperMoney virtual trading account
  • Easy access to myTRADE trader community
  • No-fee IRA accounts
  • No account maintenance or inactivity fees
  • Free streaming quotes, including Level II
  • Rich selection of independent, third-party research from 13 firms (Standard & Poor's, Morningstar, Jaywalk, TheStreet, and others)
  • 100+ ETFs with no commissions

Scottrade vs Thinkorswim: Cons


TD Ameritrade Thinkorswim

  • Surcharge of 0.5% of the principal value on stocks priced under $1
  • No electronic withdrawals, but clients can use a debit card, checks, or ACH transfer from their bank
  • $25,000 account balance, or 9+ stock/option trades during the previous three months is required to use advanced trading platform (ScottradeELITE)
  • $2,500 minimum to open a brokerage account

  • Higher than the average commissions on transaction fee mutual funds
  • High margin rates

Thinkorswim vs Scottrade: Comparison Summary

First, we have to mention that Thinkorswim was bought by TD Ameritrade, and is now a division of one of the top brokerage houses in the country. All new Thinkorswim and TD Ameritrade customers have the same account with identical pricing, features, tools, and services. The Thinkorswim platform can be downloaded by opening an account at TD Ameritrade, logging in, and going to "Trading Tools -> thinkorswim" in the main menu. Unlike many other online brokers, there are no monthly fees or requirements to use this sophisticated software.

Thinkorswim's/TOS (Thinkorswim Review) commission plan on equities is now almost the same as Scottrade's (Scottrade Review): $6.95 versus $7 per trade. Scottrade, however, charges additional fee on penny stock trades (stocks priced under $1). Unadvertised secret is that Thinkorswim's rates are negotiable for active traders.

Both firms don't have account maintenance and inactivity fees as well as surcharges on extended hours trading and large orders. There are no IRA fees at either company (Scottrade doesn't even have IRA termination fee, which almost all other discount brokerages charge!). We rated Scottrade and Thinkorswim/TD Ameritrade as the Top IRA Firms in 2017. Scottrade is also one of the Best Brokerages for Beginners, offering lots of learning materials, 500+ local branches for in-person visit, and easy-to-learn and use trading tools.

TD Ameritrade Thinkorswim provides excellent independent investment research from therteen companies, and powerful, versatile trading platforms for customers with any experience level: from beginners to advanced traders. The firm also offers free virtual trading, where investors could test different trading strategies and improve their skills without risking their money.

In summary, we recommend Scottrade for IRA accounts, to beginners and mutual funds investors. TD Ameritrade Thinkorswim would work better for everyone else.

You could also open accounts with both firms (with no money down at TDA and $2,500 at Scottrade) with no obligation (non-IRA accounts don't have account closing fee). It could be done in about 20 minutes, and you can take advantage of everything these top brokerage houses have to offer at no charge.

Updated on 1/12/2017.

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