TD Ameritrade vs TradeKing

TradeKing vs TD Ameritrade Overview

TD Ameritrade and TradeKing are two very different brokerage firms. Investors should be aware that they differ in commissions schedules and investment offerings. Let's make a detailed comparison of the online brokers and see what areas they excel in.

Commissions, Fees, and Account Requirements

Investors at TradeKing pay a very low $4.95 for stock and ETF transactions. TD Ameritrade, on the other hand, charges $9.99, more than twice TradeKing's commission. Option contracts at TradeKing are an extra $0.65, while TD Ameritrade is slightly higher at $0.75.

Both firms offer live agents to help traders buy and sell securities over the phone. At TD Ameritrade, this service costs $44.99, while TradeKing charges a much lower $24.95.

TD Ameritrade does not charge any account fees. This policy includes annual, setup, and inactivity fees. TradeKing, on the other hand, does have an account inactivity fee, which is $50 per year. An account is charged the fee if it (1) has zero trades in the previous year, and (2) has less than $2,500 in total household assets with the firm. Both brokers allow securities accounts to be opened with no initial deposit.

Both firms also provide margin accounts. A debit less than $5,000 at TradeKing right now is 9%. TD Ameritrade customers pay 9.25% for the same amount borrowed.

TradeKing takes this category.

Investing in Funds

There are more than 8,500 mutual funds available at TradeKing. Customers pay no transaction fee for funds with loads. No-load funds do have a $9.95 transaction charge, which is applied to the sell and buy sides.

Unlike TradeKing, TD Ameritrade offers mutual funds with neither a transaction fee nor a load—nearly 2,000 of them. In total, the broker's clients have access to more than 11,000 funds. Mutual funds with a transaction fee cost a very steep $49.99. This fee is applied to purchases and sales.

TD Ameritrade account holders can trade 101 ETF's without paying a commission. All of the expense ratios of these funds are below 1.00%. TradeKing unfortunately does not offer any ETF's commission free.

This category is a tie.

TD Ameritrade vs TradeKing

Customer Service

TradeKing customers can reach a representative by phone or on-line chat during the week from 8 am to 6 pm, EST. The broker also provides fax, snail mail, and e-mail contacts, along with a forum and blog where customers can reach out to a TradeKing agent.

Unlike TradeKing, TD Ameritrade has 24/7 customer service. During busier times of the day, agents provide service in Cantonese, Mandarin, and Spanish. The broker also has a nationwide network of branch locations, which TradeKing does not have. Currently, TD Ameritrade has more than 100 locations.

TD Ameritrade easily wins this category.

Trading Tools

Investors at TradeKing have three choices: the website, TradeKing LIVE, and Quotestream. All three provide many helpful tools. These include market indices, watch lists, option chains, and charting. The website has a handy trade bar at the bottom of the browser. Unfortunately, both TradeKing LIVE and Quotestream have frequent trader requirements.

TD Ameritrade customers can trade on three platforms. The regular website is the first option. It has an advanced trading bar at the bottom of the browser, and it's more sophisticated than TradeKing's. The second platform is Trade Architect, a Java-based system. Finally is thinkorswim, the firm's most advanced trading system. It has paper-trading capability so investors can practice trades before committing real money. None of the broker's platforms carry any active trader requirements.

TradeKing loses here.

TradeKing vs TD Ameritrade

Mobile Platforms

Investors at TD Ameritrade can buy and sell on three different mobile apps. These apps can be used on Apple and Android. One platform is compatible with Windows 10. The broker also has an app for Apple Watch. Users can watch CNBC free of charge or deposit a check.

TradeKing's app doesn't offer mobile check deposit or live streaming of any financial news. Nevertheless, the broker's app has a customer service contact along with alert capability. The platform is available on Apple, Android, and mobile web. The charting feature is good, but less advanced than what TD Ameritrade offers.

The victory here goes to TD Ameritrade.

Cash Management

Investors at TD Ameritrade can open a checking account. It is FDIC insured and comes with a debit card and checks at no cost. Even better, ATM charges are reimbursed throughout the U.S.

TradeKing customers can add checks and a debit card to a regular brokerage account. The balance can be deposited in an FDIC-insured bank. However, the broker does require a $10,000 account balance. Even worse, the company charges $50 a year for check writing. Furthermore, TradeKing clients are charged $2 for every ATM withdrawal.

TradeKing fails here.

TradeKing vs TD Ameritrade: Results

TradeKing (TradeKing Review) succeeded in one category, there was one tie, and TD Ameritrade (TD Ameritrade Review) triumphed in all other categories. TD Ameritrade wins by a mile but TradeKing is much less expensive for a majority of investors.

For readers that are wondering in which company to open an account, TD Ameritrade will be our recommendation for "buy and hold", long-term investors, IRA accounts, forex and futures traders. TradeKing would work great for all other customers, especially for beginners, mutual funds investors, and active stock and options traders.

The two online investment companies provide a lot of unique and valuable features. Our suggestion is to open accounts at both firms with $0 down (it will take only about 20 minutes), and take advantage of everything these top online brokers have to offer free of charge. Investors can decide later into which brokerage account they want to deposit their money.

Updated on 6/21/2016.

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