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TD Ameritrade Brokerage Account

TD Ameritrade brokerage account review, fees, commissions, comparison to other brokers, current opening promotion offer links for 2017.

TD Ameritrade Brokerage Account Review

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TD Ameritrade Brokerage Account Fees

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TD Ameritrade is a large, mainstream investing platform that provides the full range of trading options for all forms of security trading on every major exchange. It provides professional investment guidance, educational resources, options trading, retirement accounts and other savings accounts, and can be funded or drawn upon online or by phone. TD Ameritrade is available on all major mobile, tablet, and desktop devices.


TD Ameritrade is a major investing platform that allows traders to engage in all kinds of securities and commodites trading, from simple purchase and sale of individual securities, to options chains, swaps, margin trading, and other advanced trading features. It has access to every major exchange, fixed-income securities, CDs, bonds - everything. Opening an account is free, and users can receive incentives to sign up based on the size of their initial deposit, up to $600 for an initial deposit of $250,000 or greater.

As the new account bonus system may suggest, TD Ameritrade is designed for the investor or saver looking to concentrate a significant amount of their investments in one place. With the ability to combine and link multiple investment accounts, users with multiple portfolios, or savers with multiple investment vehicles like an IRA or 401(k) (which TD Ameritrade also offers), can comfortably unite their portfolios under a single user interface.

The browser version of TD Ameritrade offers all of these features and more in an intuitive user interface that is easily navigable and that has live help functionality built in as well. The mobile version is somewhat pared down, providing watchlists, user history, details on the user's portfolio with more detailed financials on each security available with a single click, and trading options.

TD Ameritrade's potent research tools are largely absent from its mobile version apart from charts and similar fairly basic tools. This is because those advanced research have all been migrated over to TD Ameritrade's own separate research app, ThinkOrSwim.

TD Ameritrade Brokerage Account

While anyone can use ThinkOrSwim (and they should, it is an amazing investing tool you'll hear more about elsewhere on this blog), TD Ameritrade is the only platform that currently links directly to it, allowing you to synch your watchlists and portfolios with ThinkOrSwim.

With or without ThinkOrSwim, TD Ameritrade is a massive, powerful platform whose users will do best to concentrate their investments under its single umbrella. Accounts are available for brand new investors and savers, and provides the broad research tools and investment options necessary to sustain anything from a serious retirement investment or retirement plan to the activity of a professional trader needing the full suite of options.

That all being said, those with smaller investments to make will find that TD Ameritrade, while it welcomes their business, does not devote much attention to it or work very hard to keep it. Retirement accounts cannot be automated by their investors until their investments reach certain relatively high thresholds, usually around $25,000. Many available funds have opening minimum investment thresholds, and some bonds and fixed-income securities can cost tens of thousands just to get in the door.

The smaller trader who grew up on Robinhood may also be surprised to see $10 going out the door for every trade, seriously curtailing the profitability of trades under $1,000 at a time. While all TD Ameritrade subscribers get 60 days of commission-free trading once their account is funded, fees and commissions can add up quickly (and suddenly, since TD Ameritrade neither alerts new users that their free trading period has ended, nor itemizes those fees on order confirmation pages). Most major professional-grade trading platforms will issue comparable fees, and the major investment houses are only differentiated by when, not how much, they charge these fees, so this is not a serious weakness for TD Ameritrade compared to its competition, like ScottTrade and e-Trade.
TD Ameritrade's brokerage account fee structure is fairly complicated. Despite the company's promise of "no hidden fees," the fees it tells you about are complicated and vary even among different account types, which can put some traders in the awkward position of losing value to a trade made from the wrong account. Fees range from $6.95 for ordinary online trades as high as $49.99 for no-load mutual funds and $1/$1,000 for forex trading.

While TD Ameritrade provides access to a wide range of commission-free, no-fee ETFs and mutual funds, this information is not provided to the end user at the initial stage of screening, which means investors looking to make small trades on either type of security may have to start and stop their hunt periodically as they manually winnow their stock picks into commissioned and commission-free categories.

TD Ameritrade brokerage account is a great home for an IRA's and major investments. But outside of the specialized vehicles that TD Ameritrade provides like retirement accounts, there is a dwindling incentive for active traders to use TD Ameritrade - or any other major trading platform. Because all of TD Ameritrade's best research tools are already available through ThinkOrSwim, and because nothing prevents users from using research done there on other apps like Robinhood, where limited-functionality trades can be made for free, many users may find it best for their investing strategy to stick with the free tools.

Apps like Robinhood are not yet able to replace the broad market access and multi-vehicle capacity of TD Ameritrade and its competitors like E-Trade and ScottTrade. For people looking to run their retirement accounts or their major investments under a single platform, TD Ameritrade is one of the simplest out there, with a great user interface and a rich library of educational material. But smaller traders looking to trade a few hundred dollars a day have no use for an app of that size for the up-front costs it imposes.

Updated on 9/25/2017.

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