TD Ameritrade Review

Best Traditional IRA Brokerage

Best traditional IRA brokerage firm in 2015. Top online broker for IRA: review traditional retirement account fees, beginner support, trading tools, costs.

Best Traditional IRA Broker Pricing

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.

Investments 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
FeesTD Ameritrade fees

TD Ameritrade Traditional IRA Pros

  • 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
  • Users can practice trading without risking real money using PaperMoney virtual trading
  • Easy access to myTRADE trader community
  • No account maintenance or inactivity fees
  • Free streaming quotes, including Level II
  • Rich selection of independent, third-party research from 12 firms (Standard & Poor's, Morningstar, Jaywalk, TheStreet, etc.)
  • 100+ ETFs with no commissions
  • Large number of mutual funds - over 13,000 available; 2,500 NTF (no-transaction fee) funds
  • Free DRIP (dividend reinvestment plan)
  • No-fee IRA accounts

TD Ameritrade Traditional IRA Cons

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

Setting Up IRA

Setting up a new IRA is free with TDA. Applications take about 15 minutes to complete and are available online. In compliance with the US Patriot Act, investors will have to provide four important pieces of information to open an account:

  • U.S. Permanent Residential Address
  • Date of Birth
  • Social Security or Tax ID number
  • Employer name and address

TDA may require additional pieces of identification such as a State ID or a copy of a driver’s license before accepting funds. It is prudent to assume a two-week waiting period between initial application and availability of funds for trading in the online account. It is important to notify TDA of any changes in this information as any inconsistency can result in account suspension.

ThinkorSwim™ and Investor Education

TDA’s recent acquisition of ThinkorSwim has opened up a new dimension of trading to its IRA customers. Investors are now able to download and use proprietary software equivalent to the type of power-user applications available to professional stockbrokers. IRA investors can now trade equities, ETFs, future and Forex (FX) from the same account with the click of a button. Trades that were previously reserved for professional or authorized accounts are now available to the average investor looking for diversification.

To compliment the advancements in their trading platform, TDA has also assembled a comprehensive educational database for their clients. Investors can find the investment strategy right for them through webcasts, podcasts and YouTube videos. These free educational tools are available for download and can be saved to laptop or mobile device for future viewing at home or on the road.

Mobile Apps and Trading

Checking account balances and placing trades has never been easier with TDA’s mobile app. Available for both the iPhone or Android operating system, this free, light-weight mobile application allows users to read market headlines, check balances in real-time, download analyst reports and move money in or out of an account.

TDA’s mobile app has come a long way since its introduction. New functionality is added with each version update. In its latest version, TDA has allowed customers to deposit and withdrawal funds from an IRA account. Transactions post in real-time and often a message will appear inside the app within seconds informing the client that a buy or sell trade has been executed. Clients can then view their new portfolio and money market balances within seconds. ThinkorSwim™ is also available as a separate mobile app.

A New

TDA completely redesigned their domain about a year ago. The new sleek yet simplistic design is a clear upgrade from their previous late 90’s design. The website now loads much faster and more functionality is bundled into each webpage using Flash and Java technology. Contacting customer support is even easier with live chat and a secure inbox that allows messages from representatives to be available upon login.

The redesigned website has a mobile version for investors who may not be able to download the TDA mobile apps. TDA utilizes industry standard HTTPS and SSL Internet encryption to protect user information and account integrity. Users traveling abroad or using a VPN network may be asked to verify their identity by answering their secret security questions but will otherwise have the same functionality and customer support as when at home.

Initial Offers and Fees

TDA doesn’t charge setup or annual fees for IRA accounts. New accounts can be setup through initial deposit or as a rollover account from an employer or from a competing brokerage firm. Stock trades occur at $9.99 each and mutual funds trades occur at $49 per transaction. Unlike other brokerage firms, TDA doesn’t charge for extended-hour trading or cap the size of individual trades.

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The Best of TDAmeritrade

  • TDA does not charge an early IRA distribution fee
  • TDA has excellent customer service
  • Free mobile apps continue to increase in functionality and are invaluable to the investor on-the-go
  • Acquisition of ThinkorSwim™ technology allows end-users to use specialized trading software usually reserved for institutional traders
  • The “Education” section of the TDA website provides extensive documentation about understanding the different aspects of international finance

Concerns with the TDA platform

TDAmeritrade continues to charge $9.99 per stock transaction — a rate that hasn’t been competitive since the late 1990’s.

Despite upgrades, the domain is often slow to load. The website has become more difficult to access from slower connections with the increase in graphic content.

Best Traditional IRA Review Conclusion

TDA has a proven track record of providing both brick-and-mortar and online brokerage products to customers around the world. TDA has made great progress in providing streaming online content with education material relevant to beginning and advanced users. Overall the TDA Traditional IRA platform would be advisable for investors both large and small, advanced and just beginning their investment portfolio.

TD Ameritrade Promotion Link

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This article was updated on 8/31/2015.

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