TD Ameritrade App Rview
Investors at TD Ameritrade can use the thinkorswim platform on iPhone, iPad, and Android tablets and phones. Two background colors are available on the app: white or black. A menu appears at the bottom of the screen showing the features available. The menu is simple enough to navigate. Users will find icons for quotes, positions, orders, alerts, messages, chat rooms, balances, CNBC, and a mobile check deposit. Beyond placing an order, traders can review account and position data, and look over an earnings calendar. Alerts can also be created for any security.
As might be expected, thinkorswim in desktop version has much more features than the mobile application. For example, the mobile version is missing forex and futures trading. The desktop system also has news videos courtesy of Reuters and CNBC. The account's watch list is also missing on the mobile platform. Furthermore, the desktop version is better for researching securities.
Balances are shown on the app. They are broken down into several important categories, such as option buying power, long stock value, and cash and sweep positions.
A great feature the app has is paper trading
. Before or after logging in, users can switch to a practice account by clicking on "Switch Account" in the main menu. This virtual platform is an integral part of the app and lets investors practice trading with a fake currency. TD Ameritrade clients can practice different trading techniques and learn thinkorswim without putting actual money at risk. Alternating between a practice account and a regular account is quick and easy.
Entering a ticker symbol produces an option to display a chart. The graph can be displayed in candlestick, bar, line, or area format. Volume can be turned on or off, and the graph rotates horizontally when the device is placed horizontally. The graph range can be as little as 1 day and as long as 20 years, and the trade frequency can be set between 1 minute and 1 month.
Many technical indicators are available, including RSI, Bollinger Bands, and lesser-known ones such as Evening Star and Falling Three Methods. The colors of the technical indicators can be adjusted, and so can the values. There are trend studies such as MACD. Unfortunately, trend lines cannot be drawn on the chart, nor is there a Fibonacci tool.
Overall, the charting capability of thinkorswim is excellent.
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Placing Trades on the App
Trading securities on the mobile platform is straightforward. The first step to placing a trade is simply to enter a ticker symbol, because the app lacks research tools. Stocks, ETF's and options can be traded. After entering a stock or ETF symbol, the app will display a menu for options, chart, news, and depth. A few hyperlinked items will take the user back to the thinkorswim website.
Tapping on the options button displays an option chain for the security. The chain is customizable. Users can add or delete columns, such as open interest, bid, ask, volume, and % change. Holding down a put or call price produces more detailed information about that particular option contract. From there, tapping the word "Trade" produces an easy-to-use trade ticket. Multiple option orders can be placed for the same underlying security on one trade ticket.
The App Versus the Competition
The thinkorswim app fails in some areas compared to several of its rivals. For instance, the Fidelity application offers live streaming of market news from Bloomberg in HD, whereas
thinkorswim offers CNBC in standard definition. Asian and European versions of CNBC are shown on the thinkorswim app, but they are rarely on-line. The thinkorswim app
also doesn't display a watch list, whereas OptionsHouse's app does show a watch list. Additionally, the
OptionsHouse app has preprogrammed option strategies users can select when placing multi-leg option orders. On thinkorswim, traders must manually enter each option leg.
Thinkorswim doesn't display the day's market news, and there is no funds transfer availability. Moreover, there is no research for stocks and options on the app. It's
clear that this mobile platform is more of a trading platform than a regular account app.
Thinkorswim's app does have certain strengths compared to other mobile applications. Thinkorswim offers options trading
, for example,
while the Vanguard app does not. Fidelity and Firstrade apps don't offer paper trading, while thinkorswim does.
The charting capability on thinkorswim is one of the best in the industry. It's much better than what Scottrade and E*Trade offer, for example.
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Updated on 9/9/2016.