Ally versus Thinkorswim

Ally Invest vs Thinkorswim

Thinkorswim (TOS) vs Ally Invest - which is better in 2020? Compare trading platforms, online account fees, stock broker tools, and differences.


Ally Invest customers have access to a browser-based trading platform called Ally Invest LIVE. TD Ameritrade offers thinkorswim, a desktop platform. This article will compare these technologies to each other and try to determine which brokerage firm is the better value.

Ally vs Thinkorswim - Cost

Broker Fees Stock/ETF
Mutual Fund
Annual IRA
Ally Invest $0 $9.95 $0.50 per contract $0 $0
Thinkorswim $0 $49.99 $0.65 per contract $0 $0

As you see, Ally Invest is better priced broker for mutual funds investors and options traders. Stocks and ETF investors have the same commissions at both brokers.


Broker Review Cost Investment Products Trading Tools Customer Service Research Overall Rating
Ally Invest


Ally Invest: Up to $3,500 cash bonus + $0 commission trades.

TD Ameritrade/Thinkorswim: $0 commission stock and ETF trades.

Ally Invest LIVE

Ally’s trading platform is free for all clients and launches from the website. It forms its own window or tab. It is composed of several tiles, each with its own theme, such as stock market indexes, orders, account value, funds transfer, quotes, and a market clock.

Ally vs thinkorswim

The quote tile provides a quick stock price along with a drop-down menu for research, option chains, a more detailed quote, and a chart. Selecting quote produces a wide window on the right-hand side of the screen where more detailed information is presented.

Option chains include puts and calls, but no advanced strategies. Clicking on a bid or ask price produces an order ticket for the appropriate contract.

Going from options to charting, Ally Invest LIVE presents an easy-to-ready graph with large red and green candlesticks. A price history can go out to five years, which isn’t very far. There are about 90 technical studies. Drawing tools include vertical lines and rectangles. There are six graph styles. Although a chart can be detached into its own window, we weren’t able to display this correctly in either Chrome or Firefox.

Ally vs TOS

Research tools on LIVE are very limited. For an entered ticker symbol, the software returns news articles and a few data points, such as 52-week high. There are also news stories on the market as a whole.


Next up is TD Ameritrade’s flagship trading platform thinkorswim. It is a desktop program and it offers a simulated trading login for investors who need to practice it. Due to the software’s complexity, this is recommended.

Charting is very sophisticated in thinkorswim. It has around four hundred technical indicators, more than Ally Invest LIVE. A CNBC logo can be displayed at each point along a graph where a news story was released about the stock. There are many drawing tools available, including Andrews’ Pitchfork, Fibonacci gizmos, and regression lines. A chart can be displayed full screen and company events can be shown.

Ally vs TOS

Besides the software’s great charting tools, thinkorswim also offers forex and futures trading. While Ally Invest does offer forex and futures trading, these products cannot be traded on LIVE.

Thinkorswim comes with option and stock scanners that can look for securities based on a wide range of criteria. These include volume, bid, yield, implied volume, and theta. A backtesting tool called thinkBack is also available on the platform.

Besides live streaming of CNBC, thinkorswim also has an on-demand CNBC video library. This resource can be searched by ticker symbol for stories about a particular company.

Despite its professional capabilities, thinkorswim is completely free to use.

Thinkorswim Trading Platform

Mobile Apps

Ally Invest has one mobile app, and it’s compatible with Apple and Android devices. The platform has a convenient mobile check deposit, but it can’t trade mutual funds, a disappointing oversight. Decent charting is available, and a graph can be displayed horizontally.

TD Ameritrade actually has three apps, one of which is a thinkorswim version. Amazingly, it boasts a lot of the same powerful trading tools of its desktop cousin. One of the apps can trade mutual funds, and two of them stream CNBC free of charge, something that the Ally platform doesn’t offer.

Other Technologies

Besides its mobile platforms, and thinkorswim, TD Ameritrade provides a skill for Amazon Echo and Echo Show. It is able to return stock market data, including indexes and prices for individual stocks. Echo Show displays in-depth information, such as volume and bid-ask spread. TD Ameritrade customers can also use an app on Apple Watch, a convenient feature that Ally doesn’t offer.


As already mentioned, there are no software fees at either brokerage firm. TD Ameritrade clients pay $0 for stock and ETF trades. Options cost an extra 65¢ each. Assignments and exercises cost $0. An account can be opened with zero deposit, and there are no regular fees, such as annual or low balance charges.

At Ally Invest, ETF and stock transactions cost $0. Derivatives are an additional 50¢. Assignments and exercises are $0. An investment account at Ally can be opened with no money down, and there are no account fees.


Ally Invest: Up to $3,500 cash bonus + $0 commission trades.

TD Ameritrade/Thinkorswim: $0 commission stock and ETF trades.

Thinkorswim vs Ally Recommendations

Ally Invest would be the better choice for frequent traders and investors who need the lowest commissions, but can handle basic trading tools. TD Ameritrade would be a wise choice for investors who want the best technology.