TD Ameritrade vs Firstrade

Firstrade or TD Ameritrade - which is better in 2021? Compare IRA/Roth accounts, online investing fees, stock broker mutual fund rates, and differences.


TD Ameritrade (TDA) is a large well-known broker that advertises a lot. Firstrade, on the other hand, is a small brokerage house that is not well known and does not advertise very much. And there are many other differences between these two firms. Let's compare and contrast them and see which one is better - TD Ameritrade or Firstrade.


Broker Fees Stock/ETF
Mutual Fund
Annual IRA
Firstrade $0 $0 $0 per contract $0 $0
TD Ameritrade $0 $49.99 $0.65 per contract $0 $0

When it comes to commissions, Firstrade is much better priced than TD Ameritrade. The firm also offers lower margin rates, which is important if you'll be borrowing money from your broker.


Broker Review Cost Investment Products Trading Tools Customer Service Research Overall Rating
TD Ameritrade


Firstrade: Get 3 FREE stocks and $0 commission in ALL trades!

TD Ameritrade: $0 commissions + transfer fee reimbursement.


TD Ameritrade customers have a large selection of trading tools to choose from; and all of them are free. The first is the website, which is very sophisticated, but easy to navigate. Charting has several nice features, including the ability to save a chart. There is a trading bar called SnapTicket, which sits inside the web browser. Trades can be placed directly from it, and a small graph can be displayed on it as well.

Trade Architect is a browser-based trading platform, and thinkorswim is a much more advanced desktop platform with very sophisticated tools. CNBC streams live on both free of charge.

Firstrade also has a user-friendly website, although it has less material on it. The Firstrade site has a trading ticket that sits at the bottom of the window, like TD Ameritrade's. Both trading bars have similar features and capabilities.

Firstrade vs Ameritrade

Unlike TD Ameritrade, Firstrade does not offer any trading platforms, so the website is it. Charting on Firstrade's site includes many technical studies and several graph styles, although thinkorswim has more.

TD Ameritrade wins this category.

Ameritrade versus Firstrade

Mobile Apps

Firstrade provides a mobile app that can be used on an Apple or Android tablet or phone. Trades for stocks, ETF's, and options can be placed on it. Mutual fund trading is not available. There are no security research tools on Firstrade's app, and it also doesn't have check deposit or funds transfer.

Firstrade or TD Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade customers have a total of three apps to choose from. A basic app can place orders for mutual funds and deposit paper checks. The other two apps are more sophisticated; they have live streaming of CNBC and advanced charting tools. TD Ameritrade also has an app for Apple Watch, which Firstrade doesn't offer.

TD Ameritrade or Firstrade

Firstrade fails here, too.

Customer Support

Investors at TD Ameritrade have access to customer service over the phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The broker offers Spanish and Chinese language speakers in addition to an international phone number for customers who are outside the United States. The brokerage house does not offer on-line chat, but there is a robo-chat feature on its website that does a good job of answering most questions. Clients who prefer in-person service will find it at one of TD Ameritrade's 100+ brick-and-mortar locations.

A Firstrade associate can be reached over the phone Monday through Friday from 8 o'clock in the morning until 6 o'clock in the evening, EST. During these hours, the website hosts a convenient on-line chat feature. Unfortunately, there are no weekend service hours, and the broker does not have a nationwide network of branch locations. Firstrade does offer Chinese language websites, in both Traditional and Simplified versions, plus Chinese language phone support. Like TD Ameritrade, Firstrade has an overseas number.

Overall, TD Ameritrade offers the better package.

Trading in Funds

TD Ameritrade's mutual fund screener generates over 13,000 products that are available for purchase by new investors. Over 4,200 of these funds have zero load and zero transaction fee. Many criteria can be selected on the screener. These include NAV return, transaction fee status, and Sharpe ratio.

TD Ameritrade customers must pay $49.99 for non-NTF funds, and the charge is applicable on both the buy and sell sides. If the fund is an NTF security, there is a $49.99 short-term redemption fee if the fund is sold in under 180 days.

Firstrade clients have access to roughly 10,000 mutual funds that are available for purchase. Over 3,200 have no load; but there is no way to know for certain how many funds have zero transaction fee because the Firstrade screener lacks the ability to look for NTF funds.

All mutual funds at Firstrade have $0 commission.

Both TD Ameritrade and Firstrade offer all ETF's without trading fees. There are many fund families: PowerShares, Vanguard, iShares and others.

TD Ameritrade has the larger selection and better search tools, but Firstrade has the better fund pricing. We'll call it a draw here.

Commissions and Account Minimums

Investment accounts at both Firstrade and TD Ameritrade have no on-going fees, such as low-balance, inactivity, or annual fees. Neither broker-dealer has a minimum opening deposit requirement.

For stock and ETF trades, TD Ameritrade and Firstrade are at the rock bottom $0. Options at TD Ameritrade cost 65 cents. Firstrade clients pay nothing.

Firstrade succeeds in the final category.


Firstrade: Get 3 FREE stocks and $0 commission in ALL trades!

TD Ameritrade: $0 commissions + transfer fee reimbursement.

Firstrade vs TD Ameritrade - Results

TD Ameritrade won 3 categories, Firstrade was successful in the crucial Cost category, and there was one tie. TD Ameritrade is the winner. Despite the outcome, Firstrade would be a wise choice for budget-conscious investors.