TD Ameritrade rating

TD Ameritrade

USAA rating

USAA


USAA vs TD Ameritrade



Account Pricing, Commissions, and Fees




TD Ameritrade


USAA

  • Stocks and ETFs: $6.95
  • Stocks and ETFs broker assisted: $44.99
  • Options: $6.95 + $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.
  • Investment products: stocks, mutual funds, options, ETFs, bonds, CDs, UITs, futures, and forex
  • TD Ameritrade minimum deposit to open account: $0 for cash account, $2,000 for margin account
  • All TD Ameritrade fees
  • TD Ameritrade promotions

  • Stocks and ETFs: $8.95
  • Foreign stocks: $70
  • Stocks and ETFs broker assisted: $50
  • Options: $8.95 + $0.75 per contract
  • Mutual funds: $45
  • All listed corporate bonds: $25 + $3 per bond
  • U.S. treasury securities at auction: $45
  • Investment products: stocks, options, mutual funds, bonds, ETFs
  • USAA brokerage minimum deposit to open account: $0
  • All USAA brokerage fees




Broker Pros




TD Ameritrade


USAA

  • Very few fees and no surcharges on stocks under $1, large orders, or after-hours trading
  • Large and well-known company with 126 local branches
  • Two excellent trading platforms available to all clients: Thinkorswim and Trade Architect
  • Users can practice trading without risking real money using PaperMoney virtual trading
  • Easy access to myTRADE online trader community
  • No account maintenance or inactivity fees
  • Free streaming quotes, including Level II
  • Best selection of independent, third-party research from 13 firms (Standard & Poor's, Morningstar, Jaywalk, TheStreet, etc.)
  • 296 ETFs with no commissions
  • Large number of mutual funds - around 13,000 available; 4,051 NTF (no-transaction fee) funds
  • Free DRIP (dividend reinvestment plan)
  • No-fee IRA accounts

  • Excellent mobile app
  • No account maintenance, inactivity or hidden fees
  • Great customer service
  • Good banking services
  • No-fee IRA accounts




Broker Cons




TD Ameritrade


USAA

  • $49.99 commission on transaction-fee mutual funds is high
  • High margin rates

  • Higher than average commissions
  • Additional $0.01 per share is charged for stocks priced under $1
  • Basic trading tools
  • Few educational resources
  • Limited research services




New Account Promotions



TD Ameritrade: Trade free for 60 days + get up to $600.

USAA: none right now.




TD Ameritrade or USAA: Comparison Summary



USAA Investments (learn more) offers higher commissions than TD Ameritrade (learn more): $8.95 for stock and ETF trades versus $6.95 at the competitor. Both online brokerage houses don't have surcharges on extended hours trading and large size orders. They also don't impose many fees other online brokers charge. USAA Brokerage does levy additional commission on penny stock trades.

When it comes to trading technology, USAA Brokerage is far behind TD Ameritrade. Its trading tools is pretty basic, and lack in versatility and sophistication of the larger competitor. TD Ameritrade acquired one of the most innovative trading firms - ThinkOrSwim (learn more) - and now offers two excellent, professional level trading platforms to its customers for free as well as beautifully designed website trading.

Both discount brokerage companies don't have IRA accounts charges (annual and setup fees), and TD Ameritrade was included in our list of Best IRA Companies in 2018.

If you are new to investing or want comprehensive independent research, USAA Brokerage has little to offer. TD Ameritrade, on the other hand, provides lots of educational resources for beginner investors, access to an online investor community, free virtual trading as well as a large selection of independent, third-party investment research from Standard & Poor's, Morningstar, Jaywalk, TheStreet and others.

In summary, TD Ameritrade offers much more investment solutions for prospective customers than USAA. This makes the firm our recommended broker to most investors considering a brokerage account. But if you are already a customer of USAA and invest passively in mutual funds, ETFs and/or stocks, than opening a brokerage account at USAA makes sense.