TD Ameritrade vs Etrade vs Ally Invest

Ally Invest vs TD Ameritrade vs Etrade

Compare Etrade vs TD Ameritrade and Ally Invest: fees, IRA (ROTH), investment products, account pros and cons. Which broker is the best?

Overview of Etrade vs TD Ameritrade vs Ally

Three brokerage firms that are in direct competition with each other are Ally Invest, TD Ameritrade, and E*Trade. While they have a lot in common, there are important differences among them. Let’s check them out.

Ally Invest vs Etrade vs TD Ameritrade: Comparison Chart

Broker Fees Stock/ETF
Mutual Fund
Annual IRA
Ally Invest $0 $9.95 $0.50 per contract $0 $0
TD Ameritrade $0 $49.99 $0.65 per contract $0 $0
Etrade $0 $19.95 $0.65 per contract $0 $0

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

Mutual and Exchange-Traded Funds

The E*Trade mutual fund screener shows 8,432 funds that are available for purchase by new investors. Of these, 4,270 carry no load and no transaction fee. The broker offers its clients 154 ETF’s that are free to trade.

Clients of Ally Invest can buy and sell 7,932 mutual funds. The broker does not offer any securities that are both no load and no transaction fee. A no-load fund has a $9.95 fee on both the buy and sell side. There are 1,627 no-load funds at Ally. The broker does offer 500+ commission-free ETF’s.

TD Ameritrade’s fund screener displays 11,743 products that are open to new investors. Of these, 3,780 are available with no loads and no transaction fees. There are 550+ commission-free ETF’s at TD Ameritrade.

It’s a tie between Ally Invest and TD Ameritrade.

The Cost of Trading

Traders at Ally Invest pay a very low $0 for equity transactions. Derivatives cost an extra 50¢. E*Trade is at $0. Options are at 65¢, with a 15¢ discount for active traders.

TD Ameritrade has great commission schedule with stock and ETF trades costing $0.

Ally Invest and TD Ameritrade require zero money down to open an account. E*Trade has a $500 opening deposit requirement. There are no annual fees at any of the firms, nor are there any low-balance or inactivity charges.

Ally Invest is the best choice here.

Customer Service

All three brokers have 24/7 customer service over the phone. While Ally Invest and E*Trade have on-line chat as well, TD Ameritrade does not. TDA does have a robo-chat function on its website. It does a decent job of answering most questions. Ally has no branch locations. E*Trade has 30, while TD Ameritrade has the most at 550+. Ally Invest used to have a trader forum, but it’s been taken down.

Overall, TD Ameritrade offers the better package here.

Trading Tools

E*Trade has an easy-to-navigate website that offers order placement via web pages. There is no trade bar on the site. A dashboard called E*Trade 360 displays a lot of helpful information along with a simple order ticket. Charting on the website has some advanced features, including comparisons, indicators, and different graph styles. A desktop platform is available for active traders.

Unlike E*Trade, TD Ameritrade has a desktop platform that is free for all clients. The broker also provides a simpler browser-based trading system called Trade Architect, which is great for beginners or even seasoned traders who don’t need the sophistication of thinkorswim. The TD Ameritrade website boasts a really handy trade bar called SnapTicket. Orders can be directly submitted from it. While the two trading platforms have good charting tools, the website itself also does.

The Ally Invest website has a nice trade bar, but it doesn’t measure up to SnapTicket. Ally also doesn’t provide desktop software; but it does have a browser-based platform called Ally Invest LIVE. It’s comparable to Trade Architect. Option chains are available along with good charting tools. A convenient order ticket sits on the right-hand side of the screen.

TD Ameritrade easily wins here.


TD Ameritrade: Trade stocks and ETFs for free + get up to $600 bonus.

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

Etrade: Get $2,500 cash bonus when you open an account with $1 million.

Mobile Apps

Ally Financial incorporated its brokerage accounts into its regular Ally app, meaning that both investment and bank accounts are accessed through it. Market news, option chains, charting, account data, and watchlists are all available. Unfortunately, there is no streaming of financial news. A platform is available for Android and Apple watches.

The E*Trade mobile app has some nice features, many of which are similar to Ally’s. These include charting, account information, option chains, and funds transfer. E*Trade has a smartwatch app for Apple, but not Android. Active traders who pay $99.95 per month have access to live streaming of CNBC.

TD Ameritrade actually has three mobile apps, one of which is simply the desktop platform condensed into a mobile app. It has very advanced charting. It and another app both provide live streaming of CNBC at no cost. There is also a platform for Apple Watch. Useful features are found on all four platforms.

The victory here goes to TD Ameritrade.

Managed Accounts and Investment Advice

All three brokers offer self-directed and managed accounts. TD Ameritrade offers both robo-managed and human-managed advisory packages. The broker’s robot costs just 30 basis points per year and requires a $5,000 minimum. It trades low-cost ETF’s. Human advisors can trade more than just exchange-traded funds. They cost up to 1.25% and require a $25,000 deposit. They are available at the broker’s many branch locations.

Ally Invest offers a robo-advisory service for just 0.0% per year and a $100 minimum. It trade ETF’s only. The broker does not offer any human advisors at any price.

E*Trade offers both human and robo-advisory packages. The company’s robot, called Adaptive Portfolio, charges just 30 basis points per year. It does require a $10,000 deposit of funds, although IRA’s need just $5,000. The broker has had a special in the past offering the first six months at no cost. E*Trade’s human advisors cost less than 90 basis points, and mutual funds are available in some of these packages. There is a $25,000 minimum.

TD Ameritrade wins the final category.

TD Ameritrade vs Ally Invest vs Etrade - Results

TD Ameritrade (read review) won three categories, Ally Invest (read review) was successful once, E*Trade (read review) failed to pick up a single category, and there was one tie between TD Ameritrade and Ally Invest. TD Ameritrade is our victor. Despite the result, Ally Invest is the better choice for anyone looking for a bargain.

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