Ally Invest vs TD Ameritrade vs Scottrade



Scottrade vs TD Ameritrade vs Ally Invest: Comparison Chart


Fees Stocks Mutual Funds Products Trading Tools Client Service Research
Ally Invest
fees
$4.95 $9.95
Scottrade
fees
$6.95 $17.00
TD Ameritrade
fees
$6.95 $49.99

TD Ameritrade vs Ally Invest vs Scottrade Overview


Ally Invest, Scottrade, and TD Ameritrade are three very different brokers. They emphasize different investment services, and each one has unique strengths and weaknesses. The following article will compare the three against each other and see if one can be considered the best value.


Customer Service


The three brokerage firms have representatives who can be reached over the phone. However, only TD Ameritrade offers this service 24 hours a day. Scottrade and Ally Invest do provide phone service on the weekend. Ally Invest also have on-line chat, which Scottrade and TD Ameritrade don't offer.

Both Scottrade and TD Ameritrade operate nationwide networks of branch locations. Currently, TD Ameritrade has more than 100 locations, while Scottrade maintains over 500. Ally Invest does not have any branch locations.

TD Ameritrade wins the category for its 24/7 phone service.


Pricing


Ally Invest (also known as TradeKing) has the lowest commission in our survey, charging just $4.95 for equity trades. Option contracts are just 65¢ extra. There is no minimum deposit to open an account. Clients making 30+ trades per quarter or with $100K account balance get $3.95 equity trades and 50¢ option contracts. A margin debit of $10,000 at Ally Invest currently costs 9.50%.

Scottrade's commission for stock and ETF trades is higher at $6.95. Derivative contracts are an additional 70¢. The broker has a $2,500 minimum opening deposit for a securities account, although there are no fees to keep it open. A loan of $10,000 in a margin account costs 8.25% right now.

TD Ameritrade charges $6.95 for ETF and stock transactions. Option traders pay an extra 75¢ for derivative contracts. There is no minimum deposit requirement and there are no account fees. Presently, the broker charges 9.25% for a margin loan of $10,000.

This category goes to Ally Invest.


Mutual Funds and ETF's


Ally Invest customers have access to over 8,500 mutual funds. Unfortunately, there are no funds here that have no load and no transaction fee. Funds with no load have a $9.95 charge, while funds with a load are free to buy and sell. The broker does not offer any ETF's commission-free. However, they don't have mutual fund short redemption fee that the two competitors charge.

Scottrade outperforms Ally Invest here, offering more than 11,400 mutual funds. Of these, there are 2,100 that carry no transaction fee and no load. Unfortunately, there are no commission-free ETF's here, either.

TD Ameritrade provides the most mutual funds at 11,900. Slightly more than 1,900 are no-load, no-transaction-fee products. The broker is the lone firm in our competition to provide ETF's that are free to trade. There are 101 exchange-traded funds that carry no commissions.

TD Ameritrade is victorious in this category.


Trading Technology


Despite Ally Invest's low commissions, the broker's website is nicely designed and easy to navigate. At the bottom of the browser is a simple trade bar. It shows important data, such as volume and bid-ask spread. However, it is not able to show a chart. A web-based platform named Ally Invest LIVE operates within a browser window. It is free for all clients. There is also a sophisticated desktop system, but it comes with active trader requirements.

Scottrade recently updated its site, and the changes have improved its navigability. The website has good charting tools, which allow a graph to be shown full screen. Hidden in the lower-left of the screen is a trading ticket. It is easily expanded so that orders can be entered. Scottrader Streaming Quotes is a basic platform, which is free to use. A more advanced platform called ScottradeELITE is available to active traders.

TD Ameritrade has the best website and trading ticket of the three. SnapTicket is a handy tool that appears at the bottom of the browsing window. It shows important trade information, is able to display a graph, and trades can be placed on it. The broker also offers Trade Architect, a Java-based platform that is launched from the website. A more sophisticated trading program, thinkorswim, is also available. The software has 400 technical studies. Both platforms are free for all traders.

TD Ameritrade wins again.


Mobile Apps


Trading on the go is available with all three firms. The Scottrade app has bill pay and mobile check deposit free of charge. The platform also has decent charting with a few technical studies. Unlike Scottrade, TD Ameritrade's app offers live streaming of CNBC free of charge. One of broker's three mobile apps is a thinkorswim version with advanced charting. There is mobile check deposit and paper trading as well. TD Ameritrade is the lone broker of the three that offers a platform for Apple Watch. The Ally Invest app is the least advanced of the three. It doesn't offer any live streaming of financial news.

Once again, the victory goes to TD Ameritrade.


Summary


TD Ameritrade won four categories, Ally Invest took first place in one category, and Scottrade failed in all categories. TD Ameritrade is the best overall choice. Despite the results, Ally Invest is an excellent broker for mutual fund and frequent stock and ETF traders as well as for beginners.


Scottrade June 2017 Update


Scottrade was acquired by TD Ameritrade last year. TD Ameritrade plans to fully integrate Scottrade by November of this year. For this reason it makes more sense to open an account with TD Ameritrade directly and skip possible transition inconveniences. New customers could take advantage of TD Ameritrade's bonus offer that allows them to trade for free for two months and gives up to $600 bonus.


Broker Reviews

More detailed information about each company in this comparison is available in our brokerage reviews articles:

TD Ameritrade brokerage review

Scottrade brokerage review

Ally Invest brokerage review.



Promotions

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

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

Ally Invest: Get a $100 cash bonus or $500 in commission-free trades with Ally Invest.



Updated on 5/31/2017.





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