TD Ameritrade vs Public

TD Ameritrade or Public—which app is better in 2022? Compare investing accounts, online trading fees, stock broker extended hours, and differences.

Overview of Public and TD Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade advertises heavily, which means it is a widely-known firm. Public doesn’t advertise very much, and it is a much smaller broker. Is Public a hidden gem just waiting to be discovered? Let’s find out.

Public and TD Ameritrade Cost

Broker Fees Stock/ETF
Mutual Fund
Annual IRA
TD Ameritrade $0 $49.99 ($0 to sell) $0 $0
Public $0 na na $0 $0

Public and TD Ameritrade Services

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

Open Account

Public: Get a FREE stock and $0 commission stocks/ETFs/partial shares.

TD Ameritrade: $0 commissions + transfer fee reimbursement.

1st Category: Assets That Can Be Traded

At Public, traders can buy and sell closed-end funds, stocks, cryptocurrencies, and ETF’s. Those are the only four investment vehicles the brokerage firm currently offers.

Public vs Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade offers a much larger selection: stocks, closed-end funds, ETF’s, mutual funds, bonds, options, futures, and forex. And futures include bitcoin futures.

TD Ameritrade triumphs in the first category.

2nd Category: Education

TD Ameritrade customers get a lot of learning materials via multiple sources. The broker’s website hosts an educational hub where many resources will be found. During our investigation, we found articles, webinars, videos, and in-person events on a wide variety of investment topics, from trading options to investing in mutual funds to saving for education. The broker publishes a quarterly investment newsletter, thinkMoney®, and operates its own TV network, aptly entitled TD Ameritrade Network.

Public’s website hosts a few articles covering basic investment topics, such as dollar-cost averaging and setting goals. That’s the extent of its educational service.

TD Ameritrade by a mile.

3rd Category: Funds

The TDA website hosts powerful screeners for mutual and exchange-traded funds. Search criteria include:

  • Morningstar category
  • Socially-responsible funds
  • Distribution yield
  • Expense ratio
  • Standard deviation
  • And many more

Fund profiles deliver plenty of information, including free fund analysis and trade recommendations from several third parties.

Public vs TD Ameritrade

Public doesn’t provide fund screeners or fund analysis. Fund profiles have very limited data on them.

TD Ameritrade once again.

4th Category: Equity Research

Going from funds to stocks, the situation is much the same. TD Ameritrade clients get equity reports at no cost from several analysts, including CFRA and Stock profiles host lots of information, including financial statements, peer comparisons, upcoming company events, earnings histories, and SEC filings. A stock screener is available on the broker’s site and on its desktop platform (more on that next).

As with funds, Public offers no stock screener and no research reports. Profiles have less information than TD Ameritrade provides.

Public suffers yet another defeat.

5th Category: Software

TD Ameritrade customers can place trades on the broker’s website or desktop platform. The latter comes with professional-level charting, an advanced trade ticket with several order types, and live streaming of CNBC. Besides stocks and ETF’s, the software can be used to trade futures and forex. Perhaps best of all is simulated trading, available with the same login credentials.


Public’s website doesn’t have a login, so obviously there’s no trading on it.

Add another victory to TD Ameritrade’s list.

6th Category: Mobile Apps

So where do Public customers place trades? On the broker’s mobile app, which is pretty bare bones. There are only three order types, and charting is dreadful. There is a social networking feature on the app, the one major highlight. Social Trading

TD Ameritrade actually has 2 mobile apps, one regular version and the other modeled after its desktop platform. Combined, they offer mobile check deposit, a demo mode, and video news, none of which are available on Public’s app.

TD Ameritrade

Advanced features include:

  • Charting with tools
  • Forex and futures trading
  • Order ticket with OCO orders
  • Level II quotes
  • Options and mutual fund trading

TD Ameritrade definitely.

7th Category: Other Services

DRIP service: You can sign up for free dividend reinvesting at TD Ameritrade or Public.

IRAs: You can open a no-fee IRA at TD Ameritrade, but not at Public.

Whole-dollar investing: Finally, a service that Public offers that’s not available to TD Ameritrade clients.

Overall, it’s a draw in the final category.

Our Recommendations

Equity Trading: With TD Ameritrade’s excellent software, it’s an easy decision.

Beginning Traders: TD Ameritrade is the better choice by far.

Retirement Savers and Long-Term Investors: On top of Individual Retirement Accounts, TD Ameritrade also provides self-employed 401(k) plans, investment advice, annuities, and target-date mutual funds.

Small Accounts: We can defend both brokers here.

Open Account

Public: Get a FREE stock and $0 commission stocks/ETFs/partial shares.

TD Ameritrade: $0 commissions + transfer fee reimbursement.

Public vs TD Ameritrade Summary

TD Ameritrade has won this contest by a long mile. We do suggest Public, however, for whole-dollar investing in stocks and ETF’s and for social investing.

Since both brokers are free and there is no cost to maintain an account, we recommend opening accounts at both places and seeing for yourself which of these firms works better for you.

Broker Reviews

Go to Public Review
or to TD Ameritrade Review

About the Author
Chad Morris is a financial writer with more than 20 years experience as both an English teacher and an avid trader. When he isn’t writing expert content for, Chad can usually be found managing his portfolio or building a new home computer.