TD Ameritrade vs Tastyworks


2023: TD Ameritrade/thinkorswim vs Tastyworks. Compare brokerage fees, options/futures accounts, & stock trading platforms. Which broker is better?


TD Ameritrade vs. tastyworks Introduction


If you’re looking for a brokerage firm with great software and low fees, both TD Ameritrade and tastyworks should be high on your list. Consider the following comparison before choosing one over the other:


Cost


Broker Fees Stock/ETF
Commission
Mutual Fund
Commission
Options
Commission
Maintenance
Fee
Annual IRA
Fee
TD Ameritrade $0 $49.99 ($0 to sell) na $0 $0
Tastyworks $0 na $0.50 per contract $0 $0


Services


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


Promotions


tastyworks: $0 commissions + $75 for each friend referred with this referral code.

TD Ameritrade: $0 commissions + transfer fee reimbursement.



1st Category: Available Assets


tastyworks customers can buy and sell the following investment vehicles:

  • Equities
  • ETFs
  • Closed-end funds
  • Futures
  • Cryptocurrencies

TD Ameritrade doesn’t have cryptocurrencies, which is strike one in this category. But it does offer the other asset classes tasty has. Plus, Ameritrade has mutual funds, forex, and fixed-income securities, which are unavailable at tastyworks.

TD Ameritrade charges $2.25 per contract, per side for trades of futures. tastyworks customers pay $1.25 per contract or less.

Winner: Disputable


2nd Category: Margin


Both broker-dealers in this contest offer cash and margin accounts. At tastyworks, it is not possible to convert one account type into another. So, for example, if you want to upgrade a cash account into a margin account, you must open a new account. At TD Ameritrade, this is not necessary. An account can easily be switched between the two types on the broker’s website.

In the realm of pricing, however, TD Ameritrade doesn’t perform as well. It charges interest on a sliding scale that starts at 13.75% and drops to 11.75%. tastyworks’s sliding scale ranges from 11% to 8%.

Neither brokerage firm displays margin details for specific assets on its trading platforms, but it should.

Winner: Debatable


3rd Category: Website Technology


To actually place a trade inside a margin or cash account, tastyworks clients have a pretty good browser platform. It can be launched by clicking on the Trading Platform tab in the top menu of the site. Doing so will create a new browser tab with the platform.


tastyworks vs td ameritrade


During our test drive of this trading system, we really liked the journal feature. It can be accessed by clicking on the Journal tab in the left-hand menu. It’s easy to create notes, edit them, link them to trades, and search through them by keywords.

The tasty browser platform also has a Follow tab. Here, it’s possible to see what other traders at tastyworks, including both customers and employees, have been buying and selling. The platform’s trade ticket has just 4 order types and 3 duration choices.

The order form on TD Ameritrade’s website, by comparison, has many more trade types. During our investigation, we found 13 trade types. And there are 6 time-in-force choices.


TD Ameritrade or tastyworks


The downside is that the TD Ameritrade website doesn’t have the note-taking and community aspects that we saw with tastyworks. But it more than makes up for these failures with much better charting. A graph on the TD website can be displayed full screen, and there are many tools. These features are unavailable for charts on the tasty website.

Winner: Overall, pretty even


4th Category: Desktop Platforms


Both broker-dealers in this contest have desktop platforms. tasty’s is modeled somewhat after its browser platform. Both have similar interfaces. Once again, there are only 4 trade types. But charting is on a higher level. This time, a graph can be displayed almost full screen, and there are about 150 technical studies.


tastyworks vs thinkorswim


thinkorswim is TD Ameritrade’s desktop platform. It also has very good charting. A graph can be blown up the full size of the computer monitor, and there are roughly 400 technical studies.


thinkorswim vs tastyworks


The order ticket has over 10 trade types. An order can be saved for later use, which is not possible on the tastyworks platform.

Winner: TD Ameritrade


5th Category: Other Software


tastyworks has a mobile app that functions on Android and Apple phones and tablets. TD Ameritrade has the same except that it has two apps. One is a thinkorswim version that has the most powerful mobile trading features in this contest.


tastyworks or TD Ameritrade


TD Ameritrade, but not tastyworks, has an app for Apple Watch.


TD Ameritrade vs tastyworks


Winner: TD Ameritrade


6th Category: Day Trading


A tastyworks account that has been flagged as a PDT (pattern-day trading) account can be reset on the broker’s website. The tool to do this is on the Trading Preferences page, which is located under the My Accounts tab. Customers can reset a PDT account once every 90 days.

The TD Ameritrade site has a tool to issue a warning whenever an account is about to reach PDT status. This alert can be turned on and off by going to the My Profile screen and clicking on the edit link for the alert. It is under the Elections & Routing sub-section.

Shorting: Short positions are possible at either brokerage firm in this competition. Both of them have discrete sell short buttons on their platforms.

Routing Fees and Rebates: Not available at either firm.

Extended Hours: Both broker-dealers offer trading before the opening bell and after the closing bell. Ameritrade has lengthier sessions.

Level II Quotes: TD Ameritrade, but not tastyworks, has Level II quotes.

Direct-access Routing: Only TD Ameritrade customers can send orders to specific market centers.

Winner: TD Ameritrade


7th Category: Other Services


Fractional-Share Trading: Neither tastyworks nor TD Ameritrade offers fractional-share trading in stocks or exchange-traded funds. tastyworks does offer fractional-coin trading with a $1 minimum trade amount.

Banking Tools: Only TD Ameritrade has checks and a Visa debit card (with ATM fee refunds, no less).

Recurring Purchases of Mutual Funds: Available inside a TD Ameritrade account.

Individual Retirement Accounts: Both companies have IRAs. TD Ameritrade has more IRA types. Plus, it doesn’t have an IRA closeout fee. tastyworks charges $60.

DRIP Service: Both brokerage houses offer this service for free.

Initial Public Offerings: Only Ameritrade offers access to upcoming stock releases.

Winner: TD Ameritrade


Promotions


tastyworks: $0 commissions + $75 for each friend referred with this referral code.

TD Ameritrade: $0 commissions + transfer fee reimbursement.



Now, Our Recommendations


Mutual Fund Trading: Only Ameritrade offers it.

Stock & ETF Trading: TD Ameritrade has much better research tools, including screeners on both its website and desktop platform.

Beginners: New investors should start with mutual funds at TD.

Small Accounts: Futures traders should go with tastyworks for its lower futures commission. Small IRAs should choose TD Ameritrade. For other types of trading, it’s about even.

Long-Term Investors & Retirement Savers: Multiple account types are available at these two firms. Only TD Ameritrade offers solo 401k accounts and target-date mutual funds.


TD Ameritrade vs tastyworks Verdict


Each brokerage firm in this challenge has its own advantages and disadvantages. With our research, you should now be able to choose the right one for your trading program.


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 Brokerage-Review.com, Chad can usually be found managing his portfolio or building a new home computer.