TD Ameritrade vs TradeZero

TD Ameritrade thinkorswim vs TradeZero—which is better in 2023? Compare investing accounts, online trading fees, stock broker extended hours, and differences.

Overview of TradeZero and TD Ameritrade

Although TD Ameritrade is much better known than TradeZero, the latter broker does offer many good trading services that are worth considering. But will they be enough to cause TD Ameritrade customers to jump ship? Let’s find out.


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


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


TD Ameritrade: $0 commissions + transfer fee reimbursement.

TradeZero: Trade stocks, options & ETFs for free.

1st Category: Asset Classes

At TD Ameritrade, investors can buy and sell the following financial vehicles:

  • Fixed-income assets
  • ETFs
  • Options
  • Equities
  • Mutual funds
  • Closed-end funds
  • Forex
  • Futures

The last category includes bitcoin futures, but not other cryptocurrency contracts.

TradeZero customers get access to the following assets:

  • Stocks
  • Options
  • ETFs
  • Warrants

Winner: TD Ameritrade has the edge in this category.

2nd Category: Trading Tech

To trade the above investment vehicles, both brokers offer some pretty advanced software. TD Ameritrade has a sophisticated (but easy-to-use) website with several great features. A trade bar at the bottom of the site is able to transmit orders to the exchanges for stocks, ETFs, closed-end funds, and option contracts. A small graph is displayed on it, and the tool has a rapid-fire mode for quick transmission.

Next is the broker’s very advanced desktop platform. Called thinkorswim, it packs quite a punch, delivering several hundred technical studies along with many other charting tools. The trade ticket provides several advanced order types, and a demo mode makes practicing a breeze.


Finally, the broker offers two mobile apps with several nice tools, including:

Ameritrade Mobile

  • Mobile check deposit
  • Mutual fund, forex, options, and futures trading
  • Advanced charting
  • Live streaming of CNBC
  • And more

At TradeZero, there is no website trading. Instead, customers get to choose from three platforms. The first is ZeroFree. As the name implies, this one carries no monthly charge. It offers real-time news and hard-to-borrow locating. However, many features are missing. To get options trading, hot keys, and Level II windows, you have to pay extra or upgrade to ZeroWeb. The most advanced platform is ZeroPro, which costs $59 per month. It has:


  • A stock screener
  • The day’s market movers
  • Alerts
  • Ability to display up to 10 chart windows simultaneously
  • And more

For mobile trading, the broker offers one mobile app, but only for ZeroWeb and ZeroPro customers. Its most notable feature is hard-to-borrow locating.


Winner: TD Ameritrade imposes neither fees nor requirements on any of its software and so wins this category.

3rd Category: Day Trading

Margin: Both TD Ameritrade and TradeZero offer margin accounts. Currently, TradeZero has better margin rates (9% versus 13.75%).

Level II Quotes: Although both broker-dealers offer Level II data, only TD Ameritrade offers it for free.

Extended-Hours Trading: Both firms provide extended-hours sessions, but TradeZero offers more hours.

Shorting: TD Ameritrade customers don’t have access to a short-locate feature, but TradeZero clients do.

Routing fees and rebates. Only TradeZero offers routing rebates and fees for adding and removing liquidity.

Winner: TradeZero is our pick in this category.

5th Category: Other Services

Dividend Reinvestment Program: TD Ameritrade clients can reinvest dividends as additional shares of the securities that pay them. TradeZero doesn’t offer DRIP service.

Automatic Mutual Fund Investing: TD Ameritrade clients can do the same thing with mutual funds. TradeZero obviously doesn’t offer the service.

IRAs: Same story with Individual Retirement Accounts.

Winner: TD Ameritrade is the easy pick in the final category.


Beginners: TradeZero doesn’t have the same level of customer support that TD Ameritrade customers receive. The latter broker also has better learning materials; and we really like the demo mode on its desktop platform and mobile app cousin.

Mutual Fund Traders: For obvious reasons, our pick is TD Ameritrade.

Retirement Savers: TD Ameritrade offers more than just IRAs: there are target-date mutual funds, a solo 401k plan, a robo account, and financial advice.

Equity Trading: Finally, we get to a category that’s not the easiest decision. If you want to receive rebates for directly routing orders or plan to short stocks that are hard to locate, you might want to go with TradeZero; although you will have to pay software fees if you need Level II data.


TD Ameritrade: $0 commissions + transfer fee reimbursement.

TradeZero: Trade stocks, options & ETFs for free.

TradeZero vs TD Ameritrade Verdict

TradeZero is only competitive for short-term equity trading. For everything else, TD Ameritrade is a much better choice.

Broker Reviews

Go to TD Ameritrade Review or to Tradezero 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.