TD Ameritrade rating

TD Ameritrade Self Directed (DIY) Investing Account

TD Ameritrade Self Directed Pricing

Stocks and ETFs $0
Stocks and ETFs broker assisted $25
Options $0.65 per contract
No-load mutual funds $49.99
Treasuries at auction $25
All other bonds and CMOs, CDs on a net yield basis
Futures $2.25 per contract plus exchange & regulatory fees
Forex Non-commission currency pairs trade in increments of 10,000 units (and do not contain a "#" symbol suffix). There are no additional fees or charges.

Investments stocks, mutual funds, options, ETFs, bonds, CDs, UITs, futures, and forex
TD Ameritrade minimum deposit to open account $0 for cash account, $2,000 for margin account
FeesTD Ameritrade fees
Promotion links TD Ameritrade promotions

Overview of TD Ameritrade Self Directed Account

TD Ameritrade is one of the largest and best known brokerage firms in the world. Let’s take a look at it and see what surprised us in this detailed 2020 TD Ameritrade review.

TD Ameritrade New Account Setup

At TD Ameritrade new account registration is well-designed and very fast: it typically takes 10-12 minutes to complete an application. Simply click on the broker promotion link - Trade stocks and ETFs for free + get up to $600 bonus. - press "Open New Account" button, and follow the instructions. When it's done, users are free to immediately login and explore the website. New customers can link to their bank account and fund their brokerage account right away - micro-deposits verification is not required.

TD Ameritrade is a member of SIPC which means that all brokerage accounts are insured in case of firm failure.

Mutual Funds

TD Ameritrade Mutual Funds Rating

The mutual fund screener on TD Ameritrade’s website returns 13,000+ securities that are open to new investors. This amount is larger than what many of the broker’s rivals offer, including Schwab and Merrill Edge. On TD Ameritrade’s long list of investments, there are 4,200 that come with no load and no transaction fee. This list, too, is larger than those offered by many of TD Ameritrade’s rivals.

Ameritrade Review: Funds

The broker’s fund screener offers many criteria to search by, including Morningstar style box, Sharpe ratio, R-squared, load status, and minimum investment. Results can be sorted by any of these variables. Results in some browsers were not always displayed correctly in our survey, although there is an option to display the results in a separate window, and this solved the problem.

A mutual fund’s profile page at TD Ameritrade has lots of important information on it, including SEC 30-day yield, net and gross expense ratios, a chart, the fund’s prospectus, a Morningstar report in pdf format, and buy and sell buttons.

TD Ameritrade’s website has a comparison tool where two or more funds can be compared side-by-side. The broker also provides a collection of mutual funds called the Premier List. These investments are chosen by Morningstar investment professionals and are believed to have a promising future.


TD Ameritrade ETF Rating

TD Ameritrade didn’t stop at its success in the mutual fund category. The brokerage house also provides some very attractive resources for ETF traders, not least of which is $0 commissions trading of all ETFs.

Like the mutual fund screener, the ETF screener presents many variables to narrow down the available funds to trade. Morningstar category, portfolio turnover, total assets, category rank, and trading volume are just a few of the criteria that can be selected. As with the mutual fund screener, the ETF screener’s results needed to be popped out into a separate window to correct for display errors.

Besides the screener, the TD Ameritrade website also provides an ETF center where a host of relevant materials can be found. The front page shows exchange-traded funds within a certain category, such as industrials or financial services. ETF’s with a global investment objective are also shown based on a world map.

TD Ameritrade’s site also hosts commentary on exchange-traded funds. Research reports from CFRA can be downloaded in pdf format free of charge. And we shouldn’t forget a fund’s profile page, which has lots of detailed information, including option chains for ETF’s with outstanding derivatives.

Banking Features

TD Ameritrade Banking Rating

Next in TD Ameritrade review are customers’ cash management needs. Checks and a Visa debit card can be added to a brokerage account free of charge. This does not create a separate account. It is simply the investment account with cash management tools added. Some brokers, like E*Trade, offer a separate bank account.

Even better than free checks and a debit card is TD Ameritrade’s generous policy to reimburse all ATM fees incurred while using its card anywhere in the U.S.

Free cash balances at TD Ameritrade are swept into FDIC-insured bank accounts that pay interest. The current APY varies between 0.05% and 0.45%, depending on the account’s balance.

Investment Education and Research

TD Ameritrade Research Rating

The TD Ameritrade website hosts a large collection of research and educational materials for securities traders. Besides investment products, financial topics such as retirement and education planning are available. There are even resources that cover futures and forex, which TD Ameritrade clients can trade.

Besides articles, there are also videos, self-guided courses, and playlists. The website tracks an account’s progress through all these materials. Points and badges are awarded for making progress through the website’s texts. Each resource has a certain number of points assigned to it, and these are awarded after completing the video or article.

Videos remember where you left off, and a video can be displayed full screen. In our testing, sometimes a video would not expand the width of the monitor. Captions are also available.

TD Ameritrade hosts on-line events regularly and even has a few in-person events in select cities. These are posted on the website, and each event has a registration link. Some examples of upcoming events include trading options, introduction to futures, and using the broker’s mobile platforms.

A stock’s profile page has lots of detailed information. A social signals section follows tweets about a particular stock. Analyst reports are available for download in pdf format at no charge. The broker uses no less than seven analysts.

TDA Commissions, Fees, and Account Requirements

TD Ameritrade Fees Rating

TD Ameritrade reduced its stock and ETF commissions to $0. Options cost 65¢ per contract, and assignments and exercises are $0. These numbers make TD Ameritrade an ultra low cost broker.

Placing a trade with TD Ameritrade’s automated phone system costs $5. Using a living, breathing agent instead of the robo-phone service costs $25.

Mutual funds that aren’t on the broker’s 4,200+ NTF list (free to trade) are assessed a $49.99 charge, and this fee is applied on both the buy and sell sides.

If a fund doesn’t have a transaction fee and it’s sold in less than six months, there is another $49.99 fee.

A margin debit of less than $10,000 at TD Ameritrade currently costs 10.00%.

A brokerage account comes with no ongoing fees. There are no annual, maintenance, or low-balance charges. An account can be opened with no deposit.

Customer Service

TD Ameritrade Service Rating

A TD Ameritrade representative can be reached over the phone 24 hours day, 7 days a week. Besides English, other languages are available some hours of the day. These include Spanish, Cantonese, and Mandarin.

An on-line chat function was seen on the broker’s website recently, but it’s usually not available. Perhaps the company is testing it out. Meanwhile, some of the broker’s rivals, such as E*Trade, do have the service up 24/7.

TD Ameritrade has a robo-chat service called Ted. It is able to answer many questions, but fails to provide an adequate answer sometimes.

Besides Ted and the phone, TD Ameritrade clients can also reach out to the company through snail mail, fax, and an internal messaging function. A test message was sent to the broker, and it took three days to receive a response.

Investors who want quicker service can head to one of the broker-dealer’s branch locations. There are more than 450 TD Ameritrade brick-and-mortar offices located in 34 states.

Financial Advice & Managed Accounts

TD Ameritrade Managed Accounts Rating

Human advisors are available, albeit at a higher cost. One package charges between 75 and 125 basis points for the first $100,000 investment. There is a $25,000 minimum deposit requirement. The exact management fee varies based on the type of investments used (mutual funds are available) and the total amount invested.


A larger initial deposit will receive a cash bonus. A deposit of $25,000 earns $100, while depositing $100,000 garners a $300 prize. A quarter of a million dollars gets $600, and half a million is worth $1,200. Both retirement and non-retirement accounts are eligible.

Open TD Ameritrade Account

Trading Tools

TD Ameritrade Trading Rating

TD Ameritrade offers some very sophisticated trading technology, and none of it carries any account minimums or trading requirements. The website itself is user-friendly and can place trades for most products.

TD Ameritrade DIY Review

At the bottom of the browsing window is a trade ticket called SnapTicket. It can be minimized or expanded; alternatively, it can simply be detached. It can trade stocks, ETF’s, and options. Mutual funds, bonds, futures, and forex cannot be traded on it.

TD Ameritrade DIY

The broker’s flagship software is thinkorswim, a desktop platform that offers very sophisticated charting. There are 400 technical studies available, along with many drawing tools and chart styles. There is a simulated trading service, which would be beneficial for traders who are trying to learn the software. Forex and futures contracts can be traded on thinkorswim, although mutual funds need to be traded on the website or mobile app. Learn more...

Mobile App

TD Ameritrade App Rating

Three mobile apps are available at TD Ameritrade, each one with its own emphasis. One of them is a thinkorswim app that has many of the advanced features of its desktop cousin. Option chains are available, including individual calls and puts and multi-leg strategies. Watchlists and alerts can be established. Data can actually be synched between the desktop system and the mobile app. Like thinkorswim on the PC, thinkorswim on a mobile device also offers simulated trading.

While the thinkorswim app doesn’t offer trading in mutual funds, one of the three apps does. This one is more simple than the thinkorswim platform, but actually provides better market news. There are on-demand videos from Reuters that cover financial topics. Articles from Dow Jones do the same. An economic calendar shows upcoming dividends, earnings announcements, IPO’s, and splits. The day’s market movers are shown, along with industry performance for the day. Indexes are shown, not just from the U.S., but from other countries as well. Security research is rather limited, as only brief information for each investment is shown. This app also provides options trading, including multi-leg plays, and is compatible with iPhone X’s facial recognition software.

TD Ameritrade Mobile

The third and final app is where live streaming of CNBC can be found. European and Asian versions are available certain times of the day. It’s fairly similar to the thinkorswim app. There’s a customer service section that includes live chat with a TDA representative. An abbreviated calendar shows events by colored icons. A green dollar sign represents a dividend, while a blue light bulb is for earnings announcements.

TD Ameritrade also provides an app for Apple Watch and skills for Amazon Echo devices. On Echo, Alexa is able to return market indexes and stock prices. On Echo Show, security details such as volume and bid-ask spread are shown on the screen. Learn more...


TD Ameritrade IRAs Rating

Besides regular investing, TD Ameritrade customers also have access to many useful retirement planning resources. The brokerage firm offers self-employed 401(k) plans and Individual Retirement Accounts. There are several varieties of IRA’s available, including Roth, Traditional, SIMPLE, and SEP. Retirement plans from previous employers can also be rolled over into an IRA with the broker.

Many target-date funds are available through TD Ameritrade. These securities are designed for building a nest egg. Some of the available fund families include T. Rowe Price, Allianz, BlackRock, and PIMCO.

Although some of its rivals charge for retirement accounts, TD Ameritrade does not. Its regular commission schedule applies to nontaxable accounts, and the broker’s website has a large section of learning materials devoted to retirement planning. This would help do-it-yourself investors who need assistance with saving for life after work.

TD Ameritrade Self Directed Investing Summary

In 2020 review TD Ameritrade performs extremely well in most categories. It is a high end broker at a rock-bottom price on many products that offers all the features investors expect today. Plenty of commission-free investments and a generous promotion offer allows customers to essentially build their investment portfolio for free.

Open TD Ameritrade Account

Open TD Ameritrade Account