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TD Ameritrade Day Trading and Thinkorswim Active Trader Rules

2022 TD Ameritrade Thinkorswim day trading pattern rules, requirements, platform buying power limits, active trader fees, $25,000 minimum balance. Can you day trade on TD Ameritrade?

Day Trading at TD Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade is known for its mutual funds and investment advice. But it also has some powerful software that can be used for day and swing trading. This article will analyze how the broker performs for short-term traders, and then make some recommendations.

The Cost of Day Trading at TD Ameritrade

A brokerage account at TD Ameritrade has zero fees. This policy covers pretty much every conceivable fee one could come up with: annual, low-balance, maintenance, opening, closing, and inactivity.

Stock and ETF transactions are $0 each.

TD Ameritrade offers forex trading, and there are two commission schedules. One is commission-based. With this plan, there is a 10¢ charge per 1,000 units with a $1 minimum commission. The second plan charges no commissions but has wider bid-ask spreads.

Ameritrade Day Trading Platform

Futures trading is also available at TD Ameritrade, and contracts such as /ES, the S&P 500 mini contract, are available. The commission is $2.25 per side. Exchange and regulatory fees do get passed onto the customer.

Open TD Ameritrade Account

Open TD Ameritrade Account

Software and Trading Experience

There are some really great trading tools at TD Ameritrade, and some of them are perfect for day and swing trading. The best piece of software (and the one we recommend) is thinkorswim. This is a desktop program with several advanced features. Surprisingly, there is no charge to use the platform.

Thinkorswim Day Trading

The first feature that swing and day traders will want to take notice of is the software’s fantastic charting program. It boasts several hundred technical studies, the largest list we have seen. Some examples include ATR Trailing Stop, Money Flow, and Slow RSI.

Besides technical studies, there are also many drawing tools. These include channels, price level, Fibonacci Time Series, and Andrews’ Pitchfork. thinkorswim also delivers several chart styles. In addition to candlesticks, there are also monkey bars, candle trend, Heikin Ashi, equivolume, and OHLC bars.

As for timeframes, thinkorswim can stretch from 1 day to 35 years. The smallest interval is tick-by-tick. Other choices day traders may want include 1-minute, 5-minute, and 15-minute.

Level II quotes are not on the platform by default, but they are available, and there’s no charge for them. To add them to the platform, you need to click on the “+” sign in the bottom-left portion of the screen. In the pop-up window that appears, just click on “Level II” and you’ll get the appropriate window. You’ll need to type in the ticker symbol.

To place a trade, thinkorswim requires just a right-click on a chart. From here, there are buy and sell buttons in a drop-down menu. Selecting one of them produces a trade ticket as a pop-up window. To integrate this ticket into the bottom of the platform, you can select “Edit” on the ticket.

There are several features on thinkorswim’s trade ticket that day and swing traders will be interested in. The first is direct-access routing, which appears under the “Exchange” heading. Next is advanced orders such as stop and trailing stop. The latter choice can be set either to market or limit. Market-on-close and extended-hours trading are also available.

Other Tools

Besides thinkorswim in desktop format, TD Ameritrade also offers thinkorswim in mobile format. The platform has advanced order types, such as blast all, first triggers all, and order cancels other. On the downside, there are fewer time-in-force choices, and there’s no direct-access routing.

Advanced charting once again makes an appearance on thinkorswim. Besides horizontal charting, there are drawing tools and technical studies. An order form cannot be displayed next to a chart on the mobile app.

Besides the mobile platform, TD Ameritrade offers a skill for Amazon Echo devices that can place trades based on voice command. And the website has a trade bar that displays a small chart and can quickly send orders for stocks and funds to the major exchanges.

TD Ameritrade Day Trading Summary

We can definitely recommend TD Ameritrade for short-term trading of stocks and ETFs. The broker’s commission schedule is attractive compared to other firms that can be used for swing or day trading. We do think the broker would also be a great choice for day trading futures contracts.

Open TD Ameritrade Account

Open TD Ameritrade Account

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.