Thinkorswim rating

Thinkorswim Download, Cost, and Requirements. Is it Free?

2023 Thinkorswim platform cost, download, trading software requirements, market data subscription fees. Is Thinkorswim free?

Is Thinkorswim Free?

TD Ameritrade has recently lowered its commission for stocks and ETF’s to $0. Despite this move, the broker still offers its flagship trading platform Thinkorswim free of charge. Let’s take a look at it and compare it to other trading platforms.

Thinkorswim Fees and Commissions

Stocks and ETFs $0
Stocks and ETFs broker assisted $25
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, bonds, mutual funds, options, ETFs, bonds, CDs, UITs, futures and forex
Thinkorswim minimum deposit to open account $0 for cash account, $2,000 for margin account
FeesThinkorswim fees

Downloading Thinkorswim

The TD Ameritrade website has good information on Thinkorswim. This material can give you a synopsis of what the software has to offer, but the only way to really test the program is to download it and take it for a test drive.

Thankfully, the broker allows everyone to try it out. If you’re not a TD Ameritrade customer, you’ll need to open TD Ameritrade account free of charge and gain access to the software. It will be in paper trading mode. If you are a TD Ameritrade customer, just login with your normal credentials to gain access to the download link. The software will be available in both regular and paper trading versions.

There are no account minimums or trading requirements to use Thinkorswim. This is a very generous policy. Many other brokers, including Fidelity and Merrill Edge, do require certain activity in order to use their platforms. Schwab only requires a $1,000 account balance.

Opening Thinkorswim for the First Time

Starting the program sometimes takes over a minute. The software usually downloads updates, which causes it to be somewhat slow to begin. The default font size is very small, although this feature and many others can be changed. In the top-right corner is a “Setup” link next to a gear icon. Clicking on this will generate a pop-up window where many customizations can be made. These include color (black or white), quote speed (real-time or delayed), and default currency.

Trading on the Platform

There are many features on Thinkorswim. There are news feeds that come in both article and video format. Live CNBC streaming in standard definition can be added to a small window, which can be expanded full screen. Multiple watch lists can be created. Because futures and forex can be traded on Thinkorswim, these products can also be added to watch lists.

Thinkorswim Trading Platform

Charting on the platform is highly advanced. There are 400 technical studies and 20 drawing tools. Most other platforms offer far fewer technical tools. StreetSmart Edge, for example, only has about 40 technical studies.

Thinkorswim charting tools

Some of the technical analysis tools on Thinkorswim include FastBeta, HaramiCross, and SwamiSwingWave. The drawing tools include rectangles, channels, and Fibonacci retracements.

A chart can be detached and displayed in its own window, which really helps to see the graph in more detail. There are several graph styles, including candlesticks, monkey bars, area, and candle trend. There are 279 colors for a graph’s display. A candlestick’s outline can have one color and the fill can have another. This level of customization is higher than what is available on other platforms. StreetSmart Edge from Schwab, for example, has 162 colors that can be selected for each chart item, such as candlestick up and line. Ally Invest LIVE has even less customizations.

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Thinkorswim Paper Trading

Although Thinkorswim is very sophisticated, TD Ameritrade hasn’t left novice traders out of the picture. The broker has incorporated paperMoney into the software. This is a paper trading system that allows a user to practice buying and selling with a virtual currency. This feature is a great opportunity to try out the software with no risk.

Thinkorswim Trading Platform

Thinkorswim Futures and Forex Trading

One great advantage of Thinkorswim is its ability to trade futures and forex, and even receive up-to-date news and market information on them. Forex and futures both have their own pre-populated trading areas on Thinkorswim. The contract in a dealing window can be changed simply by typing in a new symbol. Futures and forex price histories can also be displayed on a chart.

Most other platforms have no futures or forex capability. MarketPro from Merrill Edge, for example, doesn’t offer them. While Ally Invest does offer currency trading, a separate platform has to be used to trade forex.

Other Features

A useful economic calendar shows upcoming dividends, splits, earnings, and conference calls. Several tools can look for trading opportunities in stocks. There are live webinars called Swim Lessons that help traders learn more about the software. They are held on a daily basis.

A good selection of videos appears in Thinkorswim’s financial news library. These come from CNBC and Reuters. The CNBC videos can actually be overlaid on a graph. An NBC icon appears on the date the news aired.

Compared to other platforms, including TD Ameritrade’s own Trade Architect, Thinkorswim seems much more difficult to learn and navigate. Security research in some cases might be simpler on the TD Ameritrade website. Lastly, trading mutual funds on Thinkorswim is more difficult than trading them on the broker’s site.

Mobile Version

TD Ameritrade recognizes that the 21st-century is a very mobile world, and it has created a Thinkorswim mobile app. Despite being a smaller version, this platform has managed to include all 400 technical studies the desktop version boasts. The drawing tools are missing, and so are several graph styles. Only four appear on the mobile platform.

Despite the app’s slimmed-down menu, derivative chains are still there along with news related to a security under analysis. There is also live streaming of CNBC in SD. The app can be shown in either a light or dark display. Alerts are available along with chat rooms and a help feature.

A nice attribute that TD Ameritrade has implemented is to allow the app to sync data with the desktop version. This creates a consistency of information and graphs across both versions. And like its big brother, the mobile platform also has a paper trading function.

TOS Mobile App


Thinkorswim Trading Platform Summary

TD Ameritrade offers a very advanced platform with no account minimums and $0 commissions on stocks and ETFs. It is a must try for advanced traders.

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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.