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The Best Broker For Options: TD Ameritrade

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In A Nutshell 

TD Ameritrade is the leading US-based stockbroker. It was founded in 1978, and it has top-tier licenses from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). 

TD Ameritrade has a long track record and is well regulated, which is why we rate it as a safe broker.  

  • It has a banking background,  
  • It is on a stock exchange,  
  • It has top-tier regulators,  
  • And it discloses its financials transparently.  

We chose TD Ameritrade as the best broker for options for 2020 after analyzing 57 online brokers and testing their live accounts. 

TD Ameritrade Good & Bad 

TD Ameritrade offers an excellent trading platform: Thinkorswim. Also, it has low trading fees and a helpful customer support team. 

However, a TD Ameritrade account allows you to trade only in the US markets. The account opening is not fully online, and it might take some time to get approval. TD doesn't offer debit/credit cards nor electronic wallets for funds transfers. 

Good:

  • Free ETF And Stock Trading
  • Low Trading Fees
  • Excellent Desktop Trading Platform
  • Excellent Customer Support

Bad:

  • Clients Can Trade Only In The US Markets
  • Account Opening Is Slow And Not Fully Digital
  • No Debit/Credit Cards and Electronic Wallets For Funds Transfer


Main Features At TD Ameritrade 

Country Of Regulation

USA

Trading Fees

Low

Inactivity Fee

No

Withdrawal Fee

$0

Minimum Deposit

$0

Time To Open An Account

1 to 3 Days

Demo Account

Yes

Products Offered

Futures, Bond, Fund, Forex, Stock, ETF, Options

1. Fees and Spreads 

TD Ameritrade offers free ETF and stock trading, along with low trading fees for bonds, forex, and options. The downside is that they have high fees for mutual funds. 

Good:

  • Low Trading And Non-Trading Fees
  • Free ETFs And Stocks

Bad:

  • High Fund Fees


Fees At TD Ameritrade 

Assets

Fee

Fee Terms

US Stock

Low

Free ETF And Stock Trading

USD/EUR

Low

The Average Spread Cost is 1.2 pips. Fees Are Built Into Spreads

Mutual Fund

High

~4,000 Free Funds And A $49.99 Fee Per Transaction

Inactivity Fee

Low

No Inactivity Fee

How We Assessed Fees      

We assessed TD Ameritrade's fees as low, average, or high, depending on how they compare to those of all forex brokers we reviewed.     

To help you get a broader understanding of our process, here is the distinction between trading and non-trading fees.      

• Trading fees happen when you trade. These can be conversion, commission, spreads, or financing rates fees.     

• Non-trading prices are not linked to trading. These can be inactivity or withdrawal fees.      

We shared in this review the most relevant fees at TD Ameritrade for each asset class.  

We reviewed Fusion Market's costs in comparison with those of two competitor brokers, E-Trade and Charles Schwab. Our assessment relies on objective factors, like client profile, fee structure, or products available.       

Here are our top findings of TD Ameritrade trading fees. 

Trading Fees At TD Ameritrade 

TD Ameritrade has low trading fees. Many US brokers, including TD Ameritrade, removed ETF and stock investing fees in 2019 

ETF And Stock Fees 

This broker offers free ETFs and stocks. 

ETF And Stock Commission For A $2,000 Trade At TD Ameritrade 


TD Ameritrade

Charles Schwab

E-Trade

US Stock

$0.0

$0.0

$0.0

You should verify TD Ameritrade's financing rates if you prefer short sale or stock trading on a margin.  

A financing or margin rate is the cost you pay for trading on a margin or short a stock. It signifies that you borrow stocks or money from your broker to trade. This borrowed stock/money comes with interest, known as financing rate. Keep in mind that it can be a significant amount of your trading costs. 

TD Ameritrade has high margin rates. 

Options, Stocks And Futures Annual Financing Rates At TD Ameritrade 


TD Ameritrade

Charles Schwab

E-Trade

US Margin Rate

10.3%

9.3%

9.8%

Financing rates at TD Ameritrade are volume-tiered. It comes with a base rate plus a discount/premium based on the borrowed amount. The broker sets the base rate, and it can change over time. When we reviewed TD Ameritrade, the base rate was 9.0%. 

Annual Financing Rates At TD Ameritrade 

Debit Balance

Rate%

Base Rate +/-

$250,000 - $999,999

8.25%

-0.75%

$100,000 - $249,999

8.50%

-0.50%

$50,000 - $99,999

8.75%

-0.25%

$25,000 - $49,999

9.75%

+0.75%

$10,000 - $24,999

10.00%

+1.00%

Under $10,000

10.25%

+1.25%

The financing rates listed above are valid for futures and options trading, too. 

Forex Fees 

TD Ameritrade has low forex fees. E-Trade and Charles Schwab don't have forex trading.  

We calculated a forex benchmark commission for major currency pairs so that you have a clear representation of forex fees. The following table consists of all benchmarks, like spreads, commissions, and financing costs for all brokers. 

Forex Benchmark Fees For A $20,000 30:1 Long Position Held For One Week At TD Ameritrade 


TD Ameritrade

Charles Schwab

E-Trade

Interactive Brothers

USD/EUR Benchmark Fee

$13.0

-

-

$17.9

USD/GBP Benchmark Fee

$9.3

-

-

$13.6

USD/AUD Benchmark Fee

$13.3

-

-

$12.0

CHF/EUR Benchmark Fee

$5.3

-

-

$7.1

GBP/EUR Benchmark Fee

$9.7

-

-

$13.0

Fund Fees 

Fund fees at TD Ameritrade are high. 

Fee For A $2,000 Fund Purchase At TD Ameritrade 


TD Ameritrade

Charles Schwab

E-Trade

Mutual Fund

$50.0

$24.8

$20.0

The mutual fund comes with a $49.99 fee per trade. The upside is that this broker has ~4,000 free mutual funds to trade. However, selling these free funds within 180 days after purchase will get you a $49.99 fee. 

Bond Fees 

TD Ameritrade offers free bond trading, and has different bond types with distinct pricing. We calculated Treasury bond fees. 

Fee For A $10,000 Government Bond Trade At TD Ameritrade 


TD Ameritrade

Charles Schwab

E-Trade

US Treasury Bond

$0.0

$0.0

$0.0

US Treasury bonds come with no commission. However, corporate bonds have a $1 fee per bond on secondary transactions (subject to a maximum of $500 and a minimum of $10). 

Options Fees 

TD Ameritrade has low options fees. 

Stock Index Options Commission For 10 Contracts At TD Ameritrade 


TD Ameritrade

Charles Schwab

E-Trade

US Stock Index Options

$6.5

$6.5

$6.5

Options trading fees depend on the number of traded options contracts. 

Futures Fees 

This broker has average futures fees, and we calculated on a $2.25 volume base per contract.  

Stock Index Futures Commission For 10 Contracts At TD Ameritrade 


TD Ameritrade

Charles Schwab

E-Trade

US Stock Index Futures

$22.5

$15.0

$15.0

Non-Trading Fees 

This broker offers low non-trading fees. For example, there is no inactivity fee. You can withdraw money without additional fees if you use an ACH transfer. The downside is that withdrawals to other banks by wire transfer have a $25 fee. Customers outside the US can only use this wire transfer.  

For this review, we used ACH transfers, and we had no withdrawal fee.  


TD Ameritrade

Charles Schwab

E-Trade

Account Fee

No

No

No

Inactivity Fee

No

No

No

Deposit Fee

$0

$0

$0

Withdrawal Fee

$0

$0

$0

2. Account Opening 

At TD Ameritrade, new customers can select from distinct account types, and US citizens benefit from no minimum deposit. However, the process is not fully digital. 

Good:

  • No Minimum Deposit
  • Several Account Types

Bad:

  • Not Fully Digital

TD Ameritrade focuses on US clients. But we discovered some other countries where this broker is available: Singapore, Malaysia, China, and Hong Kong. Canadian customers can access the TD Direct Investing solutions within the TD Group, but not TD Ameritrade.  

Keep in mind that the services may differ from country to country. For example, customers from Singapore, Malaysia, and Hong Kong can't trade with forex and mutual funds, but they do get access to ETFs, stocks, and options. 

Minimum Deposit At TD Ameritrade 

US customers benefit from a $0 minimum deposit for the basic cash account. But this fee changes for other account types. 

Trading Preferences

Minimum Deposit

Basic Account Trading

$0, but electronic funding has a $50 minimum

Margin Trading*

$2,000

Day Trading

$25,000

Trading With TD Ameritrade Portfolios

$5,000 - $250,000

*You can trade on leverage, i.e., with money borrowed from the broker. 

The minimum deposit for non-US customers can be higher. For example, customers from Singapore and Malaysia have a $3,500 minimum deposit. 

Account Types 

TD Ameritrade has the following account types: 

Account 

Description

Individual

A Single Account Owner

Joint Account

Two Or More Account Owners

Business Account

A Legal Entity Owns The Account

Retirement Account (Roth IRA, Traditional IRA)

Individual Retirement Accounts Available Only For US Customers

Pension Account

Small Businesses And Self-Employed Individuals Availale Only For US Customers

College Savings (529 Plan)

Accounts For College Savings Plans Available Only For US Customers

Guardianship Or Custodial Account

Special Accounts Available Only For US Customers

Trust

The Account Owner Has The Right To Transfer Assets To One Or More Trustee. It Is Available Only For US Customers

TD Ameritrade Portfolios

Accounts For Trading With TD Ameritrade's Portfolio, Available Only For US Customers

For this review, we tested the Individual Brokerage Account. 

Creating An Account At TD Ameritrade 

This broker has a simple account opening process, but the downside is that it isn't fully digital. After finishing the online form, you have to fax or mail the document with a copy of your ID to TD Ameritrade. It took us 3 business days to open the account. 

The account opening steps at TD Ameritrade are: 

  1. Select an account type and your trading/investment preferences 
  1. Submit personal data, such as residency, Social Security Number, and employment details 
  1. Check your data 
  1. Accept the terms and conditions 
  1. Print and fax/mail the form 

We spent 20 minutes with the online form, and the account was approved within the next 3 business days. 

3.Withdrawals And Deposits 

TD Ameritrade has no deposit fees and a user-friendly account funding process. However, wire transfer withdrawals come with a high cost, and you can only use bank transfers. 

Good:

  • No Deposit Fee
  • User-Friendly

Bad:

  • No Debit/Credit Card
  • Wire Transfers Have High Withdrawal Fees

Account Base Currencies 

This broker lets you hold cash only in USD. 

If your personal bank account is in a different currency than USD, you will pay a conversion fee. 

You can save on currency conversion fees by using a multi-currency bank account at a digital bank. Transferwise or Revolut offer bank accounts in various currency, along with excellent currency exchange rates and free or less expensive international bank transfers. You can set up an account by phone in less than 10 minutes. 

Options And Deposit Fees 

TD Ameritrade has no deposit fees. US customers can use ACH, checks, and wire transfers. In contrast, customers from Singapore, Malaysia, and Hong Kong can use only checks and wire transfers to deposit. 

However, electronic wallets and debit/credit cards are not available. 


TD Ameritrade

Charles Schwab

E-Trade

Bank Transfer

Yes

Yes

Yes

Debit/Credit Card

No

No

No

Electronic Wallets

No

No

No

For this review, we used the ACH transfer, and it took 24 hours. Keep in mind that the minimum transfer amount is $50, and wire transfers can take several business days. 

You can deposit money from accounts in your name. 

Options And Withdrawal Fees 

This broker has no withdrawal fees in most of the cases. However, there is an exception for wire/bank transfers: these have a $25 transfer fee. 


TD Ameritrade

Charles Schwab

E-Trade

Bank Transfer

Yes

Yes

Yes

Debit/Credit Card

No

No

No

Electronic Wallets

No

No

No

Withdrawal Fee

$0

$0

$0

We used the ACH withdrawal, and it took 2 business days to complete. 

You can withdraw money to accounts in your name. 

To withdraw money from TD Ameritrade, you will have to: 

  • Log in your account 
  • Select the 'My Account' menu 
  • Click on 'Deposits and Transfers\Withdrawal' menu 
  • The pre-selected account for the section' Transfer from' is your TD Ameritrade account 
  • Choose the account you want to withdraw your funds to as 'To bank connection' 
  • Choose the amount you wish to withdraw, along with the date and frequency of the withdrawal 
  • Start the withdrawal process 

4. Trading Platform 

TD Ameritrade has a reliable web-based trading platform with a great design. The downside is that the platform has limited customizability, and there is no two-step authentication. 

Good:

  • User-Friendly Design
  • Transparent Fee Report
  • Several Order Types Available

Bad:

  • No Two-Step Authentication
  • Limited Customizability For Workspace And Charts

Platforms Available At TD Ameritrade 

Trading Platform

Score

Available

Web

4.5

Yes

Mobile

5

Yes

Desktop

4.5

Yes

This broker has both desktop and web trading platforms. The web platform is excellent for research and trading execution on investment assets, such as ETFs and stocks. But if you want to trade complex products, you can use TD Ameritrade's proprietary desktop platform: Thinkorswim. It gets you access to several products, like futures and forex, along with professional technical research tools. 

The web trading platform is available in Chinese and English. 

You can find the main features of the Thinkorswim desktop trading platform and the web trading platform in the following table: 

Header

Web Trading Platform

Thinkorswim

Stock, Options, ETFs

Yes

Yes

Mutual Funds

Yes

Only Quotes

Fixed Incomes

Yes

No

Forex, Futures, Options On Futures

No

Yes

Charting

Yes

Yes, More Advanced

Third-Party Analysis And Research

Yes

Yes, But Limited

Demo Account

No

Yes

Newsfeed

Yes

Yes

Look And Feel 

The web trading platform at TD Ameritrade has an excellent design, and it is user-friendly. The downside is that it has limited customizability. 

Security And Login 

This broker offers only a one-step authentication process. A two-step login authentication would be more secure. 

Each time you access your account from a new device, you will have to submit the answer to your security question. 

After registering your account, you can log in with your password and ID. 

Search Features 

The search tools are great. We liked the automatic suggestions and that you can search for information by an asset's ticker or company name. 

However, the relevancy algorithm might benefit from some improvements. For example, when you search for Apple stock, it appears only in the third place. 

Placing Orders 

TD Ameritrade has the following order types: 

  • Market, 
  • Limit, 
  • Stop-Market, 
  • Stop-limit, 
  • Trailing stop %, 
  • Trailing stop $ 

Also, you can use the following order time limits: 

  • Good 'til canceled (GTC), 
  • Good 'til canceled extended hours, 
  • Day, 
  • Day + extended hours, 
  • Extended hours am/pm, 
  • Immediate or Cancel (IOC), 
  • Fill or Kill (FOK), 
  • All or Nothing (AON) 

Notifications And Alerts 

You can create several notifications and alerts in the 'Research & Ideas/Alerts' menu. 

You can set up alerts on 2 phones and 2 email addresses. 

Fee Reports And Portfolio 

TD Ameritrade has transparent fee reports and portfolios. You can view this data by clicking on 'My Accounts => History&Statements => Transaction' section. 

We liked that you can download reports in CSV format.  

5. Mobile Trading Platform 

TD Ameritrade has an excellent mobile trading platform. It comes with a user-friendly design, but it lacks a two-step authentication login. 

Good:

  • User-Friendly Design
  • Reliable Search Function
  • Price Alerts

Bad:

  • No Two-Step Authentication

TD Ameritrade has two mobile trading platforms. Depending on your background and strategy, you can choose the best one for you.  

Here is a summary of the main differences between the two: 


TD Ameritrade Mobile

TD Ameritrade Mobile Trader

ETFs, Options, Stocks

Yes

Yes

Forex, Futures

No

Yes

Mutual Funds

Only Quotes

Only Quotes

Virtual Trading, Conditional Trading, Chart Drawing

No

Yes

For this review, we used TD Ameritrade Mobile. 

This app is available on both Android and iOS, and we chose to test the iOS version. This mobile trading platform is only available in English. 

Look And Feel 

TD Ameritrade has a user-friendly mobile platform, with reliable search functions, and alerts. The downside is that there is no two-step authentication login. 

Placing Orders 

When compared to the web platform, the mobile version has limited order types: 

  • Market, 
  • Limit, 
  • Stop-Market, 
  • Stop-limit, 

Order time limits are limited, too: 

  • Fill or Kill (FOK), 
  • All or Nothing (AON) 

6. Desktop Trading Platform 

TD Ameritrade has one of the best proprietary desktop platforms on the market: the Thinkorswim. The only downside is the lack of two-step authentication. 

Good:

  • User-Friendly Design
  • Transparent Fee Report
  • Excellent Customizability For Workspace And Charts
  • Trading Support
  • Impressive Learning Materials

Bad:

  • No Two-Step Authentication

The desktop trading platform is available in Chinese and English. 

Look And Feel 

Thinkorswim comes with an excellentuser-friendly design. It has good customizability, and you can personalize your layouts. 

Security And Login 

As it is the case with the mobile and web trading platforms, Thinkorswim has only a one-step authentication login. A two-step login would be more secure. 

Search Features 

Thinkorswim has useful search functions. The automatic suggestion feature lets you look up data about an asset by its ticker or its name. 

However, the relevancy of the automatic suggestion feature is average. When we searched for "Apple," it only showed up in the third (or sometimes fourth) place. 

Placing Orders 

The following order types are available with this desktop trading platform: 

  • Market, 
  • Market on close, 
  • Limit, Limit on Close, 
  • Stop-Market, 
  • Stop-limit, 
  • Trailing stop %, 
  • Trailing stop $ 

Also, you can use the following order time limits: 

  • Good 'til canceled (GTC), 
  • Good 'til canceled extended hours, 
  • Day, Day + extended hours, 
  • Extended hours am/pm, 
  • Fill or Kill (FOK), 
  • All or Nothing (AON) 

Notifications And Alerts 

Thinkorswim offers the MarketWatch feature, which allows you to create notifications and alerts. 

There are several alert types, ranging from news to price alerts. You can receive notifications by email, mobile, and text message. 

Fee Reports And Portfolio 

The portfolio and fee reports at TD Ameritrade are transparent. You can check this data in the 'Account Information' menu. Also, you can customize with ease the tab and include margin levels, commission reports, or a profit/loss balance.  

7. Markets And Products

With this broker, you can trade several asset classes, ranging from forex to futures or stocks.

There are useful additional features, such as a robo-advisory service and social trading. However, the products available cover only the US Market.  

Keep in mind that the available product might differ from country to country. For example, customers from Singapore can only trade with futures, ETFs, options, and stocks. In contrast, US clients can trade with all of the assets below. 


TD Ameritrade

Charles Schwab

E-Trade

Stock

Yes

Yes

Yes

ETF

Yes

Yes

Yes

Forex

Yes

No

No

Fund

Yes

Yes

Yes

Bond

Yes

Yes

Yes

Options

Yes

Yes

Yes

Futures

Yes

Yes

Yes

CFD

No

No

No

Crypto

No

No

No

We reviewed TD Ameritrade's product portfolio in comparison to its main competitors. 

ETFs And Stocks 

We saw that TD Ameritrade covers products only from the US market. It has a similar number of ETFs and stock exchanges as E-Trade or Charles Schwab. 


TD Ameritrade

Charles Schwab

E-Trade

Stock Markets

5

4

5

ETFs

2,300

2,300

2,300

You can trade on these stock exchanges: AMEX, NASDAQ, NYSE, OTCBB, and other OTCs. 

Forex 


TD Ameritrade

Charles Schwab

E-Trade

Currency Pairs

77

-

-

Funds 

TD Ameritrade has better funds selection when compared to E-Trade and Charles Schwab. 


TD Ameritrade

Charles Schwab

E-Trade

Fund Providers

740

600

530

Funds are available from leading fund providers such as Vanguard or BlackRock, but you can discover lesser-known funds as well. 

Bonds 

This broker has a limited bond selection when compared to E-Trade and Charles Schwab 


TD Ameritrade

Charles Schwab

E-Trade

Bonds

40,000

60,000

88,000

The bond offering at TD Ameritrade covers both corporate and government bonds. 

Options 

When compared with brokers that offer access to options markets all over the globe, such as Interactive Brokers, TD Ameritrade has an average offer. 

However, if you compare options at TD Ameritrade to the ones at E-Trade and Charles Schwab, the offer is excellent.  


TD Ameritrade

Charles Schwab

E-Trade

Options Markets

8

8

1

The following exchanges are available with this broker: NASDAQ, NYSE BATS, CBOE, BOX, ISE, AMEX, PHLX, and C2. 

Futures 

As is the case with options, the futures offer is basic. 


TD Ameritrade

Charles Schwab

E-Trade

Futures Markets

5

8

3

You can trade with futures on the following exchanges: LIFFE, ICE EU, ICE, CFE, and CME. 

Social Signals 

TD Ameritrade's proprietary platform, Thinkorswim, offers social trading. You can create a public profile under the 'Tools' menu, and you can follow experienced traders or share your results. 

We believe this is great for searching for new ideas or following the ones you like. Also, there are plenty of charts and useful research materials offered by the community. 

Managed Portfolios At TD Ameritrade 

TD Ameritrade has three managed portfolios, useful if you need help to manage your investments.  

  • Essential Portfolios 

The Essential Portfolio is a robo-advisory service. The first step you need to take is to answer questions about your time horizon, risk tolerance, and investment goals. Depending on your answers, you can select from five ETF portfolios. These will be automatically rebalanced when needed. However, the minimum to start using this portfolio is $5,000. 

  • Selective Portfolios 

The Selective Portfolios service offers access to a personal expert and personalized service. This premium account has a $25,000 minimum. 

  • Personalized Portfolios 

Personalized Portfolios have a $250,000 minimum. 

8. Research 

TD Ameritrade has impressive research tools, including detailed fundamental data and trading ideas. 

Good:

  • Useful Interactive Chart
  • Trading IDeas
  • Asset Fundamentals Data

Bad:

  • None

For this review, we tested the toolkits on the web trading platform without its charting tools.  

We tested the charting tool on the Thinkorswim desktop platform because it is better than the instruments on other platforms. 

Research tools at TD Ameritrade are available in Chinese and English. 

Trading Ideas 

TD Ameritrade is excellent for beginner traders, as it offers investment and trading ideas for ETFs, stocks, mutual funds, and fixed incomes. 

These trading ideas come from third-party providers, like Thomas Reuters, CFRA, and the TD Group. The type of equity and trade timing are differentiated in the ideas and overview. For example: 

  • Third-party providers review stocks. For example, we discovered 8 third-party analyses about Apple with recommendations. 
  • ETF has ratings from TheStreet and CFRA, but there are several other market reports available. 
  • Mutual funds have ratings from Morningstar. 

Fundamental Data 

Fundamental data at TD Ameritrade is mainly on stocks. You can find it in the 'Fundamentals' menu under the 'Basic performance and rating metrics' or 'Financial statements for 5 years'. We discovered additional information under the 'Peer Comparison,' 'Valuation,' and 'Earnings' sections.  

But what we liked most was the benchmarking under the 'Valuation' menu. 

Charting 

TD Ameritrade has excellent charting tools and 400 technical indicators. The number of indexes at this broker is one of the most extensive on the market. 

Newsfeed 

The newsfeed is simple to read, but it lacks visual cues, such as pictures or charts. It is offered by third-party providers, like CNBC, MarketWatch, and Benzinga. 

Additional Research Tools 

An interesting tool at TD Ameritrade is the Screeners in the 'Research & Ideas' menu. You can select from several filters, ranging from standard company data to technical indicators. 

9. Customer Support 

TD Ameritrade has reliable customer service with 24/7 availability and knowledgeable answers. 

Good:

  • Phone Support
  • Live Chat
  • Fast Response Time

Bad:

  • None

For this review, we used all three channels of customer service: 

  • Live chat 
  • Telephone 
  • Email 

This service is available in English, Spanish, and Chinese. 

The live chat was ok, as we received fast and relevant answers. 

The phone support was ok, too. The representative was attentive and offered useful answers. We liked the response time as the representative connected in a couple of minutes. 

The email was also relevant and quick, and we received an answer within 1 business day. 

We like that customer support at TD Ameritrade is available 24/7. 

10. Education 

This broker has impressive educational materials, which include professional articles and webcasts. The proprietary platform, Thinkorswim, comes with a demo account and a virtual balance to start trading without risks. 

Good:

  • Demo Account
  • Tutorial For Trading Platforms
  • Educational Videos

Bad:

  • None

TD Ameritrade offers various tools to improve your trading knowledge: 

  • Demo account 
  • Platform tutorial videos 
  • General educational videos 
  • Webinars 
  • Professional educational articles 

We liked the webcast videos and the demo account/trading simulation. This paper money demo account on Thinkorswim offers the full range of charting tools and professional trading options. You can check the complex markets (like futures or options) with a personalized amount of virtual money. For example, for ETFs and stocks, you get $100,000 virtual funds. 

The Thinkorswim platform offers a separate learning center, with useful educational materials and articles. Also, students and university tutors can use the TD Ameritrade U program. 

The webcasts/webinars concentrate on numerous topics and different levels of experience. These are scheduled daily, and if you don't catch a real-time transmission, you can always check it later in the archive. 

11. Safety 


TD Ameritrade has licenses from top-tier US regulators, such as the FINRA and the SEC. 

You will benefit from a high investor protection amount: $250,000 for cash and $500,000 for securities. However, negative balance protection is not available. 

Good:

  • Top-Tier Licenses
  • High Level Of Investor Protection
  • Banking Background

Bad:

  • No Negative Balance Protection

TD Ameritrade Licenses 

TD Ameritrade has licenses from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission, and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). 

TD Ameritrade has its headquarters in the USA, and it was founded in 1978. 

TD Ameritrade Safety 

When it comes to TD Ameritrade safety concerns, it is best to check the following:      

• Protection if something goes wrong      

• Background of the broker        

TD Ameritrade has several legal entities, and all clients benefit from the US Investor Protection Scheme (SIPC). The TD Ameritrade Clearing, Inc. is the US legal entity, which offers custodial and clearing services and holds the assets on behalf of other legal entities.  

The SIPC investor protection scheme protects you in case of securities and cash loss due to the broker's fault. It has a limit of $500,000, which includes a $250,000 limit for cash. Overall, it is a substantially higher amount than what most investor protection schemes offer.  

You will benefit from additional insurance from TD Ameritrade: 

  • Total coverage of up to $152 million ($2 million cash limit) per client, 
  •  And a $500 million aggregated limit. 

Keep in mind that not all investments receive SIPC protection. SIPC covers bonds, stocks, mutual funds, notes, and other registered securities and investment company shares. It does not include assets like unregistered limited partnerships, unregistered investment contracts, fixed annuity contracts, interests in gold/silver, currency, or other commodity options or commodity futures contracts. 

Negative balance protection is not available at TD Ameritrade. 

Legal Entities At TD Ameritrade 

Product/

Customer's Country



Protection



Regulator



Legal Entity

US

SIPC: $500,000 ($250,000 cash limit) And Additional Insurance

Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Securities And Exchange Commission (SEC)

TD Ameritrade, Inc.

Hong Kong

SIPC: $500,000 ($250,000 cash limit) And Additional Insurance

Hong Kong Securities And Futures Commission

TD Ameritrade Hong Kong Ltd.

Singapore, Malaysia

SIPC: $500,000 ($250,000 cash limit) And Additional Insurance

Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS)

TD Ameritrade Singapore Pte. Ltd.

Forex & Futures

No Protection

Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)

TD Ameritrade Futures & Forex LLC.

Background 

TD Ameritrade comes with a long track record, as it was established in 1978. This record is strong evidence of the broker's ability to survive previous financial crises. 

The Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD) owns several common stocks at TD Ameritrade. As such, this broker has a banking background, which forces it to follow stricter regulations than other brokers. 

TD Ameritrade is on the NASDAQ stock exchange, which adds benefits in terms of safety and trustworthiness. This broker releases its financial statements regularly.  

We ranked TD Ameritrade as a safe broker because of its banking license, presence on a stock exchange, transparent financial statements, and top-tier licenses.  

Bottom Line 

TD Ameritrade is the leading US online broker. It has no commission for ETF and stock trades, while the education and research tools are impressive. Also, the customer support is fantastic, as you will receive fast and knowledgeable answers. 

The proprietary desktop platform, Thinkorswim, is one of the most reliable and professional on the market.  

However, this broker doesn't offer debit/credit cards for money transfers, and it charges high financing rates. The product portfolio at TD Ameritrade covers products only from US markets. 

You can start trading with this broker for free using the demo account and excellent education tools. 

Compare Fidelity With Other Brokers

Methodology

The mission of Business24-7 is to provide comprehensive, unbiased ratings and reviews of online providers. User experience, the mobile experience, customer service, costs and fees, security, the quality of trade executions, the products available on their platforms are all part of our six-month evaluation of a providers’s platform. The rating scale was based on thousands of data points that have been weighted into the scoring system.

Providers were also required to fill out a multi-point survey regarding every aspect of their platform. In-person demonstrations and evaluations were provided by the majority of the online providers we reviewed.

Stefan Grasic, along with our team of industry experts, conducted our reviews and developed this testing methodology for ranking what form is used in online investing.

Business24-7 maintains high editorial standards and provides the best advice and recommendations. The products and companies that we review may compensate us when you click on the links on this website. Click below to find out more about our review process and methodology.

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