TD Ameritrade Review
- Customer Service
- Commission Fees
- Trading Platforms
- Research Tools
Finding the perfect broker is no easy task. However, if you are on the lookout for a well-rounded brokerage, TD Ameritrade might just offer the best mix of tools for you.
They are far from being the cheapest brokerage out there, but they are definitely one of the best. TD Ameritrade provides their services to well over 11 million clients and processes almost 5 million traders every week. They do charge a bit more than most other brokers, but they definitely deliver when it comes to quality.
Commissions and Fees
A lot of people consider TD Ameritrade to be somewhat expensive. And, to be honest, they definitely are not the cheapest. However, they did actually reduce their commission rates a little while ago. So, some of the people who claim they are too expensive might just still remember the old prices. Before the price change, the flat rate for a trade was $9.99. However, now they charge $6.95. So, while they are not the cheapest, they aren’t the most expensive ones either. And, if you want to trade options, a contract will cost you 75 cents on top of that.
While their prices are at the same level as those that ETRADE offers, their competitors Fidelity and Charles Schwab charge $4.95. However, we would like to mention that, in their offer, they have almost 300 ETFs you can trade with no commission. However, make sure not to sell them within the first month after the purchase. As they have a short-term fee of 13.90 dollars.
TD Ameritrade Platforms and Tools
The main reason people will always come back and choose TD Ameritrade as their broker is their platform. The Thinkorswim platform is the bread and butter of TD Ameritrade and for a good reason. While the platform’s design is clearly meant for traders with more experience, it is also very useful for newbies as well.
The reason we say that is that they actually have a powerful simulated trading feature that any client can use with no minimums or trade criteria they would have to meet. This is something most others don’t even consider offering without minimums.
Thinkorswim is a desktop app that is one of the most advanced platforms out there. With only several mouse clicks you can have tens of charts giving you data in real time. And even the pickiest of traders will love the fact that they offer almost 400 technical studies. Which is actually the highest number in the industry (the average is 106). And, on top of that, you can further customize every one of those studies.
Thinkorswim also offers the use of thinkScript, the proprietary language that allows you to code your own indicators. And, you can easily create your own patterns and set the engine up to spot them for you. All of that is just the beginning. It would take days to list out the full capabilities of this platform. Whether we are talking about the platform’s capability to profile companies, analyze earnings, plot FRED data, backtest, replay historical markets, chart social media, conduct live scans, share charts, or perform options analysis, this platform can do it all.
When it comes to the platform’s capabilities, it only had one flaw – too many users. Namely, during days the market would become too volatile, too many clients would log on. And, the platform would start lagging due to the number of orders. Sometimes it would last for a while. However, they did fix the issue a couple of years ago. And now, even during the newest craze, an active trader has nothing to worry about.
Apart from the thinkorswim platform, TD Ameritrade also offers an online platform for casual traders. You can use the Flash-based Trade Architect’s incredibly layout to trade online with no difficulties. Of course, it is not as potent as thinkorswim, but finding a fault of the Trade Architect is no easy task.
Unlike many others, TD Ameritrade actually offers two separate smartphone apps. This, of course, has its pros and cons. If you are a casual trader, you will find everything you require in their TD Ameritrade Mobile app. However, if you have to use numerous features and are very active, then TD Ameritrade Mobile Trader app is the one for you. And many even call it the phone version of thinkorswim. A nickname it definitely deserves given that it offers all 397 studies the desktop platform has. Not to mention that both apps are extremely simple to use.
While they are not the most affordable service out there, they are definitely worth every last penny. Their flagship thinkorswim platform is without equal when it comes to tools it offers. An incredible amount of 400 technical studies that you can also use on your phone should be reason enough. And the fact that you can use backtesting and simulations to check how your trades will work out makes it even better if you are unsure about your strategies. In the end, it is up to you to decide if this is the right platform for you.