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TD Ameritrade Account Review: Brokerage Fees, IRA Investing, Pros and Cons, Mutual Fund Offerings

TD Ameritrade Review - Pricing

  • Stocks/ETFs: $6.95 per trade
  • Options: $6.95 + $0.75 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.

TD Ameritrade Important Fees and Surcharges

  • Extended hours surcharge: $0
  • Large order surcharge: $0
  • Penny stocks surcharge: $0
  • IRA setup fee: $0
  • Annual IRA fee: $0
  • Maintenance fee: $0
  • Inactivity fee: $0

TD Ameritrade Advantages

  • No account fees or trade surcharges
  • Access to an online trader community
  • Free streaming quotes
  • Local branches
  • Free automatic reinvestment of dividends
  • Fee-free retirement accounts
  • Flat-rate commissions, no hidden fees
  • Virtual trading
  • Award winning trading tools

TD Ameritrade Disadvantages

  • Higher than average commissions on options trading and some mutual funds

TD Ameritrade Account Types

  • Standard accounts:
  • Individual
  • Joint Tenants
  • Tenants in Common
  • Community Property
  • Tenants by the Entireties
  • Guardianship

  • Education Savings Accounts:
  • 529
  • Coverdell ESA

  • Retirement Accounts:
  • Traditional IRA
  • Roth IRA
  • Rollover IRA

  • Specialty Investing Accounts:
  • Trust
  • Limited Partnership
  • Partnership
  • Investment Club
  • LLC
  • Sole Proprietorship
  • Corporate
  • Non-Incorporated Organization
  • Pension or Profit Plan for Small Business

TD Ameritrade Trading Tools Review

TD Ameritrade provides three different trading platforms: website-based, Trade Architect and Thinkorswim. The website’s landing page functions as a straightforward, easy to use trading platform. It's perfect for beginner investors who will find professional level trading software too complex.

TD Ameritrade Review 2017

For someone on a more intermediate level of investing experience TD Ameritrade offers trading and investing through its Trade Architect platform. To launch Trade Architect, you log into your TDA brokerage account, and the link to the Trade Architect platform is easily found under the Trading Tools tab at the top of the page. Once selected, this will launch a separate pop out window on your desktop that transforms into your very own virtual trading desk. From there you will have access to a number of features including real time streaming quotes, order entry, and trading ideas just to name a few. The tabs at the top of the page clearly display the options available and are quite easy to navigate.

TD Ameritrade Review 2017

TD Ameritrade also offers a third option for trading - this one is for advanced users and active traders, and it is called Thinkorswim. The Thinkorswim is a professional-level, downloadable trading platform that offers a versatile trading environment with a multitude of features.

One of the most valued features of Thinkorswim is the Paper Money account. This option allows users to use a secondary account to trade virtual money. This is very beneficial because it allows users to see how the software works and to test new ideas and strategies without needing to risk real money. The downside to a Paper Money account is that the orders are executed immediately. This is contrary to the actual live market where contracts are not always executed immediately and may give investors unrealistic expectations of trading dynamics.

TD Ameritrade Review 2017

Mobile Trading

TD Ameritrade also has three mobile applications for its users, which make research and trading very easy, even on the go. First is TD Ameritrade Mobile which is similar to a standard banking mobile app, where you can view account balances, look for specific options, view your own shares and how they are doing, and more. It is simple and easy to navigate for the casual user. Their second mobile application, TD Ameritrade Mobile Trader, has more advanced features, similar to their web platform Trade Architect, and is better suited for those advanced traders who want more control and data. Both apps work very well, and are quick to learn.

The third app is called Thinkorswim, and it is probably the most advanced trading application for smartphone users on the market. It offers a lot of features that day traders use to make a living and therefore has a much speeper learning curve

Customer Service

The customer support is top-notch. In addition to the initial broker call when a client opens an account, and periodic follow-up calls just to check-in, they offer 24/7 support, with very friendly and helpful representatives. They also offer an online chat feature, which is automated, but can identify common questions and instantly link to solutions or request web pages.

TD Ameritrade Review

TD Ameritrade attracts many customers with its competitive promotions and retains them by providing a rich, multi-tiered trading environment. We have opened more than one account to take advantage of TD Ameritrade’s cash rewards and initial periods of free trades. Even after the promotional period expired, we remained clients because we were hooked on their excellent trading platforms and tools.

TD Ameritrade offers users access to an increasingly large set of securities, funds, and derivatives. The brokerage allows customers to trade futures, options, currencies, exchange-traded funds, mutual funds, and plain old stocks and bonds. The breath of coverage is impressive: for example, 25 currencies and 50 futures contracts are available for trading.

The brokerage also provides alternative ways to purchase and hold investments. One interesting program is TD Ameritrade’s commission free ETF investing program which allows investors to purchase a list of over 100 exchange-traded funds. For these ETFs commissions are waived as long as the ETF is held for more than 30 days. TD Ameritrade also allows investors to create individual retirement accounts (IRA), to enroll in 529 plans for college savings, or to create Coverdell Education savings accounts.

Finally, the standard brokerage account at TD Ameritrade functions very similar to a checking account, which adds convenience for users. The account includes free checks, and a free VISA card, which can be used to make withdrawals at an ATM, or swiped for purchases, just like any other checking account’s VISA. With zero fees, this brokerage account can function as a free, bonus checking account. The mobile application also supports mobile check-deposit, allowing clients to deposit checks by simply snapping a picture of them.

TD Ameritrade Promotions

Beyond exceptional trading environment, TD Ameritrade’s promotions are compelling for a majority of investors. The company has run promotions with tiered rewards to entice investors to fund accounts with $25,000 or more in assets. We have reaped $300 payment for funding an account with $100,000 and $100 for funding an account with $25,000 in the past. These bonuses are treated like interest income, and are taxable as regular income if your accounts are not tax advantaged. Regardless, the after-tax proceeds of these bonuses are effectively free money for investors. In a world where 1% interest in CDs and savings accounts is attractive, these bonuses are valuable because they add 0.3% or 0.4% to the yield of a portfolio without taking on additional risk. Investors who are looking to initiate many positions for the long term should also consider TD Ameritrade’s promotional free trades to save money on commissions. For example, the current promotion offers 60 days of free trades for stocks, exchange-traded funds, and options - Join TD Ameritrade. Trade free for 60 days + Get up to $600. This can amount to over $1,000 of savings.

Investors who open a promotional account with enough money to earn a $100 or $300 bonus are literally paid to create their trading positions on the platform, assuming they finish trading within the promotional period. This can save a fortune, especially if the investor is looking to create a well-diversified portfolio consisting of individual stocks, ETFs and mutual funds.

TD Ameritrade Review Summary

With recent acquisition of one of its largest competitors, Scottrade, as well as ever growing selection of products and services, TD Ameritrade is now well positioned to offer the highest amount of value to its customers and become the dominant player in the online investing industry.

TD Ameritrade Promotion Offer

Join TD Ameritrade. Trade free for 60 days + Get up to $600.

TD Ameritrade Reviewed by on . Rating: 5
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