TD Ameritrade Review



TD AmeritradeTD Ameritrade can trace its history back to 1983; they were the first broker to introduce a quote and order entry system via the touch-tone phone and went on to launch the first internet only broker in 2006.

Today TD Ameritrade is one of the largest discount brokers in the world, with over 7.2 million clients and revenues of $1.8 billion. They have a network of over 500 local branches and offer a full range of investment services including banking.

But just because they’re the biggest doesn’t mean they’re the best, so we’ve carried out a thorough review of their services, given their platform a test drive and of course compared them on price. So lets take a look and see how they fare.

 

Fees & Commissions

Stock Trades Options Base Per Contract Min Deposit Broker Assisted Mutual Funds
$9.99 $9.99 $0.75 $1000 $44.99 $49.99

 

Website & Sign-up

TD Ameritrade’s website has a big corporate feel to it; it’s very polished and easy to navigate around. They offer the traditional means of communication including email and telephone but don’t offer live chat.

I wouldn’t normally think live chat was a big omission, but I watched someone sign-up to a different brokerage account the other day and they found live chat to be incredibly useful. In fact I don’t think they would have continued without it, so maybe it’s more important than I thought.

The actual sign-up process went without a hitch though. It should take you no more 12 minutes to complete, so long as you have all your details to hand. The forms themselves are clear and concise with instructions on hand should you need them.

 

TD Ameritrade Apex

TD Ameritrade Apex is like an American Express Black Card, it’s a special program for investors that maintain an account balance in excess of $100,000 or trade more than 5 times a month.

So what do you get? Well you get preferential customer service, FREE access to the S&P Research reports and a 25% discount on the Market Edge daily and Market Edge daily plus reports. Is it worth it? Well it’s free to qualifying accounts so you can’t complain.

 

Platform & Tools

TD Ameritrade Trade Architect

TD Ameritrade has recently launched a new trading platform, Trade Architect. It promises all the functionality of the award winning thinkorswim™ platform with the intuitiveness of the standard Ameritrade platform.

If you’ve ever used the thinkorswim™ platform you’ll know what a joy to behold it is. No other platform comes close in terms of trading tools for all us technical analysts, but one thing it wasn’t was easy to use.

That’s where Trade Architect steps in; it’s a highly intuitive trading platform that requires little or no training to use and yet has all the tools a professional trader will need. Including customizable screens, heat maps, live-streaming CNBC, and up to the minute news with real-time quotes.

It really is a fantastic platform and has become one of my favorites, I love things that are easy and intuitive, and this platform proves that you can have a totally intuitive platform with a full and professional tool set.

 

Pros

  • No surcharges for penny stocks, large orders and after-hours trading
  • Large well known company with over 130 local branches
  • No maintenance and inactivity fees
  • Large selection of third-party research
  • Excellent trading tools
  • iPad trading platform

Cons

  • $9.99 commission for stocks/ETFs is high, $49 commission for mutual funds is extremely high
  • There have been reports that the trading platform is sometimes very slow to respond during busy periods.


Summary

TD Ameritrade are without a doubt a quality broker, perfect if you’re one of those people who doesn’t like trusting your hard earned cash with one of the smaller lesser known brokers.

Their customer service is excellent; they look after their clients very well. Even if you’re not a member of TD Ameritrade Apex you can still expect a high standard of service.

TD Ameritrade IRAs are not subject to an annual fee so they’re the perfect broker if you’re looking to manage your Investment Retirement Account.

They are however on the expensive side; $9.99 per trade is expensive no matter which way you cut it. Question is, are they worth it? Well the trading platform is first class no doubt about it. Customer service is also excellent, not many brokers will go the extra mile but TD Ameritrade does.

Would I recommend them as a broker? Yes I would, if you can stomach the extra fees, they’re a quality service provider. Sure if you hunt around you can save a few dollars here and there, but you’ll be sacrificing one of the most complete and intuitive platforms I’ve ever seen.

The only traders I think would be better served elsewhere are beginners; TD Ameritrade’s education is definitely aimed more at intermediate traders so rookies would be better off joining a firm like Zecco or TradeKing to get a thorough grounding in the basics first.

Join TD Ameritrade Now and Get 30 Days of Commission FREE Trades.




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