Thinkorswim Review

Thinkorswim is a very well known broker amongst traders; they’re particularly famous for their advanced and intuitive platform. In fact they were the first broker to offer one click trading and still offer one of the most customizable platforms around.

Most other brokers have copied elements of their platform over the years thus nullifying their advantage somewhat. So are they still worth a look? Do they still have the best platform out there or has everybody else caught up? We signed up for an account to find out.

Fees & Commissions

  • Stocks and ETFs: $9.95, 5,000 shares maximum
  • OR $0.015 per share, $5 minimum
  • Options: $2.95 per contract OR $1.50 per contract plus $9.95 (only one $9.95 charge for unlimited spread legs)
  • Mutual funds: first three mutual fund trades in calendar month are free; $15 per trade after that
  • Bonds: up to 6 months maturity – $1 per bond
  • Over 6 months up to 1 year maturity: $1.50 per bond
  • Over 1 year maturity: $2 per bond
  • Treasuries: minimum order is $25,000 ($25 minimum commission)
  • All other bonds: minimum order is for 10 bonds ($25 minimum commission)
  • Futures: $3.50 per contract (inclusive of exchange fees)
  • Options on Futures: $3.00 per contract (inclusive of exchange fees)
  • Minimum to open account: $3,500

 Website & Sign-up

The Thinkorswim website seems to have had the TD Ameritrade treatment; I remember it being better than this originally. Now it’s gained the full corporate look and half a page of T&Cs that go along with it.

It might have lost some character but its still easy to navigate, they seem to be repositioning themselves from a traditional discount broker into a black box trading broker.

I chose to open an individual trading account, the forms were relatively easy to complete and I completed the process in around 12 minutes. The great thing about Thinkorswim is that you can start trading immediately there’s no need to wait until the money has cleared into your account.

Now that’s completed we’re ready to start trading so lets see if their platform and tools are still ahead of the game.

Trading Platform & Tools


The Thinkorswim platform has recently been redesigned; it now has a new interface and clearer navigation. It wasn’t bad before but now it’s even better, hard to believe but true.

This is the platform all other brokers love to copy, some have got close but it’s still a class act. One stand out feature is charts; they offer some of the most intuitive charting around. Add to that CNBC news feeds and live broadcast from the S&P 500 pit and you have a full and complete platform.

One recent addition to the platform is the ability to create a black box trading strategy without knowing any code. You simply drag and drop elements of your strategy form the many options available to create your own unique strategy.

This is an opportunity for you to try out a sophisticated black box strategy without the need to employ the services of a computer programmer. It’s sure to make black box or automated trading more accessible.

This is still a world class platform, it’s lost none of its functionality and has added some nice new features over the last few months which keep it ahead of the game.


  • Powerful trading platform, good risk management tools
  • Lots of investment products to choose from
  • No IRA fees
  • Great customer service (rumors this has suffered since TD Ameritrade takeover)
  • Virtual trading
  • No surcharge for placing trade through broker


  • High stock commissions
  • In flat-fee plan there is additional charge of $0.005 per share on every share above 5,000
  • All order types other than limit, marketable limit, and market orders will be charged per share rates
  • Platform too complicated for beginners to use
  • Browser trading is very slow
  • High margin rates


Are they a suitable broker for you? Well that depends on your trading style, they’re certainly not suitable for beginners as they have little in the way of education and no trading community to take advantage of. Beginners are much better suited with a broker like Zecco.

If you’re an intermediate trader then you’d be wise to check out their fees first, because they’re not the cheapest broker around. They have a nice platform yes but OptionsHouse also have a very accomplished platform but are considerably cheaper across the board.

If however you’re looking to build your first automated trading strategy Thinkorswim would be a good choice. You can use the platform to build a pretty sophisticated strategy without the need to know any computer code. This is sure to be a pretty popular option going forward.

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