TD Ameritrade Review 2020

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TD Ameritrade is a highly rated online brokerage and investment firm. With a TD Ameritrade account, you can trade stocks, options, ETFs, mutual funds, forex, cryptocurrencies, and more.

The company also has over 275 physical branches located throughout the U.S.

If you’re trying to figure out if TD Ameritrade is the right brokerage firm for you, you’ve come to the right place.

This post will discuss all the services the company offers and the pros and cons of trusting them with your money.

Keep reading to learn more about the fees they charge and find answers to some commonly asked questions.

What is TD Ameritrade?

TD Ameritrade is one of the most frequently used online trading platforms.

The company has over 11 million customers, processes more than 500,000 trades each day, and manages upwards of $1 trillion in client assets.

TD Ameritrade was even rated as the Best Online Broker by Kiplinger in 2018 and the number one overall by StockBrokers.com in 2019. Let’s take a look at how the company grew to such impressive heights.

The History

The firm initially began as First Omaha Securities, which was founded in 1975 by Joe Ricketts. Some of you may be familiar with this name because Joe Ricketts is the owner of the Chicago Cubs. Shout out to the Windy City!

Anyhow, back in the early years, First Omaha Securities was one of the first companies to focus on making stock trading more accessible to individual investors. For example, in 1988, they disrupted Wall Street by bringing trading via touch-tone phones (remember those?!) to the masses.

They also acquired a company in the 1990s that was the first one to execute online trades.

After a series of additional acquisitions, including TD Waterhouse USA, the company eventually became known as TD Ameritrade. Now that we’ve covered the backstory let’s take a look at the services TD Ameritrade offers.

TD Ameritrade Features

TD Ameritrade offers two main types of online brokerage accounts.

Web Platform Brokerage Account

The Web Platform Brokerage Account is the most simple offering that TD Ameritrade offers. With this account, you can make basic trades on stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and ETFs on a straightforward and easy-to-use platform.

You won’t pay any commissions for U.S.-based trades, and options contracts cost $0.65. For non-U.S.-based funds, there’s a $6.95 fee.

TD Ameritrade Mobile App

Web Platform account holders that want to manage their investments and trade on-the-go will want to download the TD Ameritrade Mobile App. This app gives you access to all the same features you’ll get on the web platform, accessible via your phone, tablet, and even Apple Watch.

The TD Ameritrade Mobile App is well-rated in the App Store, with a 4.4-star rating (out of 5). However, the app has a lower rating of 3.6 stars (out of 5) in the Google Play store.

thinkorswim Brokerage Account

More advanced traders might want to look into opening a thinkorswim account, which is TD Ameritrade’s most powerful trading platform available to customers.

With a thinkorswim account, you’ll have exclusive access to 24-hour trading, which is known as 24/5 Trading in the platform (the markets are closed on the weekends!). You’ll also have access to make more advanced trades, including trading on margin, options futures, and forex, among others.

thinkorswim Mobile App

The thinkorswim mobile app gives account holders most of the same features from the web but on any device.

The app has an impressive 4.7-star rating (out of 5) in the App Store and a 3.4-star rating (out of 5) in the Google Play Store.

TD Ameritrade Investment Options

Next, let’s take a look at the various investment products you’ll have access to with a TD Ameritrade account.

Managed Portfolios

If you’re more of a hands-off trader and looking to build a long-term investment account, you might be interested in opening a Managed Portfolio account, which is TD Ameritrade’s robo-advising service

There are three types of Managed Portfolios available, as follows:

Essential Portfolio

This account offers automated investing across five ETF portfolios. There’s a minimum investment of $5,000 required to open an Essential Portfolio, and you’ll get charged an annual advisory fee of 0.30%.

Selective Portfolio

If you have at least $25,000 to open an account, you can open a Selective Portfolio. Out of the gate, a financial consultant will help you define your goals and plan your investments.

You’ll also be able to invest in a wider range of funds and take advantage of tax-loss harvesting if your investment situation qualifies.

The advisory fee for Selective Portfolios ranges from 0.75% to 0.90%, depending on the type of portfolio you wind up building.

Personalized Portfolio

Investors with at least $250,000 can access TD Ameritrade’s highest level of managed portfolio service. With a Personalized Portfolio, you’ll have access to a dedicated advisor as long as you keep your account open.

You’ll also enjoy the same tax-loss harvesting benefits that are included in qualifying Selective Portfolios. The advisory fee amount ranges from 0.60% to 0.90%, depending on the type of portfolio and amount invested.

Retirement Accounts (IRAs)

TD Ameritrade offers a range of retirement planning products, including:

The company also offers a helpful suite of retirement planning resources that you can use even without being a TD Ameritrade customer.

Cash Management

Those who are looking for easy access to their cash might want to check out TD Ameritrade’s Online Cash Services. Here are some of the main benefits that you’ll enjoy:

  • Easy to move cash in and out of the account (from other TD Ameritrade accounts)
  • No ATM fees in the U.S.
  • No monthly maintenance fees
  • Mobile check deposits through TD Ameritrade Mobile app
  • Free bill pay and check writing
  • Visa Debit Card from TD Bank can be used for everyday purchases

What’s more, qualified customers will have access to the TD Ameritrade Client Rewards Credit Card, which offers unlimited 1.5% rewards on purchases.

There’s also a $100 bonus available to new cardmembers who spend $500 within the first three months of opening an account.

TD Ameritrade Pricing

TD Ameritrade charges no fees for online trades of U.S.-based stocks, bonds, options, and ETFs. Broker-assisted trades cost $25, and there’s a $0.65 options contract fee.

No-transaction-fee mutual funds and load funds are free to trade. However, no-load mutual funds cost $49.99, and futures and options on futures cost $2.25.

For a full breakdown of TD Ameritrade’s pricing and fees, visit their website.

Getting Started

To get started, click the green Open New Account text on either the top right-hand or lower right-hand corner of your browser.

From there, you’ll have to select the type of account you want to open. If you’re not sure which account is right for you, there’s a helpful interactive Q&A to help you decide.

TD Ameritrade Sign Up Bonus

At the time of this writing, TD Ameritrade is offering a $600 sign-up bonus for new account holders that deposit $250,000 or more.

Don’t have that much to spare? No worries. You can also earn a $100 bonus if you deposit $25,000 or more and a $300 bonus if you deposit $100,000 or more.

Security

Considering the sensitive nature and high volume of the financial information that TD Ameritrade handles, it’s no surprise that they take security very seriously. Advanced firewalls, leading encryption technology, and intrusion monitoring tools keep your accounts safe from attackers.

What’s more, the company offers free spyware and antivirus software to account holders, adding an extra layer of security. They also offer an Asset Protection Guarantee, which means you’ll get reimbursed if you’re ever the victim of unauthorized activity.

Customer Support

TD Ameritrade offers 24/7 customer support over the phone. Believe it or not, this feature isn’t as common as you might expect. Current clients can call 1-800-669-3900 for assistance at any time. If you’re a new customer, there’s also 24/7 support available at 1-800-454-9272.

Don’t feel like talking on the phone? TD Ameritrade even has support agents available via Twitter and Facebook Messenger. Talk about convenience!

Last but certainly not least, TD Ameritrade has over 275 brick-and-mortar branches located throughout the U.S. To find a location near you, check out their branch locator.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Commission-free trades on U.S. stocks and ETFs
  • thinkorswim is a robust trading platform for advanced traders
  • Convenient cash management options
  • Customer support available 24/7
  • Physical branches provide in-person support for those who prefer that route

Cons

  • $5,000 minimum deposit for robo-advising is higher than some competitors
  • The platform might be too complicated for beginner investors

TD Ameritrade FAQs

How much money do you need to open a TD Ameritrade account?

There’s no minimum deposit required to open a TD Ameritrade brokerage account. However, you will need to deposit at least $2,000 before you can start trading margins or options futures.

To open a robo-advising account (which is called a Managed Portfolio account), you will need at least $5,000.

Can a non-U.S. citizen use TD Ameritrade?

Yes. TD Ameritrade offers trading services to non-U.S. citizens. In fact, they have separate companies dedicated to residents in the following countries: Canada, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and China.

Is there a monthly fee for TD Ameritrade?

There is no monthly fee for TD Ameritrade. Managed Portfolio accounts have annual management fees.

When did Ameritrade become TD Ameritrade?

In 2006, Ameritrade purchased TD Waterhouse USA, which is how the names came together.

Alternatives to TD Ameritrade

Vanguard, Charles Schwab, Fidelity, and Merrill Lynch are in the same large-scale investment firm wheelhouse.

When it comes to free or low-cost online trading platforms without all the bells and whistles, Ally Invest, Robinhood, Interactive Brokers, and E*TRADE come to mind.

Is TD Ameritrade Right for Me?

As you can see, TD Ameritrade offers a ton of investment options, round-the-clock customer support, and they even have physical branches located throughout the U.S. If you’re looking for a solid overall brokerage firm, TD Ameritrade is definitely worth considering.

As a customer, you’ll have access to almost any type of investment product, as well as a very robust platform for executing simple to advanced trades for low-to-no cost.

On the other hand, if you are more of a passive investor that wants to park funds in one account for the next 30 years or if you’re looking for the best robo-advising service, you might want to look elsewhere.

Like any decision about your money, it really comes down to the type of investor that you are and the investment goals that you have.

Since you’ve made it this far, it’s safe to say you’re interested in securing your financial future. Here are some additional resources you might be interested in:

Here’s to making the best financial decisions for your future!

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