Charles Schwab vs. TD Ameritrade: 2023 Comparison

Comparing Charles Schwab and TD Ameritrade will soon be unnecessary: Schwab completed its acquisition of TD Ameritrade in 2020, and the brokers expect to combine operations in 2023.
Arielle O'Shea
By Arielle O'Shea 

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The first thing you should know when comparing Charles Schwab and TD Ameritrade: They're part of the same company. In 2019, Schwab announced an acquisition of TD Ameritrade, and the deal closed in late 2020

.

Since then, it's largely been business as usual for the two brokers and their customers, but Schwab says it expects full integration to be complete by September 2023

. TD Ameritrade's renowned thinkorswim trading platforms will move to Schwab.

While at soon these two brokers will become one and the same, for now, you may still be interested in deciding between them. Below, our detailed analysis to help you do that.

TD Ameritrade is best for:

  • Beginner investors.

  • Advanced traders.

  • Investor education/advice.

  • Fund investors.

TD Ameritrade at a glance

Account minimum

$0

Stock trading costs

$0

Options trades

$0.65 per contract.

Account fees (annual, transfer, closing, inactivity)

No annual or inactivity fee. $75 full transfer; $0 partial transfer.

Number of no-transaction-fee mutual funds

More than 1,600.

Tradable securities

  • Stocks.

  • Bonds.

  • Options.

  • Mutual funds.

  • ETFs.

  • Futures.

  • Forex.

  • Foreign ADRs.

  • IPOs for qualified accounts.

Crypto availability

No direct access to cryptocurrencies, but crypto coin trusts are available over-the-counter, and qualified clients can trade Bitcoin futures from CME.

Trading platform

Two platforms: TD Ameritrade web and thinkorswim (desktop).

Mobile app

TD Ameritrade mobile app, TDA thinkorswim app.

Research and data

Research, analysis, commentary and news available from 15 providers, including Argus, CFRA, Reuters, Vickers and Morningstar.

Customer support options (includes how easy it is to find key details on the website).

Phone, email and live chat support 24/7. In person at local branches. Support also available via text, Facebook Messenger, Twitter direct message, Apple Business Chat and Amazon Alexa.

Charles Schwab is best for:

  • Beginner investors.

  • Advanced traders.

  • Investors seeking no-minimum index funds.

  • Investors who rely on premium research.

Charles Schwab at a glance

Account minimum

$0.

Stock trading costs

$0.

Options trades

No base commission; $0.65 per contract.

Account fees (annual, transfer, closing, inactivity)

No annual or inactivity fee; $50 for full or $25 for partial transfer out of assets.

Number of no-transaction-fee mutual funds

Over 7,100 no-transaction-fee mutual funds.

Tradable securities

  • Stocks.

  • Bonds.

  • Fractional shares

  • Mutual funds.

  • ETFs.

  • Forex.

  • Options.

  • Futures.

Trading platform

Three platforms offered with no trade minimums or fees: StreetSmart Edge (desktop platform), Schwab.com and StreetSmart Central.

Mobile app

Two mobile apps with above-average capabilities: Schwab Mobile and StreetSmart Mobile.

Research and data

Research from more than 20 providers including Moody's, Morningstar, Recognia, and Thompson Reuters, plus more in-house generated commentary and tools.

Customer support options (includes how easy it is to find key details on the website)

Phone, email, chat 24/7, and in-person support available at branches Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Some branches have Saturday hours.

Want to compare more options? View the best brokers for stock trading

Methodology

How do we review brokers?

NerdWallet’s comprehensive review process evaluates and ranks the largest U.S. brokers by assets under management, along with emerging industry players. Our aim is to provide an independent assessment of providers to help arm you with information to make sound, informed judgements on which ones will best meet your needs. We adhere to strict guidelines for editorial integrity.

We collect data directly from providers through detailed questionnaires, and conduct first-hand testing and observation through provider demonstrations. The questionnaire answers, combined with demonstrations, interviews of personnel at the providers and our specialists’ hands-on research, fuel our proprietary assessment process that scores each provider’s performance across more than 20 factors. The final output produces star ratings from poor (one star) to excellent (five stars).

For more details about the categories considered when rating brokers and our process, read our full methodology.

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