Both TD Ameritrade and Fidelity fare well in our reviews. But below, we’ll take you through a head-to-head comparison to help you decide which is the best choice for you.
Comparison: Fidelity Investments vs. TD Ameritrade
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Commissions and fees
There’s not much to debate here: Both brokers charge no commission for stock, exchange-traded fund and options trades, and both have a $0.65 charge per options contract.
If you dig further into fees, however, you’ll find that Fidelity does beat TD Ameritrade in a few areas, namely account fees — though both charge very few — and broker-assisted trades ($32.95 to TD Ameritrade’s $44.99).
Winner: Fidelity in the details, but those focused solely on commissions will find the brokers equal.
Truthfully, it’s close to a toss-up unless you’re a futures trader, in which case you’ll want to skip Fidelity, which doesn’t offer futures capabilities.
Aside from that, both brokers cover all the bases, though you could say TD Ameritrade covers them a bit better: The broker trumps Fidelity’s selection of no-transaction-fee mutual funds by a hair.
Winner: TD Ameritrade
Research, tools and trading platforms
Both TD Ameritrade and Fidelity get five stars from us across the board here: for mobile app, trading platforms and research and data. They stack up pretty similarly, though each has an advantage.
For TD Ameritrade, that advantage is largely in its trading platforms, which are best-in-class: In addition to the web platform — which comes complete with “Ask Ted,” a chatbot to guide beginners — the broker offers Trade Architect and the renowned thinkorswim. Both will appeal to active traders, but thinkorswim steps it up with a strong line up of technical analysis tools and studies, customizable screeners, backtesting and paper trading capabilities. All three TD Ameritrade platforms are available to all customers, with no trade or balance minimums.
Fidelity’s platforms are also strong — in addition to the web functionality, the broker has a customizable desktop offering called Active Trader Pro. Active Trader Pro is available to investors who place at least 36 trades per rolling 12-month period. Others can contact Fidelity’s Active Trader Services to request access.
Where Fidelity really shines is in its breadth of available research, bringing together roughly 20 providers, including Recognia, Ned Davis, Thomson Reuters and McLean Capital Management. Investors can view an accuracy-weighted snapshot of research provider ratings in each stock quote’s Equity Summary Score.
Fidelity also brings impressive tools for retirement and casual investors, including retirement calculators, a Roth vs. traditional IRA evaluator, a budget checkup and an interactive estate planner.
Winner: TD Ameritrade gets the win for platforms and tools, but Fidelity excels for research.
Which is right for you: TD Ameritrade or Fidelity?
For those who prioritize commissions above all else, these brokers are pretty equal. But once you dig into the details, TD Ameritrade wins on other measures that may matter to active traders, including trading platform and tools.