TD Ameritrade Review 2023: Pros, Cons and How It Compares

Charles Schwab acquired TD Ameritrade in 2019, and is currently working to transition clients. NerdWallet is no longer updating this review.
Sam Taube
By Sam Taube 
Edited by Pamela de la Fuente

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Our Take

5.0

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line:

Charles Schwab acquired TD Ameritrade in 2019, and is currently working to transition clients. NerdWallet is no longer updating this review.

TD Ameritrade
TD Ameritrade
Fees
$0
per trade
Account minimum
$0
Promotion
None
no promotion available at this time

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Commission-free stock and ETF trades.

  • Free research.

  • High-quality trading platforms.

  • No account minimum.

  • Good customer support.

  • Large investment selection.

Cons

  • No fractional shares.

Compare to Similar Brokers

NerdWallet rating 

4.9

/5
NerdWallet rating 

5.0

/5
NerdWallet rating 

4.7

/5
NerdWallet rating 

4.1

/5

Fees 

$0

per online equity trade

Fees 

$0

per trade

Fees 

$0

per trade

Fees 

$0

per trade

Account minimum 

$0

Account minimum 

$0

Account minimum 

$0

Account minimum 

$0

Promotion 

None

no promotion available at this time

Promotion 

None

no promotion available at this time

Promotion 

Get up to 75 free fractional shares (valued up to $3,000)

when you open and fund an account with Webull.

Promotion 

Get up to $700

when you open and fund a J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing account with qualifying new money.

Learn more

on Charles Schwab's website

Learn more

on Interactive Brokers' website

Learn more

on Webull's website

Learn more

on J.P. Morgan's website

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Full Review

Editor’s note: Charles Schwab acquired TD Ameritrade in 2019, and is currently working to transition clients. NerdWallet is no longer updating this review. See our Charles Schwab review to learn more about that brokerage, which has integrated many of TD Ameritrade's offerings.

Where TD Ameritrade shines

Free research: TD Ameritrade offers a wide range of third-party research from highly reputable sources, including the Federal Reserve Economic Database, Center for Financial Research and Analysis, and Morningstar, all free to users.

High-quality trading platforms: In addition to its TD Ameritrade web and mobile platforms, the highly rated thinkorswim platform offers professional-level trading on desktop and mobile.

Customer support: With 24/7 support via phone, text, fax, live chat, email or social media, plus in-person meetings at more than 250 branches, TDAmeritrade’s customer support is hard to beat.

Large investment selection: TD Ameritrade has something for everyone: from a large selection of low-cost mutual funds to advanced products like futures and forex trading.

Where TD Ameritrade falls short

Fractional shares: Fractional shares were once a niche offering, but now major players such as Fidelity and Schwab are offering fractional trading. TD Ameritrade still isn’t, however, so investors with limited capital to invest may want to look elsewhere. Fractional shares allow you to invest by the dollar amount — not by the share — letting you build a portfolio of stocks that may be too expensive otherwise.

Crypto and over-the-counter (OTC) stocks: TD Ameritrade does not offer direct access to cryptocurrencies, although exchange-traded cryptocurrency trusts and bitcoin futures are available to some users. It also charges a hefty commission on OTC stock trades.

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.

More details about TD Ameritrade's ratings

Account minimum: 5 out of 5 stars

TD Ameritrade does not have an account minimum.

Stock trading costs: 5 out of 5 stars

There is no commission on exchange-listed stock trading at TD Ameritrade, although OTC trades will cost you $6.95.

Options trading costs: 4 out of 5 stars

TD Ameritrade charges no base commission for option trades and $0.65 per contract, a fairly typical price level among major brokers.

Account fees: 4.5 out of 5 stars

The only fee at TD Ameritrade worth mentioning is its full account transfer fee; if you transfer all of your assets to another brokerage, you’ll have to pay a $75 fee, which is on the high end for this type of charge. However, the broker doesn't charge for partial transfers, nor are there annual or inactivity fees.

Number of no-transaction-fee mutual funds: 3 out of 5 stars

Though the selection of 1,600 no-transaction-fee mutual funds isn't quite as large as at some other brokers, you’ll still have plenty of choice in this category.

TD Ameritrade also excels at offering low-cost and low-minimum funds, with over 5,300 mutual funds on its platform with expense ratios of 0.50% or less, and over 3,600 with investment minimums of $100 or less. It's an ideal broker for beginner mutual fund investors.

Tradable securities: 4.5 out of 5 stars

TD Ameritrade aces the investment selection category by offering the full range of investments, including futures, forex and IPO and bitcoin futures trading for approved clients.

Crypto availability: 2 out of 5 stars

TD Ameritrade doesn't offer direct access to cryptocurrencies; however, crypto-based products, such as Grayscale Bitcoin Trust, are available through TD Ameritrade on the over-the-counter market. Qualified TD Ameritrade clients can also trade Bitcoin futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME).

Trading platform: 5 out of 5 stars

TD Ameritrade offers two main trading platforms, each with a corresponding mobile version.

TDAmeritrade.com is the on-ramp platform that offers pretty much everything an average investor needs to identify, research, screen and trade stocks, funds, bonds and CDs. Baked into the free platform are:

  • Screeners.

  • A customizable landing page.

  • The broker's GainsKeeper tool, to track capital gains and losses for tax season.

Separately, the company has a desktop trading platform called thinkorswim that's aimed at serious stock, ETF, futures and forex traders. It has all the features active traders need, including advanced trading capabilities, a robust lineup of technical analysis tools and studies, customizable screeners and charting, backtesting capabilities, real-time news, quotes, market heat maps and more.

The company also offers a virtual trading simulator. Surprisingly, few online brokers offer mock trading accounts on their platforms, so this is fairly unique. TD Ameritrade's paperMoney virtual simulator is a desktop-based platform geared toward advanced and frequent traders. It provides $100,000 in practice "money" along with access to a margin account. It's available for free through the broker's two platforms, and its Mobile Trader app, although non-customers can register for a free 60-day trial — a good way to test a new platform before committing to setting up a real-money account.

Mobile app: 5 out of 5 stars

The choice of platforms extends to the broker's mobile products. TD Ameritrade Mobile (iOS and Android) is a companion to the desktop platform. The TD Ameritrade thinkorswim app is aimed at the advanced trading crowd and is a companion app to the desktop platform of the same name. The company also has TD Ameritrade Mobile Web, the browser-based platform optimized for mobile devices.

TD Ameritrade Mobile has much of the trading functionality of the web-based platform and also provides Level II quotes (not available on the web platform). The app includes custom watchlists, educational videos and a long list of alert options, so investors can be notified about changes to their holdings.

The thinkorswim app includes futures and forex trading, complex option ordering capabilities (three or four legs) and chat support from TD's trading desk.

Both TD Ameritrade Mobile and the thinkorswim app get high average ratings from users — but in both cases, the iOS version gets significantly better marks than the Android version.

Research and data: 5 out of 5 stars

TD Ameritrade’s research selection really stands out from other brokerages, with research, analysis, commentary and news available from 15 providers, including FRED, Argus, CFRA, Reuters, Vickers and Morningstar.

Customer support options: 4.5 out of 5 stars

TD Ameritrade’s customer support is second to none. Virtually every medium you can think of (from texting to social media) offers support 24/7, and if you’re the type who wants to talk to someone in person, there are more than 250 branches nationwide. Its website, however, leaves a bit to be desired in terms of ease of navigation.

Other TD Ameritrade details you should know

In October 2020, Charles Schwab completed its acquisition of TD Ameritrade, but integration of the two companies is expected to occur over the next six to 24 months.

Is TD Ameritrade right for you?

TD Ameritrade is a rare broker that covers all of the bases and does it very well. For a broker with no commission on stock and ETF trades, clients get an impressive list of services including portfolio-building guidance, hands-on investing courses, high-quality research, trading tools and a fairly wide selection of no-transaction-fee mutual funds.

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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