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TD Ameritrade Review

TD Ameritrade + ThinkorSwimTD Ameritrade has been at the top of our list of the best online brokers since we started tracking back in 2009. Back then juggernaught broker TD Ameritrade bought ThinkorSwim for $606 million. What you’re left with today is largely a marriage made in heaven for the retail investor.

With the purchase and integration of ThinkorSwim’s killer trading platform now every day trader/investor has some great tools at his disposal. Mobile apps for iPhone, iPad, and Android round out the package. In this review we’ll take a look at all of this in depth.

Trading Fees & Commissions

  • Stocks – Online – $0.00
  • Stocks – Interactive Voice Response (IVR) Phone System – $5.00
  • Stock – Broker-assisted – $25.00
  • ETFs – Commission-free ETFs – $0.00
  • ETFs – Online – $0.00
  • ETFs – Interactive Voice Response (IVR) Phone System – $5.00
  • ETFs – Broker-assisted – $25.00
  • Mutual Funds – No-Transaction Fee (NTF) – $0.00
  • Mutual Funds – No-load – $49.99
  • Mutual Funds – Load – $0.00
  • Options – Online – $0.00; $0.65 fee per contract
  • Options exercises and assignments – $0.00
  • Options – Interactive Voice Response (IVR) Phone System – $5.00 + $0.65 fee per contract
  • Options – Broker-assisted – $25.00 + $0.65 fee per contract

* All stock trades are $0.00 regardless of order types or size, and prices stay the same during regular, pre and post market hours. This is a great feature over other brokers who charge extra during off market hours.

Trade Architect

Trade Architect is free with your TD Ameritrade account and can be accessed from any browser. That said, running in Google’s Chrome browser Trade Architect is pretty damn sleek and could easily be the best web platform out there. Updated heavily in 2012 the platform features real-time streaming charts, easy executions, stock screeners, options tools, heat mapping, CNBC streaming, and the best watch list tool I’ve found anywhere.

See below for a screenshot of a typical options chain layout within Trade Architect.

Trade Architect Options


Platforms: Mac, Windows, Linux. (Free to test and review without a TD Ameritrade account)

ThinkorSwim is commonly considered the best trading platform in the industry with free streaming quote and independent research offered through S&P, CNBC, and Morningstar. The client application is called thinkDesktop and it is a state-of-the-art system for monitoring, analyzing and trading equities and option derivatives. The interface is extremely well designed, intuitive and highly customizable making it very powerful from the arm-chair investor to experienced day traders. Entering your orders is extremely fast , easy to review, and executions are always lightning quick.

What really sets ThinkorSwim apart from competitors is the powerful charting tool so many of its users rave about. You’ll be hard pressed to find a better option for charting aside from maybe TradeStation.

Whatever technical analysis you are using, ToS will have it. Moving averages, oscillators, Fibonaccis, comparison charts, trendlines, Elliot Wave, it’s all here. Best of all if you find anything missing their is an amazing scripting language (thinkScript) built-in with a great community of users offering both free and paid custom indicators.

 Promotion:  Download ThinkorSwim Now & Trade without commissions

One of the more popular parts of ThinkorSwim might be the social aspect. ThinkorSwim ChatThe Trader’s Lounge is a chat system for users built into the client where you can discuss specific stocks, ETFs, options, or even get an education. Every Wednesday at 3:15pm CST ThinkorSwim features industry experts hosting a discussion targeted towards all manner of online trading. This is a great place to learn to trade, get market opinions, or simply learn to use the platform itself.

TD Ameritrade for Mobile

TD AMeritrad mobile apps

No modern trading platform would be complete without killer mobile apps for traders on the go and TD Ameritrade does not disappoint with apps for iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry devices. The apps allow for almost everything you can do with the web platform including alerts, research, executing orders, and of course real-time quotes. I’d say the best feature with the Mobile Trader is the real-time alerts, which are a great away to get away from your desk but still keep an eye on the markets.

If you don’t have an app installed the main TD Ameritrade website is optimized specifically for your mobile browser so you can accomplish essential tasks, like quickly placing orders, at any time, anywhere.

Author’s disclosure: All opinions expressed are my own. I am compensated by the businesses that I review.

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About Miles Evans

Miles is a pattern day trader from British Columbia, Canada, and has been actively seeking alpha since 1999. Outside of finance Miles is interested in web startups, programming, and the limitless wisdom of the crowd.

See all posts by Miles