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TD Ameritrade Review 2020

TD Ameritrade has established itself as one of the world’s leading online stockbrokers by offering low fees and zero commissions on a wide range of instruments. It benefits from a high-quality trading platform, thinkorswim, and it is renowned for strong customer service, a slick mobile app and excellent research tools. TD Ameritrade was founded in 1978. It is headquartered in Nebraska and regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission and other top-tier regulators. In November 2019, Charles Schwab & Co. announced a $26 billion merger with TD Ameritrade, but analysts believe it will take several years for the takeover to be completed.

TD Ameritrade: Pros & Cons
  • High-quality trading platform
  • Low trading fees
  • Zero commissions
  • Great customer service
  • Extensive research and analysis tools
  • Site can be difficult to navigate and tricky for beginners
  • Limited banking methods

Usability, Look & Feel

TD Ameritrade deals with a high volume of trades on a daily basis, but the platform is fast, effective and free of glitches. The design is clean, restrained and user-friendly, but packed full of rich research tools, educational materials and analytical widgets. One drawback is the inability to customise the site, but overall we found the desktop platform to boast strong usability when compiling our TD Ameritrade review. The mobile app has much of the trading functionality that you will find on the desktop site, and this modified version of the thinkorswim platform also includes Level II quotes. It ranks among the best trading apps in the business.

TD Ameritrade customers were hit with a security breach back in 2007. However, it swiftly bolstered its security provisions and our TD Ameritrade review found the current measures to be strong. It uses the latest SSL encryption software, and the SSL algorithm is strong. Overall, it is now a safe and secure site and you can trade without fearing for your personal and financial details. However, some customers have reported glitches, lag times and technical issues with the trading platform.

Payments

An electronic bank deposit is the most common way to fund a TD Ameritrade account. The deposit limits are $50 to $250,000 and the standard completion time is five minutes. You can alternatively opt for a wire transfer. This takes one business day to complete, and there are no deposit limits. You can also choose to mail in a check, transfer an account from another firm or deposit physical stock certificates. You can call 800-454-9272 and the customer service team will walk you through the process. We tested it for this TD Ameritrade review and found the staff to be polite and efficient, which is not always the case when we conduct reviews of crypto trading exchanges.

Ease of withdrawals is another key component for anyone reading a TD Ameritrade review. To make a withdrawal, visit “My Account”, choose a withdrawal and opt for “To bank connection”. Enter the amount you wish to withdraw, set the frequency and the date and then click to make the withdrawal. We tested it for this TD Ameritrade review and it took two business days. This TD Ameritrade review must also highlight that it is not possible to make deposits or withdrawals using a debit card, credit card or e-wallet such as PayPal, Skrill or Neteller. If you like to use those banking methods, you should look for alternative trading platforms and crypto trading brokers.

Customer Service

TD Ameritrade excels when it comes to customer service. It goes the extra mile to provide strong customer support. The team is available on a 24/7 basis, and you can choose from live chat, telephone and email support. This service is available in English, Spanish and Chinese. Many customer support teams are only available during the week or during working hours, but we tested the service at various times of day for this TD Ameritrade review, so we can confirm that it is available 24/7.

We tested the various customer support channels for our TD Ameritrade review and we can confirm that it is a well-oiled machine. Staff provided quick, polite, helpful information. Live chat works especially well, while we managed to speak to a phone support representative within a couple of minutes, and our email was answered in less than a day. Overall, we were very impressed with the level of professionalism on display, and 24/7 support is a major bonus.

License & Security

The next part of this TD Ameritrade review delves into a crucial consideration for any online broker: licensing, regulation and security. TD Ameritrade has a banking licence, it is listed on a major stock exchange, it provides regular financial updates and a top-tier regulator keeps it in check, so customers should feel confident when using the service. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority regulates TD Ameritrade, while client accounts are FDIC protected and TD Ameritrade also uses London insures for excess SIPC coverage.

TD Ameritrade Crypto

Trade Offer

The site does not enable cryptocurrency trading, but you can trade CME Bitcoin futures at TD Ameritrade. Bitcoin futures trading is only possible if you have a margin-enabled account with a minimum of $25,000 and Tier 2 spread option approval. This is a result of the volatility of the crypto trading market. TD Ameritrade crypto trading is therefore limited, but you can enjoy advanced technology and straightforward pricing when trading CME Group Bitcoin futures.

Crypto will play a far role within TD Ameritrade’s portfolio in future after the firm invested in Eris Exchange LLC. The ErisX platform offers traders access to cryptocurrency spot contracts and futures contracts on a single regulated exchange. TD Ameritrade plans to incorporate this service onto its own platform, allowing its clients to trade crypto products on ErisX at TD Ameritrade. It has not yet provided a start date, but customers are encouraged to email TD Ameritrade to be kept abreast of developments. In 2020, ErisX became the first US company to launch Ethereum futures trading, and it also offers Bitcoin futures, plus Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum and Litecoin as spot products.

Other Trading

TD Ameritrade clients can trade a broad range of asset classes, including stocks, options, EFTs, mutual funds, futures and forex. The firm also provides managed portfolios, cash management, bonds, CDs and annuities for clients. There are naturally no CFDs, as they are banned in the US. Our Ameritrade TD review found 73 forex pairs to trade, covering most major currencies. That compares favourably to some of its key competitors. It also offers more than 300 EFTs on a commission-free basis, plus a huge range of mutual funds with no load, no transaction fee terms. We were impressed with the depth of its product offering when conducting this TD Ameritrade review.

The site offers access to major global markets such as the NYSE and the NASDAQ, plus several OTC penny stocks. There are plenty of futures and futures options, while you can design trades featuring multiple asset classes, with up to eight legs. There are CDs, corporate, municipal and Treasury bonds, although this TD Ameritrade review should point out that some competitors offer a far broader range of bonds. It is worth noting in this TD Ameritrade review that the availability of products will be smaller for traders based outside of the US.

Trading Costs

TD Ameritrade stopped charging commission fees in October 2019 after a price war with its rivals intensified. You can trade stocks, EFTs and options for free, although there is a $0.65 contract fee and a $6.95 commission applies to OTC stocks. Broker-assisted trades carry a flat fee of $25. We found hundreds of no-transaction-fee mutual funds when conducting this TD Ameritrade review, but there is a fee of $49.99 fee if you want to trade a no-load fund that is not on the list.

There is no inactivity fee at TD Ameritrade. You should be aware of a $75 transfer-out fee, but partial transfers are free, so there is effectively no withdrawal fee. TD Ameritrade makes money through spreads and financing rates. We tested its fees for this TD Ameritrade review and found them to be very competitive when compared to rivals such as E-Trade. It also compares well with Charles Schwab, so it will be interesting to see what happens if and when these two behemoths eventually merge. TD Ameritrade’s Forex fees are low, and ErisX is known to be competitive, which bodes well for TD Ameritrade’s future crypto trading fees.

Trading Conditions

TD Ameritrade is not available in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, the UK or any country in the European Union. As the name suggests, it is primarily aimed at American investors and traders, but it can be accessed from other countries, such as Malaysia. The firm inherited a number of Asian users when it acquired Scottrade. There is also a subsidiary called TD Ameritrade Singapore for that market, but clients cannot trade mutual funds and forex.

You must be based in the US to enjoy the full range of services and instruments at TD Ameritrade, as there are limitations elsewhere. You might want to look at another broker if you are not an American investor. However, you will benefit from a truly superb desktop trading platform, excellent customer service and a wealth of analytical tools if you use TD Ameritrade, so it is easy to see why the firm attracts so many overseas customers.

Product Conclusion

Start by clicking “Open New Account” at the top right of the homepage. You can choose from a wide range of accounts at TD Ameritrade, including individual, joint, business, retirement, pension, college savings, custodial or guardianship, trust, or managed portfolios. To open an individual brokerage account, you will need to provide a Social Security Number. If you are not a US citizen, you will be required to provide a foreign tax ID, passport or visa number, along with your employer’s details.

You must then add personal information, review it and accept the terms and conditions. We found this process took around 15 minutes when we completed it for the purposes of this TD Ameritrade review. You must then wait for your account to be verified, which takes up to three business days. Make a deposit and then you can start trading. Click on the “Trade” tab at the top of the page and choose the asset category you are interested in. You can then click on “Buy/Sell” and use the “Action” menu to choose either buy or sell. Enter the quantity, the symbol and order type, select a price and a time-in-force. You can then click “Review order”. If you are happy with it, click “Place order” to make the trade.

We tested it out for this TD Ameritrade review, and the process is very smooth, clear and intuitive. The site also walks you through it with helpful guides and advice, or the customer service team can explain each step in a clear and concise manner.

Overall Conclusion

TD Ameritrade has built up a solid reputation as a reliable and trustworthy trading platform over the past five decades. It is renowned for offering one of the most polished trading platforms in the world, replete with low trading fees and a wide range of tradable instruments. Our TD Ameritrade review cannot fault the level of customer service on offer, and it has retained millions of happy customers over the years.

We also delved into a number of consumer feedback sites while putting our TD Ameritrade review together. We found low customer satisfaction ratings at some sites, with some users complaining about payout times, login issues, being put on hold while requesting customer support, lags and technical problems, but it must be stressed that the number of complaints is very small in the context of the firm’s enormous customer base.

TD Ameritrade is an excellent choice for novice traders and experienced investors alike. It offers a high-quality desktop and mobile platform, brimming with useful analytical tools, articles and videos. Its fees are relatively low on forex and other categories, and it introduced commission-free trading on stock and EFTs at the end of 2019.

The overall user experience is excellent, but there are some drawbacks. You cannot use debit or credit cards to fund your account, you can only trade products from US markets, opening an account is a slow process, and broker-assisted trading fees are high, while some users have experienced slow response times when voicing complaints, but in general this is a very strong online broker.

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