• State-of-the-art trading tool platforms
• Research and educational resources
• Easy to use
• Round-the-clock customer support
• High commissions
The higher commission charges may put some people off but TD Ameritrade has a package of tools, research and educational resources to make up for it. TD Ameritrade is suitable for all kinds of investors, from the serious trader to the occasional player.
Another long-term player in the discount brokerage business, TD Ameritrade has over 35 years’ experience offering services to the individual investor. TD Ameritrade provides investment and trading services to around six million customers – the company has an established place in the market. We looked into TD Ameritrade’s features and tools to see whether you get good value for your money with this online trading house.
TD Ameritrade goes to town with its two trading platforms that have features and tools to rival a lot of its competitors. The first platform is called Trade Architect and is designed for active traders. The range of tools attached to this platform is impressive. View streaming CNBC news, identify trends with heat mapping and charting, check out independent research, screen stocks and investment possibilities according to your needs by filtering with a number of different criteria, and view earning history and potential.
The second desktop platform, thinkorswim, was once a standalone broker service until it was bought by TD Ameritrade and it is primarily targeted at advanced traders who want to optimize their investment capability. One of the main benefits of thinkorswim is the huge amount of charting capability you can use, with streaming real-time data and a range of technical studies for every chart. Further tools included in this package are stock scanners and options screeners, an in-depth market monitor, a strategy-tester for experimenting without risking your money, alerts, heat mapping and earnings calendars. In fact, pretty much everything you want out of a trading tool package is included here.
Commissions & fees
With a flat rate commission setup, TD Ameritrade makes it easy to understand the cost of online trading. Stocks are traded for $9.99 and $9.99 for options plus $0.75 per contract. While the commission for stocks and options is higher than many, there are no minimum trading requirements to access the advanced tools in the package and there is no minimum opening deposit.
Access the same standard of tools and research on your mobile with one of the apps from TD Ameritrade. The fact that Ameritrade offers a choice of apps is a bonus – traders can choose between the apps to find one that meets their individual needs. Mobile trading allows you to manage your trades and investments and chart possibilities while not attached to your desktop PC.
Ease of Use
The general web platform for TD Ameritrade is easy to navigate and customize. Make your workspace your own by shifting the configurations of tools and features, and setting your own alerts and watch lists. TD Ameritrade offers one of the cleanest sets of platforms for using your trading tools and the depth of data is both extensive and flexible. While beginners may be put off by the sheer volume of data and information in the platforms, more experienced traders will find the package easy to handle. There are a number of how-to guides in the education center for people who want to learn how to operate the tools more easily.
TD Ameritrade offers an impressive amount of research and education, organized by topic, content type and level of experience. Research reports are extensive and you’ll find a lot of information on every company. Third-party research is from Credit Suisse, Ford Equity Research, TheStreet.com, Market Edge, S&P Capital IQ, and others. Browse through webcasts on a variety of topics, videos, articles, magazines and journals, and online courses. Calculators and other tools like charting systems and screeners make up the well-stocked research and education package.
Phone support is provided 24 hours a day and you can also email customer support to get a prompt response. You can also go into one of 100 or more branches for help in person. We like the level of professionalism in the support given, and the convenience you have to get in touch. Live chat is provided through the think or swim platform only.
The only downside of this broker is the cost – many other brokers offer trades at better discounts. The question for investors is whether they want to go primarily for discount trades or take advantage of a package of trading tools and research that costs a bit more. TD Ameritrade provides state-of-the-art trading platforms with all the tools you need, plus extensive research. See for yourself how it matches up with the others in the market.
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