Getting what you pay for with TD Ameritrade.
TD Ameritrade is a long-established brokerage service that offers online access to more than 13,000 mutual funds, bonds, CDs, options and of course stocks. It is an excellent website for investment research and company information with a good set of trading tools. However it all comes at a high price.
Because it is the ‘Rolls Royce’ of online trading and brokerage services TD AMERITRADE charge commissions and fees accordingly. At $44.99 for broker assisted trades and $34.99 for using their interactive voice response telephone system to put an order in place, it is at the top of the market price range. It doesn’t feel like value for money when you pay $35 to talk to a machine though. With DIY trades, market, limit and options trades carry a significant $10 flat rate charge with options contracts taking another 75 cents. (Actually it’s only $9.99 but who do they think they are kidding?)
You do get your money’s worth however. The trading platform has all of the tools and information you need to work out, then implement investment strategies and trade securities without slippage. There is a minimum $2000 account opening sum but no account maintenance fee. The charges may be high but they are simple and transparent, which is always refreshing. Optional extras such as level II price and quote data streaming will cost extra. So be sure you really will make money on it before choosing it.
Probably the best feature of TD Ameritrade is the access to seemingly endless amounts of market data from all the usual suspects such as Morningstar®, S&P® and Market Edge® Opinion. It is good to know that you are seeing the broadest possible market research, but this could be a little overwhelming for the beginner.
TD Ameritrade would be the online brokerage of choice for professionals when they aren’t paying fees from their own money. There is every conceivable type of investment available here. They are second to none in stocks, options, mutuals and ETF’s as well as all the low-risk securities like Treasury and agency bills, bonds, CDs, unit investment trusts, and mortgage backed securities too. Whatever stage you are at in your financial life TD Ameritrade has a customized account. They offer speciality accounts for IRA’s, Roth IRA’s, Coverdell ESA’s and hundreds of higher education plans.
All of the website screens are user friendly and well-indexed, with top-of-screen tabs that make it easy to navigate all of the trading. All the information screens are just a click or two away. It also provides web-browser so that you can use the Internet as your investments develop. The help function is always available too. The trading control panel is large enough to cover the full range of investments that they offer. It is easily personalized to instantly show your individual trading preferences. You can scan the markets in your way and spot your money-making opportunities.
Customer support is second to none with TD Ameritrade. It has available, everyday-all day online and phone support as well as the facility to trade using your mobile. This brokerage also has a significant branch network with over 200 offices around the country. You can find the one nearest to you from the website. There is also the ubiquitous FAQs of course with a consultant just a phone call, email or ‘chat’ away. There is a great deal to learn from the TD Ameritrade website. It provides regular newsletters, articles and online seminars. There are mortgage and pension calculators and tools for personal financial planning for people at every life stage from insurance when children are dependant, through providing college education all the way to retirement and beyond.
In Summary then, TD Ameritrade has everything for the investor and while the charges are the highest around they definitely give value for money.