5 Different Ways TD Ameritrade Makes Money

Concerning the Writer

Matt Frankel, CFP®

Matt is a Licensed Monetary Planner® and funding advisor based mostly in Columbia, South Carolina. He writes private finance and funding recommendation for The Ascent and its guardian firm The Motley Idiot, with greater than 4,500 printed articles and a 2017 SABEW Greatest in Enterprise award. Matt writes a weekly funding column (“Ask a Idiot”) that’s syndicated in USA At the moment, and his work has been often featured on CNBC, Fox Enterprise, MSN Cash, and lots of different main retailers. He’s a graduate of the College of South Carolina and Nova Southeastern College, and holds a graduate certificates in monetary planning from Florida State College.

Does TD Ameritrade cost a month-to-month price?

Whereas there are usually no charges for sustaining your TD Ameritrade account — no matter stability — there are particular service charges that you could be incur relying on the way you arrange your account.

For instance, there’s a $2 price for month-to-month paper statements for accounts with lower than $10,000 in liquidation worth, however the price is waived for those who go for digital statements as an alternative.


Buying and selling Expertise

With quickly shifting markets, quick execution is a prime precedence for buyers. Order routing is the method by which an order goes from the end-user to an trade. An order could go on to the trade from the client, or it could go first to a dealer who then routes the order to the trade. Consequently, the tactic by which a dealer routes orders will decide the probability of receiving one of the best value on the time the commerce order is positioned. This is called value enchancment. 

TD Ameritrade makes use of proprietary order routing know-how, and purchasers may also direct route orders to particular choices and equities exchanges. Nearly all of TD Ameritrade’s orders are spray-routed, enabling commerce orders to be executed inside 0.04 seconds, on common. In accordance with TD Ameritrade, their execution high quality metrics cowl market order sizes 1 to 1,999 shares, which makes up over 90% of their consumer order sizes. The dealer touts a value enchancment to their purchasers of $0.0209 per share on common, and this value enchancment proves to be constant, overlaying 97.5% of orders.

TD Ameritrade is without doubt one of the few brokers that supply backtesting, which is the analysis of a specific buying and selling technique utilizing historic information. Merchants who want to use this function can achieve this in quite a lot of methods, as thinkorswim backtesting may be finished utilizing thinkscript, methods, ondemand, or thinkback. Buyers may also automate buying and selling methods, setting orders to set off robotically upon a set of situations.

Account and Analysis Facilities

As is anticipated of the bigger brokers, TD Ameritrade comes loaded with account and analysis facilities.

Inventory Screeners

Though TD Ameritrade has 25 predefined inventory screens constructed into the screener, purchasers can create their very own screens utilizing all kinds of parameters like sector, elementary metrics, technical indicators, valuation, efficiency, and far more. The very best software for performing screens is the thinkorswim desktop platform, as its scan capabilities are extraordinarily strong in contrast with these of the web site, and it caters to the skilled dealer who has used related packages up to now. 

ETF and Mutual Fund Screeners

Much like the inventory screener, the ETF and mutual fund screeners have numerous predefined screens with related in-depth standards. As an illustration, the Morningstar class alone offers purchasers the power to pick from almost 100 fund classes, starting from giant development funds to various funding funds, corresponding to actual property. There are even funds for buyers who want publicity to particular areas or methods. TD Ameritrade saves the final 5 custom-made screens for future use and offers purchasers the power to show them right into a watchlist.

Choices Screeners

TD Ameritrade gives an option-specific screener in addition to a method builder. Thinkorswim is a superb platform for locating funding alternatives. With instruments corresponding to Choices Hacker and Unfold Hacker, purchasers can seek for both easy or advanced choices methods, together with lined calls, iron condors, iron butterflies, verticals, diagonals, double diagonals, and so forth. Furthermore, they are going to be capable of stream real-time information based mostly on their most well-liked standards, together with volatility ranges, time to expiration, likelihood of revenue, delta, unfold value, most threat, and so on.

Fastened Earnings Screeners

TD Ameritrade prospects may even have entry to a bond screening software. The Bond Wizard permits purchasers to seek for particular person bonds and CDs, in addition to construct a bond ladder. Additionally they can select from a number of pre-packaged bond ladders and a five-year Month-to-month Earnings Portfolio.

Instruments and Calculators

Much like many different on-line brokers, TD Ameritrade gives a variety of instruments and calculators appropriate for purchasers who’re DIY buyers. Utilizing the online platform, they are going to discover an Earnings Estimator to get a way of the revenue buyers can anticipate from a given portfolio over a 12-month interval. Shoppers even have entry to a Retirement Calculator, Portfolio Planner, Retirement Earnings Planning Worksheet, Required Minimal Distribution Calculator, 401(ok) price evaluation software, IRA choice software, and a Contribution and Eligibility Calculator for Small Enterprise Retirement Plans, all of which turn out to be useful for prudent monetary planning.

Buying and selling Concept Mills

TD Ameritrade gives a wealth of market highlights and analyst studies from industry-recognized third events corresponding to Dow Jones, Credit score Suisse, and the Heart for Monetary Analysis and Evaluation (CFRA). This library supplies complete inventory analysis and proposals on corporations, industries, funds, and bonds to assist purchasers make knowledgeable investing choices and validate new buying and selling concepts.


For no extra cost, TD Ameritrade gives quite a lot of third-party information sources, together with real-time streaming information from the TD Ameritrade Community, Dow Jones, Benzinga, Midnight Dealer, MarketWatch, quite a few press launch wires, TradersAudio reside pit audio, CNBC Video, Benzinga Audio Squawk, Econoday calendar information, and Wall Avenue Horizons. TD Ameritrade internet additionally integrates previous CNBC segments into the stock-specific information pages based mostly on shares talked about within the section and supplies streaming information and occasions by way of the dock. Along with these information sources, the dock additionally supplies entry to The Wall Avenue Journal, Barrons, and Yahoo Finance. TD Ameritrade additionally delivers greater than 131 hours of live-broadcast, trader-focused content material each day.

Third-Social gathering Analysis

Though all of TD Ameritrade’s platforms provide free charts, the brokerage agency additionally gives each day market studies and fee-based analysis. TradeWise Advisors, Inc., TD Ameritrade's affiliated advisory service, gives choice commerce technique suggestions on to the consumer inbox for $20 per thirty days. Along with the free Market Edge studies TD Ameritrade gives, purchasers can select to subscribe to 2 ranges of premium Market Edge subscriptions. The primary premium tier gives real-time studies and commentary. The second tier, at $19.99 per thirty days, gives full entry to Market Edge's platform and its analysis, screeners, commentary, and instruments.


Whether or not new or seasoned, TD Ameritrade's buyers discover the charting capabilities of the thinkorswim platform to be exceptionally strong—and higher than the usual internet and cellular platforms by a substantial margin. By means of thinkorswim, purchasers can modify their charts for dimension, shade, examine, and technique, and insert drawings. These charts may be saved, recalled, shared, and reprogrammed.

The net platform does enable customers to attract trendlines and add indicators, however the trendlines are blurry and tough to arrange. The expertise of viewing a chart on the cellular app when the telephone is horizontal can be lower than preferrred; the tabs on the prime of the app occupy a lot of the display screen house, affecting the scale of the chart and its usability. Not like most different brokerage apps, analyzing charts on the cellular app is extra helpful when the display screen is vertical.

Dividend Reinvestment Program (DRIP)

TD Ameritrade allows purchasers to enroll in a dividend reinvestment program (DRIP) for dividend-paying equities.

Money Administration

Though TD Ameritrade doesn’t robotically sweep money right into a cash market fund, purchasers have the power to choose into the money sweep program to earn larger curiosity.

SRI/ESG Analysis Facilities

A rising variety of buyers right this moment need to align their portfolios with their particular values or beliefs. Though all of TD Ameritrade’s platforms have screening capabilities, none are particular to environmental, social, governance (ESG) standards or socially responsible investment (SRI) components. This may be perceived as a drawback as buyers are searching for each monetary and social returns on their invested capital. 

Customer support

To attain Buyer Service, StockBrokers.com companions with buyer expertise analysis agency Confero to conduct telephone checks from areas all through the US. For our 2022 Dealer Assessment, 159 customer support checks had been performed over six weeks. Listed here are the outcomes for TD Ameritrade.


  • Common Connection Time: <1 minute
  • Common Internet Promoter Rating: 9.3 / 10
  • Common Professionalism Rating: 8.7 / 10
  • General Rating: 9.1 / 10
  • Rating: 1st of 13 brokers

5 Methods TD Ameritrade Makes Cash

1. Inventory and ETF Transactions

Whereas TD Ameritrade doesn’t cost a price for on-line inventory and ETF trades, facilitated transactions do have a price. If an investor makes use of the Interactive Voice Response Telephone System, they’re charged a $5 price. If the commerce is broker-assisted, there’s a $25 flat price. There may be additionally a $6.95 price per transaction for over-the-counter (OTC) trades.

Tip: Buyers seeking to acquire funding publicity to TD Ameritrade can achieve this by way of the publicly traded shares of The Charles Schwab Corp.”

2. Mutual Fund Transactions

TD Ameritrade modifications charges for no-load mutual fund purchases. These charges may be as much as $49.95 for many funds or $74.95 for sure fund households that don’t pay TD Ameritrade for record-keeping. There’s no prices levied on mutual fund transactions which have a load, nor no-transaction-fee (NTF).

3. Choices Contracts

There isn’t a fee paid for on-line stock options contracts which are purchased and bought, although there’s a separate per contract price of $0.65. If the Interactive Voice Response Telephone System is used, that provides $5 to the transaction whereas broker-assisted contracts have $25 added.

4. Futures Contracts

Buyers can take part in futures markets at TD Ameritrade. Merchants pay a $2.25 price per futures contract transacted. There are additionally trade charges and regulatory charges that have to be paid that TD Ameritrade doesn’t management.

5. Margin Buying and selling Charges

Margin lending charges are charged to buyers borrowing cash to conduct transactions. The price could change based mostly on rate of interest situations. The latest posted margin rate of interest is 8.25%

Warning: Shopping for any funding on margin creates leverage which may drive bigger income on an buyers’ capital, however that leverage additionally will increase potential losses.

Professionals: The place TD Ameritrade stands out

Price-free funds

TD Ameritrade does proper by buyers right here, providing greater than 3,700 no-transaction-fee mutual funds. That’s a boon for buyers who give attention to funds. TD Ameritrade permits you to display screen the funds for quite a lot of traits (although the screening perform shouldn’t be as helpful because it might be). Every fund has a web page devoted to exhibiting its key statistics, together with holdings, efficiency throughout numerous time durations and extra.

Funding choice

You may commerce virtually something you need at TD Ameritrade – shares, bonds, choices, foreign exchange, futures and, after all, funds. And if cryptocurrency is your thing, you may commerce that by way of futures contracts, although you received’t be capable of commerce it straight as you may at various different brokerages.

Fee-free inventory and ETF trades

Like a lot of the on-line brokerage {industry}, TD Ameritrade has no commissions on inventory and ETF trades, placing it among the many leaders within the {industry}. The dealer prices $0.65 per choices contract, placing it according to different main friends corresponding to Charles Schwab and Merrill Edge.

Analysis and schooling

TD Ameritrade gives schooling for learners on up — with reside webcasts, information and evaluation on virtually any market-related subject. From fundamental “ commerce shares” guides to arcane choices buying and selling periods, you’ll discover lots of the investing schooling sources you’ll want to assist take advantage of TD Ameritrade. TD Ameritrade even takes benefit of its bodily presence, providing in-house periods for buyers at its greater than 175 department areas.

Those investing in individual stocks will recognize the dealer’s analysis, together with studies from Morningstar, Credit score Suisse, CFRA, Thomson Reuters and lots of others. Every inventory web page contains entry to SEC filings, earnings transcripts, and any associated information, so that you’re absolutely updated.

Cell apps

TD Ameritrade gives not one, however two apps, akin to the dealer’s two buying and selling platforms. TD Ameritrade Cell mimics a lot of the extra easy desktop platform, providing sensible performance in an easy-to-use package deal.

In the meantime, the thinkorswim Cell app transforms the thinkorswim platform into your handheld gadget. It gives extra superior buying and selling, corresponding to futures and multi-legged choices, so you may commerce nearly something so long as you’re web-enabled. You can too stream video from CNBC and the TD Ameritrade Community whereas having access to Degree II quotes.

Big selection of account sorts

TD Ameritrade can be extremely accommodating relating to the varieties of accounts you may open. Along with commonplace sorts corresponding to particular person and joint taxable accounts, you’ll additionally be capable of open custodial accounts, 529 accounts, schooling financial savings accounts, trusts and partnership accounts. These on the lookout for retirement accounts received’t obtain quick shrift both, with the usual conventional and Roth IRA accounts in addition to pension and revenue sharing accounts and enterprise retirement accounts: SEP IRA, SIMPLE IRA and the solo 401(ok). 

TD Ameritrade gives a variety of sorts, that means you’re extremely prone to discover what you want. 

TD Ameritrade options

The TD Ameritrade platform gives a variety of interesting options that can entice new and long-time buyers.

A few of their greatest options embrace the next:

A big selection of investments

TD Ameritrade permits you to spend money on virtually something with a single dealer. The net platform gives shares, bonds, and the Thinkorswim improve will even allow you to commerce in foreign exchange, futures, and funds.

The dealer can be permitting buyers to commerce in cryptocurrencies by means of the ErisX regulator trade. Thought cryptocurrencies should not one thing I like to recommend buying and selling in, however if you would like the choice as a dealer, you might be free to strive it out.

A plan can be in works by the dealer to supply to commerce in spot and futures contracts. How they implement is but to be seen, nevertheless it does make TD Ameritrade probably the most complete brokers out there.

Easy accessibility to the feature-rich platform

The very best factor about TD Ameritrade brokerage is there aren’t any extra commerce or account worth thresholds you must meet for having access to the Thinkorswim gold commonplace model. You may merely improve to the higher model.

This differentiates TD Ameritrade from its opponents. Different brokers often provide an interface with restricted options to informal buyers, and the extra superior platform is supplied to extra lively merchants.

With TD Ameritrade, you may transfer to the extra superior platform at any time for those who really feel you want superior or in-depth technical evaluation.

Steerage and analysis

Another considerable advantage of TD Ameritrade is

One other appreciable benefit of TD Ameritrade is that it gives schooling and recommendation for brand spanking new merchants. The platform supplies reside webcasts, information, and evaluation on virtually each related market subject.

You may browse guides on just about every thing. The platform gives all kinds of instructional sources that can assist you make one of the best use of TD Ameritrade.

You can too get in contact with consultants straight who’re working for the corporate. A dealer can take in-house coaching periods for buyers held at its department areas sometimes.

Informal buyers solely seeking to commerce in particular shares may even recognize the analysis provided by the dealer. The platform supplies up to date studies from Morningstar, CFRA, Credit score Suisse, The Avenue, and lots of different monetary sources. Each inventory web page lists up to date information from SEC filings, firm earnings transcripts, and another associated information, so you’ll all the time be updated and needn’t go anyplace else to learn studies.

Cell apps

TD Ameritrade can be nice for buying and selling on the transfer. The dealer gives not one however two cellular apps! Every app corresponds to the dealer’s two buying and selling platforms.

The TD Ameritrade cellular apps are constructed with an identical design to their desktop variations. This makes it simple for merchants to change from the desktop model to the cellular app. The apps have a simplified person interface that gives sensible performance in an easy-to-use package deal.

How TD Ameritrade makes cash

TD Ameritrade makes cash by providing its purchasers a variety of buying and selling providers. To help commission-free buying and selling, TD Ameritrade generates revenues by means of fee for order stream, funding advisory charges, commissions on futures and choices, web curiosity margin, and administration charges.

Future development engine

As one of many leaders within the low cost buying and selling house, TD Ameritrade is continually maintaining with altering market traits. Its adoption of commission-free buying and selling occurred shortly after the announcement of Charles Schwab getting into the identical path.

TDA goals to attract extra merchants to its platform by providing superior charting packages and a variety of helpful providers to merchants. The 2020 acquisition of TD Ameritrade by Charles Schwab for $22 billion in an all-stock deal noticed the corporate massively improve its person base.

When the deal closed in October 2020, the mixed entity had a complete of $6 trillion in property below administration, with greater than 28 million brokerage accounts below its umbrella. The corporate goals to proceed its transformation of the retail buying and selling house, providing its purchasers providers and options for navigating the markets.

In accordance with senior administration, the corporate intends to ship a successful mixture of low-costs, industry-leading tech, and glorious customer support for purchasers and advisors.

Backside Line

TD Ameritrade is a brokerage that gives commission-free trades for many shares, however makes cash off from different product trades, facilitating transactions, and margin lending. Buyers ought to carry out due diligence on any firm earlier than investing within the inventory.