Ameritrade is a Forex broker with over 40 years of experience. It has quite an impressive history that started in 1975. In the following years, TD Ameritrade pioneered a leveraging technology to make investing easier, faster, and more efficient.
According to the words on the website, in 2000 this broker launched paperless account creation. Apparently, this brought the entire account opening process online for the first time. Honestly, we are quite sure online accounts existed before that, but we understand the need to emphasize all those good things they did.
Quality of service
When we talk about the quality of service, we usually refer to the trading platform. As a trader, you will be spending the majority of the time here and that’s why it is important to have a neatly organised platform that contains every detail.
With TD Ameritrade, you can choose between web-based platforms, thinkorswim Desktop platform (this one is designed for professionals who seek for fully customizable, downloadable software), thinkorswim Web (with Preconfigured strategies that allow you to set up trades in just a click) and mobile trading platform.
If you ask us, this is more than enough and from everything we have seen, each trader will be satisfied with the selection, no matter the level of experience. The platforms are very user-friendly, they have every feature a trader could need and the best thing of all, you can use it on every device.
Speed of response
Customer support is one of the most important parts of each broker. If you decide to open an account, the least you can expect is to have someone who will help you solve any potential problems. In the case of TD Ameritrade, there is a separate customer support page and if you need anything, simply go there and use one of the methods that are available.
Let’s start with the Frequently Asked Question page. Yes, this is not a contact method, but it’s a place where you can find numerous answers and there is a possibility that you won’t even feel a need to contact the representatives after reading this part.
Here, it’s done in a very nice manner. Everything is divided into categories and you can go directly to the one you need. For example, there is a part for new clients explaining how to open an account, make a deposit, etc.
Of course, oftentimes you won’t be able to find an answer here. In that case, you have to choose the method and reach out to them. Unfortunately, this part could be much better. There is an option to call this broker, send a message and use a fax number. It all sounds excellent, but that’s just at the first glance.
If you wish to send a message, there isn’t any Live Chat or email option. The only way to do that is through Facebook Messenger, Twitter or SMS. This means that you need to create a social media profile if you don’t have one. To see if the speed of response is good, we used the Messenger option. Well, in the end, we were left without any reply. So, if you need anything there is a high possibility that you won’t receive an answer.
This part disappointed us completely. When a broker has so much experience and runs a business for decades, we expect to see proper customer support. In this case, TD Ameritrade failed to provide one.
When we talk about transaction speed, the only thing we can say is how long you will wait for deposited money to be on your trading account. There is not a single information about withdrawal speed, which is quite disappointing.
For deposits, transaction speed depends on the method you choose. If you go with Electronic Bank Deposit (ACH) in most cases the money will be on the account within 5 minutes. The exception is Initiate transfer from your bank where you have to wait one business day.
With Wire Transfer, waiting time is also one business day and it’s the same thing with Physical Stock Certificates. For Check, you need to wait up to three business days, while the longest process is with Account Transfer from Another Firm and it’s about one week.
This is not the worst transaction speed we have seen, but it’s not the best one either. Usually, deposits are instant and we don’t see why anyone would wait for a long time to start trading. So, if you are a person who wants to trade instantly, TD Ameritrade might not be the best choice for you.
What this broker promotes is no-fee trading. If you have any experience in the Forex world, you know this is just a marketing trick because commissions will appear eventually. For example, TD Ameritrade doesn’t say a single thing about withdrawals which means the fees could be charged once you make a withdrawal request.
For U.S. exchange-listed stocks, ETFs, and options the fee is $0, but a $0.65 per contract fee applies for options trades. We will all agree that $0.65 is one of the lowest fees ever, which is great, but keep in mind that a $6.95 commission is applicable to online trades of over-the-counter (OTC) stocks (stocks that are not listed on a U.S. exchange). Also, if you are trading futures & options on futures the fee is $2.25 fee per contract (plus exchange & regulatory fees).
Although clients need to pay some fees, we are actually satisfied with this part. Those commissions are very reasonable and honestly, we expected them to be higher.
Regulation is something that creates big concerns among traders. Should you trade with an unregulated broker? How to find out whether someone even has the license, etc. We understand all those questions and let us tell you something from the very beginning. Yes, you should look for a license when you are deciding whether to trade somewhere or not and no, a license shouldn’t be the only thing you seek for.
First of all, look at the offer and security a broker offers. If that’s good, there is no need to worry about the license. Also, if you see that a broker is regulated, but it doesn’t offer great conditions, you should skip it and continue the search.
TD Ameritrade has so many articles about regulation on the website, but none of them talks about real regulation. It seems this broker just likes to create a diversion and distract its clients. If you open 10 or more articles about the license, eventually you will get tired and end your search even though you did not find anything. Apparently, this broker doesn’t have a license, so keep that in mind when you are making a decision.
Variety of Payment Methods
Although the website is a bit confusing, when it comes to a variety of payment methods, everything is explained so well. Once you visit the Funding and Transfers page, there is a possibility to select a topic that interests you. In this case, we went straight to “I am here to deposit money.”
There are five different possibilities: Electronic Bank Deposit (ACH), Wire Transfer, Mail in your check, Account transfer from another firm and using Physical Stock Certificates. The selection is not bad, but we still miss the most basic deposit method, Credit Card.
If you decide to use Electronic Bank Deposit (ACH), there are three choices you can make. First, start trading fast with Express Funding and in that case the deposit limit is $150,000. Connect and fund from your bank account and the deposit limit, in that case, is $250,000 and lastly Initiate a transfer from your bank and this one is without any limit. For any other deposit method, you won’t have limitations which is excellent.
The negative thing about funding is that we do not have any information about withdrawals. This means we have no idea whether there are some limits or what is the amount of commissions. This is completely unacceptable because each client deserves to know every detail about the withdrawal process.
TD Ameritrade is an average Forex broker that doesn’t offer many good deals, but it also doesn’t look like a scam. Yes, there are so many other brokers that can offer much better trading conditions, but it’s totally up to you to see whether TD Ameritrade fits your trading desires. One thing is for sure, if you go with it, you won’t be paying unnecessary fees.