How much TD Ameritrade is charging to buy, sell, trade ETFs? Broker's 550 commission-FREE ETFs list.

ETF Fees at TD Ameritrade

You may have heard by now that TD Ameritrade has a wide selection of commission-free ETFs you can trade (more than 550 to be exact) which include offerings from SPDR, iShares, and ProShares among others. TD Ameritrade is joining ranks with a growing number of brokers that are offering free trades on at least some ETFs, but despite the marketing, you should be aware that it’s not always 100% free. This article will start with a quick overview of how to find and buy ETFs on TD Ameritrade’s platform and then cover both the obvious and hidden costs you could incur when trading them.


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TD Ameritrade Fee To Buy/Sell ETFs

For ETFs that are not on 550 commission-free list TD Ameritrade is charging $6.95 for buy and sell transactions.


How to Find ETFs on TD Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade has a helpful ETF Screener tool (below) that allows you to filter through their few thousand ETF offerings by a variety of categories and factors, such as asset class, fund family, expense ratio, and whether or not they are commission-free.


TD Ameritrade: How To Find ETFs


How to Buy ETFs on TD Ameritrade

Once you’ve selected a suitable ETF for your portfolio you can place a buy order just like you would for a stock - using the order ticket at the bottom of your browser. For example, I would like to add 50 shares of the iShares MSCI ACWI ETF (ACWI), which the screen results indicated is commission-free, to my Ameritrade portfolio. I’ve filled out the below ticket accordingly with a limit price of $67.05.


TD Ameritrade ETF Screener


TD Ameritrade Commissions for the ETFs That Aren’t Free

The first thing you should do is check out TD Ameritrade’s list of 550+ commission-free ETFs using their ETF Screener to see if the one you want to trade is included. The list is long, but many popular ETFs, such as the SPDR Gold Shares (GLD), aren’t included in it. Trading these “non-free ETFs” on TD Ameritrade will cost you the standard $6.95 commission per trade.


Commission-Free ETFs: Are They Really Free?

If you were lucky enough to have set your eyes on an ETF that is on TD Ameritrade’s list of commission-free ETFs then there’s some fine print you need to know about. As advertised, the commission for buying shares in these ETFs is zero, but this isn’t necessarily the case when you go to sell. If you hold the shares for at least 30 days then selling them will be commission-free, however if you sell within 30 days of the purchase TD Ameritrade will charge you a short-term trading fee of $19.95.

This fee is not insignificant, and if multiple sell orders are involved, it could make your roundtrip trade more expensive than it would’ve been if the ETF wasn’t even on the “free list” to begin with! For example, let’s say you buy 10 shares of the Wells Fargo Preferred Stock ETF (PSK), which is one of the free ETFs, and sell half the position 10 days later and the second half another 10 days after that. The buy would be free, but each of the two sells would incur a short-term trading charge of $19.95 since they were within 30 days of the purchase date - for a total cost of $39.90. Had this ETF not been on the “free list”, your total cost would’ve only been $20.85 – the cost of three regular commissions.


TD Ameritrade ETF Fees Summary

To summarize, TD Ameritrade offers a number of ETFs that are marketed as “commission-free”, which is becoming a common feature of many brokers today. This is great and exactly as it sounds if you plan on holding these ETFs for at least 30 days. To the extent that you sell them sooner than that, you should be aware of the $19.95 short-term trading fee that will be charged to your account, which is per short-term sell and can therefore add up quickly if you sell an ETF position in multiple orders.


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TD Ameritrade ETF Fees reviewed by TopRatedFirms.com Rating: 4.5