Which online brokerage firm offers no charge level 2 stock quotes. How to get free Nasdaq level 2 quotes market data.

How to Get Free Level II Nasdaq Quotes at TD Ameritrade

The stock market is built on layers of information. The information you have access to depends on your broker and the settings that you have enabled on your account with your broker. We are going to discuss accessing deeper layers of information in the stock market with TD Ameritrade including real-time stock quotes and level 2 stock quotes.

What are Real-Time Stock Quotes?

Real-time stock quotes are exactly what the name implies, stock quotes that are in real-time. You may have not realized this but, by default, TD Ameritrade shows you stock quotes that have a 15-minute delay. You have to either choose the real-time stock quotes setting when you are first opening up your account or you can turn on the setting once your account is open.

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What is Level 2 Stock Quote Data?

The terms level 2, depth of market, extended quotes, and order book all refer to level 2 stock quote data. Level 2 shows you the full picture of all the visible bid and ask information for a security in real-time.

Level 2 allows you to see what is happening behind the scenes of a standard quote. When you are looking at a standard stock quote, you can only see the highest bid price and the lowest ask price available. With level 2 data, you can see standard quote information plus all of the other bids and asks that exist in the market at that time.

It’s important to note that technically, not every single order shows up on level 2 because people have the ability to hide their orders and there are orders that are executed “off the book” such as in Dark Pools.

Who is Level 2 Data For?

For most investors, level 2 stock quote data is not necessary information you need to make your investment decisions. However, for day-traders, this information is absolutely essential. Either way, whether you are a day-trader, swing trader, or long-term investor, level 2 data is nice information to have at your disposal.

Is TD Ameritrade's Level 2 Data Free?

It depends. If you are considered a nonprofessional subscriber, meaning you aren’t involved in any line of work related to the stock market, then real-time quotes and level 2 are both free with TD Ameritrade.

If you are considered a professional subscriber, meaning you are involved in a line of work related to the stock market, then TD Ameritrade does charge you in order to have access to both real-time quotes and level 2 data.

Where Do I Access Level 2 on TD Ameritrade?

To have access to level 2 data with TD Ameritrade, you first need to visit the “My Profile” section of the website and subscribe. Once subscribed, you can find level 2 data for stocks on TD Ameritrade’s website, app, and thinkorswim platform. Level 2 is best used on thinkorswim because you can see the entire window of data and have the data streaming in real-time.

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How to Read Level 2 With TD Ameritrade

Free Level 2 Stock Quotes

The screenshot above shows what the level 2 data looks like in TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim program. If you don’t understand the data you are looking at in the Level 2 quotes, the information isn’t going to do you much good. The level 2 window includes the standard quote, customizable order buttons, and the extended quotes.

The first thing to know about reading level 2 is that all the quotes shown are limit orders. The orders are listed on two identical-looking sides: one being the bids and the other being the asks. The first columns on each side, labeled “Ex”, show the market maker where the order is coming from. The second columns show the bid and ask prices. The third columns, labeled “BS” and “AS”, show the bid size and ask size for each order.

Nuances of Reading Level 2 With TD Ameritrade

With certain brokers, you can see each price level grouped together into different colors however, TD Ameritrade shows price levels in different shades of blue and doesn’t give you the option to change this. The bid orders are always listed in descending order highest to lowest and the ask orders are always listed in descending order lowest to highest. The order sizes are shown in quantities of 100. In the screenshot above, the 172 bid for AAPL is not for 50 shares, it is actually for 5,000 shares.

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Free Level 2 Stock Quotes Final Thoughts

Real-time quotes are a must for anyone that is going to be doing their own investing in stocks. Level 2 is a very powerful tool but only if you know how to use it. With trading, you need to take advantage of every small edge you can get, and Level 2 with TD Ameritrade can provide you with that small edge.

Author: Paul Johnson. Updated on 4/2/2022.

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