TD Ameritrade Thinkorswim trading platform review. Fees and commissions, pros and cons, minimum requirements and promotion offers for opening a new online trading account or IRA.

Thinkorswim Rating:  4.5-star brokerage firm rating

TD Ameritrade Account With Thinkorswim

TD Ameritrade's very advanced trading system Thinkorswim can be used with both taxable and Individual Retirement Account (IRA). Let's take a look at how to open an account with the broker, and see what Thinkorswim can offer account holders.

Signing Up

Applying for a new account is fairly straightforward with TD Ameritrade. First click on their promotion offer - $0 stock/ETF trades and transfer fee refund. - then click on the button that says "Open New Account" that will take you to the application page. Here you'll need to input various pieces of information, such as name, address, and what type of securities you plan to invest in. If you're already a TDA customer, you can have a lot of information prefilled by logging into the site. Be sure to select the correct type of account you want. Several choices are available for IRAs, including Roth, Traditional, Minor Traditional, Minor Roth, Rollover, SEP, and SIMPLE.

If you have any questions during the application, the broker displays a phone number at the top of the screen where applicants can call in and get some help. Towards the end of the on-line application you'll have the chance to make a deposit to fund your new account. You can also skip this step and fund the account later. You will also be given the chance to create a login if you don't already have one.

Thinkorswim Commissions
Stocks and ETFs $0
Stocks and ETFs broker assisted $25
Mutual funds $49.99 to buy, $0 to sell
Treasuries at auction $25
All other bonds and CMOs, CDs on a net yield basis
Futures$2.25 fee per contract (plus exchange & regulatory fees)
Forex Non-commission currency pairs trade in increments of 10,000 units (and do not contain a "#" symbol suffix). There are no additional fees or charges.

Open Thinkorswim Account

$0 stock/ETF trades and transfer fee refund.

Open Thinkorswim Account

Account Features

An account with TD Ameritrade does not have any special fees. There is no charge to establish it or to maintain it. The broker does not impose a low-balance, inactivity, or maintenance fee. In fact, there is not even a fee to close an IRA. Most brokers do have an IRA closeout fee. Firstrade, for example, charges $50 to close a retirement account. Performing a full account transfer does incur a $75 charge, although active traders receive the service for free. Partial transfers are free for all clients.

All of TD Ameritrade's advantages are available in an IRA as well as taxable accounts. The broker's excellent trading tools can be accessed. Over 13,000 mutual funds are open to new investors. This figure includes more than 4,200 that carry no load and no transaction fee. Target-date funds, which are designed for retirement savers, are available. The broker also offers all ETFs commission-free. Many of these ETFs have expense ratios below 1.00%. Paper statements are free for accounts that have at least $10,000 in assets. Otherwise, a $2 charge is assessed per mailed document.

Several good retirement calculators are on the TD Ameritrade site. A selection tool helps users decide between a Roth or a Traditional account. A required minimum distribution calculator estimates the amount of funds that must be taken out of an IRA and the latest date they can be withdrawn.

A large amount of educational material devoted to IRAs and retirement topics can be found on the broker's website. A section entitled 'Planning & Retirement' contains information on do-it-yourself IRA strategies and professional portfolio management services. Articles and videos cover a range of topics, such as creating a financial plan, 401(k) rollovers, small business IRAs, and more. The broker also has retirement specialists who can assist clients with any IRA questions. They can be reached at 1-800-213-4583.

Thinkorswim Review

Trading on the Thinkorswim Platform

TD Ameritrade is one of the few brokers to offer an advanced platform with no account minimums or trading requirements. Not only is Thinkorswim free to use, it has some of the most advanced tools around. The software boasts 20 drawing tools, including Fibonacci retracements and trend lines. The program also has 400 technical studies. These include Legacy EMA, John Carter's Studies, and Fast Beta. By comparison, Schwab's advanced platform offers less than 50 studies.

A great feature that Thinkorswim has is paper trading. Investors who don't have a lot of experience with the software or who otherwise aren't confident enough to use it can practice first, before using real money. A Thinkorswim mobile app also is available, and it too has a practice platform.

Customer Service

Excellent customer service options can be found at TD Ameritrade. Besides the experts mentioned above, the company also has over 450 brick-and-mortar locations throughout the U.S. A company associate can be reached over the phone around the clock. Representatives are available certain hours of the day who speak Spanish and Chinese. An on-line chat feature appears on the TD Ameritrade site on certain pages, including the planning and retirement section.

Investors who need some financial assistance can find plenty of resources with the broker. Several managed account packages are available starting at just 0.30% of account value per year. This rate is for an automated investment service that invests in low-cost ETFs. Human advisors who buy and sell stocks and mutual funds cost 0.90% annually. Financial planning and general investment advice can also be obtained by calling the broker or visiting one of the company's local branches.

Thinkorswim Review: The Good

Thinkorswim is a powerful platform. Astonishingly, there are no requirements to use it. This policy is rare in the industry. Schwab, Fidelity, and Merrill Edge, by comparison, all require certain account minimums in order to use their advanced trading systems.

The charting in Thinkorswim is very sophisticated. A graph can be displayed full screen. Exotic drawing tools such as Fibonacci spirals and cycle brackets can be used. Many actions can be performed directly from the chart, including order placement and setting alerts for a security. CNBC news stories that pertain to a certain stock can also be shown on a graph. A small NBC logo is displayed on top of the security's chart on the date the story was broadcast.

Complex orders are available in Thinkorswim. These include market on close, trailing stop, and trailing stop limit. Conveniently, orders can be scheduled to be sent at a specific time of the trading day as well.

There are many other useful features in Thinkorswim. These include watchlists, account and position info, and live streaming of CNBC. An on-demand video library is also available.

Retirement savers who plan to invest mostly in funds have a large selection with TD Ameritrade. The broker offers more mutual funds than Merrill Edge or E*trade. There are also more NTF funds at TD Ameritrade than at Ally Invest and Firstrade.

TD Ameritrade has more resources for retirement savers compared to several other brokerage houses, including Interactive Brokers, Vanguard, and Ally Invest.

Thinkorswim Review: The Bad

Thinkorswim's complexity makes the software difficult to learn and use. Some traders might have an easier time with a simpler platform.

Thinkorswim Review Conclusion

Opening an account at TD Ameritrade and using Thinkorswim platform to place trades brings a lot of advantages. For the average active investors, TD Ameritrade is an excellent brokerage house, allowing them to invest in many stocks and ETFs with no commissions.

Open Thinkorswim Account

$0 stock/ETF trades and transfer fee refund.

Open Thinkorswim Account