TD Ameritrade vs Etrade: compare IRA accounts, commissions, investing fees, trading tools, differences, pros and cons. Which brokerage firm is better?

Overview

TD Ameritrade and E*TRADE are popular brokers, and they both offer a wide range of investment services and opportunities. Since each broker offers its own investment services brand, it is worth comparing these heavy hitters to see which is best suited to meet your goals and expectations.

Here in this TD Ameritrade vs. E*TRADE comparison, we'll cover some of the essential details of each broker so that you can make an informed decision.

Comparison Table

TD Ameritrade Rating Etrade Review
Rating 4.5-star brokerage firm rating Etrade brokerage firm rating
Stocks $0 $0
Mutual Funds $49.99 to buy, $0 to sell $19.99
Initial Funding Requirement $0 $500
Inactivity Fee $0 $0
IRA Annual Fee $0 $0
IRA Premature Distributions $0 $25
Full Account Transfer $0 $60
Partial Account Transfer $0 $25
Account Closing Fee $0 $0
Trading Experience & Technology brokerage ratings brokerage ratings
Mobile brokerage ratings brokerage ratings
Research Amenities brokerage ratings brokerage ratings
Portfolio & Analysis Reports brokerage ratings brokerage ratings
Customer Service and Education brokerage ratings brokerage ratings
Open an account $0 stock/ETF trades + transfer fee refund. No commissions on stocks and ETFs.

As you see from the table above, E*Trade and TD Ameritrade are equally priced.


TD Ameritrade Vs. E*TRADE: Our Recommendation

TD Ameritrade and E*TRADE are closely matched across many categories that we usually look at. Both brokers offer a complete range of investment vehicles and a wide range of account types suitable for investors of all kinds. You'll also find various ways to access and trade the financial markets at both brokers.

TD Ameritrade and E*TRADE offer intuitive websites, mobile trading, and standalone trading software for desktop trading. Both also have competitive margin rates, zero-commission trading, and a wealth of investor education.

With so many standout features on offer from these two contenders, deciding on the best one comes down to what you need from your broker.

We recommend TD Ameritrade to investors looking for:

  • Forex
  • International Exchange access
  • Advanced charting on thinkorswim (TOS)
  • Third-party indicator/study support for TOS
  • Better mobile charting


TD Ameritrade vs Etrade


We recommend E*TRADE to investors looking for:

  • A greater selection of mutual funds
  • Automated portfolio management
  • Easier pro platform use


Etrade vs TD Ameritrade


User Experience

TD Ameritrade and E*TRADE both offer a positive user experience. As full-service brokers, they both provide industry-leading software, a wide selection of investment options, good customer service, and the ability to combine your banking and investing needs.


Ease of Use

You'll get a similar experience at TD Ameritrade and E*TRADE in terms of ease of use. However, there are some areas where one might be preferable, depending on your needs.


Etrade vs TD Ameritrade


Signing up for an account, funding, building watchlists, and placing trades is easy at both brokers. Getting access to market-moving news feeds, educational content, and theoretical risk assessment for transactions is also easily accessible at both brokers.


TD Ameritrade or Etrade


TOS may present more complexity for desktop trading platform users due to a greater level of customization. So, we could say that E*TRADE's pro trading platform is easier to use. Otherwise, the two brokers are comparable where ease of use is concerned.


Investment Vehicles

You'll find a full stack of investment vehicles at TD Ameritrade and E*TRADE. Each broker provides stocks, ETFs, ADRs, mutual funds, futures, bonds, CDs, OTC market securities, and IPOs. However, TD Ameritrade offers a few investment products that E*TRADE does not. For that reason, TD Ameritrade comes out on top.

The two types of investments that TD Ameritrade offers that E*TRADE does not are FX pairs and access to international exchanges.


Fees, Commissions, and Margin

The fees, commissions, and margins at TD Ameritrade and E*TRADE are competitive with each other and with many other brokers within the industry.

TD Ameritrade is slightly more expensive, however.

Stocks and ETFs: Both brokers offer zero-commission trading of stocks and ETFs. OTC stock trading is $6.75 at both brokers, but E*TRADE provides a $2.00 discount for active OTC stock traders.

Options: Both brokers charge a $0.65 fee, but E*TRADE offers a $0.15 discount for active options traders.

Mutual Funds: TD Ameritrade only charges for no-load mutual funds, ranging from $49.95 to $74.95. E*TRADE does not charge for load or no-load mutual funds. There is a $19.99 transaction fee, however.

Margin Rates: Base margin rates at TD Ameritrade range from 11% to 9%. The same margin rates range from 10.45% to 8.45%.


Promotions

TD Ameritrade: $0 stock/ETF trades + transfer fee refund.

E*TRADE: No commissions on stocks and ETFs.



Tools

With TD Ameritrade and E*TRADE being full-service brokers, it should come as no surprise that they both provide a good selection of trading tools.


Trading Platforms

You have access to multiple trading platforms at both brokers. You can trade on the respective websites, dedicated PC trading software, web-based versions of the pro platforms, and mobile.


Etrade vs TDA


The trading platforms from both brokers are comparable in many ways. Thinkorswim gets a better review here, though, thanks to a much deeper level of customization and analytical charting tools.


Is TD Ameritrade better than Etrade


That said, if industry-standard technical studies and charting layouts are what you are looking for, you won't likely notice the additional benefits that thinkorswim offers.


Mobile Trading

Both TD Ameritrade and E*TRADE offer very capable applications when it comes to mobile trading. You'll find watchlists, news, charting, options chains, advanced order entry, and optional two-factor security on both products.


Etrade or TD Ameritrade


TD Ameritrade's thinkorswim mobile app comes out on top, thanks to a better charting experience.


TD Ameritrade or Etrade


TD Ameritrade vs E*TRADE Screeners

Screening for stocks can sometimes be a challenge, and both brokers seek to make that process easier for investors. TD Ameritrade does a great job with its screeners on thinkorswim, and they are very powerful. To use them properly, though, does require some learning.

Conversely, E*TRADE's screeners are a bit more user-friendly. The technology is newer and has a few built-in screens to make generating stock lists a bit easier.


TD Ameritrade vs E*TRADE Accounts

TD Ameritrade and E*TRADE offer investors a range of investment account options.

TD Ameritrade offers more account options geared towards business use, and E*TRADE provides more in the way of automated and managed portfolios.

Both brokers also provide bank accounts for cash management.


Account Types

TD Ameritrade offers the following account types:

Standard Accounts: these include Individual, Joint Tenants with Right of Survivorship, Tenants in Common, Community Property, Tenants by the Entireties, and Guardianship or Conservatorship.

Retirement Accounts: these include Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, Rollover IRA, SEP IRA, Pension or Profit Plan, and a Solo 401k.

Education Accounts: these include 529 Plans, Coverdell Education Savings Accounts, and Custodial Gift Accounts.

There are also several Specialty Accounts for trusts, business, international, and business partnerships.

E*TRADE offers the following account types:

Brokerage Accounts: Brokerage accounts include Individual Accounts, Coverdell ESA Accounts, and Custodial Accounts.

Core Portfolios: The core Portfolio option is an automated, managed portfolio. Others in the category include Blend Portfolios and Fixed Income Portfolios.

Savings Accounts: The bank account option is a bank account with no monthly fees or minimum deposit requirements.

Retirement Accounts: These include Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, Rollover IRA, E*TRADE Complete IRA (for retirees), IRA for Minors, SEP IRA, Beneficiary IRA, 401k, and the Profit-Sharing Plan.


Promotions

TD Ameritrade: $0 stock/ETF trades + transfer fee refund.

E*TRADE: No commissions on stocks and ETFs.



TD Ameritrade Pros

Most investors will like TD Ameritrade's offering for the following reasons:

  • There is access to over 70 FX pairs. Investors can use thinkorswim's dedicated trading interface to view and trade across all available forex products.
  • Investors can access international exchanges, OTC markets, and mainstream U.S. stock exchanges.
  • Thinkorswim is a feature-rich trading platform used widely by professional traders. Investors at TD Ameritrade can use the platform for free.
  • The mobile application from TD Ameritrade provides enough tools to enter and exit trades with precision. Charting is also quite good on the thinkorswim mobile app.
  • TD Ameritrade offers a wide selection of investment vehicles and account types.


TD Ameritrade Cons

  • TD Ameritrade is more expensive than many other brokers. Margin rates are pretty high, and there are no discounts advertised for higher frequency traders.
  • There is no direct access to cryptocurrency markets.
  • Lack of bonus incentives for new customers.


E*TRADE Pros

  • E*TRADE offers competitive rates and commissions across all available investment vehicles.
  • The available trading software is user-friendly and diverse enough to satisfy investors of all kinds.
  • Commission discounts are offered to higher-frequency traders.


E*TRADE Cons

  • E*TRADE lacks some third-party indicator support on its pro trading platform.
  • Minimum account requirements can be pretty high for access to futures trading.
  • There is no direct support for cryptocurrency trading.


E*TRADE vs TD Ameritrade Summary

TD Ameritrade and E*TRADE are close in most categories with TD Ameritrade coming on top in trading tools and range of offerings.


Open TD Ameritrade Account


Open TD Ameritrade Account

Open E*Trade Account


Open Etrade Account




Updated on 5/23/2022.

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