TD Ameritrade versus Firstrade - compare IRA, commissions, investing fees, trading tools, account differences, pros and cons. Which brokerage firm is better?

Overview

Whether you are looking for a new broker or just trying to see how an alternative stacks up against your current broker, comparing TD Ameritrade and Firstrade could be helpful for you.

Both brokers offer many beneficial products and services. Depending on the type of trading or investing you plan to do, one or the other might be the better choice for you.

In this article, we will look at the most notable features of both brokers so that you can make an informed decision.

Comparison Table

TD Ameritrade Rating Firstrade Review
Rating 4.5-star brokerage firm rating Firstrade rating
Stocks $0 $0
Mutual Funds $49.99 to buy, $0 to sell $0
Initial Funding Requirement $0 $0
Inactivity Fee $0 $0
IRA Annual Fee $0 $0
Full Account Transfer $0 $75
Partial Account Transfer $0 $55
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 and a transfer fee refund. 2 free stocks & $0 fees on all mutual fund, stock, ETF, & option trades.


User Experience

The user experience at both brokers is very positive. To gauge user experience, we look at several factors, including ease of use, available investment vehicles, fees and commissions, platform selection/availability, mobile access, and research tools.


TD Ameritrade vs Firstrade


Ease of Use

Both brokers provide a website that is easy to use and understand. Both use a similar website structure with all the necessary information (account preferences, trading tools, education resources, customer service options, and available products and services) listed at the top of the main account page.

Locating investment vehicles and entering orders are similar between the two website platforms. An order ticket featuring advanced order-entry options is located at the bottom of each broker's web interface.


Firstrade vs Ameritrade


Where they differ is in the additional trading platforms. TD Ameritrade's mobile app and desktop trading platform, Thinkorswim (TOS), are a step above Firstrade's product.


TD Ameritrade vs Firstrade


Investment Vehicles

TD Ameritrade and Firstrade both provide a full suite of investment vehicles for investors to choose from. However, the securities on offer are a bit different.

At TD Ameritrade, investors have access to the following securities:

  • U.S.-based stocks and ETFs
  • Foreign stocks and ETFs
  • OTCBB and OTC Pink Sheets
  • ADRs
  • Mutual Funds
  • Bonds
  • Futures
  • Forex

At Firstrade, you can trade the following:

  • U.S.-based stocks and ETFs
  • OTCBB and OTC Pink Sheets
  • ADRs
  • Mutual Funds
  • Bonds
  • Cryptocurrencies

Deciding which broker has the best options comes down to the type of investor you are. Futures traders and investors looking for advisement may be better served at TD Ameritrade, while traders looking for cryptocurrency access and penny stocks may prefer Firstrade.

Fees and Commissions

TD Ameritrade and Firstrade are very closely matched when it comes to fees and commissions. Firstrade does come out as the less expensive broker, however.

Neither broker charges commissions for stocks nor ETFs. TD Ameritrade charges a $0.65 fee for options trades, while Firstrade does not. Likewise, TD Ameritrade charges a fee of nearly $50 for mutual funds ourchases, but you will not see that fee at Firstrade.

If you ever need to use the broker-assisted trade desk, you will also pay about $5 less at Firstrade.

Margin rates are lower at Firstrade than at TD Ameritrade. Based on the same tiered pricing schedule, Firstrade's margin rates average at around 0.50% lower.

Promotional Offers

TD Ameritrade and Firstrade have been around for a long time, and each broker has earned itself a dedicated following. Both brokers offer a range of account types and a diverse selection of investment vehicles. TD Ameritrade and Firstrade can efficiently serve the same kind of investor thanks to their commission-free pricing schedule for stocks and ETFs. However, some investors may choose one of the other based on the unique offerings of each broker.

While TD Ameritrade has a lot to offer, promotions like new account bonuses and free stocks have not been seen in years. However, TD Ameritrade does offer a $150 rebate for ACAT transfers.

Firstrade, on the other hand, offers several and there are new offers all the time.

Firstrade gives two free stocks when you open and fund a new account. There are also free stocks for referrals and $200 and $25 rebates for account transfers and wires.

For promotional offers, Firstrade comes out on top.


Firstrade Free Stocks


Tools

Both brokers offer solid tools and support, but TD Ameritrade has a more versatile toolbox.

Trading Platforms

One of the most attractive perks of trading at TD Ameritrade is access to the broker's award-winning trading platform, thinkorswim (TOS). The platform has been an investor favorite for many years, and the platform's community has helped build up the charting capabilities into something truly impressive.

Also built into TOS are live news feeds, advanced screener tools, risk visualizers for options trades, customizable watchlists, and much more. Couple all of that with the platform's market replay feature, paper trading accounts, and free tick data for futures, and you have a platform that suits most investor needs.


Thinkorswim vs Firstrade


Although TD Ameritrade's desktop trading software is hard to beat, Firstrade also delivers a capable charting experience. Firstrade has a partnership with TradingView and provides advanced charting thanks to that relationship. It isn't TOS, but technicians will still find what they need to make informed trading decisions.


Firstrade vs Thinkorswim


Mobile Platforms

TD Ameritrade's mobile trading experience is generally better than Firstrade's app. TD Ameritrade has put a lot of effort into the mobile trading interface, and it shows. Charting is top-notch, watchlists are easy to create and use, order entry is intuitive, and navigation is straightforward.


TD vs Firstrade


In addition to the mobile app, TD Ameritrade has recently developed a web-based version of thinkorswim. While it is certainly not as capable as the desktop software, it does provide a trading platform-like experience right from a browser.

Firstrade's mobile solution is also quite capable but more simplistic in design and functionality. You'll still get a solid watchlist interface, advanced order entry, and a decent mobile charting.


Firstrade or TD Ameritrade


Accounts

TD Ameritrade and Firstrade offer an excellent selection of account types, but TD Ameritrade's lineup goes a little further.

Both brokers offer checking accounts, and it is possible to link your bank account with your investment account. One significant difference between the account services is that TD Ameritrade offers a credit card option.

The following account types are available at TD Ameritrade:

  • Individual
  • IRA
  • Joint Tenants with Rights of Survivorship
  • Tenants in Common
  • Community Property
  • Tenants by the Entireties
  • Guardianship or Conservatorship

The following account types are available at Firstrade:

  • Individual
  • IRA
  • International
  • ESA Education Planning
  • Custodial

Firstrade Pros

  • Low-cost trading
  • Commission-free options trading
  • Commission-free OTC trading
  • A broad selection of investment vehicles
  • A wide selection of account types
  • Cryptocurrency trading
  • Low margin rates
  • Cash management option available
  • TradingView charts on the website trading interface
  • Solid research and education options

Firstrade Cons

  • No dedicated desktop trading software
  • No futures trading
  • No crypto wallet

TD Ameritrade Pros

  • Low-cost trading
  • Good selection of investment vehicles
  • Many account types are available
  • Competitive margin rates
  • Checking account available
  • In depth research tools and free education suite
  • Powerful trading software
  • Good mobile trading experience

TD Ameritrade Cons

  • No cryptocurrency trading is available
  • OTC trades can be expensive
  • The margin requirements for futures trading are higher than the competition

Promotions

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

Firstrade: 2 free stocks & $0 fees on all mutual fund, stock, ETF, & option trades.



Firstrade vs TD Ameritrade Summary

Both TD Ameritrade and Firstrade provide a positive experience for investors. The two brokers have been serving customers for many years, and they certainly understand what investors want. To choose the right broker for you, consider each broker's approach and product.

TD Ameritrade is geared towards active traders, futures traders, technicians, and anyone looking for precision in the markets. Firstrade is best for investors looking for commission-free trading in stocks, ETFs, options, and penny stocks. While Firstrade may not have a desktop platform, it does offer cryptocurrency investing, an excellent mobile app, and attractive promotions.


Open TD Ameritrade Account


Open TD Ameritrade Account

Open Firstrade Account


Open Firstrade Account
Updated on 5/19/2022.




Continue Reading