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

Public.com vs. TD Ameritrade Introduction

If you’re looking for a place to open a new brokerage account, Public.com and TD Ameritrade are two firms worth considering. Keep reading to discover what these two firms offer—and what they don’t.

Comparison Table

TD Ameritrade Rating public
Rating 4.5-star brokerage firm rating Public.com brokerage rating
Stocks $0 $0
Mutual Funds $49.99 to buy, $0 to sell na
Initial Funding Requirement $0 $0
Inactivity Fee $0 $0
IRA Annual Fee $0 $0
Full Account Transfer $0 $75
Partial Account Transfer $0 $75
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. Free stock bonus! Stock, ETF, partial shares trades with $0 fees.


For Available Investments, TD Ameritrade Is Our Pick

Public.com offers self-directed trading in stocks, ETFs, and cryptocurrencies. The brokerage firm does not have robo accounts or other forms of investment advice at the date of publication.

Public’s self-directed accounts can only be opened in taxable individual mode. There are no joint accounts, retirement accounts, education accounts, or other types of investment accounts.


Public.com vs TD Ameritrade


Although Public doesn’t charge commissions on stock or ETF trades, crypto trades have a 1-2% markup/markdown baked into the prices. The brokerage firm also charges a $5 quarterly inactivity fee.

TD Ameritrade has no inactivity fee and it has a lot of account types that Public.com doesn’t offer. These include not only joint accounts, but also education accounts, trusts, and retirement accounts.

The one real downside is that TD Ameritrade doesn’t offer cryptocurrency trading. But it does have a larger list of tradable instruments. Here it is:

  • Fixed-income securities
  • Forex
  • Futures (including Bitcoin and Ethereum contracts)
  • Stocks (including OTC stocks, which are missing in action at Public)
  • Funds (including mutual, exchange-traded, and closed-end)

One final issue that some equity traders may find important is PFOF (payment for order flow). TD Ameritrade does accept PFOF, while Public.com does not.


For Margin Trading, TD Ameritrade Is the Only Choice

Public’s individual taxable accounts can only be opened as cash accounts. The brokerage firm does not offer margin capability in any form. It says that margin trading is a risky form of investing and that its platform is designed for beginners.

TD Ameritrade, by comparison, offers both margin and cash accounts. An account can easily be switched between these two formats on the website (the necessary link is on My Profile, which can be found under the Client Services tab).

The one downside is that TD Ameritrade does charge a hefty price for its margin service. Currently, interest rates vary from 11% for a small balance to 10% for margin debits above $250k.


For Computer Software, TD Ameritrade Wins

Public.com started out as a mobile-only broker. Today, its website has a login feature with trading capability. But charts are very elementary with no tools of any kind and no full-screen mode. There is only one plot style (line), and there is no vertical axis.


Public.com vs TD Ameritrade


Public’s web-based order ticket has three order types (market, limit, and stop) and zero duration choices. A stock’s profile has analyst ratings and price targets. Earnings are shown in bar-chart format, and multiple news outlets are used for online articles.

Stock profiles on TD Ameritrade’s site deliver much more. There are pdf reports from many analysts (Public.com only offers trade recommendations and price targets) along with a Smart Score from TipRanks. Other perks at Ameritrade include SEC filings, peer comparisons, valuation numbers, and longer lists of news articles.


TD Ameritrade or Public App


Then there is SnapTicket. This is an advanced trade bar at the bottom of the screen. The broker’s regular trade ticket is even more advanced than this. And this is just the website. The broker also has a professional-level desktop platform that is free to use.


TD Ameritrade vs Public.com


For Mobile Apps, Once Again We Choose TD Ameritrade

Public’s mobile app continues the company’s emphasis on simplicity. Once again, charts are very basic with no tools of any kind. A graph cannot be rotated horizontally, which seriously limits the app’s genuine trading capability. The order ticket is the same one we found on the Public.com website. Although the app doesn’t have mobile check deposit, it is possible to deposit funds into a Public.com account using a debit card.

TD Ameritrade customers cannot use a debit card to deposit money into a brokerage account, although both apps (yes, the company has two apps because one just isn’t enough) have mobile check deposit.


TD Ameritrade vs Public.app


Other features on TD Ameritrade’s apps include very advanced charting tools, order tickets with many more trade types than Public offers, live streaming of financial news, simulated trading, and so much more.


For Social Networking, Public.com Is It

On both its website and mobile app, Public has community forums. Both sync with each other and display the same posts, which are made by both customers and employees of the company.


Public or TD Ameritrade


Posts can be made on general stock market news or on specific securities. It’s possible to enable or disable automatic posts on purchases and sales of assets. It’s also possible to follow other traders.

TD Ameritrade offers no social-networking tools at this time.


For Miscellaneous Services, It’s TD Ameritrade Hands Down

Extended Hours Trading: Only TD Ameritrade customers can buy and sell securities before the market opens and after it closes.

Fractional Share Trading: Available only at Public.com.

Dividend Reinvesting Plan: Both firms have DRIP services at no cost.

Access to IPOs: TD Ameritrade clients can invest in new stock offerings before they hit the market. The tool to do this is under the Trade tab. Public has no such service.

Cash Management Tools: Checks and a Visa debit card can be added to a brokerage account at TD Ameritrade, but not at Public.com.

Automatic Purchases of Mutual Funds: TD Ameritrade offers this convenient service to add recurring purchases to mutual fund holdings.

IRAs: TD Ameritrade has SEP, SIMPLE, Roth, Traditional, Rollover, and Minor IRAs. As already mentioned, Public does not offer retirement accounts of any kind.


Promotions

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

Public: Free stock bonus! Stock, ETF, partial shares trades with $0 fees.



Recommendations

Long-Term Investors & Retirement Savers: TD Ameritrade by a mile.

ETF/Stock Trading: Public is the only brokerage firm in this competition to offer fractional-share trading. But the overall better experience will be had at TD Ameritrade, who has great software and excellent research tools.

Mutual Fund Trading: The only choice is TD Ameritrade.

Beginners: Public.

Small Accounts: TD Ameritrade.


Public vs TD Ameritrade Summary

Although Public.com has simplified the investing process pretty well for new traders, TD Ameritrade offers a much better experience for everyone else.


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Updated on 6/23/2022.




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