#Wallet

Best Trading Platform

As of February 2020

TD Ameritrade thinkorswim

THE JOAT'S Advice

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what we like

  • Transparent and low cost fees 
  • Technology/Charting
  • Solid mobile app
  • Decent web platform
  • Great customer service

keep in mind

  • Very low interest income on cash balances – TD’s default cash sweep vehicles are lacking in terms of interest income versus competitors like Robinhood. There are ways to make sure cash balances get swept into money market funds with more competitive interest rates at TD but you will have to do some research yourself and call customer service
  • Options trading isn’t free – At $0.65/contract, it’s still pretty cheap compared to what it used to be. But TD has not matched Robinhood in terms of commission free options (yet at least)
  • Futures commissions are exorbitantly expensive – At $2.25/contract you are paying close to 3x what you can be paying elsewhere. Interactive Brokers is the better choice for any trader who is active in the futures markets
  • Mutual fund commissions are exorbitantly expensive – At $49.99/order, it’s not cost efficient at all to buy/sell mutual funds through TD. If you plan to hold mutual funds, particularly Vanguard mutual funds, we recommend opening an account with Vanguard itself

review

Little known secret: when I’m not reviewing things for you guys, my other full-time job is as a commodity futures trader. As such, I have spent a lot of times over the years testing a variety of different trading platforms.

 

What’s amazing is that it used to be where you could only get access to the best technology if you were an institutional trader managing hundred of millions of dollars. But thanks to heavy investment in R&D by the likes of TD Ameritrade, TradeStation and Interactive Brokers, among others, even retail investors now have access to all the best tools a trader could want for free.

 

While Vanguard remains our clear choice for best online broker for those looking for the simplest solution to manage their long-term savings, TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim is our top pick for us for those investors/traders who are more active and would like the best tools at their disposal.

 

Check out the FAQ section below for a more detailed breakdown of all the various features that TD Ameritrade offers. All-in, we think its simple/intuitive user interface, solid mobile app, strong customer service and wide array of research/education tools makes it the best overall choice for shorter-term oriented traders focusing on stocks and ETFs. For those who heavily trade options we recommend using Robinhood while those who trade futures we recommend using Interactive Brokers.

Related Products & Links

Interactive Brokers

 

 

Robinhood

Whatever your feelings about Robinhood (this is likely inversely correlated to your age), we all should be thanking them (and their venture capital investors) for helping to really ignite the now ubiquitous movement towards commission free equity and ETF trading. But it wasn’t just costs which fueled its meteoric rise in popularity, particularly amongst the youngest investors. The designers and developers managed to put together a pretty impressive and easy to use app/platform. If you are purely stock, options or crypto trading for your own account, Robinhood is a solid choice. Especially considering that they pay some of the highest interest rates for cash deposits in the industry. They are also one of the few out there who offer completely commission free options trading.

 

I don’t have the trust in the platform, yet, to use it for larger accounts. But if you are starting out as an investor and are looking for the quickest learning curve, Robinhood might be the easiest of them all. Keep in mind that nothing is truly free. Robinhood makes money through various other methods such as selling your order flow. Unless you’re a high volume trader, you probably won’t notice much of an impact but they aren’t running the company for charity.

 

TradeStation

 

Have a better suggestion?

reviewed by

Jack

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