TD Ameritrade (amtd) vs TradeStation – What Next For These Powerhousesv




TD Ameritrade provides its customers with commission-free transactions, outstanding trading platforms, comprehensive market information, the best educational resources for novice investors, and dependable support. For these reasons, TD Ameritrade is among our top picks for the best overall broker in 2022.

Trading enthusiasts and frugal investors will appreciate TradeStation’s minimal fees and extensive set of tools. TradeStation attracts both novice and affluent investors because of its low entry barrier. Whether you’re a seasoned investor or starting out, you’ll find the information you need in our TradeStation review.

In the early days of the Internet, traders could use TradeStation, one of the first online stock trading platforms. With the new price structure, which includes no commissions on most trades and a minimum deposit, this service is now comparable with others in its field. You will access a professional-grade dashboard and a wealth of research tools to hone your trading technique. When it comes to sophisticated, frequent traders, TradeStation is the industry standard. However, introducing zero-dollar trades is an effort to attract non-professional investors.


TD Ameritrade Overview

TD Ameritrade and Schwab will continue to work tirelessly to help each client achieve their financial goals. Between them, they’ve got over a century’s worth of expertise in the financial markets and a track record of innovation that benefits everyone, from traders and advisors to regular people putting their own money at risk. Regarding online brokerages, TD Ameritrade is a force to be reckoned with. The company has been around for nearly 50 years. As of now, it manages over 11 million customer accounts with over $1 trillion in assets. In 2020, Charles Schwab purchased the firm. By 2024, they are expected to have merged into a single entity, so bear that in mind if you’re trying to decide where to store your money and are also thinking about opening a Schwab account.


A TD Ameritrade account is provided at no extra charge and can be used in various ways. Whether you’re on a desktop computer, a tablet, or a smartphone, you have access to the conventional online trading platform’s wealth of information, allowing you to invest confidently. In addition, thinkorswim, TD Ameritrade’s proprietary trading platform, is available on your computer or the web. This platform provides advanced features not found on the standard platform and downloadable and adaptable applications.

TradeStation Overview

TradeStation was established as a Florida-based brokerage in 1982. It operates out of the United States, although it welcomes investors from all across the world. TS is dedicated to providing cutting-edge trading technology, which includes competitive commission structures and expert support staff.

The broker gives you access to a robust platform that allows you to automate, optimize, and monitor your investments in real-time. The platform is highly flexible, allowing users to add their own features and modify existing ones.

You may feel comfortable making trades with the firm because it is regulated by the SEC and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

To buy and sell stocks, ETFs, cryptocurrencies, options, futures, mutual funds, and bonds with the help of a broker use TradeStation. Individual investors can use the platform to participate in IPOs.


TradeStation streamlines options and futures education for retail traders by partnering with and There is no account minimum, and the site charges very little in fees overall, with no costs for stocks and ETFs.

To assist novice investors in getting the most out of their experience, TradeStation provides a wealth of instructional tools and information. Not only can traders learn the fundamentals of trading and analysis to better guide their investment decisions, but they can also learn how to conduct technical analysis on the platform. TradeStation to their specific needs through back-testing, automation, and programming.

Commissions & Fees    
Offering of Investments    
Platforms & Tools    
Mobile Trading Apps    
Ease of Use    

TD Ameritrade vs. TradeStation Service & Feature Comparison


Regarding stock ETF fees, online brokers like TradeStation and TD Ameritrade are typical. Both no longer charge the commissions that brokers once did. After that point, the prices are similar, except for a few costs that are exclusive to one or the other.

There are two different account categories on TradeStation Go (TS GO) and TradeStation Select, and hence two different pricing schemes (TS SELECT). The costs for trading stocks and ETFs are the same as TD Ameritrade’s, at $0. Still, there are differences in the fees for trading futures, options and maintaining a minimum balance. TS GO is geared toward everyday people; thus, its price is more streamlined than its competitor. Contract prices for futures are $0.85, and options are $0.50. Options contracts on TS SELECT cost $0.60, while futures contracts cost $1.50. Futures options are priced at $1.50 in both accounts. With TS SELECT, you may open an account with a minimum of $2,000 and avoid the fees that other brokerages impose. TS GO will utilize the desktop version of TradeStation.

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When utilizing the TradeStation desktop interface, equity and options trades will cost $10 apiece when using the TS GO plan. Futures transactions incur a per-contract fee of $1.40. You may access all of TradeStation’s investing tools on the desktop version. Because of this, those on the TS GO plan may find their bills increasing.

On the other hand, TD Ameritrade applies the same zero-commission policy to stocks and ETFs across all of its pricing tiers. Futures trades can cost up to $5, while options are just $0.65 per contract. There is no monthly cost, unlike TradeStation. There is a potential $50 yearly inactivity fee for TradeStation users. However, if you keep your activity levels low, you can prevent this. Foreign currency and exchange (forex) are available on TD Ameritrade but not TradeStation; TD Ameritrade calculates forex trades based on the bid/ask spread between securities, and dealing in foreign stocks incurs a $6.95 trading charge.

The margins at their extremes are comparable. The interest rate on TradeStation’s accounts may be anything from 3.50 percent to 9.50 percent. The lower the rate, the more leverage the account has. Whereas those at TD Ameritrade go from 7.50% to 9.50%. After $500k, interest rates drop significantly.

Account Types

A demo account may be created in TradeStation. It’s a great way to put your plans to the test without spending any money. Different accounts are available on the online trading platform, depending on the tradable items, the investor’s tax status, and the margin they are allowed to use.

  • An equities account (includes stocks, bonds, options, and ETFs
  • A futures and options account and a futures options account 
  • A crypto account (including cryptocurrencies
  • IRAs (available for US traders only) and entity accounts. 

An online brokerage account from TD Ameritrade may be customized to your investing style. We’ll assist you in locating and opening the best account for your needs, whether that’s a conventional, retirement, education, or specialized account.

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Standard Account

With a regular account, you have more options and access to financial products, independent research, and user-friendly trading platforms. The accounts may be updated for use with options, futures, and FX trading and can be held in the name of a single or joint account holder.

Retirement Accounts

Figure out whether a Traditional IRA, Roth IRA or Rollover IRA is the best vehicle for you to save for the future. Discover the benefits of retirement planning with TD Ameritrade and learn about the tax benefits of retirement accounts.

Education Accounts

TD Ameritrade is a great resource for long-term planning and investment. There are several options for higher education savings, including tax-free Coverdell and UGMA/UTMA accounts and state-qualified 529 plans.

Specialty Accounts

Specialty accounts provide long-term financial planning across various legal structures, from personal trusts and pension plans to LLCs and sole proprietorships. They have included tools in these accounts to increase your chances of success.

Margin Trading

Leverage your resources with margin trading and take your trade to the next level. You could borrow money from TD Ameritrade and use it to buy up to 50% more securities than you would otherwise be able to if you did not have a margin account.

Education and Research

TradeStation’s website features remarkable research tools, but the software wasn’t designed to undertake in-depth business research. Screeners on the site provide investors access to various search parameters and stock reports from experts like Market Edge and Credit Suisse. The papers and videos also provide newcomers with the fundamental knowledge they need to navigate their first transactions successfully. The broker also has its own television network and holds in-person events throughout the United States to educate people on different aspects of trading.

Video tutorials on trading futures and the Nasdaq-100 index may be found in the site’s University learning area. These articles explain how to place an order with a margin broker and buy bitcoin for the first time.

TD Ameritrade offers a wide variety of research tools, such as access to independent research studies, at no additional cost to its customers. Morningstar, Dow Jones, CFRA, and Thomson Reuters are just some of the many research sources available on this trading platform.

Regarding technical analysis, no other instrument compares to TD’s Market Edge. The Social Signals component allows traders to evaluate the sentiment of the investing community about the equities under consideration.

Range of Investments

You may trade stocks, ETFs, options, futures, and mutual funds on TradeStation, among other standard financial instruments. To diversify your portfolio, you can also consider futures, cryptocurrencies, and IPOs in addition to the more traditional investment options listed above (IPOs). 

You may get your hands on the same assortment of conventional forex and financial items at TD Ameritrade as well. However, at the moment, it cannot be used for trading cryptocurrencies. Although TradeStation and TD Ameritrade have many similarities, TD Ameritrade is the superior platform. TD Ameritrade provides its traders with a more extensive selection of assets, more comprehensive training resources, and easier access to customer care. In addition, it showcases traditional in-person financial guidance. To trade cryptocurrencies, TradeStation is superior since it is designed for short-term traders.

Although TradeStation does not provide Forex currency pairings, traders have access to a small number of currency futures. Both brokers provide access to index futures and hundreds of direct shares, but none provides CFDs, which are banned in the United States. Both options provide access to a diversified portfolio of assets, but TD Ameritrade’s offerings are more extensive.

Trading Technology

You may trade from your computer, web, or mobile device with TradeStation and TD Ameritrade. Regarding desktop versions, both systems are equivalent. It has the most unique personalization and data collection choices, making it the most complicated interface.

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Depending on your trading needs, you may choose from various TradeStation platforms. Options and futures traders prefer FuturesPluse, while TSCrypto is the cryptocurrency trading platform of choice. The desktop edition has the best trading tools, including the industry standard Matrix. It’s like having an order input tool, an order tracking system, and a market depth window all in one.

Clients may make significant gains in their trading with the help of the many valuable tools available on TradeStation platforms.

TS Desktop includes:

  • TradeStation Radar Screen
  • TradeStation Scanner 
  • Matrix
  • Walk-Forward Optimizer
  • OptionStation Pro

Many long-term investors rely on fundamental analysis, supported by TD Ameritrade’s advanced trading tools. Widgets for news, analysis, and Level 2 data are just a few examples of what may be used in fundamental analysis. The fact that thinkorswim includes currency trading whereas TradeStation does not is another significant distinction.

Although there is still a difference in experience between the platforms’ interfaces and novice investors, TD Ameritrade’s support for paper trading helps actively bridge the gap by allowing users to build up a simulated account within the platform and trade with virtual money. By using the demo, investors may get comfortable with the platform and its instrument before committing to the full version.

Mobile Apps

TradeStation promotes multi-platform access by highlighting the seamless synchronization of user accounts across desktop, mobile, and tablet devices. Even while the TradeStation Trading App is less complicated than the desktop version, it is still not intended for the casual investor. Still, it provides a scalable investing environment with technical analysis tools that enable trend monitoring and chart creation.

TD Ameritrade’s mobile app is a condensed version of the desktop version, emphasizing market tracking and trade execution. However, it lacks the resources necessary to provide a more streamlined trading experience.

The two desktop applications prioritize user information and individualization. Therefore, they might be helpful yet heavy compared to their mobile counterparts. Both systems may be complex for novice investors to understand and use. While it may take some time to familiarize oneself with all the available tools on each site, an experienced investor can benefit from so many options.

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Other Features & Tools

TD Ameritrade is an excellent option for an experienced trader due to its extensive research reports and sophisticated trading tools. Further, it caters to inexperienced traders by providing helpful support staff, a wealth of learning materials, and speedy responses to client inquiries. TD will be very helpful to the following types of investors.

Broker’s user-friendly interface is a plus for both inexperienced and seasoned traders. There are several benefits for the novice trader, such as no restrictions on the types of assets that can be traded, no need to maintain a minimum amount to register an account, and no penalties for account inactivity.

If you’re an experienced investor, you can benefit significantly from TD Ameritrade. Before anything else, the thinkorswim platform provides entry to a wide range of assets and a selection of flexible options instruments, such as the ability to trade in currencies, shares, and other derivatives. Trading options on TD Ameritrade are made easier with the help of the platform’s streamlined interface, enhanced features, free data, high-quality charting, and quick transaction execution. With a swipe of your finger, you may open the app, select an option, and complete a transaction using the mobile version.

Customer Service

If you need assistance with an account or have queries regarding the trading procedure, don’t hesitate to contact TS’s helpful support staff. I’m available through phone, email, and real-time messaging.

However, the lack of around-the-clock service may be a dealbreaker for specific customers. The business day begins at 8 am and ends at 5 pm, between Monday and Friday.

My Preference: TD Ameritrade Wins Over TradeStation

Most Ameritrade customers are savvy, much like TradeStation’s. The platform caters more to experienced traders than novice investors because of its extensive features. Still, depending on your level of expertise, it provides more options that might be useful to a beginner trader than TradeStation would. A virtual trading platform is a fantastic tool for getting customers to a complicated system. Although it doesn’t have the same comprehensive selection of investment goods as TradeStation, the site does include several analytical capabilities that aren’t available elsewhere.

Put another way, this is the superior option for those who intend to actively trade and invest in foreign exchange.

TradeStation and TD Ameritrade are advanced trading platforms with various features available to each trader. Although the two platforms are not yet suitable for the more passive or novice trader, they are making strides in that direction. Even if they aren’t the best online broker for you right now, you should try them. In the future, investors who choose a more personalized and dynamic approach to their portfolios may still take advantage of both benefits.

TD Ameritrade vs. TradeStation: The Bottom Line

Compared to TS, developed with seasoned traders in mind, TD Ameritrade is a far better option for novice traders. All stock and ETF trades are executed at no cost, and there is no minimum balance or inactivity fee. The minimum options trading cost on TradeStation is $0.60 per contract, whereas TD Ameritrade charges $0.65 per contract. Although convenient, the TradeStation platform does come with some hefty costs. The brokerage is unique among its competitors because it charges clients for inactivity and transactions involving mutual funds. If you’re just beginning, you might not find the teaching and research center to your liking.


Is TradeStation suitable for beginners?

When it comes to trading, TradeStation is best left to seasoned professionals. Although beginners are welcome, they may get dissatisfied with the lack of beginner-friendly features in the available tools, training, and library. New traders can practice their skills using a virtual demo account.

Can I use TradeStation with TD Ameritrade?

TradeStation and TD Ameritrade are rivals and hence cannot be linked. Investors can create an account at one brokerage, then utilize the other’s services.

How much does TradeStation charge?

The monthly costs depend on the individual account, the volume of trades, and other services. 

Is TD Ameritrade suitable for individual retirement accounts (IRA)?

Figure out whether a Traditional IRA, Roth IRA or Rollover IRA is the best vehicle for you to save for the future. Discover the benefits of retirement planning with TD Ameritrade and learn about the tax benefits of retirement accounts.

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