TD Ameritrade vs. Fidelity: A Choice Between User Experience and Commission Fees

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    When it comes to reputable online brokerage firms, TD Ameritrade and Fidelity Investments are two of the biggest names out there. When it comes down to it, which one wins out?

    From features to fees, we try to gather information in one place to support you in your own research and analysis.

    Features, Fees & Ratings Comparison Table

    FeaturesTD AmeritradeFidelity
    💰 Account Minimum$0$0 for brokerage accounts and $2,500 for managed accounts
    💸 Commission Fees$0 commission for online trades of stocks, ETFs, and options. $0.65 per contract for options trades. Fees vary for other types of trades, deposits and withdrawals, wire transfers, broker-assisted trades, and regulatory fees.$0 for stocks, ETFs, and options trades. $0.65 per options contract. Mutual funds have $49.95 transaction fees.
    💼 Investment OptionsStocks, ETFs, options, bonds, mutual funds, futures, forex, annuities, and more.Stocks, bonds, ETFs, mutual funds, options, and CDs
    🤖 Robo-AdvisorTD Ameritrade offers a robo-advisor service called Essential Portfolios that provides automated investing based on your goals and risk tolerance.Fidelity Go, which charges a 0.35% annual advisory fee and has a $10 minimum investment
    📊 Research and AnalysisTD Ameritrade offers various research and analysis tools such as market insights, ratings, screeners, charts, alerts, reports, and more.Extensive research and analysis tools, including reports, screeners, and educational content
    📱 Mobile AppTD Ameritrade has a mobile app that allows you to access your account, trade investments, check market data, use analysis tools, deposit checks, transfer funds, and more.Fidelity Mobile App
    🏦 Retirement AccountsTD Ameritrade offers various retirement accounts such as traditional IRA, Roth IRA, rollover IRA, SEP-IRA, SIMPLE IRA, individual 401(k), and more.Traditional and Roth IRAs, SEP IRAs, SIMPLE IRAs, and 401(k) plans
    📈 Trading PlatformTD Ameritrade has a trading platform that allows you to buy and sell investments online with ease and convenience. You can also use advanced tools such as real-time quotes, watchlists, alerts, conditional orders, thinkorswim®.Fidelity offers a web-based trading platform and the Active Trader Pro desktop platform for frequent traders
    📞 Customer ServiceTD Ameritrade has a customer service team that is available to assist you with your account and investment needs.24/7 phone support and online chat. Over 190 branch locations for in-person support
    📚 Educational ResourcesTD Ameritrade offers various educational resources such as articles, videos, podcasts, webinars, courses, events, and more to help you learn about investing and improve your financial literacy.Extensive educational resources, including articles, videos, webinars, and courses
    🌕 Fractional SharesTD Ameritrade does not offer fractional shares trading at this time.Yes, through Fidelity’s mobile app and website
    🌱 Socially ResponsibleTD Ameritrade offers socially responsible investing options such as ESG (environmental, social, and governance) funds and ETFs that seek to align your investments with your values and beliefs.Offers ESG-focused funds and tools for socially responsible investing
    🌎 International InvestingTD Ameritrade offers international investing options such as global and international funds and ETFs that allow you to diversify your portfolio across different countries and regions. You can also trade directly on foreign exchanges through TD Ameritrade Global Account™ or access international markets through American depositary receipts (ADRs) or Canadian stocks.No
    💳 Cash ManagementTD Ameritrade offers cash management services such as a brokerage account with a linked bank account that acts as a holding place for money waiting to be invested or withdrawn from your account.Fidelity Cash Management account offers FDIC-insured checking and ATM fee reimbursements
    🔍 Margin TradingTD Ameritrade offers margin trading services that allow you to borrow money from your brokerage account to buy securities on credit. You need a minimum of $2,000 in marginable securities to open a margin account and you will be charged interest on any borrowed amount.Yes, with competitive rates
    ⚙️ Options TradingTD Ameritrade offers options trading services that allow you to buy or sell contracts that give you the right to buy or sell an underlying asset at a specific price within a specific time period. You can also access tools such as options chains, screeners, calculators, and more.Extensive options trading tools and resources
    ₿ Cryptocurrency TradingTD Ameritrade does not offer cryptocurrency trading at this time.No
    🛡 Account SecurityYes, TD Ameritrade offers account security features such as encryption technology, firewalls, secure login process, and biometric authentication. You can also enable two-factor authentication (2FA) to add an extra layer of protection to your account.Two-factor authentication and advanced encryption technologies
    💹 LeverageTD Ameritrade offers up to 4x day-trade buying power and 2x overnight buying power with a margin account. You need to have a minimum of $2,000 in marginable securities to open a margin account and you will be charged interest on any borrowed amount.No
    ⚖ RegulationTD Ameritrade is registered with and regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). It is also a member of the SIPC, which protects (up to $500,000, which includes a $250,000 limit for cash) against the loss of cash and securities held by a customer at a financially-troubled SIPC-member brokerage firm.Fidelity is regulated by the SEC and FINRA in the US, and the FCA in the UK. It is also a member of SIPC.

    TD Ameritrade vs. Fidelity

    TD Ameritrade and Fidelity are two of the largest and most well-established brokerage firms in the industry. Both firms offer a range of investment products and services, including stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and ETFs, and provide advanced trading tools to help their clients make informed investment decisions. With decades of experience and a reputation for high-quality service, TD Ameritrade and Fidelity are popular choices for investors of all levels. In this comparison, they will take a closer look at the strengths and weaknesses of each firm to help you determine and only you can determine what is in line with your investment needs.

    TD Ameritrade

    TD Ameritrade Logo

    TD Ameritrade is a well-established brokerage firm that offers a range of investment products and services to its clients. With over 40 years of experience in the industry, TD Ameritrade has built a reputation for providing top-notch service and a user-friendly platform.

    Pros
    • Extensive investment offerings, including stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and ETFs
    • Advanced trading tools and technology, including thinkorswim and Trade Architect platforms
    • Competitive pricing with no account minimums
    • Exceptional customer support
    Cons
    • Limited international trading options
    • Complex platform may not be suitable for beginner investors

    Based on the client reviews TD Ameritrade seems to be more suitable for experienced investors with more requirements for sophisticated tools. Its pricing and customer support are also strong selling points. However, it may not be the best choice for those looking for international trading options or for beginner investors who need a simpler platform.


    Fidelity

    Fidelity Logo

    Fidelity is a well-known investment firm that offers a wide range of investment products and services to its clients. With over 70 years of experience in the industry, Fidelity has built a reputation for providing high-quality service and a user-friendly platform.

    Pros
    • Large selection of investment options, including stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and ETFs
    • Advanced trading tools, including Fidelity’s Active Trader Pro platform
    • No account minimums and competitive pricing
    • Strong customer support and educational resources
    Cons
    • Limited international trading options
    • Some advanced trading tools may require additional fees

    Similar to its peer, Fidelity as well provides complex tools for more experienced investors based on client reviews. Its pricing and customer support are also strong selling points. However, it may not be the best choice for those looking for international trading options or for those who want to avoid additional fees for advanced trading tools.


    Features & Primary Uses

    In many ways, TD Ameritrade and Fidelity fill very similar niches — offering high-quality mutual funds through online trading platforms and providing also customer service based on the company’s claims. In that respect, they push very similar buttons for the discerning, active trader just starting out.

    One of TD Ameritrade’s central features is its industry-leading trading platforms, of which there are many. Their standard website is quite user-friendly and allows for decent, bare-bones trading, while their Java-based platform Trade Architect enhances their web-based features even further.

    Their magnum opus, however, is Thinkorswim, a standalone desktop trading app that provides market news, account information, stock analysis, and the ability to enter orders. TD Ameritrade offers all these platforms and more without any kind of minimum trading requirement.

    If traders want to try out strategies without taking risks with real money, TD Ameritrade even has their paperMoney tool within Thinkorswim, which lets traders perform virtual trading to see if their strategy will work.

    Fidelity, meanwhile, has a perfectly admirable web-based platform, including a helpful trade ticket system users can take advantage of. Their more advanced trading platform is Active Trader Pro, a program that benefits more active traders and offers many (though not all) of the features of Thinkorswim.

    TD Ameritrade and Fidelity provide more than just these online platforms, however; mobile apps are also available. Fidelity’s mobile app allows traders to transfer funds between Fidelity and non-Fidelity accounts, place trades, contact customer service, and more.

    TD Ameritrade offers three different apps based on trader’s experience levels, from the beginner-friendly Mobile App to the Thinkorswim mobile app for active traders.

    Both companies also provide some pretty strong research tools for their traders, allowing them to make the most of their market savvy and brush up on the latest strategies and trends. Fidelity offers customers third-party reports from Morningstar, S&P Capital IQ, Thomson Reuters, Zacks, and more.

    They also provide research tools to research 60,000 fixed-income offerings, as well as information on annuities and IPOs. What’s more, Fidelity provides a virtual learning center meant to educate traders on a variety of topics, using webinars, articles and videos.

    TD Ameritrade, on the other hand, provides similarly robust third-party market research for mutual funds, stocks, options and ETFs. Their major education tool is Investools, offering customers full-fledged trader education courses at varying skill levels, allowing them to learn about options, stocks, forex and more.

    Judging from all of these varying features, TD Ameritrade just ekes out in terms of what they offer their customers. Their customer service and online platforms, as well as their mobile infrastructure, simply provides more robust and detailed features for their clients and traders than Fidelity’s admirable, but modest, options.

    Investment Options

    As with most brokerage firms, TD Ameritrade and Fidelity alike provide customers with the ability to invest in stocks, mutual funds, ETFs, options and more.

    Mutual funds are an extremely popular mode of investment, and TD Ameritrade and Fidelity come out even in this regard. Fidelity has more than 10,000 mutual funds to choose from, several hundred of which have no transaction fee and no-load. For those with fees, Fidelity’s mutual funds mostly run $49.95, though there are some that go up to $75.

    In the case of TD Ameritrade, you can choose from more than 11,000 mutual funds, with about 2,000 requiring no transaction fee and no-load. However, they also cost $49.95 to buy into.

    For the most part, their mutual fund offerings are even; if you want more choice, go with TD Ameritrade. There are no fee guarantees as different circumstances may cause you in paying higher or lower fees.

    In addition to the standard investment options available, TD Ameritrade also provides futures and forex trading, something which Fidelity lacks. However, Fidelity’s offerings are more global for their other asset classes, permitting traders to work with 25 different national exchanges in 16 countries. They also provide CDs and the ability to invest in precious metals, to further widen their variety of options.

    While TD Ameritrade and Fidelity alike have extremely solid investment options, the win might just go to Fidelity here. The simple ability to perform international investing is a tremendous boon to traders looking to globalize their investments, and offers far more options in the long run than TD Ameritrade’s roster, which is still quite admirable.

    Fees

    For the most part, TD Ameritrade and Fidelity are on equal footing when it comes to fees. TD Ameritrade charges $9.99 for stocks and ETFs, while Fidelity has a standard charge of $7.95. Both of them tack on a $0.75 extra charge per contract for options trading.

    When it comes to hiring human brokers to assist you with your trades, Fidelity wins out just slightly, charging $32.95 as opposed to $44.99 with TD Ameritrade. Both of those are on the higher end of the spectrum, however, so exercise caution before trying them out for personal brokerage advice.

    Luckily, no account maintenance fees or inactivity fees exist for Fidelity or TD Ameritrade customers, so you can keep your accounts active to your heart’s content; they also have no-fee IRAs.

    When it comes to minimum initial deposits, TD Ameritrade wins out; they have no minimum, while Fidelity requires a $2,500 initial deposit to start your general brokerage account. However, on a per-trade basis, Fidelity’s slightly lower rate adds up over time, so more active brokers might want to try them out instead to see if they save money in the long run.

    Asset Allocation

    One of the trickiest parts of trading is figuring out how best to distribute your funds across your portfolio. Luckily, TD Ameritrade and Fidelity both have some decent options to help you determine your ideal asset allocation.

    TD Ameritrade provides quite a few articles and investment tools to show budding traders the ins and outs of the various asset classes, offering training to hit their investment goals, and more. TD Ameritrade provides traders with Amerivest Core Portfolios as well, customized to traders’ market aggression and ideal rate of growth.

    Fidelity, meanwhile, offers many different asset allocation funds that are backed by significant research and let traders be flexible about the different ways in which they want to distribute their funds. They perform fundamental, quantitative and macroeconomic analysis on all of their portfolios and funds, just to help you find solid investment ideas to meet your goal.

    Judging from both of these attributes, Fidelity ekes out a win in this category, solely because of its asset allocation tools and the sheer amount of customization available with them. TD Ameritrade’s offerings are solid, but Fidelity’s is just slightly better.

    Which Should You Pick? Who Is Each Good For?

    Traders who value quality customer service can choose between TD Ameritrade and Fidelity equally, depending on what exactly they’re looking for. If you want a more personal touch, try TD Ameritrade — their physical branches and personal investment assistance offer more customizable trading experiences. More modern, online-focused investors might want to favor Fidelity’s many reputable customer service options, however.

    TD Ameritrade is also far more preferable to traders who want the best trading platform for their money. While Fidelity’s is perfectly acceptable, TD Ameritrade’s Trade Architect and Thinkorswim platforms are some of the best in the business, and some of the users highlighted that the platform features allow them to make better and faster investment decisions.

    What’s more, TD Ameritrade has the better mobile app, so traders who want to handle their accounts on the go can count on them to provide better, more streamlined information. More and more people are relying on apps to perform their trading these days, and the company with the more features-laden platforms tends to win out.

    Overall, both TD Ameritrade and Fidelity are perfectly reputable brokerage companies with a lot to offer their customers. TD Ameritrade offers certain features and services which users can leverage for their needs. While Fidelity’s international dealings and slightly cheaper trades might attract more active, long-term investors.

    Conclusion

    When comparing TD Ameritrade and Fidelity, both offer a wide range of investment options and advanced trading tools. TD Ameritrade may be a better choice for experienced investors who are looking for a comprehensive platform, while Fidelity may be a better choice for investors who are looking for strong customer support and educational resources.


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