Ameritrade is one of the unique broker companies that seem to be able to stay on top and fight of the competition by focusing primarily on beginner traders. This may sound like a risky move, it certainly does to us. However, this just may be a winning strategy that makes Ameritrade remain at the top of its game for years now. Ameritrade has conducted its business strategies and operations around social media, which is taking our lives by a storm. That was another great idea made by the Ameritrade team, and the clients definitely feel more involved and heard through regular communication that is being conducted through Ameritrade’s Twitter and Facebook accounts.
In the past couple of months, the rumours have been swirling that the company was being acquired by another online trading giant named Charles Schwab. However, Ameritrade remains to function as a separate entity with all its unique features that so many clients adore. But, will it remain this way in the future as well?
For starters, the main thing you should know is the fact that this company is focusing your entire trading experience around education and the constant improvement of your trading knowledge and skills. After all, things are always changing and improving on the market, so you should keep up with them, right? Ameritrade is dedicated to making sure you don’t miss out on anything important in this area.
So, what are the results of these efforts? For starters, Ameritrade has been named as Best Broker for Beginners, as well as honoured as one of the best online trading apps in 2020 by several reputable watchdog websites. Based in the US, this trading company is dedicated to making their clients live out their potentials to the fullest as smart, conscious and independent traders. Their team uses its unique abilities and insights on the market to encourage their clients to be more active, as well as more confident each day on the market. In this Ameritrade review, we will list both good and bad sides of this kind of business practice, so you can make your own trading decision based on the facts.
Platform and Execution SCORE: 41%
Ameritrade team has made sure that its website is up to date with the latest trading innovations, so it can also be able to keep up with its competitors. As a result, the team has optimized the traditional looking website to fit the modern-day needs - by creating a suitable and efficient mobile platform, as well as adding some unique analytic and trading tools to spice things up.
However, we have to notice that the trading platform seems quite crowded. This is not a good look, especially not for someone so established as Ameritrade. When you visit the platform directly after signing up for the account, you will be disappointed to find so many data thrown at you all at once. The balance, the trading history, the open positions, the market news - these are just some of the few features that are based on the very first page. That is quite a lot, especially for a beginner trader, which Ameritrade is especially focussed on.
Also, the trading tools are divided by different pages that sustain the tradeable assets, which may seem quite confusing. Simply, if you wish to utilize these benefits, you will have to learn your way around the platform to the smallest details. This may take quite a while, which is a shame since there are so many other ways to spend your time on the platform usefully. Also, we have to admit that the variety of account types is not an advantage in this case since it is quite confusing to the new visitors. All in all, Ameritrade could use to simplify this entire section in order to make things easier for the clients and eventually encourage them to keep coming back.
Withdrawal Speed SCORE: 47%
If you’ve been around in the world of trading back in late 2019, you were able to witness something unique and hard hitting that does not often happen in the financial world. The ongoing price war that began as the global markets deteriorated has encouraged the trading giants such as Ameritrade to slash their prices for the execution of the transactions. As a result, the rates for trading stocks and the majority of ETFs was slashed to $0, bringing the commission to only $0.69 per contract.
In addition, you will notice that there is no minimum deposit requirement while there is a significant mutual fund fee of $49.99. This also applies to the broker assistance fee, which we find unusual for many reasons, mainly because of the accessibility and openness of the platform to the beginner traders.
What about the depositing and withdrawal methods at this company? Considering that Ameritrade provides assistance through over 250 offices across the United States, we can only assume that this selection is quite admirable.
For depositing the money into your account, you can use one of the 5 options on the website, including:
- The Electronic Bank Deposits, which takes about 5 minutes to be processed
- The Bank wire transfer, that is processed within a single business day
- The checks, which are processed within 3 to 5 business days
- The Account transfers from a different firm, which take about a week
- And the Physical stock certificate, which is processed within a single business day.
On the other hand, the withdrawal details are not listed anywhere, which is quite suspicious if you ask us. It sends a message that you should not even think about taking the money out of your account at any time. Is this really what a reputable company should display to its audience?
Support and Assistance SCORE: 19%
The customer support options at Ameritrade are average, to say the least. There are a few options to connect with the agents, aside from the social media pages that we mentioned already. First, there is the email option, but it takes a few days for the agents to get back to you. Then, you can also call them on the phone, but we didn’t have much luck making a useful connection, since the phones seem to be constantly busy. Still, they do have different phone numbers which you can dial depending on your state and even the zip code, which should make things easier.
Lastly, one thing that stands out here is the featured called Ask Ted. Namely, Ted is a chatbot that answers all your questions in a timely matter. But still, Ted is only a feature, and it clearly misses the connection and understanding that could be made with a real person, despite it only being online. However, there are many other ways to learn the answers to the burning questions, aside from the busy Frequently Asked Questions page. The website is filled with tutorials, quizzes and helpful articles that just might give the answers you are looking for. If you have the time and patience to do the research, of course.
Education and Tools SCORE: 60%
As we mentioned above, Ameritrade is basing its trading success on education. It is focused specifically on beginner traders, who they think have quite a lot to offer. Ameritrade considers itself a crutch on that road, an additional assistance on the road of realizing your trading dreams.
The first thing that caught our eyes is the selection of quizzes. Over 200 different ones are regularly updated to help you catch a break and review your trading knowledge. Next you can also find the interactive and fun trading videos that are specifically designed to fit traders with different levels of knowledge.
What we stumbled upon and were particularly astonished with is the Talking Green podcast. With just a few episodes, this podcast brings in the experts in the area of trading who give a unique insight into the current trading landscape. Also, this area is enriched by over 1.000 YouTube videos that dwell into these topics in more detail.
However, the think we were by far the most impressed with is the Thinkorswim platform. This is a simulated trading page that allows you to test your knowledge and improve your trading skills before you dig into the real deal. Within this section we were also able to find out that Ameritrade actually has its own investing magazine called thinkMoney. This is quite an impressive thing to include in the educational section, especially for a company that does not base its operations on spreading information like the journalists and media houses do. So, this is another useful tool you can use and implement into your trading strategy. It certainly helps being ahead of the competition, so we would definitely recommend using it in the long run.