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TD Ameritrade Forex Review

CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. Between 74-89% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money. This content is intended for information and educational purposes only and should not be considered investment advice or investment recommendation.

With nearly 80 currency pairs to trade alongside a plethora of trading tools and research, TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim platform provides US-based forex traders a winning solution.

Top Takeaways for 2019

After spending several hundred hours testing 28 forex brokers over six months for our third annual forex broker review, here are our top findings on TD Ameritrade:

  • Founded in 1975, TD Ameritrade is publicly traded and regulated in five tier-1 jurisdictions, making it a safe broker (low-risk) to trade forex and CFDs.
  • TD Ameritrade forex trading is only offered to residents of the United States. Forex trading is not available to traders outside of the US.
  • Thanks to TD Ameritrade's thinkorswim platform suite, which is complete with trading tools and market research, TD Ameritrade finished Best in Class (top 7) for Platforms & Tools, Mobile Trading, and Research. TD Ameritrade also won our industry award for having the Best Platform Technology.
  • TD Ameritrade does not offer copy trading.
  • TD Ameritrade does not offer MetaTrader (MT4).

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Is TD Ameritrade FX Safe?

help 96
Trust Score

TD Ameritrade FX is considered low-risk, with an overall Trust Score of 96 out of 99. TD Ameritrade FX is publicly-traded, does operate a bank, and is authorised by five tier-1 regulators (high trust), zero tier-2 regulators (average trust), and zero tier-3 regulators (low trust). TD Ameritrade FX is authorised by the following tier-1 regulators: Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC), Securities Futures Commission (SFC), Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Learn more about Trust Score.

Regulations Comparison

FeatureTD Ameritrade
Year Founded1955
Publicly Traded (Listed) Yes
Bank Yes
Tier-1 Licenses5
Tier-2 Licenses0
Tier-3 Licenses0
Trust Score96

Commissions & Fees

While assessing the exact costs of trading forex with TD Ameritrade is difficult due to a lack of published data, our best guess is that the broker offers competitive pricing that is slightly better than the industry standard. Fees for trading forex on thinkorswim are straightforward as the broker recently discontinued its commission-based offering, leaving the commission-free option and thus the cost to trade forex is limited to the spread.

Estimated carry costs: It's worth noting that TD Ameritrade provides a useful calculator tool that can help traders estimate their cost-of-carry for various currency pairs (i.e., for positions held overnight), depending on the trade direction and order size.

Pricing: TD Ameritrade uses GAIN Capital, the owner of FOREX.com, as its liquidity provider to handle its forex execution (on an agency basis). The spreads we observed at TD Ameritrade for the EUR/USD contract was 0.90 pips, using random spread data (i.e. is not indicative of average spreads).

FeatureTD Ameritrade
Minimum Initial Deposit$0.00
Average Spread EUR/USD - StandardN/A
All-in Cost EUR/USD - ActiveN/A
Active Trader or VIP Discounts Yes

Platforms & Tools

The backbone of the TD Ameritrade forex trading experience is the desktop-based trading platform thinkorswim. The platform takes time to learn; however, the plethora of tools and depth are well worth the patience required.

Instead of grouping all products into the same area, thinkorswim separates them into individual tabs, which makes trading streamlined and efficient. Under the Forex Trader module, rates are displayed for six currency pairs by default. Users can choose from 75 different forex pairs, and each pair lives in its module that can be further customized.

Charting: I was impressed to find 382 technical indicators – by far the most in the industry. Furthermore, there are an additional 83 indicator-based strategies available that will trigger a trading signal when conditions are met. Without question, technical analysis enthusiasts will quickly fall in love with the endless depth available to them. For example, in addition to automatically identifying 58 common candlestick patterns, there is an editor that enables users to create custom candlestick patterns. Also, by using the thinkScripts tool, you can modify and create new technical indicators, which are similar in functionality to custom indicators on the MT4 platform or the JForex3 platform from Dukascopy.

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Research

While not built solely for forex trading, the thinkorswim platform from TD Ameritrade is complete with powerful research tools, including a set of several advanced screeners alongside live CNBC and TD Ameritrade Network TV. Third-party data flows in from sources, including Dow Jones, Thomson Reuters, Morningstar, and FXWirePro.

US economic data: One area I found useful for fundamental research is the FRED Data, which includes historical data on US interest rates and other US economic indicators that affect monetary policy and currency markets.

Economic calendar: Beyond the basics typically found in an economic calendar, thinkorswim adds smart features such as the ability to filter the calendar based on various news events, and even set alerts on upcoming events relevant to your portfolio.

Social research: Numerous social features developed from in-house and third parties are also found on the platform, including the Social Signals service that pulls insights from Twitter, adding to the broad range of research and content that TD Ameritrade delivers.

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Mobile Trading

The TD Ameritrade Mobile Trader app, available for iOS and Android devices, comes packed with a ton of features, ranging from advanced charting with over 300 optional indicators to creating custom watch lists, all organized neatly in a modern, user-friendly way.

Mobile research: In terms of research in the app, the same calendar experience from the desktop platform is present for filtering news events by symbol, watchlist, or account positions. This filtering makes sense and ensures that traders will always view the news that is most relevant to their portfolios, including global economic indicator events for forex traders.

Mobile charting: Charting is also robust, as the thinkorswim app includes nearly 400 technical indicators that are easily insertable in charts. After adding a study to a chart, they become the default template when other charts are opened or when logging back in (i.e., they save automatically. Trend lines I drew on the EUR/USD in the desktop app charts synced perfectly with the mobile app charts, which is a handy feature for technical analysis across devices.

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Offering of Investments

Rank: 9th (of 28)

In addition to trading forex, TD Ameritrade’s FX offering also supports additional forex instruments such as options and futures on pairs, as well as the US Dollar Index. TD Ameritrade also offers interest rates, metals, grains, stock indices, energy, soft commodities, and livestock futures contracts, giving you the ability to execute orders on the CME, CBOT, NYMEX, COMEX, ICE US, and CFE.

Digital assets: For cryptocurrency trading, clients can trade Bitcoin futures as well as the first exchange-traded Bitcoin product, Greyscale’s Bitcoin Investment Trust (Ticker $GBTC). Moreover, TD Ameritrade invested alongside a cohort of institutional investors in ErisX, a CFTC-regulated derivatives exchange and clearing organization that will provide cryptocurrency trading in spot cash and futures markets. TD Ameritrade plans to make these cryptocurrency services available to its clients through ErisX once the platform is ready.

Offering Comparison

FeatureTD Ameritrade
Forex: Spot Trading Yes
Currency Pairs (Total Forex pairs)75
CFDs - Total Offered0
Social Trading / Copy-Trading Yes
Cryptocurrency traded as actual No
Cryptocurrency traded as CFD No

Final Thoughts

For US-based investors and traders, TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim platform is a sophisticated multi-asset desktop experience that is great for forex trading. The one drawback is that thinkorswim’s tools are primarily for trading other asset classes such as equities and options, but this is merely a minor distraction. Overall, forex traders will find powerful charting capabilities alongside forex news headlines, and a platform rich with features when using thinkorswim at TD Ameritrade.

About TD Ameritrade

Serving only US-based forex traders, TD Ameritrade is home to over 11.5 million funded client accounts, with over $1.1 trillion in customer assets. TD Ameritrade offers investors stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, bonds, options, futures, and forex trading. Under its CFTC-regulated entity, TD Ameritrade Futures and Forex LLC, publicly-traded TD Ameritrade (AMTD) remains one of the few regulated brokerages to still offer retail forex trading in the United States.

Note: this review focuses on TD Ameritrade’s forex offering. For TD Ameritrade’s stocks and options trading services, please see the TD Ameritrade review on our sister site, StockBrokers.com.

TD Ameritrade Trading Features

FeatureTD Ameritrade
Virtual Trading (Demo) Yes
Proprietary Platform Yes
Desktop Platform (Windows) Yes
Web Platform Yes
Social Trading / Copy-Trading Yes
MetaTrader 4 (MT4) No
MetaTrader 5 (MT5) No
cTrader No
Charting - Indicators / Studies (Total)382
Charting - Drawing Tools (Total)20
Charting - Trade From Chart Yes
Watchlists - Total Fields548
Order Type - Trailing Stop Yes

TD Ameritrade Research Features

FeatureTD Ameritrade
Daily Market Commentary Yes
Forex News (Top-Tier Sources) Yes
Weekly Webinars No
AutoChartist No
Trading Central (Recognia) No
Delkos Research No
Social Sentiment - Currency Pairs No
Economic Calendar Yes

TD Ameritrade Mobile App Features

FeatureTD Ameritrade
Android App Yes
Apple iOS App Yes
Trading - Forex Yes
Trading - CFDs No
Alerts - Basic Fields Yes
Watch List Yes
Watch List Syncing Yes
Charting - Indicators / Studies397
Charting - Draw Trend Lines No
Charting - Trend Lines Moveable No
Charting - Multiple Time Frames Yes
Charting - Drawings Autosave Yes
Forex Calendar Yes

2019 Review Methodology

For our 2019 Forex Broker Review we assessed, rated, and ranked 28 international forex brokers over a six month time period. Each broker was graded on 81 different variables and, in total, over 60,000 words of research were produced.

While encouraged, broker participation was optional. Each broker had the opportunity to complete an in-depth data profile and provide executive time (live in person or over the web) for an annual update meeting.

All data submitted by brokers is hand-checked for accuracy. Ultimately, our rigorous data validation process yields an error rate of less than .1% each year, providing site visitors quality data they can trust. Learn more about how we test.

Forex Risk Disclaimer

"There is a very high degree of risk involved in trading securities. With respect to margin-based foreign exchange trading, off-exchange derivatives, and cryptocurrencies, there is considerable exposure to risk, including but not limited to, leverage, creditworthiness, limited regulatory protection and market volatility that may substantially affect the price, or liquidity of a currency or related instrument. It should not be assumed that the methods, techniques, or indicators presented in these products will be profitable, or that they will not result in losses." Learn more.


Steven Hatzakis

About the author: Steven Hatzakis is the Global Director of Research for ForexBrokers.com. Steven previously served as an Editor for Finance Magnates, where he authored over 1,000 published articles about the online finance industry. Steven is an active fintech and crypto industry researcher and advises blockchain companies at the board level. Over the past 20 years, Steven has held numerous positions within the international forex markets, from writing to consulting to serving as a registered commodity futures representative.

Trading CFDs, FX, and cryptocurrencies involves a high degree of risk. All providers have a percentage of retail investor accounts that lose money when trading CFDs with their company. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money and whether you understand how CFDs, FX, and cryptocurrencies work. All data was obtained from a published web site as of 02/18/2019 and is believed to be accurate, but is not guaranteed. The ForexBrokers.com staff is constantly working with its online broker representatives to obtain the latest data. If you believe any data listed above is inaccurate, please contact us using the link at the bottom of this page.

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