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TD Ameritrade FX 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.

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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.

Serving only US-based forex traders, TD Ameritrade is home to over 11.5 million funded client accounts and offers investors stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, bonds, options, futures, and forex trading.

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.

Review Summary

Rank: 4th (of 28)

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.

Benefits

  • Regulated in the United States and publicly listed under TD Ameritrade (AMTD).
  • Powerful desktop charting that syncs with mobile.
  • Wide array of premium research and trading tools.
  • Futures and options trading on forex and bitcoin futures.

Considerations

  • Forex only available to US residents.
  • No web-based platform offered for forex.
  • Platform complexity may deter beginners.

Special Offer:

  • Get up to $600 + Trade Commission-Free for 60 Days Learn More

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 AmeritradeIGSaxo BankCMC Markets
Year Founded1955197419921989
Publicly Traded (Listed) Yes Yes No Yes
Bank Yes Yes Yes No
Tier-1 Licenses5664
Tier-2 Licenses0412
Tier-3 Licenses0000
Trust Score96999898

Commissions & Fees

Rank: 11th (of 28)

While assessing the true 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.

Benefits

  • TD Ameritrade’s fees for trading forex on thinkorswim vary depending on whether you choose the commission-free pricing available as a separate FX contract or the commission-based contract from within the platform each time you submit an order for execution.
  • For example, on the commission-based model, while the EUR/USD spread was 0.30 pips, including a commission of 2.00 pips round-turn equates to an all-in cost 2.3 pips. At the same time, the same spread on the non-commission EUR/USD contract was 0.90 pips, making it a more attractive spread at a 60% discount, using random spread data.
  • You can tell which FX contracts are commission based from the distinct marking in search results with the “#” symbol added to the end of the forex pair (i.e., EUR/USD#), annotating that it is commission based, and you can toggle between both from the forex quote screen.

Considerations

  • For traders on the commission-based pricing, spreads are low but a steep commission of 1.0 pip per side brings the total round-turn (RT) cost to $20 per standard lot (100,000 units) traded, making it an expensive option.
  • With non-commission forex contracts, prevailing spreads are marked up (wider) in lieu of commission.
  • While we were not able to obtain any average spreads published by TD Ameritrade, we looked at sample real-time price quotes for its major forex pairs to make a general comparison from within the platform.
  • It’s also worth noting that thinkorswim uses GAIN Capital, the owner of FOREX.com, as its liquidity provider to handle its forex execution (for both pricing options).

Further Reading

Fees Comparison

FeatureTD AmeritradeIGSaxo BankCMC Markets
Minimum Initial Deposit$0.00£250.00$2,000.00$0.00
Average Spread EUR/USD - StandardN/A0.7500.9000.744
All-in Cost EUR/USD - ActiveN/A0.3630.6000.744
Active Trader or VIP Discounts Yes Yes Yes Yes
Commissions & Fees 4 Stars 4.5 Stars 4.5 Stars 5 Stars

Platforms & Tools

Rank: 2nd (of 28)

All in all, the number of positive features in the thinkorswim platform far exceeds any negative attributes. The platform takes time to learn; however, the plethora of tools and depth are well worth the patience required.

Benefits

  • Instead of grouping all products into the same area, thinkorswim separates them out 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 own module that can be further customized.
  • Within each forex quote window, there is a sidebar that lets you quickly show or hide different views just for that currency pair. Although this feature was difficult to use the first time because the layout adjusts on the fly, I quickly got the hang of it and found the extra optional layer of customization to be a net benefit. Also, if six pairs isn’t enough for you, you can easily adjust the grid to accommodate up to 24 pairs at once in a 4x8 configuration. A nice touch.
  • Moving to the charting section, I was impressed to find nearly 400 technical indicators – by far the most in the industry. Without question, technical analysis enthusiasts will quickly fall in love with the endless depth available to them, including the ability to use thinkScripts for algorithmic trading, as well the ability to create push notifications and alerts on individual indicators. In addition to candlestick patterns, there is an editor that enables users to create their own custom candlestick patterns, a rare feature that candlestick enthusiasts will appreciate.
  • By using the thinkScripts tool, you can modify and create new indicators, which is a similar functionality to custom indicators in the MT4 platform or the JForex3 platform from Dukascopy.

Considerations

  • None.

Gallery

Further Reading

Tools Comparison

FeatureTD AmeritradeIGSaxo BankCMC Markets
Virtual Trading (Demo) Yes Yes Yes Yes
Proprietary Platform Yes Yes Yes Yes
Desktop Platform (Windows) Yes Yes Yes Yes
Web Platform No Yes Yes Yes
Social Trading / Copy-Trading Yes Yes Yes Yes
MetaTrader 4 (MT4) No Yes No Yes
MetaTrader 5 (MT5) No No No No
cTrader No No No No
Charting - Indicators / Studies (Total)403224781
Charting - Drawing Tools (Total)20171724
Charting - Trade From Chart Yes Yes Yes Yes
Watchlists - Total Fields50612128
Order Type - Trailing Stop Yes Yes Yes Yes
Platform & Tools 4.5 Stars 4.5 Stars 4.5 Stars 4.5 Stars

Research

Rank: 7th (of 28)

While not built solely for forex trading, the thinkorswim platform from TD Ameritrade is loaded with powerful research tools, including a set of several detailed screeners, such as the Stock Hacker, and live CNBC news feeds alongside additional 3rd party sources such as Dow Jones, Thomson Reuters, and Morningstar.

Benefits

  • There are also a detailed economic calendar and fundamental analysis tools that offer traders a diverse arsenal of means to research the markets, including in video format. One area I found useful for fundamental research is the FRED Data, which include historical data on interest rates and other economic indicators that affect monetary policy and currency markets.
  • Beyond the basics normally 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.
  • 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.

Considerations

  • None.

Gallery

Further Reading

Research Comparison

FeatureTD AmeritradeIGSaxo BankCMC Markets
Daily Market Commentary Yes Yes Yes Yes
Forex News (Top-Tier Sources) Yes Yes Yes Yes
Weekly Webinars No Yes Yes Yes
AutoChartist No Yes Yes No
Trading Central (Recognia) No No No Yes
Delkos Research No No No No
Social Trading / Copy-Trading Yes Yes Yes Yes
Social Sentiment - Currency Pairs No Yes Yes Yes
Economic Calendar Yes Yes Yes Yes
Research 4.5 Stars 4.5 Stars 4.5 Stars 4.5 Stars

Mobile Trading

Rank: 5th (of 28)

The TD Ameritrade Mobile Trader app, available for iOS and Android devices, comes packed with a ton of features, ranging from charting with several hundred indicators to creating advanced Blast orders, all organized neatly in a modern, user-friendly way.

Benefits

  • One feature that stands out is how available order types are displayed visually. For example, choosing a Blast order will let you create a multitude of orders and place them all at the same time. Alternatively, using a “1st triggers sequence” order will let you create an order that will trigger a sequence of other orders, similar to a One Triggers Other (OTO) order.
  • 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.
  • Charting is also robust, as the thinkorswim app includes over 300 optional indicators and trendlines can be drawn on the chart. When indicators are added to a chart, they become the default template when other charts are opened or when logging back in (i.e .they are automatically saved). Trend lines I drew on the EUR/USD in the desktop app charts synced perfectly with the mobile app charts, which is a very useful feature for technical analysis across devices.
  • It is worth noting that watch lists in the app are highly customizable, and there is a watch list for fx commission pairs, as well as one for non-commission fx pairs. Creating one from scratch was easy.

Considerations

  • None.

Gallery

Further Reading

Mobile Apps Comparison

FeatureTD AmeritradeIGSaxo BankCMC Markets
Android App Yes Yes Yes Yes
Apple iOS App Yes Yes Yes Yes
Trading - Forex Yes Yes Yes Yes
Trading - CFDs No Yes Yes Yes
Alerts - Basic Fields Yes Yes Yes Yes
Watch List Yes Yes Yes Yes
Watch List Syncing Yes Yes Yes Yes
Charting - Indicators / Studies397264123
Charting - Draw Trend Lines No Yes Yes Yes
Charting - Trend Lines Moveable No Yes Yes Yes
Charting - Multiple Time Frames Yes Yes Yes Yes
Charting - Drawings Autosave Yes Yes Yes Yes
Forex Calendar Yes Yes Yes Yes
Mobile Trading 4 Stars 4 Stars 4.5 Stars 4 Stars

Offering of Investments

Rank: 9th (of 28)

The following table summarizes the different investment products available to TD Ameritrade clients.

Offering Comparison

FeatureTD AmeritradeIGSaxo BankCMC Markets
Forex: Spot Trading Yes Yes Yes Yes
Currency Pairs (Total Forex pairs)7591182183
CFDs - Total Offered015000329999959
Cryptocurrency traded as actual No No No No
Cryptocurrency traded as CFD No Yes No Yes
Offering of Investments 4 Stars 4.5 Stars 4.5 Stars 4 Stars

Other Notes

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.

For cryptocurrency trading, clients can trade Bitcoin futures as well as the first exchange-traded Bitcoin product, Greyscale’s Bitcoin Investment Trust (Ticker $GBTC).

Final Thoughts

Rank: 4th (of 28)

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 mostly built for trading other asset classes such as equities and options, but this is merely a minor distraction.

All variables considered, TD Ameritrade delivers. The broker finished best in class in multiple categories out of 28 brokers in our 2019 Review.

For our 2019 Forex Broker Review we assessed, rated, and ranked 28 international forex brokers. Each FX broker was graded on 81 variables. 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 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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