* TD Ameritrade…Nothing For Nothing!

Posted on September 5th, 2013 · Music/Events/Other Stocks

* TD Ameritrade…Nothing For Nothing!

Recently got this e-mail from reader AFR
Hey Jeff,
I recently opened a new online brokerage account with discount broker TD Ameritrade. Had to put in $2,500 and got 500 free ($9.99) trades good for 60 days. If I’m figuring this correctly, TD gave me $5,000 worth of trades for free. I’m not a big trader, maybe I trade 2- 3 or times a month (which would be 4- 6 trades buy-sell, total). Seems like a good deal for me and especially for day-traders. Thought you might like to pass this one onto other readers.
Here’s Jeff Eat’s response.


Just had a chance to read your e-mail.

If you are a DAY TRADER “on its face” the deal sounds good.

If you are just a casual trader, just think…assuming 30 days in a month, you have 44 days from the day you open the account to use all of those trades. That means you would have to make on average 11.36 trades per day to use up all of the free trades.

In your case, if you execute 4-6 trades a month the fees would be 40-60 bucks…figure 2- months and TD Ameritrade is giving you the grand total of $80- $120 in free trades. Not bad, but a far cry from the $5,000 that “initially” hits your eye when you see its 500-free trades’ advertisement. By the way, I didn’t check, but I’ll bet you have to keep that original $2,500 in your TD Ameritrade account for a certain period of time.

TD Ameritrade (unless you are a real Day Trader) really isn’t giving you as “big” a deal as it initially appears at first glance.

Just so you know, Jeff Eats has had a TD Ameritrade account for a number of years. Long ago, I negotiated an online commission rate far-far lower than the $9.99 you are paying.

Over the years, TD Ameritrade on the whole-got the job done for Jeff Eats…that said,

I will tell you, that over those same years- many of TD Ameritrade’s phone reps/supervisors gave me WRONG INFORMATION about various ‘things” in my account—so, just a word to the wise, keep a close eye on your account and don’t take what TD Ameritrade tells you as being gospel. Jeff Eats will also tell you, that on more than one occasion TD Ameritrade’s online trading system contained incorrect information/and other times the entire system “crashed” and couldn’t be accessed.

Good luck with your trading…

31 Comments to “* TD Ameritrade…Nothing For Nothing!”

  1. ZEBRA says...

    just check, there are loads of online brokers that charge far lower that $9.99. that 500 trades deal is a come on. as for day traders, once the 60 days is gone, you are paying higher rates than you should. also td ameritardes online think or swim system stinks. its a delayed system and quotes aren’t current. shop around for a better broker.

  2. NBH says...

    Scottrade and Etrade are cheaper and have better online systems.

  3. 33496GY says...

    Schwab has better reps. They are far more knowledgeable.

  4. tgf says...

    terrible broker, online system constantly has problems.

  5. Ralph N.232 says...

    I have an ameritrade acct. . only problem is that now and then it crashes and you cant trade.

  6. SCD says...


  7. Newman34 says...

    I use Etrade.
    It’s better and cheaper than TD Ameritrade.

  8. KLB30 says...

    I have an acct with Fidelity.
    I use to have one with TD, but its website for online kept going down. Not good.

  9. Sid L. Turner says...

    I trade for zero at td.
    Cut the deal years ago.
    It’s website streamer often freezes for no apparent reason.
    But for free I have put up with it.

  10. TQ342 says...

    On 9/12 they are changing their online system. The new one stinks.

  11. H67TG says...

    I have accounts at Schwab, ETrade and Td Ameritrade. TD’s online system often freezes and shows incorrect info. Schwab’s and ETrade work better. On commissions they are basically the same.

  12. ZIPPERMAN says...

    TD’s new online trading system is a disaster. Stay away from this broker.

  13. Mr. K. says...

    I use Scottrade. Cheaper and better that TD.

  14. Stockman says...

    TD AMERITRADE is only out for itself. get a margin call and these rat bastards will sell you out without giving you a decent chance to cover your position. The customer agents most of the time don’t know what the hell they are talking about. Stay away from TD. I have a Schwab acct and their reps are real pros. I also have a Scottrade and their reps are good and they charge less than Schwab and TD per trade.

    • robertw says...

      Stockman-Many of the online brokers are super cautious. They have been burned big time by guys that walk away (under water) with huge negative balances due to market crashes or stock crashes.

      FYI Interactive Brokers is much worse with Margin and Liquidations. Most of the other brokers will act in a more organized manner. Interactive could destroy you. I avoid margin as it causes problems.

  15. Henry Leno says...

    TD AMERITRADE, stay away.
    Online system stinks.
    Crashes all the time.
    Customer service stinks.
    Use Scottrade.

  16. robertw says...

    Never had a problem with TD. I use them for the no fee etfs. FYI Interactive brokers is 1.00 per hundred shares. They have very low option trades as well. They are for more advanced traders though. They have some pretty extensive software for complicated trades.

  17. Alfie says...

    Don’t use td, customer service is terrible.

  18. robertw says...

    Customer service at Fidelity is very good IMHO. I use them as well. The online brokers used to have many deals to get new customers. Not so many these days. In the gogo 2000s everyone was a day trader. Or thought they were. Why work when you can make big bucks trading.

  19. robertw says...

    I love when Jeff Eats says Nothing for Nothing. His phrases are pretty funny.

  20. ZEKE says...

    jeff, the adv is very deceptive. there is no way in hell that the average guy or gal could use 500 free trades in 2 months. if you tried you would be trading all day long.
    I had a td ameritrade account. I closed it a few weeks ago because on 9/12/13 it is chaning its online trading system and the new one is HORRENDOUS. I have no idea why they are doing this but it’s a HUGE mistake.
    I moved my account to Scottrade which is chaper per trade and has a pretty good online system.
    just a word to the wise, td’s phone reps aren’t very good. sometimes they give you wrong info and if you get a margin call they are the nastiest people when they call you.
    stay away from td ameritrade.

  21. GBBrooks2310 says...

    500 free trades for 60 days.
    take away 16 weekend dates and you got 44 days to use all those trades. just a big con.
    I fell for it and asked them to extend the trades for an additional 30 days, they told me to get lost.
    their online system seems to freeze up every so often. not a good system.
    check around at other brokers. some will give you 3-5 per trade not 9.99.

  22. FRE says...

    Have td
    Its online system failed 5 times today.
    Horrendous service.

  23. 45TS says...

    Stay away from this broker.
    It’s on line trading system goes down almost daily.
    Its agents don’t know what they are talking about.
    And if you get a margin call they will sell you out in the blink of an eye.
    Don’t fall for that free trade bs.

  24. Jeff In Boca says...

    a real bs adv. use fidelity. much better.

  25. SELK98 says...

    the adv is a come on.
    td’s trading systems are horrendous. don’t use them

  26. Evy says...

    I’ve been with TDAmeritrade for the past 3 years. Mostly trade covered calls & naked puts on stocks. So far, I’ve been pretty satisfied with them. Never experienced a “freeze” as most commenters here seem to have.

    I agree TD’s customer service is kind of skimpy – I’ve found Scottrade’s tax forms much more informative (especially after the introduction of Form 8949) and their reps come across as not too friendly the few times I’ve called on the phone.

    TD’s commissions are a bit high, but I’ve circumvented that by requesting free trades each time I add funds to my account. They’ve been pretty generous about it. As long as the free trades are forthcoming, I’ll stick with them.

  27. JM says...

    Is it even possible to make these trades with an account that is $2500? TD requires you have at least $25,000 if you make 4 same day round trips buy/sell in a 5 day period. This was an odd week for me with a lot of my positions going against me and hitting my stops. Now I am getting errors and alerts and one incredibly confusing email, it seems I have been designated a patter day trader, which is not my intent but when the price goes against you, you sell… I have more than this minimum but they seem to be setting me up for some maintenance fees and restrictions. Not sure but are all of the brokers like this? What do day traders do? I have been thinking of finding a different broker anyway, I don’t like their platforms, the web interface is simple but locks up and I have to change screens all the time, keep getting logged out, some trades have not executed. Think or swim is faster but is just way too busy, proprietary, just could be more user friendly. I have had some costly problems.

    • JM says...

      So after another hour of research on this “Pattern day trader” designation, it seems they are required to do this by Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, it was all about margin, TD did not even use the word margin in their email and it read like I did something wrong, this email from TDA was just poorly written and confusing, I don’t use margin and while I can appreciate that they might be required to tell me of all this, I don’t get why they need to be all confrontational about it. The rules on the were clear, I’m starting to wonder what’s wrong with this company. I’m still a little worried that some of this was their own rules for the sake of maintenance fees they mentioned, I need to shop for a new broker.

  28. Jack Mayhoffer says...

    I’ve been with Ameritrade since 2004 and I’ve never experienced these crashes or freezes that people have mentioned. I get fast executions on stock buys and I’ve held stocks in the account for over a decade without issue. The $9.99 per trade commissions don’t bother me since I do maybe 20 trades a year and I hold stocks for years and years.

  29. Prester John says...

    I read through all of these posts and am just flabbergasted by some of the reasons people have cited here.
    First of all most of the complaints are to do with a poor understanding of leveraged trading, sorry but if you dont understand margin, or pattern day trading you shouldnt be anywhere near a live trading platform. FINRA regulates many of the other complaints, which are enforced by all brokers.
    Regarding pricing, I have both Interactive and TDA (thinkorswim), I have got superior execution on Thinkorswim on tighter spreads than on Interactive. Thinkorswim option seeker is far superior than anything out there not to mention the charts and the amount of research information , all for 1.5$ a contract. Thats pretty awesome if you ask me.
    Ive been with TDA for over 10 years , never had a problem with customer service, not that I call everyday anyways.

Leave a Comment