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TD Ameritrade was on every broker’s radar in 2019 before it was acquired by broker giant, Charles Schwab. Its recent move to zero-fee trading placed it higher on many investors’ lists. Besides, its competitive investment options, fees, diverse education and research platforms all merge to create a nearly-ideal broker. The company aims to educate its customers, from immersive articles, articles, podcasts, webcasts and videos to in-person events.

The broker certainly ranks among the best in the eyes of traders, both novice and experienced. TD Ameritrade provides powerful trading software for investors of all levels, offering some of the top trading tools in the industry.

Read our full TD Ameritrade review.

How to Open a TD Brokerage Account

Stock trading can be intimidating if you don’t know where to start. Benzinga has put together step-by-step instructions for opening a TD brokerage account.

On its website, TD Ameritrade says that opening a new brokerage account takes just a few minutes. Here’s what you need to get started:

  • Individual Taxpayer Identification Number or Social Security number
  • Employer name and address (where applicable)

You can also compare E*TRADE vs. TD Ameritrade brokerage accounts. Now you’re ready to open your brokerage account. 

1.       Begin Your Application.

Navigate TD Ameritrade’s account application page where you will fill out basic information about yourself, such as your name and email. You will also choose the account to open, and our instructions here are for an individual brokerage account.

The website also asks about how you intend to use your account, whether active trading or buy-and-hold investing. Read through TD Ameritrade’s privacy statement before moving on to the next section.

Also, check out our Ally Invest vs. TD Ameritrade comparison.

2.       Fill out Your Personal Information.

Here, you’ll fill out more personal details like your date of birth, mailing address, employment information and Social Security number. Here are other questions you’ll answer about your personal affiliations:

  • Do you work for a registered broker, securities exchange or a member of a securities exchange?
  • Are you a 10% shareholder, director or senior officer of a publicly-traded company?
  • Are you or any immediate family member a senior political figure?

3.       Review Your Information.

This section is straightforward and requires you to go through the details you provided for accuracy. After confirming that everything is fine, continue to the next step.

4.       Accept the Terms.

This section contains technical information that you must agree to. There are PDF files of the account handbook, client agreement, an IRA account agreement disclosure and a business continuity plan statement. Be sure to read through any document that applies to you.

You will also see an option to choose what happens to the cash in your brokerage account if it isn’t invested in any asset. TD Ameritrade puts the money in an FDIC-insured account if you fail to specify where the money should be held.

You will also come across some questions from the IRS confirming whether your Tax Identification/Social Security number is accurate, whether you are a U.S. citizen and whether you are subject to backup withholding on your taxes. Answer these questions and move to the next section.

5.       Create Your Secure Login.

In this section, you will create a username, password and security questions. Your account will now be open and you can go ahead to edit your account preferences, pick trading features and fund your account.

That’s it: You have opened your TD Ameritrade brokerage account! You can also compare TD Ameritrade vs. Schwab brokerage account setup process.

How to Fund Your TD Account

Want to fund your new or existing TD brokerage account? Here are detailed instructions for the funding options available.

1.       Electronic Funding

For greater accuracy and convenience, TD Ameritrade recommends using electronic funding. It is fast, easy and free. To set up this funding option, you need to electronically link your brokerage account to your checking or savings account to transfer money through an automated clearing house (ACH) transaction. You can also set up a recurring or one-time deposit with a few clicks. 

Log into your brokerage account and click “Deposit/Withdraw.” Now select bank setup and in the “select a transaction” option, choose “Deposit to TD Ameritrade.” Finally, choose “Electronic (ACH)” and your account will be loaded with funds. The deposit limits are $50–$250,000.

2.       Mailing a Check

You can also fund your TD Ameritrade brokerage account through conventional mail. Include your account number in the memo section and send your check to: PO Box 2760, Omaha, NE, 68172 – 9829. Ensure your check deposit is acceptable before sending it. Note that until your check deposit clears, which could take up to 5 business days, TD Ameritrade restricts trading some securities because of market risks.

3.       Physical Stock Certificates

Depositing a stock certificate into your brokerage account is simple as endorsing and including your Social Security number and account number on the front of the certificate. You should also indicate TD Ameritrade Clearing as your attorney on the appropriate line at the back of your certificate. This way, the stock certificate can be mailed safely.

4.       External Securities Transfer

You can also fund your TD Ameritrade account through a brokerage transfer. This allows you to transfer bonds, stocks and ETFs from another brokerage account to your TD account without having to sell them first. Simply fax or mail your transfer paperwork to: TD Ameritrade, PO Box 2760, Omaha, NE 68172 – 9829. You may need to provide original documentation for some transfers.

5.       Wire Transfer

This is a quick and secure funding option that deposits money into your TD Ameritrade account, usually in 1 business day, from anywhere in the U.S. There’s no deposit limit. 

You can also compare TD Ameritrade vs. Fidelity funding options.

Understand What Fees You Need to Pay

TD Ameritrade does not require a minimum cash deposit. If you want to do margin or options trading, you’ll need at least $2,000 in your account. You will also pay a flat fee of $6.95 per trade, no matter how many times you trade. Other account fees include:

  • Outbound transfer fee: TD Ameritrade doesn’t charge an inactivity fee but you’ll incur a $75 transfer-out fee for every transfer you make.
  • ETF fees: ETFs often need a long-term approach. Traders must hold ETFs for 30 days to avoid incurring a $13.90 charge. You will also pay a $49.99 short-term redemption fee for mutual funds traded less than 90 days.

TD Ameritrade offers 2 main trading platforms; the web platform and Thinkorswim. The web platform has all you may need to screen, research and trade bonds, stocks, options and ETFs. Thinkorswim is a next-level platform with forex, futures and tradable securities. This platform gives access to technical analysis tools and advanced trading capabilities.

Compare Interactive Brokers vs. TD Ameritrade brokerage account fees.

How to Research the Stocks to Buy

TD Ameritrade allows you to trade with stocks, options, futures, ETFs and mutual funds. Before buying any stocks, you need to consider the price and valuation. Ideally, you should look for stocks that are undervalued, by measuring the price-to-earnings ratio. You also need to evaluate a company’s financial health by looking at its financial reports as well as pay attention to revenue growth and the company’s debt amount. 

Pick your favorite stocks and add them to your portfolio. Enter your order preferences and start trading. If you’re still a novice trader, you can take advantage of PaperMoney, a virtual trading simulator that gives you $100,000 in virtual money to practice.

Check out our TD Ameritrade vs. Robinhood comparison.

Start Trading With TD Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade is on its way to the top of the stock trading chain with its mobile trading, education web platform and fee-free funds. The company caters for beginners and seasoned investors alike with its full range of services, educational and professional tools likely to push anyone through their investing journey.

Its mobile trader has price alerts, account monitors, research, news and e-document tabs. With a collection of investment opportunities, an easy-to-use platform and access to research tools, this online broker is on every trader’s dartboard.

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