Fidelity vs. TD Ameritrade: 2022 Comparison, Key Differences, and Which One Is Better for Your Needs
The rise of Robinhood and other companies that offer free trading options has prompted other brokerage companies to step up their game and carve out their part of the market.
Here, we have two major firms - Fidelity and TD Ameritrade - that offer a range of services free of charge. Both companies are US-based online brokerage firms that provide a wide variety of investment products, including stocks, option trades, ETFs, and mutual funds.
In this Fidelity vs. TD Ameritrade face-off, we will cover general information about these two enterprises and the services they offer. Then, we will take a closer look at their web and desktop platforms, and mobile apps. Finally, we will discuss their fees, the educational content they offer, and the quality of their customer service.
Fidelity is a Boston-based brokerage company with a long track record, having been founded all the way back back in 1946. As of the end of 2021, it has generated a whopping $24 billion in revenue.
About TD Ameritrade
Although it is younger than Fidelity, Ameritrade is still an experienced company, established in 1975. Its headquarters are located in Omaha, Nebraska, and as of 2019, the company has generated $6 billion in revenue.
Fidelity vs. TD Ameritrade - General Features
First off, let’s compare TD Ameritrade and Fidelity in terms of their investment products, available platforms, and mobile apps.
Stocks, option trades, ETFs, mutual funds, retirement, cryptocurrency trading, fixed-income bonds, sustainable investing, cash management and credit cards, managed accounts, 529 college savings, health savings account, annuities, life insurance and long term care
Stocks, option trades, ETFs, mutual funds, bitcoin futures, micro futures, forex, margin trading, cryptocurrency trading, cash solutions, fixed-income bonds, annuities, IPOs, dividend reinvestment, collateral lending program, and fully paid lending income program
Fidelity web, and Active Trader Pro
Classic Web Platform, Next Gen Web Platform, thinkorswim desktop, and thinkorswim web
Fidelity mobile app for iOS, Android, and Windows Mobile
TD Ameritrade Mobile and thinkorswim mobile
As you can tell, both Fidelity’s and TD Ameritrade’s investment products include stocks, options, ETFs, mutual funds, and fixed-income bonds, among others. As TD Ameritrade also offers trading futures, you may use its platform to build a good futures trading strategy.
However, Fidelity lacks the futures and paper trading options. Therefore, if that’s something you’re looking for, TD Ameritrade is the superior choice.
You can access Fidelity’s features on your computer in two ways - via Fidelity's web platform or by downloading Active Trader Pro for desktop.
Active Trader Pro is an intuitive program that enables users to carry out trades with ease, but its abundant features also make it suitable for advanced users. You can customize the user interface to further streamline program navigation. The web platform accessed via Fidelity’s website has similar features.
TD Ameritrade has an edge over Fidelity in terms of the number of desktop platforms that it offers - four, compared to Fidelity’s two. Aside from its namesake web and desktop apps, Ameritrade’s most popular platform is thinkorswim. Thinkorswim is the company’s extremely popular web, desktop, and mobile app.
Thinkorswim is highly customizable and features an array of advanced options. The main difference between the web and desktop versions is that the latter features a simpler layout. Both platforms allow you to trade equities, ETFs, options, futures, and much more.
In addition, TD Ameritrade supports the paperMoney feature exclusively via thinkorswim. This feature allows the user to trade using virtual money, going through a simulated trade without actually buying or selling any securities. As such, it allows the user to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills before investing any real funds. Fidelity has no comparable feature.
Fidelity and TD Ameritrade have some of the top mobile apps for making investments.
TD Ameritrade has two apps, as opposed to Fidelity’s one.
The Fidelity mobile app includes dollar-based investing, also known as trading fractional shares, as it allows you to invest in a portion of a share. On the other hand, TD Ameritrade Mobile Trader and thinkorswim Mobile don't have this feature.
In this section, we will discuss how much Fidelity and TD Ameritrade charge for their services.
TD Ameritrade doesn’t charge any fees on stocks, ETFs, and options, but there is a $0.65 per-contract fee on options trading. Some of the company’s additional features carry a fee; for example, the interactive voice response (IVR) phone system costs $5.
Essentially, this feature lets you get answers to some questions from an automated phone system, and if you need advice that you can’t receive from the IVR, you may get in touch with a broker for another $25.
Neither TD Ameritrade nor Fidelity charge any monthly or annual account-keeping fees, commissions, or minimal trade amounts. However, if you wish to transfer your funds from TD Ameritrade to another account, you’re required to pay a $75 fee. Transferring out of Fidelity, on the other hand, is free.
Like TD Ameritrade, Fidelity mostly doesn’t impose any fees on stocks, ETFs, and option trades. It also charges $0.65 for each options-trading contract. In terms of bonds and CDs, there is a minimal fee that amounts to $1.
This section will review the educational content these two companies have to offer.
First up in the TD Ameritrade vs. Fidelity education showdown is TD Ameritrade. It includes the following:
- 200 instructional videos and tutorials
- Over 30 webcasts each week
- Investing courses
On the other hand, Fidelity offers the following content:
- Live and on-demand webinars
- Daily trading and investing training by professional coaches
- Four-week online beginner courses
While both companies offer a range of informative pages on a wide variety of subjects, Fidelity focuses more on courses and webinars, whereas TD Ameritrade prioritizes tutorials and articles.
Both Fidelity and TD Ameritrade have taken rigorous steps to ensure their clients’ data remains secure.
When it comes to Fidelity, not only do they utilize up-to-date encryption and advanced firewalls, but they also conduct 24/7 system surveillance.
In addition, users can set up 2-factor identification and receive security alert texts. They also employ voice recognition technology to confirm client identity over the phone.
Just like Fidelity, TD Ameritrade employs encryption and firewalls to keep client data safe. In addition, with its Asset Protection Guarantee, TD Ameritrade offers reimbursement to any customers whose accounts are compromised.
Quality customer service is integral to positive customer experience. Poor customer service can deter potential clients and even prompt regulars to take their business elsewhere.
TD Ameritrade’s customer and account service support is available 24/7 over the phone, whereas technical support is available on weekdays from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET.
Meanwhile, Fidelity provides a few extra options. Its customer service agents are available 24/7 via phone, but customers can also contact the company’s virtual assistant at any time or reach out to agents via live chat who are available from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET on weekdays, and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET on weekends.
Ultimately, both Fidelity and TD Ameritrade offer a variety of services free of charge. Both provide stock trade, option trade, ETFs, mutual funds, and annuities. However, TD Ameritrade also enables futures and paper trading for clients, unlike Fidelity. TD Ameritrade has more platforms that are more suitable for beginners than the ones Fidelity provides.
We can say that Fidelity has superior customer service, as apart from 24/7 customer service via phone, you may also contact them through live chat or text their virtual assistant. Also, Fidelity offers transferring funds out of the account for free, while TD Ameritrade charges $75.
What is more, both Fidelity’s and TD Ameritrade's security is top-notch. All in all, both firms provide exceptional service. Your choice will depend on your specific requirements.
Can I Transfer Money From TD Ameritrade to Fidelity?
Yes, you may transfer funds from TD Ameritrade to Fidelity, or vice versa. However, keep in mind that TD Ameritrade charges a $75 fee for a full transfer, while Fidelity allows this for free.
Is Fidelity or TD Ameritrade Better for Beginners?
Your decision between TD Ameritrade and Fidelity depends on your needs and preferences. However, users have reported that TD Ameritrade’s platforms are easier to use and are thus more appropriate for beginners.
What’s the Difference Between TD Ameritrade and Fidelity?
In our Fidelity vs. TD Ameritrade head-to-head comparison, both companies showcased tons of good qualities. They are similar in terms of pricing and the investment products they offer. However, Fidelity doesn’t allow for trading futures and paper trading.
Also, TD Ameritrade has more desktop platforms and apps. On the other hand, Fidelity has more options in terms of how you can contact their customer support and doesn’t charge for account transfer out.
I have always thought of myself as a writer, but I began my career as a data operator with a large fintech firm. This position proved invaluable for learning how banks and other financial institutions operate. Daily correspondence with banking experts gave me insight into the systems and policies that power the economy. When I got the chance to translate my experience into words, I gladly joined the smart, enthusiastic Fortunly team.
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