When it comes to investing your money, they are so many different tools available that you can use. Two popular investment services that are geared toward active traders are TD Ameritrade and Webull. Both services offer comprehensive resources for intermediate traders, but they have differing approaches. In this article, we’ll talk about the differences between TD Ameritrade and Webull, so you can decide which option is right for you.
What is TD Ameritrade?
TD Ameritrade is a large investment trading platform offering a wide variety of trading options for people of varying investment interests. They are known for their flexibility – you can trade from a huge number of account types and you have plenty of varying investment options available as well. While it is an advanced platform, it is still easy enough to navigate that beginner traders can use it too. They have two trading apps for smartphone or tablet, as well as a web platform and trading app for full scale computers. They also have brick and mortar branches throughout the United States where you can talk to an investing expert in person.
What is Webull?
Webull is an app-based service that makes it easy to invest from your phone. They are known for their lack of commissions fees and account minimums, and they target their service towards people who want to get into serious investing, but don’t want the high price tag of commissions. Webull also has an innovative design with a huge number of resources for traders. While they currently are only available via cell phone app, there are plans to develop a desktop platform in the future as well. Not only is Webull free, but then also give you a free stock for signing up. (valued up to $1,000)
TD Ameritrade Fees
While TD Ameritrade is relatively affordable considering the high-quality features and service you get, it is still one of the more expensive options for an online trading platform. TD Ameritrade charges $6.95 commission per trade, which can really add up over time. They also charge $44.95 for broker assisted trades, although the average trader likely will not use this. However, they have zero account minimums, so you can get started with trades regardless of how much money you have.
They also offer a starting promotion where you can get 60 days of commission free trades if you deposit a certain amount. They do have some additional fees as well – for example, they will add a $0.75 fee per contract for options trades in addition to the existing commissions fee. As expected, they also charge transfer fees – you can expect to pay $75 for a full transfer and $25 for an outgoing wire transfer. However, they do not charge for partial transfers.
One of the reasons that Webull really stands out among its competitors is because they do not charge any commission fees or have any account minimums. FINRA and SEC rates do apply, but these are generally marginal. This makes trading much more accessible to people of varying financial backgrounds.
Webull does charge fees to trade on margin, which allows them to make money. Margin trades require a minimum account balance of $2,000, and they do charge commission fees specifically for margin trades. The fees vary depending on how much you are trading – the bigger your trades are, the less you will pay in fees.
TD Ameritrade Account Options
TD Ameritrade stands out because of all of the different account and investment options they offer for their customers. Compared to similar platforms, TD Ameritrade offers a wider range of options in this aspect. You can use virtually any account you want for your investments, including traditional individual and joint accounts, IRAs of all types, trust accounts, and much more.
TD Ameritrade also offers an excellent selection of investment options to choose from. As you might expect, they offer stocks and ETFs, which are standard for most investment platforms at this point. You can even trade penny stocks if this is an investment strategy you are interested in. They also offer mutual funds as well as options, futures, and forex for more experienced traders. If you would prefer to have someone else manage your portfolio, that is also an option for you.
Webull Account Options
Webull is a smaller platform that supports stock and ETF trading, both in the US and globally. They allow you to trade on margin for an extra fee, which can help to broaden your trade strategy. They do not currently offer other investment options such as mutual funds or options. However, many investors find they can still develop a good trading strategy with the choices available. Instead of using an outside bank account to invest with Webull, you’ll set up one account with them that you can transfer money in or out of. This makes it much easier to get set up and start trading.
TD Ameritrade Features
TD Ameritrade has an extensive list of features – in fact, it’s so extensive that it would be difficult to cover them all here. They are focused on offering comprehensive trading services that can work for everyone. Here are some of the features you will get with TD Ameritrade.
- Comprehensive research, not just from TD Ameritrade financial professionals, but also from several other financial experts. You’ll get a balanced look at what’s happening in the market so you can make better investment decisions.
- Thinkorswim, which is TD Ameritrade’s platform for serious investors. This platform is even more advanced in terms of analysis tools and stock screeners, and you will also get extensive trading capabilities for more advanced strategies. You’ll even get access to real time news as you trade.
- Gainskeeper, a tool that helps you prepare for tax season by keeping track of capital gains and losses. This makes things much easier when it’s time to start compiling tax data. TD Ameritrade also offers tax loss harvesting, which uses trading strategies to offset tax losses later on.
- Portfolio Planner, which is a tool that helps you keep your portfolio balanced. If you’re investing for long term savings, this is incredibly helpful. You can use this tool to see if your original allocations have shifted and rebalance as necessary. You can also use this tool to see drift projects for the future.
- Investor education library. If you are new to investing, or just want to improve your skills, you can go through this helpful library of content to see what’s available. You’ll find articles, presentations, and videos, as well as quizzes that you can use to test your knowledge, and live seminars on hot topics in investment.
- Ask Ted. Ted is a chatbot that can help you if you get stuck and are looking for more information on a specific investment topic. You can just ask the chatbot your question, and it will send you to the appropriate educational tool for your needs.
- paperMoney virtual simulator. This is a tool that will allow you to practice trading strategies without spending your money, before you actually make the investment. You’ll get up to $100,000 in “money” to build your portfolio, as well as access to advanced investments like futures and forexes. Even if you aren’t a TD Ameritrade customer, you can still use this simulator for a 60 day free trial, which is a great way to test the platform before you commit.
- 24-hour phone support. If you are unable to get the answers you need from TD Ameritrade’s extensive education tools, or are unable to make it to a branch to talk to an expert face to face, you can get consistent phone support around the clock for any problems that you might encounter.
Although Webull is a smaller, mobile-based platform, it still has an excellent range of features to help traders develop an effective trade strategy. Here are some of the features that Webull offers.
- Pre-market and after hours trading. Webull allows you to trade for a much longer window than many other investment platforms, giving you more flexibility as an investor. Pre-market trading runs from 4 AM to 9:30 AM EST, and after market trading runs from 4 PM to 8 PM EST. This gives you a full 16 hours every day where you can trade.
- Trading simulator. Webull’s paper trading functionality allows you to simulate your investment strategy before you actually use it. You can use real time data to practice your trades and see how new strategies pan out before you take the risk with real money. If you don’t have much investment experience, this is a great way to get started and learn the ropes.
- Extensive charting. Webull provides an incredibly in-depth look at stock and market performance. You can switch between a range of trading indicators and time frames to get the exact data you are looking for. You can also get detailed market data for exchanges in the United States and around the world.
- This allows you to save stocks you are interested in and monitor their performance in real time before you make the investment. You can even opt for text or email notifications when your watched stocks hit certain indicators, so you can invest as efficiently as possible.
- Analyst ratings. When you’re interested in purchasing a stock or ETF, you can look at its analyst ratings to get a broader sense of what the financial community is saying about it. The analyst ratings feature pulls together opinions from a variety of respected financial professionals.
- Financial calendar. This keeps you up to date with big financial news so you don’t miss a key trading opportunity. The financial calendar is seamlessly integrated into the app, so you can always stay on top of it.
- Live customer service through the app. There’s a customer service team available 24/7 to help with any problems that arise while you are using Webull. While they do not have phone based customer service, you can easily chat with their team on the app.
Who is TD Ameritrade for?
TD Ameritrade is a great platform for investors of all skill levels who want a platform with extensive trading resources. They are open to learning more about investment and trying new investment strategies, and they want a comprehensive platform with a huge range of investment options. They don’t mind paying more for access to some of the most extensive research and education tools on the market.
Who is Webull for?
Webull is for beginner to intermediate investor who is interested in active trading and short-term investments. They’re on the go frequently and like to be able to do everything on their phone. They already have some investment experience and knowledge, but aren’t necessarily experts. They’re not particularly concerned with long term, buy and hold investment options, but instead prefer to stay on top of the market and test out new short-term strategies. They may be on a budget and are looking for a trading platform with minimal fees.
TD Ameritrade Pros and Cons
There are advantages and disadvantages to TD Ameritrade. Here are the key points you should keep in mind when signing up for TD Ameritrade.
- TD Ameritrade offers a comprehensive range of investment options, going beyond the traditional stocks and ETFs to offer mutual funds, options, futures, forex, and so much more. Investors can use virtually any account they want to trade on this platform as well.
- There are multiple platforms available within TD Ameritrade for different types of traders. TD Ameritrade’s namesake platform is available for both mobile and desktop and has everything you need to get started with investing. Thinkorswim is their advanced platform that’s ideal for traders with more experience and who want to branch out into riskier investment strategies.
- TD Ameritrade’s trading simulation platform is excellent, giving you the opportunity to practice strategies before putting them in place.
- They also offer a huge number of investor education resources on virtually any investment-related topic you can think of. They have written and video content as well as presentations and live streams, so no matter how you like to learn, there’s content available for you. Even if you’re a beginner investor, there’s enough here to guide you through as you get started.
- The biggest disadvantages of using TD Ameritrade is that is can get expensive quickly. While the commission fees are by no means the most expensive on the market, they add up fast for active traders. They also charge huge fees if you need a broker assisted trade.
- If you only want to make basic, long-term investments, this platform may be overwhelming or unnecessary for you. While there is a huge number of high quality features available, you might not necessarily need these to set up a successful retirement investment portfolio.
Webull Pros and Cons
There are plenty of advantages and disadvantages to using Webull as your investment platform as well. Here’s what you need to know to decide whether or not it’s the right option for your needs.
- Webull packs the punch of a comprehensive desktop trading software in a mobile app. Their app is well designed and easy to use for those that already have some investing experience. They make it easy for busy people to make short term trades.
- Webull does not charge any commission fees or have account minimums, so there’s less of a financial barrier to getting started. More of your money will go towards your investments instead of paying fees.
- Webull is one of the only trading platforms in its class to offer extended hours trading. This gives users much more flexibility in when they can place trades, giving them the option to do everything on their own timeline.
- Webull’s paper trading simulator gives you the option to test investment strategies before you use them. They also offer a huge range of charts and indicators to help you pick the best investment options for you.
- Webull only offers stocks and ETFs as investment options at the moment. This can be limiting, especially for avid traders who want to try different strategies to maximize their wealth.
- Webull doesn’t have many investor education tools in place, so users will need to already have a basic knowledge of investing, or have access to investor education somewhere else in order to get started.
Safety and Security
Both platforms are very secure places to invest your money. They are both SEC-registered members of FINRA and SINC. These provide insurance to investment platforms, so that if the platform were to go under, customers would not lose the money they had tied up in investments. You can feel comfortable knowing that the money and data you use with these platforms is safe.
The Bottom Line
TD Ameritrade and Webull have a lot of similarities, but they are ultimately geared towards slightly different investors. Webull provides app-based trading for low fees, while TD Ameritrade offers a more comprehensive list of features for a higher price. There’s no clear winner with this comparison – it just depends what’s most important to you, how you want to trade, and how much you are willing to spend.