Webull and TD Ameritrade have sophisticated investing tools for investors who want a technically advanced trading platform. Both utilize how tech can help inventors make more informed investment decisions.
But these two platforms have key differences that make them shine. For example, Webull offers cryptocurrency trades, while TD Ameritrade has a long list of other tradable securities. So which is right for you?
Webull vs. TD Ameritrade 2021 – Which is the Best Brokerage?
Webull, launched in 2017, is a mobile-first online stock trading platform. And it’s already made a name for itself with zero-commission trades, no deposit minimums, and low fees overall. One of the first things you’ll notice about Webull is its robust trading platform, especially when you’re comparing it to trading platforms like Robinhood.
Webull has grown its list of features since it launched, adding IRAs in 2019 and crypto trading in 2020. Now you can trade stocks, options, ETFs, and crypto on Webull. They also let you trade on margin, and invest in an IRA (Roth, traditional, and rollover).
About TD Ameritrade
TD Ameritrade has been around for decades, starting as First Omaha Securities back in 1975. Charles Schwab acquired it in 2020, and as of now, TD Ameritrade will continue operating as a separate entity.
One of TD Ameritrade’s most significant selling points ‚— the Thinkorswim trading platform ‚— is here to stay. Thinkorswim and TD Ameritrade’s long list of tradable securities continues to make it one of the most popular online brokerages for active and self-directed investors.
Webull vs. TD Ameritrade: Fees
Like many other brokerages, Webull and TD Ameritrade have eliminated most commissions, and it’s free to sign up with either one. Below is a breakdown of the fees you’ll encounter with each brokerage.
Mutual fund commission
$0.65 per contract
$0 on auction
$2.25 fee per contract
3.99% - 6.99%
7.50% - 9.5%
TD Ameritrade is more expensive when it comes to fees, but part of that is because you have more options. Mutual funds, for example, aren’t available at Webull, and neither are broker-assisted trades.
Webull is significantly more expensive when it comes to their margin rates, and this is important if you’re borrowing money from your brokerage.
Webull vs. TD Ameritrade: Tradable securities
TD Ameritrade has a long list of tradable securities, and it stands apart from Webull here. Webull only lets you buy and sell equities, ETFs, options, and cryptocurrency — not available at TD Ameritrade.
You can trade so much more on TD Ameritrade: stock, bonds, ETFs, mutual funds, options, futures, forex, foreign ADRs, and IPOs for qualified accounts. Not all investors will be interested in some of the exotic investments, but having access to mutual funds and bonds will help you build a nicely diverse portfolio.
TD Ameritrade also has over 4,000 no-transaction-fee mutual funds, which is more than you’ll find at Vanguard or Fidelity.
Webull vs. TD Ameritrade: Trading platform
Webull and TD Ameritrade have innovative trading platforms that offer active investors a lot of features. Both even allow for paper trading so you can run simulations that test a strategy before you employ it.
TD Ameritrade has two main trading platforms, and both have a corresponding mobile version. More recent or casual investors can find everything they need on the TDAmeritrade.com trading platform. There, you can screen and trade assets, and it has research from Morningstar, Thomson Reuters, and CRFA. There’s also a tool to track capital gains and losses to help you at tax time.
Then there’s thinkorswim, which is for serious investors. It’s a robust platform with technical analysis tools and studies, real-time news, quotes, customizable screeners and charting, and more.
Thinkorwim is a professional-level program, and you can use it to trade forex and futures. Plus, you can employ multi-leg strategies on options and trade with different pre-programmed support. It has 400+ different technical tools, and you even build your own algorithms.
Webull still has a robust trading platform for active investors that includes real-time quotes, a macro view of the market with which sectors are lagging and leading, and lots of charting options (candlesticks, bar, line, and Heiken Ashi).
Webull does have strong research and analysis offerings from Nasdaq Totalview, Thomson Reuters, Refinitive, Lipper, and OPRA. The latter is free with one or more options trades per month.
TD Ameritrade’s platform offers more than Webull does. It goes beyond what most brokerage apps offer, and splitting the platform for seasoned and average investors means everyone can feel comfortable with the options they want. But the only slight edge is that Webull has a more user-friendly interface.
Webull vs. TD Ameritrade: Margin loans
For investors willing to take the risk on margin loans, both Webull and TD Ameritrade give you the option. Both have a tiered rate structure, but Webull charges significantly less expensive than TD Ameritrade when it comes to rates.
You need a balance of $2,000 to start investing on margin with Webull, and you’re charged based on the size of your margin loan. For margin of $25,000 or less, it’s 6.99% annual. The rate drops by 0.50% at each tier. The lowest rates are 3.99% for margin of $3,000,000 or more.
TD Ameritrade also requires a minimum equity balance of $2,000 to open a margin account. Margin under $10,000 has a 9.50% annual rate, and it goes down to 7.50% for margin of $250,000 - $499,999.99. Above that and you’ll need to contact TD Ameritrade for their offer.
Webull vs. TD Ameritrade: Account types
If you are looking for more than an individual brokerage account or IRA, TD Ameritrade has nearly every account type you could want. Webull just doesn’t stack up here with their limited individual accounts and IRAs (Roth, traditional, and rollover).
Here are the kind of accounts you can open at TD Ameritrade:
- Standard accounts: Individual, Joint Tenant, Tenants in Common, Community Property account, Tenants by Entireties, and Guardianship or Conservatorship
- Retirement accounts: Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, Rollover IRA, SEP IRA, Solo 401k, SIMPLE IRA, Pension or Profit Plans
- Education accounts: 529 Plan, Coverdell Education Savings Account, and UGMA/UTMA
- Specialty accounts: Trust, limited partnership, partnership, investment club, limited liability, sole proprietorship, corporate (profit or non-profit), non-incorporated, small business plans, and charitable
- Managed portfolios: Essential, selective, and personalized — all have minimum account requirements
Webull vs. TD Ameritrade: Additional features
Webull and TD Ameritrade both have extended trading hours. Webull’s pre-market hours are 4:00 am to - 9:30 am, and after-hours trading is between 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm. TD Ameritrade has the same after-market hours, but pre-market hours are limited from 7:00 am - 9:30 am.
TD Ameritrade has cash management services, including free online bill pay, unlimited check writing, and reimbursed ATM charges nationwide. They also have a cash sweep program with three options to earn interest on cash balances:
- Insured Deposit Account
- TD Ameritrade Cash — cash is held in your brokerage, earns simple interest, and is protected by SIPC coverage
- Money Market Fund
TD Ameritrade also has some pretty impressive educational content, including videos, articles, slideshows, quizzes, online seminars, and in-branch presentations. You can even select your level of investing expertise and let TD Ameritrade guide you through the curriculum.
Speaking of in-brand seminars, TD Ameritrade has brick-and-mortar locations if you ever really want in-person support. Schwab is closing most of TD’s branches, but about 55 will remain open, and the rest will be co-located into a nearby Schwab branch. Schwab has over 360 branches.
M$M tip: No matter which brokerage you invest with, I highly recommend checking out Personal Capital. It’s a free tool to track your net worth, analyze your investment fees, and keep track of where you’re at on the path towards retirement.
Webull vs. Ameritrade: Pros & cons
TD Ameritrade Pros
TD Ameritrade Cons
The final word: Is Webull better than TD Ameritrade?
I honestly believe that the better online brokerage is the one that meets your needs as an investor. Do you want access to nearly every security available? Or is something like cryptocurrency more important to you?
The reality is that you can have them both, and many investors do use more than one platform, especially since many of the more traditional brokerages still aren’t offering cryptocurrency.
Offering crypto sets Webull apart from TD Ameritrade, but TD Ameritrade is still a rare find in today’s investing sphere. Thinkorswim is for tech-savvy active investors, but there’s another platform that’s easy for new investors. I imagine we will only see more out of TD Ameritrade now that Schwab owns it, and that’s exciting for all of us.
Webull doesn’t charge commissions, annual fees, sign-up fees, etc. You will encounter regulatory fees from the SEC and FINRA, and that’s standard.
But like any other free brokerage, Webull still makes money on its customers (how they stay free). They do it through payment for order flow (PFOF), which is selling your trades to a high-frequency trader to execute at better rates. Webull also makes money on margin fees, short selling fees, earning interest on your uninvested cash, and miscellaneous administrative fees.
Thinkorswim is impressive, seriously. It’s designed for active traders and has way more technical tools than Webull’s platform does. Webull still has a lot to overwhelm most casual investors, but the platform has an easier-to-use interface.
If you’re an active investor, there’s a lot more to love about Webull. The trading platform is, by far, much more advanced than Robinhood’s. Webull also offers traditional, Roth, and rollover IRAs.
Both have cryptocurrency, margin lending, and options trading. But Robinhood will stand out to some investors with its cash management account and fractional shares.
Overall, Robinhood is better for new investors. The app is designed with them in mind, while active investors can get a lot out of Webull’s tech-heavy trading platform.