TD AMERITRADE - THINKORSWIM REVIEW
Trading is about to get a lot easier because you're about to read this TD Ameritrade - ThinkorSwim Review. Yes, we are biased, because this platform is in a class of its own. We have a bit of a romance going with the Thinkorswim platform, mostly because their charts and tools are as good as it gets and easy to use for pro and novice traders alike...
Undoubtedly because Thinkorswim offers a state-of-the-art, paper trading account to TD Ameritrade account holders so that traders can practice risk-free with no worries that their capital will end up “Gone with the Wind.”. And yes they have free commission trading these days, like just about everyone else.
Is ThinkorSwim Good for Beginners & Advanced Traders?
- TD Ameritrade's ThinkorSwim (TOS) platform is not just a good platform, we think it's great. It's one of the most popular trading platforms on the market and allows you the ability to trade stocks, options, penny stocks, along with futures. It's good for beginners and advanced traders. Their charts, filter studies, and scanners are top notch in the industry. They are a solid overall trading broker. The only draw back is they have had some issues with lag lately. Market orders taking awhile. Not pretty if you are day trading and your market order takes a long time to fill.
Alright, so If you are a US-resident trader, when you think TD Ameritrade, you think...Thinkorswim or, as we like to call it, TOS for short. That's because TD acquired TOS in 2009.
And the platform has been a favorite of many professional traders for many years, including us at the Bullish Bears. Is Thinkorswim free? Yes and no.
You can fund an account and not trade or do anything with it, and you won't get wacked. No, but you can fund an account and not get charged inactivity fees, and you can get free commission trades...so that's pretty amazing in our book!
TD was recently acquired by Charles Schwab, so things keep changing! You'll see by all of the ThinkorSwim review articles being updated lately.
It's ideal for active and advanced traders, but also has features that make it great for newbies as well. Let’s take a closer look at what this trading tool can do for you.
Watch Our ThinkorSwim Review Tutorial to See How to Use the TD Ameritrade Platform
Thinkorswim is available in both mobile and desktop versions and can be used for stock trading, ETFs, futures, forex, and options, including multi-leg options.
On your desktop, Thinkorswim is an advanced platform with all the bells and whistles a serious trader could desire. The charts are highly customizable with ample types available. Traders can choose time charts, tick charts, range charts or even seasonal charts with an assortment of tools to draw on them.
In fact, when it comes to charting, Thinkorswim's good reputation precedes them. So much so that many traders will open an account with TD Ameritrade with minimal funding just so that they can use Thinkorswim for planning their trades and charting while actually trading with another broker. The ThinkorSwim review articles speak for themselves.
1. Tools You Can Use With Thinkorswim
Do you like to write your own script? We’re not talking about a movie script here. I am referring to the Thinkorswim coding language called "thinkScript" that helps traders create their individual indicators. It already has 300 built-in studies and strategies; which users can add to their favorite plays.
Indeed, many steps can be automated with Thinkorswim. The Strategy Roller, for example, enables options traders to set up a custom rolling strategy in an automated fashion for any covered call position from one expiration date to the next according to the user's preset rules.
Customizable scanning and screening tools filter stocks and options. The Stock Hacker tool will scan for stocks that meet your criteria and update you with alerts.
The Option Hacker tool works similarly for options. Spread Hacker helps traders search for spreads, and Spread Book shows all the orders of traders using Thinkorswim, though they are kept anonymous.
Thinkorswim has a mobile app for both Apple and Android users. Unlike most trading apps that only offer core functions, Thinkorswim Mobile has much of the functionality and features of its desktop platform. You can even sync it with your desktop. Take a look at a list of the top trading companies. Also, here's a list of the top free trading brokers.
2. ThinkorSwim Paper Trading Is For Practice
Traders can test their strategies by using Thinkorswim's Paper Money trading account without risking any real money. It's available for both the desktop and mobile versions, and it's an excellent tool to use in combination with backtesting to perfect one’s trading strategies. Take our TOS Course for more help getting your platform set up.
If you open a TD Ameritrade account, you'll be automatically registered for the paper money account. Otherwise, you can register to try it for free for 60 days.
Thinkorswim has many more features and tools. It has social media communities and forums, like myTrade, for traders to connect and share strategies.
ThinkOnDemand is a backtesting tool that enables users to test trading strategies on historical data. You can use their fundamental data tab to get company stats or their Fast Beta tool to analyze securities that break out of historical trends.
If you're going to be successful at trading, you're going to be backtesting strategies a lot. And practicing at odd hours of the day. Take advantage of this tool and spend time with the ToS simulator as much as possible and prove you can make money with your strategy on paper first!
3. TD Ameritrade Review
A Thinkorswim review without including some info on TD Ameritrade would not be complete since the two are integrated as one.
The brokerage service has a wide array of account types to suit virtually everyone and every need. I could write an entire article on the various accounts alone. To view the account types available, go to TD Ameritrade and explore all the options.
Traders can fund their accounts via wire transfer, check, ACH (electronic bank deposit), external securities transfer, or physical stock certificates. (Note that with ACH funding, there's a limit of a $50-$250,000 transfer, which is not the case with the other funding options.)
There is no minimum amount required to open an account, but if you're playing with margin on options or futures, you're going to need a money in the 1,000+ range to play in that area.
Cash accounts are great for those under the PDT rule. I trade options in a cash account because options settle overnight (T1 rule) Check out our list of best brokerage firms.
How Much Does It Cost to Open a ThinkorSwim Account? (TD Ameritrade Fees & Pricing Breakdown in 2020)
- $0 cost to open a ThinkorSwim Account. Just your deposit of funds
- May require a small deposit to add real-time data to your simulated account
- $0 commissions for U.S. exchange stocks, ETF's
- $0.65 per options contract
- Mutual Funds - no commission fee
- Futures are $2.25 per contract plus exchange and regulatory fees. Pricey.
- Forex - no commissions but the cost of the trade is reflected in the spread
- Level 2 data included
- 3rd-party research reports
- No minimum amount required to open an account
Because of the strict competition for free trading from up and coming brokers, TD had to lower their fees for 2020. TD Ameritrade offers a lot to make it attractive to traders on a budget. The broker wars are good for the consumer, as long as service does not suffer.
1. "Where Shall I Go? What Shall I Do?"
It's no secret by now that we have a strong penchant for the Thinkorswim platform. That's because we use it every day. As experienced traders, it is not the only platform we use, but for a beginner trader, we wouldn't hesitate to recommend starting with TOS. And we don't say that lightly.
After all, the Bullish Bears community was created with the vision of becoming the most trusted stock market trading community in the world, and our mission is to give our community members an honest, realistic, and affordable education in the stock market. Take our TOS course.
2. TOS Drawbacks
Some drawbacks, and there are not many. Order executions sometimes lag, you need to be careful when trading low float stocks with thinkorswim. They are not the FASTEST at order exectution, but they are good.
TD does not always have the best short located for shorting. There are better brokers currently if you desire to short mid and small caps. Try Speedtrader or IBKR. (we have reviews on our site for them too)
TD required a lot of margin for futures, so you are better off going with ninjatrader if you have limited funds. But you can still trade the micros with a small account.
Another hinderance to think about is the merger between TD and Schwab. (Scwab bought TD) This could be good or bad, but we don't see them changing thinkorswim just because of the merger.
Is It Free to Use Thinkorswim?
- The ThinkorSwim (TOS) is a free trading platform. All you need to do is fund your account. They also have a simulated trading account that you can use. Just call and they will change your paper trading simulated data to real-time, but you might have to add a small deposit into your account. It's well worth it though.
The Thinkorswim app is so feature-rich that it can be a bit mind-boggling for the beginning trader. At Bullish Bears, we are experts at using this platform. Since it's what we use to plan much of our own trading, we know all the ins and outs of it.
We can show you very clearly how Thinkorswim works, how to get yourself set up, and how you can make the most of its tools and features.
You're not Scarlett O'Hara, and "Frankly my dear, we DO give a damn". Take our ThinkorSwim course to help you get started, which is found under our trading courses.
Thanks for reading our TD Ameritrade - Thinkorswim review and be sure to check out the rest of our free courses when you are ready to get started using it! Enjoy!