Opening an Ameritrade Account comes with some nice benefits. There is no minimum balance, you can pretty much open an Ameritrade account and start trading within hours, and you can open an interest-bearing Ameritrade checking account or cash management account and use it as you would your bank, with unlimited check writing privileges.
However, while you won’t need a minimum balance per se, you will need $2000. That is the deposit that must remain in your account to fund any margin call that may come about.
You can fill out an application to open an account online. You will, of course, need your Social Security Number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), your employer name and address, an idea of what your goals are or why you want to open an account and a willingness to give out your own name and address. You will be good to go and even be able to trade once your account is funded.
With TD Ameritrade online you will able to trade stocks and options, mutual funds, commodity futures, currencies, exchange-traded funds, bonds and CDs. And all these can be traded from a standard online account. However, there may be restrictions arising from such other accounts as Trust accounts, pension plans and 529 education plans.
And there may be restrictions on funds deposited. For instance, although you will be able to run trades on many marginable securities right off the bat once your funds register, you will not be able to withdraw any funds, or trade in non-marginable securities, IPOs, or even options for a period of time. That timer period usually runs six business days following receipt and settlement of a paper check and three days following settlement of electronic funding. However, it takes about 60 days for all electronic funding to go through all the approvals for free and clear investment management operations to kick in.
Ameritrade Online Account Protection
Like most banks, TD Ameritrade is managed through strict federal guidelines that see to investor protection and maintain the rule of goodwill that American citizens expect from major financial institutions. That means if your account loses cash or leaks securities from what is clearly unauthorized activities having nothing to do with the account holder, the firm is responsible to reimburse all funds and assets in question.
As a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) -- not to be confused with the FDIC that insures bank deposits for up to $250,000 on single holder accounts as protection against bank default or failure -- securities customers get protection of up to $500,000 (including $250,000 for claims for cash). The SIPC website sites the 2008 stock market crash in which Lehman Bros, Inc., became the biggest firm failure in history. However, due to these protections, the corporation claims that every one of the more than 111,000 Lehman customers (with approved claims) was made whole with the contents of their securities accounts, in an operation totaling more than $106 billion.
TD Ameritrade also keeps a fund of its own available, providing an additional $145.5 million in insurance against loss of securities and $2 million to protect cash holdings through supplemental insurers.
Making Securities and Stock Trading Easy
Once an account is registered and a client is ready to trade, he or she can make those trades on the go.
TD Ameritrade offers trading through its platform thinkorswim, an easy to use, no-nonsense interface. Or clients can use the company’s trade architect platform that offers plenty of research bells and whistles. They can also trade on the fly with the robust mobile trading app, Mobile Trader, which features much of the functionality of the desktop platforms with live-streaming news, customization options and order capabilities. TD Ameritrade fees per trade will always be at a discount.
From time to time, it's good to check TD Ameritrade reviews for promotions and bonuses for opening a new account with the company. One current promotion offers bonuses for new clients opening accounts by the September 30, 2016. For a new account opening by the date mentioned and funded with $25,000 or more within 60 days, TD Ameritrade will award $100 as a thank you bonus.
For accounts funded with $100,000, those new clients will receive a $300 bonus and $600 will be given to new clients opening an account with $250,000 or more during that time period. (The offer does not apply to 401k accounts, tax-exempt trusts, Keogh plans, Profit Sharing Plans, or Money Purchase Plans).
For most clients a minimum $1000 balance in the account works fine and is an easy way for those who are new to the online investment world to get started.
Conclusion: Opening a TD Ameritrade Account is Easy and Free