Introduction to Robinhood
- Incredibly easy to use platforms
- Some of the best apps in the industry
- Additional versatility for intermediate level experience
- Help/FAQ section is very informative
- Some additional research only available to Gold users
Before we get into our Robinhood vs TD Ameritrade comparison, let’s look at who’s taking on who. Robinhood as a concept is expertly crafted, and the beauty of what they do is that they’re so easy to understand. They help people who might not have experience in investing or not at a point where they can approach markets with confidence by stripping away all of the complexities.
Now, some of those complexities are useful and provide insight, and that means sacrifices have been made in that regard for this concept to work. However, we’d say the end result is an absolute triumph. If you want more tools, you can look elsewhere. Robinhood’s apps are about as perfectly executed as we can imagine in terms of providing a way for newcomers to get into the world of investment. They’re not for everyone, but for what they’re going for, we would say it’s mission accomplished.
Introduction to TD Ameritrade
- Incredible spread of trading options
- Two mobile apps for different users
- Wonderful customer service
- Fantastic array of tools
- So packed with content, it can be tough finding what you’re looking for
In our mini Robinhood review in the previous section of this TD Ameritrade vs Robinhood comparison, we said that if you wanted a more comprehensive spread of trading options, you can look elsewhere. Well, if you do, there’s few better places than the staggeringly good TD Ameritrade.
They have an amazing wealth of things to trade, plus incredible educational tools, world-class research, tools and news feeds. On top of that, there’s some of the best customer service we’ve come across. While they’re very clearly built to be capable of handling expert users, they do make an effort to be as accessible as possible. They even have more than one app to appeal to more people – and believe us, they’re going to appeal to a lot of people.
Robinhood vs TD Ameritrade: Usability, Look & Feel
We’ll begin our Robinhood vs TD Ameritrade analysis with a look at design elements, as they often provide the first impression. Firstly, it’s important to point out there are a number of different options here – our Robinhood or TD Ameritrade showdown certainly won’t be won in terms of app options.
Both have mobile and desktop apps, although TD Ameritrade has more variety with two mobile apps: their TD Ameritrade app and the Sink or Swim app. The latter is aimed at more advanced users. Whatever you pick though, all are available in the Apple and Google Play stores.
Therein lies the key differences of TD Ameritrade vs Robinhood: they have different target audiences. Both try to be as versatile as they can – Robinhood with their $5 a month Gold option and TD Ameritrade with dual apps. There can be no doubt though that Robinhood is more focused on newcomers, just as TD Ameritrade is more suitable for experienced traders.
Both are beautifully designed, so there’s no clear winner here in our TD Ameritrade vs Robinhood analysis. The latter is easier to use but that’s a natural result of the additional tools and spread of trading options TD Ameritrade offers. There’s some inevitable give and take in that regard, but everything is as seamless as possible whatever option you choose. The banking process, for instance, is about as straightforward as it could be.
From a structural point of view, TD Ameritrade vs Robinhood both make sure you can find everything you want, although the latter does have an advantage in that its slimmed down options means it’s naturally a little more spacious.
Robinhood vs TD Ameritrade: Payments
You’ll likely notice that virtually every part of this Robinhood vs Ameritrade comparison ends up being about the ease of use philosophy of Robinhood, against the more varied TD Ameritrade. It’s no different when it comes to payments.
Robinhood has a really simple system where you link your account and can instantly deposit $1000, or up to $50,000 with Robinhood Gold. The instant process works in blocks of four hours, and you can cancel it in that time if need be. TD Ameritrade also allows you to transfer from your bank account, and you can utilise a wire transfer, check, transfer an account or deposit stock certificates. The more options here reflect the expert focused dynamic we’ve talked about in our Robinhood vs Ameritrade analysis.
Completion times are between five minutes for ACH transfers and a week for account transfers. Neither has a minimum, and no deposit limits are stated for any option except ACH, which has a $250,000 limit and a $50 minimum. We’re also not aware of any fees for the majority of these options across both platforms. In terms of which is best, it really comes down to how you prefer to bank. There’s no right or wrong answer in this part of our TD Ameritrade vs Robinhood review.
Robinhood vs TD Ameritrade: Customer Service
This is a part of our TD Ameritrade vs Robinhood analysis which should have some very significant differences. Robinhood prefers to keep most of its customer service within its beautifully designed site and Help section. In other words, they clearly hope they can provide all the answers to your questions here, and, to be fair, they do an excellent job.
Robinhood’s hidden talent may be in their writing ability, as this is one of the best FAQ/Help sections we’ve ever come across. The only change we’d make is an availability in multiple languages, an option we couldn’t find. The email and social media contact options are, therefore, more of a backup, but it’s good to have them there.
TD Ameritrade takes a more hands-on approach, which is appropriate for their expert users. They truly are excellent too, with a phone line, live chat available on desktop and mobile, virtual assistance and excellent educational material. We were able to get help in moments using these options.
Robinhood vs TD Ameritrade sees the latter with a lot more options, but Robinhood does do a great job at answering questions without them. Considering the simplicity of their app, that should be enough for most people’s issues, and there’s email as a backup.
Robinhood vs TD Ameritrade: License & Security
We’ll start this part of our security comparison between Robinhood vs Ameritrade with the basics. They’re both part of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). This essentially assures us they’re operating legitimately and in accordance with strict guidelines. In addition, they’re also both members of the SIPC, which provides protection for invested funds. So, there’s no Robinhood vs TD Ameritrade differences there.
Both also utilise biometric authentication, including face and fingerprint recognition, in order to keep you safe when using the mobile apps. On top of that, your information is encrypted to prevent it falling into the wrong hands. Speaking of information, you’ll need to verify any account you’re using during the banking process. This helps prevent fraud, but also stops minors using the site.
It’s pretty much a stalemate in this part of our Robinhood vs Ameritrade review, however, if you want more convincing from a reputational standpoint, TD Ameritrade has a huge number of awards displayed on their site. That part of Robinhood vs Ameritrade goes to the latter, but to be fair, we’re not sure anyone has as many awards as them.
Robinhood vs TD Ameritrade: Spread
One of these options certainly has more trading options than the other and we imagine you can have a pretty good guess which one that is. Robinhood vs TD Ameritrade is all about different philosophies in terms of their target audience.
Robinhood wants to break down barriers and make the world of trading accessible to people who would normally find it too intimidating. For that reason, the selection here is much slimmer. You can choose between Stocks, ETFs, Options and some cryptocurrencies. All ETFs are commission free.
There’s a decent amount of research education and trading tools, but this is tailored to being accessible, meaning more complicated examples are missing. You can get more from their Gold service, but we want to be absolutely clear that we’re not considering that a negative in the same way we would a platform aimed at experts – it’s a reflection of the audience they’re after. This is always a vital element to take into consideration for Robinhood vs Ameritrade, just as we did with our Robinhood vs Betterment and Vanguard vs Robinhood comparisons.
TD Ameritrade is much more suitable for experienced traders, although try and be versatile to an extent with their dual platforms, just like Robinhood does in the other direction with Gold. When it comes to TD Ameritrade vs Robinhood, there’s no shortage of parallels. Still, the differences between them are obvious when you look at the list of Stocks, Mutual Funds, ETFs (also commission free), Futures, Forex, IPOs, Foreign ADRs and Bonds, to give some examples. It’s a staggering selection and it’s backed up by incredible educational and research facilities, tools and great platforms capable of carrying all that weight.
Conclusion: Is Robinhood better or TD Ameritrade?
When it comes to Robinhood vs TD Ameritrade, it’s immediately clear that neither can be considered bad. Some may want to use both, which is entirely possible, for different reasons. We’ve compared a lot of different services and apps from Robinhood vs Fidelity to Robinhood vs Charles Schwab, and plenty more. We can say that in this Robinhood vs Ameritrade comparison, both are so evenly matched. Indeed, there are few instances where one is objectively better than the other.
Just look at their designs, for instance. It’s immediately apparent they offer very different services. However, that’s because one is trying to get newcomers into trading and the other is aiming at the complete other end of the market, with one of the most sophisticated experiences out there. We appreciate that both do try, and succeed in many respects, to open up their user base in either direction but there’s no doubting a big difference at the base level of Robinhood vs Ameritrade.
Once again, using design as an example, you couldn’t say one was better than the other. They both have different jobs to do and different people to appeal to, and they both do an absolutely terrific job. That said, that doesn’t mean that one can’t be better for you.
The reason we’ve used design as our example here is because that has been the story every step of the way in his review. There are some small flaws of each, but they’re completely dwarfed by all the positives. Neither puts a foot wrong for longer than a moment. In other words, we’d give them both top marks for different reasons in our Robinhood vs TD Ameritrade analysis. The only remaining question is for you to decide which is best for your needs.
Robinhood vs TD Ameritrade FAQ
There’s a huge variety of platforms out there for people looking to get into trading or even for experts looking to see if they can improve on the app they’re currently using. As they do the same thing, it’s understandable a lot of people want to know the differences between the most popular candidates, and we aim to do exactly that with our in-depth comparison of the two.
Although they do quite similar things, there are significant differences between these two huge trading apps, each with their own benefits. Many people, therefore, would love to utilise both. If you want to find out if you can use both of these options, and what benefits each offers, then be sure to check out our comparison and analysis of both to see which is crowned the best online brokers.
It’s understandable if you’re a beginner in the world of trading that you will want to know which platform is right for you. As both Robinhood and TD Ameritrade are both such hugely respected names, they’re naturally considered for newcomers. But they have very different target audiences, with one much more focused on beginners. Find out more about their distinctions in our exclusive analysis.