Tastyworks vs TD Ameritrade: Which Broker is Better in 2021?

You might scratch your head wondering which broker is right for you because there are so many of them! By now, you’ve probably narrowed down your final contenders: Tastyworks vs TD Ameritrade and wondering which one is best for you.  

Both are great platforms with a great reputation, trustworthy, and safe. With that said, there are some stark differences worth pointing out that may alter your opinion on who you decide to use. We’ll lay out the major differences – Tastyworks vs TD Ameritrade so you can see for yourself. 

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Both are great platforms with a great reputation, trustworthiness, and safe. With that said, there are some stark differences worth pointing out that may alter your opinion on who you decide to use. We’ll lay out the major differences between Tastyworks & TD Ameritrade so you can see for yourself. 

Which Broker is Better? Tastyworks vs. TD Ameritrade 

Some noteworthy characteristics to watch out for when deciding between the two brokerages are: 

  • Available investments 

  • Options trading features 

  • Commissions & Fees 

  • Overall platform features 

  • Customer service

  • Margin trading

  • Education & research tools

  • Sign-up offers & promotions

Understanding the differences in each of these areas will certainly point you in the right direction on which platform is best for you. 

Available Investments

Are you looking to trade multiple securities such as stocks, options, futures, forex, or margin accounts? Or are you looking for a broker that specializes in a select few and provide the absolute best features for trading those securities? 

Tastyworks: The investments offered on Tastyworks are narrow, but the features and benefits for trading those investments will be second to none. Furthermore, Tastyworks is a newer investment platform, and some might say there is a unique advantage trading on a more specialized platform. Chances are, however, that Tastyworks will slowly add more investments as the platform grows. 

Tastyworks platform is designed for the specialized investor. They offer the basics for most security types, but for traders looking to trade options, stocks, futures, and ETFs, Tastyworks a fantastic option. 

TD Ameritrade: They are now owned by Charles Schwab, a former competing brokerage to TD Ameritrade. As such, they are in business to offer a broad selection of available investments, but perhaps not quite as specialized within each investment as a platform like Tastyworks. TD Ameritrade offers virtually any investing instrument including stocks, options, ETFS, bonds, mutual funds, futures, forex, and even cryptocurrencies.

Available Instruments

Instrument
Stocks & ETFs
Stock & ETF Options
Options on Futures
Futures
Futures e-Micros
Small Futures
Mutual Funds
Forex
Cryptocurrency
Bonds

As you can see, the available investments are nearly anything and everything with TD Ameritrade, but that doesn’t necessarily make them the best. Having a broad range of investment options with not as much ability to customize and research those investments can be frustrating. This isn’t to say that TD Ameritrade doesn’t have additional research and analysis tools for each investment, but it is to say that when compared to Tastyworks, they may not have as specialized of solutions for the available investments. 

Which Broker is Better for Options Trading? 

Both TD Ameritrade and Tastyworks allow you to trade options contracts on their platform. When it comes to trading options, having the best tools and resources to analyze, forecast, test, backtest, and experiment different scenarios is what gives you the edge. Here is what each platform offers for options trading. 

Tastyworks

Some of the popular features of Tastyworks options trading tools are things like curve analysis which allows you to plan each trade entry with visual profit and loss zones, the ability to adjust your strikes and expirations very easily, and all while calculating the probability of your trades.

Tastyworks Features

Quick RollThis allows you to roll your positions to the next expiration cycle with just a right-click of the mouse. You have the option to customize your default rolls to weekly or monthly expiration cycles.
Quick Order AdjustmentsThis allows you to edit working orders whether it be canceling, replacing, duplicating, or inverting orders that are yet to be filled. This makes it easy to adjust your orders as the market changes and as circumstances evolve.
Percent of Profit Limit OrdersThis allows you to use probabilities to help predict which prices you are more likely to profit from, based on current market movements.
Trading InspirationThis was built to help avoid or eliminate what’s known as “traders block.” Trading inspiration gives you insights, strategies, ideas, and different lessons learned from their live feed of select traders. You get full access to this feed to help inspire your trading and keep you moving forward and eliminating trader’s block.

TD Ameritrade 

TD Ameritrade’s trading platform was actually designed by some of the executives that are now at Tastyworks. The TD Ameritrade trading platform is called Thinkorswim. The options trading tools with TD Ameritrade lie within their basic calculators that help you analyze different statistics and ratios to make informed decisions.

TD Ameritrade Features

Options statisticsYou can use this tool to help refine and improve your options trading strategy by analyzing put-call ratios, assessing your IV%, and identify options that are trading at high or low volumes.
Options probabilitiesYou can weigh the different risks of different trades against the potential rewards of a winning trade.
Analyze TabThis is a tab that lets you see the ratios and statistics visually in a graph. You can see your risk and reward potential along with playing out different “what if” scenarios.

When it comes to comparing the options features between Tastyworks and TD Ameritrade, the clear winner here is Tastyworks. They specialize in making it easy and less time consuming for options traders to identify great opportunities and see their trading plans from different vantage points, while TD Ameritrade offers a pretty “cookie cutter” options platform that isn’t much different than most other platforms out there. 

Tastyworks Commissions and Fees Compared with TD Ameritrade 

Below is a list of fees by each trading platform for comparison: 

Fees and Commissions Comparison
Instrument
Stocks & ETFs$0$0
Options on Stock & ETFs$1.00 opening commission, and $0 closing commission. Maximum $10.00 per leg$0.65 opening commission, and $0.65 closing commission
Options on Futures$2.25 opening commission, $0 closing commission $2.25 per contract
Futures$1.25 opening commission, $1.25 closing commission $2.25 per contract
Futures e-Micros$0.85 opening commission, $0.85 closing commission $2.25 per contract
Small Futures$0.25 opening commission, $0.25 closing commissionNot Available
Mutual Funds Not Available$0 for No Transaction Fee Funds, $49.99 for No-Load funds, $0 for Load funds
Cryptocurrency1% of total crypto purchase to open and 1% of total crypto sale to closeNot Available

Which platform has better fees and commissions? Well, it’s partially dependent on what you get. Tastyworks may have slightly different fee schedules that could be a bit pricier, but that also comes with a much more powerful platform with more tools, resources, insights, and education. TD Ameritrade has a pretty basic fee schedule, but at the cost of a more basic option for technical traders. 

Available Features

Aside from the options features (listed above) which platform has better overall features for the average investor?  

A few popular features offered by Tastyworks is free to access to Tastytrade which is their educational platform. It includes live feeds from the company executives, opinions on different trade opportunities, and a library of past videos and trades made by other traders. Tastyworks also lets you have multiple watchlists which can be extremely helpful to categorize your trades to customize your trading plan. 

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TD Ameritrade has a few features to their trading platform that have been popular among investors such as the ability to have multiple advanced order types. Some of them include market-on-close orders, limit-on-close, trailing, and 1st triggers OCO. 

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Again, both platforms have great options, but for the specialized trader who wants to have an edge when trading options and stocks, Tastyworks is the winner. 

Customer Service

The great thing about smaller firms is the fact that they usually have world class customer service as compared to major enterprise companies. Why? Well, most large companies get to the point that they need to use automated systems, call routing systems, and long hold times. Smaller firms like Tastyworks, however, give you a more personal touch simply because they haven’t gotten so big and can afford that family/friend like service. 

Margin Trading – Easier to Get A margin Account with Tastyworks 

Are you a margin trader? Trading on margin can give you the extra capital to make those major profits and propel you dozens of steps forward in your trading. However, most brokers make it difficult to say the least to even get approved to have a margin account. Many require high balances, incomes, and even net worth requirements in some cases. With Tastyworks, they make it easy to get approved for a margin account and maintain the industry requirements on how big those margin accounts can be. For a complete description of Tastyworks margin accounts, visit their full margin disclosure here. 

Which Broker Should You Choose? 

When all is said and done, there isn’t a one size fits all. And perhaps that’s why for most people who wish to trade options, futures, margin, and equities, Tastyworks comes out on top. However, for the investor who wishes to simply invest in equities and have options to trade all the other major assets with potentially subpar technical analysis tools and resources, the TD Ameritrade is your best bet. Either way, both are fantastic companies that cater to certain audiences.  

To know better about Tastyworks, read our Tastyworks Review here.