Both Fidelity and TD Ameritrade are two of the best online brokers in the business, offering no fees or commissions on stock and ETF trading, as well as access to tens of thousands of additional assets, including mutual funds, bonds, options trading, and even international markets and currencies.

Fidelity and TD Ameritrade are titans of the financial planning industry, with their names plastered on professional sports arenas and billboards around the country. Both serve millions of customers and manage trillions (with a T) of dollars for clients in the U.S.

But are they actually any good, or do they just spend a lot of money on marketing?

Lucky for you, both Fidelity and TD Ameritrade are two of the best online brokers in the business, offering no fees or commissions on stock and ETF trading, as well as access to mutual funds, bonds, options trading, and even international markets and currencies. Both also offer full financial planning services and automated investing via robo-advisors.

But which one is a better option for your investments?

We’ve reviewed the features, fees, trading tools, available assets, customer service, and security to help you decide which trading platform is right for you.

Fidelity vs. TD Ameritrade Summary

  • Fidelity and TD Ameritrade offer no-fee trading on stocks and ETFs, as well as access to thousands of fee-free mutual funds.
  • TD Ameritrade offers multiple apps, one for beginner investors and one for active traders with access to hundreds of trading tools and indicators.
  • Fidelity also offers a beginner and advanced platform, but does not support the active trading platform on mobile device.
  • Both platforms offer traditional financial planning services, as well as robo-advisory services for automated investment management with low fees.
 FidelityTD Ameritrade
Trading fees● None on stocks, bonds, ETFs
● $0.65 per options contract
● $32.95 broker-assisted trade fee
● Up to $49.99 on mutual funds
● None on stocks, bonds, ETFs
● $0.65 per options contract
● $2.25 per futures contract
● $25 broker-assisted trade fee
● Up to $74.95 on mutual funds
Account feesNone$75 transfer out (full)
Tradable assets● Stocks
● Bonds
● Mutual funds
● ETFs
● Options
● American Depositary Receipts (ADRs)
● IPOs (when available)
● Crypto
● Stocks
● Bonds
● Mutual funds
● ETFs
● Futures
● Options
● American Depositary Receipts (ADRs)
● Forex
● IPOs (on certain accounts)
Account minimums$0$0
Mobile app available?YesYes
EducationNewsfeed, research from multiple third-party analysis platforms, Bloomberg TV streamingNews, commentary, and research from over a dozen external sources, TD Ameritrade Network and CNBC live streaming
Customer service● 24/7 phone, email, and chat
● In-person at local branches around the U.S.
● 24/7 phone, email, and chat
● In-person at local branches around the U.S.

About Fidelity

Fidelity logo

Fidelity is a large financial firm and one of the most popular discount brokerages in the United States, offering no-fee stocks and ETFs trading, as well as options contracts, and will soon be offering access to cryptocurrency. Designed for both beginners and active traders alike, Fidelity is a full-service brokerage that also offers financial planning services and access to advisors in-person at over 200 investor centers around the U.S.

Fidelity is known for its no-fee mutual funds, the ZEROTM series, offering access to index funds with 0.0% annual fees. It also offers access to fractional shares of stocks and ETFs, allowing investors to buy as little as $10 worth of a stock, even if the price is in the thousands of dollars (looking at you, AMZN).

Read more: How to invest in ETFs

The Fidelity platform also offers access to a wide selection of investment analysis from top research firms, an advanced stock screener allowing you to filter out ESG investments, and a library of educational content that includes videos, articles, and live webinars.

The Fidelity Active Trader Pro desktop app offers advanced charting and dozens of trading tools for active traders, including drawing tools, technical indicators, and a fully-customizable dashboard. You can also watch a live stream of Bloomberg TV for financial commentary, and access tons of market research and news directly within the app.

Recently, Fidelity announced that it will support direct purchase of Bitcoin (BTC) in its 401(k) plan offerings, making it the first traditional finance firm to offer direct crypto investing.

Overall, Fidelity is one of the best online brokerages that offers no-fee trading on stocks and ETFs, as well as one of the best financial planning firms around.

Try out Fidelity or read our full review.

About TD Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade logo

TD Ameritrade is an online broker that offers a wide range of trading tools and a massive user education library. The TD Ameritrade platform is designed for beginners, offering a simple-to-use platform on both web and mobile devices, as well as an advanced trading platform for active traders and professional investors.

TD Ameritrade offers tens of thousands of assets to invest in, including stocks, bonds, ETFs, mutual funds, futures and options contracts, as well as forex trading and access to select IPOs. Beginners can benefit from TD Ameritrade’s massive library of educational videos, tutorials, articles, and live webinars, as well as live streaming commentary every weekday from the TD Ameritrade Network.

Read more: IPOs: what are they, and are they worth the hype?

TD Ameritrade offers multiple platforms designed for both new users and advanced traders alike. The standard website and mobile app allow you to create a customizable dashboard, access stock quotes, set price alerts, and track your favorite investments via a watch list. The thinkorswim web and mobile platforms are an advanced trading platform that offers best-in-class charting and trading tools, options, futures and forex trading, as well as access to live news and research from top-rated firms.

Read more: A beginner’s guide to forex trading

Overall, TD Ameritrade is a full-service broker that gives new investors access to thousands of fee-free investments, but also offers one of the best advanced trading platforms in the industry in thinkorswim.

Try out TD Ameritrade or read our full review.

Fidelity vs. TD Ameritrade Investment Performance

Both Fidelity and TD Ameritrade offer no-fee trading on stocks and ETFs, as well as access to tens of thousands of assets for trading. The performance of these investments will vary by how you build your portfolio, as each investment will perform differently. Both Fidelity and TD Ameritrade offer managed portfolio services, known as robo-advisors, but only TD Ameritrade tracks the performance of these portfolios publicly.

Read more: Are Robo-Advisors Worth it? A Complete Guide

The TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios service helps users build a portfolio of low-cost ETFs in diversified asset classes, creating an asset mix based on your risk tolerance and financial goals. While each portfolio is slightly different, the average performance for these portfolios is listed on the TD Ameritrade website.

Here’s a quick snapshot of the investment performance for the TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios as of May 2022:

 1-year3-year5-year
Conservative-2.10%4.26%3.98%
Moderate-0.53%6.14%5.50%
Moderate growth0.72%7.62%6.67%
Growth2.62%10.35%8.81%
Aggressive4.23%12.06%10.21%

Fidelity Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Access to cryptocurrency.
  • Fractional share investing ($10 minimum).
  • Zero-fee mutual funds available.

Cons

  • Active Trader Pro only available as desktop app (no web or mobile app).
  • No access to futures or forex trading.
  • High fees for broker-assisted trades.

TD Ameritrade Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Large library of educational content.
  • Access to forex and futures trading.
  • Multiple trading platforms (TD Ameritrade and thinkorswim).

Cons

  • Mutual funds are costly (up to $74.95).
  • No fractional share investing.
  • No access to crypto investing (yet).

Why Choose Fidelity

Fractional share investing

Fidelity allows investors to make smaller purchases with fractional share investing. At a $10 minimum investment, users can purchase any stock or ETF on the platform, no matter the cost of the underlying investment. So if you want to buy Tesla (TSLA) stock but don’t have hundreds of dollars to shell out, you can buy a fraction of a share for as little as $10.

Access to crypto investing

Fidelity manages 401(k) investment accounts for more than 10,000 companies, and is now offering access to Bitcoin (BTC) for those accounts. If your work retirement account is managed by Fidelity, and you want exposure to Bitcoin in a tax-advantaged account, Fidelity is currently the only firm offering this service.

Read more: How to invest in cryptocurrency: a beginner’s guide

In-person assistance

Fidelity has more than 200 offices in the U.S. that investors can use to meet with Fidelity advisors and representatives for assistance with their accounts. If you are looking for some “face time” with a financial expert, or simply want to manage your investments in-person, Fidelity offers more options than TD Ameritrade.

Why Choose TD Ameritrade

The educational library

TD Ameritrade offers a massive library of educational videos, tutorials, and training on a huge variety of personal finance topics. There are also live trainings and webinars that teach users complicated financial topics in an easy and interesting way.

Advanced trading on-to-go

While both Fidelity and TD Ameritrade offer advanced trading platforms, only TD Ameritrade offers a full-featured mobile app for active traders. The thinkorswim mobile trading app is available for both iOS and Android, and offers access to hundreds of charting tools and indicators, advanced options trading strategies (multiple legs), margin and futures trading, as well as access to news and research, directly within the app.

Read more: TD Ameritrade vs. thinkorswim: same company, very different platforms

Beginner investors

TD Ameritrade offers a very user-friendly platform on both web and mobile, perfect for beginners who are new to investing. Pair that with loads of free training videos and resources, and new investors can get up-to-speed quickly and start investing with confidence.

The Bottom Line

Honestly, both Fidelity and TD Ameritrade are top-notch investing platforms that offer everything from no-fee stock and ETF trading, to advanced trading platforms, to educational content, to full-service investment management, to 24/7 customer service. And both platforms offer intuitive mobile apps designed to help beginners invest with ease.

Overall, Fidelity is more ideal for beginners who want access to a huge selection of low-fee investment options, as well as access to crypto in 401(k) accounts, while TD Ameritrade is great for both new investors and active traders who want a high-quality mobile trading experience.

Featured image: Inside Creative House/Shutterstock.com

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About the author

Total Articles: 29
Jacob Wade has been a nationally-recognized personal finance expert for the past 10 years. He has written professionally for The Balance, Investopedia, Money Crashers, LendingTree, Hedge With Crypto, Money Under 30, and other widely-followed sites. As a cryptocurrency enthusiast and investor, Jacob enjoys researching and writing about the latest in crypto and blockchain technology. He’s been a featured expert on CBS News, MSN Money, Forbes, Nasdaq, Yahoo! Finance, Go Banking Rates, and AOL Finance. Jacob has deep experience in most areas of personal finance, including budgeting, investing, saving money, debt management, and life insurance. He is also an avid credit card rewards enthusiast, having earned over $30,000 in travel rewards since 2012.