A Closer Look at TD Ameritrade’s Zero Commission Trading Policy

TD Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade’s Zero Commission Policy: A Game Changer?

In the competitive landscape of online brokerages, TD Ameritrade has carved out a notable niche. One of the reasons for this is its highly publicized Zero Commission Trading Policy. In this article, we’ll explore the policy in detail, discuss its impact, and evaluate how it benefits the average trader.

Understanding the Zero Commission Trading Policy

When TD Ameritrade announced its Zero Commission Trading Policy in October 2019, it was met with both acclaim and scepticism. How could a brokerage eliminate a primary revenue source? What’s the catch? To understand these questions, it helps to take a closer look at what the policy entails.

What Does ‘Zero Commission’ Really Mean?

Essentially, zero commission trading means that TD Ameritrade does not charge any fees when customers buy or sell stocks, ETFs, or options online. This represents a significant departure from traditional trading, where brokerages would charge a flat fee or a percentage of the transaction value.

Impact of the Zero Commission Trading Policy

Benefits to Traders

The benefits to traders are clear. With no fees to worry about, individuals have more freedom to engage in frequent trades, fine-tune their strategies, and maximize returns. This is especially beneficial for novice traders who are just getting their feet wet and may not have a large trading capital.

The Brokerage’s Perspective

From TD Ameritrade’s perspective, the move to zero commission was a strategic decision. It aimed to attract a larger customer base by eliminating a significant barrier to entry. The hope was that the increase in trading volume would offset the loss in commission revenue.

Case Study: Zero Commission Trading in Action

Let’s consider the case of a beginner investor, Jane Doe, who recently started using TD Ameritrade. With just $500 in her account, Jane was reluctant to place trades that could eat into her limited funds through commission fees. However, with the zero commission policy, Jane felt comfortable making frequent small trades, learning from each transaction, and slowly building her portfolio. This case shows how zero commission trading can empower individuals to learn and engage with the stock market.

How TD Ameritrade Sustains Itself Without Commission

So, how does TD Ameritrade stay afloat without commission? The company has diversified its revenue streams, relying on sources like interest revenue from margin accounts, payment for order flow, and ancillary services like robo-advising and premium research tools.


TD Ameritrade’s Zero Commission Trading Policy represents a landmark change in the brokerage industry. By removing a financial barrier, the policy has democratized trading and encouraged individuals to participate in the stock market. The policy has also spurred competition, with other brokerages following suit to offer zero-commission trades. As this trend continues, we can expect a more inclusive and dynamic trading landscape for all.

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