Webull vs. TD Ameritrade
For traders who want both strong technical analysis and commission-free stock trades, the number of brokerage options is somewhat limited. Two standout options that combine these features are Webull and TD Ameritrade. Webull offers a moderate number of technical tools inside a mobile-first interface that’s friendly to intermediate investors. TD Ameritrade gives traders one of the most powerful charting and analysis interfaces on the market today, but at the cost of a steeper learning curve.
So, which of these two brokers is the better choice for traders? We’ll compare Webull and TD Ameritrade head to head to help you decide.
About Webull And TD Ameritrade
Webull is a relatively new mobile-first brokerage launched in 2018. The platform was built seemingly as a direct competitor to Robinhood, the popular free stock trading app, but it draws on features offered by traditional brokers as well. Webull has a variety of technical tools to help you trade stocks, although it’s still far from a comprehensive platform for more advanced traders. The approachable nature of this platform has made it quite popular – it’s garnered more than 10 million users in the US and abroad in just two years.
TD Ameritrade has a much longer history. The brokerage was launched in 1975 and has grown steadily through mergers and acquisitions. Notably, TD Ameritrade itself was recently purchased by Charles Schwab and is expected to be merged with that company’s trading platform in the next few years. In the meantime, though, TD Ameritrade is still accepting new accounts, and there is no news on whether the features or investment offerings will change in the near future. TD Ameritrade currently has around 11 million users and manages more than $1 trillion in assets.
Webull vs. TD Ameritrade: Accounts And Fees
Webull and TD Ameritrade each offer commission-free trading on stocks and ETFs and don’t require minimum deposits. Commission-free stock and ETF trading is an enormous draw for each of these brokerage firms, especially considering that they also offer a wealth of technical analysis tools.
Notably, both Webull and TD Ameritrade offer options trading as well. Options trades are free on Webull, but TD Ameritrade charges a $0.65 fee per contract traded.
Both platforms enable you to open a standard investing account or traditional or Roth IRA accounts. TD Ameritrade goes significantly further, offering SEP IRAs, education savings accounts, individual pensions, corporate accounts, and trusts.
You can also open a robo-advisor account with TD Ameritrade or a cash management account with features like free online bill pay. However, we won’t cover these options in detail.
Webull and TD Ameritrade each offer margin trading with no additional account fees, as long as you have a balance of at least $2,000. Margin rates are significantly cheaper on Webull, though. The broker charges a 6.99% rate up to $25,000, whereas the rate at TD Ameritrade is 9.25-9.50% for the same amount.
Webull vs. TD Ameritrade: Tradable Assets
Webull and TD Ameritrade each offer trading on US stocks, ETFs, and options. The list of stocks and ETFs you can trade is quite comprehensive at both brokers – Webull offers more than 5,000 stocks and ETFs, while TD Ameritrade offers more than 2,300 ETFs, more than 1,000 American depository receipts for international stocks, and access to OTC markets in the US. Webull allows you to buy fractional shares from as little as $5 per trade, while TD Ameritrade does not offer fractional shares.
If you’re interested in crypto trading, Webull has a wider selection of coins. You can trade 15 of the top digital currencies directly through Bitfinex, and the broker will hold your coins in a built-in digital wallet. TD Ameritrade currently only offers trading on Bitcoin, and only then through futures contracts.
While Webull’s list of tradable assets ends there, TD Ameritrade has a lot more to offer. This online broker supports forex trading, commodity trading, and index futures trading. TD Ameritrade customers can also trade mutual funds. The broker has more than 13,000 to choose from, of which 1,955 are commission-free.
Webull vs. TD Ameritrade: Trading Platform
Once you dive into the user experience, Webull and TD Ameritrade start to diverge quite a bit. To start, Webull was designed primarily as a mobile app. The broker recently released a web interface, but everything about Webull’s design reflects the fact that it was built for small screens rather than multi-monitor desktop setups.
TD Ameritrade, and specifically the Thinkorswim trading platform, was until 2019 only available as a desktop application. There are now web and mobile apps that work quite well, but the platform is still best suited for large screens and mouse clicks.
The Webull and TD Ameritrade platforms have a lot in common on the surface. Both platforms include customizable alerts, watchlists, and stock screening tools. The Webull platform gives you access to detailed fundamentals, while this information is available on TD Ameritrade’s website and not through its Thinkorswim trading platform. Notably, Webull gives quite a bit more weight in its stock pages to analyst ratings than does TD Ameritrade.
It’s also important to note that both brokers provide paper trading accounts. This is key for more advanced traders since it provides an environment for safely testing out new strategies.
Ultimately, Webull’s platform is very user-friendly but stops short of presenting users with extremely in-depth features. TD Ameritrade’s Thinkorswim platform, on the other hand, can be overwhelming in the depth of features it offers. Underlying its watchlists and stock screeners is a custom scripting language, called ThinkScript, that enables traders to develop fully custom indicators and strategies. Thinkorswim also has tools for strategy backtesting and includes access to Level II order flow data. Thinkorswim is arguably one of the most comprehensive trading platforms available, and it’s completely free with a TD Ameritrade account.
Webull vs. TD Ameritrade: Technical Charts
The difference between the two trading platforms is best illustrated by the differences in their technical charts. Webull’s charting interface is pretty good – you get access to one-minute bars, more than 35 common technical studies, and drawing tools that include Fibonacci retracement lines. Just as important, many of the technical studies can be customized to change the default parameters. In a comparison against nearly any other broker’s charting interface, Webull would fare quite well.
However, compared against TD Ameritrade’s Thinkorswim interface, Webull’s charts are simplistic. Thinkorswim comes with hundreds of built-in technical studies, and you can access the script underlying any of them to generate completely custom parameters. It’s possible to plot price data on a tick-by-tick basis. Plus, the drawing tools are incredibly robust, and annotations are automatically saved to your charts so you can re-analyze patterns later.
Of course, there’s an implicit trade-off. Having all of these customization options necessarily means that getting charts set up the way you want them takes more time with Thinkorswim than with Webull. For quick analyses with a relatively flat learning curve, Webull can have a lot of appeal.
Which Service Is Better?
Webull and TD Ameritrade are both excellent online brokers with a lot to offer. Considering that both brokers offer commission-free stock trading, a wide variety of assets, and both standard and retirement accounts, it’s hard to go wrong.
That said, TD Ameritrade is the better brokerage for most active traders and long-term investors. It offers almost everything that Webull does, with the exception of cryptocurrency trading, and goes well beyond Webull with its technical capabilities and traditional asset offerings. Only TD Ameritrade offers the ability to expand into futures trading or to open an education savings account down the line. While Thinkorswim does have a steeper learning curve, it’s certainly possible to get quite a bit out of the software without touching code.
Webull may be the better choice, though, if you’re interested in trading cryptocurrencies or primarily trade on your mobile device. TD Ameritrade now offers Thinkorswim for mobile, but Webull was built for mobile trading from the beginning. While both stock trading apps are good, Webull’s offers a definitively better user experience.
Webull And TD Ameritrade Alternatives
Webull and TD Ameritrade’s’ most notable competitors are E*TRADE and Charles Schwab (which now owns TD Ameritrade). Both of these brokers offer commission-free trading and an array of research and analysis tools. They also each match TD Ameritrade in terms of tradable assets, and many traders may find the charting interfaces easier to get started with. However, we would still recommend Webull for traders looking primarily for cryptocurrency trading or mobile trading.
Conclusions For Webull vs. TD Ameritrade
Webull and TD Ameritrade combine commission-free trading with trading platforms that focus on technical analysis. Webull provides a mobile-first experience and access to popular cryptocurrencies, while TD Ameritrade offers one of the most comprehensive charting platforms available today. Ultimately, we think TD Ameritrade is the better choice for traders because of its asset variety, wider range of account types, and somewhat more advanced trading tools.