Not only does it come with several tools, but you’re charged zero commissions.
Thinkorswim is the competitor of Interactive Brokers.
Thinkorswim UK – Overview
Thinkorswim was bought over by TD Ameritrade in 2009, and it became part of one of the largest brokers in the US.
When you create an account on the site, you will be able to access Thinkorswim. Not only are they a reputed name, but they let you trade all kinds of assets. They are especially known for trading forex and futures.
TD Ameritrade is a force to be reckoned with. They compete with Interactive brokers and are one of the largest discount brokers in America.
In June 2020, their shareholders agreed to merge them with Charles Schwab, a rival company. The deal was planned in November 2019. The merger will take place by the end of this year.
Once this happens, Charles Schwab will be the third-largest asset manager in the country, with $5.3 trillion assets under management at the end of 2019.
Signing Up Process
Unfortunately UK traders cannot sign up to thinkorswim anymore.
Here is how other countries can sign up.
As mentioned, you’ll need to create a TD Ameritrade account to use Thinkorswim. This won’t take long – it took us around 15 minutes. There are 5 steps to doing this.
The first would be to choose the type of account you want to trade with.
When choosing an account, you’ll be asked if you want to trade futures in the future. With that out of the way, you’ll be led to a drop-down, where you need to fill in your login information. The accounts available are:
- Joint Tenant
You will be asked to fill in your personal information. This includes your:
- Date of birth
- National Identity Card number
You’ll be asked several things about your employment status and what you’re trying to achieve by trading.
You will also need to provide details about your income and net worth. This is quite normal as most brokers require this information.
This step requires you to fill out the client form.
You will need to submit a W8Ben form.
You have to submit all of your documents. They would be used to verify your identity and address. These include bank statements, utility bills, and government-issued identification.
Once everything has been submitted, you will have to wait for up to 7 business days for them to review you. If you have been approved, you will get an email.
You won’t be charged to create an account. You can fund this through electronic transfers, cheque deposits, account transfers from other brokers, as well as international wires from your bank account.
Depending on the method you used to fund your account, the duration of time the cash takes to arrive would differ. You can expect it in 5 business days at the latest.
No surprise, the platform is quite advanced. Most users get it by downloading the web app. You can run it on all kinds of operating systems – Windows, Mac, Unix, and Linux. There is a mobile app as well. We appreciate that this has as many features as its web version.
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to use its services if you’re from the UK. This is due to financial regulations in the country. Thinkorswim cannot be used in certain other nations too.
Once you’ve downloaded the software, you will either be able to live trade or use their Paper Money feature. It gives you access to demo accounts. You’ll be able to learn how to use Thinkorswim and refine your craft. If you’re wondering how much virtual cash you’ll be able to invest, you can go up to $100,000.
We don’t think the platform is the easiest to use. Many new traders are intimidated by their tools. Navigating it isn’t the easiest either.
You will be able to trade 24 hours a day, 5 days a week. This gives you more market opportunities to be a part of. But this schedule may vary depending on market holidays.
You will be able to trade a range of things on the platform, such as:
- Closed-end funds
The best thing about them is that trading certain assets come with no commission fees. This includes stocks, ETFs, and closed-end funds.
If you’re going to trade futures, you will be charged $2.25 per side for a trade. There is no base charge for options. However, a 65-cent fee for contracts is present. In terms of Forex, you will be charged depending on the bid-ask spread.
If you’re new to trading, you don’t have to worry. Although the platform may look intimidating, it has myriad resources to help you improve. To begin with, there are webcasts. You also get in-person events as well as fully-fledged courses.
There is a learning center as well. This includes demos and informative guides in their magazine. There is even a manual on how you can use Thinkorswim. It’s free to download.
As mentioned, they offer Paper Money. You can utilize it to learn new tricks. The platform offers research tools that would help too.
You could even speak to other traders, as there is a trading chat room available. Not only can you share your knowledge with other users, but you’ll be able to get new contacts as well. Thinkorswim claims that they have over a thousand users.
Tools & Research
The platform is known for its research tools – there are so many to talk about that we can’t cover them all. To begin with, Market Maker Move (MMM) is available. This helps make note of the stocks that could move up, by showing you an estimate of the magnitude of price movements. You’ll also be able to screen for stocks using their Stock Hacker feature.
There is a live-stream of market movements by TD Ameritrade Network and constant newsfeeds from CNBC.
There is also a strategy roller that lets you create covered call strategies. You can enter the criteria so that Thinkorswim will make use of them every month.
There are various charts – tick charts, time charts, range charts, and even seasonal ones. Their heat map tells you exactly how the market is doing through their MarketWatch feature. Along with this, you get a calendar that shows you how much companies are reported to earn in the upcoming weeks
Their app gives you access to a help chat. You can speak to a friendly and helpful expert at once, or you can live chat with them.
You can show them the problems you’re experiencing, which would help them remedy your issue faster.
If you prefer, you can email customer support. We found them to be very helpful. They didn’t take long to get back either. The team you reach out to will be TD Ameritrade’s.
Along with a thorough email team, you can get help from their call center. These traders have a combined experience of over 100 years. Similar to their email support, we found them to be very friendly. As they’re experts, they will know exactly how to remedy your issue, so you won’t be spending a lot of time explaining things.
You will also get access to a great educational center. Instead of reaching out to Thinkorswim’s representatives immediately, going through their resources may help. Trying to get around it on Paper Money may do the trick too.
Speaking of using resources, TD Ameritrade has a detailed FAQ page. It not only covers a range of issues, but its answers are very comprehensive and easy to understand.
The broker is regulated by FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. They authorize all major brokers in the United States.
Now let’s talk about alternatives that are just as good.
- Active Trader Pro
- MetaTrader 4
- MetaTrader 5
- TT Platform
- E*Trade Web Platform
Thinkorswim in the UK
TD Ameritrade is one of the largest discount brokers in the United States. Once they merge with Charles Schwab, they will become an even bigger force to be reckoned with. Thinkorswim is their flagship trading platform. It is known to be intimidating to newer traders due to its thorough tools and graphs. However, it’s useful and comprehensive. They don’t charge commissions, and you can get hold of a range of assets. The signing up process is not difficult either. You will have to create an account on TD Ameritrade, though.
Due to their popularity, you may be disappointed that they’re not available in the UK. This has to do with financial regulations. If you live in a country where Thinkorswim is available, you will be able to use its expert mobile app too. You can also get access to superior customer support and improve your craft by utilizing Paper Money, their virtual trading tool.