If you’re a Canadian investor, you may be curious about whether you can open a TD Ameritrade account. But you may be surprised to learn that despite the “T” in “TD” standing for Toronto, the bank does not allow Canadians to open Ameritrade accounts.
Can Canadians Open a TD Ameritrade Account?
Short answer: no.
Canadians can’t open TD Ameritrade Accounts.
If you try to open a TD Ameritrade account as a Canadian, the site will redirect you to TD Direct Investing instead.
TD Direct Investing Overview
TD Direct Investing is Toronto-Dominion Bank's online brokerage. It’s perfect for intermediate-to expert-level investors who want to self-direct their investments. But amateur investors who wish for top-tier tools will be able to find value here as well.
Its platforms include a well-reviewed app, a personalized homepage and research centre called WebBroker, an Advanced Dashboard for professional traders, and the award-winning thinkorswim platform.
These tools — which come at a higher cost than other discount brokerages — can help even amateur investors manage their finances with confidence across multiple devices.
This is TD’s most popular investment and desktop trading platform. It aims to make investing easy by providing easy-to-understand information for beginners who want to trade stocks.
But it also has a suite of tools for more experienced users, including market data and research reports to help users make decisions.
Its built-in education platform contains many guides and videos to take amateur investors pro.
TD’s structured Learning Paths focus on specific topics to help users better understand the world of investing. And daily, live streamed Master Classes are small groups in which instructors interact with the classes and answer their questions.
TD’s Advanced Dashboard is just that — advanced. It might be time to graduate after completing some of the Learning Paths and Master Classes and feel more confident in your investing skills.
The Dashboard contains powerful day trading tools such as real-time market data, news, charting, advanced order types, and customizable settings.
From TD’s Earnings Analyzer to multi-leg option chains, there’s a lot to love here for big-time players.
Thinkorswim is also more advanced than WebBroker, but it may be slightly less intimidating to the mid-range trader than Advanced Dashboard. You can use it on a desktop, web, or mobile device. Apps are available for iPhone or Android.
It looks similar to the AD, with its black background and complex charts and numbers. It has many of the same features, including multi-leg options, charting, forex trading and synchronization.
But TD is big on feedback regarding thinkorswim — and it provides dedicated customer support from analysts to help with strategy.
Thinkorswim lets users try out their skills with fake money before putting their cash on the line.
Pricing and Fees
Investors can buy Canadian and US stocks for $9.99/trade and options for the same price plus $1.25/contract.
Active traders who make 150+ trades in a quarter can trade for $7, plus $1.25/contract for options.
Mutual funds don’t have commissions to buy, sell, or switch. But if you hold them for less than 30 days, they are subject to a short-term redemption fee of 1% of redemption value or $45 (whichever is greater), plus whatever fees the mutual fund company charges.
All information on TD Direct Investing pricing can be found here.
How to Open a TD Direct Investing Account
All it takes to open a TD Direct Investing account in Canada is a few clicks. Investors can choose the type of account they’d like to open and follow the instructions on the screen.
Investors can open margin accounts, cash accounts, TFSAs, RSPs, RESPs, RIFs, LIRAs, LIFs, and RDSPs.
TD Ameritrade Alternatives For Canadians
While Canadians can’t open TD Ameritrade accounts, Canadian traders have alternatives for U.S. dollar trading. And most of them are much cheaper than TD Direct Investing.
While Wealthsimple doesn’t charge fees for its standard trading accounts, its Plus version unlocks USD accounts. For $10 per month, Wealthsimple Plus users also get no foreign-exchange fees on trades, unlimited price-change alerts, and instant deposits of up to $5,000.
Questrade is one of the most popular discount brokerages in Canada and the United States. However, one of its big selling points for Canadians is that it supports dual-currency investing in Canadian and U.S. dollars — though users may sometimes need to exchange currencies within their accounts.
For its ultra-popular self-directed account, the fees are as follows:
- Stocks can be bought for as low as $4.95 and up to $9.95
- Buying ETFs is free — you’re only charged when you sell them. Once again, the minimum charge is $4.95, and the maximum is $9.95.
- Options cost $9.95 plus $1/contract.
Canadian users can maintain a U.S. dollar balance in any of Qtrade's popular accounts, including an RRSP, TFSA, or cash account. As opposed to a flat monthly subscription rate like Wealthsimple Plus, Qtrade uses a trade-based fee structure.
- Equities and mutual funds cost $8.75/trade
- Options cost $8.75 plus $1.25/contract
- The 100+ ETFs on Qtrade’s select list are free. All others cost $8.75/trade.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is thinkorswim available in Canada?
Yes, thinkorswim is included in TD Direct Investing accounts, which Canadians can use.
Can I buy U.S. stocks with a Canadian account?
Yes. Many trading platforms allow Canadians to purchase U.S. stocks or even maintain U.S. dollar accounts, including Wealthsimple Plus, Questrade, and Qtrade.
Can expats use TD Ameritrade?
To use TD Ameritrade, you need to sign up using an address in the United States of America.
How do I trade Canadian stocks in the U.S.?
Nearly every brokerage account will allow Americans to trade companies listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX), including TD Ameritrade.
Canadians can’t use TD Ameritrade, but there are still some good options for U.S. dollar trading accounts up north, such as Wealthsimple Plus, Questrade, and Qtrade. Each has its benefits, drawbacks, and pricing structures.
However, investors in Canada aren’t totally shut out of the TD investing system. They can still use TD Direct Investing — a powerful online brokerage. It contains many top-tier features, including thinkorswim, plus a custom research centre and homepage.
But the price of TD Direct Investing reflects its power-user focus.
In short, for new investors looking to dip a toe into U.S. dollar investing, something cheap and risk-free like Wealthsimple Plus could be a great way to try it out.
But for Canadians who want to use a plethora of trading features and are willing to pay the right price for them, TD Direct Investing might be just what they’re looking for.