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TD Ameritrade Cash Management Account Review: A Good Checking Alternative?

(4 out of 5) MyBankTracker Editor's Rating

You need a new checking account but want something different.

Maybe, the traditional option isn't working for you.

That's when you might consider the TD Ameritrade Cash Management account.

Now:

It may come from the investment arm of TD Bank and sound like a sophisticated financial instrument, but it can serve completely as a checking account alternative.

With this review of the TD Ameritrade Cash Management account, find out if the fees and features of this checking alternative are worth your consideration.

TD Ameritrade Cash Management Account Pros & Cons

Pros Cons
  • No monthly fee
  • Free debit card
  • Unlimited fee refunds for U.S. ATMs
  • Increased FDIC insurance coverage
  • Mobile apps available
  • Very low interest rate

Extra FDIC Insurance

If you’ve had previous bank accounts with other financial institutions, you’re likely familiar with FDIC insurance.

This is deposit insurance that you receive when opening an account with an FDIC-insured bank or credit union.

The standard coverage limit is $250,000 per depositor, which is more than enough for most people. This insurance protects you in the event of a bank failure.

What’s interesting:

A TD Ameritrade Cash Management account let's you double your protection in one place.

How?

Cash deposits are swept into one of the company’s banks — either TD Bank or TD Bank USA. With your cash here, you receive standard FDIC insurance.

When you deposit more than $250,000 in cash, TD Ameritrade splits your money between both banks.

Keeping your money in two locations doubles your protection, insuring your deposits up to $500,000.

Manage Cash From a Single Portal

One of the biggest benefits of opening a Cash Management account with TD Ameritrade is the ability to manage your money from a single place.

This is convenient and useful because you don’t have the hassle of moving money around.

This includes not having to transfer funds from a savings account to your brokerage account.

Using a single portal keeps your cash easily accessible.

And with your money in one place, you can take immediate advantage of trade opportunities as they arise.

Earn Interest

Maybe you use TD Ameritrade for long-term investing or retirement planning.

If so, you might also prefer a deposit account that lets you earn interest.

Some people search for savings accounts that offer a higher interest rate. Or they look into opening an interest checking account. These, however, aren’t the only options available.

You might be happy to know that when you open a Cash Management account with TD Ameritrade, you’ll also earn interest on all balances in your account.

Keep in mind that interest earned on deposits is tiered. So the more you have in your Cash Management account, the higher your return.

Earning interest offers another way to put your money to work for you.

ATM Fee Refunds

Banks are notorious for charging ATM fees.

You don’t pay a fee when using your bank’s ATM.

But if you use an out-of-network ATM, you’ll pay a fee to your bank and to the owner of the ATM.

If your bank charges $2.50 and the other bank charges $2.50, every withdrawal from a non-TD Bank ATM could cost you $5.

Fees can eat into your balance.

Luckily:

You’ll never pay an ATM fee with this account.

Use your debit card at any ATM nationwide. You’ll be reimbursed for any fees you’re charged.

The fewer fees you pay, the more money you’re able to keep in your account for other goals.

Monthly Fee

With a TD Ameritrade Cash Management account, you never have to worry about monthly fees.

Regardless of your average daily or monthly balance, or your number of direct deposits, this institution doesn’t charge maintenance fees.

Right away:

You're already beating most of the checking accounts offered by big banks -- including those offered by TD Bank.

Most of these big bank basic checking accounts have a monthly fee.

While banks usually allow customers to waive the fee when certain requirements are met, you don't want to deal with it in the first place. 

Convenient Features for Easier Banking

But while avoiding ATM fees and monthly maintenance fees is a big deal, it’s also important to find a bank that has resources and convenient tools. Managing your money shouldn’t be a hassle.

Here’s what you can expect from this account.

1. Unlimited check writing

Even though this isn’t a checking account per se, this account does offer free check writing.

Therefore, you’re able to use your cash management account for everyday purchases and bills.

As if this isn’t enough, you’ll also receive a bundle of 100 checks once you open an account. You can also re-order checks free of charge.

If you prefer debit cards over checks, a Visa debit card comes standard with your cash management account free of charge.

Use your debit card wherever Visa is accepted. You can even add the card to Apple Pay for faster in-store or online check out.

2. Free online bill pay

Can’t remember the last time you wrote a check or bought stamps to mail a bill?

Like most people, you might pay the majority of your bills online. This method ensures you never miss a payment or have a late arrival, cutting down on late fees.

Once you open your TD Ameritrade cash management account, take advantage of free online bill pay.

There is even the option of setting up reoccurring bill payments.

3. Download the mobile app

Download TD Ameritrade’s mobile app to your phone or tablet and enjoy the flexibility of managing your account from anywhere.

Check your balance, transfer funds, and initiate payments.

You can even deposit checks into your account from your mobile device.

What to Know About Other Fees?

TD Ameritrade’s cash management account does an excellent job minimizing fees.

But some bank fees are unavoidable.

For example, TD Ameritrade charges $15 if you need a copy of a check.

You’ll also pay $25 to stop payment on a check, as well as $25 for outgoing wire transfers (domestic or international).

When compared to the fee schedules of basic checking accounts from most other banks, this account shines because of fewer and lower fees.

TD Ameritrade Cash Management Account Fees

Type Fee amount
Monthly Maintenance Fee $0
Out-of-Network ATM Fee $0
Overdraft Fee $0
Stop Payment $25
Incoming Wire Transfer $0
With a TD Ameritrade Cash Management account, you never have to worry about monthly fees. Regardless of your average daily or monthly balance, or your number of direct deposits, this institution doesn’t charge maintenance fees. $25

Compared to Regular Checking Options

TD Ameritrade’s cash management account is a different type of account. Even so, it offers many of the same great features of a checking account.

When shopping for a new account, it’s important to research details of a particular account to make sure you find the right one for you.

Factors to compare include:

  • monthly fees
  • service fees
  • interest rate
  • ATM access
  • check-writing ability
  • online and mobile banking features

The Cash Management account comes out as a winner because it doesn’t charge a monthly maintenance fee.

Additionally, it offers nationwide ATM reimbursements. This is perfect if you dislike financial institutions that nickel and dime their customers.

While this account does pay interest on deposit accounts, bear in mind that the rate is low.

This is in comparison to what other institutions offer on online savings and checking accounts. So unless you have a large sum in your account, don’t expect to earn a significant amount of interest.

Now:

Compared to TD Bank checking options, the TD Ameritrade Cash Management is a clear winner:

TD Convenience Checking

The standard checking account from TD Bank is the TD Convenience Checking account.

It has a monthly fee of $15, which is waived when the customer maintains a $100 daily balance. It's easy enough -- much easier than other basic checking accounts from rival national banks.

However, there are no ATM fee refunds and customers must pay an out-of-network ATM fee.

TD Simple Checking

The TD Simple Checking is another low-tier checking option that only has a $5.99 monthly maintenance fee.

The worst part:

This fee cannot be waived at all.

Final Verdict: Is This Account for You?

TD Ameritrade’s Cash Management account is a solid option for someone who wants to avoid a monthly fee and have free nationwide ATM access.

It's especially fitting if you already have a TD Ameritrade investment account.

If not:

You might also consider online checking accounts.

Why?

They also tend to have no monthly fee and some provide free ATM access worldwide. And, you might even be earning much higher interest rates on your balance.