TD Ameritrade and the 1%: API Only for Half a Millionaires

It's been two and a half years since we wrote about the API you need $25,000 to use. According to several reports online, accounts must hold $500,000 or perform 30 or more trades per quarter to use the TD Ameritrade API.

A reader said the following was an email from TD Ameritrade:

There are two paths for submitting a request to the API. One is for Personal use and requires a TD Ameritrade account and the other is for Commercial development or for a product that will be released to the public. Could you please tell us which you would like to request approval for so that we may send you the request materials? If you are requesting individual access, see below:

Please note that individual access to the TD Ameritrade API requires:
-A TD Ameritrade account with either an account value of $500,000 or more OR 30 trades per quarter

If your TD Ameritrade account does not meet this requirement, please email us back in a few months, as we are currently working on expanding access. In the meantime, feel free to try thinkorswim from TD Ameritrade, which has a built-in scripting language as well as a number of tools to enhance your trading experience.

API Support Team

Similar reports have surfaced elsewhere, while some claim the limits are not enforced.

If this is true, this barrier is an even bigger hurdle for developers, some of whom may want to make applications for individuals of greater net worth. Though the 30 trades per quarter may be more approachable, it's still a lot of ask of someone wanting to kick the tires. That, perhaps, is the point, as the company may not want to support developers unwilling to put some skin in the game.

I've reached out to TD Ameritrade and will update this post when I hear back.

Update TD Ameritrade confirmed the terms and offered this clarification:

The response posted was correct and the mentioned requirements are the ones that are in place while we complete some work on the API. In the interim, any individual developer seeking to develop a trading application, account management software, or otherwise use quote data in an application meant for his or her personal use must meet one of the stated requirements; either $500,000 or more in account value OR 30 trades per quarter (regardless of account value). Those who are not developing an application for personal use, but for commercial use go through a separate process. However, being an API developer is not required to use applications that use the API for data, such as those provided by our commercial partners.

For clients seeking a brokerage firm that can meet the needs of their trading workflow, TD Ameritrade offers premier industry trading platforms free of charge and with no minimum requirements. Thinkorswim offers the ability to export live streaming data over DDE, an embedded scripting language, and many other tools to help the trader looking to automate some of their trading workflow. Please let me know if there is any additional information or assistance that I can provide regarding our wide range of products and services. No complaint is too small and we will review any situation to ensure that your trading needs are being met.

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