E*TRADE is one of the most popular trading platforms in the US today. They offer a full range of investment services, as well as investment options. You can invest in a wide range of securities, including more than 8,000 mutual funds and ETFs. You can also get as much – or as little – personal assistance as you need. E*TRADE can work with you, whatever your level of expertise may be.
Despite slightly higher fees compared to some large brokerage firms, E*TRADE more than offsets this by offering a wealth of investment services and tools that cater to a wide range of investors.
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E*TRADE is one of the leading financial services companies in the US and has been serving the needs of individual investors for over 30 years. The company is one of the pioneer firms when it comes to online brokerage accounts, and it provides everything that you need to be a successful trader, including investment education.
The company was incorporated in 1982 and executed its first-ever online trade in 1983. E*TRADE became a public company in 1996 and has grown steadily and rapidly ever since. It now has 3.3 million brokerage accounts, and $285 billion in client investment accounts, including more than $49 billion in retirement assets.
In the 2023 Online Broker Review by StockBrokers.com, which evaluated 17 firms across 196 different criteria from January 1, 2022, to December 31, 2022, ETRADE achieved significant recognition. ETRADE secured the top spot as the #1 Investor App and #1 Web Trading Platform.
Additionally, ETRADE received five Best in Class awards in categories including Overall Rating, Research, Mobile Trading Apps, Education, and Ease of Use.
ETRADE earned impressive star ratings across the board: Overall (5.0 stars), Customer Service (4.0 stars), Commissions & Fees (4.5 stars), Research (5.0 stars), Platforms & Tools (4.5 stars), Mobile Trading Apps (5.0 stars), Investment Options (4.5 stars), Education (5.0 stars), and Ease of Use (5.0 stars).
E*TRADE Features and Benefits
Here is just a summary of some of the more significant features and benefits offered by E*TRADE:
Opening an E*TRADE Account: In order to open an account you must complete an online application. It will require only general information, including your address, date of birth, Social Security number, and employer name and address.
You must be a US resident with a valid Social Security number in order to open an E*TRADE account.
Available Account Types: You can open a taxable brokerage account (individual or joint), a futures trading account, a Forex trading account, and an investment club account. You can also open custodial accounts, accounts for trusts, estates, and conservatorships, as well as Coverdell education savings accounts and business corporate LLC accounts.
E*TRADE also offers a full range of retirement accounts. This includes traditional and Roth IRA accounts, small business retirement plans, 401(k) rollover accounts, beneficiary IRAs, individual 401(k)s, IRAs for minors, SEP IRAs and Simple IRAs, and both profit-sharing and money purchase plans.
Investments offered. E*TRADE enables you to trade stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, target date funds, bonds, and fixed income securities, options, and futures. Their ETF investments help them compete with brokers like Motif who only deal in ETFs.
Minimum Initial Deposit: No minimum initial deposits are required.
Platform: E*TRADE’s platform offers free independent research, streaming real-time quotes, customizable planning tools, and everything that you need to manage do-it-yourself investing. The platform provides easy access to everything that you want to trade, including stocks, options, funds, and bonds. There is also a wealth of research education to help you make better investment decisions. The platform will also sync directly with your Empower account, making tracking of all your investments easy to do in one place.
E*TRADE Mobile: The mobile app is available for iPhone, Android, tablets, and now Apple Watch. The app provides mutual fund research tools, and enhanced quote details for stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, options, indices, and conditional orders, including one-triggers-other (OTO), contingent, and stop-loss orders. You can also access your personalized retirement center, as well as your full dashboard.
Customer service. You can contact E*TRADE by phone 24 hours a day. They also offer email contact and online live chat, as well as direct mail in the event you need to mail checks or other documents.
E*TRADE also has branches in many major cities around the country, in case you prefer face-to-face contact.
E*TRADE Bank: This is E*TRADE’s own bank, that was created for the benefit of E*TRADE customers. The banking service offers a free transfer money service, a mobile app for your phone, and of course FDIC insurance on accounts up to $250,000 per depositor.
The regular checking account does not pay interest, but there is no account minimum balance and no monthly account fees. You must make an initial minimum deposit of $100.
The bank also offers its Max-Rate checking account, which pays interest and requires a minimum monthly balance averaging at least $5,000 in order to avoid the $15 monthly fee. It also requires an initial minimum deposit of $100.
Asset Protection: All E*TRADE bank accounts have FDIC insurance up to $250,000 per depositor. But there is also extended insurance for deposit accounts with coverage up to $1.25 million.
E*TRADE also provides SIPC insurance, protecting securities and cash of up to $500,000, including $250,000 for cash. There is also additional brokerage protection for up to $150 million through a London Insurer.
Account Security: E*TRADE uses secure firewalls, as well as 128-bit encryption to safeguard your login and transaction activity. They also provide session timeouts and security alerts. In addition, E*TRADE Fraud Protection is the company’s promise to cover any loss that results from the “unauthorized use of their brokerage, banking, or lending services”.
Key Features and Benefits of E*TRADE
|Quick Online Application With Essential Personal Info Required
|Diverse Options, Including Taxable Brokerage, Futures, Forex, and Retirement Accounts
|Trade Stocks, ETFs, Mutual Funds, Bonds, Options, and Futures
|No Minimum Deposit
|No Initial Deposit Required to Get Started
|Access to Real-Time Data, Research Tools, and Investment Education
|E*TRADE’s Mobile App Available for Various Devices WWith Enhanced Features
|24/7 Phone Support, Email, Live Chat, and In-Person Branches
|Integrated Bank With Free Money Transfers, Mobile App, and FDIC Insurance
|FDIC Insurance Up to $1.25 Million, SIPC Insurance, and Brokerage Protection
|Secure Measures Include Encryption, Firewalls, Session Timeouts, and Fraud Protection
E*TRADE Tools and Calculators
E*TRADE has one of the largest offerings of tools and calculators in the industry, including:
E*TRADE Pro: This platform provides enhanced speed, insight, and performance and is E*TRADE’s top platform for the most active traders. It provides an Enhanced Options Analyzer to evaluate positions and strategies with greater precision, as well as professional grade streaming Greeks to assess the underlying risk of your options positions.
E*TRADE Pro uses a point-and-click order entry system that you can trade more quickly. You can use it to trade stocks, ETFs, and both basic and complex options from anywhere within the platform.
Stock & Fund Screeners: This tool enables you to sift through thousands of stocks and funds to find investments that best match your investment goals. The list of screeners available includes the Stock Screener, Mutual Fund Screener, ETF Screener, Bond Screener, and the Bond Fund Selector, which provides professional bond fund recommendations.
E*TRADE 360: E*TRADE bills this as its “do-everything platform for traders and investors”. It provides free independent research, streaming real-time quotes, and customizable planning tools.
My Virtual Advisor: This tool will recommend an asset allocation and help you determine the right investment solution to help you reach your investment goals. It enables you to allocate your assets – based on what’s important to you – in a matter of minutes. The tool will recommend a target asset allocation based on your financial goals, risk tolerance, and time horizon
E*TRADE Community: E*TRADE has merged investing with social media through this community. This is the place where E*TRADE investors come to swap ideas and strategies with one another. It’s also a place where you can connect with financial professionals, as well as an opportunity to see which stocks E*TRADE customers are buying and selling. There are also discussion boards for personal exchanges, as well as monitoring of community sentiment.
Stocks and Options Trades: E*TRADE recently dropped their trade fees to $0 for online US-listed stock, ETF, and options trades. This is a complete game-changer.
For complex options, the commission is 0.50 cents per contract on options/options trades if you make 30 or more trades per quarter, and $0.65 per contract if you make fewer than 30 trades.
The fee for options exercise/assignments is $19.99.
ETFs: There is no commission to trade ETFs.
Mutual Funds: If you trade no-load, no-transaction-fee funds*, there is no commission fee charged. Other fund purchases have a commission of $19.99 per trade. Broker-assisted trades carry an additional $25 fee to the applicable commission.
E*TRADE offers 2,700 no-load, no transaction fee mutual funds.
Futures: The fee on futures contracts is $1.50 per contract, per side, plus applicable futures exchange and NFA fees, as well as floor brokerage charges for execution of non-electronically traded futures and futures options contracts. These secondary charges will vary by exchange and are not charges made by E*TRADE.
Bonds: There are no commissions charged for either U.S. Treasury auction trades or US Treasury secondary trades online. On other bond types, the fee is $1 per bond, subject to a $10 minimum and a $250 maximum. If you make a rep-assisted trade, a commission of $20 per trade will be added to the fee.
Margin Interest Rates: Margin rates range from a low of 5.75% on account balances of $1 million or more, to a high of 9.25% on balances of less than $10,000.
E*TRADE also charges the following fees:
- Paper Statement Fee – $2.00 per Statement
- Outgoing Account Transfers – $25 for Partial Transfers, $75 for Full Transfers
- Stock Certificate Requests – $500 per Certificate
- Wire Transfers – Free for Incoming Transfers, $25 for Outgoing Transfers
E*TRADE Investment Management
If you are not entirely comfortable investing on your own, E*TRADE can provide as much or as little investment assistance as you need. They have financial consultants available who can provide advice whenever you need it. This is one-on-one assistance with a financial advisor, who can help you create an investment plan, choose the investments that you need, and also help manage the risk involved in the portfolio.
They also have E*TRADE Capital Management, which can select and even actively manage your portfolio for you. This also extends to retirement plans, where financial consultants can help you create a plan, allocate your assets, and estimate your projected income in retirement. Since you will be working directly with an individual, this is going to be more expensive than using a robo-advisor like Betterment, which manages your investments by algorithm.
You can certainly go the do-it-yourself investment route on E*TRADE, and they have all the tools to help you do it. But if you feel that you need a little – or a lot – of help along the way, they have that covered too.
There’s not much to complain about with E*TRADE, and this is all we could come up with:
Fee Structure Is at the Higher End of the Large Brokerage Firms: If you are a frequent trader, E*TRADE may not be the best platform for your investing activities. There are other large brokerage firms that charge substantially lower fees. However, the strength of E*TRADE is a combination of relatively moderate fees, in conjunction with one of the very best trading platforms available.
Will E*TRADE Work for You?
E*TRADE is currently offering up to $600 when you open up either a new brokerage account or an IRA account. They are also offering 60 days of free trades on deposits of $10,000 or more. And that’s actually just the beginning. E*TRADE offers a graduated level of cash incentive and free trades depending upon the amount that you deposit with the firm. For deposits of $1 million or more, you can receive up to $2,500, plus free trades for 60 days.
E*TRADE is an excellent investment platform for investors at all skill levels. It has all of the tools and information sources necessary to improve your investment ability, no matter what level you are at. Since the fees are not the lowest in the industry, E*TRADE is probably best suited to long-term investors, rather than very active traders. But even active traders might find that the wide range of trading tools, applications, and calculators more than offset the lower fees at some other brokerage firms.
The Bottom Line – E*TRADE Review – Best for Active Traders
E*TRADE is a premier trading platform in the US, offering a wide array of investment services and options. With over 30 years of experience, it has garnered a stellar reputation. Recognized as the #1 Investor App and #1 Web Trading Platform in StockBrokers.com’s 2023 Online Broker Review, E*TRADE boasts Best in Class distinctions across various categories, supported by impressive star ratings.
The platform provides a user-friendly interface, a versatile mobile app, and robust customer support. While its fee structure may not be the lowest, E*TRADE’s comprehensive tools, calculators, and research resources make it a compelling choice for both long-term investors and active traders.
How We Review Brokers and Investment Companies
Good Financial Cents conducts a thorough review of U.S. brokers, focusing on assets under management and notable industry trends. Our primary objective is to offer a balanced and informative assessment, assisting individuals in making informed decisions about their investment choices. We believe in maintaining a transparent editorial process.
To achieve this, we gather data from providers through detailed questionnaires and take the time to observe provider demonstrations. This hands-on approach, combined with our independent research, forms the basis of our evaluation process. After considering various factors, we assign a star rating, ranging from one to five, to each broker.
Product Name: E*TRADE
Product Description: E*TRADE is a renowned online brokerage platform known for its extensive investment services. It offers a wide range of investment options, making it suitable for all types of investors. With its user-friendly interface and innovative features, ETRADE provides the tools needed for successful online trading and investing.
E*TRADE stands as a well-established and trusted name in the world of online brokerage services, serving both novice and experienced investors. One of its key strengths lies in its wide spectrum of investment choices, encompassing traditional assets like stocks and bonds, as well as newer investment vehicles such as ETFs and options. The platform excels in providing a robust trading environment, offering real-time quotes, research tools, and customizable planning features. ETRADE’s user-friendly interface and intuitive mobile app empower users to manage their portfolios effortlessly.
Cost and Fees
- Diverse Investment Options
- Extensive Research Tools
- User-Friendly Interface
- 24/7 Customer Support
- Innovative Features
- Fee Structure
- Not Ideal for Frequent Traders
- Margin Interest Rates
- Additional Fees
- Investment Assistance Costs