Commission-free stocks and a variety of mutual funds make this a stellar trading platform.
finder.com’s rating: 4.1 / 5.0
E-Trade has long been regarded as one of the top trading platforms available. In October of 2019 it reduced its commissions on stock, ETF and options trades to $0, making it a strong option for beginners and active traders alike. But its margin rates are higher than the competition.
Stock trade fee
Minimum deposit to open
|Account types||Brokerage, Retirement, Robo-Advisor|
|Minimum deposit to open||$0|
|Asset types||Stocks, Bonds, Mutual funds, ETFs|
|Intro or bonus offer||Get up to a $2,500 cash credit with a qualifying deposit or transfer|
Kevin Joey Chen is a credit cards, banking and investments writer whose work and analysis have appeared on CNN, U.S. News & World Report, Business.com, Lifehacker and CreditCards.com. He's passionate about helping you get your finances in order by expertly navigating cutting-edge financial tools — including credit cards, apps and budgeting software.
E-Trade is a strong choice for new and experienced traders alike, offering no trade activity minimums, a wealth of trading tools and an impressive collection of no-load mutual funds.
Following its competitors, E-Trade has reduced its base commission rate to $0 on stock, ETF and options trades. That’s great news for consumers, further lowering the barrier to start trading.
Consider avoiding E-Trade for margin trading, as the platform charges higher-than-average rates from 10.50% to 7.00%. It’s also not the best choice for robo-advising, charging a 0.3% fee that’s higher than you’ll find with other services.
|No commissions on stocks and fair prices for options, mutual funds and portfolio management.|
|An E-trade brokerage account lets you trade everything but crypto and forex.|
|There are multiple ways to get support but we waited more than 20 minutes to speak to a rep.|
|While it doesn’t score as well on Google Play, Apple users give the app high marks.|
|Research and tools|
|A variety of interactive charts and analysis tools are available.|
|Both a major outage and mobile app crashes have been reported.|
|We awarded a bonus star for access to paper trading.|
To learn how our star ratings are calculated, read the methodology at the bottom of the page.
Who is E-Trade best for?
E-Trade’s low commissions and extensive educational resources make it a great choice for:
- Beginner investors. E-Trade offers resources for starters, such as webinars on asset allocation, options, technical analysis and more.
- Active traders. Like many of its competitors, E-Trade reduced its trading commissions to $0, making it an excellent choice for day and short-term traders and those who periodically rebalance their portfolio.
- Infrequent traders. E-Trade has no trade activity minimums or inactivity fees, so you won’t feel pressured to trade simply to avoid getting charged.
What are the benefits of E-Trade?
Similar to its closest competitors, E-Trade lets you open a brokerage account with no minimum deposit. Other benefits include:
- Commission-free stocks, ETFs and options trades. You’ll pay $0 for US exchange-listed stocks but $0.65 per options contract and $0.50 if you’re an active trader — down from $0.75 previously.
- Zero trade activity minimums or inactivity fees. You can make trades whenever it’s convenient for you.
- Versatility. E-Trade offers two trading platform accounts that let you trade while viewing real-time quotes and using tools for technical analysis.
- Mutual fund benefits. E-Trade has over 9,000 mutual funds and offers more than 4,400 no-load, no-transaction fee (NTF) mutual funds — more than the vast majority of competitors.
- Robo advisor. If you’re short on time or you’d rather let professionals manage your portfolio, E-Trade’s Core Portfolio identifies ideal ETFs on your behalf and manages your portfolio.
What to watch out for
E-Trade has relatively standard costs seen across the industry — you’ll pay $1 per online secondary bond trade, with a minimum of $10, and $1.50 for every futures contract. Other downsides include:
- High margin rates. E-Trade has higher-than-average margin rates from 7.00% to 10.50%.
- Fees for mutual funds. E-Trade charges $49.99 when you hold your no-load, no-transaction fee funds for less than 90 days and 19.99 to trade a transaction-fee fund.
- High advisory fee. Its 0.3% fee for robo-advising is slightly higher than you’ll pay for some of E-Trade’s closest competitors.
If you’re not sure if E-Trade is right for you, compare other options to find the right platform.
Compare with other brokers
*Signup bonus information updated weekly.
Despite its longevity, E-trade user reviews we encountered online were generally negative. As of November 2020, most of the 45 reviewers on TrustPilot labeled it a “bad” service and only 7% called it “excellent.”
Many negative reviews cited poor customer service and sudden account restrictions. It may not be the best service for those who prefer to discuss issues and services with a real person. The few positive ones complimented E-Trade for its analytical tools.
User reviews on Reddit were also generally negative with many claiming E-Trade charges high fees and isn’t the best option for day traders. However, E-Trade has since lowered its commissions on certain investments. E-Trade is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB), nor did it receive a rating from the organization.
How do I get started?
You can sign up for E-Trade online or at a branch:
- Navigate to the E-Trade website.
- Click Open an account.
- Select the account type you want to open.
- Enter your personal details, such as your contact info, annual income and net worth.
- Configure your new account.
- Deposit funds into your account.
- Confirm your information and submit your application.
Check that you meet these requirements before opening an account:
- Valid Social Security number
- Valid address in the United States
- At least 18 years old
- Bank or brokerage account to deposit funds
Have the following information on hand when you apply:
- Full name
- Contact information and mailing address
- Social Security number
- Employment information, annual income and net worth
- Bank or brokerage account information
I’ve signed up with E-Trade. Now what?
After you’ve successfully opened your account, take your time and leverage E-Trades’ numerous benefits:
- Educational resources. If you’re new to investing, visit E-Trade’s resource library to learn about asset allocation, saving vs. investing, dividends, how to manage your portfolio and more.
- Trading research. You’ll have multiple trading resources that can help guide you.
- Keep track of your portfolio. Log in to your E-Trade account online or through the mobile app to trade, make changes to your portfolio, track your progress and more.
- Read up on tax laws. Ask your accountant how you can manage your taxes as a result of your E-Trade activity.
E-Trade customer service
Here are a few ways to get assistance with your account:
- Visit one of E-Trade’s branches
- Call 800-387-2331
- Send an email through the E-Trade website or your online account
- Live chat through your online account
Frequently asked questions
How we rate trading platforms
★★★★★ 5/5 — Excellent
★★★★★ 4/5 — Good
★★★★★ 3/5 — Average
★★★★★ 2/5 — Subpar
★★★★★ 1/5 — Poor
We analyze top online trading platforms and rate them one to five stars based on factors that are most important to you. These factors include fees, securities available for trade, customer support, customer feedback, platform resources and overall reliability.
For a complete breakdown of how we score each category, read the full methodology of how we rate trading platforms.