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Commission-free stocks and access to mutual funds, bonds and ETFs make this a stellar trading platform.
finder.com’s rating: 4.1 / 5.0
E-Trade offers commission-free trading on stocks, options and ETFs. Combined with sophisticated desktop and beginner-friendly mobile platforms, this is one of the top trading platforms available.
- Consider E-Trade if you want to trade bonds and mutual funds as well as stocks and ETFs, or want a platform suited to both beginners and advanced investors.
- Look elsewhere if you want to trade on margin without a high fee, or trade cryptocurrencies.
What we think of E-Trade
E-Trade offers the full investor package. You get:
- Sophisticated trading platforms with research tools and advanced order types.
- Access to a variety of trading instruments including stocks, ETFs, options, bonds, mutual funds and futures.
- A variety of accounts including individual brokerage accounts or retirement accounts.
There are no minimum deposits to open an account, which is on par with competitors like Robinhood or SoFi Invest. But to use some of its services, such as trading on margin or E-Trade’s automated investment program, you’ll need a minimum of $2,000 and $500, respectively.
The $2,000 requirement for trading on margin is similar with other brokers like IBKR. But the $500 is not. For comparison, SoFi doesn’t have a minimum requirement to use its automated trading system, nor does it charge a management fee. E-Trade charges 0.30% annually, which comes out at $3 each year for every $1,000 automatically managed.
Trading stocks and ETFs come commission-free on the platform. This is in line with Robinhood, SoFi and Webull. However, these three also let you trade cryptocurrencies, but E-Trade doesn’t allow it yet. Also, the FDIC doesn’t insure your brokerage account. However, because E-Trade is a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation, it offers coverage up to $500,000 for securities and cash.
All this makes E-Trade an excellent broker for beginners and advanced traders alike. Those who want to invest for their retirement could also find the platform to be a great choice because of the low fees and variety of available trading instruments. But if you’re looking to buy cryptocurrencies or trade on margin, there are better alternatives.
|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 paper trading. Paper trading is when you trade with virtual money, which is an excellent way to learn.
- Active traders. With $0 commission on stocks and ETFs, this is 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.
Pros and cons
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.
- No inactivity fees. You can make trades whenever it’s convenient for you without worrying that you’ll incur inactivity fees.
- Versatility. E-Trade offers two trading platforms — both for desktop and mobile — that let you trade while viewing real-time quotes and using charts and indicators 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.
- Automated investing. If you’re short on time or you’d rather let someone else manage your portfolio, E-Trade’s Core Portfolio identifies ideal ETFs on your behalf and manages your portfolio.
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%. For comparison, IBKR has margin rates of around 2.5%.
- 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.
- Advisory fee. Its 0.3% fee for robo-advising is slightly higher than you’ll pay for some of E-Trade’s closest competitors. Using SoFi’s automated trading doesn’t have any management fees.
Compare E-Trade to similar brokers
These brokers trade some of the same securities and offer similar services to E-Trade.
J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing
Brokerage, Retirement, Robo-Advisor
Stocks, Options, ETFs, Cryptocurrency
Stocks, ETFs, Cryptocurrency
Stocks, Bonds, Options, Mutual funds, ETFs
E-Trade research tools
E-Trade offers some of the best research and decision-making tools you can get with an investments broker. You get:
- Access to fundamental research reports without any fees. E-Trade lets you use Thomson Reuter’s Stockreport+, Moody’s investor service for bonds, as well as Morningstar’s ETF research reports. You won’t pay any fees to use these services, which otherwise can cost more than $300 annually each.
- Excellent trading tools. The Power E-Trade platform comes with some sophisticated charting and research tools. For example, the technical patterns recognition tool automatically draws support and resistance lines and identifies technical patterns. Since even the best traders can miss patterns, this is a great feature to have.
- Access to screeners. With E-Trade you can screen stocks, bonds, ETFs and mutual funds based on parameters that you set. This can simplify your research as you can quickly find what you’re looking for.
E-Trade reviews and complaints
Despite its longevity, E-trade user reviews we encountered online were generally negative. As of August 2021, most of the 131 reviewers on Trustpilot labeled it a “bad” service while only 4% 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.
E-Trade is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB), but it’s rated F. This rating reflects how E-Trade interacts with complaints on the BBB website.
|BBB customer rating||1/5 based on 31 customer reviews|
|Trustpilot score||1.3/5 out of 135 customer reviews|
|Google Play app||4.5/5 stars based on 37,666 reviews|
|Apple app store||4.6/5 stars based on 139,037 reviews|
|Customer reviews verified as of||August 2021|
How do I get started?
You can sign up for E-Trade online or at a branch:
- Navigate to the E-Trade website.
- Select Open an account.
- Choose 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.
You can start trading after the funds you’ve deposited have cleared. You can add funds to your account by wire transfer, check deposit or transferring money from an outside institution.
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 versus 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.
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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.