Commission-free stocks and a variety of mutual funds make this a stellar trading platform.E-Trade has long been regarded as one of the top trading platforms available. As of October 2019, it’s 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
Option trade fee/contract
Minimum deposit to open
|Minimum deposit to open||$0|
|Available asset types||Stocks|
|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, Lifehacker and CreditCards.com. He's passionate about helping you get your finances in order and expertly navigate the cutting-edge financial tools available -- including credit cards, apps and budgeting software.
Expert reviewE-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.
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 forE-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 10.50% to 7.00%.
- 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 robo-advisors
E-Trade reviews and complaints
Though it’s not accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB), E-Trade has an A- rating from the agency, based on its internal criteria. But it has a mere 1- out of 5-star rating based on 16 BBB reviews. Several reviewers have negative sentiments due to account closures and slow customer service.
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