Our pick to buy stocks: Sofi Invest
- $0 commissions on stocks
- Robo advisor with no management fees
- Beginner-friendly platform
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Like E-Trade, much of its competition offers low fees, advanced research tools and vast investment menus. But E-Trade’s $500 minimum investment for automated portfolios is higher than you’d find elsewhere, and options traders may also be at a disadvantage if they don’t trade often. These five alternatives offer many of the same benefits without the same drawbacks.
Like E-Trade, SoFi Invest lets you trade commission-free stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). But SoFi’s automated portfolios have a 0% management fee and require a minimum investment of $1. E-Trade’s automated Core Portfolios are similar, but they require a $500 minimum investment and a 0.3% annual management fee.
Automated portfolios — also called robo-advisors — use computer algorithms to recommend diversified portfolios based on your risk level and financial goals. The algorithm then manages and rebalances your portfolio when necessary. So it’s a solid option for the set-it-and-forget-it investor.
Similarly to E-Trade, Robinhood offers commission-free stock, ETF and options trades. But unlike E-Trade, Robinhood lets you trade cryptocurrency. You can use its intuitive app to trade popular crypto like bitcoin, Ethereum and Dogecoin.
Robinhood is best for beginner investors who want to trade traditional securities like stocks alongside more obscure options like cryptocurrency. But you won’t find the advanced research tools and wider investment menu you’d find at E-Trade.
Fidelity Investments is an E-Trade alternative that offers many of the same benefits. Fidelity is known for its low fees, robust research tools and variety of investment options. But Fidelity wins the game when it comes to automated portfolios or robo-advisors.
E-Trade’s automated portfolio charges a 0.35% management fee and requires a $500 minimum deposit. Fidelity Go, the broker’s automated portfolio, only requires $10 before you can start investing. Fees are $0 on balances of $10,000 or less. Fidelity Go charges an annual 0.35% management fee only on balances of $50,000 or more.
TD Ameritrade is another E-Trade alternative that’s known for its low fees and vast investment options. But TD Ameritrade may win the battle with its powerful research tools. Its Thinkorswim platform alone has received much praise.
Thinkorswim offers technical analysis drawn from more than 400 technical studies including monkey bars, renko charts and up to 20 drawings with eight Fibonacci tools. You can also use its paper trading feature which lets you practice your investing acumen with virtual money. Thinkorswim’s suite of trading and research tools is available on mobile, desktop and Web.
Ally Invest offers low fees, advanced research tools and a powerful app. You don’t need to make a minimum deposit to open an Ally Invest account. It lets you trade commission-free stocks, ETFs and options. But Ally Invest charges a $0.50 per-contract fee on options, which is lower than the industry standard of $0.65.
In addition, Ally Bank offers a suite of financial products like checking and high-yield savings accounts. Its online savings account pays a competitive 0.5% annual percentage yield (APY). E-Trade mostly offers brokerage products. Other than certificates of deposit (CD), E-Trade doesn’t offer much for uninvested cash. Ally Bank is known for high-interest savings and money market accounts. You can view these along with your brokerage accounts through a single platform. So Ally can be a great option for those who want all their finances managed through one source.
E-Trade is one of the most well-known brokers around. Its fees, trading technology and investment options remain competitive. But it may not be best for everyone. Some points to consider before opening or keeping an E-trade account:
If you’re switching brokers, the process may vary in difficulty depending on the broker you’re moving to and the one you’re moving from. E-Trade charges a $75 outgoing transfer fee to move all your assets to a different brokerage account. It charges $25 for partial transfers. You may go through the following steps before you can switch from E-Trade to a different broker.
Note: Some brokers don’t accept the proprietary funds of others. So you may not be able to transfer mutual funds or ETFs managed by your old broker.
*Signup bonus information updated weekly.
Fidelity’s cash management account lets you avoid unlimited ATM fees, but it earns little interest.
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