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E*TRADE is a popular online brokerage firm that serves nearly 5 million customers. With an E*TRADE account, you can trade stocks, bonds, options, ETFs, and mutual funds. The company also offers retirement accounts and online banking services.
If you’re doing your due diligence on E*TRADE and are considering whether it makes sense to open an account with them, you’ve come to the right place.
This post will give you a full overview of the services that E*TRADE provides, the fees that they charge, the pros and cons of working with them, and more.
Now, let’s take a closer look at one of the world’s original online trading platforms.
In This Article:
What is E*TRADE?
E*TRADE is a powerful online trading platform and investment institution. E*TRADE was initially known as TradePlus and was founded by William Porter and Bernard Newcomb in 1982. They were one of the first companies to offer online trading to individual investors.
Fast-forward to today, and the company employs more than 4,000 people and has over 30 physical branches located throughout the U.S. As one of the pioneers in online trading, E*TRADE has consistently won awards for providing good customer experiences. For example, in 2019, StockBrokers.com named E*TRADE the best company for options and mobile trading.
Now that you have a decent understanding of the nuts and bolts of E*TRADE, let’s take a look at the many different investment and account options that the company offers.
E*TRADE Services and Features
E*TRADE Brokerage Account
At the heart of E*TRADE is their standard Brokerage Account. As an E*TRADE brokerage account holder, you’ll have access to a wide range of handy research tools that will help you make informed investment decisions. You can also link your funds to an E*TRADE Bank account (more on that later).
As for pricing, U.S.-based stocks and ETFs are free, and options contracts range from $0.50 to $0.60. Here’s a full list of the investment products that you’ll be able to trade with a brokerage account. (For more details on each, click the embedded links.)
- Mutual Funds
Power E*TRADE Account
Savvy traders will probably want to consider opening a Power E*TRADE account, which offers more advanced trading tools and reporting features than a standard brokerage account.
What’s more, you can easily take these advanced trading tools on-the-go—buying and selling securities from any connected device.
The Power E*TRADE app has a 4.5-star rating (out of 5) in the App Store and a 3.7-star rating (out of 5) in the Google Play Store.
If you’re interested in trading on margin, check out E*TRADE’s Margin Trading service. Since trading on margin is essentially taking out a loan, you will have to apply to see whether you qualify for an account.
For more information on how margin trading works with E*TRADE, check this out.
E*TRADE Personalized Investment Accounts
Investors who prefer to let others do the leg work might be interested in E*TRADE’s Personalized Investments.
This division is run by E*TRADE’s capital management team, which consists of experienced strategists who continuously monitor and identify top-performing funds. E*TRADE’s digital portfolio advisor will then automatically disperse your money across these funds in a way that aligns with your investment goals.
Keep in mind that this division is similar to other companies’ robo-advising offerings. But depending on the account you choose, you also have the option of working with an advisor.
E*TRADE Personalized Investment accounts offer several portfolio options. Here’s an overview of each of them.
1. Core Portfolio
With a Core Portfolio, you’ll have access to E*TRADE’s digital investing service. There’s a $500 minimum deposit required to start an account, and you’ll get hit with a 0.30% advisory fee. While you won’t get a personalized financial plan upfront, you will have access to account specialists if you need help.
2. Blend Portfolio
E*TRADE’s Blend Portfolio offers the same digital advising service but with an initial consultation with a financial consultant. You’ll need at least $25,000 to open this kind of account, and advisory fees range from 0.65% to 0.95%, depending on your portfolio’s allocation.
3. Dedicated Portfolio
Investors that have at least $150,000 can open a Dedicated Portfolio. As the name suggests, you’ll be able to work with a dedicated one-on-one specialist who will build a custom financial plan for you based on your financial goals. You’ll also have an ongoing relationship with this advisor throughout the lifetime of your account. What’s more, Dedicated Portfolios allow you to take advantage of tax-loss harvesting. The annual advisory fee ranges from 0.95% to 1.25%, depending on the type of portfolio you ultimately choose.
4. Fixed Income Portfolio
If you’re looking to invest a large sum of money in bonds, you might consider opening a Fixed Income Portfolio. When you open this kind of account, an experienced bond portfolio manager will help design your portfolio. As with the dedicated portfolio, you’ll have ongoing access to a financial advisor. The minimum deposit required to open this account is $250,000, and the annual advisory fee ranges from 0.35% to 0.75%.
E*TRADE Retirement Accounts
Here’s an overview of the retirement accounts available:
Individual Retirement Accounts
- Rollover IRA
- Traditional IRA
- Roth IRA
- Beneficiary IRA
- E*TRADE Complete IRA
- IRA for Minors
Small Business Retirement Accounts
- Individual and Roth 401k
- Simple IRA
- SEP IRA
- Profit-Sharing Plan
- Investment Only Account
E*TRADE also offers many of the same services as a traditional bank through its E*TRADE Bank division. With an E*TRADE online bank account, you can easily move money between your checking, savings, and investment accounts. You’ll also be able to access these funds in the E*TRADE app.
Let’s take a quick look at the main banking services that E*TRADE offers:
1. Premium Savings Account
With an E*TRADE Premium Savings Account, you’ll earn up to 1.75% APY on your savings. This online savings account also offers the peace-of-mind that comes with knowing your funds are FDIC-insured (up to a cool $1.25 million). There’s no minimum deposit required to open an account and no monthly maintenance fee, either.
2. Max Rate Checking
E*TRADE’s Max Rate Checking Account offers 0.05% APY, free online bill pay, mobile check deposit, and no ATM fees. Once you open this checking account, you’ll receive a debit card for withdrawing cash and making purchases. The downside is that a $100 minimum deposit is required to open an account, and you’ll need to keep at least $5,000 in the account to avoid a $15 monthly maintenance fee. You can also avoid this maintenance fee by having at least $50,000 in your E*TRADE brokerage account. For a full overview of E*TRADE’s bank fees, go here.
3. E*TRADE Checking
If you hate monthly fees—and let’s be honest, who doesn’t—you might want to open a basic E*TRADE Checking Account. In doing so, you’ll receive a debit card for making purchases and taking out cash. With the basic free online checking account, you’ll also have access to free online bill pay and mobile check deposits. Believe it or not, your first checkbook—yes, those old-fashioned things that actually contain paper checks—is free of charge.
Thanks to a recent pricing battle among the leading online traders, E*TRADE now offers commission-free trades on stocks, options, and ETFs.
Options contracts cost $0.65, but that number can be lowered to $0.50 if you make at least 30 options trades per quarter. Future contracts cost $1.50, and bonds trades cost $1.
For a full rundown of the pricing and fees that E*TRADE charges, visit their website.
E*TRADE Promotions, Bonuses, Coupons
At the time of this writing, E*TRADE offers up to a $2,500 cash bonus for registering a new account.
To get $2,500, you will need to make a deposit of $1 million or more (seems a bit steep!). But there are also new account bonuses for lower deposit amounts:
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For the full details on the promotion, check this out.
Signing Up and Getting Started
To sign up for E*TRADE, click the purple Open an Account button on the top right-hand corner of your browser.
You’ll then have to answer a few questions about the type of account you’d like to register and enter your personal information.
Once you confirm your identity, you’re good to go.
E*TRADE offers numerous security features designed to keep your account safe, including advanced firewalls, state-of-the-art encryption technology, and multi-factor authentication for account access.
As you might expect from a technology company with over 4,000 employees, the company employs a dedicated security staff that continuously monitors E*TRADE’s systems for suspicious activity and vulnerabilities.
What’s more, E*TRADE’s Complete Protection Guarantee ensures that you won’t be liable for any losses incurred from unauthorized use of your account. Phew!
Customer Service and Support
E*TRADE offers customer support by phone, live chat, and email. You can also meet in-person with an advisor at one of the company’s 30 branches located throughout the U.S.
To find a location in your area, use their Branch Locator tool.
Pros and Cons of E*TRADE
- Leading online trading platform for beginners to advanced traders
- Commission-free trades on stocks, options, and ETFs
- Easy-to-use web platform and mobile apps
- Solid customer service, including phone support, chat, and in-person consultations
- Tax-loss harvesting only available with over $150,000 invested (a higher barrier of entry than other firms require)
- You might get hit with some checking account fees, depending on which account you have
- Limited amount of physical branches (but hey, at least they have some!)
Alternatives to E*TRADE
Some of the most popular alternatives to E*TRADE include:
Is E*TRADE Legitimate?
Yes. E*TRADE is a legitimate online trading platform that has been in business for over 30 years.
Is E*TRADE or Ameritrade Better?
This is a matter of personal opinion. Both E*TRADE and TD Ameritrade offer similar services, including free online stock trades, retirement account options, and advanced trading platforms.
Since the preferences of every investor are different, I’d suggest doing your research to determine your investment goals and then figuring out which of the two companies is best suited to meet your personal needs.
How Much Does it Cost to Use E*TRADE?
There are no upfront costs or monthly fees to have a brokerage account with E*TRADE. Trades on stocks, options, and bonds are commission-free.
However, depending on the type of account you have and the amount you’ve invested, various fees may apply. Visit E*TRADE’s pricing page to get the specific details.
Which Stock Trading Site is Best for Beginners?
If you’re a beginning investor, E*TRADE is definitely worth looking into as you start your investment journey.
The company offers low fees and an easy-to-use self-service trading platform. You’ll also have access to a helpful suite of research tools and customer support.
So, Is E*TRADE Right for Me?
Whether you’re a first-time investor or a seasoned trader, E*TRADE is a robust online trading platform that’s worth a look. The company offers a wide range of investment options, helpful customer support, and convenient banking services. They even have retail branches if you prefer to meet with someone in person.
With that said, E*TRADE does seem to be more of an advanced platform that experienced investors might feel more comfortable using. So, if you prefer to take a more hands-off approach with your investment strategy or if you’re looking for the best robo-advising service on the market, you might want to look into a company that’s better suited to meet those needs.
As with any investment, make sure to do your homework, and don’t jump in until you’ve outlined a solid investment strategy that you understand. Like anything in life, if you put in the time upfront, you’ll most likely thank yourself down the road.
Here’s to making the best investment decisions!