ETRADE is one of the most popular online brokerages for self-directed investors. With powerful trading platforms, research tools, and educational resources, ETRADE aims to provide users everything they need to invest on their own.
This comprehensive ETRADE review covers the brokerage’s key features, pricing, pros and cons, and how it compares to other top brokerages. Read on to see if ETRADE is the right fit for your investing needs.
Introduction to E*TRADE
Founded in 1982 as one of the first online brokerages, ETRADE has grown to over 30 million customer accounts with over $1 trillion in total client assets . ETRADE offers trading in stocks, ETFs, options, mutual funds, and fixed income securities.
Key features include:
- $0 stock and ETF trades
- Robust trading platforms including Power E*TRADE Pro
- Automated investing through Core Portfolios
- Extensive research and education for self-directed investors
With both self-directed trading and managed portfolio options, E*TRADE aims to provide the right tools for any investing style and experience level.
Trading Experience and Platforms
E*TRADE offers three main trading platforms:
E*TRADE Web and Mobile App
The E*TRADE website and mobile apps offer a streamlined experience for casual traders. Key features include:
- $0 stock, ETF, and options trades
- Real-time quotes, charts, and news
- Screeners and ratings for stocks and ETFs
- Simple order entry and account management
The mobile app provides seamless access on the go with fingerprint login and Face ID. Traders can easily look up securities, manage orders, view charts, and more.
Advanced Trading Platform
E*TRADE’s downloadable Advanced Trading platform provides an enhanced experience with professional-grade tools. Features include:
- Customizable layouts with preloaded or fully configurable workspaces
- Charting with over 100 technical indicators and drawing tools
- Options analysis tools such as probability calculators
- Streamlined order entry and account management
Advanced Trading includes risk management tools, price alarms, level 2 quotes, and more for active stock, options, and futures traders.
Power E*TRADE Pro
ETRADE’s premier Power ETRADE Pro platform is designed for the most active traders. Features include:
- Streamlined order entry and execution with customizable hotkeys
- Enhanced options tools for spread trading, rollovers, and multi-leg orders
- Advanced charting with over 200 technical indicators
- Real-time news and TV streaming
- Price-sensitive conditional orders, basket trading, and more
For high volume options trading, the Power E*TRADE Pro OptionsPlay tool provides idea generation, strategy analysis, and automated trade creation.
Research and Education
E*TRADE aims to provide the necessary tools and education for self-directed investors to trade with confidence.
Research and Insights
E*TRADE offers several resources to research investments and gain trading ideas:
- Trading ideas – Curated lists of actionable trading ideas are provided for stocks, ETFs, and options.
- Ratings and data – View analyst ratings, target prices, earnings data, and proprietary E*TRADE ratings.
- News and research – Access real-time news, market commentary, independent research, and E*TRADE reports.
- Charts and technical analysis – Use advanced charting across all platforms with 100+ technical indicators.
- OptionsPlay – For options traders, this tool provides idea discovery, strategy screening, and automated trade generation.
Experienced traders can benefit from robust data and customizable charting tools, while casual traders can leverage the curated trading ideas and ratings.
Education for Every Trader
E*TRADE provides many educational resources and tools to support traders learning to invest on their own:
- Learning Center – Read educational articles, watch videos, and take courses tailored to different experience levels. Topics cover core concepts, technical analysis, options trading, retirement planning, and more.
- Virtual Consultant – Have conversations with a robo-advisor to learn about investment types, risk tolerance, and portfolio allocation.
- Trader Q&A – Submit a trading question and receive a detailed response from an E*TRADE professional usually within 24 hours.
- Live Events – Attend online workshops, webcasts, and in-person events to learn from E*TRADE experts and external professionals.
- PaperMoney – Use virtual money to practice trading in real market conditions with zero risk.
From beginners learning the basics to advanced traders looking to refine their skills, E*TRADE’s education caters to all experience levels.
Managed Investment Options
For those looking for a hands-off approach, E*TRADE offers several managed investment options:
E*TRADE Core Portfolios provide fully automated investing tailored to your goals, time horizon, and risk tolerance. Here’s an overview:
- 5 diversified portfolios – Ranging from Conservative to Aggressive
- Fractional share investing – Invest with any amount of money
- Automated rebalancing – Portfolios stay aligned to targets
- Tax-loss harvesting – Reduce taxes on capital gains
- Personalized guidance – Get portfolio recommendations tailored to your specific needs
With Core Portfolios, E*TRADE handles all portfolio management and trading so you can take a passive, low-cost approach to investing.
Professionally Managed Accounts
For more personalized guidance, E*TRADE’s professionally managed accounts allow you to choose for portfolio managers to handle your investments.
- 7 asset manager programs – With options ranging from mutual fund portfolios to multi-asset strategies
- $25,000 minimum – Higher than Core Portfolios but lower than typical asset managers
- Personal advisor – Dedicated manager oversees your account and provides guidance
- Variety of strategies – Growth, income, ESG, retirement options available
With professional oversight and customization, managed accounts can be a middle ground between DIY and full-service investing.
Pricing and Fees
ETRADE aims to offer competitive pricing across different types of accounts and services. Here is an overview of ETRADE’s pricing:
- Stocks, ETFs, Options: $0
- Mutual Funds: $0 NTF (no transaction fee) funds + $19.99 for transaction fee funds
- Broker-assisted trades: $25
- $0 required to open an individual taxable account or retirement account like an IRA
- $500 minimum initial deposit for Core Portfolios
- $25,000 minimum for professionally managed accounts
- $0 account maintenance fees
- $0 account inactivity fees
- $0 account closure or transfer fees
- $0 paper statement fees
E*TRADE does charge some other fees to note:
- Option contract fees – $0.65 per contract
- American depositary receipt fees – Up to $15
- Voluntary reorganizations – Up to $35
- Wire transfer fee – $25 domestic, $40 foreign
Overall, E*TRADE provides commission-free stock and ETF trades alongside low account fees, no maintenance fees, and no minimums required. The brokerage charges expected fees for options trades and other advanced account services.
How E*TRADE Compares
Compared to other popular discount brokerages, E*TRADE’s pricing is competitive:
- Trading commissions are in line with leading discount brokers like Fidelity and Charles Schwab
- $0 minimums and account fees match leading players like Fidelity and Vanguard
- Options contract fees are $0.50 at Fidelity and $0.65 for E*TRADE
- Professionally managed portfolio pricing is similar across top brokers
For passive, self-directed investors, ETRADE offers a commendable combination of $0 stock and ETF trades alongside minimal account fees. For more active traders, ETRADE delivers robust platforms and tools for options and margin trading.
Pros and Cons
Some of the key advantages and drawbacks of using E*TRADE include:
- $0 stock, ETF, and options base commissions – Simple, straightforward pricing
- 3 powerful trading platforms – Options for every trader and style
- Full-featured mobile app – Top-rated mobile experience
- Quality educational tools and research – Great for self-directed learning
- No account minimums – Start investing even small amounts
- 24/7 live customer support – Reach real, knowledgeable people anytime
- Advanced trading platforms are desktop only – Mobile app is more basic
- Limited physical branch locations – 30 nationwide compared to 4,800+ for Schwab
- No fractional share trading outside of Core Portfolios – Can’t invest partial shares commission-free
- No futures, forex, or crypto trading – Less asset classes than some brokers
- Higher margin rates than rivals – 8.325% on under $25K balance
While E*TRADE delivers a robust trading experience online, the brokerage offers limited in-person support and restricts advanced features like fractional shares to its robo-advisor. Margin rates are also higher than leading rivals.
Is E*TRADE Right for You?
E*TRADE is a great option for:
- Active traders – Take advantage of $0 options trades and advanced desktop platforms for technical analysis
- Self-directed beginners – The learning resources make it easy for beginners to become self-sufficient
- Automated investing – Core Portfolios provide diversified, tailored portfolios with fractional shares
Investors who value low costs, quality platforms, and educational resources will find a lot to like at E*TRADE.
However, those looking for in-person guidance or a wider asset selection may prefer alternatives like Schwab or Fidelity. TD Ameritrade could also be a better fit for futures and forex traders.
With its leading trading platforms, robust research and education capabilities, and competitive pricing, E*TRADE offers an excellent experience for self-directed investors.
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While the brokerage falls short in some areas like fractional shares and physical branches, E*TRADE still provides a compelling suite of DIY investing capabilities.
Overall, active traders and engaged learners should strongly consider opening an account with E*TRADE. The brokerage makes it easier than ever to invest on your own with confidence.
Is E*TRADE really free?
Yes, E*TRADE offers $0 base commissions on online US stocks, ETFs, and options trades. The brokerage also has no annual account fees, no account minimums to get started, and over 4,500 no transaction fee mutual funds. Some additional fees apply for broker-assisted trades, foreign securities, and more.
Is E*TRADE safe?
Yes, ETRADE is a very safe, reputable brokerage. ETRADE is a publicly traded company on the NASDAQ exchange with over 30 years of experience. The brokerage is a member of SIPC, which protects securities customers of member brokerages up to $500,000 (including $250,000 for cash).
How quickly can you trade with E*TRADE?
ETRADE offers real-time trading allowing you to place trades that execute almost instantly during market hours. Trades placed outside of market hours queue and execute as soon as the market opens. ETRADE also offers after hours and pre-market trading to allow trading outside regular hours (9:30am to 4pm ET) at an extra cost.
Does E*TRADE offer retirement accounts like IRAs?
Yes, ETRADE offers a wide variety of tax-advantaged retirement accounts including traditional, Roth, rollover and SEP IRAs. ETRADE also offers solo 401(k)s for self-employed investors. You can invest in stocks, ETFs, options, funds, CDs, and more with an E*TRADE IRA while benefiting from tax savings.
What is E*TRADE’s reputation?
ETRADE has cultivated a strong reputation as a leading pioneer of online investing and trading. The broker is known for its innovative, easy-to-use trading platforms, quality educational tools and resources, and competitive pricing. Reviews consistently rank ETRADE highly for its trading experience, research capabilities, customer service and overall value.
How do I contact E*TRADE customer support?
E*TRADE offers customer support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through the following channels:
- Phone support – Call 800-387-2331
- Live chat – Chat with an agent online
- Twitter support – Tweet @ETRADE
- Message center – Submit a support request online
Phone support and chat provide the quickest response times while Twitter and message center have slightly longer wait times.